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The Fireman and The Librarian
Decay – Surviving the End of The Honeymoon Period
Jasper walked into Bill’s house, bitching. Bill and Mary were sitting in the living room and could see him walk past and down the hall, then doubled back to the living room. “He’s such an ass.” Then they heard the door open, and Chris came through.
“Jasper, will you just listen to me?”
Chris just shook his head and walked back out of the house. He wasn’t going to deal with him. He didn’t feel like dealing with bullshit on his second day off, and he was tired. Chris walked back to the station and took the train with all the transfers home. When he arrived at his apartment, he shook his head because Bill was sitting outside.
“I don’t want to hear it. I’m sure you got an ear full. I’m sure I’ve been called an ass or worse. I’m tired, and I want to sleep.”
“Okay, Probie, after you tell me what happened. I didn’t stay around to hear it from Jasper.” Bill could tell Chris was exhausted just by looking at him.
“Well come up, I’m not doing it here.” Chris unlocked the door, and they climbed the stairs to Chris’s door, opening it to his apartment. “I might have something in the fridge but can’t guarantee it.”
“Just have a seat and talk to me.”
Chris shook his head, “I was an ass, I was ignoring him. I didn’t mean to, we were out to lunch this afternoon, and I don’t know. I spaced out when he was talking to me.”
“Is that all?”
“Other than swearing, I was listening, yeah.” Chris yawned. “But I’ve been doing it a lot lately, and I know it’s been getting on his nerves. I think I need to go back to sleeping a day or two before seeing Jasper.”
“Yeah, and do you know how bad it would kill him.” Bill looked at Chris. “Are you having second thoughts about the relationship?”
“No, I love him. Lately, I seem to piss him off easily.” Chris laughed. “Well, he’s put up with my ass for almost eight months now. Shit, I don’t know how he’s done it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy he has, and I’ve loved every minute.” Chris smiled. “Shit even in the arguments, your brother knows his shit. I don’t know why I even try to fight. I shouldn’t. I thought I was smart, shit, Jasper tops me.”
Bill chuckled. “Chris, please don’t give up.”
“I’m not, as I said, I think I’m tired. Some days, I try to be ready for him long before I should be.”
“Then you need to let Jasper know you need to sleep, even if it’s at his place. Chris, don’t distance yourself, you know it’ll kill him. He’ll think you don’t love him.”
“I won’t, I promise.”
“Okay, are you ready to come back to my place. You can sleep, you’re just not going to stay here.”
Chris shook his head and went to his bedroom and grabbed up his backpack. “Yeah, I’m ready, I don’t know if he’s going to be happy I’m back though.”
“I don’t give a fuck if he is or not.”
They drove back, Chris even fell asleep on the way. When they arrived, Mary and Jasper were in the living room, and Jasper was feeding Billy a bottle. They walked in, and Bill pushes Chris straight up the stairs to the bedroom. “Why don’t you want me talking to him?”
“Take a nap, then come down and socialize.” Chris didn’t argue, he just started stripping off his pants and shirt and pulled the covers back, Bill shut the door as he left.
“Why did you bring him back?” Jasper huffed as Bill walked into the room. Bill sat down, putting his arm around Mary and just looked at Jasper. “Bill, he was an ass, he’s been ignoring me a lot. I feel like he’s tired of me.”
“Jas, have you talked about this with Chris?”
“No, like today, he just had a blank stare when I was talking at lunch.”
“Jasper, when did Chris sleep yesterday?” Mary asked, not Bill.
“Last night, when I did, when he came home from the station, he knew I wanted to go do a few things.”
“Okay, and when did he get up this morning?” Mary again asked.
“Because I took Friday off to run around, I wanted to do something this morning, and we did breakfast and lunch before coming here.”
“So how much sleep did Chris get last night?”
Jasper blushed, “Well, maybe six hours.”
Bill stepped in. He wasn’t going to let Mary even try to explain this one to Jasper. “Chris is fucking exhausted, Jas.”
“Honey, you could’ve said it a little nicer.”
“Well, for once, I’m going to take Chris’s side. I don’t do that much in my brother’s relationships.” Bill look from Mary to Jasper. “But Jas, you need to understand, Chris seems not to tell you when he’s been dealing with blood, gore, and shit for hours before coming home to you. I love you Jas. But let the man sleep a little when he first gets home.”
“He doesn’t tell me,” Jasper gaziantep escort stated.
“I know, maybe I need to start texting you when I leave the station, telling you to allow him to sleep or not. Sometimes, we have a full night’s sleep before coming home, but most of the time, we don’t.”
Jasper softens, “I should go up and apologize.”
“No, you’re going to let him sleep for a bit. Then, we’re going to have couples counseling.” Bill smiled. “He has faults in this too. As I said Jas, I love you, but Chris is tired, I saw it when he walked in here. I was going to let him go home, but I knew it would’ve turned into a worse fight if he did.”
“I see your point.” Jasper shook his head.
The three of them sat around most of the afternoon, and Bill even went off into the bedroom to nap for a bit. When he did, Jasper told Mary he was going to lie down with Chris. She didn’t say a word just hoped he let Chris sleep.
Opening the door to the bedroom, Jasper saw Chris had tossed and turned a bit. The covers of the bed were thrown aside, and Chris was laying on his stomach. Jasper sat down on the bed and took his shoes off and laid down, facing Chris. Chris looked so peaceful when he was sleeping. Jasper gently stroked Chris’s face, and his eyes fluttered and then opened.
“Hi, Babe.” Chris closed his eyes and slowly reopened them. “Can I lay down with you?”
Chris didn’t respond; he rolled to his side, pulling Jasper towards him, kissing him. “I love you, and I’m sorry about this morning.” Jasper turned over, and before he was even comfortable, he could hear Chris snoring.
Jasper nows sees how exhausted Chris is. He had been asleep for four hours, and right after apologizing, he fell back asleep.
Later, when Chris released Jasper from his hold, Jasper got up and went back downstairs. Bill and Mary were in the living room, and Billy was lying in his bassinet. “Is Chris coming down?”
“No, he’s still asleep. Bill, I didn’t realize how tired he was.”
“I know Jas. That’s why I went and got him.”
They sat down for a little while drinking coffee, talking, and not too long later. They could hear Chris stirring upstairs. After he went to the bathroom, he came down and walked into the living room, still yawning, and he stretched before sitting down next to Jasper.
“Do you feel better, Probie?”
“Feel a little more human.” Chris turned to Jasper, “Babe, I’m sorry for being an ass today and other days.”
“No, it’s partially my fault; apparently, I haven’t been letting you get enough rest. But Honey, you need to tell me when you get home that you need to sleep.”
“Jasper, you plan things, and I hate to tell you no.”
“Hold on one damn minute.” Bill stopped them. “Jas, you plan shit out as soon as Chris gets home?”
“Well, I only have the weekend off, so I have to get as much done as possible. So yeah. He gets to sleep when I’m working.”
“But Jas, I’ve noticed lately, you’ve been taking more and more of your vacation days on the first day or so when Chris gets off duty. Are you letting him sleep?”
“Well, no. I want to do things with him.”
“Okay, Jas, I love you, but you need to let Chris sleep.” Chris was looking between Bill and Jasper during this part of the discussion. He wasn’t going to interrupt. “Maybe Chris needs to go to his apartment for the first day off and sleep. Then come over that night or the next, so he gets some sleep.”
“Jas, if you want this man in your life, you need to let him sleep some.”
“I’ll let him sleep at my place, I promise.” Jasper was looking at Chris. “Honey, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize how tired you were.”
“Oh, it’s not all your fault, Jas,” Bill stated. “Chris needs to speak up. Chris, I like you. I love that my brother loves someone and feels safe with you. I know you treat him well, I see it. But you need to start talking to Jas about shit we do at work.” Chris nodded his head. “I know he can handle it. You can’t come home and tell him you’re fine after you just dealt with a bloody car accident or even the apartment fire we had dealt with a few months back with those kids.”
“I know, but as I told you, we’re supposed to be rescuing kittens from trees, not dealing with the death of kids. Jasper doesn’t need to hear about that.”
“You do tell me about some stuff,” Jasper stated.
Chris laughs, “Yeah, when we have an idiot. Who decides it’s a smart idea to climb around in the ventilation system and gets his fatass stuck. Because he wanted to film himself like a Die Hard movie.”
“Hey, he wasn’t as much stuck as he was falling halfway out of it and…” Bill looked at Chris and laughed. “Okay, he was partially stuck.”
“Well then, trust me, Chris. I can handle it.” Jasper was holding Chris’s hand. He was hoping he could handle whatever Chris will tell him.
The rest of the week with Jasper went well, and Chris was back on duty come Wednesday. He walked into the station, and he was happy to see Bill was back on shift. “It’s about time you got your ass back to work, Bill,” Jesse stated. “We were getting tired of Alex’s ass, and I’m sure Chris was.”
Bill looked at Chris, “What did he do?”
“Nothing,” Chris stated and walked to the bunkroom.
Bill looked at Jesse, “He was just on his ass, dogging on the Probie shit, that’s all.”
“Nothing because he’s gay?” Bill asked.
“No, Alex showered with him and joked around, but just dogged on him, as he does with all the new guys.”
“Okay, I won’t get on his ass then.”
Everyone was sitting around in the lounge, “What’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever done?” Jesse asked the room.
“I shot a bb at a pond, it ricocheted off and hit my sister in the leg, she was standing on the other side, my parents grounded me for a week,” Mike stated.
“I tried to impress a girl and open the car door for her and ended up falling on the ice, taking her down with me,” Bill spoke up.
“Not owning a fire extinguisher when you’re a firefighter and a small fire breaks out in your apartment,” Jeff responded after no one would speak up for a while.
“Shit, hopefully, you learned from that one,” Jesse responded.
“Yeah, my girlfriend bitched at me for a month afterward.” Jeff laughed along with everyone else.
“Come on, guys, speak up.” Jesse looked around the room.
“How about you, Jesse?” John asked.
“I’ll go in a bit,” Jesse responded. “Chris, you gotta have something good.”
“Yeah, and pigs fly.”
Chris blew out a breath loudly and shook his head, “Having a three-way and someone taking pictures.”
“WHAT?’ Tom was the loudest of the group. They wanted more information. “Please explain.”
“You don’t need an explanation, you asked, what was the stupidest thing I did. Well, it was the stupidest thing.”
“No, we want details,” Harry spoke up. Bill remained silent on this one, he did too but wasn’t going to pry.
“No one else gave details.”
“No one said anything that good,” Jesse responded for the group. “You’ll be off meal duty for a month.”
“Just a month?” Chris smiled.
“Don’t push it.” Jesse laughed.
“Fine, the reason it was the stupidest thing I did was, the pictures got out to the department I worked for. No one knew I was gay, so it outed me and caused a lot of problems.”
“Ouch, yeah, that would suck,” Jeff commented. “But how about details on the threesome.”
Laughing, Chris responded and walked out of the room, “Not on your life.”
Chris walked into Jasper’s late Saturday morning after his shift ended, dropping his duffle at the door, knowing he’ll take care of it later. “Where have you been?” He heard Jasper calling from the living room. Chris smiled he knew he was late getting to Jasper’s, but Jasper won’t text or call him to find out where he is anymore, that argument has come and gone now. Chris knew it would be obvious why he was late as soon as he stepped into the room anyway.
Jasper looked up at Chris when he stepped into the room, and a smile crossed his face. “Your hair was getting a little long. Can I feel it?”
“I love the feel of a tight cut.” Chris just shook his head. “Please, and anyway, you need to sleep, I hear you were out for a while this morning.”
“You don’t want to go to the movies?”
“We can do it tomorrow, either go up and lay down or come snuggle here on the couch for a while.”
Since Jasper was reading Chris decided to lay on the couch, but he went upstairs to change first and use the bathroom. Jasper thought he was going to stay upstairs, but when he came back down, sat on the couch, put his head in his lap. Jasper smiled — placing his hand on Chris’s head rubbing his hair, or really the stubbles.
The following week when Chris arrived from the station, he was standing in the doorway of the living room, “Jasper?”
Jasper looked up, and he was again reading on the couch. “What?”
“Would you please ask no questions, get your shoes and coat on. Don’t fight and come out with me.”
“I said, no questions.” Chris laughed and shook his head.
“Fine, I’ll get my shoes and coat on and ask no questions.”
Jasper did as he was told, and Chris took him by his hand out of the house. It was Sunday, Chris was tired, but decided before he went to bed, he wanted to have breakfast. He didn’t know if Jasper had already eaten or not, but if he had, then he could enjoy some conversation and coffee with him, but if Jasper hadn’t, then hopefully, he’d like to eat something.
They walked a little way to a small restaurant and walked in. “If you were hungry, I would’ve made you something at home.”
“I didn’t want you to make me anything. I wanted to enjoy your company. Have you eaten already?”
“No, I’d love to eat breakfast with you, Babe. Thank you.” Chris hugged Jasper before they sat down at a table. “You look tired though. Did you have a late-night?
“We had a few calls this morning, but nothing too serious. I’m tired, yes, but I’d like to have breakfast with you before I sleep for a while.”
They ordered, and Chris reached across the table to hold Jasper’s hand, which shocked him a little because he hadn’t done this in a long time. That’s one of the things Jasper has been nitpicking Chris about. Chris doesn’t touch him much in public anymore because Chris thinks Jasper feels embarrassed, so he was finally getting what he wanted. “I love you Babe.”
“I love you too, Chris. What’s going on?”
“Nothing, why?” Chris smiled.
“Well, you come home from the station and take me out for breakfast. You seem tired, but you want to do it anyway.” Jasper squeezes Chris’s hand. “So, I was just wondering what was going on.”
“Nothing, I promise you, I just wanted to spend some time with you before I went to bed. But if it’s going to make you upset, we can leave.” This was the last thing Chris was trying to do to Jasper, and he didn’t want to make him upset. He was hoping he could have a nice breakfast with him and possibly morning before he slept.
“No, I was just wondering if something was up. How were your few days on? Sorry, I didn’t make it by to see you yesterday, Mary and I went shopping for Billy.”
“I know, I think Bill was more bummed, I think he was hoping to get some cookies.” Chris laughed. “I think he loves taking Billy into the Engine Bay, that kid is going to grow-up knowing every part of our trucks and the difference between an engine and a truck.”
Their food came, and they thanked the waitress.
“Yeah, but the sad thing is Billy is only a few months old,” Jasper responded. “And aren’t both of the fire trucks called trucks?” Jasper was serious.
Chris looked at Jasper to make sure he was serious, “Yes and no. Yes, they’re technically both trucks. But one is our Fire Engine, or some departments call it a Pumper. It carries the hoses, water and supplies. The other one is considered the Fire Truck, or as we call it our Ladder Truck.”
“But there are ladders on the “Engine,” Jasper did the finger quotes as he said engine.
Chris laughed, “Yes, smaller ladders.”
“Okay, whatever,” Jasper responded.
“Oh God, I taught you something today, and you aren’t happy.” Chris laughed, he thought Jasper would have already known this, and if he didn’t, he’d have asked Bill.
“Well, you don’t have to rub it in my face.”
“I’m sorry, Babe.” Chris didn’t mean to. “He picked up Jasper’s hand and leaned across the table and kissed it. “Please forgive me.”
Jasper smiled, “I don’t know everything. I’ll ask questions when I don’t know something.”
“Okay, I’ll remember, Jasper Stone.” Then Chris looked at him, confused, “What’s your middle name?”
“I can’t believe it, I’ve never asked that before,” Chris responded, then continued from his last statement. “Amazingly, I’ll remember, Jasper Patrick Stone, doesn’t know everything and will ask questions when he doesn’t.”
Both Chris and Jasper laughed.
“Mary, how are you?”
“I’m good, what’s up.”
“I wanted to talk to you.” Jasper paused for a minute.
“What did you want to talk about?”
“Well, I want to call Chris at the station this evening.”
“Well.” Jasper kept stalling.
“Damn it, Jasper, just spit it out.” Mary was getting impatient.
“I want to ask him to move in with me. He already pretty much lives here most of the time anyway. Why not do it permanently, he hardly ever stops in at his apartment now. So, he’s paying for the apartment for nothing.”
“Then why didn’t you ask him when he was home this last time?”
“I don’t know. We were bickering at one another again. Over stupid stuff, and I’m afraid he’ll tell me flat out, no.”
“Well, I’m not going to say it’s not a possibility, but he loves you. So I think he’ll say yes.”
“I hope he will. No matter how much we fight, we always make up.”
“And that’s always the best thing, never go to bed angry.”
“Well, we never do that.” Jasper laughed. “Well, I’m going to give Chris a call. Thanks for talking to me.”
“No problem. I love you and call me anytime. You know you can talk to me. Just as much as Bill.”
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