Mother-daughter fun at the mall.
"I know Karl's your friend, but last night he made a pass at me."
"No," Jaze's denial was little more than an exhalation of air. "We were drunk, Stewie. Are you sure it wasn't just the drink?"
"Yes I'm sure," Stewie said trying to keep his voice steady. "Karl was nowhere near as drunk as you."
"Where is he?" Jaze asked.
"Gone out." Stewie handed Jaze a note.
Have gone out for the day. Think I was stupid with the kid and he's mad at me. Keeping my distance.
"He thinks he upset you?" Jaze asked wishing the pounding in his head would go. This was so difficult when he had no memory of the events.
"His wandering hands and disgusting offer upset me," Stewie said his voice finally cracking. "Don't you believe me?"
Jaze couldn't bear the look of fear and hurt in Stewie's eyes or the desolate tone in the voice. He pulled the young man close. This was Stewie, his lover, his mate. The man he loved. There was no contest.
"Of course I do. Of course I do. I love you, baby," Jaze assured. "When Karl comes back tonight I'll have him leave. I'll pay for a hotel for him, but our friendship is finished for hurting you."
Stewie felt the heavy weight compressing his heart lift. He sobbed into Jaze's shoulder in relief. He had been so afraid that Karl would have been believed over him in Jaze's eyes.
Jaze felt the tightness ease from the slender blond in his arms. He realised how much courage it had taken for Stewie to be honest. It was clear that Stewie had feared Karl had would have had more influence over Jaze as to whose version of events would be believed.
Slowly the men moved from comforting to kissing. Both needed the physical connection after the emotional outpouring. The kisses were soft, sweet and designed by each man to convey the depths of love they had for the other. As they slowly parted Stewie smiled. It was a pale imitation of his normal smile, but to Jaze it was as though the sun had suddenly blazed through thick black clouds. Jaze caressed Stewie's cheek.
"I need to shower, love," he said his own voice husky from emotion. "Will you join me?"
"Yes," was whispered back and Stewie's smile gathered a little more intensity.
In the shower the two men touched and caressed as they cleansed. Each knew it was too soon for anything more demanding. What was needed now was mutual assurance of the place of each in the other's heart and how much they were loved.
Jaze dressed as Stewie prepared a light meal for them both. Stewie had offered to take Jaze's surveillance, but the bigger man had insisted Stewie relax at home. He would only be gone a few hours, thanks to Stewie's organisation. Stewie smiled as he felt the cold empty feeling that had seeped into his very bones dissipated. When Jaze joined him, they sat close together, touching, kissing and feeding each other. When Leo arrived, Jaze lovingly kissed his mate in their doorway. Stewie melted into his lover's arms and sighed his pleasure.
"Keep safe and come home soon, love," he whispered tenderly.
"Rest well, baby," Jaze growled. "You'll need all your energy tonight.
Shutting their door, Stewie sighed. He decided that if Jaze was going to be true to his words, then the bedding would need changing. He went upstairs, his nose wrinkling in distaste at the lingering odour of alcohol and tobacco. Even though neither he nor Jaze smoked, it was almost impossible to avoid being tainted when out. He shoved the sheets into the oversized hamper in the built in wardrobe. He'd worry about washing them later. Firstly he wanted to make up the bed and make his own preparations to the room.
Pleased with the choice of silk sheets, even if they were high maintenance and the candles that were all ready to light when Jaze came home, Stewie decided to have a break and have a drink. He went downstairs and froze outside their lounge. Inside sat Karl with a coffee pot and two mugs. Their eyes met and Karl rose.
"I came back so I could apologise," he said indicating for Stewie to come in.
"How did you get in?" Stewie asked.
"Jaze's key," Karl