Brice frowned even as he felt his heart leap at Faolán’s words. “What brought that on?”
“My stupidity, mainly. When you asked this morning if I was going to return to the pack, I took it to mean you wanted me out of here, out of your life.”
“No! No, Faolán, that’s the last thing I was trying to say. I just thought… maybe you did want to go and I wanted you to know I wouldn’t stop you if…” Brice’s words faded out when he saw the look of relief in Faolán’s eyes. “I don’t ever want you to leave me,” he said with quiet intensity.
“And I don’t ever plan on it. I’m not like the others, Brice. I’m not going to, trying to, oh hell…”
“To become a kept man?” Brice asked with a soft chuckle.
“Well, yeah. I know that’s what the others were, at least from what you said. I swear I’m not like them.”
Brice squeezed Faolán’s hand. “I never thought you were.” Then without a thought to possible consequences he leaned in, cupped Faolán’s face in his hands and kissed him.
Shocked, but elated, Faolán gave back as good as he got. When they broke apart he whispered, “You know that could make the front pages of the tabloids if anyone was here with a camera.”
Brice grinned. “And? At least this time it would be the truth.” He heard someone cough beside them and looked over to see the waiter standing there with the bottle of wine.
“I hope this meets with your approval,” the waiter said as he opened the bottle and poured a bit into a glass for Faolán to taste. “I know that kiss he gave you met with mine.”
Faolán turned red and tried to hide it by sipping the wine. “It’s perfect,” he sputtered out seconds later.
“It looked like it was,” the waiter said without batting an eye. He poured them each a glass of wine, set the bottle down on the table, and told them he’d be back soon with their meals.
Brice smiled at him. “Like all eyes are on you at the moment? Welcome to my world, Faolán.”
“Now if I can just get used to it.”
“You will in time. In fact you’re going to have to, because from now on I’m not going anywhere without you. Well,” Brice amended, “except when you’re in school or working.”
Faolán leaned back to look at him. “You’re serious, aren’t you?”
“About you going places with me, or about school and work?”
“You are definitely going to be my arm candy whenever there’s a party, an opening, or whatever. As for school, you’re smart and clever and you’d be wasting your life if you didn’t capitalize on that. So yes, you are going to get into college.”
“I don’t even know what I want to do yet.”
“We’ve got time, we’ll figure it out. The one thing you are not going to do is hang around street corners while I’m at the studio.”
Faolán snorted. “That is not my idea of a way to kill time.” He stopped when the waiter brought their meals, and then continued. “I do want to get a job. As I told you a few days ago, I don’t mind hard labor if that’s all I can find.”
“Another thing we’ll talk about tomorrow. For now let’s enjoy our dinner. Suddenly I’m very hungry.”
“Then eat, because once we get home…” Faolán waggled his eyebrows suggestively.
“I’m working off every calorie?”
“Oh yeah, and then some.”