Tristan knows something is wrong. Aiden is acting weird. He shies away from Tristan’s touch, goes to bed early, and is obsessed with working long hours in his massage studio.
Aiden’s back is killing him, but he can’t let Tristan know. If Tristan knows, he’ll insist on Aiden taking time off, and he can’t. It’s important to appear professional, and he needs the money. Tristan can’t keep paying their bills forever.
Tristan will figure out what’s bothering Aiden, but first, he’s going to enjoy his weekly massage—unless, somehow, he can convince Aiden to switch places with him. Either way, he’s going to enjoy it.
“Hi.” He bent to kiss Aiden, a brief touch of lips.
“Good day?” Aiden moved away rigidly and set the plates on the table.
“It was all right. We got a lot done so we’re taking tomorrow off. When do you want me on your table?” Normally he’d come in as the last customer of the day so they could go home together, but since he was free, he thought Aiden might want to fit him in somewhere else in the schedule.
“I…erm…I actually only have two appointments tomorrow, both in the morning.” Aiden’s face was a blank mask; even his curls were lifeless. Something was definitely wrong.
“Oh…do you want to do something tomorrow, then?” Tristan would have loved a massage, but it could wait a week. Maybe he should take Aiden somewhere instead. “Hey, let’s go to Whiteport. I bet you want to do some shopping and see some friends or something. I’ll have to see if Jen can take Og, but we could stay a night in a hotel. Catch a movie, make reservations at some fancy restaurant?”
There was a sparkle in Aiden’s eyes, and a real smile started to take form on his lips. Tristan could endure a day in the city if it helped Aiden’s cabin fever. He needed to take Aiden out more often. Just mentioning the city had him shining again.
Then the smile slipped away.
“I can’t, I have an early appointment the day after.”
“Cancel it. I’m sure they’ll understand. If you call them now, maybe you can reschedule to later in the day. We could be back by lunch.” Tristan tried not to sound as if he was begging. A day in the city was what Aiden needed, and since Tristan needed to see him smile again, he would do everything in his power to get him there.
“I can’t. It’s a first-time customer, and I’d lose credibility if I changed the first appointment.”
“I’m sure it would be okay.” Tristan lowered his voice in defeat even as he spoke. He knew the answer; Aiden was hell-bent on being professional, like he thought he had something to prove. With a sigh, Tristan shook his head. “You cooked?”
He nuzzled Aiden’s ear. Normally, it would earn him a full-body shiver and some hip grinding. Today, he got a sigh and a pat on his arm as Aiden went to take the pot off the stove. Tristan ran a hand over his mouth and tried to force down the ache in his gut. Every relationship had its ups and downs. They would fix this…somehow.