As Jackson prepped for dinner, he tried to remind himself this wasn’t a date, no matter how much those stupid butterflies in his stomach told him otherwise. He even found himself wishing he had Lyn to double-check his hair and his clothes, make sure they were perfect, but he had to rely on feel and the tags he had put on all his clothing to facilitate coordinating outfits without anyone’s assistance. It helped that he had a pretty simple wardrobe. Jeans and khakis–he never wore shorts so his braces and surgical scars were always hidden. Simple, single-colored cotton button-up shirts for work and T-shirts on the weekends. And he only had two pairs of shoes. His sneakers, which he wore if he’d be walking even more than normal, and his leather orthotic shoes that weren’t sexy but helped keep him upright and as ache free as possible. And both were large enough he could wear them with his braces.
As Jackson ran his hands over his clothes for the tenth time, feeling the fabrics, checking the tags, he found himself wishing he had some nicer shoes. Not that Dan would notice, let alone care. Jackson sighed and finally settled for dark jeans and a polo in a bright blue the color his eyes once were, according to Lyn. She had the same eyes as him, she’d told him more than once, even though he couldn’t really see them. “But yours were always brighter than mine,” she said. His eyes weren’t bright anymore, and he’d had to be careful not to let Dan see them. He was so used to not wearing his glasses at home most of the time; as long as the lighting was low he was comfortable.
But since Dan moved in, Jackson only ever took his glasses off when he was alone, and if he did remove them when Dan was around, he kept his eyes closed. Dan had only asked about it once, and Jackson had told him the truth: that he was very sensitive to light.
Jackson finished dressing and slipped his glasses back on. “How do I look, Mol?” he asked.
Molly panted and came up to him, so he reached down until his fingers met the top of her head and gave her a good scratch.
“Why do I always do this to myself?” he muttered, half to himself and half to Molly, as if she could answer back. “Remember that guy in my masters class on the crusades?” His name was Benji and unlike Dan, was definitely gay. He’d had an amazing sounding laugh and had helped Jackson with a few projects when he’d had no choice but to rely on a sighted person for help. They’d even fooled around once or twice, but Benji had admitted he wasn’t interested in anything more than a casual fling and broken it off just before the semester ended. Jackson had believed he was in love. Maybe not love love, but it had certainly hurt when he’d returned to class the next fall only to find out Benji was living with another grad student. And not just as roommates. Benji hadn’t wanted anything serious, not with Jackson, anyway.
Jackson sighed. His happy mood had evaporated, and he’d gone from excited about going to a new restaurant to dreading being in an unfamiliar place. Even with Molly, restaurants could be a nightmare for him to navigate, and what had Dan even been thinking?
A knock on the door made Jackson suck in a sudden breath. “Yes?”
“Is the princess ready? Her carriage awaits,” Dan called teasingly through the door.
Jackson laughed, and his mood lightened a little. How could it be just hearing that man’s voice could make him happier? “Come in.”
The door creaked and Jackson heard–and felt, to some extent–Dan’s footsteps as he entered. “You ready?”
Jackson turned around, Molly keeping close by.
A hesitation from Dan, and then a smile-tinged voice that warmed Jackson from the inside. “You clean up nice.” Dan took a few steps closer, and Jackson ached to reach out and touch Dan’s face, his shoulder, his chest.
Instead, he took a breath and smiled. Dan was wearing an orange short-sleeved shirt that made it easy for Jackson to see him. He almost said nothing, but then the words were out of his mouth. “Did you . . . did you wear that for me?”
Dan chuckled, and Jackson heard the sound of fabric shifting as he fiddled with his shirt. “You said you see better if there’s a strong contrast of colors, so . . .” A pause. “Sorry. I shrugged. I look good in orange anyway.”
Jackson felt his smile go ridiculously gooey. Lyn was the only one who ever bothered to change how she dressed so he could see her better. In fact, she’d even skipped the traditional solid white or cream-colored gown for her wedding in favor of one trimmed with red that was bold enough for him to see while still being elegant–or so she told him. He just knew that even sitting several feet away, he could see his sister standing out amongst the background, even in brighter light that limited his vision even more than normal.
“Shall we go?”
Jackson cleared his throat and tried to will his dick from getting interested, especially since this close Dan’s cologne wafted over intoxicatingly. “We don’t have to. I mean, we could just get takeout or something.”
“What? Don’t be ridiculous. This place is supposedly amazing. I was checking it out online while I waited for you.”
Jackson took a hesitant step closer, holding out a hand in case Dan was nearer than he expected. “If you and I go out. To a restaurant. Just the two of us. People might make . . . assumptions.”
Dan leaned in closer; Jackson could smell his breath, minty and clean, like he’d just brushed his teeth or eaten a strong mint. “I won’t tell them you’re blind if you won’t. Do we need to swear Molly to secrecy, too?”Share: