**Remember Connor and Angel? No? Well refresh yourself, I’ll wait. All caught up? Good. I was having a lot of trouble writing this week’s fic, until I finally realized that it was time to bring these boys back. Enjoy!**
Three months had passed, and I was still here. Living in a tiny rent-by-the-month apartment and telecommuting. I still didn’t know what I was going to do with the property where my childhood home had once stood, but I knew I had to decide soon. Because there was no way I was going try to muddle through filing my taxes again next year with it still hanging over my head.
But I was finally done, and I thought I got it right. At least the software I was using finally stopped throwing errors at me and let me submit the paperwork. A few minutes passed before my email dinged with the confirmation. The forms had been filed, and were waiting acceptance. I breathed out a sigh of relief. It had taken me a good ten hours to get it done. I wasn’t even that pissed that I wasn’t getting a refund this year. Because it was over, and I didn’t have to worry about it anymore.
There was a knock on the door a second before it creaked open. I gave Angel a tired but pleased smile. Lately things had been moving from friends to something more between us. But I knew he was wary of starting something until I made some decisions.
I hadn’t had the guts to confess that I was sticking around because of him.
“You should keep the door locked, you know,” he said by way of greeting. But his dark eyes were sparkling with humor. God, I loved that look on him. He was gorgeous, and he knew it but he wasn’t arrogant about it. I needed to do something about us, and I needed to do it soon.
I cleared my throat and forced that thought away for the moment. “What have you got there?”
He was holding a weathered piece of wood, and at my question, he looked down at it like he’d forgotten he held it. His grin was wide and warm as he walked further into my apartment, and held it out to me. I quirked an eyebrow but I took the proffered item. My breath caught when I realized what it was.
The sign from the treehouse we built the summer we turned eight. My father had actually be sober that summer, and the three of us cobbled together a barely stable platform in the white ash tree in my backyard. Angel and I had spent every day there, and some nights too.
“I’d forgotten about this,” I whispered reverently, tracing my fingers over the lettering.
Angel crouched down and put his hands on my thighs. He looked up at me, his dark brown eyes fringed with impossible lashes. “That was a good summer.”
“Yeah,” I murmured in agreement. It was one of the few good memories of my childhood that I had.
“Will you come with me?”
“Sure,” I agreed, my voice gravely with emotion. It didn’t matter where we were going. Angel asked, so I went.
We were driving down a familiar street before I realized our destination. I fidgeted in my seat, uncomfortable. Even though I’d been in town for three months, I’d only been to this property once. The night Angel and I reconnected. Every time he’d brought it up, I’d quickly and effectively shut him down.
But now we were here, and my heart stuttered as he pulled into the gravel driveway. The ruin of the house had been torn down at my direction, but the cement foundation was still there. I couldn’t seem to tear my gaze away. Angel opened my door, and with his gentle coaxing, I exited the vehicle, my attention still fixed to the foundation. He took my hand and led me around the car onto the grass. My heart was thundering in my chest, my breathing fast, and I couldn’t seem to get my riotous emotions under control.
“What do you see?”
“Angel.” His name was a plea. I couldn’t believe he was making me do this.
He stepped into my field of vision, cutting off my view of what was left of the house. “Not that,” he said, keeping his voice low and calm. “Everything else. What do you see?”
Because it was him, I did as he asked. I looked around and took it all in. The huge oak in the front yard with its gnarled trunk was just starting to bud with new leaves. The grass, though thin and patchy, was a vibrant green. The azalea bush was full and lush, and I could see just the hint of the pink flowers. If I peered over his shoulder, I could just see the ash tree, farther along than everything else around it.
“That’s right,” Angel murmured, making me realize I’d been talking out loud. “All this beautiful new life. This is a place of renewal.” I started to shake my head, but Angel caught my face in his hands and made me focus on him. “Yes, Connor. The bad is gone now, and there’s nothing left but brand new life.”
I felt a tear leak out of my eye and realized that this was the defining moment. I took a deep breath, and then another, before I managed to look him straight in the eye. All I saw was warmth, love, and affection.
“If I were to build here, start a new home…” I paused, and swallowed hard, never breaking his gaze. “Would you share it with me?”
Angel’s sigh of relief and heartfelt kiss were all the answer I needed.