Today’s Friday Flash Fic picture made me think of a waiting room. Then I wondered who’d dress like that for a waiting room (because, let’s be honest, he’s looking great), and the look in his eyes struck me as someone struggling with something. After that, it sort of fell together when I considered some of the waiting rooms I’ve found myself in.
“Dr. Marshall is falling a bit behind. One of the other doctors is out today,” the receptionist told him.
“It’s fine,” Wyatt said. “I cleared my afternoon.”
She smiled at him. “Thanks. Take a seat.”
Wyatt picked a chair in the waiting area and told himself today was the day he’d have courage.
He knew he was full of shit, but for a little while at least, he could pretend he was a confident, self-assure man who could totally say more than “Hello again,” to the incredibly attractive bearded fellow who generally sat across the room from him.
He was here. In fact, despite the receptionist mentioning the falling behind, they were the only two in the room at the moment.
They had a similar schedule of appointments and had done since mid-winter. The bearded fellow was always here before Wyatt, and every time Wyatt was done with his visit, the bearded fellow was gone.
Over the weeks, Wyatt had been scrutinizing, trying to determine the potential for compatibility. The quickest deal-breakers had been dealt with first.
No wedding ring, first and foremost.
Then he’d made sure to add a small rainbow flag button to his coat before his next appointment, and though he’d intended to say “hello” on that appointment, it had taken Wyatt two more visits to get that far. But the man had smiled and returned the greeting, and his eyes—pale, lovely, grey eyes—had seen the button.
Wyatt was sure of it.
He’d also had a rumbly voice, which was great except it had surprised Wyatt and maybe he’d been so surprised he’d sort of jumped back and sat on the other side of the waiting room.
All things considered, it would probably take him another decade to get up the guts to say anything more than “hello.”
Another patient arrived, a young woman, and she went up to the desk. The receptionist told her about the wait, and she went to sit by the window.
Wyatt sighed. It came out a little louder than he intended, and he winced. When he looked up, the fellow was staring right at him.
“Sorry,” Wyatt said.
“It’s fine,” the fellow rumbled. “You okay?”
It was hard to concentrate when those grey eyes were aimed in Wyatt’s direction. And there was genuine concern. Given where they were, it wasn’t an unlikely thing to assume that Wyatt was worried about something.
“Oh, I’m fine,” he said, “Sorry. No. I’m good. It’s nothing major.” He tapped the side of his head. “Or, no worse than usual.” That wasn’t even untrue. He’d had a great couple of months.
The man smiled. Beneath that beard, he had a great smile.
“I love your bow ties,” Wyatt said. It was less a statement and more of a blurt, but he forced himself not to look away. The man generally wore a bow-tie each time he’d seen him.
The man smiled again. “Thank you. We try to match.”
Wyatt frowned. “We?”
“Milo.” The man nodded to the doors beyond the receptionist’s desk, and Wyatt realized he was a complete idiot. We meant someone else was in their appointment. Someone he was waiting for. Of course. Milo.
“Right,” Wyatt said, and then because his mouth was engaged even if maybe his brain wasn’t, he added, “I’ve only ever seen you.”
“Right,” the man echoed. “Of course.” Then he leaned forward. “Can I ask..?” Then he shook his head. “Never mind.”
The concern—or was it fear?—in the man’s eyes got Wyatt right in the heart. “Ask,” he said.
The man rose, crossed the room, and sat beside him. Up close, he was even more attractive, and Wyatt reminded himself, firmly, that this man was here with Milo, who was the luckiest damn Milo to ever wear a matching bow-tie.
The man even smelled good. That was so unfair.
“Have you had seizures your whole life?”
Wyatt nodded. “Yes. Since I was a kid.”
The man took a moment with that. “Sometimes he seems so sad.”
Wyatt blew out a breath. “When I was a kid… Other kids weren’t always kind.” He laughed. “Okay, that was an understatement. In some ways, I’m quite lucky. I have a very regular aura—does Milo have aura?”
The man nodded.
“Right. So you know what that is. Well, it means I can usually get myself to somewhere at least moderately safer, and I use my phone to let my friends know. It’s easier now that I’m older, and we balance my meds with how often I seize and…” He regarded the man, who was hanging on his every word. “I am sad sometimes, yes. But it’s not always about my wobbly brain. My ex…” He paused, considering if this was a bad idea, but then figured no one would ask about their partner if they didn’t honestly care. This man wasn’t Kenny. “Kenny, that’s my ex, he wasn’t a good match. He didn’t really understand the accommodations I needed, or how much it would impact our relationship, I guess. It took me longer than it should have to realize me feeling like a burden was something he was creating, and it wasn’t healthy.” He swallowed. “If you think Milo maybe feels like a burden, that’s worth talking about. So long as you’re going to make sure he realizes he isn’t.” He met the pale grey eyes with his own gaze. “Because he isn’t.”
“Of course he isn’t.” The man’s rumble lowered. “And forgive me, but your ex sounds like an ass.”
Wyatt offered a wan smile. “Well, yes. But he, too, had a pretty beard. It’s a weakness. Though yours is better. Milo’s a lucky guy.”
The man blinked, but then the receptionist called Wyatt’s name. He rose.
“Good luck,” Wyatt said.
His appointment with Dr. Marshall went well, and though he tried, Wyatt couldn’t help feeling a bit of a funk as he shook her hand and left her exam room. He’d banished thoughts of Kenny for the most part, but talking about him had brought him back to mind.
Wyatt wanted to believe the fear and concern the bearded man had shown weren’t the same things Kenny had felt—the selfish urge to dodge a life that would occasionally be inconvenient.
“Let it go,” Wyatt muttered, pushing through the door to the waiting room.
The first thing he saw was a pair of pale, grey eyes looking his way.
“Oh,” Wyatt said.
“Hey,” the bearded man said. He glanced down, and Wyatt noticed a young boy, maybe five or so, standing with him.
It took him a moment longer to notice the bow tie the boy wore.
“This is Milo,” the bearded man said. “My nephew. We were about to head out to get some ice cream, and I wondered if you’d like to come with us.”
“Oh.” Wyatt grinned, looking down at the little boy. He had the same grey eyes as his uncle. His uncle. “Well, I’m not going to turn down ice cream.”
“Uncle Ray says you’re like me.”
“I’ve had a wobbly brain,” Wyatt said. “Ever since I was your age.”
“Uncle Ray thinks you’re cute,” Milo said.
Wyatt’s mouth opened, but nothing came out.
“Milo,” the bearded man—Ray—said. He was blushing. It was a good look.
Milo just grinned.
“So,” Wyatt said. “Ice cream.”
“This way,” Ray said.