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Infidelity

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“Well, I hope it was fucking worth it, Tony.”

Tony freezes at the door and looks through the dark towards Jethro’s voice. 

“I, umm,” he starts, not really knowing what he’s going to say.  There’s nothing to say.

Jethro turns on the lamp beside him.  “Dinner with an old friend, is what you said.  Great.  No call around 11, I figured you were running late.  Nothing at midnight, I started to get worried, but figured you’re smart enough to take a taxi if you had too much to drink.  When your phone is turned off at one in the morning, that’s when I got pissed.”

“Yeah, Jethro, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to be late, and not call.  And stuff.” Tony says, running a hand through his hair.

“I guess I should be thankful that you at least took a shower.  Your hair’s still damp and you smell like,” Jethro sniffs softly and looks over Tony’s shoulder.  “Rose?  Some type of flower.  Not the same as when you left.  Guess it’s better than the alternative.”

Tony sits in the chair opposite Jethro, leaning forward.  “Jethro, I didn’t mean for it to happen.  I don’t know how it happened, we were drinking and things just go out of control.  I’m so, so sorry.”

“Her or him?”

“Her.  An old girlfriend.  I hadn’t heard from her in a few years,” Tony replies.

“Do I know her?  Have I met her?” Jethro asks, looking away from Tony.

“No, you’ve never met her.  We dated for about six months, about four years ago.  She moved, and we broke up.”  Tony sits quietly and watches Jethro’s jaw clenching.  “Jethro, what can I say, what can I do to fix this?  I was stupid and made a mistake and I don’t know what to do.”

“I…I don’t know, Tony.  Right now, I don’t even want to talk with you,” Jethro says way too quietly.  Tony’s seen him angry before, but this quiet anger is new, at least when it’s directed at him.

“Jethro, it was a mistake.  A stupid, drunk mistake.  Didn’t you ever make a drunk mistake?”

Jethro nods.  “Yeah, Tony, I’ve made a ton of mistakes, some drunk and some sober.  I just didn’t think you’d make this mistake.  Did you even tell her that you’re with someone?”

“Yes!  I told her that I’m living with someone, in a relationship, unavailable.”  He rubs his face again.  “In love.  I think it made me more attractive, like I wouldn’t be clingy.  It was a one night mistake, that’s all.  It meant nothing.  It means nothing.”

Jethro snorts.  “I feel like I should call Stephanie and apologize; she’s right, that doesn’t help and it sounds like bullshit.”  They both sit silently until Jethro says, “Neither one of us is gay.  And we haven’t been in exclusive relationships with another man before.  Should have thought about that, or rules for it for the future.” 

“Future?  So we can get past this and have a future?  I swear Jethro, anything you want from me, I’ll do it.”  Tony moves to kneel next to Jethro’s chair; he rests his hand on the arm of the chair, knowing it’s too soon to touch his partner.  Jethro hasn’t looked at him since he’s been in the house and all Tony can think is ‘look at me just look at me.’

Jethro sighs and says, “Right now, Tony, I just want you to leave.” 

“What?”  Jethro had just been talking about the future and now he’s talking about Tony needing to leave?  “Like for the night?”

“Yes.  I just don’t want to see you until tomorrow.  Late tomorrow.  I need you gone.  Go sleep on Abby’s or Tim’s couch,” he says, for the first time looking at Tony.  Tony sees his hurt and disappointment and doesn’t think he could feel any worse.

“Okay, I’ll go to Abby’s.  She’ll ask more questions, but it’ll still be better than Tim.  Okay if I run upstairs for a minute to get…”  Jethro gives him a look that plainly says ‘are you fucking kidding me?’ and Tony stops himself.  “No problem, I’ll just go.”

He walks to the door and sees that Jethro hasn’t moved from the chair, but at least he’s looking at him.  “I am sorry, Jethro.  And we’ll talk tomorrow.  And I love you.”