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Jack is four pages into a quarterly budget report when he realizes he hasn’t retained a single number, and he tosses it back onto his desk in disgust. He drums his fingers on the chair arm and glares at the empty doorway to his study. Angel’s back at school, wrapping up the last quarter of her undergraduate career. The house is empty; it’s just never felt as echoingly empty as it does now. Which is ridiculous.

Jack pulls off his glasses and leans back in his chair, rubbing his eyes. This is becoming a problem.

And look - it’s not that Rhys hadn’t been fun. He’d been a hell of a lot of fun, actually; the way he came apart so easily for Jack, like he couldn’t help himself. A pretty young thing like him who couldn’t keep his hands off of Jack, well, that would stroke any man’s ego, right? Not Jack’s fault what had happened.

(Okay - maybe a little bit Jack's fault.)

Because the truth is that Jack is just about as bad at walking away as Rhys is, apparently. He hasn’t quite been able to forget the kid, despite what passes for his better judgement. It’s not anything so sappy as being lovesick - Jack knows better - but despite the fact that Jack can count on one hand the number of times they’ve met, Rhys seems to have taken up permanent residence in the back of Jack’s brain. It’s like an itch just out of reach, an urge left unsatisfied.

(And Rhys had been pretty goddamn satisfying -)

Jack kicks his feet up on the desk and leans back, staring unseeing at the ceiling, and in the absence of other distractions the two facts he’s been trying to avoid all day float to the surface again.

One: Angel’s moving across the country. Jack doesn’t understand half of what she’d tried to tell him about the job offer L&M, inc. had made her - he’s a businessman, not an economist, and Angel will be the first to tell him they’re not the same - but his baby girl is ecstatic at the opportunity to work for one of the country’s largest consulting firms, and as much as he’ll miss her he can’t help but be happy for her.

Two: Rhys can’t seem to help himself around Jack, and it’s not hero worship - or not just that. Rhys hadn’t even known who Jack was , the first time. But he had gotten on his knees so easily for Jack, like he wanted it - like he needed it - and he’d fallen apart at Jack’s touch every time since.

Jack’s been around the block a few times, and the word for what Rhys is around Jack is submissive .

Jack doesn’t know what Rhys’ plans are for the future - for all he knows, the kid had taken Jack’s lie about leaving the country to heart and had moved on. But if he hasn’t ....

The kid will figure it out about himself, eventually. But maybe Jack him along.