Pete groaned as Gabe’s long, bony fingers worked into the tender spot under his shoulder blade, wincing at the pressure. It hurt, but he wasn’t feeling any real… release.
Now Gabe gave a frustrated growl. “Dude, this isn’t helping. That knot is fuckin’ monstrous. All I’m doing is giving you a bruise.” He stopped and laced his fingers, cracking his knuckles mightily and sighing in relief. There was a pronounced red spot on Pete’s back where he’d been digging in, and the sad part was that knot wasn’t even the worst of it.
Pete had been a massive ball of stress since Ashlee had left him six months ago. He’d gone from sleeping three hours a night to one if he was lucky, he’d dropped about ten pounds he didn’t really have to lose, and his muscles had tied themselves into configurations that would have made Jack Sparrow scratch his head in confusion. Gabe was trying to be supportive and be a good friend to his erstwhile bestie, but Erin was starting to get annoyed that her husband was being more of a husband to Pete than to her.
When Pete only responded with a grunt and a twist of his neck, Gabe stood and kicked his leg cleanly over his much smaller friend’s cranium. Pete sighed, put his t-shirt back over his head, and slid it down his lean torso.
“Look, I gotta go,” Gabe said apologetically. “Erin’s gonna think I switched teams on her.”
Pete forced a smile that didn’t reach his eyes. “You’re not my type. Too gangly, man.”
The taller man gave a sympathetic smile. “You should enlist a professional, amigo.”
“I have a therapist,” Pete said, his expression quizzical. “Unless you mean… like, a professional-professional?” He hunched forward meaningfully as he said this last.
Gabe rolled his eyes. “I mean a massage therapist, man. Get someone who knows what they’re doing. Stop trying to con your straight best friend into copping a feel. You feel me?”
Now Pete finally gave a real laugh. “Yeah, I feel you, Saporta. I’ll take it under advisement.”
“Point of fact, I know someone who can help you.” Gabe looked at the sad specimen still sitting on his living room floor. “Totally your type, too.”
“Lemme think about that, man,” Pete mumbled as he dropped his gaze to the rug. “I don’t know about…” He sighed.
“Dude, this is completely on the up-and-up. Professional massage, at a real spa-type-place, totally legit. Swear.” He held up three fingers.
“You were never a Boy Scout,” Pete retorted with a chuckle. “OK, OK, I’ll go. And not because of her being ‘my type’ or whatever, either. This is strictly professional. I need to be able to put my shoulders back down sometime before I die.”
Gabe laughed, and promised to get Pete an appointment.