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The Secret I Live With

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Wednesday 5th of December, 2018

Detroit, Michigan, USA

7:13 am

Gavin regretted opening his eyes immediately. 

His head pounded as he glanced over to his right, seeing Alex, his boyfriend, sound asleep with his head buried into the pillow, his hands gripping the pillow. Gavin’s eyes were drawn to the redness of his knuckles, breath shaking at the memory of last night. He turned his head away again to stare up at the ceiling, briefly closing his eyes before deciding that he was going to go in, despite it being his day off.

The shower was a relief. Hot water washing over his bruised skin, washing away the ache that had settled into his bones, quieting the thumping in his head. But he didn’t allow himself the luxury of shitty water pressure for too long, afraid if he stayed in any longer, he would never get out.

A shitty white towel around his waist and he was golden, heading into the bedroom to pick a pair of jeans up off the floor along with a blue v-neck shirt, heading into the sitting room, throwing the clothes onto the arm of the couch. The washing basket was on the table, filled with Gavin’s previous load of washing he had been instructed to do last night at 1:00 am in the fucking morning. He reached in, finding a pair of boxers and pulling them on, using the towel to dry himself off until he was no longer dripping wet. 

Getting dressed hurt. Every movement hurts, pulling on his jeans hurt, buttoning them hurt, sliding his belt on fucking hurt as did doing it up. The ride to work was hell, lacking a cup of coffee since he’d just wanted to get the fuck out of the house before Alex woke. He’d left a note, saying that Fowler had called him in. Which was bullshit. A fucking lie so he didn’t have to spend the day with Alex, watching football and walking on eggshells. 

His first cigarette of the morning was smoked on the way there, the window down and radio on, playing some gentle rock music from when he was a teenager. 

He didn’t even go to his desk, instead making a beeline for the coffee machine in the break room, immediately making a mug of coffee, black, not having the effort to get the creamer or the sugar, instead just taking the mug to his desk. 

Buzz. Buzz. 

Gavin grunted as he slid his phone out of his pocket, seeing that he had two texts from Alex. Like always, he sounded pissed.

[TXT received from Alex: where are u?] 

[TXT received from Alex: its ur day off.] 

He winced at the words, knowing his boyfriend hadn’t gotten out of bed yet, and probably wouldn’t until 2 pm. He decided to send a quick text to get him off his back. 

[TXT to Alex: srry babe, Fowler txted this morning, a load of paperwork piling up on my desk, asked me to come in. left a note on the fridge] 

After not getting a text for a whole minute, Gavin assumed that Alex had just fallen back asleep and put his phone on the desk, beginning to work on some of the paperwork from the cases he’d solved. He worked through until lunch without realising. It was when the office suddenly emptied that he looked up, seeing people walk out. Lunch.

Of course, lunch. 

Deciding to take a smoke break, he picked up his cigarettes and headed downstairs, into the street where he leaned against the wall, slipping one out and then lighting it up, taking a long-needed drag. 

“Slacking as always, I see.”

Fuck. 

The detective tensed at the voice, recognising it immediately, his whole body giving a warning thud of pain to remind him to watch his mouth. Turning around, he saw Alex standing there with a clear plastic lunchbox, forcing a smile.

“Alex. What are you doing here?”

“I’m not allowed to bring my boyfriend lunch?” 

Of course, Gavin had been pushed to take him up to see his desk, muttering to the security that it was fine for him to come through, Alex coming into the bullpen and looking around before seeing the desk covered in case files and a nameplate on the edge. ‘Det. Reed’ engraved into the metal. 

“Is that your desk?” He asked and for a second Gavin wondered if he was being thick on purpose. He refused to snap, refusing to give him the satisfaction of having a valid reason to be pissed at him. Instead, he forced a smile, nodding and shuffling some folders around to make room for the lunchbox. 

They’d gotten to the break room before they were stopped, by Fowler of all fucking people and Gavin knew where this was going before his boss had even opened his fucking mouth. Pleasantries were exchanged, introductions made before Gavin’s world came tumbling down. 

“It was nice of Detective Reed to come in on his day off, good to see him taking some initiative, right, Alex?” Fowler joked, looking at Gavin’s boyfriend, who smiled politely and snaked an arm around Gavin’s waist, grip just a little too hard on his hip, fingertips pressing into the bruises that were there from last night, and the weekend before that and many previous times before that. 

“He can be smart when he wants to be,” Alex said, almost sounding sincere. 

Almost. 

It was a long half an hour of Alex and Tina chatting away while Gavin stared mindlessly into his black coffee. Finally, Alex checked the time and smiled widely.

“Well, I should get going and let my little detective get on with his work.” Gavin looked up, giving a hum at the sentence, standing up straight, ignoring the way his body protested the movement. Alex leaned over, pressing a kiss to Gavin’s cheek and sliding his arms around his waist, now directing their lips together. Since they were in public and how the hell could he refuse? 

When he got back to his desk, he went to take his phone out of his pocket before he sat down before realising that his phone was gone. 

Gone. Alex. 

His heart thumped in his chest and he slumped back into his chair, staring at the black computer screen that was in front of him. 

The rest of the day went by way too fast in his liking, not being very productive, so he gathered up a couple of files when 5:30 pm rolled around so he could take them home with him, giving him something to do while Alex was watching the game. That was Gavin’s plan. His plan that he knew wasn’t going to happen. 

He took the long way home, arriving back at 6:15 pm, getting out and taking the files from the back seat. Heading towards the apartment complex, he punched the code in as well as he could while still holding the box of files, which was also pressing painfully against his ribs. He took the stairs instead of the lift, not entirely eager to get into the apartment. 

The walk wasn’t long enough. Soon enough, he was outside the apartment, using his knee to balance the box on so he could push down the handle, nudging the door with his foot, letting himself in and then closing the door behind him with his foot, going into the kitchen, putting the box on the table and glancing into the sitting room to see Alex sitting on the couch with a beer.

Thump. 

Gavin’s heart was thumping in his ears, loud as hell. Clearing his throat, he noticed Alex hadn’t even looked around.

He swallowed. 

“Hey, babe. How’s your day been?”

Silence. 

“… So what did you want for dinner? I was thinking we could order in, maybe get Chinese food from that place you like downtown or the pizza place? Or I could run out and get some food for us if you wanted, maybe we could even go out, it’s been a while since we went on a date, maybe-“ 

“Gavin,” Alex says sharply, Gavin falling immediately into silence with another swallow, trying to get rid of the lump that had appeared in his throat. He heard shifting and then he saw Alex approaching him, beer bottle hanging from one hand. His chest was tight, backing away a little until his lower back hit the counter, hands resting on the edge as Alex moved towards him, only stopping when he was close enough for Gavin to smell his breath. His stomach turned at the smell of cigarette smoke and the cheap beer Alex consumed.

“Listen, about what happened-,” he started. 

Slap. 

Gavin’s head turned to the side with the force of the face, gasping as he pushed his tongue into his cheek, trying to relieve the sting as he turned his head back so he was facing Alex, looking him in the eye. That flicker of defiance in him that refused to let him look down. He inhaled, opening his mouth to talk again, only to feel the same bloom of pain across the same cheek.

“You gonna fucking lie to me now?”

“I didn’t lie abo-“

Slap. 

He hissed through his teeth this time, hand reaching up to gently press at the stinging skin, letting out a shaky breath. Gavin clenched his jaw, licking his lower lip only to taste blood, looking back at Alex as he brought his hand up to swipe at the split, feeling it throb, the pad of his thumb coming away bloody. Alex’s hand moved to his pocket and Gavin barely suppressed the flinch that rocked his body, clearing his throat when he saw his phone in that fucking worn down Metallica case, mentally cursing himself for giving Alex his password two weeks ago. Not that he had much of a choice. 

The brightness hurt his eyes as he was shown the screen, his texts with Fowler on display, nothing about asking Gavin to come in. Gavin’s gaze finally went to the floor, not even bothering to attempt to explain himself. He had no excuses, he’d fucking lied. 

The night was the worst in a while, even the cat deciding he doesn’t want to stick around, taking his leave through the open window and on to the fire escape. It was a show he’d seen plenty of times before. By 8 pm, Gavin was on the floor, his back against the wall as his ribs were kicked viciously. Alex had been going for over an hour now, taking small breaks in between to pace and drink a little more. Which allowed Gavin a little time to recover but not enough, panting as he attempted to shift into a comfier position, trying to control his ragged breathing. 10 minutes of Alex wondering around, drinking and muttering under his breath about how much of a brat Gavin was, how he was going to teach his fucking brat a lesson, hand resting dangerously on his belt as he paced around but when he attempted to take it off, the buckle got stuck. The inconvenience frustrated him a little more, earning Gavin a couple more minutes of pain before Alex grabbed his jacket and stormed out of the apartment, making sure to slam the door behind him. 

Gavin was tense for a while, listening to the sound of Alex’s feet jogging down the stairs until he couldn’t hear them anymore. 

The apartment was silent apart from his own heavy breathing. 

30 minutes he lay on the fucking floor, staring at the nicotine-stained ceiling, trembling breaths causing him pain all over.

He grunted loudly as he forced himself to shift slightly, reaching out for the phone that had been dropped near the couch, picking it up and hitting the first number on speed dial, which was his emergency contact, the only family he had. 

Mr-fucking-Elijah Kamski.