Hard to Let Go

By: Jaclyn Quinn

A Haven's Cove Novel

“Son of a bitch! Stupid, fucking box!” Owen hopped on one foot, grabbing his throbbing toe and cursing the box of pots and pans sitting on the hallway floor that he’d just walked into. Limping, mumbling a stream of curses under his breath, he made his way to their makeshift kitchenette in the living room. The damn thing consisted of only a microwave, coffee maker, and paper products on a card table in the corner of the room, with a mini fridge underneath―and it was all they’d been using as a kitchen for the past three fucking months. Why had he ever agreed to this renovation?

“What’s wrong? What happened?” Jonah came out of their bedroom and stumbled down the stairs, his voice groggy and barely heard in his half-asleep state.

Owen squeezed the back of his neck and took a deep breath, swallowing his anger as best he could.

“I can’t live like this anymore, that’s what’s fucking wrong.” So much for swallowing that anger. Those words ran deeper than either of them wanted to admit at this early hour. Most of the town wasn’t even awake yet, and here Owen was, already showered and ready for the day. It was only four in the morning, and looking at Jonah, Owen started to feel guilty for waking him with his temper tantrum. “Sorry, I walked into that fucking box,” he said, waving his arm at the thing. “I didn’t mean to wake you.” He sighed, closing his eyes as he took another deep breath.

Owen looked up at Jonah across the room with his blond, short hair a mess, boxer briefs and tank top clinging to his muscular body, those blue eyes―and wondered what the fuck had happened to them. They were living as roommates, not lovers. He wished like hell he still felt something stronger than that.

Jonah had been in Owen’s life for over three years and had changed him for the better, helping him through some pretty deep shit. They were both living in New York when they’d met. Owen had gone to a party an old friend from college was throwing—instead of ditching at the last minute like he usually did—when he inadvertently met the man that would work him out of his standoffish attitude. Well, for the most part anyway. It didn’t take long for their friendship to turn into something more. Jonah was determined to break through Owen’s wall of protection that no one else bothered to try and demolish. And he’d done something no one else had managed—help Owen trust someone, wholeheartedly. He was one of the most important people to Owen, but the passion had taken an indefinite leave of absence. Somewhere along the way, they’d just gotten comfortable with each other, which of course you needed in any good relationship.

It wasn’t supposed to be all there was.

Fuck, Owen could remember a time when one look from Jonah had his cock so hard, pants were a daily inconvenience. Now, neither one of them even bothered to make it interesting. It wasn’t that he didn’t love Jonah, because he did. In love though? If he was being honest, he hadn’t been for a long time, and no doubt Jonah wasn’t in love with him anymore either. Yet, they stayed. They stayed because it was comfortable. They stayed because it was safe.

They stayed out of gratitude.

But it was too damn early to try and figure all that shit out, so Owen brought his thoughts back to the immediate problem. “Jonah, will you please just admit this is too much for us to take on? I need my fucking kitchen back and every other goddamn corner of this house that’s been taken over with boxes. I don’t know how you convinced me this was something you could handle while working and taking classes.” Owen picked up the gallon of water and poured some into the coffee machine. He couldn’t stomach the idea of filling the coffee pot in the bathroom sink.

Jonah scrubbed a hand over his face then through his short blond hair. Again, that guilt slammed into Owen, reminding him that this was not an argument to have at four in the morning. He knew once he calmed down though, he’d let it go just like he always did.

“Okay, you’re right. I’m in over my head.” Jonah yawned, his shoulders rounded as he leaned against the back of the couch, clearly fighting the urge to go back to bed. “I really thought I could do it and save us some money, but I’ve just been so burnt out with work and class.”