Will & Patrick: Book One
Patrick Mason travels to Bristol to spend the summer with his brother, Ben. He’s cat sitting for the first two weeks while Ben goes on holiday. But Ben neglected to tell him he wouldn’t be doing it alone. Will Adams—Ben’s mate and Patrick’s long-time crush—is staying in Ben’s guest room while he waits to move into his new house after a breakup.
Against his better judgment, Patrick convinces Will that a little no-strings fun is just what they need. Patrick doesn’t want to get involved with a guy on the rebound, and Will isn’t interested in starting something serious with a student. But Patrick’s never been good at separating sex from feelings, and this time is no exception. As their weeks together draw to a close, they need to decide if they have something worth pursuing or if it’s really just a casual thing.
“Hey,” Patrick answered and put his phone on speaker, smiling as his brother’s voice filled the car.
“I hope you’re using handsfree. Mum’d kill me if I made you crash.”
Patrick rolled his eyes, even though Ben couldn’t see him. “Yes, I’m not stupid.” He indicated and pulled over into the slow lane, though, to be on the safe side. “I’m about twenty minutes from Bristol. Are you finishing work soon?”
Patrick heard the rustle of paper in the background and the sound of a drawer being closed.
“Yeah, I’m just leaving now.” Ben paused and a few shouts of “good-bye” and “enjoy your holiday” sounded before Ben spoke again. “Should be home before you get there. You remember how to get to the flat, don’t you?”
“Yep, M4, M32, and off at J1. I’ve got satnav for the rest of it.”
“Okay, well, call me if you get lost. Otherwise I’ll see you in a few.”
The line went dead, and Patrick grinned. He hadn’t seen his brother since Christmas, and just talking to him made Patrick feel more relaxed. Ben radiated calm. He was probably the most easygoing, laid-back person Patrick knew. Patrick’s roommate, Sean, wasn’t far behind him, which was part of the reason they got on so well, but Ben tended to put a person at ease the moment he entered the room. Patrick could do with a bit of that after the last few weeks.
He only made a couple of wrong turns before he spotted the sign for Ben’s road, and then he turned onto the street and parked outside the building. Ben lived in a two-bedroom flat on a large but nice housing estate just off the motorway—close enough to town so it didn’t cost too much in a taxi, but far enough out to get away from it all.
He had one of the ground-floor flats and already had the door open as Patrick walked down the path toward him. “Bloody hell, look at the state of you.” Ben grabbed the beanie from Patrick’s head and ruffled his hair, grinning. “Good to see you, though.” He pulled Patrick into a hug, almost crushing him in the process.
They had the same coloring—blue eyes and dark brown hair, although Ben’s curled where Patrick’s was straight—but Ben had about two inches on him, and at least a stone and a half in weight. Ben had always been sporty and played anything that involved a ball, whereas Patrick had stuck to running. He had shit coordination—an endless source of amusement to the rest of his family and friends—so he tended to avoid team sports. Patrick enjoyed watching them, though, which was just as well, considering Ben hardly bothered with any other channels except Sky Sports.
“Can’t breathe.” Patrick dug his fingers into Ben’s ribs to make him let go, laughing when Ben flinched in response. “And fuck off. There’s nothing wrong with the way I look.” He gestured to his tight, long-sleeved T-shirt, skinny jeans, and Converse. They fit him well, snug in all the right places.
“I bet you look like every other student. Where’s your sense of originality?”
Patrick gave Ben a light shove and pushed past him into the flat. “Shut up and start fetching my stuff in from the car. I’m dying for a piss.” He turned and chucked his keys to his brother, grinning at the indignant look on his face.
“I’m regretting this already, just so you know. And you better have left most of your crap at Mum and Dad’s. I don’t want a flat full of your boxes.”
By the time Patrick finished in the toilet, Ben had grabbed the two bags and was coming into the lounge. “Is this all you brought? Not much for the whole summer.”
“There’s a few more bits in the car, but I’m only here for a couple of months, and it’s not like I can’t wash stuff.”
Ben raised an eyebrow. “I see living with Sean all these years has done some good after all.”
“Ugh,” Patrick groaned. He wasn’t that bad. “He’s my roommate, not my mum. He doesn’t make me do chores you know.” Sean was also his best friend, and three years of living together at university had made Patrick more self-sufficient, but he wasn’t about to admit it. “Anyway,” he said, walking down the hall as he spoke. “I’m assuming you’ve cleared out all your shit from the spare room?” Patrick looked back over his shoulder as he opened the door. Ben usually shoved anything he didn’t use in there until he either gave it to charity or took it down to the rubbish tip.
“Yeah, um… about that….” Ben let the sentence hang there as Patrick opened the door to the spare room and stopped in his tracks.
Okay, so it wasn’t full of Ben’s stuff, but it wasn’t empty either. The bed looked recently slept in, the quilt pulled up sort of straight but the pillows at odd angles, as though it had been made in a hurry. A couple of shirts hung on the wardrobe door, and the desk had a laptop on it and some toiletries that definitely belonged to a guy.
Ben appeared behind him, scratching at the back of his neck, but not looking particularly bothered. Patrick waved a hand around the room and raised his eyebrow. “I guess I’m not staying in here, then?”
“Sorry, it only happened a couple of weeks ago, and I forgot all about it. But he’s only here for another two weeks, so you can sleep in my room while I’m away.” Ben gestured to the door opposite and picked up Patrick’s bags again. “I’m off in the morning, so you only have to sleep on the sofa for one night.”
Patrick followed him, trying not to feel disappointed at not having the place to himself. He collapsed on Ben’s bed, making sure to hang his shoes over the edge. “So, who is it, then? Do I know him?” He narrowed his eyes, watching as Ben dropped both bags in front of the wardrobe and turned to face him. “It better not be someone old and boring who’s going to judge everything I do. Christ.” He threw his arm over his face and let out a put-upon sigh. “I might as well have stayed at home.”
“He’s not old. He’s a year older than me.”
“Shut the fuck up, or I will send you back home.” The bed dipped as Ben sat down. “And yes, you know him. He’s a good guy—I wouldn’t leave my little brother alone for two weeks with someone I didn’t trust completely.”
Patrick sat up and leaned on his elbows, taking in the slightly shifty expression on his brother’s face. Nothing normally fazed Ben, and he’d said that Patrick knew the guy and that Ben trusted him, so Patrick didn’t see what the problem could be. He liked to think he was pretty easy to get along with. He maybe had a lot of energy, which irritated some people, but he tried to tone it down with anyone other than close friends or family. Ben’s mates all knew him pretty well anyway—Patrick usually came down to Bristol for at least a few days every time he had a break from uni.
“Well, I’m assuming it’s one of your friends, and honestly, Ben, they’re a great bunch of lads, so I don’t get why you’re being weird.”
“I’m not being weird.”
Patrick gave him his best “yeah right” look and sat up a bit. “Seriously, I won’t have a problem sharing with any of them,” he said, nudging Ben with his shoulder. “Well, except Will maybe, but that’s only because—”
Patrick stopped, the words dying on his tongue as he noticed Ben wince.
“No.” He jumped off the bed, fisting his hands in his hair. “No fucking way. Ben, please tell me you’re not leaving me alone for two weeks with the guy I have a huge unrequited, and frankly, embarrassing, crush on?”
Ben shrugged. “He needed somewhere to stay. I’d sort of forgotten you had the hots for him.”
“How could you forget?” Patrick paced in front of the bed. “The last time I was here, I tried to climb into his lap and told him how hot he was. In front of his boyfriend.”
“Oh yeah.” Ben grinned, and Patrick stopped his pacing to punch him on the arm.
“It’s not funny.”
“It was hilarious.” Ben ducked out of the way when Patrick tried to punch him again. “Look, you were drunk. We all were. He doesn’t hold it against you.”
“But he won’t have forgotten.” The whole thing still made Patrick cringe every time he thought about it. He may have been drunk, but sadly not drunk enough to wipe the horrifying experience from his brain.
“Sit down. I think you might be overreacting just a tad.” Ben even used his finger and thumb to demonstrate how much he thought Patrick was overreacting before grabbing Patrick’s arm and yanking him back down onto the bed.
Patrick sighed. Fine. Maybe he was being overly dramatic, but come on. This was Will. Tall, dark, and handsome, and as easygoing as Ben. He oozed charm and made you want to curl up with him somewhere warm and never ever move. Well, that last part could just be Patrick.
He was going to make such an arse of himself. He flopped onto the bed and covered his face. “I hate you. You are the worst brother ever.”
Ben laughed as he tugged on Patrick’s hand until he was forced to sit up. “Don’t be such a drama queen, and come and help me get the rest of your things.” He slung an arm around Patrick’s shoulders and gave him a squeeze. “It’ll be fine. Will knows you’re coming. I told him this morning. He’s looking forward to seeing you again.”
“Yeah, I’m sure.”
It didn’t take long for them to get the last of Patrick’s stuff in from his car and dump it into Ben’s bedroom. Patrick made them mugs of tea, and Ben grabbed a packet of chocolate digestives from a bag their mum had sent down.
“Why does Will need to stay with you, then?” Patrick asked, hissing a little when Cleo, Ben’s cat, dug her claws into his thigh. He carefully extracted them and ran his hand down her back, the black fur soft under his fingers. “I thought he was happily shacked up with what’s-his-name?”
It appeared to be Ben’s turn to roll his eyes this time. “Darren. You’ve met him loads of times.”
“Whatever. So why isn’t Darren here too, then?” A sudden thought occurred to him—the spare room had a double bed—but fuck no, Ben would never do that to him. “Please tell me he’s not going to be staying here as well?”
“Jesus, what do you take me for? Of course not.” Ben shook his head as he reached for his mug. “They split up, and the lease on the flat is up, so Will has bought a place round the corner. But it won’t be ready for another two weeks.”
“Which bit didn’t you understand?” The smirk on Ben’s face told Patrick he knew exactly what Patrick was referring to. “Oh, didn’t I mention that Will and Darren were no longer together?”
Patrick shook his head, words eluding him as he began to view the next two weeks in a whole new light.
“Sorry.” Ben dipped a biscuit in his tea, not looking remotely sorry, as he settled back into his chair.
Before Patrick had a chance to reply, the sound of a key in Ben’s front door had them both turning toward the lounge entrance. The door wasn’t closed all the way, and they could hear Will rustling about in the small hallway, but couldn’t see him yet. Patrick felt his heart rate ramp up and his cheeks heat, which was absolutely ridiculous—he was twenty-two, not sixteen. His leg began to bounce a little, and Ben sat up to put his hand on Patrick’s knee to stop it, only removing it when Patrick slapped it away and glared at him.
“Hey.” Will smiled as he stepped into the lounge, eyes brightening a little as his gaze landed on Patrick. “You made it, then.”
Patrick managed to smile back and squeak out a “yes,” before quickly taking a drink of his tea to occupy his mouth. He clearly couldn’t be trusted to speak right now.
“It’s good to see you, again.” Will strolled into the kitchen and flicked on the kettle. The open-plan layout of the flat meant Patrick had a great view, and he took the opportunity to look his fill. Will ran a hand through his hair—shorter at the sides and back than Patrick remembered—shaking some water out of it. “Got caught in the bloody rain as I left.” He looked back over his shoulder. “Anyone need a top up?” he added, turning around to face them.
Ben lifted his mug up a bit. “No, mate, we’re good.”
“Okay, then,” he said walking over to them. He was all broad shoulders and stubble, dark eyes and warmth, and fuck it all, Patrick was in such deep shit. “I’m just going to go and get changed while the kettle boils.” He met Patrick’s gaze and smiled again before heading off to his bedroom.
“Oi,” Ben whispered and poked him with his toes. “Close your mouth. I don’t want any drool on my cushions.”
“Oh piss off. This is all your fault.”
Ben leaned forward a little and motioned for Patrick to do the same. Patrick barely resisted rolling his eyes, because it wasn’t like Will would hear them. He had his bedroom door shut, and they weren’t exactly shouting, but he shuffled along the sofa and leaned forward anyway. “What?”
“Look, I wanted to say….” He paused, and Patrick felt a flare of excitement about what Ben could possibly want to tell him. Maybe he had some inside tips about how to get into Will’s pants and—yeah, just no. That was wrong on so many levels.
Ben grinned and sat back in the chair. “Don’t have sex in my bed.”
Patrick looked at him, wrinkling his nose. “What?I’ve just bloody got here. It’s not like I’ve got someone lined up for the minute you leave.”
The door to the guest bedroom started to open, and Ben nodded toward it. “I’m just saying, do it in Will’s bed and not mine.”
Patrick almost choked on his tea, making Ben laugh as the door opened and Will walked back out. His brother could be such a dick sometimes. How had he forgotten this? Patrick’s cheeks were on fire; he felt the heat seeping down toward his neck, and—fuck it—he was going to have sex all over his brother’s room if it killed him.
“What’s so funny?” Will asked, straightening out his unfairly fitted T-shirt.
Patrick shot Ben a warning glance, hoping Ben wouldn’t embarrass him any more. Ben winked at him and gave a tiny shake of his head, making Patrick relax enough to finish his tea.
“I was telling Patrick that he’s on litter tray duty while I’m gone.”
Will eyed the cat now sprawled on her back beside Patrick. “Oh thank fuck for that.” Cleo opened one eye, as though she knew they were talking about her, and fixed him with a glare. “Your cat hates me. There’s no way I was gonna clean up her shit.”
Patrick idly stroked along Cleo’s belly, smiling as she began to purr. “Yeah right,” Patrick muttered, watching the way she stretched out her paws. “I don’t believe that for a minute. Everyone loves you.” He didn’t realize what he’d said until Ben coughed, and Will leaned over to ruffle Patrick’s hair.
“Thanks, mate. See, Ben. Even your own brother prefers me.” Will thankfully moved away toward the kitchen, leaving Patrick to try and sink into the sofa and out of sight.
“Um… that’s not what I said. I just meant… you know….” Patrick gestured down at the cat, not that Will could see him, he had his head in the fridge, probably searching for milk. “I can’t imagine someone hating you.” God, he needed to shut up.
Ben kicked him in the shin to get his attention, mouthing, “Smooth,” and trying not to laugh.
Will glanced over at him then, milk in one hand as he shut the fridge. He smiled and winked, and fuck, Patrick would need to leave the room soon. “Thanks. I think Cleo is the exception.”
True to form, when Will came over to sit down, she hissed at him and disappeared under the dining room table. Patrick watched her go, unable to keep the grin off his face. “Wow, she really does hate you.” He laughed and felt some of the tension drain away as Ben began to rib Will about cats having excellent taste. The two of them bantered back and forth, Patrick joining in as he began to feel more comfortable and less like a love-struck teen. Maybe these next two weeks wouldn’t be that bad after all.
They were definitely going to be that bad.
As soon as they’d finished eating one of the huge frozen lasagnas courtesy of Patrick’s mum, Ben yawned and stood up. “Right, I’m off to bed. Got to pack a few bits first and then be up too fucking early.” He grabbed his plate and took it into the kitchen before coming to stand behind the sofa. “You still all right to give me a lift to the airport?” He clapped a hand on Patrick’s shoulder as he met his gaze.
Patrick rested his head back on the cushions and nodded. “Yeah, ’course. What time do you need to leave?”
“Flight leaves at six forty-five, so I said I’d meet the others a couple of hours before. Leave about four?”
“That is way too fucking early.” Patrick yawned at the thought of it. “But, yeah, that’s fine. Give me a prod in the morning, make sure I’m up in time to have a cuppa first.”
Ben smiled and gave him a gentle shove. “It’ll be my pleasure to wake you up.”
“Yeah, whatever. Go to bed.”
Ben ruffled Patrick’s hair as he left, making sure to leave it as messy as he could and laughing as Patrick told him to fuck off. He’d have to get it cut if people kept messing with it. Fuckers. Patrick was still smiling as Ben closed his bedroom door, but then it dawned on him that he and Will were now alone, and suddenly Patrick couldn’t think of anything to say. All the relaxed feelings of a few minutes ago disappeared, and Patrick felt the tension begin to seep back into the room. He hoped to God he was the only one who could feel it.
Will usually had no trouble putting everyone at ease, and Patrick needed him to hold up most of the conversation until he could get rid of his stupid nervousness. He had no business being like this. It wasn’t as though he didn’t know Will. Despite Patrick’s long-standing crush, he’d never had any trouble getting along with Will before. They always had a laugh, and Patrick liked talking to him.
But Will had never been single before. There’d never been the slightest chance that anything could happen between them—not that it would now; Patrick wasn’t stupid. There were far too many reasons, not least of all, he was almost positive Will didn’t see him like that—Patrick would probably always be Ben’s younger brother to Will. But now, in the back of Patrick’s mind, he couldn’t help but think there was no boyfriend standing in his way. It made him uneasy, and from the look on Will’s face, Will could tell.
After a few minutes of uncomfortable silence, Will sat forward, rested his forearms on his thighs, and clasped his hands. Patrick waited expectantly, hoping like fuck Will wasn’t about to give him “the talk.” He didn’t think he’d been that obvious.
“I’m sorry about taking your room,” Will said finally, and it was the last thing Patrick had been expecting, so he frowned.
“I know Ben forgot to tell you I’d be here, so I imagine you weren’t expecting to end up on the sofa.”
“Yeah, but that’s only for one night.” Shit. Will looked guilty. Patrick knew he’d been acting a little off, and Will obviously thought it was because Patrick was pissed off at him. “I’m not bothered, honest.”
Will looked pointedly at Ben’s sofa, which probably wasn’t going to be all that comfortable to sleep on, now that Patrick thought about it.
“Point taken.” Patrick laughed and forced himself to shake off his weird feelings. He might not get to spend the next fourteen days in Will’s bed—which would be the ideal scenario—but they could definitely have a good time. Patrick refused to feel awkward for the whole two weeks. “Ben’s sofa sucks to sleep on, but like I said, it’s only for one night. I’m not bothered about you having the guest room. I mean, have you seen the bed in Ben’s room? It’s fucking huge.”
Will smirked, and Patrick mentally kicked himself for talking about anything bed-related with Will. His mind was likely to go to places it really shouldn’t if he didn’t want to embarrass himself. “Anyway,” he forged ahead, ignoring the way he felt a little hot all over. “What I mean is that I don’t mind you being here. To be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to being here on my own anyway.” That may have been a barefaced lie before, but things change. “It’ll be nice to have some company.”
“Thanks.” Will’s smile was soft and genuine this time, and Patrick immediately returned it. “The last few months have been a bit shit, and I didn’t want to spend four weeks in a B and B.” He stood and stretched, and Patrick tried not to look at the strip of skin exposed where Will’s T-shirt rode up. He also tried to ignore the dark hair peeking over the top of Will’s pajama bottoms, but he failed. Miserably. “I think I’ll turn in too. Night.” He squeezed Patrick’s shoulder as he walked past.
“Night.” Patrick sank back into the sofa cushions with a groan, a warm feeling settling deep in his belly.
He was so totally fucked.
Patrick goes to cat sit for his brother and when he get there Ben drops a bomb; he has a house guest, and not just any house guest, the guy Patrick has a huge crush on, the guy he thought was still taken: Will. How in the heck is he supposed to stay with Will even a few weeks until Will's house is ready without throwing himself at him?
Will hasn't been long out of a relationship, and he knows that even a casual sex understanding is a risky move, but can he resist, and if he doesn't will it end up hurting Patrick, and what will his best friend, who happens to be Patrick's brother think?
Can these two just have a no strings fling? It just may become tricky if feelings get in the way, but will one run to the challenge while the other runs away? This book is more of the same awesomeness I have come to expect from Annabelle Jacobs, grab it friends, you will love it! Thanks Annabelle, for giving us a great story that will go on many re-read lists I know!
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