You’d think that Sheriff John Decker would finally get tired of answering the domestic dispute calls at Tate and Henry’s farmhouse but it seems the only thing that Deck’s tired of is that Tate is in Henry’s bed instead of his own. He’s not happy that Henry keeps using Tate as a punching bag and seeing Tate battered and bruised proves to be more than Deck is willing to handle. Coming out is never easy, but for this Sheriff, it could mean saving more than just Tate.
Deck had been in the next town over for a meeting so he decided to make a surprise check on Tate and Henry. When Tate opened the door, Deck couldn’t contain his reaction to what he saw. “That son of a bitch!”
“I’m okay Deck. I just fell down the stairs.”
Tate’s excuses angered Deck. “Tate.” He wanted to touch Tate so badly but kept tight control of his hands as he walked into the house. “Tate. Why do you let him do this to you?”
“I told you Deck. I love him.”
“Love like this is suicide. Damn it Tate! He’s going to kill you.” Deck stomped around the living room.
“I’ll be fine. Deck, you shouldn’t be here.” The cautious way Tate leaned on the door with one hand stopped Deck in his tracks. The creases in his forehead and taught muscles in his neck bore the truth. Tate was in pain both mentally and physically.
“The hell I shouldn’t!” Deck stalked back to Tate. “I can’t stand by and watch while you let him do this to you.”
“Deck,” The tension in the air was palpable as Tate reached out and pressed his hand to Deck’s cheek. “I’m okay Deck. You need to get back into town. You need to stay away before the whole town learns your secret.”
“Fuck my secret.” Deck put his hand on top of Tate’s. “I should have come out all those years ago.”
“No, you weren’t ready.” They had been down this road before. High school, so long ago yet the memories were flooding back. “You’re still not ready.”
“Yes I am.” Deck toed the door closed and pulled Tate to him. The kiss was deep, probing and brought with it a sense of relief. This had been the only thing on Deck’s mind for the last four years. From that first moment, he’d dreamed on nothing else. All those feelings he’d pushed away in high school came flooding to the surface the day Tate returned home.
The kiss deepened as they fumbled up the stairs; a tangle of arms and legs trying to remove clothing while climbing the stairs. Tate’s t-shirt landed on the banister followed by Deck’s jacket half way up the staircase. Inside the bedroom, Deck’s holster hit the floor next to the bed with a clunk. The sound brought with it the realization of their actions. It hit like a ton of bricks the moment their bodies tangled on the bed. Deck stood up and crossed the room while Tate sat on the edge of the bed.
“We can’t do this,” Deck growled through clinched teeth. He spun around and looked at Tate. “Dammit all! I mean I want to do this.”
“I want to do this too.” Tate dropped his head into his hands. “But I’m in a relationship.”
Deck knelt before Tate. He cupped the other man’s face lifting Tate’s chin. “I love you. I always have. I can’t stand to see you hurt like this.”
“I love you, too, but I love Henry as well.” His whisper was almost indiscernible.
“The bastard can’t go on hurting you like this.” Deck kissed Tate’s brow gently where the bandage covered fresh cuts. “I’ll kill him.”
“Deck, we can’t do this.” Deck could feel him pulling away and gently rubbed his back easing his touch even more when Tate flinched at the touch on a particularly angry looking bruise.
“Tate, it can’t continue.” Deck paced the room with his hands on his hips. “I don’t want to see you hurt anymore.”