Just a Bit

By: Alessandra Hazard

“Hannah is my girlfriend,” Ryan said. Jamie was still studying his phone with great interest.

Ryan ground his teeth. “You’re my best friend. And I bloody miss my best friend.”

Jamie went very still before slowly looking up. He swallowed, looking incredibly guilty. “Ryan, I—”

“I don’t want explanations,” Ryan said. “I just want my best mate back.”

Jamie’s jaw worked, something torn about his expression. At last, he spoke, his voice very practiced and even. “It’s natural that people grow apart as they grow up and find significant others.”

He chuckled. “Everyone always makes fun of our friendship because we live in each other ’s pockets


“I don’t give a fuck what people say,” Ryan said. “I want a good cuddle after this sucky day.” He smiled at the unintentional rhyme and opened his arms. “Come here, Jamie bear.”

Rolling his eyes but grinning, Jamie walked over and all but flopped on top of Ryan. “You’re still such a big baby,” Jamie said, resting his cheek against Ryan’s shoulder. “If your brothers knew you still use me as your teddy bear when you have a shitty day, they’d never let you live it down.”

“You would never tell them,” Ryan said, wrapping his arms around Jamie tightly and closing his eyes as the tension that had been gathering in his body over the last month somehow ebbed gently away from him. “You’d never tell them, because I’m your favorite person in the world.”

Jamie just sighed, burrowing his face into his neck. He didn’t say anything. But he didn’t deny it, either.

“Don’t do it again,” Ryan said, opening his eyes and putting a hand on Jamie’s nape. “Okay?”

Jamie didn’t look up, his fingers playing with the buttons of Ryan’s black shirt idly. “I thought you didn’t have time for me anymore now that you have Hannah.”

“What?” Frowning, Ryan pressed a thumb to Jamie’s chin and tipped his face up gently. “Don’t be stupid.” He loved Hannah: her smile, her flawless pale skin, her soft blond locks and soft body. He was pretty sure she was it for him. But she couldn’t replace his best friend. This past month had been fucking strange. Ryan had never felt so at loose ends: the need to see Jamie, to bask in the warmth of his smile was always at the back of his mind. Ryan didn’t give a shit how unmanly it sounded, but he loved Jamie. Loved him more than any of his actual brothers—and Ryan loved his brothers.

Holding Jamie’s gaze, Ryan said, “It doesn’t matter that we have jobs and relationships now.

Because you and me—it’s us, and nothing will change that, got it? You’re stuck with me. If you think I’m letting you push me aside for your dad or for that dickhead, think again. You’re mine first.”

Jamie’s pale cheeks colored a bit. He dropped his gaze before looking Ryan in the eye again and grinning. “Are you ever going to outgrow this? We’re not kids anymore.”

“I don’t give a fuck,” Ryan said, tweaking Jamie’s nose. Jamie pulled a funny face and laughed, and Ryan found himself grinning, feeling light and good—just what he needed after the stressful day.

Jamie’s company always worked wonders for him. Nothing, not even Hannah, could improve his mood as quickly or as well as Jamie.

Jamie sighed, putting his head back on Ryan’s shoulder. “If Paul saw us right now, he’d get the wrong idea, you know.”

Ryan’s lips curled into a sneer. “See how many fucks I give.”

“Don’t be a prat,” Jamie said, his fingers playing with the buttons of Ryan’s shirt again. “Paul is a great bloke. I like him a lot.”

“I don’t trust him,” Ryan said flatly. “Not with you.”

He could  hear Jamie’s eye-roll. “I can take care of myself, you know. I don’t need you watching out for me.”

“You do,” Ryan said. “Even if we aren’t related, it doesn’t mean you don’t have a brother.”

Jamie remained quiet for a while.

“I really like him,” he said. “Our relationship is great.”

Ryan looked at him. “Okay.” If Jamie really liked the guy, then he would do his best to be nice to him. “I’ll be nice to him,” he said. “But make sure he isn’t—” He looked at Jamie sharply as something occurred to him. “Are you fucking him already?”

Jamie’s face turned crimson. “It’s none of your business. But if you must know, yes.” He looked almost defiant.

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