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Sometimes life conspired against him. Jonathan knew it like he knew that the desert sun always burned his skin crackling hot, and that sand always scratched across the most uncomfortable places when he needed to stand at attention.
After getting hardly any sleep, heâ€™d driven to his boss Sinclair Alverstonâ€™s condo only to find him and his husband, Callum Turner, snuggled together on the couch, looking sickeningly happy. An ex-mercenary with a hard-ass reputation shouldnâ€™t be able to pull off the googly-eyed look.
Callum took a moment to separate himself from Sinclair and casually whip Jonathan up an incredible omelette and heat up some biscuits, before returning to the couch for his real jobâ€”being the centre of Sinâ€™s fucking universe. Jonathan wished he could hate Callum a bit for not only finding a lover who worshipped him but for making personal success look so easy too. Unfortunately, it took too much effort to dislike the chef. Callum was genuinely a nice guy whoâ€™d give the shirt off his back to a person in need. Jonathan considered Callum one of his rare non-military friends.
However, watching the pair of them smooching churned Jonathanâ€™s stomach and not for the reason that his religious-minded parents would have preferred. Envy, an ugly emotion at the best of times, twisted inside him tighter than a contortionist. He might tell himself he preferred to be left alone because of his problems, but deep down beneath his indifferent veneer, he wished he had someone to love.
Even if he happened to find the perfect guy, Jonathan had enough emotional baggage to fill a dozen U-Haul trucks. If for some reason this imaginary Mr Wonderful overlooked the fact that he could never meet Jonathanâ€™s parents and would never be acknowledged by any of Jonathanâ€™s relatives, heâ€™d still have to put up with the night-time terrors haunting Jonathanâ€™s sleep.
Yep, he was a prize.
He sighed and took another bite of his omelette. Considering his sour attitude lately, Callum had shown great restraint in not poisoning Jonathanâ€™s food. Even the explosion of flavours filling his mouth didnâ€™t take away his melancholy. Heâ€™d have to talk to the doctor about upping his medication. He could feel depression clouding his thoughts and slowing his reflexes. With the mood-lifter cocktail he took, Jonathan shouldnâ€™t still feel as if he were moving through molasses.
Sin approached and hopped onto the bar stool beside him. "I donâ€™t want to pry into your personal life, Jonathan, but Patrick and I are worried about you. Youâ€™ve been jittery and unfocused lately. Not to mention you look like shit."
Jonathan laughed. It wasnâ€™t funny, not really, but Sinâ€™s complete lack of subtlety was kind of refreshing. You always knew where you stood with the ex-mercenary.
"Do you want to talk about it?"
Heâ€™d known the time would come when he needed to tell his bosses and apparently that time had arrived.
"Iâ€™ve been having nightmaresâ€”flashbacks, really. Iâ€™m on anti-depressants and I have a therapist. Not much is helping," he confessed.
Surprisingly, Sin nodded and patted him on the shoulder. "It gets better. Stick with a regimen. If youâ€™d like a different therapist, I have one I used for a bit when I stopped being a mercenary."
Jonathanâ€™s jaw dropped open. It had never occurred to him that Sinclair Alverston had ever been to a therapist in his life. That unexpected news lifted a weight off his chest. "Thanks."
Sin nodded. "You canâ€™t tell by looking at someone that they need a hand once in a while. Itâ€™s nothing to be ashamed of. Patrick and I have both had problems from time to time. Arthur still has nightmares about his partner. Itâ€™s natural. If you were completely unaffected, then you should be worried."
"I appreciate that." The relief of sharing his problems helped a great deal. Since heâ€™d left the military, heâ€™d gone frombeing in a group of people experiencing the same things to being a loner. He hadnâ€™t realised how much talking to his friends had helped. Most of them were dead now, but looking at Callum and Sin, he knew heâ€™d discounted people right in front of him who cared.
Sinclairâ€™s phone rang. After a short conversation he hung up and turned his attention back to Jonathan.