When several minutes had passed and Shae still didn’t show any signs of being about to move, Tyler quietly left his watching post and went to him.
“Shae?” he whispered.
Shae jumped. “Yeah?”
“Everything all right?”
For a moment, Tyler thought Shae was crying. He looked upset enough, and there was a giveaway tightness in his voice, but his eyes were dry.
Shae rubbed his forehead. “Yeah, sure.”
“That was Francis, right?”
“A bit late for a social call, isn’t it?”
“Depends on your working hours, I guess,” Shae replied.
“What did he want?” Not the most discreet of approaches, but Tyler didn’t believe in pussyfooting around.
“He…” Shae glanced up at him, and for the fraction of a second, the extent of his misery showed in his eyes before he managed to get a grip on himself and shook his head. “That’s between him and me.”
“He’s not…pestering you, is he?”
“Pestering me?” Shae let out a soft chuckle at the suggestion. “Gosh, no. What makes you think that?”
“Only that he seemed to want something that you weren’t willing to give.”
“Oh. You’ve been listening.”
“Yes. I’m sorry, but I couldn’t help it, what with the lack of walls and all. If it’s any consolation, I didn’t catch the details, though.”
“I just thought that maybe there is something you would like to talk about,” Tyler offered.
“No. Thanks, but no.”
“What’s the deal between the two of you?”
“What makes you think there was anything between us?”
“Hmm, let me think.” Tyler put on a mock thoughtful face. “You have sessions together that you don’t want the others to know about. He turns up at your place in the middle of the night and whatever he wanted from you leaves you in distress.” Placing the tips of his fingers under Shae’s chin, he made him tilt his head up to meet his eyes. “Come on, spit it out. Tell me what’s upsetting you so much.”
“It’s not…” Catching Tyler’s stern glance, Shae huffed. “Looks like it’s not just back to bed for us now, huh? Coffee?”
Shae went to the kitchen and busied himself with the coffee machine, obviously unwilling to say more.
“So, what is it?”
“It’s just…hard sometimes,” Shae said, keeping his back turned to Tyler.
“What is?” Tyler asked again. He had a suspicion of what was going on, but he wanted to hear it from Shae. When Shae didn’t answer, Tyler went to stand behind him and put his hand on Shae’s shoulder, giving it a gentle squeeze. “You love him, don’t you?”
Shae’s head snapped up and he looked gobsmacked. “L—what? I… What makes you think I…uh, that?” The expression in his eyes said everything that his mouth didn’t.