“The hotel is amazing,” Jack’s voice sounds almost awed, and Joe can’t help but smile as he listens. “I mean, it’d be better if you were here. But it’s still bloody amazing.”
“I’d love to have gone, but you know I couldn’t.”
“I know,” Jack sighs, “Because you have to work.”
“I’m sorry, babe.” Joe says for what feels like the hundredth time, but he still does mean it. He really did want to go on the holiday with Jack and some of the others, unfortunately his schedule just wasn’t going to allow it.
“It’s fine, I get it. Just, well, make sure you don’t work yourself too hard.”
“Me? Work too hard?”
“Joe, be serious. I’m not there to stop you from editing or filming or planning. And there’s no one to make sure you don’t stay up until half four in the morning. And no one to make sure you actually eat.” Jack’s voice has turned from awed to firm. “It’s one week. Take care of yourself.”
“I always take care of myself.” The silence that follows speaks more than any words would, “Alright,” Joe replies, “I can do it for one week. Now, go enjoy your amazing hotel.”
“I’ll call you tonight?”
“Love you. And remember to eat!” Jack adds the last part quickly.
“Love you too,” Joe laughs, ending the call a moment later. As he tosses his phone onto the desk beside his computer, he glances at the video waiting to be edited.
Jack means well, he really does, and Joe appreciates him for caring so much. But this week is going to be busy, and Joe can already tell that there’s going to be little sleep happening.
One week, he tells himself, pulling himself closer to the desk, One week won’t kill me.
The week flies by, and before either know it, Jack’s back in London.
Joe would have forgotten, except for the fact that his boyfriend has texted him at every chance that day to say how excited he was to see him. And it’s not like Joe isn’t excited to see the other man, because he is. It’s just that he’s a little tired and overworked, as well as distracted by the video he’s editing.
He tried his best to listen to Jack’s instructions for the past week, but work and meetings got in the way, and so Joe didn’t get much sleep, or much to eat if he was being honest. Not that Jack knew, because each time they talked on the phone, Joe made sure to act as if everything was fine.
Because it was.
For the most part.
“Joe?” Jack’s cheery voice carries through the flat into the office, and Joe blinks at the computer.
Was it that late in the day already?
Pushing the chair away from the desk, he stands quickly, bracing himself on his desk as the world settles around him.
Stood too fast, he thinks as he heads for the doorway. Jack is already on his way towards the office, and his grin only grows when his eyes fall on Joe.
“Hey, babe!” He pulls Joe into a tight hug, who lets out a small oomph at the contact, but smiles and wraps his arms around Jack as well.
“Come on, I have stories to tell you.” Jack’s hand slips into Joe’s, and he begins to pull him towards the living room. Joe glances back at the office, the video he still needs to edit is sitting on his computer, but he shakes it off, turning his gaze back to Jack.
He can just finish it later.
As Jack rambles on about the different stories, Joe does his best to pay attention, but the words float around him and his mind can’t quite grasp onto them. He still nods and smiles, laughing at what he’s sure are the appropriate times, if Jack’s happy look is anything to go off of.
“You would have loved it,” Jack chuckles, finishing his last story. “We need to go on holiday soon.”
“We will.” Joe assures him, giving the younger man’s hand a squeeze. “I promise.”
“You hungry? I was thinking we could order in, watch a movie?”
“Oh,” Joe’s eyes dart back to the hallway that lead to his office, “I had a big lunch. And I have a video to finish.”
He doesn’t know why he just lied to Jack, it’s stupid.
“Well, how about you finish the video, and then we can relax?” Jack tries again, but his smile has faded just a little.
“That should work.” Joe nods, standing from the couch, his hand slipping from Jack’s. “I’ll try to not take too long.”
“Make sure you don’t. There’s quite a few days we have to make up for.” The younger man smirks up at him, and Joe smiles, shaking his head as he turns and heads for the office.
“Joe!” He snaps back to reality, looking over at Jack who’s stood in the doorway, frowning over at him.
“I’ve been calling you for nearly five minutes.”
“You have?” Joe mutters, running a hand across his face.
“Yes.” Jack steps into the room, pulling the chair back from the desk before he leans over, hands braced on the armrests as he stares at Joe. “Did you listen to me at all for this week?”
“I listened to you every night.”
“Not that, I meant when I told you not to overwork yourself.”
“I haven’t overworked myself.”
“You can barely focus on me, and I know you didn’t hear practically anything I said earlier. How much have you slept this week?”
“Uhm,” Joe’s eyes shift to over Jack’s shoulder, suddenly not wanting to meet his boyfriend’s gaze, “Enough.”
“And your big lunch today?” Jack’s voice has turned soft, and Joe winces lightly at getting caught. “That’s what I thought.”
Sighing, Jack pushes himself up straight, running a hand through his hair.
“You can’t do this, babe.”
“I was just busy. I’m fine. Let me finish this video, and then we can eat.” Joe tells him, going to turn back to the computer, but his chair moves in the opposite direction as Jack spins it around. And when he’s pulled out of his chair, he’s too tired and surprised to resist, so he simply lets Jack tug him along.
Joe stumbles over his feet slightly, but he braces himself against Jack, who’s quick to wrap an arm around him, securing him.
“This is why I don’t leave you…” Jack mutters to himself as he leads Joe upstairs to bed.
“What are you doing?” Joe mumbles, brows drawn together as Jack begins to tug the clothes off of him. “Jack, please, I’m too tired…”
“We aren’t having sex, Joe.” The younger man rolls his eyes, pulling the shirt over Joe’s head. “But I don’t think you want to wear your clothes to bed.”
“Oh.” Joe replies simply, blinking slowly as Jack continues to strip him down. “Wait, bed? But my video…”
Jack stops what he’s doing, staring at Joe in disbelief. “Your video can fucking wait, Joe. You are swaying where you’re standing. Because you don’t know how to bloody take care of yourself. It was one week, I went away for one week, and you stop sleeping and eating. So I’m sorry if you’re video isn’t getting edited. I don’t care at this point. You are going to go to sleep, and when you wake up, you’re going to eat. And shower, because you kind of stink. And then you’ll sleep some more. Perhaps then you can finish your fucking video.”
With a small huff, he finishes stripping Joe down before nodding towards the bed. He then turns and heads to the bathroom, pulling his own shirt off along the way.
Guilt floods Joe as he climbs into the bed, pulling the blanket up around him. He watches the bathroom door closely, trying to fight back the exhaustion that has washed over him until Jack returns. But it’s proving difficult since his boyfriend is taking his time.
“Jack?” Joe calls out weakly, almost sighing with relief when the man in question reappears, crossing the room silently before climbing into bed.
“I’m sorry,” Joe says softly, inching closer to the warm body next to him, relaxing when Jack wraps an arm around him, pulling him even closer. “I should have taken better care of myself.”
“Yes, you should have.” Jack’s reply is tired sounding, but his touch is soft as his fingers run along Joe’s back. “I don’t like coming back to you in this state, Joe.”
“I know, I’m sorry.” Joe tilts his head back, finding Jack’s lips in the darkened room. “I missed you.”
“I missed you too.”
“I promise to take care of myself more.”
“Like that’ll happen,” Jack scoffs, “But its why I’m here.”
“And I love you for it.” Joe smiles, kissing Jack once again. “Thank you for putting up with my stupidity.”
“You’re welcome, love. Now go to sleep.”
“Alright. Love you.” Joe tells him, closing his eyes finally as he tucks his head into Jack’s shoulder.
“Love you too, idiot.” Jack responds fondly, kissing the top of Joe’s head gently.