*Please note I wrote this at NOLA while I was sleep deprived so please forgive any errors. *hugs**
Lee had thought he was a few steps closer to getting over Antonio. He’d had a few get-together’s with Trent, not dates perhaps but time spent with another man. He’d even moved and bought a new place, one that didn’t have any memories of sharing the space with his beloved. Still, he saw shadows. Maybe they just lingered in his mind but they remained all the same.
He walked over to his wall of pictures. Two happy faces gazed back at him. Image after image of them smiling, laughing, and in several photos staring at each other with love in their eyes. How could he replace his perfect match with just anyone?
Antonio wasn’t perfect by any means but he’d been perfect for Lee. Anyone else would be a pale Antonio imitation.
“If women can be crazy cat ladies maybe I’ll become a crazy dog gentleman,” Lee told his pets. They looked up at him as if trying to understand what their owner was saying. They gave up and decided to gnaw on each others’ ears instead.
Lee sighed. “Yeah, that’s what I thought too.”
A whiff of cigar smoke drifted through the room another ghost of Antonio’s memory. Tears prickled his eyes. He refused to cry. Tears never solved anything and all he got for them was a stuffy nose and a headache.
Maybe if he took down the pictures. He touched the metal edge of one frame then jerked his hand away. He couldn’t. If he put them away he’d know for sure Antonio was gone. Burying his husband was bad enough, locking his memories away in a box was worse. Sliding down the wall he wrapped his arms around his knees and gave in. Tears might not solve anything but his pain needed release.
“Are you just going to let him suffer?” Antonio demanded.
Michael shrugged, puffing his wings as he moved. “What do you want me to do?”
“Help him. Make him suffer less!” Antonio’s heart twisted at the sight of his beloved. He might be reluctant to leave Lee behind but he’d hoped Lee would find someone else by now.
“I could make him forget you,” Michael mused.
“No!” There was a line between getting over and forgetting entirely.
“But he would be so much happier,” Michael pointed out.
Antonio watched his husband sob. He kneeled down to be closer to the broken-hearted man. “No. He would just be numb. Would you rather lose the love of your life or live an entire life without experiencing love?”
Michael’s snort of disdain told Antonio everything he needed to know about Michael’s side of the story.
Antonio rolled his eyes. “Sorry there goes that lack of compassion again. I don’t know what I was thinking.”
He’d been thinking Lee needed someone new to love but he refused to become a forgotten memory. Lee deserved to remember all their good times. Antonio and Lee had some of the best adventures together. To strip Lee of all those memories would be to take a large chunk out of his life. Antonio refused to allow it.
“You don’t have to let me,” Michael said, proving he could read Antonio’s mind. “I can take care of that all on my own.”
“You could,” Antonio agreed, “but I wouldn’t keep my end of our agreement.”
There wasn’t much he could do to control the temperamental angel. He had to use what little power he had.
Michael scowled. “Fine, but it just makes my job that much harder.”
Antonio ignored his instinctive joy over that statement. He did want Lee to be happy. He did. If he said it enough times he would believe it himself.