Alex and Gio had a big fight, and Alex ran away. Then a fire at home destroyed the life they had built together, and threatened to take Gio away from him. Alex had always thought love was enough to keep them together. Why did they need wedding rings or legal certificates? But now, with Gio lost in a coma, his mother has banished Alex from his side.
What if Alex’s voice is the only thing that can bring Gio back from the brink? Their memories are all Gio has left, and the urge to just let go is getting stronger.
Still, nothing can keep Alex from Gio’s side. If it’s against the rules, he’ll break them. In stolen moments alone together, Alex fights to bring him back, one memory at a time.
Monday, September 27
There was only this moment. This place. Alex holding Gio’s hand, gently because of the burns on the back of Gio’s arm and hand. The sounds of the breathing machine came in regular soft sighs.
The little green box held in Alex’s other hand–and all it symbolized between them.
All their life together had shrunk down to this moment, this place, this plea. “Please wake up, Gio. Amore mio, svegliati.”
Sunday, September 12. Two weeks earlier
Alex was late getting home, and he was in a foul mood from the long, difficult day at work. One of the properties he’d made a bid on had fallen through, and another client had all but called him a bald-faced liar.
He was looking forward to getting home, taking a long hot shower, then crawling into bed.
Alex was startled to find a whole meal, complete with wine and candles, laid out on their dining room table. Gio must have spent the whole day cooking.
Alex was late. He’d been delayed with his angry client, and to make matters worse, his phone had up and died halfway through the afternoon and he’d been without his car charger.”
“He was already annoyed when he walked in the door.
“Welcome home, amore,” Gio called from the kitchen.
“I had a hell of a day….” He caught a whiff of whatever Gio was cooking.
“Come sit down. I’ve got everything ready.”
The dining room looked like a Martha Stewart production of a telenovella Thanksgiving. “I’m sorry. I’m not really hungry. Things were the shits at work today.”
“Sorry to hear that. Have a seat.” Gio grabbed his elbow and urged him toward his chair. “Food makes everything better.”
Alex was starting to get annoyed. “Look, I’m sorry, but I’m not hungry. I just want to wash up–”
“That’s just the job talking.” Gio took his arm again.
“Knock it off! I’m not in the mood tonight.”
Gio looked hurt, but Alex plowed on, too incensed to stop.
“This isn’t some kind of June and Ward Cleaver relationship.”
“You have to let go of your stupid, unrealistic expectations of me and this relationship.”
Gio frowned. “That’s bullshit, and you know it. Just because you had a bad day at work, there’s no reason to take it out on me.”
He was right. But Alex couldn’t admit it. “Just leave me the fuck alone,” he said, grabbing his phone charger and storming out. He’d find somewhere else to sleep tonight.”