Cherish & Blessed

By: Tere Michaels

Evan threw the wet towel at his head. “Shut up.”

The running thing was a “couple activity,” which Matt found hilarious and Evan didn’t even address seriously. Matt’s best friend and occasional therapist, Liz, thought a shared activity outside the children or household was important, and since bowling made Evan want to break things against a wall, running won.

He grabbed his shorts as Matt shook the towel out, then shoved it into the hamper.

“Mildew?” Evan asked, sliding the boxers over his hips.

“Laundry day is tomorrow.” Matt shot him a patented “really” look. “Seriously?”

“Sorry.” He stepped into Matt’s personal space to press a kiss to his mouth. “Your housekeeping skills are perfect.”

“And don’t forget it.” Matt slapped Evan’s ass—making sure to pick the side with the bite—then returned the kiss. “Now come to bed.”

They settled in, the common routine of turning on the ceiling fan and shutting off the lights, checking alarms, and a few good old-fashioned pillow punches for good measure. The wear and emotional tear of the day—of Miranda, of her harsh words and their tentative peace—weighed on Evan as he rolled over to lean against Matt’s strong, warm body.

“Miranda wants to have Kent and his parents over here for Thanksgiving.” He sighed, rubbing his cheek against Matt’s sleeve. “I said yes.”



“That’s all I got. Plus I’m making a list in my head of all the shit I need to buy.”

“And Helena and Shane are coming.”

Matt groaned dramatically.

“What? You like Shane.”

“Shane is fine. Helena is fine. I’m sure even—what’s his name? Kent?—I’m sure he’s fine. That’s just a lot of people.”

“We’ll have it catered.”

Matt huffed. “We’ll have some of it catered. The kids would get upset if they couldn’t make that disgusting green bean thing.”

“Right.” Evan closed his eyes. If he had his way, they would go out to dinner and skip the yearly recreation of family traditions. But the kids… the kids needed it, and he would do anything for them in the end.

“Don’t start freaking out, okay? We have two whole weeks for nervous breakdowns, but I have to work tomorrow, and so do you.”

“Long Island?”

“The Hamptons specifically. Bennett bought a new house.”

Matt’s part-time job was as a security consultant to a theater bigwig named Bennett Ames. He and his movie-star wife, Daisy, took a shine to Matt a few years back, and since then, he’d done a fair amount of work for the two: supervising the security on their homes, movie sets, even a pretty fabulous trip to the Cayman Islands last year to oversee a vacation home’s preparedness. Things had only amplified since Daisy got pregnant—clearly the reason their previous ten-bedroom weekend home wasn’t enough space.

“He buys a lot of houses.”

Matt shrugged. “It’s his thing. It also pays our mortgage and most of the bills.”

Which was a godsend with two kids in college and two more doing a rapid approach on the runway. Evan’s salary went toward education, while Matt supported them, and somehow they managed to stay on a decent keel.

“Bless his deep pockets.”

“Amen.” Matt shifted, winding his arms around Evan in a stealth-cuddle move that fooled no one. “I’ll be home by four, you’ll be home several hours after that, and we’ll start making lists, okay?”


They lay in the quiet, Evan listening to the overhead snick snick snick of the fan.

He wanted to dump out all the words that Miranda had thrown at him during dinner—her anger, her… betrayal—but he couldn’t hurt Matt’s feelings. They both knew Miranda hadn’t taken to their relationship like the other three kids. They knew she resented Matt, but in the past few years, they’d settled into a polite, semifriendly vibe that seemed to indicate peace.

Evan was wrong. And he wasn’t ready to tell Matt.

THE NEXT morning Matt’s alarm went off at six. He bitched and moaned as he rolled off the bed, then stumbled off to the bathroom. Evan blinked a few times. He had an hour, but he could get up, start the day, get some extra running in…. Midthought, he drifted back to sleep.

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