Heath hated the fact of going back to his lonely place, but he had no choice in the matter. He would be busy. Only not at the moment.
"You're back!" Maria met him before he could get his door unlocked. Perhaps, he wasn't alone, after all.
"Yeah, wished I could have stayed longer." Heath just smiled, even if he was sad at the thought that he probably wouldn't be seeing Nick again until February. Hopefully.
"So how was your Christmas?" She was all smiles as if she couldn't possibly wait to get him alone.
"Great! It was really great." He kept smiling, trying to fight her silly look on her face, hoping she'd just go away, but she wasn't.
"Tell me all about it."
He guessed this meant she wanted to come in.
"Later, all right." He needed to be alone. "I have some stuff to do. Like unpacking and laundry." He hesitated.
"Sure." She finally got the hint. "Then, um, would you want to do dinner at my place?"
"Yeah, that would be great." Heath faked a smile. He got in his apartment and shut the door behind him. What had he started?
He got out his cell and called Nick's number.
"I'm home. How about you?" He asked.
"Still driving. The wind is kicking in, kind of making it hard to see." Nick told him.
"Really?" Heath winced, wishing they'd stayed another night. "Its snowing, again?"
"Its not horrible," Nick said. "My truck can handle it. What about you?"
"I was just fine." But then he didn't have by an hour or so to go from where they'd met up. Nick had a four hour drive across the state. "Are you sure you'll be OK?"
Heath closed his eyes thinking of a horrible accident one winter. His friend, back in high school, had lost control of his truck and went off an embankment. He almost froze to death. They had to amputate his legs, even. He didn't want anything awful to happen to Nick.
"Well, be careful, please!" Heath willed a prayer right then,
"I will." Nick told him. "I promise."
"Call me as soon as you get, there." Heath wasn't so sure he could stand being so far away from Nick, after all.
He went to get his laundry in the wash and put on the kettle. Naturally, he paced around his empty place waiting every few minutes for the cell to ring. It wasn't until he was hanging his warm shirts out of the laundry that he heard his cell.
It was a sigh of relief to know Nick was home.