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***I’d like to thank everybody for their comments and critique. It is REALLY helping me along. Though, I’d also like to acknowledge that I am being aided by another author whilst I write this. A special and very talented person who I shall thank in full in the final chapter of “Jon Starting Over”. In the mean time, very warm regards to LC. Much love, Billy***
Over the next two weeks, Jonathan started to find his feet in his new job. As good as his word, Jasper was professional yet polite when he showed him the research laboratory and introduced him to various members of staff. Jon felt comfortable going to Jasper with any questions or concerns he had; in trying to get a feel for the way things had transpired before his arrival.
When he’d arrived home at Sarah’s house that first night, he hadn’t said a word to Sarah about meeting Jasper. Sarah had hedged a little, asking how the day had gone-had he met any new and exciting people? Jonny had played it cool, deciding to keep Sarah in the dark for a little bit longer. Instead he’d eaten his dinner, played some kind of tennis game on the Wii with Sarah’s boys for half an hour and then headed to his room to settle down to the contents of his briefcase.
The evenings were usually hectic, with Jonathan not leaving the hospital until very late, only to be back bright and early the following morning.
“You’re working too hard.” Jasper told him one Thursday evening.
“I’m the boss, I need to work hard. How can I ask more of my staff if I don’t give one hundred and ten percent?”
Jasper eased himself into the chair opposite Jon’s desk and shook his head tut-tutting, “You’re still working too hard and you’re not going to inspire anyone if you end up sick. Or haven’t you noticed the bug which seems to be sweeping the hospital?”
“Of course I’ve noticed. Why do you think I’m working so hard?” His words had come out defensively and harsh, and the instant they were out Jon closed his eyes and sighed. “I’m sorry, Jasper.” He hung his head for a moment, rubbing his fingers in tiny circles around his temples before looking up once more. Jasper was such a nice guy and had been nothing but supportive during his time there so far; he didn’t deserve to incur Jon’s frustrations and insecurities. “I’m just eager to get all of this work done and up to date so I can settle down into a more normal rhythm,”
“Filling in for other staff and working yourself to death isn’t going to accomplish anything.”
“Then what do you suggest?” Jonathan indicated his desk, piled high with paperwork, as he spoke. Jasper heard a hint of mild desperation in the smaller man’s tone. “I was chosen for this job. It’s what I’ve been working toward for a very long time and I don’t want the powers that be to think I’m incompetent and-“
“They won’t think that,” Jasper interrupted as he stood walked behind the desk. He stood behind Jon’s chair and placed his hands on the smaller man’s shoulders. Jonathan jumped when Jasper’s hands first touched him, but relaxed as the warmth from those hands started to flow into his exhausted trapezius. “You are doing an incredible job and NO ONE is going to blame you for taking a night off and relaxing a little– rather than beating yourself with a stick and wearing sackcloth and ashes.”
Jon’s lips twitched at his words. “Sackcloth and ashes? I’ll have you know this is a Herringbone Sydney suit, thank you very much.” He was working very hard at ignoring the way his body responded to Jasper’s nearness. There was something about the man that appealed to Jon…in fact, if he was honest, there was a lot about Jasper that appealed to Jon and keeping his distance, making sure their working relationship was nothing more, was the only thing that helped keep his unwanted yet burning attraction for Jasper in check.
“You know what I mean.” Jasper leant down and spoke softly in his ear, “Listen. Why don’t we get out of here and go grab a bit to eat?”
Jon tried to reply but nothing came out, he cleared his throat. “But what about your girls? Don’t you need to get home to them?” Jonathan was concerned about LIlly and Lola, not wanting to take their father’s time away from them, but really, he was more concerned with being alone with Jasper for any great length of time. In fact, they were alone now…here, in his office…the rest of the staff either on duty or off home. They were more alone here than they would be at a crowded restaurant, a fact certain parts of his body were beginning to get excited about.
Jasper’s hand were moving slowly, working their magic and beginning to unknot his shoulders. He would relax too much with Jasper like this…secluded in his office. He needed to move. He needed to put distance between them. He needed to…
“Oh God, right there…yes.” Jon heard himself groan as Jasper continued the massage. It was good. So good. So warm and caring… So…fucking sexy.
At that realisation, Jon pushed away from his desk, almost knocking Jasper over Beylikdüzü escort in his haste to put as much distance between them as possible. His eyes were wide, his breath doubling in an instant from its previous relaxed rate, he started fidgeting with the papers he’d almost knocked from his desk.
“Er…nothing. I mean, thanks for the massage. Did you say something about dinner?” He opened his desk drawer and pulled out his briefcase. “We can take my car if you like.” Focusing on searching for his car keys and quite unable to look at Jasper, he tried to pull himself together. When Jasper didn’t say anything Jon knew he had to meet the other man’s gaze. “Unless you do need to get home to your girls. Of course you do. It’s all right Sarah usually keeps leftovers in the fridge for me so it’s no trouble to-”
“Jonathan.” Jasper interrupted him again, a smile twitching at his lips. “The girls will already be in bed by now and are well cared for. Of course we can take your car, if you’d prefer, but just relax. Its only dinner.”
“Right, I know. I guess your words are finally starting to sink in.” He walked over to the coat rack and changed out of his lab coat. “Do you know anywhere close, that’s good?”
“I do.” Jasper walked to the door. “I’ll just get my things from my office, won’t be a sec.”
“Great, Sounds great.” Jon watched him walk away, his stride string and purposeful as he walked down the corridor to where his own office was. When Edwards was out of sight Jon closed his eyes and started to reflect on what had just happened. Jasper’s touch, the way the taller man had looked at him, that cute little smile playing about his lips. The heat of his hands. The nearness of his body. The scent of him overpowering Jon’s senses. Oh, lord- it was getting to be too much.
It had been so incredibly long since he’d been seriously attracted to another man that he wasn’t sure how to behave. Jon hadn’t been celibate since Arturo’s death, but pretty close to it; only opting for quick anonymous encounters to relieve the pressure every now and again. “You can do this. You can do this.” He muttered to himself as he locked up. “It’s just dinner with a friend, nothing more.”
But as Jasper made his way back up the corridor toward him, Jon knew he was lying to himself. Spending time one on one with Jasper probably wasn’t the best idea in the world but, Jon had to admit he was rather curious about the hunky doctor. Sure, Sarah had filled in a few gaps, but Jon had definitely been intrigued by him even before knowing Edwards true identity.
“Ready?” Jasper queried with a warm smile.
“As I’ll ever be,” he replied and they headed out of the hospital. They walked together to Jon’s car, but this time Jasper refused the keys, when Jonathan offered them to him.
“I’ll navigate,” His deep voice washed over Jon as they exited the car park and for a split second he wondered if Jasper was offering to navigate more than the car. Was Jasper also willing to navigate through the rocky waters of moving on with his life? Of course Jon had moved on in a professional capacity, but emotionally he knew he’d held onto the past for too long. It was one of the reasons he’d returned to Sydney. He needed to lay his memories of Arturo to rest once and for all. He needed move on. To date. To find someone new to share his time with. Otherwise he’d end up all alone… And Jonathan was so, so tired of being alone.
Jasper navigated extremely well and after Jon parked Miss Chief, they walked a short block to the local dining district. “The world is your oyster…Literally.” He said pointing to a nearby seafood restaurant. “What are you in the mood for?”
“Huh?” Jonathan was mildly startled by the question. He’d been intent on walking beside Jasper, on trying not to get so close that their hands touched, on calming his nerves because he was going out with a man, after so long… and not just any man at that.
Jasper only chuckled. “Good to see your brain’s starting to relax. How about here?” He pointed at an Indian restaurant that was warmly lit and furnished with intimate booth seating. Jon hesitated then nodded.
As Jon sat, he noticed that the seats were rounded and heavily cushioned, bliss. After considering the menu options he ordered, then eased back into the chair and sighed, a smile on his face.
“That’s better.” Jasper declared.
“Yes. Now you’re starting to relax. It’s good to see.”
Jonathan nodded. “You’re right. I do tend to push myself too hard, too fast. Thank your for making me get out, Jasper.”
“Although I have to confess…” Jasper whispered and leaned forward, his elbows on the table and his eye’s on Jon. “I thought I was doing a pretty good job of relaxing you back at your office.”
Jonathan blinked once and stared at back into blue-grey eyes. Did that mean what he thought it meant? He swallowed unable to speak for a moment.
“Your shoulders are far too Beylikdüzü escort tight. I’d be more than happy to act as your remedial massage therapist, if you’d like.” Jasper waggled his eyebrows up and down in a suggestive manner, that gorgeous smile that managed to melt Jon’s heart touching his lips.
“Uh…I don’t…Uh…” He cleared his throat “…know if that would be the best idea, Jasper.”
“Why not? You were certainly enjoying it back in your office.” His voice was so rich, so deep, and it wasn’t just washing over Jon anymore- it was washing though him.
“Jasper.” Jon knew the other doctor was well aware of the effects he’d been having having on him, was still having on him. Jonathan decided not to play games any longer. “We can’t, we’re colleagues.”
“True, and no doubt we’re better off maintaining a friendship, but that doesn’t change the fact that you’re the first man I have been seriously attracted to in a very long time.”
“Jasper!” His name was a tortured whisper as Jon shook his head. “Don’t say things like that.”
“Why not? It’s the truth, and I’ve found it a good policy to stick to the truth wherever possible.”
“So, you’re…you’re attra—” He stopped speaking as the waiter delivered their food. They both smiled their thanks and when they were left alone Jonathan found it difficult to look at the taller man again. Jasper was attracted to him and he’d admitted it. Just like that. John had a feeling he’d been out of the dating loop far too long if this was the way things were done.
“You have your family. I have…” he paused.
Jonathan sat up a little straighter and squared his shoulders. When he spoke Jasper met his eyes. “I have my job and while that might not sound like much to some, I’ve worked extremely hard to get where I am and I want to enjoy it.”
Jasper opened his mouth as though he was about to say something else but then changed his mind at the last second. “Fair enough, let’s eat while the food is still hot.”
Jon blinked once, a little surprised by his colleague’s acquiescence, but decided it wasn’t good to look a gift horse n the mouth. “It looks delicious ” he remarked.
“Me? Or the food?” Jasper asked, that teasing glint back in his eyes.
“The food.” Jon replied pointedly, wrinkling his nose in a manner Jasper found endearing. “Now cut it out, big guy, we’re just going to be friends.”
Jonathan’s expression and his tone were quite serious, “Because I don’t have many.”
“Jasper nodded as though accepting his answer. “Fair enough'” He raised his glass and held it up for a toast “Friends.” He affirmed as they clinked glasses before raising them to their lips-both of them hoping they’d be able to stick to this resolve.
“I feel like I hardly see you,” Sarah complained when Jonathan called her late Friday afternoon to let her know he wouldn’t be there for dinner again.
“It’s only because I’m trying to get everything organised as quickly as possible. The workload will even out soon enough and then I won’t be burning the candle at both ends.” Or having impromptu dinners with Jasper, he added silently. He’d had a great time with the admittedly hunky doctor, simply being out with a man whose company he enjoyed.
“But what about trying to find an apartment?” Sarah’s words bought him back to the present. “I mean don’t get me wrong, Jonny, you’re more than welcome to stay here for as long as you need to, but I know you want to get a place of your own, have your own space. How are you going to have time to do that when you’re stuck at the hospital during daylight hours?”
“Actually, Ja— er. a colleague has told me of a place for sale which is near the hospital.”
“I’m meeting the owner in half an hour,” he said, checking his watch.
“The owner? Not the real estate agent?”
“It’s a private sale.”
Sarah’s tone was instantly wary. “I don’t know Jon, I don’t like the sound of this. It sounds a bit… I don’t know…dodgy.”
There was a knock at Jonathan’s door and he looked up, placing his hand over the receiver, and called, “Come in.” A moment later Jasper walked into the room. Jon ignored the little flame of pleasure that ignited at seeing the other man. Those sparks were becoming all too familiar of late.
“Should I come back?” he asked, but Jon shook his head and beckoned him in. He pointed to the phone and mouthed “Sarah.” Jasper nodded and sat down, his eyes starting to twinkle.
“Have you said anything?” he asked softly. Jonathan shook his head but smiled at him. Jasper felt the now familiar hit to his solar plexus. It occurred whenever Jon smiled at him like that and in his opinion, when he didn’t see the blonde doctor all that often he started to miss it. Last night, though, he’d had a fantastic time. For the first time in what seemed like an age Jasper had felt happy, free and single. Being the father of two meant he didn’t often get that much Escort Beylikdüzü time alone, especially to spend with a sexy and intelligent man like Jonathan.
He had to hand it to guy though, he was not only dead sexy but was also a good administrator and a brilliant surgeon; and though he had ruffled a few feathers since his arrival at the hospital, it had all been necessary, and Jasper backed his new boss one hundred percent. The fact Jonathan was so bloody attractive, with his slim hips, perky butt and gorgeously deep and dark chocolate eyes- was just an added bonus.
“Don’t worry about me,” Jon said into the receiver, then switched the phone to loudspeaker so Jasper could hear what Sarah was saying. “The colleague who recommenced the property has known the owner for a long time.”
“Sure, but your hardly know your colleague.” Sarah’s concern was evident. “You’ve only been at the hospital for a couple of weeks. Perhaps you should get Jasper to check this guy out?”?
“Jasper? You mean Lilly and Lola’s dad? What does he have to do with anything?” Jon grinned and winked at Jasper. Neither of then had said a word to Sarah that they’d figured out her little plan, and it was starting to drive poor Sarah absolutely crazy.
Sarah sighed with exasperation. “Jasper works at the hospital.”
“Yes, and I can’t understand why you haven’t met him yet. He’s in your department.”
“Why didn’t you tell me before now?”
“Well, I, er… Well, I didn’t want to…er… influence or prejudice you…?”
“Against a colleague?”
“You MUST have met him by now. You must have. He’s tall, dark and handsome and he told me he was expecting a new boss in the department.”
“Does he know I’m your friend?”
“No. I didn’t say anything to him either, and when he picked up the girls the day before yesterday I tried to sort of hedge around to see if he’d met you, but he didn’t say a word.”
“Why is it all such a big secret? I mean, why not let either of us know before I started in the department?”
“Because…” Sarah sighed again. “Well, because I thought— he might be perfect for you.”
“Perfect, eh? In what way?” Jon’s eyes met Jasper’s before he looked the taller man over. He took in the chambray shirt which fitted over his torso to perfection, highlighting those perfect arms and broad shoulders, his tie was his university tie and as Jon looked him over Jasper shifted and ran his fingers through his hair. When their eyes met Jon could see the humour displayed there as well a veiled hint of desire, indicating Jasper had enjoyed his appraisal. The larger man also gave him a wink, forcing Jon to try to ignore the way his heart-rate increased from just that one long look. Friends. They’d decided to be friends.
“You know what I mean.” Sarah’s exasperation was starting to build to an all time high. “Perfect for you to date.”
“Oh I see,” Jon couldn’t help but chuckle as Jasper put one hand behind his head and the other on his hip, striking a pose. The man was so free and funny, he liked it.
“Why are you laughing Jon-A-THAN?” Sarah’s tone was dark and Jon knew he was in trouble because Sarah rarely used his full name.
“Hi, Sarah.” Jasper said, his tone warm and inviting.
“Jasper?! You’re there!”
“Have you got me on speaker?!” Sarah demanded.
“Jonathan Leonard Walker Thornegate! You are in a massive amount of trouble when I see you next! And don’t even THINK about staying at the hospital until two o’clock in the morning – ’cause I’ll be waiting for you when you get in! And IF I have to stay up late I’ll be even more pissed.”
“If you say so Sarah Elizabeth Jones.”
“So I take it you two have met and figured out I wanted to get you together, so you’d thought you’d have a little payback, right?”
“Right.” They said in unison. At that moment Jasper’s pager went off and he checked the number.
“A and E.”
Jonathan nodded. The next moment his own pager beeped. “Listen Sarah, We’ve got to go.” He checked the information his pager. A and E. “An emergency’s just come in.”
“A likely story,” Sarah grunted. “OK, but, listen, get Jasper to check out that colleague who wants you to buy the house.”
“I’m the colleague.” Jasper told her as he stood. “The house two doors down from mine is for sale.”
“Oh.” Sarah was surprised and then Jonathan heard smugness enter her tone. “Oh, well, in that case, go right ahead.”
“I’ll see you later, Sarah.” Jonathan rang off, rolling his eyes as he picked up his stethoscope.
“What?” Jasper asked.
“Did you hear her tone?”
“What tone?” They headed out of Jon’s office and down the corridor.
“That smug tone of hers that says, ‘Ooh, with Jasper and Jonny living within two houses of each other and working together and spending SOOOO time together my match making efforts will work and then I can take credit for them getting together.’ THAT tone.”
“Oh, well maybe Sarah’s right?”
Jon stopped short. “What? No. I’ve told you I’m not re–“
Jasper laughed and beckoned for him to follow. “I’m only teasing. Geez, you’re such an easy mark. Come on let’s see what sort of mess we’ve got today. What we need to fix up.”
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