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He only had to take a single step inside to know it was.

There at the bar, hunched over a half-drained pint, was the head of short-cropped black hair and those muscled shoulders. The peek-a-boo lines of a tribal tattoo.

For a minute, Ben stood there on the threshold, leaning against the door frame and just staring, his annoyance seeping away as quickly as it had gathered. Across the room, he saw Mike nod at him from behind the bar before gesturing toward Duke with a question in his eyes. Ben shook his head and raised his hand to press his forefinger to his lips. Mike shrugged and moved back to the other side of the bar, but Ben wasn't looking at him anymore.

How could he?

After letting his eyes scan over Duke's body one more time, Ben finally pushed away from the wall and strode across the room. The barstool made a rough noise as it scraped against the stone floor, but Duke didn't flinch at either the sound or at the way Ben deposited himself into the seat. He raised a hand to get Mike's attention again, ignoring the wry grin on the bartender's face.

"Two Sam Adams."

"Coming right up."

Mike poured the two beers and passed them over. Ben grabbed one for himself and slipped the other over to sit beside Duke's mostly empty one. Duke still didn't look up, but he did mumble out a low, "Thank you," before draining the first glass and lifting up the second.

"I tried to call you."

"I ignored it."

"I noticed." Ben chanced a quick look over at Duke. From the door, he hadn't been able to see the other man's expression, and while he had a pretty good idea what he was dealing with, he'd take any extra clues he could get.

There weren't many. But then again, after all these years, it wasn't like Ben needed much. Sure enough, in the lines around those cool blue eyes and the tilt of his lips, Ben could see that Duke was just as upset as he'd expected him to be.

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