I've lost it. Gone. The old Sandburg charm is kaput. The Blairbabe Magnate is on the fritz. I've turned into the Hunchback of Notre Dame, repelling women, watching helplessly as they run screaming into the night, and as mothers pull their babies out of my way.....okay, slight exaggeration. But I've definitely lost it.
Jim on the other hand, has definitely *found* it. He's swatting them away while I sit on the sidelines and watch, flabbergasted, invisible, not *there*. Oh, I'm not complaining - exactly, I mean some women just prefer a Sequoia redwood over say, an Aspen, and can you blame them? But there used to be plenty of women who loved the variety an Aspen can provide over the reliable, stalwart redwood. But now? Man, now they're cutting me down and out.
I check the mirror every day, me, who barely looked before, and now I'm scrutinizing every detail, looking for some tell-tale sign, some gruesome piece of rotting flesh peeking out, something - anything, to explain the wasteland my life has become. Is there some Dorian Gray thing going on here?
But you know, all I see is the same schmuck I've been seeing for years. A little older, a little wiser, but basically, yeah, the same guy. Well, realistically, the nerd is gone, replaced by this......cop person, but I don't think that's it. To be honest, the cop Blair was doing much better than the science Blair, with women actually asking me on a fairly regular basis if they could see my ~ *gun*. Really, they said that. Honest. And trust me on this one, folks; no one *ever* asked to see Detective Jim Ellison's gun. No one. But I bet all those drooling ladies are asking him now. And me? They don't even ask for the time.
Take today, a few minutes ago, for example.
We go into this new age record store to interview, *again*, this clerk who'd witnessed an attack the night before. We're working this strange case where some person, or persons unknown, are attacking innocent citizens of Cascade, he/she/it ties them up, touches them all over, then cuts off a piece of their hair. And if you're wondering why Major Crimes got this little ditty, well, just let me say, Simon Banks can't play politics very well, but he plays a mean game of golf and last Saturday, he beat the Commissioner. Anyway, that's what our criminal is doing, just that, well, I don't mean *just that*, it's pretty frightening, but at least the victims aren't being beaten or god forbid, raped.
Where was I? Oh, yeah, a few minutes ago.....
The witness is a cute little thing named Jilly and yes, she looks just like a Jilly should look. We walk in and my partner introduces us and I get my usual thrill of hearing, "And this is Detective Sandburg" which in this case is immediately followed by the "What am I? Chopped Liver? brain yell as the cute blonde barely looks at me, dismisses me and smiles brightly up at the redwood. Who smiles back and proceeds to dazzle her with his wit. And Detective Sandburg fades away to nothing.
Maybe it's that half inch of hair I had trimmed? Nah, it's hardly noticeable, but heck, you just never know.
"Sandburg? Did you hear me?"
Oops, gotta go, The Sentinel of the Great City beckons.....remind me to do something drastic to those Chopec the next time I see them.....
"Did you get all that down?"
"Yes, I got it all down. Want a readback?"
"If you'd be so kind."
Why do I suddenly have this urge to bow and kiss his......
"Yeah, yeah, here's what she said...."
*I was just locking up and after I closed the door, I heard this yell, and I don't know why I ran toward it, it was silly really, but I heard this scuffling noise, just by the alley, so I ran up and peeked in, and this massive *thing* had this young man down on the ground, and was trying to tie him up, I think, so I screamed bloody murder and the *thing* stood up and climbed away....*
"You then asked....."
*Climbed away, Jilly?*
"And she batted her eyelashes at you and leaned forward, just enough to show off her considerable attributes, and said...."
*Yes, he climbed. He used the fire escape.*
"And you said...."
*That was very brave of you, Jilly.*
"And you batted *your* eyelashes and she blushed and leaned over even further, which I personally would have thought was impossible, and I was seriously considering getting you a catcher's mitt, because she was gonna fall out of her dre....."
"What? So she said...."
*I helped the man up and we came back here and I called the police and that's it.*
"This was followed by inane chit-chat between you and the winsome Jilly and I'm surprised you didn't ask her out, but hey, how many women can you date at one time?"
Okay, that got his attention, he's looking at me as tho' I've just sprouted a second head.....
"Sandburg, sometimes you astound me. I'm practically old enough to be her father."
Sometimes, I astound myself. But you see what I mean? She's flirting, *he's* flirting, and I'm chopped liver, when I used to be fois gras, and now I'm an Aspen looking for a good home.
You know, I'm wondering if maybe when Jim and I did that merge thingy, you know, the one *he* won't talk about? If maybe something got transferred? Or lost? Or left behind? Maybe I need to go back there, look around, take a good flashlight, those spirit worlds are dark.....
"What? You don't have to yell, I'm sitting right here."
"I said your name three times, what's up with you?"
"Nothing. What did you want?"
"Lunch. It's lunchtime....I'm thinking - Ramon's?"
"Yeah, Ramon's, good, perfect, let's go."
Man, he is *so* touchy lately, and it's not like he's the one with the problem. I mean, women aren't ignoring him, but who's biting who's head off, I ask you?
Maybe I need a radical change? Start dressing like Rafe, maybe? In three piece suits? Or grow a moustache? Or cut another three inches off? Or get some advice? From a woman? Like, Connor? Oooh, that's good, I'll ask Connor.
We're here, Ramon's. Man, now that I have a plan, I'm starved.
I hate waitresses. And waiters.
We had both. We started out with a little cupie doll of a waitress, our usual, who drooled over Jim and forgot to take my order!
"And what would you like today, Detective Ellison?" she asked, practically purring.
"Our Albondigas soup is very good today, and mild."
Hey! I *always* had to remind her about too spicey for Jim....
"That sounds great, Elena. And corn tortillas on the side, please."
She scribbled it all down and just as I was about to say, "And I'll have the....", she walked away. She ~ walked ~ away!
Oh, I finally got to order, but man, oh, man! But then she went off duty and Rico took over.
Big, tall, handsome. Brought me extra chips, extra guacamole, extra sourcream, *three* sodas and a flan I didn't even order and he didn't charge....what's with that? Uh?
Waiters. Waitresses. Sentinels. Who needs 'em?
I have got to talk to Connor. Or move into a cave.
"You're beeping, Chief."
I fumble in my pocket, pull out my pager and it's Simon.
"Oh, Jim? Is your cellphone on?"
"Well, of course it is..uh," he does some fumbling of his own and I can't help the smirk as he realizes it's not charging. Tee hee! I *am* a stinker.
"Where's your cellphone, Chief?"
"MY cellphone? MY CELLPHONE?"
"You are really touchy lately. I'm going back into the restaurant and call Simon. Plug this in for me, while I'm gone." He throws me his depleted phone and I wisely refrain from either smirking again, sniggering, or snorting. As Jim jogs back to Ramon's, Rico is jogging towards me!
I'm screwed. Rico asked me on a date! I am seriously discombobulated. Seriously.
"Hey, Connor, got a few minutes?"
"Sure, Sandy. What's up?"
"Not here, in private. Interrogation room?"
She's definitely puzzled now, but she nods and off we go. I let her precede me into the small room and as she sits down, I start to pace.
How do you ask about something like this?
"Well? Is there something wrong? You in trouble? Jim giving you grief? You two have a fight? Oh, God, tell me you're not breaking up?"
I'd stopped pacing at her first round of questions, but at this last, I freeze.
"Break up. You and Jim. Tell me that's not what's happening? Please?"
"No, no, I mean, what, um, why,....Are you crazy?"
She's smiling now, looking very happy and relieved. "Thank God. You are so perfect together, I couldn't bear it if you two broke up."
"Whoa! Stop right there. What the hell are you talking about? Perfect for each other? I want to know what's wrong with me, why women have suddenly decided I have leprosy or something, and you're saying Jim, who's suddenly requiring a *body* guard, and I are the perfect couple? ARE YOU NUTS?"
Uh, oh, she's using her "Jim Ellison - Space Cadet" look....on me.
"Blair, number one; you are definitely *not* advertising anymore. You're practically wearing a sign that says, "Candy Store - Closed for Business" and number two; are you saying that you and Jim aren't a couple?"
"No we are not a couple. Not ~ a ~ couple. Understood?"
She's holding up both hands now, and smiling as she answers me, "Okay, not a couple, I'm straight on that......um, er, I mean, I......" then she explodes in a fit of Australian giggles.
"Get it? Straight?" She manages to giggle out.
Sandburg - angry here.
"You're a riot, Connor, a real riot."
She sobers up and gives me the once over.
"You are advertising a closed shop, Blair, and maybe you should discuss this with Jim instead of me?"
"Gee, thanks Connor, why don't I just do that?"
Does sarcasm really drip?
"Hey, don't get all snippity with me, mate. You asked, I answered."
"Sorry, Connor." (NOT!) "But how do you explain Jim? The new Major Crimes Babe Magnet? If I'm closed, what is he doing? Having a clearance sale? Get your free lollipops here, folks!?"
"You really are dense, aren't you? And you have a Masters in Anthropology? He's not looking anymore, get it?"
Man, I'm like, so dizzy here. My mom used to have an old record player when I was little and I'd turn it on and put my little stuffed animals, yes, god dammit, I had little stuffed animals, okay? Anyway, I'd kick up the speed and watch them spin around until they flew off. What goes around, comes around.
"No, I don't get it." I pulled up a chair to settle down for the winter. "Why don't you enlighten this candy story? I mean, if I'm closed and they're staying away in droves and he's closed, why are they coming out of the woodwork for a closed store? And if I'm a candy store, what is Jim?"
She leans forward, suddenly the patient teacher, just barely hiding her female superiority over her stupid male student. "He's never been approachable, see? He had more walls than you can shake a branch...."
"....stick at, but now everything is cool, he's happy, he's not looking anymore, so while the shop is closed, the windows are open, the front door is open, they're invited in, but they can't buy, rent, borrow or sample, see? And I'd say he's an ice cream store. Or maybe....."
"Oh, pul-leeze.....an ice cream store?"
Of course, at that exact moment I get this vision of me studiously *licking* his *cone*, and the heat on my face says I'm blushing......shit.
And Megan is grinning from ear to ear.
"You on the other hand, have closed doors, shuttered windows, hell, you've moved the whole damn store. And considering that *you* aren't getting any ice cream, and *he* isn't getting any candy, I'd say you both closed up shop a bit prematurely, but hey, whatever floats your boat."
Ever get the feeling Rod Serling is enjoying a practical joke at your expense? Hey, in for a penny, in for a pound.
"So, I should?"
"Invite Jim to sample your product?"
Okay, I have *got* to process this one.......
Megan starts to leave, very satisfied that she has been of immeasurable assistance, but turns back and gives me a postively Machiavellian grin and says, "You know, if you decide that Jim isn't your flavor after all......well, I *love* candy, especially those small peanut clusters, and caramels....."
"Connor? Shut up."
".....and molasses chips, they're so small, and thin and cute......"
She's still rattling off candy as she closes the door behind her.
Question: How do you face your roommate after you've discovered you're a closed candy store and he's a closed ice cream store and you really, really, really want to try his Rockey Road?
Can a redwood really find happiness with a small (but of average height - if you're a pygmy) Aspen? And just how many metaphors can I come up with???
The problem becomes moot as we're immediately dispatched to an apartment complex about four blocks from 852 Prospect.
Another victim of our weird assailant.
Escalation. This victim was injured, nearly killed. She fought back and fought hard, put up the good fight and was concussed into the next century. And we're no closer to finding and stopping this *thing* than I am to having ice cream tonight. And both Jim and I know that this whole mess is going to get a whole lot worse before it gets better.
Does that stop me from suddenly wondering how Jim would taste?
Does that stop me from fantasizing about all the ways I'd like to drive Jim over the edge?
Am I stopped from wondering what it would be like, making love to a man? Or better yet, being made love *to* by one, Jim Ellison?
Man, I'm hopeless.
Whew, feels good to be home. Strip, shower, jerk off.....
"You mind telling me what's going on with you? You losing your hearing?"
"Of course not."
"So you just don't answer the first two times anymore? You wait until I yell first?"
I've got him looking strangely at me, as he takes off his jacket without taking his eyes off my face.
"We didn't do groceries. What do you feel like?"
*We* didn't do groceries. What do *I* feel like?
"Um, well, I'd love some ice cream, Jim."
"Good choice for dessert, Darwin, now how about dinner?"
"Wha'? Oh. Dinner. Guess I just jumped ahead, to dessert. Silly me."
I just love it when he quirks that eyebrow at me. The big cutie.
"Well, how 'bout I go down to Ray's and pick up a couple of subs, then over to Swenson's for Ice cream?"
He's exhausted, frustrated, but for me - ice cream and subs. I think I'm in love.
"Sounds perfect. There's enough here for a salad, I'll put that together while you go for the sandwiches. Deal?"
He smiles *that* smile, the *I'm home - this is good* smile. Gets me every time. I *know* I'm in love.
Life is good. Not perfect, but good. Need my ice cream cone, *then* life will be perfect.
Salad is done, chilling in the fridge, right next to a bottle of wine. Chardonnay goes well with Subs, right?
But he's been gone awhile and I'm suddenly getting jumpy, nervous. Fidgety, hair standing on end kind of nervous.
I'm going after him.
Shit. He's already been here, and gone. Fifteen minutes ago. Sandwiches, ice cream, so where is he?
Istep outside, stand perfectly still. I'm no Sentinel, but damn, I *am* his guide and some would say I'm a shaman.
So concentrate, already.
Left - right. Back to my left....*away* from home. I start walking, it's cold and crisp, fall having landed some two weeks ago. I can see my breath, and we have a full moon. There's an alley ahead and my heart freezes. I stop again, and listen with everything I have......and I hear it. A scuffling sound, in the alley. Damn, no gun, no nothing. I start running, my heart thundering now, completely thawed out by fear. I turn the corner and thanks to the moon and a street light, I can see them. *Them*.
Jim and a large, dark shape. They're struggling, or at least that's how it looks at first glance, but as I focus my newly trained cop eyes, I see a very different view.
The huge mass is kneeling over Jim's body, and I can see Jim's hand, fingers digging into the dark shape, and his legs, kicking as he tries to dislodge the mass, but I can also see his strength fading and as I move closer, I see two massive hands have closed around Jim's neck and they're squeezing and squeezing....and Jim's fingers, I can see them flex once, then loosen and......let go. His hand falls, limp, slapping the ground and his legs, they stop and I'd give anything to have a my gun ~ anything. But I have a voice.
"FREEZE! CASCADE POLICE DEPARTMENT!
The mass releases Jim's body and slowly stands. A window is raised above us and I yell, "CALL 9-1-1, NOW!"
The mass turns and I can see a flash of silver, a long pair of scissors, sharp, gleaming and the man, and it *is* a man, at least 6'6, almost three hundred pounds, all muscle, and the eyes have locked onto my face, my hair and he's moving toward me and making these little soft sounds in his throat and I can't retreat, can't leave Jim, but I can't lose either.
Weapon. I need a weapon. I let my eyes drift, searching, and he makes his move, lunging easily, in spite of his size, and hands are clawing out.......fingers, like talons, reaching, reaching.....
And I duck.
And scramble under those arms, and I've spotted a weapon, a pipe, a *large* pipe, and I'm going for it, can almost feel the metal, fingers brushing it, and his hands are *in* my hair, tree trunk sized fingers wrapping around big chunks, and pulling me back, and I know in a moment he'll have me and against all the odds, I pull hard and my fingers have the pipe, but he's pulling me again, so I let him, and I'm yanked back, spun around and slammed up against the wall.
The giant is holding me up with just his body, and grasping hands are touching me, and he's making those sounds again....and there isn't enough room for me to swing the pipe, but I can jab, and I do, right into the family jewels.
He bellows and I jab again and bring the pipe into an uppercut, and I feel it as the pipe connects with his chin, there's this "cracking" sound and he drops like a stone.
And so do I. I was at least five feet off the ground. I land and manage to crawl over to Jim, I can hear the sirens, see the lights now, but my finger is on Jim's bruised neck and there's a pulse, but he's not breathing and it's only been a couple of minutes, but it seems like the proverbial eternity, and I start mouth to mouth, I pinch, cup the chin, lift, pull out the jaw, put my mouth to his, and breathe.....and breathe.....and breathe, and I can't believe this, and it's like the fountain all over again, but obviously in reverse, and I can hear the air going down, and as I turn my head and watch, the chest goes up, lungs filling, so I know the air is going down, no crushed windpipe, so I keep breathing and begging, calling him back, and this is Jim, *my*Jim, and he's not breathing, and I'm getting angry with him, daring him to leave, telling him I love him, and suddenly the alley is full of men and women, cops, but I keep breathing, and listening, breathing and listening, and I hear it, a rumbling sound, which is followed by a wonderful, beautiful cough, and he raises a hand, and pushes me away, and those blue eyes open and he rasps out, "Jeesh, get a life, Sandburg."
Okay, not the most heartwarming remark, but it works for me.
Jim is sitting on the back of one of the SWAT vans, the paramedics finished with him a few minutes ago, and while his voice is going to be a bit husky for a few days, and swallowing is going to be no treat, *and* he has massive bruises on his neck, he's okay, can go home.
Simon and I are standing in the alley, the giant now cuffed and gone ~ to the hospital, I broke his jaw. And I'm repeating my story, and he's nodding, putting it together with Jim's and I can see he's dying to ask a question, and I can guess what it is.....how did the guy get a drop on Jim? I promise to ask and fill him in later, but right now, home. And I don't give Simon a chance to argue, I give him my best "I'll write it up tomorrow" look and he falls for it. Hell, he *always* falls for it.
I've got him on the couch, in sweats, a fire is going, and he's currently slurping up a chocolate malt, the only thing he can handle right now, and he looks happy, and miserable at the same time.
I've been standing here, just looking at him, and finally he carefully turns his head and cocks that eyebrow at me.
"well?" he croaks.
"Do you like candy, Jim?"
Not the brightest start, but hey, I was in that alley too, and I can still feel the guy's hands on me.
He doesn't bother to answer, just nods.
"Got a favorite?"
He's squinting now, trying real hard to figure out where this could be going, but he's used to me so he's learned to go with the flow.
"mm, molasses chips. small, thin, cute, good."
That floors me.
"Connor says I'm a closed candy store and you're a closed ice cream store and I really love Rocky Road, but you haven't tasted my candy yet and I haven't tasted your ice cream yet, so we maybe shouldn't have closed up, but when I'm in love, I close shop, and there's no use staying open, but you let people in, but you don't let them buy or rent or sample, but I don't even let them in, and she thinks we'd make a perfect couple, and well, so do I."
"i need to call 9-1-1.....i understood that. i need a doctor. do i have a fever?"
I don't hear him, instead, I keep rambling.....
"And I think you're a redwood, but I'm an Aspen, and lately, the women have wanted redwoods, but that's because...."
"let me guess....because i let them in and you don't?" His voice is really husky now, and he's getting this look, and I've seen it before, with that jewel thief, whatever her name was, slut-something or other......only it's just him and me, me and him.
"Yeah. You let 'em in, I don't. I'm like, really closed. No more candy, it's all yours. And I really want some ice cream."
He holds out his malt.
And smiles wickedly.
I walk over and take the big glass and sip, and smile right back at him as I return the malt. He takes it *and* me and pulls me down to him, and none to gently, until I'm on him, and he sets the malt down, and makes this little humming sound in his throat, and puts his fingers in my hair and groans with the feel, and I kiss his neck, a little hesitant, but he groans again, and it sounds more like passion than pain, so I keep going, unbuttoning his shirt, wondering what this is going to be like, I mean, no breasts, you know? But I've always liked his chest, so big, and I latch onto one nipple and he arches at the touch, and I figure I'm on the right track, so I give him my best sucking technique and he's wiggling and moaning, so I add teeth, just a nip, and it sends him into orbit, and his hands come up and start tearing at my shirt, and I wave good-bye to six perfectly good buttons, sorry now, that I never learned to sew the way Naomi wanted me to.......but he's playing with *my* chest, mewling at the texture of my chest hair, and twirling it, and licking it, and orbit is looking pretty good to me too....
But damn, I *really* want that ice cream cone, know what I mean? So I scoot down, and fumble with his sweat cord, and finally it's loose and I pull and he helps, and there's my cone, dripping, and it's a beauty, and I've had women who loved to go down on me, and women who didn't, and women who would but would rather not, and all I can think is, "Who wouldn't want to go down on this?" so I do.
I'm clumsy, but I know what I like, and this is a Sentinel, so I add a few touches, like making small noises, and humming, and that really works because he grabs my head, and holds on for dear life, and I'm licking, and lapping, and circling, and stroking, and pumping a bit, and squeezing, and inching that cone deep and deeper still and damn, I'm really getting the hang of this, and I don't have to wonder anymore, I *know* what he tastes like, and I love it, better than Rocky Road, and I'm still not sure how I did it, how I got it down there, but I did, I do, and he's thrusting, in - out, in -out, and I constrict, suck, and he's trying so hard to say something, and I know what it is, he wants to warn me, but I don't care, you can't just lick, or just taste an ice cream cone, you have to swallow and I want to....so I do.
My orgasms have always been pretty powerful, but Jim's? God, he's beautiful. And now? All finished, sated, depleted, debauched, eyes glazed over, lips parted, hair mussed, and he's mine, all mine. And I love him, deeply, completely, and I've never felt this before, imitations yes, but never the real thing, but this is, the real thing, no artificial ingredients, no fillers, just pure, unadulterated love, Sentinel style.
And I'm as hard as I've ever been. But Jim is a Sentinel, and he smiles like a kid in a candy store who's just been told he can have it all.....his legs slide open even further and I just kind of slip in, and his hand is there, working my zipper and as his hand closes over me, he pulls on my hair, pulls me to him, his mouth clamps over mine, and we share our first kiss and that's all it takes. I'm gone. Over the edge, falling, spiralling down, my body pumping relentlessly, our tongues entwined, his hand stroking, and I come like I've never come before, and I moan his name into his mouth, and shudder, and collapse.
My first conscious thought is, "messy", and how soon will Jim get up and clean? I smile, because he is sound asleep, so maybe I'd better do the cleaning this time?
We're going to need baby wipes. And lube.
Gotta love this mano y mano kind of love. At least I do. And we haven't even done it all....
He's awake, smiling up at me as I stand there, nude now, and gazing down at him.
"Hi. How's the throat?"
"i should ask you....." his grin widens.
"Never better. I knew I'd love your cone."
"can't wait to try yours."
Such a romantic. I'm pudding in this man's hand/s.......
He sits up and notices I've been busy. "you cleaned." His voice is barely a whisper, and I nod.
"we'll need baby wipes."
"lots of lube. lots and lots of lube. all flavors."
My God, he's a sex fiend. Oh goody.
He waves me down and I sit next to him, and he pulls the blanket from the back of the couch and wraps it tenderly around me, then tucks me into his side, where I fit like a glove, but it's weird, in a very nice way.
"thank you. you saved my life."
Good time to ask for Simon. "How did he...."
"i was thinking of candy, actually. really, i was."
"yeah, you wanted ice cream, and that made me think of candy, so i was going to go over to "Grandma's Confectionary" and pick me up some......"
"yeah, molasses chips."
"he plucked me right off the ground and the next thing i knew, i was on the concrete and fighting for a breath. then i was being kissed by you. nice way to wake up."
I shivered at the memory of my "kisses", of my battle to make him breathe, and he tightened his hold, and I tightened mine.
"i guess you have an idea of what i went through at the fountain, uh?"
No, I didn't. I had no guilt, Jim wasn't dead, he'd had a pulse, he just hadn't been breathing and I didn't have to go in after him. Did I want to say any of that? Now? It was still a sore subject with Jim, so why rock the boat?
"Yeah, Jim, I guess I do." And I left it at that, but Jim didn't.
We were quiet for a few minutes, enjoying the darkness, the firelight, our home, each other, but I wasn't all that relaxed, memories surfacing, old wounds, wounds I'd long since stitched up, but that maybe hadn't healed as well as I thought they had......
"i'm sorry," he whispered in my ear.
"me too," I whispered right back.
"it's strange, blair, but i've been on that journey with you all along, and didn't know it. i do now, and it's the best trip of my life and i hope it never ends. i love you."
My throat is constricting, and I know there's moisture building in my eyes, so I swallow, and my love for this man, for this complicated, complex, wonderful, exasperating, *human being*, for this Sentinel, overtakes me, and I know I'm on the ride of a lifetime, a ride I plan to stay on, forever.
But all I can say is, "Ride me baby." And he laughs, and I laugh, but he isn't fooled, not for one minute, and we settle back to watch our city, and for now, to just enjoy the feel of being in each other's arms.
I'm gonna love this "Closed for Business" stuff.
Megan will be so happy.