Blair hadn't been this excited since, like, never. As in never ever.
Okay - once. He'd been this excited once, but who could blame him? Who wouldn't have been excited at the prospect of doing a twenty-six year old cheerleading instructor when you were sixteen?
Yes, thank you. Exactly.
Of course, Jim Ellison wasn't a twenty-six year old cheerleading instructor. But damn it, the thirty year old Blair Sandburg was just as thrilled at the prospect of 'doing' Jim Ellison as the sixteen year old had been while waiting for the cheerleader with really sexy breasts to show up.
Not that it didn't make sense to be more excited this time around. After all, last time, he'd only had fifteen minutes to be excited before the bombshell had shown up on his dorm doorstep, thanks to his college roommate.
"Sandburg, you're going to lose your cherry tonight--"
"I thought only girls could lose their cherries?"
"Sandburg, you can't be this stupid. You have an IQ that would make Einstein envious. Everyone knows that all virgins, male or female, can lose their metaphoric cherry, and all virgins, male or female, must lose said cherry by the time they start college. You, my fine young friend, are several months behind."
"Well, one doesn't normally get to college until they're eighteen, so I should have two more years to lose my... you know. So I'm not actually behind at all. In fact, thanks to you and your sister's best friend--"
"An ex-Dallas cheerleader, you lucky dog, and you're welcome, by the way. I've never, in my entire life, been this unselfish. But kid, you are in desperate need, and trust me when I tell you that tonight will clear up that little complexion problem you've got going."
No, he'd only had fifteen minutes notice that time, but this time, he'd had three years to prepare. But oddly enough, even three years had done nothing to dilute the excitement.
Man, tonight was going to be so fucking special. Breastless, but special.
Blair's excitement carried him up the three flights at a run and he was barely breaking a sweat when he reached the third floor landing. He let himself into the loft and put the flowers on the kitchen table before shedding his jacket and dropping his keys. He supposed the flowers were a bit much, but on the way home, he'd been unable to resist their siren song. He had a feeling not many people had given flowers to Jim.
Come to think of it, not many people - scratch that -- no people, had ever given him flowers either.
Blair grinned. Guess this made him the pursuer and the seducer.
And Jim Ellison was so going to be seduced. Blair rubbed his hands gleefully. He was going to seduce Jim Ellison into next week.
Okay, so -- dinner.
He mentally checked off the menu; filet mignon with a champagne glaze, haricot verts barely cooked in olive oil and sprinkled with crumbled bacon and goat cheese, a traditional Caesar salad that included a wooden salad bowl rubbed with garlic... maybe he should scratch the garlic? Sentinel tongue in TA's mouth -- definitely no garlic . He had real Parker House rolls (flown to Cascade at no little expense), Potatoes Anna, and for dessert; white chocolate macadamia nut cheesecake.
So, what to do first? He checked his watch and decided on a nice, romantic fire with a few candles placed strategically throughout the loft.
A few minutes later, the fire was lit and the candles were in place. Satisfied, he moved into the kitchen -- and stopped dead.
Shit, he was... he was....
God, he was nervous.
He, Blair Sandburg, was nervous.
Farewell "excited" and hello "I need a new deodorant!".
"No, Carolyn, I... no, you wouldn't... I'm sure you wouldn't ...be ... intruding."
Jim watched his ex-wife and thought, "Is my nose growing?"
It should have been, because he was pretty darn sure she'd be intruding. If he had any ability to read signals, and he did, tonight was the night. The night he and Sandburg finally did it. Got it on. Did the horizontal cha-cha-cha.
Wait. Was it the horizontal... mambo? Tango?
Tonight he and Sandburg were finally going to have sex.
There, he'd said it. Okay, silently, but he'd said it.
"Well, if you're sure. I'm only going to be here a few days, and I'd really like to get together with you before I leave. We have so much to catch up on."
"We sure do."
He was pretty sure that last statement qualified as a runner-up to the greatest understatement of all time. Maybe even first runner-up.
He helped her on with her coat, and with a hand at the small of her back, guided her out of Major Crime and over to the elevator. As they waited, he gave a vague thought to calling Blair and warning him, but he quickly discarded it. He was simply too....
Just call him chicken and stuff him.
Okay, this place looked good. It was time to fluff the peacock feathers. Wondering where the hell that had come from, Blair walked into his room and started to strip. He'd showered at the station (investigating a murder in the city's sewers tended to force that kind of action on a man) so all he had to do was get dressed for sex... er, for dinner.
Black silk slacks, white shirt with mother-of-pearl cuff links, black cashmere pullover sweater and black loafers. And... an earring. Silver loops just like the good old days. Well, except for the silk shirt, mother-of-pearl cuff links, loafers and... yes, well. A lot had changed in three years. Like... he'd developed good taste.
Fifteen minutes later, and dressed to kill, he walked into the bathroom. He spent extra time on his teeth and breath, used a damn nice smelling mousse on his hair (not sticky, but finger friendly, and thus sentinel friendly), then stepped back and gave himself the once over.
Not bad, Sandburg. Not bad at all.
And why hadn't anyone ever told him how nice silk trousers felt on bare skin?
He walked out just in time to see the front door open and Jim -- followed closely by Carolyn Plummer -- walk in.
Sorry, no. Blair Sandburg was not into threesomes.
"Hey, Jim. Long time, no see," he said brilliantly.
Jim swallowed hard and said, "Hey, Chief. Look who I brought home."
Carolyn smiled at Blair even as she glanced around. Seeing the set table, the flowers, the wine, the fire and the candles, she said, "Jim? Honey? I think we should... well, maybe we should eat out. It looks as though Blair is having a special guest."
Rubbing the back of his neck, Jim said, "It does look that way, doesn't it?"
Blair's mouth opened, he blinked several times, then shut his mouth... and waited.
Carolyn took Jim's arm and began to lead him toward the still open door. "Come on, let's give him some peace." She smiled and added, "I'm sure we can think of something to do for the next... what... four hours or so?"
Like a lamb to slaughter, Jim allowed Carolyn to drag him out of the loft. He even let her shut the door behind them.
Stuff him and roast him in a four hundred degree oven. He was dead meat.
Blair watched the door shut. He waited. A minute. Two. Five.
The door didn't reopen. Jim didn't reappear.
So maybe he wasn't seducing anyone tonight.
He walked over to the fire and turned it off, then picked up all the candles, walked into his room and dumped them unceremoniously on the bed. He went back out, walked to the table, removed one place setting and put it away, then took out the salad. At the table, he served himself, opened the wine, poured, and started to eat.
By the time he'd finished the salad, he'd convinced himself that Jim was nothing more than a big, blue-eyed chicken. After he'd finished his filet, he was pretty sure that Jim had been overcome by feelings for his ex. While eating his dessert, he'd convinced himself that Jim belonged with his ex and not an overactive male anthropologist cum police observer.
It was obvious that Jim had always loved his ex-wife, after all, hadn't the man had dinner with her not one week after he and Jim had met? And hadn't she been jealous over Beverly Sanchez? And somebody remind him, please, why she'd taken the job in San Francisco in the first place? Oh, yeah, because Jim hadn't been all that quick on picking up the 'we should get back together' signals she'd been putting out like a hooker on Fifth Street after dark.
Blair had another piece of cheesecake, and another glass of wine.
Well, well, would you look at that... he'd just emptied the bottle.
"Where would you like to eat, Jim?"
They were standing on the sidewalk in front of 852 and Jim was feeling sick to his stomach. His sentinel vision and memory were allowing him to revisit, in minute detail, every inch of his home of a few moments ago. He could still see, thanks to detailed memory sense, the flowers on the table, the set table, and the romantic candles. He could smell the prime rib from where they stood, but all he could see was a shocked Blair, in black cashmere and silk, and looking better than any man had a right to look.
And Jim knew it had all been for him.
The seduction of all seductions - and he'd shown up with his ex-wife.
He had to fix this -- somehow. Get rid of the yellow streak down his back, and damn quick.
He took Carolyn's arm and guided her across the street as he said, "For now, how 'bout a cup of coffee at Sinclair's? I think there are a few things we need to discuss."
She smiled up at him, nodded, and said, "Sure. We can eat later. Besides, it will give us a chance to see Sandburg's date." She looked over her shoulder and added, "I'm curious to see what kind of woman--"
"Yes, well, here we are," Jim interrupted. He opened the door and let Caro precede him, then guided her to a table in the corner of the small cafe.
This was not going to be easy.
He fiddled with his coffee stirrer and waited patiently for Caro to return from the ladies restroom. Their conversation since sitting down had been far too ordinary thanks to her inability to focus on him. Apparently she just had to see "The Date".
Thanks to the ever widening - as opposed to shrinking -- yellow streak, he'd failed miserably in telling her that he was "The Date".
Jim looked at his watch -- and groaned. One solid hour. An hour of chit-chat, of listening to Caro talk about her sister, her mother, her new job, her boss, her new car....
Now he remembered why they'd divorced. He'd never wanted to talk about Caro as much as she had.
Okay, that was not the gentlemanly thing to have thought.
It was true -- but not gentlemanly.
He spotted her walking back toward the table, gaze firmly glued to the building across the street. As she slid in to her chair, she asked, "Did I miss her? Did I miss 'The Date'?"
Jim counted to ten, then said, "No, you didn't. And what's with the curiosity about Blair's love life, anyway?"
"Oh, come on, Jim. We're talking about Sandburg here. Does "weird Sandburg" ring any bells?"
Eyes narrowing, Jim said tightly, "Just what do you mean by 'weird Sandburg'?"
Carolyn was still staring over at 852 so missed his icy glare as she answered, "You have to admit he was pretty strange. All that movement, the long hair, and that jewelry? And let's face it, he was, and is, the complete antithesis of you. He's not like anyone else, and he's the last person anyone would picture involved in police work... of any kind."
She finally tore her gaze away from the building to favor him with a faintly humorous look as she added, "I never did see how you two could possibly work together, let alone live together. He has to drive you nuts, Jim." She rested her arms on the table and, looking secretive, asked, "You can't imagine my surprise in finding that he's still living with you. I figured he'd be long gone, thanks to either you kicking him out, or him hopping over to something new and shinier." She reached out, placed her hand on his arm and asked, "So tell me, how have you managed all these years?"
Mantra. He needed a mantra....
'I will not kill her, I will not kill her, I will not kill her....'
Yeah, that was working.
He reached into his back pocket, pulled out his wallet and said conversationally, "You have to be the only female in the entire Cascade Police Department who thought Sandburg was weird. All the rest threw themselves at him on a regular basis. If I were a different kind of a man, I'd have kept him around just to catch the overflow, but I've always leaned in the other direction so his castoffs never interested me." He smiled benignly and took a five out of his wallet. As he placed it on the tray left by their waitress, he added, "So I guess you could say that I've kept him around because I was hot for his body. Which by the way, I'd really hoped to enjoy tonight."
He stood up, walked around to her chair, pulled it out for her, and said, "You see, I was his date for the evening."
Blair walked dejectedly out of his room. He was wearing his worn sweat pants, tube socks, and his favorite tee shirt with a picture of Snoopy and Woodstock on the front. He padded over to the kitchen to begin the process of cleaning up, and sighed melodramatically as he entered the kitchen.
While washing his plate, he wondered how he could have gotten something so wrong. On the other hand, he could have sworn the signals had been there. Maybe he'd been right, but seeing Carolyn again had obviously been enough for Jim to change his mind.
Man, for a smart guy, he was pretty stupid.
He stopped for a moment and asked himself the tough question....
"What are you going to do now?"
It was a good question, because going backwards had never been an option for him. Continuing to live here with Jim, knowing that nothing was going to happen between them wasn't an option either.
Carolyn would definitely be against it.
"But Jim, we've remarried. You can't possibly expect me to allow Sandburg to continue to live with us, can you?"
"We could always adopt him, Caro."
"Jim, I do not want to adopt a thirty year old weird man, all right? He has got to go. Now."
No, Carolyn wouldn't want him to continue living under the stairs of the loft.
Damn, if only Jim had an attic. He could have been the weird little man hiding in Jim's attic for the rest of his life.
No, no, no, no... just no. Don't even go there, Sandburg. Oh, damn, now he'd done it. Blair put the sponge down, turned off the water, and walked into the living room. He sat down and started laughing. Oh, God.
Weird Sandburg, hair long and stringy, with a beard to match, living in Jim's attic, sneaking downstairs in the middle of the night to steal food, then creeping back up and peering through his peep hole to watch Jim shower.
His laughter increased.
"Jim, I had no idea--"
"No, no, I'm sorry, I shouldn't have handled it that way, but--"
"I know, I know. I was being a bitch, plain and simple. I must have, on some level, suspected the truth, and I guess... I was in denial. I'm so sorry, Jim. So very sorry."
They were back on the sidewalk in front of his building. After his little bombshell, Caro had been surprisingly... quiet. Then Jim had been struck by a shaft of guilt and had retaken his seat. They'd talked, then walked out and across the street. Now both felt foolish, guilty and apologetic.
They looked at each other, grinned sheepishly, chuckled, then laughed out loud.
"Oh, God, Jim," Carolyn said as she wiped her eyes. "I swear, we're unbelievable."
Calming, Jim nodded. "Yes, we are, Caro."
She stepped in close and whispered, "Can I confess something?"
The gleam in her eye told him everything was truly all right, so he nodded. She looked to her right, then left, then said as she gazed back up at him, "I sort of... well, I used to wonder how it would be, you know, with ... him. I mean, it's not like Sam didn't tell anyone who'd listen. According to her, he was a dynamo in bed, and well, I couldn't help--"
Jim stepped back, and holding up one hand, said, "TMI, Caro. TMI!"
She actually blushed, then giggled like a school girl. Shaking her head, she said, "Jimmy, I love you, you know that, right?"
He nodded, wondering what was coming next.
"I mean, I love you, as opposed to still being in love with you, and it's giving me some freedom here. Freedom to say, be happy with him. I think you two will be good together, really good together. But... you need to remember to be 'present', if you know what I mean?"
Smiling softly, Jim nodded. "I do, and trust me, with Blair, you have to be present. If not, you miss all sorts of weird, but good, things."
She laughed again, then reached up and kissed him lightly on the lips. "Be happy, Jimmy. You deserve it."
"Thank you, Carolyn. Thank you."
He walked her over to her car, watched as she climbed in and put on her seatbelt, then smiled as she actually blew him a kiss. With a sense of total peace, he continued to watch as she drove away.
The peace ended the moment he glanced up at the loft balcony. He whistled low, stuffed his hands in his pocket, and headed inside. He had a lot to say, and a lot to do to make this right and get their lives back on track.
Only problem was, he wasn't that good with words.
Well, actually, he was very good with words, just not when his feelings were involved. He was more of an action man then.
Blair wiped his eyes as he continued to chuckle. Okay, he had to make sure that when Jim and Carolyn finally bought a house -- it had an attic.
His chuckling stopped when he heard a key being inserted into the lock.
He quickly rose to his feet just as Jim walked in. He had the insane urge to wave his middle finger, but he bit down on it - the urge, not the finger. He was about to say something incredibly witty when Jim stalked over to him, placed a hand on either side of his face... and kissed him.
When Jim was done with his mouth, he lifted his head and whispered, "I could have explained, taken valuable minutes talking, but you know I don't do that well, so I thought this might say it better."
Eyes on Jim's lips, Blair nodded and said softly, "Yeah, yeah, I know. You're an action kind of guy when your feelings are involved. And I've got to tell you, I've never appreciated that fact more than now, man."
"I told her about us... well, about the us we're about to be, and she wishes us well."
"So I take it the two of you aren't getting married again?"
"No, Chief," Jim said as he ran a finger over Blair's bottom lip. "We're definitely not getting together again. Which is a very good thing, since I'm planning on getting together with you."
"Can't argue with that, Jim. And now I don't have to worry about living in an attic for the rest of my life." At Jim's confused look, he said, "You had to be here, man."
"Sandburg, I'd be with you anywhere. Attic, cellar, you name it."
"Bed, in the storage closet under the stairs?" Blair asked with a grin.
"Everywhere but there. Your bed will destroy my back."
"Ah-so... and," he raised his head and sniffed, "do I still smell prime rib?"
Laughing, Blair said, "Yes, you romantic devil. And may I say, the seduction dinner was terrific? Too bad you missed it."
"Dibs on leftovers?" Jim asked with a mischievous grin.
"Oh, man, I'm letting you off way too easy." He took Jim's hand and led him to the table. "But since I've known you for over three years, as in know you, no one should be surprised. Sit."
Jim didn't sit, which was a surprise to Sandburg, because Jim almost always did what he said.
"You know, I'm thinking those leftovers could wait until later," Jim suggested as he pulled Blair into his arms. "And of course, you know me, and I know you, which is probably why I let Carolyn intrude earlier. You scare the hell out of me, Sandburg. But fortunately, I found my courage again, and here we are."
"That's why I love you, man. You're finding your courage much sooner these days."
Laughing, Jim started pulling him toward the stairs. "Come on, let's get this seduction on the road."
"What, you don't want any foreplay?"
"Three years, Sandburg, three years."
"Right. Fuck the foreplay."
The candles were burning low and giving the loft a warm, flickering glow. The prime rib platter was almost empty and the potatoes were history. The green beans were being eaten, one by one, as both Jim and Blair dipped in and plucked them up while staring lovingly at each other. Both were naked.
"So, how did we do?" Jim asked with a smug grin.
"I don't know about you, but I was spectacular."
"Yes, you were. As advertised."
One shaggy eyebrow rose. "As advertised?"
"Hey, I have really good hearing, Chief."
"But you don't listen," Blair said easily as he munched another bean.
"Okay, you caught me. Evidently Sam wasn't exactly quiet about your relationship. Apparently, per Caro, you're a dynamo in bed."
"Excuse me? Apparently? You just experienced me first hand... and dick... and mouth... and--"
"Yeah, and ass. And you're saying apparently?"
"It was rather nice personally confirming the rumor," Jim said with a smirk.
"Well, having just experienced you ... and all the earlier mentioned body parts, I can truthfully say that you're a pretty nice dynamo yourself."
"Thank you." Jim looked down at the bowl of remaining beans and said softly, "I am sorry about earlier, Chief. Sorrier than I can ever express."
"You expressed it pretty well upstairs. I've never been so loved, or felt so loved, in my entire life. Thank you."
"I'm glad you - heard - me."
Blair got up and went behind Jim. He slid his arms down Jim's chest and whispered, "I think I have this special... sentinel hearing thing going. I can hear my sentinel in ways no one else can."
"Thank God, Chief. Thank God. You're really going to need that skill with me."
Resting his cheek on the top of Jim's head, Blair said, "Don't I know it."