Author's Notes: Another one from the vaults. This one's from my 'macho schmoopy' phase, and it was first published in Owlet's zine Tribe of Twowith some other very lovely stories. Nothing much happens in it — you know, it's the usual: food, angst, senses, Jags tickets, miscommunication. I honestly can't remember who betaed this puppy except Jan, but let me offer a generalized thank you to all the usual suspects!
Sandwiches, Jim Ellison thought triumphantly, pulling the truck into what he had come to think of as his space at Rainier. Sandwiches would be good, and a new hoagie place had just opened over on Sequoia. Simon Banks had tried it, and had given it an enthusiastic thumbs-up — which probably meant, now that he thought about it, that the sandwiches were huge and stuffed full of meat and cheese. If Simon's taste was running to form. And maybe Sandburg wouldn't really like that, which would make the whole enterprise pointless.
So screw that.
Jim switched off the ignition and thought for a moment. Thai was always safe: Sandburg liked Thai. Still, they always ate Thai, it would just be the same old, same old. Hardly any sense of occasion there. Chinese, but Sandburg already ate a lot of Chinese. The university was always ordering Chinese. And the P.D. ordered pizzas, so that was out, too.
Jim sighed and got out of the truck, slamming the door behind him. It was a gorgeous day, warm and clear, and the sky was bright blue. He crossed the grass towards the entrance to Hargrove Hall, carefully ignoring the group of kids playing Frisbee.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice...
Jim jogged up the gray stone steps to the door, pulled it open. The hallway was dim and cool, and smelled like school. Funny how schools had a smell to them: some musty combination of books and paper and ammonia and deep thought.
He had to go up another flight of steps to get to Sandburg's office: the interior steps were rather majestic, like something out of a movie, like something out of a mansion — a movie mansion, he thought. At the top, another door, and here there was life, finally — the chattering noises of the secretaries in the Anthro department office, the laughter of students passing the time as they hovered outside professors' offices, waiting for their twenty minutes. Jim passed them and headed toward the end of the hall to Sandburg's office.
The door was open, and Sandburg was sitting at his desk, frowning down at a document, pen in hand, hair wild around his face. Jim raised his arm and rapped on the glass of the door with his knuckles; Sandburg's head shot up.
"Hey!" Sandburg said, breaking out into a grin.
"Hey yourself," Jim said, stepping into the office.
Sandburg tossed down his pen and sat back in his chair. "What brings you here?"
Jim wandered around the small space, looking around carefully. Stacks of files. Piles of papers. The same stacks of files, the same piles of papers. Nothing ever seemed to change in here; nothing ever looked like it had been so much as moved.
"Lunch," Jim said, turning his attention back to his partner. "Came to take you to lunch."
Sandburg looked surprised and pleased. "Well, cool," he said, standing up. "What's the occasion?"
Jim put on his most disappointed face. "Aw. You didn't remember."
Sandburg immediately looked guilty. "Shit," he said, coming around the desk nervously. "It's your birthday. No," he corrected immediately. "It's my birthday. No. It's some weird Christian holiday I'm not remembering?"
Sandburg looked hopeful and Jim shook his head. "Okay, no," Sandburg conceded. "It's, uh...shit, it's not Secretary's Day, is it?" Jim shook his head again and Sandburg exhaled in relief. "Good, because I didn't do shit for Charlene. Um..." Sandburg stared at him, blue eyes going wide as he tried to guess the occasion of this lunch. "It's something I should remember, huh?"
"Yes," Jim said, crossing his arms and mock-glaring at him. "It's something you should remember."
Sandburg sighed. "Well, you have to remember that I don't remember most of the things that I want to remember, let alone the things that other people think I ought to remember, which I almost never remember." Sandburg gnawed at his lower lip for a moment, sincerely engaged in trying to recall. "Um," he said finally, "give me a hint?"
Jim smirked at him. "Well, if you want, I could shove you up against that wall and try to jog your memory."
Sandburg's face instantly cleared. "Oh! Hey! Well!" Sandburg grinned helplessly and Jim grinned back at him: they were obviously on the same page now. "Wow, man," Sandburg continued, shaking his head. "You sentimental old fuck, you," he marveled, looking delighted.
"You're a real boost to the ego, Chief," Jim said, rolling his eyes.
Sandburg crossed toward him, looking apologetic. "No, hey, I think it's great. I'm moved, I'm touched, I didn't know you cared."
"Well, I don't, really," Jim replied, straight-faced, "but I was pretty hungry, and so I thought, what the hell."
Blair laughed and grabbed his jacket from the coatrack by the door. "Well, that works for me. Where're we going?"
Aye, there's the rub, Jim thought. He could just leave it up to Sandburg, but hell, this was sort of Sandburg Appreciation Day, and it looked better if he at least looked like he had a plan. "How about sushi?" Jim suggested abruptly, taking a stab in the dark.
"Cool!" Sandburg enthused. "That's my very favorite thing — food outside my price range! Let's go!"
Well, duh, Jim thought as he followed Blair out into the hallway, pulling the office door shut behind them. He should have thought of that. Sandburg would eat pretty much anything, but the real treat would be something expensive, something beyond the normal range of grad school eateries. He seemed to remember that there was a pretty schmantzy Japanese place in one of the grander Cascade hotels...
"You know," Sandburg was saying, "this is wild that you remembered. And now I'm having this weird sense of deja vu." He stopped suddenly at the top of the stairs and turned to look at Jim. "I mean, it's like it was yesterday, you know? Except it was also like a million years ago. Three years. Wow."
Sandburg frowned, apparently trying to recall the details. "You came to the office," he said slowly, turning to look back down the hallway toward his door. "And then you left. And I remembered that I hadn't told you about zone-outs." Sandburg turned back to the steps, stared down them, hand grasping the banister. "And I remember just tearing down these stairs, hoping to catch up with you, just cause I wanted to tell you that..."
Sandburg walked down the steps like a man in a dream, and Jim followed him, lost in his own thoughts. Certainly the day had been memorable for him too. He'd walked down these steps himself, and he'd been angry — angry at his sensory problems, angry at the repressed memories of Peru that had been bubbling beneath the surface of his brain, angry at the doctors who'd said that they couldn't help him — and all that anger had suddenly found its focus in that scrawny hippy freak he'd met upstairs.
He frowned, and stared at Sandburg, who was heading for the exit door. Funny to think that Sandburg was that scrawny, hippy freak. In some weird way he never connected them anymore: funny to think that that scrawny, hippy freak was his roommate and partner.
Sandburg held the door open for him and they stepped outside into the sunshine. "It was a beautiful day just like this," Sandburg mused, scanning the quad in front of him. "Blue skies and green grass and red frisbees — " and at the last, he shot a concerned look at Jim, who grinned.
"I got that one figured, now, Chief," Jim replied with an airy wave of his hand. "Frisbee, hackysack, football — all under control."
Blair grinned at him and nodded, looking vaguely proud. Well, hell — he supposed the kid had a right to be.
They walked down the steps toward the parking lot, Sandburg falling a pace behind him as usual. "That was a wild day," Sandburg was muttering, and Jim agreed silently. It had been wild: it had been totally wild. But it had been important, and it was worth commemorating. The kid deserved at least lunch — hell, the kid deserved more than lunch.
Jim noticed two women sitting on a bench, under a tree; he noticed them because they had obviously noticed him and his partner. Now that was damn funny — it was like everything about that day was determined to repeat itself. The weather. The frisbees. And now the gossiping women — and he had a momentary flash of guilt, because three years ago he had lied to Sandburg about what they had said.
However, maybe that could be rectified; maybe he was being given a chance to do it over again, to make good. This would be a perfect day to fess up — to tell Sandburg that those women had liked him, had thought he was cute.
So he stopped short, and turned vaguely toward the two women, throwing out his hearing. Beside him, Sandburg looked momentarily confused, and then he noticed the two women sitting there and laughed, covering his face.
" — really cute," a soft voice whispered.
Jim smirked. History really did repeat itself.
"Who — him?"
"Yeah. The short one. He's totally cute — is he single?"
Well, this time he would tell Sandburg the truth. He would tell Sandburg that the women thought he was cute.
"Honey, he's single all right, but trust me, you do not want to go there. That's Blair Sandburg — and believe me, there's a reason he's still single."
There was a dim rumble of sound behind him, and then the world was shaking slightly, just quaking gently, and suddenly Jim snapped back into the moment and stared at Sandburg, who had a hand on his arm, who was jostling him roughly. "Jim? Hey, Jim, it's okay — we don't actually have to go through the zone, and the garbage truck, and the whole enchilada. I remember, okay?"
Jim blinked and managed to focus his eyes on Sandburg's concerned, amused face. "Yeah, right. Okay."
"Come on, let's go," Sandburg was saying, tugging on his arm. Jim nodded vaguely and began to move forward, toward the lot. "Nostalgia is nice," Sandburg continued, "but I'm pretty hungry."
"Right," Jim agreed distractedly. "Yeah."
"So were they talking about me?" Blair asked a moment later, and there was good humor in his eyes, good humor in his voice. "They were, weren't they — what did they say?"
Jim found himself relying on the familiar standby: "They said you were a dork."
Sandburg was laughing as he moved toward the passenger side of the truck. "I guess some things never change."
So the Japanese food seemed to be a hit — Sandburg ordered something that sounded like "Yucky Udon" — (well, it sure looked like yucky udon) — and a bunch of maki rolls. Jim ordered a simple Chicken Teriyaki and spent most of the meal staring across the table at his partner, trying out and discarding reasons why Blair Sandburg might still be single.
Cause hell, it was strange, wasn't it? Now that he thought of it? Cause the kid was thirty years old. The guy was. Sandburg was. Thirty.
Not like that was over the hill or anything, but still — even he'd been married by thirty, and there were those who'd said at the time that hell would freeze over first.
But no, instead hell had frozen over afterwards — and who was the smart guy who said that he'd rather die in fire than in ice...?
"It's good — really," Sandburg said to him, lifting up two chopsticks wound round with noodles, and Jim realized that Sandburg thought he'd been staring at the food. "It's a little spicy, but — look, here, try it..." He extended the chopsticks toward Jim, and instinctively Jim leaned forward and slurped the noodles into his mouth.
Hmm. Not bad at all. Not half as yucky as it looked. He nodded appreciatively as he chewed, and Sandburg brightened. "See? Told you so. Good, huh?" A lock of hair fell into Sandburg's eyes as he poked the chopsticks into his bowl and twirled them around, getting a sloppy mouthful for himself.
Those women were crazy. Out of their minds. Sandburg was a catch.
Well. Sort of. Depended on how you defined "catch", really. Cause Sandburg was also an adolescent thirty year old who lived in his spare room. With no immediate prospects of a job. Two hundred and thirty four dollars in his checking account. Called his mother once a month.
Okay, so there were a couple of reasons right there, Jim conceded, watching as Sandburg draped a slice of ginger over a tuna roll before popping it into his mouth. I mean, the no-job, no-cash, calling-your-mother-thing certainly might influence a woman's decision.
Not that Sandburg seemed particularly worried about it or anything. Not that Sandburg seemed to be going out of his way to make himself marriageable.
"Hey Sandburg," Jim found himself saying, before he knew he was going to say anything, "what do you want out of life?"
Sandburg's blue eyes widened in surprise at the question, and he swallowed quickly. "Whoa. Big question, there."
Jim supposed it was, but hell, he'd asked it, now. "Well, you know — just vaguely," Jim amended, waving his own chopsticks around.
Sandburg raised an eyebrow, seeming to thinking about it. "Season Jags tickets," he said finally, reaching for another roll with a grin.
Jim couldn't help but laugh. "No, no. I'm talking about a slightly longer term view, here."
"Oh," Sandburg said, looking amused. "Okay...um..." The nimble square fingers picked up another thin slice of ginger, draped it across the tuna roll. "Lifetime season Jags tickets, then."
"Hey, I'm serious," Jim said, with a grin.
"I am, too," Sandburg answered. "Near the base line, preferably. That would rock." The roll disappeared into his mouth.
"There's more to life than sports, you know."
"Not from where I'm sitting," Sandburg said, picking up his chopsticks again. "And don't knock sports — sports are like, indicative, of a much larger array of cultural phenomena. I mean, there's lots of things that work like sports. Some people think war is a sport. Or dating — that can be a sport. I mean, really," Sandburg continued, twirling the chopsticks in the yucky udon, "a sport, in the largest sense, is a game played by rules, generally to accrue some sort of points or measurable result. So life's a sport, if you look at it that way." He sucked some yucky udon into his mouth.
"I don't usually look at it that way," Jim said, frowning.
Sandburg nodded knowingly as he chewed. "Yeah, I know."
"But, I mean — " Jim fumbled, still trying to get his head around this idea of life as a sport. "Where do you see yourself in three years?"
Sandburg blinked, and Jim noticed that his fingers were tightly gripping the chopsticks. "I don't know," he said, casually. "Somewhere, I guess. Somewhere interesting, I hope." He shrugged and chased after a stray carrot. "I dunno — I've never been really good at the long term." He looked up at Jim and smiled. "Too short, I guess."
"But you must have — I dunno — dreams, ambitions...?" Jim encouraged.
Sandburg shrugged again. "No, not really. I mean, the dissertation — yeah, I'd like to finish that someday. Hadn't thought much beyond that, to be honest."
"Well — a job, right?" Jim asked. "Some university, being a professor — "
"Well — maybe." Sandburg looked decidedly equivocal. "I mean — it's a lot less fun on the other side of the desk, you know? I mean, being a student is one thing, but..." Sandburg put his chopsticks down, his expression suddenly serious. "Jim, listen, if this is about rent — "
"It's not," Jim said immediately, surprised at his own vehemence, surprised at the sudden fear uncoiling in his chest.
" — I can pay more, you know?" Sandburg looked at him earnestly, and Jim leaned back in his chair, trying to stay calm, suddenly furious at himself for having even started this stupid conversation. Hell, there was a reason he didn't like to talk! "Really, I can, and — "
"I didn't mean that," Jim said again. "I was just talking, okay?"
"And, like, I know I've been at your place a little longer than a week — "
"Sandburg," Jim said, and dammit, now he sounded angry, and he didn't want to sound angry on Sandburg Appreciation Day, "I didn't mean that!"
" — but I can be gone at a moment's notice, no hard feelings, any time, okay?" Sandburg stared at him across the table, as serious-looking as Jim'd ever seen him. "Okay, Jim?"
Jim tried to sound firm without sounding angry. It wasn't so easy. "I didn't mean that," he repeated for the nth time. "This wasn't about that. I wasn't talking about that.""
Sandburg raised placating hands. "All right, all right, okay, but since it came up, we might as well talk about it. Just so we're clear and all."
"We're clear," Jim said, trying not to grit his teeth.
"I just don't ever want you to feel like you're stuck with me," Sandburg said. "I mean, I know you, man — you think you're responsible for the bad weather in Cascade. You think you're responsible for random fluctuations in the economy." Sandburg rolled his eyes. "So I figure, you're almost guaranteed to think that you're responsible for me. But you're not, okay? So if you ever just feel like living alone — "
"I don't feel like living alone," Jim growled. "So drop it."
" — all you need to do is say the word. All right, fine, we'll drop it," Sandburg said, reaching out again for the menu. "Consider it dropped. Oh, hey, cool, they've got green tea ice cream."
Jim felt his hands curling into fists, and tried hard to uncurl them. Oh, yeah — there was a reason Sandburg was thirty years old and single, all right.
The stupid bastard was annoying.
He dropped Sandburg back in front of Hargrove Hall and drove back to the station, feeling angry with himself. Cause that had been a total fuck-up, and it was all his fault.
Brilliant. Just brilliant. So much for Sandburg Appreciation Day. Hell, he'd just turned it into "Give Sandburg A Complex" Day. Way to celebrate Sandburg's coming into your life — by driving the stupid kid right back out of it.
His own voice echoed in his ears. "Where do you see yourself in three years?" What kind of question was that anyway? And what kind of answer had he expected? What was Sandburg gonna say, "Oh, you know — married, white picket fence, kid on the way..." He'd known that Sandburg wasn't gonna say that. He'd known that Sandburg wasn't like that.
But what Sandburg had said had utterly chilled him. "I can be gone at a moment's notice, no hard feelings, any time, okay?" Yeah, okay, nifty. Just great. Very reassuring.
Hell, in three years Blair Sandburg would probably be living in somebody else's spare room, like some flannel-wearing grunge Mary Poppins.
He pulled the truck up in front of the station with a squeal of brakes. He reached for the door handle. Stopped.
Because, there was no way in hell he was gonna be able to go back to work today. Not after this. Not with Sandburg capable of leaving on a moment's notice.
And maybe Sandburg was right. Since the whole stupid subject had finally come up, they might as well just it talk it all through. Work it all out. Just to be clear and all.
Jim started the truck again and headed for the Cascade Bayside Arena.
It was getting dark and Sandburg was already home by the time Jim returned to the loft. Sandburg was sitting at the kitchen table, working on his laptop, and he looked up and said, "Hey there, Ji — "
And that was as far as he got, because Jim knew damn well that if he didn't say it now he would never say it, and then they'd never be clear, and so he slammed the door behind him and launched right into it.
"Okay, look here, Mary," he said, striding to the kitchen table, "I don't know whether you wanna do the white picket fence thing or not, and maybe you are too short for long term goals, but you know, if those girls don't want to marry you, then I will, because I don't want you living in someone else's spare room, are we clear?"
"I mean, you just can't go wandering the earth like some nomad. Even if it's what your mother did — and you can call her whenever you want, okay? You just call her whenever you want — hell, call her collect — it's on me."
"Uh, thanks," Sandburg said carefully, and Jim sighed.
"Look, Sandburg — I want you to stay, all right.? And it's not about rent, because it doesn't matter to me if you've got no job prospects and two hundred and thirty four dollars, because I don't want children anyway. You don't want children, do you?"
Sandburg looked taken aback. "Um, no — not really."
"Me neither," Jim said, relieved. "So no problem, then. And I'm sorry about wrecking Sandburg Appreciation Day. Here's your tickets." He pulled the white envelope out of his jacket pocket and threw it onto the kitchen table.
Sandburg looked down at the envelope, then up at him, and then reached for a pad of paper and a pen. "Okay, I'm gonna need a list of everything you came into contact with today — "
Jim groaned. "No, no," he said, grabbing the pad out of Sandburg's hand. "I'm not whacko — I'm trying to tell you something!"
Sandburg was all patience. "Okay," he said, leaning back in the chair. "I'm listening. Maybe run this by me again, all right?"
Jim took a deep breath and decided to start from the other end. "They're Jaguar tickets," he said, gesturing toward the white envelope. "You said you wanted Jaguar tickets."
Sandburg frowned and picked up the envelope. He looked at the white laminated season passes, then looked up at Jim, his mouth slightly open.
"Just for this season," Jim apologized. "They don't sell lifetime season tickets — well, they do," he amended, "but only if you make, like, a major capital donation or something. Which I can't afford. Thing is," he continued, dropping into a chair next to Sandburg, "that I want here to be somewhere interesting. And I really don't feel responsible for the economy, but I sort of want to be responsible for you. You know — if that's okay with you."
He looked at Sandburg expectantly, and Sandburg nodded slowly. "Maybe just go over it one more time — I think I'm picking up on a pattern of common words."
Jim sighed and rubbed roughly at his face with his hands. "What I'm trying to say is — I liked the yucky udon. I mean, I almost always like the yucky udon. And you helped with the frisbee and everything — Jesus, Blair: you saved my life: you save my life every day. And so — you know, I want there to be hard feelings. I don't want a moment's notice. Because, when all's said and done, maybe they see a reason that you're still single, but I don't."
Sandburg nodded sympathetically and reached out to touch the arm of Jim's leather jacket. "This is why you don't talk a lot, isn't it?"
"Yes," Jim said, grateful that Sandburg finally understood.
"Okay," Sandburg mused, "let me see if I've got this straight. Um..." He blew out a long breath, and then said, "Okay. If I'm not misunderstanding you — and I really hope I'm not misunderstanding you — I mean — if I've got this right, um..." Sandburg seemed to be choosing his words carefully. "Basically, what I'm hearing here is that you're sort of proposing to me, is that it?"
Jim sighed with relief. "Yeah."
"Jags tickets instead of diamonds, right?" Sandburg asked cautiously, leaning forward.
Jim frowned. "What — you want diamonds?"
"No, no, I want the Jags tickets," Sandburg clarified, quickly snatching up the envelope and clutching it in his fist. "I just meant, like, the metaphor."
"Call it a metaphor, call it whatever you want," Jim said dismissively. "You said you wanted Jags tickets."
"I do. I do want them," Sandburg said.
"Well, I want to be the guy who gives you what you want," Jim explained.
"Well, I want you to be the guy who gives me what I want," Sandburg replied.
Jim grinned helplessly. "Hey — you mean that?"
"Sure, I mean it," Sandburg said. "And what the hell would I do with diamonds, anyway?"
Jim shrugged. "Beats me. This morning I was just gonna give you a sandwich."
"Well," Sandburg said tactfully, " I like a sandwich just fine, but I'm still glad you changed your mind. I mean — the tickets are great."
"Good," Jim sighed. "Great. So, Sandburg — are we clear, now?"
Sandburg considered. "Well, I don't know if I'd go that far. Like, I still don't know who Mary is, or what you mean by yucky udon, but I guess there's time to work out the details. I mean, I think I've got this gist of the thing." He reached out and took Jim's hand in his, squeezing it tightly. "I mean, weird as it was, it's the nicest proposal I could ever have imagined, you know?"
Jim stared down at their intertwined hands. "What about — you know — the, uh...."
"The fucking thing?" Sandburg suggested.
"Yeah, that," Jim agreed instantly. "I mean, how do you feel about that?"
"I'm good with that," Sandburg replied.
"That works fine for me."
"But what if we're not — " Jim frowned. "You know, good together?"
"It's not brain surgery," Sandburg objected. "Look, here — lemme show you," and he dragged his chair a foot closer to Jim's and then grabbed him by the collar of his leather jacket and pulled him close and kissed him. And the feeling of Sandburg's lips on his was electrical — Jim felt pleasure shooting up his spine, down his arms, into his fingertips; he buried his fingertips in Sandburg's coarse, thick hair, and made fists, and held on — plundering Sandburg's mouth roughly, glorying in his catch.
And by the end of the kiss, he had tugged Sandburg by the hair, off the chair, and practically into his lap. God, this was good — this was gonna be so damn good. Fire. Blissful fire, no more ice.
"See?" Sandburg said breathlessly, finally pulling his mouth away. "Not brain surgery."
"No," Jim agreed, equally breathless. He used his thumbs to push Sandburg's hair off his face, out of his eyes — such sparkling blue eyes. "Not at all. Piece of cake."
"Yeah," Sandburg agreed. "Yeah, totally," and then he was kissing Jim again, kissing hard, running his hands up Jim's chest. "God, you're a mountain," Sandburg murmured softly. "I feel like fucking Edmund Hillary."
"Forget him," Jim muttered, suckling Sandburg's earlobe. "You're with me, now."
"No, I — oh, never mind. Don't worry, I'm over him."
"Good," Jim said, gently licking Sandburg's lower lip. "You'd better be." Sandburg reached down and dragged strong fingers over Jim's trapped erection, and Jim gasped. "God, you're wonderful — why the hell are you still single?"
Sandburg laughed and pulled away sharply, then smacked Jim on the side of the head with his open palm. "Doof," he said. "You're supposed to be a detective."
"I am a detective," Jim protested.
"You're an idiot," Sandburg clarified. "No — worse than an idiot. Even an idiot would have figured it out by now."
"Figured what out?" Jim asked.
Sandburg shook his head and then fixed Jim with his eye. "That you're the reason I'm single."
Jim felt stunned. "I'm the reason?"
"Of course you're the reason," Sandburg said, rolling his eyes. "Everybody knows you're the reason. Hell, perfect strangers know you're the reason."
Jim frowned, thinking about the two women that afternoon. Perfect strangers, probably. "I'm an idiot, " he conceded.
"Well, you're the idiot who just bought me season Jags tickets, so I'm prepared to overlook it," Sandburg said magnanimously.
"I'm really the reason?" Jim asked, hardly able to believe it.
"You're really the reason," Sandburg said.
"I can't wait to make love with you," Jim said hoarsely, running his hands down Sandburg's muscular sides. "I just can't wait, you know? It's been — "
" — a million years." Sandburg was staring at him. "I know. I was there through every damn second of it. I want you, too."
"I'm really excited," Jim confessed.
"I'm excited, too," Sandburg replied — and then suddenly he grinned. "Just let me call my mother first."
Jim closed his eyes and groaned.
"Hey, you said I could," Sandburg objected. "You said I could call whenever I want. Collect, even. And it's not every day I get engaged or whatever the hell this is. And season tickets and everything. It's like Hanukkah."
"Yeah, yeah." Jim sighed and opened his eyes. "Okay, call your — "
But Blair was kissing him, and Blair's tongue was heavy in his mouth, and Blair's hands were caressing his head. And then Blair was murmuring, "Kidding. Kidding. Just kidding. You jerk."