Author's website: http://sweetconflict.popullus.net/index.html
Third story in the Lawyer Blair Series.
First published in the Mongoose Many Faces of Blair 2 Ezine in 2002.Thanks go out to Mary and Fara for the great beta jobs. I would also like to thank Patt and Audrey for the beautiful art illustrating the emotions and events of the story. The title of the story is taken from the Carpenters song, "We've only just begun."
"Are you doing okay now?" Blair watched him sit down heavily on the couch.
Jim waved away the question. "I'm fine, Blair." He stared at the concerned face and sighed. "I'm fine."
"Okay, well." He shot a hesitant glance toward the door.
"Go home, Blair. Sphinx is undoubtedly waiting for you."
"Yeah, his place isn't going to be ready till tomorrow," he took a step towards the door then abruptly turned back. "Sphinx?!"
He stared at Jim. Jim who had heightened senses, heightened senses like hearing. He threw his hands up agitatedly, "Of course, you were listening!"
Jim had enough sense to look guilty as he gave a slight nod.
"How much--what did you hear?" He glared down into the light blue eyes, trying to remember what he and Sphinx had talked about. Who knew how long Jim had been listening?
"Not much," Jim quickly assured him, looking down. "I heard you call Charles--Sphinx and something about six years..." His expression grew dark as he remembered the desolation he'd felt in that instant. An instant when he thought he'd already lost the younger man whose eyes he could right now feel glaring at him. He dared to look up and sighed resignedly. Yeah, Sandburg was pissed.
"I can't believe you, man. Look, if this is going to work, we're going to have get a few things straight. I'm a lawyer, my conversations are privileged, Jim. Eavesdropping is unacceptable."
Jim flushed and stood up. "Well, it wasn't like I did it on purpose!" All right in the beginning he had but not in the end. "My hearing went schizoid on me tonight."
Blair nodded somewhat mollified. "Tonight's it, though."
Jim nodded, indicating that he understood. He stared down into the heated blue eyes. "What took you six years to get over?"
Blair stared into the blue eyes challengingly for a few seconds before turning away. He walked over towards the windows to stare out at the bay. "I already mentioned it, before. That mistake I made. I got involved with a guy, a man. I wasn't really with him long..."
"Long enough," Jim dryly commented as slowly walked up behind the shorter man and rested his hands lightly on the tense shoulders. "You don't have to tell me any more, if you don't want to," he breathed against the curly hair, his arms instantly wrapping around the trim body comfortingly.
Although, he wanted to stay in Jim's arms, Blair pulled away and faced Jim. "No, I want to get this out, since it seems to already be affecting us, affecting me." Blair sighed before continuing, "I was with Patrick a few years ago. I thought I'd put it behind me."
"A few years--six?"
"Closer to five than six actually." Blair stared at Jim, trying to gauge the other man's reaction. "Jim?"
"You loved him." It wasn't a question. Of course Blair had loved the guy. Five-six years, Christ!
Blair shook his head slightly. "No, I don't think I did, not really. I was just young..."
"Not that young, man." Blair smiled at Jim's concern for him. The smile fading as he wondered what it would have been like if he'd met Jim back then. He closed his eyes at the thought. No, maybe in another life. Jim had already been married for three years by the time he met Hadley. "Technically, we never even lived together. It was just--intense, and then it was over."
Jim frowned. "He ended it?"
"No, I did. Like I said, he wasn't the kind of man I thought he was, that I could be with, so I left."
"You just left?" He didn't like the sound of that.
"Not like that," Blair hurriedly assured him, alarmed at Jim's emotionless tone. "I talked to him about it but it was just who he was--his personality. I'd just never seen it and when I had, he said he didn't feel the need to change."
"Even though it meant losing you?" The man was an idiot.
Blair smiled, warmth spreading through him as he read the incredulity in the pale blue eyes. "Stop looking at me like that. I don't have time."
Jim arched his eyebrows rakishly. "Oh?"
"Yes, I have to get back to Sphinx and you need to get some rest." He looked concernedly over Jim's face. "You're sure you're all right?"
"I'm fine." "I'm fine," Blair mimicked good-naturedly, even echoing the exasperation in the other man's voice. Then smiled up at Jim, playfully. "Okay, I'm outta here." He began walking towards the door, enjoying the feel of the broad palm on the center of his back as Jim escorted him to the door. He bit his lip worriedly as he thought about tomorrow. "The ballooning isn't till Saturday; do you want to get together before then?"
Jim mentally flipped through his calendar and shook his head sadly. "Unless you want to accompany me to a couple of business dinners, we'll have to wait till then." He bent down and rested his forehead lightly against Blair's. Both men sighed as they realized that they would have to wait till the weekend to "really" be together again.
"Are you sure you have to go?"
Blair shut his eyes as he nodded, the motion rubbing his forehead up and down against Jim's intimately.
"Okay." Jim cocked his head to the right and pressed his lips to the soft mouth, lightly nipping the tasty full lips before pulling reluctantly away.
"Good night." Blair shot a smile over his shoulder at him before he walked out.
Jim pressed the door softly shut and locked it before turning towards the kitchen in search of something to drink. He was relieved that Blair hadn't picked up on how thrown he was by tonight's revelation: that his senses were tied to his emotions. He shook his head slightly as he peered into the refrigerator, finally deciding on bottled water.
He had been overdoing it lately, what with reviewing the company records, the class action suit--meeting and then beginning to date the dynamic young lawyer who'd just left. Skipping his meditation/exercise routine definitely had to stop. He'd gotten complacent about his control over his senses. It was definitely time to go back to the basics. He settled himself on the couch, cross-legged and set about defining his world. Where he ended and it began.
Blair walked into the dim apartment, confusion rising as he turned around the corner before freezing.
Candlelight filled the living room bathing the dinner spread out on the coffee table in a warm romantic glow. If it had been anyone else sitting there, he would have thought it was a set up for a seduction, as it was...
He sighed and pulled off the jacket of his suit. "Am I going to at least get to eat before the haranguing begins?"
"That's not fair, Blair. What the hell am I supposed to think?" Sphinx looked down at the food from the restaurant, frowning. "Come and eat."
He gracefully lowered himself opposite his old friend and dug in realizing how hungry he was all of a sudden.
"So, everything's all right with Blue Eyes?"
Blair nodded and swallowed the mouthful of steak he'd been chewing. "Jim's fine." He sighed and looked out the balcony window at the lights out in the marina. "He was upset..."
Sphinx stared at his best friend sensing that Blair needed to talk.
"I was freezing him out." Blair met his friend's eyes. "I got spooked. He's a good man, Sphinx. I just freaked out, wondering if maybe I was deluding myself again. It didn't help that Patrick showed up at the office."
He snorted. "Yeah, he showed up last night."
"And?" Sphinx prodded.
Blair shook his head. "I don't know. Damn it!" He stood up and began to pace. "I still feel something for the schmuck. And now there's Jim. It can be real this time--with Jim. It's that serious with us, you know how you feel when you meet someone and you just know?"
Sphinx nodded and carefully studied Blair's intense expression. "It's how I felt when I met Laurie that first time in the cafeteria..."
"Exactly. We've only known each other for a couple of weeks, and although I'd tried to deny it, well this is probably it. If I don't fuck it up, that is."
It was the worried undertone that convinced Sphinx in the end. Blair wasn't a young kid anymore, he knew the pitfalls. "I'm here for whatever you need, Blair. I'd like to get to know Jim better."
"I'd like that too, if only for my own peace of mind."
Sphinx shook his head. "Blair, we all make mistakes the first time around, it's how we learn."
"I'm glad you're here, man." Blair smiled down at his best friend.
"So am I." The smile on Sphinx's face faded as a thought suddenly occurred to him.
"What?" Blair asked worriedly.
"What are you going to do about Hadley?"
The question echoed warningly through his head, `What am I going to do about Hadley?'
Blair pulled up to the gates and punched his security code into the keypad. A tiny well of relief sprang up inside him when the gates swung open. He slowly pulled up the drive and parked in front of the mansion. His feet automatically found the path to the east side of the estate, where his mother used to breakfast overlooking her beloved garden.
His heart lurched at the sight of the lone man sitting at a table on the terrace reading a newspaper. He slowly walked up the three stairs to the terrace. "Morning, Dad."
"Blair." Paul folded up the paper and set it down. "Twice in one week...to what do I owe the honor?" He peered up at his only son, taking in the blue eyes that were so like his mother.
Blair sighed as he poured himself a cup of coffee. "I don't want to fight. The surveillance, I want it pulled."
"It never bothered you before..."
"It always bothered me. I just didn't call you on it. There wasn't anybody I thought worth the hassle."
"And James Ellison is?"
He gave a single but firm nod before looking out at the garden, uncomfortable at what he'd see in his father's eyes. "Even though we've only been out twice...it's serious."
"I see." He stared at the tense profile. "The security stays."
Blair turned sharply back. "Damn it, Dad! I'm thirty years old. I don't need babysitting."
"No, you never did," Paul remarked dryly remembering the boy who at ten had informed him of his plans to restore the roadster he'd found covered in the old garage. "The security is there for your protection, given your lifestyle..."
"That's it, isn't it? My lifestyle. But that was before...Hell you've known the Ellisons for years."
"Yes, I've also met James and his wife, Carolyn, on many occasions. He's grown into a fine young man."
Blair pressed his lips together, knowing he wasn't going to like what was coming.
"To take advantage of a man's grief over his wife...."
He closed his eyes. His father would hit on the one thing that he'd worried about since he began dating Jim. "Just stop," he bade him, unable to prevent the angry undertone in his voice. "Jim asked me out, not the reverse. I would never...It's been over a year since her death."
Blair took a big calming breath. "The surveillance goes." He stood up and began walking away. He stopped after two steps and turned back. "And I'm bringing Jim by on Sunday for dinner."
There was a small smile on Paul Windhom's face as he watched the unconventional long haired man stride away.
"Thank you for the vote of confidence," Jim half joked as he shook the tall, distinguished-looking man's hand. "I look forward to meeting Patricia." His pleasure dimmed somewhat as he caught Stephen glowering at him from across the conference room. He thanked what remained of the Board in the room as he made his way over to his little brother.
"Stephen," he began.
"Dad wants to talk to you." Stephen jerked his head towards the room off to the side of the conference room, what used to be "his" office during Jim's absence.
"Dad's here?!" Jim immediately began striding toward the indicated location with a worried expression on his face. "Dad, Dr. Henry told you that you needed another week of bed rest." Jim frowned at his father as he stepped into the room, instantly noting the tiredness in the faded blue eyes as well as the familiar stubborn expression. What had Stephen been thinking letting him come to work?
William snorted and waved away the words. "It's of no consequence. I wanted to see my son back where he belonged."
Jim's eyes flicked to Stephen, who'd followed him into the room. Stephens' wince and quick recovery went unnoticed by their dad, of course. Stephen had only done poorly because he was his father's son. If Stephen would just grow some backbone...Jim shook his head. There was no use for wishing. Stephen was the way he was raised--the good son, while he...
"Yes, the meeting went well. I think we can make up a good portion of our losses by the third quarter, definitely by the fourth." It was the one thing he never had any trouble talking to his ol' man about: business.
"Stephen said you'd met someone..."
Two pair of cold blue eyes turned towards Stephen, who gulped under their combined gaze.
Good going, Stephen. Jim propped himself on the edge of the desk. "Yes, I've begun dating someone...his name is Blair Sandburg and he's an attorney. He's also Paul Windhom's son." Stew on that one, little brother. He smiled smugly at Stephen's shocked expression over their father's head. Guess Brackett missed that little tidbit in his report...
Jim looked down, meeting his father's eyes squarely.
William stared up at his eldest son and sighed internally. He'd thought Jimmy had gotten that nonsense out of his system years ago. "Now son, I realize that Carolyn meant a lot to you, but that's no reason--"
"A lot to me, Dad?! She was my wife! For nine years! I loved her and she died." He glanced at the two almost identical expressions of shock on their faces and almost laughed. "Blair is the first person I've met that I have a desire to date. I don't know what will come of it but that's the way it is."
William rubbed his eyes tiredly with his right hand. "But appearances...the Board."
"The Board doesn't give a damn whom I'm sleeping with as long as the share price goes up."
"And if they do object?" William stood and stared into his eldest son's stubborn blue eyes.
He shrugged, "They can vote me out and I'll go back to working on my motorcycles."
William shook his head slightly. "This man...he's Paul's son?"
"Yep." Jim stood and walked over to the bar.
Well, at least that was one thing he wouldn't have to worry about, the man was from a good family. Something would be able to be worked out discreetly. William slowly stood, careful to give no evidence of the dizziness he was still occasionally plagued with since the stroke, interfere with the movement. "Stephen," he called impatiently as he moved through the doorway and out of the room.
Jim let out a sigh of relief after they'd gone. His dad had taken the news better than he expected. Although, knowing the ol'man, he was probably instructing Stephen to find out everything he could on Blair. The direct approach never had worked with him. He snorted out loud. Wouldn't it be laughable if Windhom was doing the same thing about him?
William peered at the couple sitting in the corner of the restaurant over the rim of his glass and frowned. Very little of Paul could be seen in the gregarious, long haired young man laughing at something his blond companion had just said. No, it seemed that he took after the wild creature that Paul had married...Naomi. A smile flitted across his normally controlled expression as he remembered the pair of beautiful red-heads laughing back over their shoulders at him and Paul as they walked along the Seine.
He took a deep swallow and gestured for another as more memories of Grace rose in his mind. He would bet his fortune that the boy's hair would blaze with fiery highlights in the sunlight.
Blair shook his head, slightly choking on the piece of steak he'd just swallowed.
"You all right, man?" Sphinx gave a few slaps to Blair's back.
"Yeah." Blair took a long drink of wine. "Just warn me next time."
"So we're still on for tomorrow?"
Sphinx nodded assent. "The weather looks like it's going to be perfect. Still bringing Ellison?"
"I'm glad. Although I doubt I'm going to get to know him any better. I'll be doing all the work while you two lovebirds coo at one another at the `romance' of it all."
"Coo? Oh man, I can't believe, you, of all people, just said that. Do you remember how nauseating you and Laurie were? I do. Furthermore, it just goes to prove that you really don't know Jim. He's not the `cooing' type. I think." A worried expression fell over his face.
"Hey come on, I was only joking." Sphinx lightly tapped his friend on the shoulder to get him out of his funk. He was about to speak when the waiter approached and placed a bottle on the table.
"A gift from the gentleman at the bar."
Blair looked towards the direction the waiter indicated, just in time to see a tall dark haired man stand.
Sphinx's smile faded as Blair's face paled. "What is it?" he asked turning around towards the direction that Blair was looking, instantly spotting the older man approaching.
"Jim's father," Blair whispered before the object under discussion stepped up and paused expectantly before them. Blair stood and immediately reached out to shake hands. "Mr. Ellison, it's been a while..." he greeted, wincing at the trite phrase.
"Three years. When you passed the BAR."
Blair nodded. "Sounds about right. Mister Ellison, I'd like you to meet an old friend of mine from law school, Charles Attenborough."
William lightly shook the tall blond man's hand, before turning his attention back to Windhom.
"Mister Ellison, please join us, especially since you paid for it." That was the motive behind the gesture. Jim's father wanted to talk to him. This was just the opening gambit.
"Thank you." Silence reigned as the waiter immediately appeared with a third wineglass and began pouring. Blair sat silently as the niceties were followed; the wine tasted, approved, followed by the inevitable moment of silence.
"I understand that you're a friend of my son."
Blair lifted his head to met the older man's gaze steadily. "Yes, I know Jim." He wasn't going to dance around the subject. He stopped playing games a long time ago.
Sphinx's eyes flicked from his friend to the older man uncomfortably. "If you would excuse me, gentlemen."
Blair nodded but didn't turn his gaze from Jim's dad's face as his old friend left presumably to go--hide in the bathroom.
William lifted his wineglass and took a slow deliberate drink. "I'm not happy that my son has gotten it in his head to give up women. Love and devotion are all fine and good, however, Carolyn would never have wanted Jimmy to go such extreme measures.
Blair inhaled sharply. And he thought his father was good. He released his breath slowly, while pushing away the doubts and half-whispered voices in his head which echoed Mister Ellison's words. "I see."
"I know you would never want to harm my son..."
"And just how do you know that?" Blair gestured to the waiter who was hovering nearby with a tilt of his head, quickly ordering, "Whiskey neat."
"Pardon?" William's blue eyes narrowed, quickly re-assessing the other man's demeanor which had subtly changed.
Blair smiled wryly. "How do you know that I don't want to hurt Jim? That I'm not just fucking with him because it's what I want?"
"Now, Windhom, there's no need.." William began before being cut off.
"The name's Sandburg, as I'm sure the report you have on me stated. I formally changed my name when I was twenty-one, much to my father's dismay, as I'm sure you're also aware. Now, I'm going to be something that you probably won't understand. Honest. I don't like playing games although unfortunately I've had a lot of experience at it. I can't be gotten rid of, bought off, or warned off. I've decided..." Blair's eyes became thoughtful, "your son and I have decided to date. I'm sorry if this creates difficulties for you or upsets you, but that's not my problem."
"I see." William sat back for a moment before getting to his feet. "Good evening, Mister Sandburg."
Blair nodded farewell but said nothing as he watched the older man walk away.
Sphinx walked up to the table with an obviously energetic bounce in his step. "He gone?"
"Yes." He glared at the man nonchalantly sitting down and beginning to eat the dessert which had just arrived.
"What?" Sphinx asked with his spoon raised, just about to swallow a bite of raspberry tart.
"Get lucky in the bathroom?"
Sphinx shrugged off the jibe. "I thought it best."
"Probably," Blair allowed as he took another drink, wincing slightly as the whiskey slid down his throat. He hoped he didn't just make things worse for Jim. They'd talked about his father. Jim never mentioned how his own father felt about...things.
Jim dropped his tie on the end table on his way into the bedroom. The red glow of the "3" flashing on the answering machine magnifying his tiredness. He punched the play button before beginning to unfasten the buttons on the cuff of his left shirt sleeve.
"Good evening, are you ready for an exciting new offer..." Jim hurriedly punched the delete button, cutting off the telemarketer's spiel.
"Message erased. Message 2: Mr. Ellison, the plans for the luncheon have all been finalized just as you've requested. Have a good evening."
He smiled at his assistant's professional tone. Thank god, Cynthia had gotten the message that he wasn't interested. The blonde was good at her job, he hadn't wanted to go through the hassle of replacing her. He was undoing the buttons on his right shirt-sleeve when the third message began.
His smile broadened at the familiar voice.
"Jim, it's Blair. Call me when you get in, no matter how late...I ran into your dad tonight and well, uh...just give me a call."
He'd picked up the cordless and punched the speed dial before he knew it. He listened to the ringing, all intentions of getting out of the wretched suit forgotten.
Blair sighed. "I was having dinner at Orlando's when your dad came over and...I'm sorry, Jim. I sort of went off on him."
"What did he say?" Jim asked impatiently, although he could guess.
"He said something about you giving up on women..."
Jim sharply inhaled, anger filling him. "It's all right, Blair."
"No, it's not all right, Jim. I told him we were dating and that if he didn't like it, tough."
Jim shook his head, snorting as he imagined his father's expression when he'd heard that. It wasn't very often that someone stood up to the old man.
"Are you laughing at me?!"
"Of course not. I'm just wishing I had been there to see the old man's face."
"So, I didn't totally screw up? I don't know how much you've told your dad about...us."
Jim closed his eyes, damn he was tired. "You did fine. Dad was probably there to scare you off." He paused as something suddenly occurred to him. "He didn't, did he? You haven't changed your mind?"
"...No. We're still on for tomorrow."
He relaxed slightly, but frowned at the slight hesitation he picked up in Blair's voice. "Blair?"
"Have you given up on women because of Carolyn?"
"No, of course not. I just haven't met any that I've wanted to date. I hadn't met anyone, that is, until I walked into a certain county clerk's office looking for a particular lawyer. It's just me and you here, babe. No one else."
Blair exhaled in relief. "Good. I'll see you in the morning, then."
"How about I return the favor and bring breakfast?"
Jim ended the call, his expression thoughtful as he stared down at it. He grabbed the coat he'd just taken off and put it on as he headed toward the door. There was no time like the present to have a little "chat" with dear old dad.
Jim stared at the empty bed with a frown. He made his way downstairs and towards his father's office his irritation increasing with each step.
"Jimmy, have you seen the latest reports on the steel division? I thought I told Steven to get rid of it," William asked while still looking down at the paper he held.
Jim glanced at the scattering of papers across the desk and sighed. "Yes, I've seen them. Banks came up with an alternative buyer, we're now selling to Tayakii Motors." He stared down at his father in surprise, whose blue eyes were finally looking at him behind a pair of glasses. Glasses which Dad only resorted to when he was very tired. He only remembered him using them once before. "It's now actually making a profit, but I didn't come here to talk about business."
William put down the papers he was looking at and sat back to stare up at his son with a pointed expression.
"You went to Blair."
William gave a slight tilt of his head in affirmation. "He's an...interesting man."
The smile that flickered across Jim's face held no humor. "What the hell did you think you were doing?"
"Protecting me!" Jim scoffed and shook his head. "You weren't protecting me, you were protecting your bottom line. That's what's most important, isn't it? It doesn't matter if you don`t go home to your wife some nights, just as long as the profit margin increases. That's what you taught us, but I've wised up. Ellison Enterprises, although a priority, isn't at the top of my list, not anymore."
"And this man is? You're willing to risk your reputation on a man who's had twenty-two lovers in the last year?!" William stood up and moved around the desk in front of Jim. "Both men and women, may I add."
Jim winced at the number. Christ! He shook his head. "The past doesn't matter. I don't know if it's going to work out. We're only going out on our second date tomorrow. But I do know that I will not accept any interference from you or Steven in my private life. Is that understood?"
William stared into the resolute blue eyes of his eldest son and sighed, before nodding reluctantly. From what he read, and knowing his son, Jim wouldn't put up with the promiscuous man for long.
Jim relaxed at his father's nod. He stared at the tired face. "Dad, go to bed. You look exhausted."
William ran his right hand through his hair tiredly. "I just have a few more reports to go through."
Jim shook his head. How many times had he heard that when his mother had begged him to join her upstairs? "Good night." He turned and walked towards the door, giving one last glance over his shoulder to see the familiar sight of his father sitting behind the big mahogany desk, papers strewn across it.
Blair threw a pillow in the general direction of the buzzing noise, pleased at the sudden silence. He was just dropping off, when he suddenly remembered why he'd set his alarm on a Saturday. The Cascade Balloon Festival. Date with Jim. Shit!
He shot out of bed, forgetting about the clock or what was left of it until his right toe impacted with it, sending it against the wall with a crash. Blair hopped into the bathroom, cursing. The day was starting out just great. He managed to make it through a shower without further injuring himself and was enjoying the blissful smell of the cup of coffee he was holding before his nose when the doorbell rang.
Blair opened the door with a flourish, still holding the cup of coffee in his free hand. "Good morn---Fuck!"
"I thought you'd never offer." Hadley sauntered through the open door with a smirk.
"Patrick, what the hell are you doing here? And if you say you were in the neighborhood, I swear I`ll..."
Hadley arched his eyebrows questioningly. "You'll what? Tell your daddy?"
Blair flushed at the bitter tone, but he wasn't going to take the bait. They'd already been down that road. He gestured towards the open door. "Get out, Patrick."
Hadley took a step closer, forcing Blair to step back if he didn't want their chests to brush. "Thought I'd come by and offer you a lift to the Festival...I assume Attenborough is already out setting up."
"I already have a ride." In more ways than one, Blair lasciviously thought to himself but keeping all outward expression as cool as his voice.
Patrick tilted his head to the left as he studied the tanned handsome face for a few seconds. His expression hardened as he remembered the warmth that had been present in the blue eyes when Blair had first opened the door. He stared into the now cold blue eyes, somewhat in disbelief. Blair had been expecting someone, someone who made his eyes shine like they used to--for him. He walked out of the door without another word, careful to give no evidence of the rage that filled him at yet another rejection from his lover.
Blair watched Patrick walk down the hallway with a frown. What the hell is going on? He shook his head. Patrick had never backed down this easily...Blair's thoughts were interrupted by the phone ringing. He shut the door, a thoughtful expression on his face and moved towards the phone.
"Blair, I'm running a little late. I'm just leaving Dante's Coffee Haus now. I should be there in 20 minutes."
"I'll be waiting." Blair casually dropped the cordless phone on the couch on his way towards the balcony. He walked out into the cool morning air and took a deep breath, bringing up the warm cup of coffee he still grasped in his left hand. Despite Jim's call his thoughts were on Patrick as he gazed out over the bay towards the mountains. He breathed in the deep aroma and sighed softly as he took a drink of the rich warm liquid, savoring the sweet taste as it slid slowly over his tongue and down his throat.
Ironic. He'd begged Patrick to accompany him to the Balloon Festival seven years ago. Begged and been refused. Patrick had to write a brief and had no time to "amuse" a kid. Blair's stomach twisted at the memory of the emotion he'd glimpsed in the green eyes as Patrick had walked past on his way out the door. The urge to call him back, however small, was there. There despite the fact that he knew that Jim could appear at any moment. Jim.
He didn't know what Patrick was up to. What was with the visits? His showing up at the office could be explained away as a result of Sphinx's call. But not here. He thought he'd actually saw...but no it couldn't have been. Blair shook his head in denial. He couldn't have been hurt--not Patrick.
Blair shifted into a higher gear, the feel of the wind shrieking through his hair matching his mood. That is, until he felt the tapping on his right hand. He glanced over at his passenger, automatically shifting into a lower gear so that they would be able to hear each other over the sound of the other cars, not to mention the wind.
"You've been quiet this morning," Jim remarked dryly. Blair hadn't said more than "Hi, let's go," when he appeared this morning. The decision to take the younger man's classic car not even a topic of discussion.
"I've been driving, Jim. Besides a convertible isn't the best place to have a conversation, not one that you actually want to hear."
Jim heard every word, despite the wind and the noise of the freeway. Even without the heightened hearing he had a feeling that he would always hear the slightly deep voice of the man currently avoiding looking in his direction. "Aren't you forgetting something?"
Blair frowned and then shrugged. "Okay, one of us would be able to hear."
Jim snorted, glad for once that Blair, although he knew that Jim had heightened senses, didn't realize the full extent of what that meant. That behind the dark sunglasses he could see the troubled blue eyes as clearly as if he were staring into them from only an inch away.
"Besides, I had to eat and we have to get there before nine or Sphinx will leave without us."
"I don't give a damn about the balloon."
Blair turned to Jim sharply and stared silently for a long couple of seconds before turning his attention back to the road, muttering incoherently, even to Jim, under his breath. He suddenly downshifted and brought them to a complete stop on the side of the highway.
He tore the sunglasses from his face and twisted to the right to face Jim. "Patrick showed up this morning, okay!"
"Patrick...your old--when?" Jim was confused. They'd broken up years ago.
"Just before you called!" Blair rubbed his forehead agitatedly and leaned heavily back in his seat. "Christ! He did this just to--Hell! I don't know why the he showed up. It's been a year and a half--"
"A year and a half?! You told me that you broke up six years ago!"
"Yeah, we did, but that wasn't the last time I saw him."
"Saw him, don't you mean fucked him?!" Jim roughly undid his seatbelt and opened the door, slamming it behind him as he stalked off into the field.
Blair watched Jim walk away and groaned. He couldn't believe he'd let that slip. Dammit! Patrick showing up this morning really had screwed him up for him to make such a stupid mistake. This was just great. He carefully opened his door, careful to avoid the ongoing traffic on the road as he got out. Jim was already a few yards away, almost at the tree line when he caught up with him.
"Okay, so I fucked him. But it was over a year ago, man."
Jim shook his head in disbelief, the tense lines of his chiseled face in sharp relief against the dark green leaves of the trees as he paced back and forth before Blair.
"It didn't mean anything. It wasn't even one night!"
"It must have meant something, if he's still hanging around," Jim ground out.
Blair's eyes followed Jim's graceful almost hypnotic stride, his body unconsciously reacting to the movement of the toned muscles shifting beneath the blue jeans and thin shirt. "It wasn't planned, Jim. I ran into him at a conference in Chicago. It was--I don't know what it was, for old time's sake...he was just there and I...I wanted to get laid, all right? Jesus Christ, Jim! I've never been a monk, man."
"Of that, I've been made very well aware!" Light blue eyes coldly met darker blue.
Blair frowned at the implication that Jim knew just who he'd dated before him. Jim's next words confirmed his thought.
"How many people have you `been involved' with in the last year, chief? Or do you even remember?"
He flushed at the insinuation, so reminiscent of the one that Jim had leveled at him two days after they had first slept together, that he was a whore. "None of your damn business! I fuck when I want to fuck. If you wanted some virgin twat, you've got the wrong guy!"
"I don't want some virgin!"
"Well then what do you want?!"
"I want you!!"
Silence fell as both stared at each other breathing heavily, only now realizing that for the past couple of minutes they had been yelling. Blair's eyebrows arched as he casually glanced around, the wind gently blowing the tall grass full of tiny pink and yellow wildflowers which surrounded them.
The spectacle they must have been making...
Jim burst out laughing, his hands automatically reaching out to hold up Blair who appeared to have lost the ability to stand due to a similar laughing fit.
Blair gasped as tears came to his eyes. He couldn't stop laughing. Oh god! What a picture they must make. The thought sent him off into another fit. He pressed his head against Jim's chest as he tried to get control of himself.
He stepped back and wiped the tears from around his eyes. "I'm sorry, man." Blair let out a deep sigh.
"It's alright. I don't know why I'm acting this way, Blair. It's just the thought of you..." Jim shook his head. "I've never been the jealous type. Not even with--Carolyn."
He stared down at the handsomely flushed face before bending slowly down, giving Blair plenty of time to reject the soft, leisurely, press of his lips. Jim moaned under his breath as his lover surprised him once again, by thrusting his tongue roughly into his mouth as if to consume him.
Blair thrust his tongue between the lips which were so recently stiff with anger. His tongue hungrily sucked and danced with Jim's, wanting--no, needing to taste, to get as close as possible to the other man. Even the feel of the clothed muscles underneath his hands turned him on like nothing before. There wasn't a part of this man that he didn't want to worship with his body.
Blair suddenly stepped back, breaking the kiss abruptly.
"What?!" Jim blinked his eyes dazedly.
"The Fes...tival," Blair panted.
"Fuck the Festival." Jim reached out for Blair, intending to bring the other man back to press firmly against him.
Blair met Jim's lips ravenously, losing himself once again in the hot, pulsing warmth.
This time it was Jim who pushed against the muscular chest, separating them once again. He pressed his forehead against Blair's, their harsh breathing echoing loudly through the air. "Are you still in love with him?"
Blair shut his eyes tightly before turning away and taking a few steps back towards the road before suddenly freezing, his back to Jim. "Love--No."
Lust--maybe, a voice whispered within his mind. A thought he viciously buried before turning back to Jim with a small smile. "Come on, Jim," Blair stepped forward and grabbed his lover's right hand. "Let's go take a ride in a hot-air balloon."
Jim watched in bemusement as the fiery curls bounced as Blair used his not inconsiderable strength to help hold the balloon envelope as it was filled with air. He turned and glanced back at Attenborough, whose balloon was already upright, the tall blond standing in the basket checking various dials while talking to a man on the ground. He focused in on the conversation for a few seconds, "...NE wind at 800 feet, lower altitudes are all moving east..." He turned his attention back to Blair and the group he was helping with their "bag."
Everywhere he looked there was a flurry of organized activity. Much to Blair's chagrin, they had arrived too late to help with his old friend's balloon. Jim had watched, amazed, as Blair was greeted right and left as they had made their way to the far end of the field where a black, red and white balloon was slowly being up righted. Jim's eyes focused back on Attenborough who was pointing at Blair. Jim nodded before turning to get Blair.
"Blair, Sphinx's ready to go," he called out from a safe distance as the unwieldy envelope was guided upright by half a dozen pair of hands.
"Good luck," Blair called over his shoulder as he walked towards Jim, a huge smile on his face. "Isn't this fantastic!" Blair cheerfully exclaimed, his eyes alight as he surveyed the half a dozen colorful nylon towers now occupying the sky around them.
Jim smiled, caught up in the excitement which filled the air. He allowed Blair to precede him, the basket dipped gently as he finally stepped onto it. It took only a couple of seconds to adjust his equilibrium to the gentle rocking of the balloon. He gazed out over the area, they were are already a few feet off the ground, the four ropes the only thing holding them to the ground.
"We all ready?" Sphinx asked, directing it into the mouthpiece of the headset he was wearing. He glanced over at Blair who immediately nodded before turning to him.
"Let's go." He looked down at the ground as the word was apparently given.
Blair joined Jim on his side. "We're number 3 in the queue."
Jim looked around at the surrounding balloons, once again impressed with the organization being displayed by the various crews on the ground, including their own.
Blair followed Jim's gaze to the crews and smiled. "How did you get the old gang to do it?"
Sphinx laughed. "The usual. Food and lodging in whatever town we end up in."
Blair grinned, "Didn't you forget something?"
Jim easily picked up the responses from the men on the ground, who apparently had been listening in on the conversation. "Beer!" "The drinks are on you, man." "Beer! What kind of cretins are you, beer is for law students--30 year old scotch!"
Blair shook his head, sharing a smile with Sphinx as he overheard the guys' comments which clearly carried in the air through Sphinx's headset. "This is the old chase crew from law school," he informed him, letting him in on the joke.
"Here we go!"
Jim glanced down in time to see the ropes holding them to the ground fall away.
They were away. The ground began falling away much faster than he thought. Jim glanced over at Sphinx who was adeptly handling the controls. He shifted his gaze briefly down to Blair, the exhilaration on his lover's face catching as he looked out over the breathtaking view. He could see the glacier tips of the Cascade mountains off in the distance while they passed over a variety of colors below, a field of wildflowers, a field of grain, an orchard surrounding a deep blue lake off to their left.
"You ever been up in balloon before, Jim?" Sphinx asked, he knew Blair had. `Oh how did he know,' he mentally groaned.
Jim shook his head, "Not in the States. Swiss Alps. How fast are we going?"
"Approximately 40 mph. The wind is taking us roughly parallel to the Cascades. We're at about 500 feet, as soon as we get away from these cumulus I'm going to take us higher."
"Look Jim," Blair pointed out a dazzling field of poppies off to the far right. He pulled his arm back after Jim spotted it, his hand coming to rest on the side of the basket. Warmth filled him as Jim's hand settled naturally over his as they looked out over a deep valley full of giant trees of red cedar.
Jim glanced sidewise down at their hands, his eyes trailing up the tan muscular arm before being caught in twin seas of dark blue. His eyes closed at the feel of the soft lips, turning his head slightly as he slipped his tongue between the parted lips.
Blair sighed as the tongue slipped into his mouth, gently brushing against his, tasting Jim as he tasted him. The heat of the firm body pressing against him contrasting sharply with the cool clean air gusting around them. He slowly opened his eyes, heartened to see the matching wonder in the eyes looking down at him.
"So how did you guys get involved in ballooning?" Jim asked the motley group of guys, some of which were already less than sober, lounging around the table. Amazement filled him as all of them in tandem turned and fixed a gaze on the man sitting beside him. He lifted his eyebrows questioningly, thrilled at the resulting flush that spread across the handsome face.
"What?!" exclaimed Blair. "It's not like I put a gun to your heads!"
"No, you just dragged us to every ballooning event..."
"Competition!" put in another voice.
"...in the state!" finished Gary, the `leader' of the chase crew.
"Don't forget those in Oregon," added Chuck.
"Or the one down in California," remarked John, before he signaled to the waitress for another round.
"So, Blair, how did you get interested in ballooning?" Jim asked with apparent levity. His smile broadening as Blair flushed even more.
"Go ahead tell him." "Yeah, Blair!" "Come on, Blair!"
Blair was staring into the deep amber liquid at the bottom of the shot glass, avoiding meeting anyone's eyes. He mumbled something without looking up.
"What was that?" "We didn't hear you, buddy?" "Sphinx, did you get that?" "No, I didn't."
"I was afraid of heights!"
"What?!" Jim turned disbelieving eyes on his lover. Blair had been the one who'd tried to urge Sphinx to go to an higher altitude, something which was vetoed due to crosswinds.
"Past tense I take it."
"Definitely," Sphinx stated emphatically for his best friend.
Jim turned his attention toward Sphinx with a smile. "So how'd you end up buying the balloon?" He'd been impressed that as soon as they'd landed that it had taken less than twenty minutes for the guys "chasing" them to find them on the outskirts of Skykomish, and only another to pack up the balloon onto the truck. They'd gotten lunch and then spent the rest of the afternoon sightseeing, or half of the chase crew checking out the quality of babes in the three bars they'd already hit before this one.
Blair had explained that once his friend had been bitten by ballooning fever he'd gone all the way. He'd bought the balloon, put together a chase crew--which Blair would join when time permitted, and even race. Apparently, Laurie had been caught the fever as well. In fact, according to Blair it was that which put the finishing touches on the romance.
"Only because you didn't have the money," he retorted with a nod in Blair's direction.
Jim took a drink of his beer, covering his surprise at the remark. Windhom's son not have money?
"I think that's enough for one day, guys," Blair slowly got to his feet as he spoke. "It's a long way back to Cascade and Jim's got a luncheon tomorrow..."
"See you later." "Bye." "It was good meeting you, Ellison." "Yeah, great meeting you, Jim. See you next week, Blair."
They eventually got away from the noisy laughing group with only a few more teasing remarks about "driving safe..."
Jim took a deep breath as soon as they stepped outside. Invigorated by the clean cool air. He glanced over at Blair who was chuckling under his breath.
"That's the gang," Blair commented, with a wide grin.
"They're a great bunch."
"Yeah," Blair adjusted the collar of his jacket. "Too bad Laurie isn't here. Today was pretty tame."
Jim stared at Blair in disbelief. This was tame? They'd been terrorizing this bar for over two hours, not to mention the previous bars which had asked them to leave after only an hour of occupation.
"How long do you think it'll take us to get back?" Blair asked as they walked toward the car they had rented. Sphinx was getting a ride back with the chase crew like he usually did.
"We're not going back to Cascade."
Blair stopped cold. "What?" he asked turning towards the taller man.
Jim smile hesitantly. "Ellison Enterprises has a house, outside of town. I thought..."
Blair silently groaned as his cock began hardening at the thought of him and Jim alone for a whole night. A shiver ran down his spine as he caught the heated gaze Jim was giving him as he waited for his response. He nodded, afraid that if he tried to speak that nothing would come out but gibberish. He'd never actually seen Jim completely naked after all. Felt him--yes, God yes! Seen him--no. His mouth went dry as he began picturing that lean muscular body which he'd already become intimately acquainted with.
Jim keyed in his security code, hoping that his orders had been carried out and the house prepared for them. Once he'd realized the closest city to which they'd landed, it had only taken a short phone call from his cell to make all the necessary arrangements. He opened the door and ushered Blair inside.
Blair smiled at the sunset that was burnishing the glass topped furniture gold. "It looks like a model home," he commented as he went to stand before the patio window to look out at the view of the lake below. "What lake is that?"
"Lake Chirak." Jim walked up behind Blair and looked over his shoulder down at the lake. "Blair?" he murmured, sliding his hands around Blair's waist.
He closed his eyes at the feel of Jim's palms across his stomach, leaning his head back against the muscular shoulder. "Jim, did you bring anything..?" He felt Jim smile behind his back and turned to look up at him.
"That's what's good about having office branches across the state." He slid his hand down to grasp Blair's and led him to the left down a hallway into a bedroom. "If they followed directions..."
Blair had been impressed with the view from the living room, but the sight through the bedroom made him gasp. One side of the bedroom was all window, giving an amazing view not only of the mountains and the lake but a waterfall cascading majestically down the left of the valley.
He turned to Jim, "It's beautiful."
Jim chuckled, "I'm glad you like it, but that wasn't what I was heading for." He continued to hold Blair's hand as he walked toward a door on the far side.
Blair followed with a curious expression. He began laughing as he stepped into the bathroom to find Jim opening up a drawer and pulling out a tube of Astroglide with a big grin on his chiseled face.
"Sometimes it pays to be the boss."
Blair took two steps forward and grabbed the back of Jim's head pulling him down for a kiss. His other hand divested Jim of the tube as he began backing them into the room and towards the bed. He hungrily thrust his tongue inside, Jim's tongue meeting his just as desperately.
They fell onto the bed without breaking the kiss, Blair straddling Jim.
Jim thrust his hands into the dark soft curls cupping the face above him as their lips continued to hurriedly meet.
Blair jerked off his jacket and tossed it away, his shirt soon following. He finally pulled away, breathless and looked down, pleased to see that Jim was equally flushed. His gaze traveled down the muscular chest to the groin he was currently riding. Jim's hips gave minute thrusts that he probably wasn't even aware of, or maybe he was, given the smile that was now curling his lips into a leer.
Blair grabbed the ends of the shirt and pulled it open, immediately sliding his hands up the taut stomach and up the muscled chest to rest on the pectorals. He bent slowly down and licked Jim's right nipple, smiling as he heard Jim's low moan, before straightening up once again. He hurriedly unfastened the dark grey slacks, sliding down Jim's body as he tugged the offensive clothing down and off of the fantastic body. Blair smiled as he reached the feet which were already bare, and let the pants and silk boxers fall to the floor.
He stood at the foot of the bed and began working on his own jeans, leaning down to untie his boots before kicking them off.
Jim raised himself up on his elbows and took off his shirt as he enjoyed the sight before him.
"You do realize that we've never done this naked..." Blair commented in a casual tone, belying the movement of his hands which were slowly gliding his jeans and underwear down as he spoke.
Jim swallowed as Blair Sandburg in all his glory was fully revealed. Blair might almost be pretty but no one would ever be able to say that he was anything but a man. He laid back as Blair returned to the bed, closing his eyes at the feel of the hairs on Blair's arms and legs sliding against his bare skin as his lover sensuously slipped astride him again. He gasped as their cocks brushed against each other, his hands immediately grasping Blair's hips to still them.
Blair leaned over and this time licked the other nipple once before pressing down and beginning to suck it. He thrust against Jim teasingly, their cocks rubbing against each just hard enough to tantalize but not satisfy.
Jim's breath soon became ragged at the wonderful feel of the hot body astride him. Blair had turned to the other nipple now and was slowly worrying his way down the chest, tracing the indentations in his abdominals with the tip of his tongue. By the time he made it to his cock, Jim thought he'd explode. With the first lick against the tip, he almost did. "Damn it, Blair!"
The air displaced by the laughter caressed the heated tip agonizingly, before being brushed by rough stubble as Blair nuzzled his face into Jim's groin, with the occasional lick to the side of the cock, the head or a ball.
Jim was now continuously moaning, one hand gripping the bed covering while the other twitched against Blair's head as each random touch wrought a delicious shiver throughout him.
Blair pulled away and slowly made his way back up the writhing body beneath him, up to the lips which were panting so beautifully open below him, just begging for his tongue which he gladly granted.
He reached over toward the nightstand, opening the drawer without looking, hoping beyond hope that Jim's preparations were thorough. Blair moaned into Jim's mouth as one of Jim's hands slipped down his back to his butt, pulling his butt cheek slightly open, the fingers grazing his opening. His hand closed over the plastic foil wrapper he found.
Blair pulled away and began nuzzling down the side of Jim`s neck, his hand resting with its find beside Jim's head on the bed.
Jim groaned as Blair pulled away. He thrust against Blair frustratedly and then parted his legs, causing Blair's lower half to sink between them down to the bed. He hitched his legs higher to clasp around the narrow hips, shifting Blair so that now his cock was brushing against his own buttocks.
Blair grabbed the lube with his other hand, opening it with a flick and quickly lubricating his hand while squeezing it. He raised his head back up and captured Jim's mouth in a kiss as he slid one finger between Jim's buttocks, moaning at the tight heat that clamped down around his finger instantly before relaxing. He pulled Jim down a bit more to rest on his thighs, hitching up a bit more as he thrust two fingers inside, brushing against the prostate.
Jim's eyes flew open at the sudden burst of sensation.
Blair pulled away and quickly brought the condom to his mouth, ripping it open. He locked eyes with Jim for a millisecond before reaching down to put it on himself. He shifted slightly causing Jim's legs to part even more as he positioned himself before thrusting forward until he was fully seated inside. "Jim?"
Jim gasped at the feel of the cock nestled inside him. He moved his legs even wider apart, feeling Blair sink even more inside.
Blair took the movement as a sign and began to withdraw, before slowly sliding back inside the tight channel. His pace accelerated although his strokes soon became erratic as he felt his balls tighten all too soon. He varied his strokes until one mid-length one made Jim give a long deep moan. He slowed then randomly repeated the motion, brushing the prostate until he had Jim once again gripping the bedcovering and panting.
Soon the leisurely pace wasn't cutting it as the need to come overwhelmed all else. He began to hammer the muscular butt, the headboard hitting the wall with each forward thrust. Blair suddenly grabbed Jim's hips with both hands and pistoned deep inside for several strokes.
Jim clutched Blair's muscular shoulders and back as the talented cock inside him continued to nail his prostate, making him come with a yell.
Blair fucked Jim through his orgasm, thrusting inside in short jerky strokes until he suddenly felt himself on the edge and thrusted deep.
Jim tightened his buttocks around Blair's cock as he came, gratified to hear his lover moan as he continued to tiredly thrust inside him.
"Damn it, Jim. You killed me," Blair groaned as he smiled into the equally sweaty face beneath him. Jim chuckled. "I would say it's the other way around, Chief." He closed his eyes as he felt Blair slowly withdraw, then drop the condom in the nearby trashcan before settling down beside him. He was falling asleep when he was suddenly jerked awake. "What did you say?" he demanded as he raised up on one elbow to look down at Blair, immediately noting the sheepish expression.
"I told my father you were coming to his place for dinner with me, tomorrow. Come on, Jim. I met yours now you'll meet mine. How about it?"
Jim let himself fall back flat to the bed with a groan. Sunday dinner with the folks. "As long as he doesn't ask me about my intentions, I'm okay with it," he finally replied.
"Why? What are your intentions young man?" Blair asked in an parental tone.
"Entirely dishonorable, young sir, as the actions of the last half hour so righteously have proven," Jim replied, turning to loom over Blair. He gazed steadily into the blue eyes which were shining with humor before slowly leaning down.
A kiss for luck never hurts.
Kiss for Luck by J L Blackstone: email@example.com