Moving Over Me

J L Blackstone


Jim stepped slightly back ending the kiss, his gaze roving in concern over the weary face. "Let's get out of here."

Blair blinked and gave a tired smile. "Yeah." He circled around his desk and glanced down at the message pad as he picked up his briefcase. There was nothing written there that couldn't wait till morning. Only a couple of calls that needed to be returned.

He made his way to Jim's side and they slowly walked out of the office. "So how was your day?" Blair asked after they got into the elevator.

Jim gave a slight shrug. "Okay." He had no intention of revealing the hellish day he had spent agonizing over Blair's relationship with Windhom.

In the parking garage, both men automatically walked towards the 1957 corvette roadster. Ellison casually held out his left hand for the keys as he offered, "I'll drive."

Blair laughed. "I'm not that tired, man. Get in," he ordered with slight jerk of his head towards the passenger seat.

The taller man settled himself into the indicated seat with a sheepish smile. It had been a good try after all.


Blair closed the door behind Jim and began walking towards his bedroom, pulling off his clothes as he went. "Make yourself at home, I gotta change clothes."

Jim strolled towards the kitchen calling out, "How about some dinner?" He opened the refrigerator even though he knew that his new lover probably hadn't had the time to go to the grocery store since yesterday.

"I'm not really hungry." Blair walked out of the bedroom, yawning.

"You need to eat something," Jim argued with a small smile at the baggy gray pullover that Blair had changed into which swallowed the muscular frame.

Blair nodded. He knew Jim was right. He was hungry but it just felt like too much effort. Feeling another yawn beginning to break, he covered his mouth with one hand and sat tiredly down on the couch. Blair leaned his head back and closed his eyes. "The list of delivery places is in the drawer by the dishwasher."

Jim glanced every once in a while at the exhausted man as his eyes quickly scanned the neatly handwritten list of restaurants. He immediately dismissed anything requiring actual silverware to eat.

His stomach soon decided on Mexican, anticipation filled him at the thought of long missed soapapillas and burritos, just a portion of the foods he'd given up eating more than a year ago. Carolyn's restricted diet hadn't allowed much and what it did was bland fare, but he never let her eat alone.

"Mexican?" he softly inquired as he walked over and sat beside Blair, taking the soft grunt as agreement. Jim picked up the cordless phone and quickly ordered a dozen soapapillas, half a dozen tacos, several kinds of burritos, and a couple of tostadas along with two salads. The salads were a long shot considering how tired Sandburg was but nobody could live on just grease.

Blair opened his eyes as the number of things Jim was ordering penetrated his tired brain. "Hungry?" he inquired, his voice filled with amusement.

Jim flushed slightly, "It's been a while and I didn't eat anything today."

The young attorney gave a nod and closed his eyes again.

Ellison took the opportunity to gaze at the handsome face, visually tracing a line down the cheekbones to the full lips which were swollen from their earlier kissing. His groin immediately tightened at the remembered feel of the hard muscled body sitting beside him.


Blair listened to the sound of Ellison moving around in the kitchen from beneath closed lids, and frowned slightly at the familiar ease the man seem to have as he got the plates and various cutlery. This was beginning to bring back some bad memories.

He opened his eyes slowly to gaze at Jim's handsome face as the man capably placed the plates on the coffee table before sitting down in the chair on his left.

Blair stood as the doorbell rang and walked over to answer it. He picked up his wallet from the table by the door and quickly paid the delivery girl before closing the door with a tired smile.

"Don't get used to this," Blair stated as he held out the large brown bag bulging with their dinner, but not releasing it until the pale blue eyes met his.

Jim stared, reading the warning in the intense blue eyes. He nodded, message received and understood. Sandburg was right, he didn't need a babysitter. It was just that after taking care of a cancer patient for three years, it had become second nature to take control.

"Let's eat, suddenly I'm starving." Blair walked back to the living room, tossing a grin over his shoulder.


Ellison rose early the next morning. Today was moving day. He opted for skipping breakfast. He'd grab something later on. Maybe he'd drop by Blair's office, see if he had time to go to lunch. A lazy smile covered his face as he thought back to the friendly dinner they had last night. Sandburg's subtle humor had made him laugh more than he had in years.

He tightened his grip on the steering wheel as he turned into the parking lot across from his apartment building. The box containing the things he most treasured was carefully picked up from the backseat.

Jim quickly made his way across the street and into the building. Thankfully he didn't have to wait long for the elevator and was on his way to the penthouse loft within moments.

He braced the box carefully against the doorframe as he as he unlocked the door. Upon entering Jim immediately headed over to the stone mantel above the fireplace. He set the box down and picked up the top object. The antique lace handkerchief was carefully unwrapped, revealing a crystal picture frame.

Jim stared at it silently for a few seconds before lifting it and placing it in the center of the mantel. It was hardly a proper wedding picture. They had been in the midst of laughing when the photo was taken, but it was the one that Carolyn had liked the best. Her eyes were brightly shining and filled with so much life.

He looked around the loft, his mind going back to when he had last stood in the middle of such emptiness. Closing up the house in Geneva. He had watched the oxygen tanks, hospital bed and all the furnishings slowly being removed from the home they had made for three years, until there was nothing left but him.

The sound of the elevator buzzer going off brought Ellison back to the present. Jim hurried out to the hallway to meet the moving men. His new life had officially begun.


Blair closed the medical report and laid it back into the case folder. Okay, so there was no doubt that John Rodriguez was permanently disabled. This left Province Insurance with only a couple of options. They could argue that it was human error, although "blaming the victim" was not terribly successful these days. No they would probably try to persuade the jury that although their client was driving the car that broad sided John's truck, it was the car's faulty steering that was responsible.

He pulled out the tech analysis of said vehicle. Blair frowned as he skimmed the report, noting the unfamiliar technological terms. He'd have to hire an expert to tell him just how likely that was. The jury needed to find Province's client at least 51% responsible for the accident. If they didn't they wouldn't have to pay his client for damages let alone medical expenses.

Blair stared at the report. 'I bet Jim would know what this report means,' he mused, his mind returning to the man who'd been in his thoughts throughout the day. Too bad we cancelled tonight's plans. He bent his head slightly to the right and then left in attempt to loosen up the tight neck muscles.

The audible pop that followed sounded horrible but actually felt pretty good. He glanced at the clock: 6:15pm.

The phone rang.

"Sandburg," Blair spoke, after picking up the receiver. Mags had left at six.

"How are you doing?"

Blair smiled at the sound of the man's voice. "Jim."

"Still hard at work, I gather."

"Just finishing up, where are you?"

"I am standing in the middle of my new domain."

"All moved in?" Blair leaned back in his chair, picturing the tall man standing in the loft.

"Just about." Jim walked aimlessly through the now furnished living area towards the bedroom or what would be as soon as he bought a bed to put in it. "What's your morning look like?"

Blair straightened up and flipped the page of his date book. "Nothing till ten."

"Want to tag along on a tour of the waterfront? There's a rejuvenation project that the city board is trying to get me to co-sponsor. The official tour doesn't start until eleven, I want to head out there earlier to see what the committee isn't telling me."

He nodded at Jim's suspicion, "Yes, it's always a good idea to see what the actual people want versus what the engineers tell you they want."

"Exactly," Jim replied, pleased that Blair realized what he was trying to do without him having to explain it. "I have enough reports, statistics and projections. I want to get a feel of the people and area. Care to join me, about seven?"

"Sounds good. I'll bring the coffee."

"Goodnight Blair."

A shiver ran up Blair's spine at the remembered feel of that voice breathing heavily by his ear with Jim deep inside him. "Bye."

He reluctantly picked up the engineer's report and placed it in his briefcase. He'd show it to Jim, see if he could put it in laymen's terms. Blair was just about to walk out of the office when the phone on Mag's desk rang.

Blair sighed, it was the main line and therefore not Jim since he had his private number. "Sandburg," he answered with a frown on his face.


There was a big smile on Blair's face as he approached the back table at O'Neill's. "Sphinx! Good to see you, man." Blair eagerly returned the man's strong embrace before sitting down across from his old friend. "How long are you going to be back?"

"Couple of weeks to oversee a new U.S. division." An uncomfortable expression covered his chiseled face as he met the bright blue eyes.

"What's the matter?" Blair signaled the waitress. "In honor of your return, whiskey."

Sphinx waited until the waitress left. "Um, I thought you were still at your old place, and…"

Blair looked away, immediately tensing at what Sphinx was getting at. "It's all right. It's been four years since you were last here. You couldn't have known." Blair couldn't stop himself from asking, "How did he sound?"

"Good, I guess. When I asked for you he told me you moved out and…" Sphinx's green eyes narrowed worriedly as a dark expression spread across Blair's face.

Blair accepted the drink the waitress handed him and drank it down in one swallow. He shook his head at the harsh taste.

"I thought you would have mentioned it. I know how you felt about the guy."

Blair stared down at the bottom of the empty glass he was holding in his hands. "Doesn't matter, it was a long time ago."

"Uh-huh," Sphinx stated in an unbelievable tone. He knew how bad Blair had had it for the bastard. And bastard he had been, of that Sphinx had no doubt. He had never liked Hadley. The smooth lawyer that always had an answer, the one that benefited himself the most, of course. "What happened?"

"He wasn't the man I thought he was, so I left. End of story." Blair shook off the emotional past that his old classmate had inadvertently brought with him. "How's Laura?"

"She's great. We're great. You still have my unending gratitude for setting us up."

Blair chuckled. "I just knew that you two would hit it off. You both think exactly the same way."

"Why do I get the feeling that I'm being made fun of? What has my lovely wife been writing you, Blair?"

He just shook his head. "No way, man. I definitely do not want to get on her bad side."

Blair shuddered theatrically. "Come on, let's pick up something to eat on the way back to my place."

"Sounds good."

Blair gave a subtle nod to one of the men sitting at the bar, recognizing Sal as one of his father's flunkies. He wondered what Windhom was up to.


The man lying on the couch gazed across the room at the longhaired man who was peering out the window, a pall of sadness surrounding him. "Does Laurie know?"


"I still don't understand why you didn't tell us. All this time I thought that you guys…"

Blair turned and walked towards the couch, settling into a chair opposite Sphinx's head. "Remember the Chaos Time, when you and Laura were planning the wedding. The end of second year law. That's when we broke up. I didn't want to spoil things for you guys. Besides, I didn't want to talk about it at the time. Couldn't talk about it."

"And now?" Sphinx asked concerned.

"And now, I just want to forget how stupid I was."

"You weren't stupid, man. Naïve yes, maybe but Hadley isn't all bad, otherwise he wouldn't know quality when he saw it."

Blair smiled grimly at the compliment. He shook his head. "He turned out to be an asshole just like you warned me. But that's past history. Are things really going well for you and Laura overseas?"

Sphinx smiled, "better than good. Want to join us? I'm surprised that you're still in Cascade considering everything."

The broad smile that formed on the handsome face brightened the atmosphere instantly. "Cascade has it own wonders," Blair stated in a low suave tone.

"Aha! Does this wonder have anything to do with this?" Sphinx triumphantly held up the plastic tube of Astroglide he had discovered when he had first laid down on the sofa.

"Give me that!" Blair wrestled the lube away from his friend all the while laughing.

"What's his name? Or is it a girl?" It wasn't likely given the lube but you never knew nowadays. "Or wait it's a transexual!"

A decorative pillow sailed through the air to hit the prone man dead in the face.

"You wish! His name is Jim and I've only known him for a couple of weeks, all right?" Blair couldn't believe it as he felt the heat rushing to his face. Sphinx's next words confirmed his fears.

"My God, you're blushing! Blair 'Table-Leg' Sandburg is blushing!" Sphinx crowed inwardly delighted for his best friend.

"Enough! I need to get some sleep. I have an early morning date with Jim and if I remember correctly you have to be at an 8:00 o'clock board meeting."

"Goodnight Blair."

"Night, Sphinx."

"Oh, Blair," Sphinx called to the other's retreating back.

"Yeah?" Blair asked pausing.

"I *can't* wait to meet him."

Blair groaned as he walked into his bedroom. He knew that was coming. Better yet, as soon as Laurie found out she'd probably make a special trip. Blair hid his head under the pillows. Oh he was definitely in trouble…


A smile broke over Jim's face as he spotted the already familiar gait of the long-haired man striding towards him.

Blair held up the coffees along with a small white paper bag. "I come bearing gifts."

Jim gave a small chuckle and accepted one of the drinks.

"I didn't know what you liked so I got a couple of things," Blair explained as he handed the taller man the white bag.

Ellison peered into the bag with a cautious expression. His eyebrows arched questioningly as he took out a sausage roll and began eating it.

Blair waved away Jim's gesture with the bag. "I've already eaten," he stated as they began walking down the sidewalk.

"This is good," Jim commented as he took another sip. He had already polished off the roll and was now onto the bagel.

Sandburg nodded knowingly. "I get it from a little place by the University. Students always know who has the best coffee." He was just about to ask where they were headed when he suddenly yawned.

Jim's blue eyes sparkled with amusement as Blair tried to stifle the yawn with his hand, as well as the next consecutive two in vain. "Another long night?" he inquired with an insouciant smile.

The long curls swayed softly as Blair nodded. "An old friend showed up last night."

Jim's mouth tightened.

"He's not an old lover," Blair offered knowing that was what Jim was thinking. "He's my best friend from law school. Actually he's one half of my best friend," Blair added with a chuckle. "I met Laurie two weeks before him."

"Laurie?" Jim turned toward Blair.

"My best friend--his wife. We were the three musketeers…got each other through the hell that was first year law."

Jim nodded. "He got into town last night?"

"Yeah, from London. They studied international law." Blair looked up at the dilapidated buildings that bordered the street. It looked like an abandoned warehouse district--looked like being the operative words. "Anybody live here?"

"Officially no. But a couple of my investigators have indicated that several of the owners have been running slums out of a few of the buildings."

"Officially." Blair had a glum expression on his face as he imagined what it must be like to live in one of the decrepit buildings they were passing.

"Which means that the city is under no obligation to offer them any sort of restitution."

Blair glanced steadily at Jim's profile, still amazed at the billionaire's attitude. He actually seemed to care about the people not how much money he would make on the "beautification" project.

For the last several minutes they'd been crossing through the district at a northeastern angle. Blair took his cue from Jim who seemed to know where he was going although the lawyer couldn't see any rhyme or reason for the various turns.

Sandburg gasped as they walked between two very close set buildings and were suddenly out in the open on a very old dock.

"Whoa!" Blair cried as he looked around at what should have been an improvement. The smell of the refuse that he could see was bad enough.

Ellison strode calmly towards the hazardous railing and looked down at the waterline, or where one would presume the water's edge was, under the abandoned tires and other garbage. He waved Sandburg over to him and gestured down. "This is the impetus to the sudden interest in this area."

Blair's eyebrows quirked and walked over beside the other man. He looked cautiously down as Jim continued.

"The EPA has given the city an unusual dictate. Several counties down the coast have experienced some odd illnesses. Somehow, probably by the commercial vessels that travel in and out of the bay, the refuse you see around you is making it's way down the coastline. At least what has bred in the filth."

"And since they have to clean it up anyway, a monstrously expensive endeavor if this area is any example, why not get that money back? Even perhaps make a profit," Blair added. Some of his past cases involved the city's unfairness regarding eminent domain and the seizure of personal property.

Jim nodded. "Ellison Enterprises will agree to sponsor the project, only because that will be the only way to ensure that the people who do live here get some real help."

They began slowly walking their way back towards the buildings. Blair grimaced as Jim took out the final item from the white bag and began eating it.

Jim closed his eyes in pleasure as he took a bite of the glazed doughnut, savoring the sweetness spreading over his tongue.

"Where's the press conference going to take place?"

Ellison gave a short bark. "Three miles from here in a part that has already begun beautification of course."

"The area that is to be toured." Blair shook his head, a sarcastic smile forming on his handsome face as he pictured the appropriate examples of citizens the committee would encounter, all of course who would thank the Board for helping them improve their area. He glanced sidewise at the rugged profile, his smile twisting in amusement at Jim's face. "Hold up," he ordered softly.

Jim turned towards Blair with a questioning expression. Immediately becoming aware of just how isolated the two of them were, hidden between the surrounding buildings.

Blair's blue eyes burned intensely, the little flake of glaze left over from the doughnut on Jim's bottom lip drawing him closer. He gently reached up and drew Jim's face down and gently licked the offending debris off. Not at all surprised when Jim's free arm encircled his waist bringing their lower bodies together.

Both men acted in sync, giving into the need to kiss. Jim covered Blair's mouth with his own but allowed the other to direct his movements, shivering as Blair's tongue deliciously quested into his mouth, tasting far better than the doughnut.

The kissed ended naturally, both men drawing gently back. Their eyes met seriously before they both laughed.

"I like being with you," Blair said between soft chuckles.

Jim's forehead wrinkled. "You sound amazed?" he asked still slightly out of breath but smiling at how good he felt at this moment--with this man.

"I am," Blair admitted.

Jim's smile broadened. "The feeling's mutual, Chief."

This time it was Blair whose face wrinkled in confusion. "Chief?"

"Yeah, Chief. You were wearing a Navajo beaded necklace and vest the first time I saw you," Jim reminded him, adding, "when you were making a pass at that clerk."

"About that…" Blair began before Jim's upraised hand cut him off.

"We didn't know each other. However, now that we do." Jim stared into the dark blue eyes suddenly serious.

Blair swallowed, so this was it. The defining moment as it were…

"I'm monogamous, Blair."

Blair nodded. "So am I."

Jim smiled, "Now that that's settled, what are your plans for this evening?" Each time Jim was in the younger man's presence his body would painfully remind him that they'd only been together once. All too briefly.

Blair's body had been doing it's own reminding from the minute he had spotted the tall man waiting for him on the sidewalk. The thought of an encore with Ellison made his throat dry. His mind quickly flipped through his calendar, mentally cursing as he remembered that he had scheduled an evening deposition. He shook his head, "Sorry. I have a meeting. I probably won't be free until ten." Blair's blue eyes were filled with regret as he met Jim's.

"Ten is fine. I want to see what you think of my place." He smiled into the other's face, wondering if Blair had any idea that all he wanted to do was take him against the side of one of these buildings. The answering glint in Blair's eyes told him that the younger man did indeed know.

"Let's get outta here before we do something that will get us both arrested," Blair suggested and began to walk back down their path.

Jim followed, his long legs allowing him to quickly overtake the other man.

"So you're totally moved in now? You're not sleeping at your family's place anymore?" asked Blair as they slowly approached his car.

"No I haven't slept there since Sunday." Jim leaned against the door, watching the steady, agile hands rest on the steering wheel.

"See you tonight. Good luck with the committee." Blair put on a dark pair of sunglasses and smiled.

Jim softly chuckled at the small wave Blair gave as the car pulled out into traffic.


Margaret looked up sharply as Blair walked into the office…whistling. "Well, you're certainly in a good mood." She commented as she followed him into his office.

"Yeah, I am. What's up?" Blair threw himself into his chair, unable to stop from grinning.

"I'm not even going to ask," Margaret commented dryly. "You have several messages--Edgar Perkins, Kaela Lori, John Hadley, and Mary Roberts." Mag's forehead wrinkled in concern as the grin promptly vanished from her boss' handsome face. "Something wrong?"

Blair shook his head. "Thanks." He accepted the messages, his eyes immediately focusing on one name--John Hadley. "I'll take care of them."

He was thinking so hard that he barely heard Mags leave. Hadley. Blair knew it didn't mean anything. Hadley probably just wanted to know if Sphinx had gotten in touch with him. 'Yeah right,' his sardonic side argued. Remember you're the one who broke it off…

Blair crumpled the message and tossed it in the trash. It wasn't like he needed the actual number anyway, although he had no intention of calling the man. He turned his attention to the remaining messages.


Simon Banks paused before the closed door, wondering if he was about to be fired. Everyone had heard of the dismissal of Garrett Kincaid. Although he personally thought it was no real loss--the man incompetent--he still had been none too pleased to receive a summons from the newly returned CEO.

Banks gave a single knock and strode in at the curt "Enter."

Jim looked up and stood as the tall black man walked in. "Mr. Banks, thank you for coming. I'm Jim Ellison."

Simon paused for a millisecond before firmly shaking the other man's extended hand. "Mr. Ellison."

"Jim, please," Ellison requested, walking around to sit in one of the armchairs while gesturing the other man to join him.

"Simon," Banks said while he sat down, still wondering what the hell he was doing here.

"Simon, I've been reviewing the company's records and although I've encountered more than a few irregularities, I've also encountered some pleasant surprises. Specifically, your division. You've managed to not just maintain but improve the effectiveness of what I thought was a losing venture. How would you like to be the Senior Vice President of Ellison enterprises?"

Simon released the breath he hadn't realized he was holding.

"I need someone I can trust, someone with enough backbone to voice their own opinions and disagree with me if they think I'm wrong. You stood your ground firmly these last couple of months against those layoffs Steven was recommending. Your solution was ingenious, I may add."

"Thank you, Mr. Ellison…Jim." Simon frowned. "What about Mr. Ellison, your brother."

Jim smiled dryly. "My brother has already been informed of his demotion. He still has his vote on the board of course, plus his vice presidency. But, I still have the board's blessing to run this company as I see fit. Until they vote me out, I will run this company as I like. Well?"

"I'd be pleased to accept the position." Simon stood as he held out his hand.

The two men smiled brightly as they shook hands.

"It's going to be more work. You're going to be my second in command in truth." A shadow crossed Jim's face as he fell silent for a few moments. "If there is one thing I've learned these last couple of years, it's that time is precious. I'm not going to be the workaholic tight ass I was before." Jim smiled as he heard the other man's slight intake of breath. Ellison knew more than anyone just what his employees said about him when they thought he wasn't around. "Well, I'm going to try not to be," Jim added with a grimace, cutting off the denial the other man was about to utter.

Simon laughed. 'I think I'm going to like this man.'

"So Simon, go out and celebrate with your son, Darryl, isn't it?"

"Yes," Simon turned to go but then stopped. "Would you like to join us?" Something inside of Banks suddenly urged him to ask. He wanted to get to know this man better and had the feeling they all would have a good time.

Jim smiled. "I'd loved to. Where are we going?"

"First we have to track down that son of mine…" Simon said as they walked companionably towards the door.


Blair was just about to turn off the main lights when someone knocked on the outer office door. He smiled. It was probably Jim, coming by to surprise him.

He quickly strode over and opened the door with a flourish. Shock covered his face as Blair came face to face with John Patrick Hadley IV.

"What…why? Damn it." Blair turned off the lights, and stepped out in the hallway, refusing to look at Hadley as he locked the door. Anger filled him at the man's nerve.

"What are you doing here, Hadley?" Blair demanded, finally looking up at the tall man and wishing that he hadn't. He closed his eyes briefly as the old sexual heat flared into life between them.

"I wanted to know if your friend found you."

Blair snorted contemptuously.

"And I knew you'd never return my call," Hadley continued, ignoring the sound. "You never have before."

Blair looked into the chiseled face and sighed. He rubbed his chin tiredly. He wasn't in the mood for this tonight, or in fact any time. "Okay, you've done your good deed for the day, week or whatever. Sphinx called me. Goodbye." With that Blair began walking towards the stairs, hoping that the arrogant man would get the hint and leave by the elevators.

"Blair," Hadley called threateningly before Blair had taken three steps.

Sandburg stopped but didn't turn around. Blair knew he wouldn't get away that easy. The anger returned as he felt eyes roam over his body. "Don't do that!" Blair turned on his heel and yelled.

Hadley softly laughed. His green eyes glinted with delight at the blue eyes that were filled with rage. He always could get a rise out of Blair, one way or another. "Why, you used to like it when I undressed you with my eyes."

"That was a long time ago."

"Not that long." Hadley gently brushed a fingertip across the full lips, remembering the last time he'd kissed Blair. "Only a year and a half."

Blair shook his head dumbly. "That was a mistake," he responded, referring to the night they'd ran into each other unexpectedly at a conference and ended up sleeping together. Damn this chemistry. He thought that the attraction he felt for Ellison would make it disappear. It made no sense. The attraction he felt for Jim was more intense and three times as powerful. Or maybe it was because this jerk had been his first.

"What's the matter? Did Todd dump you?" Blair took a step backward, putting some distance between them.

"Todd means nothing to me. I wasn't the one who broke it off."

Blair stared into the green eyes and laughed scornfully. "Forget it, Hadley. Move on, man," he called over his shoulder as he walked past the blond man. "I have."

Hadley watched intensely as Blair walked away.


The shaking didn't start until he reached his car. Blair rested his head against his arms on the steering wheel, extremely glad that Hadley hadn't followed. He thought that he'd come to terms with the past. A past that still had the power it seemed to kick him in the ass. Damn Hadley. Why did he have to show up and stir to life all these feelings?

Even as he'd been doing it, he knew that sleeping with Hadley in Chicago was a bad idea. They had nothing in common but sex. They never had. He could admit that now. The man was a selfish arrogant prick who had no moral compunction about doing anything in order to get what he wanted.

He distractedly started the car, thrusting the memories away through sheer force of will. Blair grimaced. The only reason Patrick still wanted him was because he got it into his head that he belonged to him. 'Damn it, I was so stupid!'

All the signs were there in hindsight, he'd just been too in love or what he thought was love to see it. Hopefully, Hadley would give up once he found out Blair was no longer interested. Blair started and looked at the time on the dashboard. He was going to be late.


Blair stepped out of the elevator, wondering what the hell he was doing here? His run-on with Hadley had left him in one hell of a lousy mood.

He leaned against the side of the hallway. 'I should have just called and cancelled.' The evening he had been looking forward to all day was now totally ruined. He was in no mood to deal with anything remotely resembling romance. And the idea of sex right now. Blair shook his head totally disgusted. No this evening was totally shot. He was so caught up in his thoughts that he didn't hear the soft sound of a door opening and footsteps approaching.

"How long are you going to stand out here?" Jim asked, masking his concern with a glibness that he didn't feel.

"How did you know I was here?" Confusion filled Blair's blue eyes as he stared at Ellison in bewilderment. Leaving was totally out of the question now.

Jim frowned as he desperately tried to think of something to cover up his slip. "Uh, I heard something," he lamely replied, refusing the little voice inside him which was telling him to tell his new lover the truth. Something was wrong. Blair had been standing in the hallway for over ten minutes. Whatever was troubling Blair, he certainly didn't need to add the fantastical explanation of his heightened senses to it.

Blair frowned. He didn't buy Jim's answer but he wasn't in the mood to wonder about it either. He filed it away to think about later. "I was just about to leave."

Jim's eyebrows arched questioningly.

"Yeah, I know…something came up and I want to…be alone." Blair realized how lame it sounded even as he said it, but he didn't really feel up to doing the whole old boyfriend discussion. Especially not with Jim. He closed his eyes, something inside telling him that it would be very bad if Jim and Hadley were to ever know about the other, let alone meet.

"Blair, you're here and I hope that if we're anything, we're friends." Jim had realized that the evening of sex he'd been dreaming about wasn't going to happen within seconds of Blair stepping out of the elevator. Blair's rapid heartbeat a clear indication of some sort of anxiety and not the good kind. The dark expression on Blair's face only confirmed his fears.

It surprised him a little that he wasn't too upset about the change in plans. Even he admitted that he could be selfish, and at times insensitive. Something Carolyn could attest to, before she got ill. No, what was amazing was that it bothered Jim that Blair was upset, much more than he thought it would. It brought home to him just how much he did feel for the attractive young man who was staring at him with tired, confused eyes.

"I'd like to show my friend my new place and find out what he thinks about it. If he decides to stay, great but if he leaves afterwards that's fine." Ellison smiled showing that there would be no hard feelings either way.

Blair chuckled and felt some of his tension disappear. He hoped that he wasn't deluding himself as he followed Ellison into the loft.


Blair looked around at the wrought iron furniture and smiled. His fingers trailed across the back of the couch while he walked to the center of the room. "I like it. It's you."

The furniture didn't clutter the open room but emphasized the space beautifully.

"It's my old furniture from my bachelor days," Jim informed him as he walked into the kitchen. "Want a drink?"

"Beer," he absently replied as he stood in front of the fireplace looking at the various photographs. "You looked happy," Blair commented softly, accepting the bottle handed him.

A sad smile formed on Jim's face as he looked at his wedding photograph. "We were."

Blair looked away with a thoughtful expression. He sat heavily down on the couch and took a sip of the beer, his eyes continuing to glance around at the room.

Jim joined him on the couch, careful to keep a casual distance between them.

After a few moments of silence, Blair cleared his throat. He looked down at the bottle he gripped in both hands and sighed. "You know the crazy thing is, is that I've been looking forward to this all day…being here with you…fucking."

"And now?" Jim asked glancing sidewise at Blair's profile, the stress lines around the full mouth clearly discernible.

"Now all I want to do is go to sleep and forget about everything."

"Sounds good to me."

Blair looked at Jim, shocked. "What?"

"Let's go to sleep." Jim sighed and looked down. He ran his hand through his hair nervous about what he was about to say, even more nervous how Blair was going to take it. "I like the idea of sleeping next to you…especially somewhere that doesn't throw my back out of whack."

Blair snorted, smiling at the reference to their night on his couch.

"Besides, it's bad luck to spend the first night in a new bed alone." Jim stood and walked over to close the blinds.

"New bed?" Blair questioned as he also stood and joined the other man in the task from the opposite side of the room.

Jim nodded. "I bought a brand new bed," he stated as neutrally as he could.

"Why?" Blair asked, keeping his attention fixed on the blinds. He closed his eyes, refusing to acknowledge Jim's approach.

Jim lightly touched the side of Blair's chin, his fingers lightly rubbing across the stubble as he gently guided his lover's face towards him and up. "It's a new life."

Blair's eyes opened, searching the light blue eyes for some hint of deception, falsehood or lust. What he found instead, bewildered as well as thrilled him. Concern, caring and sadness.

"I meant what I said, Blair. I'm feeling a little lost here."

Blair gave a slight nod of understanding. Jim had hit it on the head. That was exactly what he was feeling. Lost. He didn't know if he wanted 'this' whatever it was to go forward, but he definitely didn't want to give it up because it felt so good, one might even say right. It also scared him to death. He felt out of control and running into the living reminder of his past mistake earlier tonight didn't help.

He pulled Jim closer, indicating he wanted to kiss.

Jim searched the troubled blue eyes wonderingly and gently brushed his lips against Blair's in a tender kiss.

Blair relaxed even further at Jim's gentle touch. That was the one thing Hadley had never been--tender. He opened his eyes and smiled. "Where's this new bed I've been hearing about?"


Jim started to feel weird as Blair's gaze continued to shift between him and the bed. "What?!" he demanded in a defensive tone.

"I never thought…well…it's just…a canopy bed?"

"Yeah, so?"

"I just never pictured…" Blair trailed off, knowing he was only making it worse but couldn't help chuckling at Jim's reaction.

"It matches the furniture," Jim stated.

"I see that, I would've thought that your tastes ran to something more…"

"Dull," finished Jim.

"Functional," Blair diplomatically stated.

"Boring you mean." Jim couldn't really blame Blair's perceptions. He wasn't the first to tell him so.

"Although now that I've thought about it, it does suit you. The clean lines," Blair remarked as he ran a hand down one of the black iron metal posts.

"What type of bed did you think I'd get?" Jim asked, honestly curious about how the sexy man viewed him. He took off his watch and dropped it on the nightstand before absentmindedly beginning to undress.

"Wood. Maybe with only a headboard."

Jim snorted derisively. Boring just like he thought. He sat on the bed and began to take off his shoes, only then realizing that Blair was standing motionless by the foot of the bed. "Blair?"

Blair gave a shake of his head to wake himself up, realizing that for the past several minutes he'd been staring at the hard muscular body that was slowly being revealed. It seemed like Jim had been telling the truth earlier.

He realized then that he was still wearing his jacket and promptly removed it before tossing it on the chair by the wall. He'd never been able to undress in front of someone when not in the middle of a sexual situation, like Jim was doing, without feeling self-conscious. It was dumb feeling this awkward, considering that they'd already fucked.

"You know where the bathroom is," Jim softly reminded him, turning his attention back to his shoes.

"Thanks," Blair replied, wondering how Jim always seemed to know when something was bothering him. He made his way into the bathroom, which he'd toured days earlier with the real estate agent.

Darkness greeted him when he walked out a few minutes later clothed only in his boxers. The dim gold glow from the lamp on the nightstand providing just enough light for him to make out the shape of long body in the bed.

"I hope you sleep on the right, because I'm not giving up the left side."

Blair's answering chuckle dispelled some of the tension in the room. "No problem." He pulled back the covers and sat, sliding his legs under the sheet as he laid down. For several seconds both men were silent, one staring up at the ceiling and the other listening to the almost audible sounds of tension exuded by the other.

Jim turned on his side, indicating that the only thing he was interested in was sleep. He yawned tiredly as he turned off the lamp. "Night."

Blair stared at Jim's back knowing that it was either all or nothing. The intimacy Jim was nonchalantly offering him scared him more than he wanted to admit, instinctively knowing that Jim was the type of man who allowed very few to come this close. Whatever this was, it wasn't casual. He knew that, had known it really from the first minute--no the first second of that first kiss in the parking garage.

He sighed, wondering why everything had to be so complicated and then laughed silently at himself. He was the one making it complicated, with this worrying and his doubts. Blair turned over on his side and spooned up behind Jim, his right arm moving to loosely encircle the smooth waist.

"Night Jim," he whispered, enjoying the feel of the hot bare skin, soon discovering that Jim slept nude as he pressed his groin against the firm backside. Blair relaxed into his embrace and slowly fell asleep; decision made.


Blair burrowed his face into the pillow in an attempt to shut out the bright sunlight pouring in from the windows.

"Bright isn't it?" Jim teased, stating the obvious.

The warm breath against his neck made Blair intensely aware of his surroundings. It didn't surprise him that sometime during the night they'd reversed their positions.

"Yeah, yeah," he mumbled, remembering that he was the one who made the 'you'll-get-plenty-of-light' comment on the initial tour of the loft. "I was right."

Jim snorted. "You certainly were."

Blair gave up his attempt to avoid the light and shifted to his back. He blinked his eyes sleepily as he looked up at Jim's face. "What time is it?"

"Seven thirty."

Blair closed his eyes. He still had plenty of time to stop by his place before work. Didn't have to be in court till ten…

Jim held his breath as Blair fell back to sleep. He tightened his hold around Blair's waist as he laid on his side pressing his face into the warm soft curls. It was too early to get up anyway.


The next time Blair woke up he was alone. Now he understood why a canopy bed. Jim had drawn down the curtains around the bed, which blocked out a lot of the light. Shit! What time was it? Blair suddenly remembered that he had court at ten.

"Relax, chief. It's only eight thirty," Jim informed him as he walked into the room and drew back the curtain.

Blair stared at Jim, barely noting the navy blue Armani suit that the tall man was wearing. Something clicked inside his mind as he suddenly remembered the half a dozen times that Jim had responded to something he couldn't possibly have heard him say or sometimes merely thought. "How did you know I was out in the hallway last night?"

Jim silently groaned at the determined look on Blair's face. He should have known. Sandburg was too smart to not have picked up on his slip up last night, not to mention the others he'd made in his presence. Jim was surprised that the intelligent attorney hadn't called him on it before now. "Here," he said, offering him the coffee he had brought. Jim sat on the bed and turned sidewise to face him.

Blair inhaled the wonderful smell exuding from the hot coffee before taking a careful drink. His eyes focused on Jim curiously. It looked like whatever Jim had to tell him was a doozy, considering the expression on his face. "Is this going to take long?"

Jim frowned, it was the last thing he expected to come from Blair's mouth.

"I was wondering if I should get comfortable," Blair explained, casually moving to rest against the headboard, being very careful not to spill the delicious coffee.

Ellison's light blue eyes roamed down the handsome body, clothed only in boxers, and laughed at the picture they must make--him fully dressed and Blair sitting up in a white curtained canopy bed, looking like, well to be perfectly honest a wild-child with bed-hair. An attractive one to be sure, but still wild. Jim shook his head, knowing he was delaying answering Blair's question by this little mental foray. "I have better than average hearing."

"You heard me out in the hall?" Blair asked.

"Yes." There was no real need to tell Blair about all of his senses.

"How much better?" Blair asked with an unreadable expression.

"Quite a bit." Jim looked at Blair, wondering what he was thinking.

"Huh." Blair's eyes were thoughtful for a moment before he asked, "What exactly did you hear?" Going straight to the thing that was puzzlingly him the most. It could've been anybody in the hallway after all.

Jim silently cursed. There was no way he was going to get out of this without telling Blair everything. He should just give it up now. "Your heartbeat, okay," he replied ungraciously.

Shock filled the blue eyes at Jim's response. "Your hearing is that acute?"

Jim nodded.

"You can distinguish heartbeats? That's amazing." A thought suddenly occurred to Blair and he looked up at Ellison suspiciously. Some of the comments Jim made while they were touring the various apartments days ago instantly made a hell of a lot more sense. Or senses as it were. Especially how Jim knew that one of the apartments had been the site of a murder. "It's not just your hearing, is it?" Blair asserted, not really needing Jim's answering nod.

"It's all of my senses."

Blair snorted and placed his cup down on the nightstand. "Well this is certainly one for the books."

"It's not something I want spread around," Jim said stiffly.

"Of course, Jim. It's just…extraordinary when you think about it." Yes, some things made a hell of a lot more sense with this new knowledge. He stood up. "Don't they cause you any problems?" Blair called over his shoulder on his way to the bathroom. He needed to get a move on if he didn't want to be late.

Jim stared at the attractive back as it walked away in utter amazement. He never expected Blair to handle the news so…casually. No one else had in the past. The terms 'odd, weird, and freak' immediately came to mind and those from a myriad of doctors and adults, including his own father.

"I mean, the smell of the city alone," Blair said as he stuck his head out of the bathroom. "Do you have a toothbrush I can use, man?"

"Yes." Jim joined Blair in the bathroom. He silently handed him a brand new toothbrush from the drawer and leaned against the doorjamb. "No problems since I was a kid. Puberty was a real bitch for me."

Blair smiled at Jim's reflection in the mirror. "I bet," he said sympathetically, before he began to brush his teeth. There was a vague memory tugging at his consciousness but it was doing it's damn best to stay hidden. Blair looked up and met Jim's eyes in the mirror. "Something wrong?"

"It doesn't bother you?" Jim asked in a puzzled tone.

"No, should it?" Blair answered and turned to face Jim. He would shave at his place. Jim's face darkened, telling him all he wanted to know about how others had reacted to Jim's news. "Not good, huh?" he said softly.

"Does the term freak mean anything to you?"

Blair winced. "Sounds pretty harsh, but hey I'm fine with it. Although I was moving towards the psychic explanation myself."

Jim snorted in derision. He straightened up. "I'll leave you to shower."

Blair nodded and gave a wistful look, but Jim was right; there wasn't enough time.


Blair walked into the kitchen. The shower refreshed him even if he was wearing yesterday's clothes. He sat down at the table and absently began eating the bagel Jim handed him. "It must've been great."

"What?" Jim asked as he scrambled some eggs and turned over the bacon slices he was cooking.

"Being able to see and hear things that are far away. I bet you checked out all the girls in your neighborhood…guys too. Am I right?" Blair asked with a chuckle.

Jim smiled and looked down at the stove. Trust Sandburg to come up with one of the things he actually enjoyed about his senses. "Yes, it brought peeping to a whole new level. But it wasn't all fun and games."

Ellison's serious voice sobered Blair. "You said they haven't bothered you since you were a kid?"

Jim nodded and joined Blair at the table. He slid the plate before the younger man as he spoke, "Specifically not since I was thirteen and learned to control them." He met the blue eyes intensely for a few minutes before beginning to eat.

"They were out of control, I take it?"

"They were fine when I was a kid," Jim explained, continuing at the other's questioning look. "I've always had them, then they suddenly went out of control when I hit puberty."


"All of a sudden things were too bright and sounds too loud. I thought I was going insane. That's what all the high priced specialists came up with as well. If it hadn't been for my mother, I'd be sedated and wearing a straitjacket right now."

Blair grimaced. "Damn."

Jim nodded grimly. "It was pretty bad there for a while."

"This is the first time you've mentioned your mother. Tell me about her."

"She was great, a rock and boy was she a spitfire when you got her angry." Jim's eyes softened as memories of his tall, redheaded mother came flooding back.

"She sounds great."

"She was. She refused to accept the diagnosis of schizophrenia, hallucinations, etc and took me to every specialist over three continents until we got a correct diagnosis."

One of Blair's eyebrows arched questioningly.

"London. We had just stopped over before catching a flight to Paris to see a new Doctor who was having amazing results with autistic children when a man overheard me yelling at my Mom that I had to get my clothes off because they were hurting me."

"Hurting you?"

"Yes. The man, a sociologist who'd just been down in Central America studying the natives, came over and began asking us questions. It seemed that the tribe that he'd been living with for the past eighteen months had a guy with heightened senses. They called him a sentinel and used…"

"That's it! That's what I've been trying to remember." Blair smiled in relief. It would have driven him nuts if he would have had to go through the whole day with that niggling idea in his head.

"Huh?" Jim asked with curious expression.

"I've read about them. You jogged my memory this morning when you told me about your senses."

"You've read about heightened senses?"

"No, yes. I read about Sentinels who have heightened senses." Blair stared at Jim's confused expression. "My minor was in anthropology. I came across it in one of my classes, I think." He groaned as his eyes suddenly focused on the clock. "I gotta go, man."

Jim watched, completely bemused as Blair rushed back to the bedroom before quickly returning, putting his watch on while he walked back into the room.

Blair thought he had everything, and was about to leave when he suddenly became aware of Jim looming over him. "What? Did I forget something?" he hurriedly asked. His mind already half occupied with the details of the case he was going to be argue in court later this morning.

Jim lifted his eyebrows questioningly and gave a half smile as he gazed into the dark blue eyes.

"Oh that…"

Ellison gave a tilt of his head. "Yes, that." He slowly bent down and brushed his mouth slightly against the full moist lips that tasted of orange juice. He was about to pull back when Blair's tongue pressed forward.

Jim parted his lips and groaned as Blair's tongue began to sinuously bath the inside of his mouth until no part remained unexplored. Both men were breathing heavily when the kiss finally ended.

"I've been wanting to do that since this morning."

Blair rested his forehead against the firm chest and tried to slow his breathing. Not really surprised at Ellison's words, especially after last night's washout. He straightened and smiled. "I'll see you later."

Jim nodded and watched the other man stride towards the door.

"Oh, and Jim…nice suit," Blair called over his shoulder just as he went through the door. The shutting door cut off the bark of laughter or would have if Jim had a normal level of hearing.

Jim followed the sound of the Blair's laughter all the way down to the first floor. "Smart ass," he mumbled as he headed back to the kitchen to put away the morning dishes, all the while smiling like an idiot.


"…so you didn't see anything major?" Jim asked looking into the dark brown eyes with a serious expression.

"No, nothing except that supply problem in southeast Asia," Simon responded before resolutely pushing away the file that he'd been reading while trying to eat his dinner. He smiled ruefully remembering that this 'working' dinner was his idea. A way to kill two birds with one stone, as it were. Unfortunately they'd been doing almost all the former and very little of the latter.

"What about you Helen? Any trouble spots I should know about? The board wants my report on our status next week. I don't want to get blindsided at the last moment."

Helen shook her head. "I think we've covered everything."

"I want to apologize for keeping you both so late," Jim began.

"Not at all," Helen replied pleasantly. "How else would I get you out to dinner?" she teased her old boss.

Simon laughed at Jim's expression. The man had no idea that half of the women in the company lusted after him, and only a quarter of those were actually single.

The chatter moved on to other gossip, who'd gotten married, divorced, had children and all the rest of the daily events that Jim had missed during his leave from the company. Jim was laughing at the latest story going around about the antics in the mailroom when he suddenly became aware of a familiar voice speaking close by.

He automatically began to pinpoint the exact location of the seductive voice; quickly ascertaining that it was coming from the far side of the restaurant. "Excuse me, there's someone I have to speak to for a moment," Jim said as he stood and began moving towards the direction of the voice.

The smile of delight on Jim's face slowly faded as he focused in on the conversation taking place.

"I don't talk in my sleep."

A burst of laughter exploded from someone. A male someone. Jim viciously stifled the feelings that were generated by the realization. He had never been a jealous person, but anytime he thought of the young attorney with another man the edge of his vision blurred.

It didn't help that he remembered that they'd fucked for the first and so far only time on just their second date. The black cynical thoughts churning in his head were quickly hidden behind a polite smile as he drew up to the two men seated in the secluded corner. Jim had no intention of jumping to an erroneous conclusion like before. Something deep inside of him knew that Blair wouldn't let it go a second time.

"…and it must've been some dream the way you were writhing on the bed."

"It must've been the whiskey," Blair said, suddenly becoming aware of the tall figure walking up to the table. He looked up curiously. "Jim!" He shot a worried glance at his companion before adding, "How are you doing?"

He stood and immediately grabbed an empty chair at the next table indicating that Jim should join them.

Jim looked curiously at the blond man that remained seated at the table. "I don't…"

"You won't be," Blair cut off before he could continue. "Jim, I'd like you to meet one of my best friends, Charles Attenborough. Charles, Jim Ellison."

Charles stood and met the blue hard gaze with one of his own. So this was Blair's new boyfriend. He let none of his concern show as he firmly shook the tall man's hand. "Yes, Blair's been failing to tell me those pesky details that my wife is going to interrogate me about as soon as I get home."

Relief coursed through Jim, which he hid behind a small chuckle as he sat down. "I hear you. My wife was the same way."

Charles eyebrows arched slightly and he glanced over at Blair.

"I don't know about you, but we've just ordered. Would you like to join us?" Blair asked, wondering who Jim was here with.

Jim looked over at Charles who nodded. "I'd be delighted. I'll just go tell my party to continue without me. If you would excuse me for a moment." He stood and began walking away, his attention and hearing unashamedly remaining on the table behind him.

"So that's Jim."

"Yes," Blair replied in a guarded tone, hoping that Sphinx wouldn't let the cat out of the bag.


"He's a widower."

"Blair…" Sphinx began worriedly.

"Please don't." Blair took a sip of wine and avoided the green eyes, knowing what he'd see. "This is not like last time."

Sphinx sighed, hearing the hint of doubt in his best friend's voice. "I hope not, considering from what you've told me that it's taken six years to get over it."

Jim silently cursed the timing of this morning's revelation as Blair gave a deliberately vague reply and quickly changed the subject. 'What had taken six years for Blair to get over?' he thought, rubbing at the sudden pain in his temple.


Ellison was on his way back after wishing Simon and Helen a terse good night. It had taken only a few moments to hand his newly appointed Senior VP the keys to the car they had arrived in and settle the bill. The brown eyes had blazed with curiosity at the sudden change in plans, but Banks had covered it smoothly under a polite mask, forcing Helen to do the same, for which the man earned Jim's eternal gratitude.

He was in no mood to discuss just who he was going to join or why. Something about the brief conversation he'd overheard made him wonder if it was already a moot point. The headache he'd been trying to get suddenly flared to life. It was only as he was standing still in the middle of the busy restaurant that he realized that he wasn't hearing anything.

Complete and utter silence.

His alarm rose as he quickly glanced around at the tables nearest him where the patrons were apparently talking but he couldn't hear a damn thing. Shock filled him as the sounds began to come back, first painfully loud then so soft that he could barely hear them. He silently cursed, angry that he hadn't even noticed when they'd cut out in the first place.

Blair had just taken a small sip of wine when something suddenly made him look up. He immediately spotted Jim, standing frozen a short distance from the table, his right hand clutching his forehead and blocking his face from view.

Panic filled him. Blair wasn't even aware of moving but suddenly found himself gently placing a hand on Jim's left forearm. "Jim, are you all right?"

Jim glanced down, wincing as he heard Blair's voice start out blaringly loud before cutting to normal level. His eyes darted around as all sound went suddenly back to normal. His relief was short lived. Pain shot through his head so suddenly that it made his eyes water. "My senses are cutting in and out," Jim said, the fear rising as he realized that the room was suddenly getting very bright. Too bright.

"Shit," Blair cursed, unknowingly echoing Jim's exact thought at the moment. His mind instantly remembered this morning's revelation and Jim mentioning something about his clothing hurting him when he was a kid. "I'm going to drive you home. Wait for me. I'll be right back."

Blair hurried back to the table, his arrival coinciding with the three men's food. "Sphinx, I've gotta drive Jim home. He's not feeling well, okay?"

Sphinx nodded, worry instantly filling him at his friend's pale face. "I'll take a cab."

"Sorry," Blair apologized before turning on his heel to go back to Jim.


Blair gently closed the door after Jim got into the car, quickly running around the front before sliding behind the wheel. He glanced at Jim before starting the car, relieved to see some of the tension in the handsome face disappear. "How's your hearing?"

"My hearing's fine now. It's my vision that's gone crazy."

"I thought you said that your senses were under control. That they hadn't bothered you since you were a kid?" Blair asked, worry making his voice sharper than he intended.

"They haven't."

"How did you regain control when you were a kid?"

Jim sighed and rested his head against the seat while slowly massaging his temples to distract him from the pain. "Initially, I spent some time in a Tibetan monastery. The monks taught me how to bring my body under conscious control…I went on to study anything and everything…meditation, yoga, etc."

Blair nodded. "And you're senses went back to normal."

Jim tiredly nodded, wondering what the whole point was behind these damn questions. Couldn't Sandburg tell he wasn't in the mood for chatter?

"This has never happened since then?"

"No…wait they acted up once…" Jim's voice trailed off as he suddenly remembered just exactly when his senses had last troubled him. He had just gotten Carolyn through an episode that left her straining to take each breath. She had finally fallen into an exhausted asleep. He had stared down at the thin hollow face remembering how beautiful it once was and how the pale dried lips were once so quick to arch into a smile.

And that laugh…Jim broke down realizing that there was nothing he could do. Carolyn was dying. His wife was dying. That time, like now he hadn't realized that his senses had stopped working properly until he'd woken up by Carolyn's bedside and he couldn't feel anything. His hands numb, not even able to feel the fragile skeletal hand that was clasped in his.

"Carolyn was dying."

Blair could barely make out the soft words. An idea furiously formed in his mind, one he definitely knew the man wasn't going to like. He wasn't too enthused with it either.

"What were you thinking about just before they started fritzing out on you tonight?" Blair asked in a quiet steady tone.

Jim flushed, not prepared to reveal that he'd been thinking of the man sitting beside him. That they were over before they'd even begun. "What are you getting at?" he demanded angrily.

Jim's antagonism confirmed Blair's conclusion. "What do the two incidents have in common? Think, Jim."

Ellison stayed ominously silent.

Blair pulled up in front of Jim's place and parked. His hands clenched the steering wheel and he tried not to look in his passenger's direction, hoping that it would allow the tense man to speak.

Jim stared straight ahead. "I was upset," he admitted shutting his eyes tightly as he spoke. The pain in his head spiking.

Blair nodded, so it was emotions that seemed to set off Jim's heightened senses. He knew that Carolyn's illness would have been stressful but what set off Jim tonight? "And tonight, it was me…wasn't it?"

Jim gave a brief nod.

Silence reigned for the next several minutes as both men thought of how they felt about the other.

"Are you going to tell me or not?" asked Blair, exasperated.

"I don't know what you're talking about." Jim looked up at the building, the street anywhere but at the man who he could feel staring intensely at him.

"Don't play coy. It doesn't suit you, man." Blair punctuated the understatement with a snort.

"You're one to talk."

"What?! What the hell are you talking about?"

"I'm not the one running scared."

This time it was Blair who looked away refusing to meet the accusing blue eyes. He couldn't deny it. A small part of him had been running scared ever since that first time on his couch. Blair shifted agitatedly as his groin instantly tightened, indicating that his body remembered that night all too well.

Blair suddenly opened the door and got out, slamming the door behind him. "Sorry, Jim. Are you okay?!" he asked, remembering too late what had started this little chat to begin with.

"I'm fine, Sandburg." Jim waved away the concern. All his senses were back to normal. The headache had disappeared sometime during the intense conversation leaving only a slight tenderness.

"Good." Blair stared off down the street for a minute before leaning against the car door with his back towards Jim. "You're right. I have been pulling away, distancing myself." But it wasn't from the sex, it was from what he felt waking up in Jim's arms that first morning. Blair, however, had no intention of telling Jim that.

Jim gave a slight nod, knowing how much the admission cost the younger man by the tense set of the shoulders that were facing him.

Blair's shields had gone up and never really came down. It was unfair he knew, but he hadn't been able to let Jim in. Didn't trust himself or what he felt around the tall handsome man, kept looking for, waiting for the flaw that the cynical voice inside him insisted was there--just like before.

Jim unconsciously noted the slight acceleration of Blair's heartbeat as the attorney continued to lean against the car, not speaking.

Blair rubbed the side of his head absently. Now, he was getting a headache. He ran his hand agitatedly through the hair on the top of his head. "I made a mistake in judgment…about someone--a man. A bad one."

Jim straightened, unconsciously focusing all his senses on Sandburg. "What kind of mistake?"

Blair winced. "I thought he was something he wasn't. It made me…"

"Gun-shy," Jim finished dryly for him. Sphinx's "six years" comment suddenly becoming all too clear.

"Beside a couple of casual affairs that didn't last over two weeks, I've avoided getting involved with men…until now."

"Until now?" Jim snorted in disbelief.

"Yes, damn it!" Blair turned and angrily faced Jim. "Until you!"

Jim shook his head in denial. "You're kidding yourself, Sandburg. I'm the one doing all the work here, you're the one coasting." Jim got out of the car and stood facing Blair.

Blair's hands clenched into fists down at his sides. "Not anymore, not since last night when I fell asleep listening to you breathe, you schmuck! Didn't you feel the difference when I woke up in your arms this morning?!"

Jim nodded, totally disconcerted. He'd thought he'd imagined the joyous feeling he'd felt when he woke with the hard body in his arms, mesmerized by the attractive face as Blair slowly awoke. The wondrous blue eyes took his breath away. Jim honestly thought he'd been the only one who'd felt it. "So we're going to do this? No holds barred?" Jim stared intensely at Blair, daring him.

"No holds barred." Blair walked over to Jim's side and gently closed the door. He stared silently up at Jim, boldly meeting the blue eyed scrutiny. "Do you want to come ballooning with me this weekend?"

Jim shook his head in amazement at the question and chuckled, all too aware that this was the first time that Blair had asked him out on a date. Maybe this was going to work out after all. He bent down to kiss the full lips that were still slightly pursed waiting for his answer. "I'd love to," he breathed before thrusting inside the beautiful mouth that warmed his soul.

The End.


Author's Notes:

I've always wanted to do a series of stories chronicling the beginning of a relationship. So these stories are going to be slow, covering only a few days at a time with nothing really happening.