Not that Chazz was counting but that was, like, the twenty-fourth sigh out of Jimmy's pretty mouth in the last half hour. And those lips should only sigh when Chazz's own lips were occupied in a very specific manner. Something was wrong. Something was making Jimmy's curls droop and his jumps sag and his sequins lose their shine. (Although that last one might have had more to do with the experimenting with the syrup and the peacock feathers. Turpentine should fix it.)
Chazz racked his brain for a clue as to what could be causing his gentle Jimmy such pain. He hadn't seen anything like this since the Big Gay Freak-out that followed Chazz's careful explanation of felching, together with demonstration straw. (It wasn't his fault. Jimmy shouldn't be allowed near the internets with Safe Search off.) So it couldn't be a sex thing--Chazz knew how to give it to Jimmy but good. Real good.
Chazz still woke up some mornings, golden curls nestling on his chest, golden fingers wrapped around his hip or somewhere a little closer to heaven if he had anything to say about it wondering just how it was he wasn't bored as hell and running for the nearest exit. It was weird and a little scary but somehow Jimmy was home in a way Chazz had never had before. And it kind of helped that once Jimmy'd gotten over his fatsi- fastidin- fadstin- bug up his ass about personal hygiene, he let Chazz do pretty much anything he wanted with him (and for those he hadn't gotten over yet--after three orgasms Jimmy forgot the meaning of the word ewwwwwwwwwwwww, and also apparently lost all bone support. Except for the one bone that mattered. Rrrrr).
The twenty-fifth sigh was as long as the wait between skating off the rink and getting the first perfect score of a competition. It reminded Chazz there was a point to his introspectropics. He muted the TV and nudged Jimmy with his shoulder.
"What's the dealio, angelcakes? Why so glum?" He furrowed his brows and stuck out his lower lip, just in case Jimmy didn't quite get the question.
"Oh, nothing," said Jimmy with sigh number twenty-six following close on his Big Fat Lie.
Chazz shook his head sorrowfully and placed one hand lightly over Jimmy's silky track pants. It was like petting a mouse, only with potential for more than being peed on. Though... Damn! Distracted again. "Hey, Jimmy," he said, turning on his sex-voice, "it's me, here. Chazz Michael Michaels, aka your friend, aka your soul mate, aka the giver of the best head you're ever gonna get. You're blue and I'm not talking about your balls. Talk to me. Or Little Jimmy here," Chazz gave LJ a tiny squeeze, "isn't seeing the inside of my mouth until after Labor Day."
"That's, like, tomorrow, dummy," said Jimmy, his voice simultaneously scornful and fond in a way that never failed to confuse the hell out of Chazz. He blinked. Shit! Tomorrow.
"You saying you can last 24 hours, now?" Chazz squeezed again and sucked his own fingers into his mouth, pumping them in and out and moaning around them lasciviously. The mouse stirred. Oh yeah, he was ready to get on the wheel. Score. The Chazzmeister was back in the game.
" Just tell me, Jimmy. We can work it out, whatever it is. We're a team, you and me." He slid his hand away from the Hulked-out mouse and patted Jimmy's thigh.
Jimmy's eyes got all shiny and soft. "I want to have a baby," he said. "I want to have a kid and give it everything my father never gave me. I want it to know it's special even if it never brings home a single gold medal. Or an A grade. I just-" Jimmy turned to Chazz and took his hand, holding it tightly. "I have so much to give, Chazz. I know what love is, now, and I want to spread it around. I want a child and I can't have one."
For a split second Chazz was ready to offer to ride Jimmy bareback for as long as it took to get him in the family way--the only reason they were still using condoms at all was Jimmy's cleanliness issues, anyhow. Chazz would be more than happy to take Jimmy the way that nature intended it, to sow his seed on fertile ground, to set his little swimmers big swimmers, huge, marathontastic swimmers free. Then he remembered that it was less with the fertile and more with the oops-wrong-hole. It was a damn shame no one had invented male pregnancy yet, Chazz decided, because Jimmy would get all soft and warm and round. It would be seriously hot. Twisted, but hot. But then, imagine it coming out. And of where? The one-eyed pant snake? Worlds of no. Chazz shook his head.
"See?" said Jimmy, misinterpreting Chazz's action. "You agree, I can't have one." He sighed again. Number twenty-seven.
"Well, no, because last time I checked you hadn't grown a hee-haw so..." A lightbulb pinged on over Chazz's head. "Wait. You mean you can't have one because you're a butt pirate?" He rethought. "Can you be a butt pirate if you're the one that takes it up the ass? Or is it me that's the butt pirate because I impale your pretty ass on my faithful sword? My sheathed sword." Oh, he was getting good at the whole matador (mataphor?) thing.
"Chazz! My pain." Uh-oh, Jimmy was pouting. Sighing, Chazz could just about handle, but pouting, too?
Chazz pulled Jimmy in until his head was resting on Chazz's chest. He patted Jimmy's hair, absent-mindedly twisting one ringlet round his index finger. When it came down to it, all Chazz wanted in life was for Jimmy to be happy. And to have lots of very, very gay sex. But mostly, for Jimmy to be happy.
"You deserve a kid, Jimmy. You really do." A frown settled on his face as he began to plot.
The choreography session with Jesse had turned into coffee and commiseration over Jesse's difficulties in getting Coach to cut down on his cholesterol consumption (this exposition brought to you by the letter C) and it was dark well before Jimmy got home. He opened the door to the smell of baking and the twinkly music that told him Chazz was sucking at Super Mario Kart again. Really, Jimmy didn't know why Chazz bothered. He always placed last, no matter what he tried. The only thing he was good at was falling off the track.
Jimmy wanted a shower and a nap, but he supposed that he should go and pick up the pieces of both Chazz's ego and the steering wheel he was bound to have shattered. Again.
The soothing words he'd prepared died on his lips as Jimmy opened the door to the den and found not the red-faced, wild-haired, flailing behemoth of a boyfriend that he was expecting, but a tiny girl, blonde curls neatly tied into bunches with elaborate bows, expertly dodging banana skins as if she'd been doing it all of her--clearly short (unless she was, you know, a little person, which Jimmy wasn't ruling out just yet because he'd met many of Chazz's friends)--life. He cleared his throat.
The little girl turned, big blue eyes blinking solemnly up at Jimmy. He took in her woolen, stripy pantyhose, her corduroy pinafore dress printed with butterflies and her chubby fingers clutching the white steering wheel. Definitely a child. He blinked right back at her.
"I'm five. I like your hair. Are you my new mommy?"
Jimmy's blinking sped up. "Am I your-? CHAAAAAZ!"
Unable to move his feet, Jimmy twisted his head round and saw Chazz appear in the kitchen doorway, wearing a frilly apron, which seemed to be the only thing on him that was clean, the rest of him covered in flour and something that looked disturbingly like what Mr. Tiddles produced whenever Chazz snuck him too many chocolates.
"What is going on?" Jimmy whispered through clenched teeth.
"Oh!" said Chazz airily, waving a wooden spoon in the air. "She wanted cookies. From scratch." He patted a sleeve and coughed as a white cloud mushroomed around him. "Flour is dusty. Who knew?"
I knew, thought Jimmy, but he said, "Who is it?"
"She is your brand new daughter. Her name is Twyla. Excuse me, my cookies are burning." And Chazz turned tail, his apron strings flaring out behind him.
Jimmy looked back at the little girl who still stood with her eyes locked on him, solemn-faced and pink-cheeked. He began to think that maybe the butterflies on her pinafore had jumped ship and taken up residence in his stomach. Oh, Chazz. What had he done now? Jimmy held up a finger.
"Just one minute," he said, and hurried after Chazz who bent over the oven, Gordeeva and Grinkov mitts at the ready.
"No, but Chazz," said Jimmy, trying not to be too horrified at the state of the kitchen. Was that...? Really? On the ceiling? Did they even have a ladder?
"What? How? Did you steal her? You have to take her back. You can't just randomly pick up children, you know. They have names for people like that and we're both too pretty for prison." Well, Jimmy was, for sure, and what if his new cellmate didn't appreciate the need for proper preparation and disinfection? It was a disaster waiting to happen. And so was that, thought Jimmy, watching Chazz try to slide the cookies from the baking sheet onto a wire rack without touching them.
Chazz didn't look up. "Chill out, angelcakes," he said. "It's all legal. See?" And he jerked his head to the right. Jimmy followed the movement and caught sight of a manila folder. He looked back at Chazz, who was now looking at him expectantly, a small smile edging his lips.
"Go ahead," Chazz nodded and expertly fielded a cookie that had been teetering on the edge of the sheet, an instant before total destruction. Maybe it wouldn't be such a disaster after all.
Jimmy reached for the folder and opened it. The first sheet of paper had the logo of some adoption agency at the top, with a photograph of Twyla paper-clipped to it. There was a big red stamp across the body of the text saying 'Approved'. Looking closer, Jimmy saw both his name and Chazz's in the spaces for legal guardians. Then it was hard to read the rest because somehow the words were all swimmy and Jimmy quickly closed the folder before he smudged the ink.
A little hand reached up and tugged his sleeve. Jimmy rubbed at his eyes with his other sleeve and looked down at Twyla. His...his daughter?
"Can I have a cookie, Mommy?" she asked, looking thoughtful and then adding, "Please?"
"How come I'm the mommy?"
Chazz shrugged and pulled off Gordeeva and Grinkov, picking up a cookie and juggling it from hand to hand as he made little huffing noises of mild pain. Jimmy saw Chazz reaching out his arms to Twyla, too-hot cookie jiggling away. With one swift movement, Jimmy knocked the cookie out of his hand, sending it hurtling towards the floor, while with his follow-through he hit Chazz upside the head.
"Do you want her to burn her mouth? You want to spend our first night as a family in the emergency room because you forgot that baking makes things hot? Doofus." Scooping up the little girl and settling her on a stool at the breakfast bar, Jimmy bustled about the kitchen, fetching a glass of milk, a plate and a napkin, which he placed in front of Twyla. Carefully, he selected two cookies and put them on the plate.
"You can eat those when you've finished half your milk," he said. "And no gulping. Because then there'll be burping and that's banned. Unless you're Chazz I mean Daddy after an Indian meal."
He smoothed a stray curl from Twyla's face and felt the butterflies do a little dance in his tummy as she beamed a brilliant smile at him, little pearl teeth white and perfect. He looked back at Chazz, who had the dopey expression on his face that Jimmy'd long since learned was more about love and less about forgetting whether he'd remembered to starch Jimmy's tighty-whities.
Chazz was grinning, though his voice was rusty and strange.
"That's why you're the mommy," he said.
And Jimmy was just fine with that.