We all have to make difficult choices in our lives, is Hutch ready to make one?
Starsky was standing at the bedroom window staring out into the darkness when Hutch used his key to let himself into the apartment. Slipping up behind the smaller man, the big blond leaned down and nuzzled the side of Starsky’s neck with his lips, savoring the taste of his skin.
Starsky stiffened and pulled away. In a quiet voice he said, “You smell like her perfume.” There was no anger or reproach in his tone, just a quiet acceptance and resignation.
“I’m sorry,” Hutch told him “I’ll take a shower.”
“Don’t bother.” Starsky said with a catch in his voice. He turned to face his best friend and occasional lover. “I can’t do this anymore, Hutch.”
“Do what?” Hutch asked in a surprised voice, trying to follow Starsky’s train of thought but failing.
“This. Waiting for you to come to me after being with your latest conquest…pretending that I don’t mind being second best in your life when it comes to being your lover.”
“Starsky, we’ve talked about this before.” Hutch said with a patient sigh. “You’re not second best; you’ll never be second best. But, we have to keep up appearances.”
“No, you have to keep up appearances.” Starsky said in that same resigned tone. “You’re the one that is ashamed of us being together.”
“No, I’m not!” Hutch insisted, wounded by Starsky’s words. “I’m not ashamed of us! I love you!”
“But not enough to give up the women in your life.” Starsky said with a heavy sigh. He looked at the man he had shared the last fifteen years of his life with, a man he loved more than anyone else in his life. “That makes me second best.”
“Starsky, we have to think about our jobs, our friends…we’ve got too much to lose if we come out of the closet.” Hutch argued.
“That’s your excuse, Hutch…not mine. Half the department already talks about us. They already think we’re lovers and the other half just doesn’t give a damn one way or the other. And our friends, at least the ones that matter, already know.”
“What are you trying to say, Starsk?” Hutch asked, a trace of fear creeping into his voice.
“I’m trying to say that I can’t go on like this anymore. I want more…I want it all…and I want it with you.” Starsky said, lowering his eyes to avoid looking at the hurt expression on his lover’s face at his ultimatum. “If I can’t have that, then it’s over.”
“Over?” Hutch repeated in a stunned voice, his eyes widening with alarm.
“Over.” Starsky repeated firmly. “I’m not willing to share you anymore or to hide the way I really feel about you.”
“Starsk…” Hutch said, his face draining of color as he reached for his lover. “Let’s talk about this…”
“There’s nothing to talk about anymore, Hutch.” Starsky said, deftly moving out of Hutch’s reach. “Just leave, Blondie…until you decide what you want…stop hurting us both like this.” Without another word, Starsky slipped into the bathroom and shut the door firmly.
Hutch stood there staring at the closed door in disbelief. He felt as if his world was suddenly crumbling around him. He knew that Starsky was and always would be the most important person in his life. He was his partner on the job, the best friend he had ever had, and an incredible lover that satisfied him in every way possible. Hutch slumped down on the edge of the bed and buried his face in his hands.
He was the one who had made the rules when they first became lovers, the one who insisted that they continue to date women as a cover to protect their secret. At the time, it had seemed like the sensible thing to do but that had been almost ten years ago. He knew Starsky had never been comfortable with that arrangement but he’d gone along with it because that was what Hutch wanted. Now Starsky was no longer willing to abide by that choice. He wanted more than Hutch had been giving him over the years. He wanted Hutch to acknowledge that Starsky was the first in his life and his heart.
Bitter tears stung the big blond’s eyes. He loved Starsky that much he knew without a doubt. He would do anything to keep from losing him. Even make the choice that Starsky was asking him to make.
A soft smiled tugged at his lips. When it came down to it, it really wasn’t that hard of a choice to make. Shoving himself to his feet, he slowly walked towards the bathroom to tell Starsky his decision.