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Take Your Shirt Off

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It was Wednesday night and Steve and Danny were meeting Chin and Kono at Kamekona’s after closing a particularly brutal case.  Lou had plans with his family, so he begged off.  Steve needed the comfort the ocean gave him, so he dragged Danny towards the beach while they waited for the cousins to arrive.  They stood side-by-side, close but barely touching, watching the waves roll in as the crowd of tourists and locals passed by virtually unnoticed.  After several minutes, Steve felt the tension of the day start to drain out of him and he became aware that he hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast.  Even that was rushed because they’d had Grace and Charlie the night before and had to get them off to school before heading in to work. 

“Let’s go eat,” Steve said and as they turned back towards the shrimp truck, Steve threw an arm casually across Danny’s shoulders. He leaned down and gave him a short, sweet kiss ... the kind of kiss you don’t even think about.  One that just says, “Hey, I love you, thanks for always being by my side.”

They’d only taken a few steps when Danny stopped abruptly, but before Steve could question him, Danny spoke.

“Take your shirt off,” Danny's voice was so quiet, Steve wasn’t sure he heard him correctly.

“What did you just say?”

“Take. Your. Shirt. Off.” Danny repeated, spitting the words out through gritted teeth.

“What? No, I’m not taking my shirt off.  Are you crazy?”  Maybe Danny had finally lost it. Maybe today’s case was the final straw that snapped his partner’s sanity.  Steve couldn’t think of another explanation for the demand, at least when they weren’t in the privacy of their own home.

“What the hell, Steven?  Since the day I met you, you’ve been taking your shirt off at every opportunity. So, take your damn shirt off.”

Steve immediately pulled his shirt off over his head and let it dangle from his hand as he looked at Danny like he had lost his mind.

“Now flex.”

“Flex? Are you serious?” Danny had definitely lost it, Steve thought.  He really didn’t want to have him committed, but after this outburst, he might not have any other choice.  Hopefully, a 72-hour psychiatric hold would be enough for the doctors to prescribe the right medications. He’d hate to lose his partner to the looney bin. How would he ever explain to Grace and Charlie that their Danno had gone bat-shit crazy?

“Yes, dammit, flex.”

Steve flexed.

“Hey, jerk?”  Danny yelled. Steve followed Danny’s gaze and realized he was addressing someone sitting at one of the tables in front of the shrimp truck. The man had a disgusted look on his face as he sneered back at them.  Danny reached out and waved his hand up and down in front of Steve’s torso, as if he was a model showing off the features of the newest, state-of-the-art kitchen appliance. “There is absolutely nothing repulsive about this right here.  In your wildest dreams you could never score with a woman even half as attractive as this, so take your obvious jealously disguised as disgust and get the hell out of my sight before I kick your ass.”

“I certainly wouldn’t boot either one of you out of my bed,” Kono said seductively as she sidled up next to them and wrapped a hand around Steve’s bare bicep, “separately or together.” Sliding in between the two men, she took an arm of each, fluttered her eyelashes, and said a bit louder than necessary, “In fact, why don’t we go get some shrimp and beer and discuss it?”

As they turned to make their way to the shrimp truck, Steve glanced over at the jerk and winked.  He burst out laughing as the guy stumbled over the bench seat and landed in a heap.  The jerk’s friend caught Steve’s eye and mouthed, “Sorry” before helping the other man up and leading him away.

“So, do I want to know what that was all about?” Chin asked as he walked up to the group. 

Danny nodded in the direction the man and his friend had gone before answering. “I noticed that jerk looking at me and Steve. We were too far away to hear what he said, but I can read lips well enough to know it was not supportive of our relationship unless fag has suddenly become a complimentary term.”

“And making me take off my shirt?” Steve asked curiously.

“Hell, I don’t know.  It was the first thing that came to mind.  I knew it would freak him out. Besides, not to stroke your ego, but you without a shirt is enough to make even a straight guy look twice.  I should know.”

“True dat, brah,” Chin said as he gave Steve a wink.

Steve blushed and hurriedly pulled his shirt back on.

“Aww, does this mean show and tell is over?” Kono asked, feigning disappointment as Chin grinned and Danny gave him a knowing look.

Steve didn’t know whether to feel flattered or objectified.  “Okay guys, enough. Unfortunately, the world is full of homophobic jerks like him and since that won’t change overnight can we please just eat dinner? I’m starving.”  Maybe later he and Danny could have a little mutual striptease, but for now he just wanted shrimp, an ice cold beer, and pleasant conversation with good friends ... fortunately, the rest of the night went according to plan.