"Starsk," I whispered to him, moving closer to him in the bed. "Starsky?"
"I'm going to go take a shower."
"Mmm," he mumbled, burying his head further into the pillows.
I placed a soft kiss on the side of his cheek before getting out of our warm bed. Grabbing a few clothes quietly out of the dresser, I went into the bathroom and closed the door. I started running the shower, letting the water warm enough so that steam filled the room. Stripping off my shirt and shorts, I got in and let the water soothe my aching body. One thing about getting older, your body definitely didn't bounce back like it used to. The water cooled off before I finished washing up, but reluctantly I got out and dried off. Looking at myself in the mirror, it was evident that I needed more than just a shower. Quickly I shaved and got dressed. Opening the door, I saw that Starsky had managed to wake up enough to prop himself up on his pillows.
"Good morning!" I called out, coming back into the bedroom.
"You're too happy too early," he complained, stifling a yawn.
"I thought you were the one that said we should make an early start of it," I teased coming over to sit on his side of the bed.
"Early start means ten, not..." he looked over at the clock. "Ten till eight."
"Well, I thought we could read the paper together. Maybe go out and get some breakfast down at the café."
"I thought so," said, leaning closer.
"Bribery will get you everywhere." He smiled up at me, kissing my lips in invitation. "And since you're so nicely dressed already, you get to go outside and hunt for the paper."
I mock-frowned at him as I leaned back. "You're just too kind."
"Go on, you can read me the comics or something."
"You only use me for my body."
"The truth hurts, don't it?" he laughed.
Getting up off the bed, I stuck my tongue out at him. I could still hear him laughing as I walked towards the front door and went outside. The kid who delivered our paper had a good track record for putting our paper somewhere other than where it belonged. All he had to do was put it in the paper box and leave, but a lot of the times we'd find it in the front lawn, over in the bushes, or once when we found it on the roof. Starsky cursed over that one, saying how was anyone going to be able to read the newspaper when the kid thought he was trying out for the major leagues.
Thankfully, the kid's pitching arm must've been faulty today because he actually put it in the right spot. I glanced at the front page as I walked back towards the house. Our neighbor called out before I got back inside, though.
I looked around, seeing Nancy waving at me from across the street. Going back towards the street, she met me half-way. She was smiling, drinking her ever-present mug of coffee.
"Morning, Nancy. What's got you up so early on a Sunday?"
"Tim's coming back into town and I've got to pick him up at the airport. He took the red-eye back so we could spend the day together." She sipped her coffee. "Pretty much the only thing I'm up for today is getting back into bed. Tim will probably be asleep before we even get back here."
"I'm sure he'll be happy to be back home."
"Yeah, it's been awhile."
"How long's he got this time?" I asked, readjusting the paper in my hands.
"Ten days, then he's going to Fargo. I thought maybe I could go with him this time."
"I hear it's beautiful this time of year."
"In Fargo? I'm not exactly going for the scenery," she teased.
"Well, you're sure to have fun." I glanced down at the paper. "I guess I should go give Starsky his paper before he comes looking for me."
"He's awake?" She sounded surprised.
"Barely," I chuckled. "I woke him up too early I think."
"Tell him that Tim's ready to get to work on that bookcase whenever he's got time."
"I'll tell him," I promised, turning back towards the house. "We'll see you later!"
Starsky and his mini-projects with Tim were an adventure. They'd made random pieces of furniture for years now, putting their hands to good use on a shared hobby. Tim and Nancy had been in their house for over five years now and seemed to enjoy the neighborhood. We liked them a lot. Good neighbors were hard to find and we had gotten really lucky over the years we'd been in our home.
Reading the paper as I entered the house, I slowly made my way back to the bedroom. Starsky was still laying in bed, but looking more awake.
"It was actually in the box this time," I told Starsky, walking back into the bedroom and holding up the newspaper. I climbed back into bed with him, propping myself up to mirror his position.
"Hand me the movie listings," Starsky requested, reaching his hand out.
I flipped through the Sunday paper, finding the section and giving it to him. I went back to reading the front page. The last performance of a traveling off-Broadway show was the top story, which was a lot better than seeing the murders and deaths that usually dotted the paper.
"What time do we have to be at Huggy's?" he asked, scanning the movie section.
"Umm, I think we told him four. We've got time for a matinee, if you want."
"Not with what's playing now," he said in disgust, throwing the paper down.
"You used to be a lot less picky about bad movies," I joked.
"There's a difference in bad movies and a pure waste of time and money."
"Oh, I see." I smiled over at him. "Discernable tastes, huh?"
"Exactly." He smiled back. "Anything interesting in there?"
"Not really. Court cases, politics, same old thing."
"Sounds exciting," he answered flatly.
Starsky sank back into the pillows, sighing and closing his eyes. I took the opportunity to lean over and give him a deep kiss. He opened his eyes and returned the kiss full force. The years had not diminished that aspect of our relationship. We were still in love, still madly consumed by one another. Over the years it allowed us to deepen the bond we shared. I pulled back and lay my head on my own pillow, tracing my fingers over his covered chest. The t-shirt was thin and I could feel the hardened muscles underneath.
"If I didn't know any better, Mr. Hutchinson, I'd think you're propositioning me," he teased.
"I'm a dirty old man, officer. You should teach me a lesson."
"I don't know. You're a repeat offender, so this might take some work."
"Mmm, tempting." I trailed my fingers down to where the sheet covered his waist.
"If you keep that up, I'll never get out of bed," he teased.
"And this is a bad thing?"
"Not necessarily." He smiled. "But we had plans today and I don't think we should break them." With that, he pulled the sheets off his legs, reaching over to bring his chair closer to the bed. His boxers were pulled tight as he leaned over.
The shock of seeing the stark contrast between Starsky's muscled upper body and his weakened lower body had lessened over the years, but sometimes it still caught me. It wasn't that I didn't see him as whole. He was my partner, my lover, my Starsky. And the years he had been paralyzed were quickly catching up to the years from before.
"Did you leave me any hot water?" he asked, positioning his feet so they were on the footrests.
"A little. It should be hot again by now."
"I'll be out in a little while," he said, pushing himself towards the bathroom.
Twenty years ago our lives changed, completely different from how we had expected it to turn out. Before, we might have had the idea that we'd be working the streets forever, or maybe our grand plans for early retirement would have won out after too many years working the job, but neither of them came to pass. Where we were now wasn't that bad. We were respected, enjoyed profiling, and actually remained partners, which was something that might have come into doubt before. When our love was new, when we were both physically whole, we never talked about what impact our relationship would have on our careers. But that wasn't an issue anymore. We chose each other, chosen our futures because of the injury, and actually came out happier because of it. There were no more fears, no more looking over our shoulders and being concerned with what others would think. We did our jobs, lived our lives, and were happy.
One thing never changed, our love for one another. We held onto that through all the bad things that came to pass. Throughout Starsky's recovery, when we were both coming to the realization that our lives would never be the same, he was afraid. He honestly thought I'd leave him, walk out and unburden myself. It took him a while to realize it wasn't going to happen. I was going to be there for him, no matter how many times he yelled and cursed and told me how much he hated me. I knew he never meant it, just had to vent his emotions before they crushed him. His whole world had shifted on its axis and he was scared that my love for him would change along with it. I would never turn my back on him, I would never let go of the one true love that I had finally found. All the changes around us never negatively impacted that one truth. The important things never change.
"Hutch!" Starsky yelled out from the bathroom.
"The faucet's dripping again!"
No, some things never changed and for me, that was perfectly all right.