Jim's huffing so hard in my hair that it's tickling my neck on every exhale.
The wall is slippery, now that we've been perspiring all over it and each other, and I no longer have to worry about that tooth-gritting squeaking sound my dry skin was making as it chirped against the coat of Dutch Boy Flat Latex Indoor #302.
My partner's thigh is wedged between mine, and he's busy giving me the hand-job of a lifetime. I'm a little worried that I'm going to pass out-- I can't seem to catch my breath-- but Jim's hand is so absorbing I can't really dwell on that particular outcome. After all, there's only one way I really want this to end.
"That's it-- " And we have lift off. I spill all over his hand and he jabs his hips, rubbing off against my belly. He's at the groaning stage. It's my favorite part really, when he's making these low unconscious sounds that just rev me up, and my own hand strokes him a little faster, a little harder and-- He creams me, and he's panting in my ear, slick with sweat and kissing my jaw.
"Holy shit, Blair..." he murmurs, and I hear him smile.
"Yeah. Pretty good, huh?"
He fixes me with those killer blue eyes and smirks. "Pretty good? Just 'pretty good'?" He tweaks my nipple.
The guy knows sixty-seven ways to kill a guy with paperclip, but the only thing I have to fear from him is a Purple Nurple.
"I revise that statement. Stellar. A-Mazing. But you know, I think we could do better. Maybe we should practice some more. You know those Olympic judges give big points for a spectacular finish."
Jim wipes his chin and flicks some goo on the floor.
"You got it on my face, Sandburg. Do we have to get it on the ceiling before you consider me for the gold?"
I lick his chin, laugh a little.
"Well, maybe if I was flat on my back I could aim higher."
"Hey, going at it against the wall was all you, buddy." He smiles at me, pushes my hair back. "Maybe we should add some new routines to our repertoire." He says, leaning down to kiss my collarbone.
I feel my knees lock.
"Uh. New routines? What's wrong with the whole kiss-moan-fondle-come thing we have already?"
"Not a thing," he hurries to say, and he's got his tongue in my ear now and oh yeah, I like that and what is he saying?
"But I was thinking... you know... that ... I could... I mean, I want to... Can I...?"
I grab his head and make him look at me.
"Jim. You want to fuck me?"
He blushes. It kills me. We've been naked and slippery with each other for going on three months now and he's still blushing.
"Uh. Yeah. Is that okay?"
I roll my eyes and caress his jaw. "Of course it's okay. It's just that... Penetration's kind of a big deal for me."
Jim looks highly skeptical and I tow him to the bed, figuring I'm going to have to clarify this statement.
"I mean it's complicated, and you need accessories, and it's messy--"
He squints at me and gestures at my goo drying on his belly. And his chest. And he still has a little on his chin--
He leans over to chew on my earlobe.
"You wanna go first?" he murmurs, "Because I'm okay with that."
My hand tightens on his forearm and I have a quick flash of my dick in Jim's ass and a hot welter just makes my blood jump around in my veins for a minute before I can answer him.
"It's not that I don't want to... believe me, it's just that... Jim... Look, man, before I met you, I had a few house rules of my own."
He stops chewing my ear and lifts his head. Jim seems positively intrigued by that idea, so I press on.
"One, never sleep with your housemate, two, never sleep with a virgin, and three... Well, the 'never sleep with a guy' thing wasn't really a rule, I mean before you, it never even really came up..."
"Get to the point, Blair," and he rolls his eyes.
"Well, it's just that... It's a very serious thing with me, okay? I mean, I've only ever been sort of tempted to do a girl I was splitting the rent with, and the only time I even came close to an actual honest to goodness virgin I-- ahem. Well, that's a story for another time."
He tips his head to one side and crosses his arms. He doesn't seem to be grasping the significance, here. Full on confessional mode, Sandburg.
"Jim, listen man, I didn't even go 'all the way', " and I sign quotes with my fingers to emphasize this, "with a girl until I was nineteen."
He blinks at me.
"What about what's-her-name, the cheerleader in the band bus, in the tenth grade?"
"Jim, I assure you that actually happened," and I can't help but grin at the memory of Ginny Alvarez and her little pleated skirt. "I went down on her and she returned the favor but I didn't..." And I made a suggestive motion that Jim cocks an eyebrow at. "Not with her, not with Sally Ann, or Kendra Jenkins or--"
Jim looks a little pale, and waves his hands at me.
"Whoa, whoa, I didn't ask for a set list, Sandburg. You mean to tell me you've never planted the flag?"
"Hold on, Jim. That is not what I said. What I said was I didn't have intercourse until I was nineteen. Her name was Susannah, and we were together for six months before I could even think about it without getting sweaty palms, and then she accepted a fellowship at Oxford and we made our last night together... Special." I know I must have the goofiest smile on my face because he snaps in my ear.
"And well, after that, I moved on. And there was no going back. I just adhered to a strict policy of 'no glove, no love' and I haven't really worried about it since."
He shakes his head a little and lets out a low whistle.
"Well... Look. My mom is, as you well know, a very liberal woman. And let's just say that I had to endure the "safe sex" spiel more than once. And trust me, Naomi was thorough. Books, diagrams, the whole roll-the-condom-on-a-banana thing... It was... an experience. And I'll tell you: It made a lasting impression.
"I mean, Naomi raised me on her own, and even as a kid I could tell it was hard on her. I mean, she wouldn't tell me how old she was for the longest time, and finally I had to lift her wallet and read her license.
"She was 17 when she had me, Jim. But she was Naomi even then, and I was lucky, and she was tougher than she looked, and we did okay. But I never never wanted to be responsible for that kind of... responsibility.
"So I figured out ways to get around it."
"But you did eventually... close the deal," He says, and I nod. "So then, why is this a problem now?"
I let out a gusty sigh.
"Well... it's not. I'm just... I don't want to rush things."
I flop back on the bed and wriggle up until my head hits a pillow.
Jim lays down and rests his head on my belly.
"I'm not in any hurry here, Sandburg."
I stroke his hair and we both stare at the ceiling for a while. Through the skylight, the sun falls heavy and golden on the floor, making the room completely cozy. It hardly took any convincing to get Jim to agree to a little tumble, once Simon gave us the half-day. I know it was the first thing that came to my mind when I heard Simon clap his shoulder and say, 'Why don't you take the afternoon off?'
Jim turns his cheek to my stomach, and his hair tickles and his afternoon stubble scrapes and I close my eyes to enjoy it.
"You ever wonder about your dad?" He sounds contented and curious, and he almost never asks me about my past, so I'm happy to answer him, if only to change the subject.
"Sometimes. When I was with Susannah I thought about him a lot. Who he might have been. What he might be like. Heck, he could have been a bank president, or a pharmacist, maybe an Elvis Impersonator for all I know."
"So did you ask Naomi?"
"Ask her what?" and my jaw cracks on a yawn.
He pokes me right in the belly button and then kisses me there.
"Ask her who your dad was, moron."
I laugh and Jim's heavy head kind of bounces up and down on my belly, which just makes me laugh harder. "You know, when I was in high school, we had this day care center, right? It was a really progressive school and it was one of the first 'teen pregnancy deterrent' courses offered anywhere, and anyway I had to keep an eye on the fours and fives. And when we wanted the little gremlins to take a nap, we used to play 'Ha'."
"Ha?" And for all the world, it looks like Jim is asking the ceiling fan.
"Yeah, you lay down with your head on someone else stomach, kinda like dominos, and then you tell a corny joke, and the kids would just lose it, and then you'd tell another one until they're all weak from giggling and then finally one of them would say 'I'm sleepy' and we'd take off our shoes and get out the mats and they'd take their naps."
"I'm sure you appeal to the intellect of many five year olds," Jim opines.
"Shut up, man." And I smack him right on the bald spot. "I'm telling you, I slayed them. I was a hot ticket."
"So tell me a joke, Shecky."
"Okay... this one used to knock them down, man. It was a big hit."
"Enough with the buildup already. Make me laugh, funnyman."
"Why did the bicycle fall down?"
"I give up. Why?'
"Because it was two tired. 'Too tired.' Get it?"
"Yes, I get it," and Jim is just breaking up, that heh heh rumble that just see-saws out of him and ends on a groan, "Blair, that is the dumbest joke I have ever heard."
"I have to pander to my audience, man."
He turns over and hauls himself up on his elbows until he's face to face with me. He plants a nice wet kiss on me and then hugs me against his shoulder, still letting out a chuff of air here and there from left over laughs he has stored somewhere in that chest of his.
"I love you," he says, and it's nice to hear that. It's always nice to hear that. "But it seems to me you didn't answer my question."
Don't let the pronounced brow ridge fool you. Jim is no troglodyte. And once he's on the scent, you might as well stop running, because he's gonna sniff you out sooner or later.
"Look. Jim. I don't know who my father is. I will never know who my father is. And either Naomi's forgotten or she never knew in the first place and I really, really don't want to talk about this right now."
"Okay. We don't have to talk about your dad." He fits his chin against my shoulder and says, "Tell me about Susannah instead."
"I don't know, man. You sure you want to know?"
"I'm sure," he affirms, and he strokes my hair.
"Well, she was 26 when I met her, and an assistant professor in the Pure Maths department. Long dark hair and legs up to my chin. She was just... just an amazing woman. Formulas, abstract calculations... And she had these eyelashes, they were like a mile long...
"After Oxford, she moved to Germany. Married some guy who owned a brewery." I sigh a little for effect, but I don't really miss Susannah any more than I miss Sam, or Maya. They were people I was glad to meet, whose company I had enjoyed, but when they'd moved on, so had I.
"An older woman, huh, Chief?" He seems pleased by that, for some reason.
"Oh yeah. You have to respect a woman who really knows what she's doing."
"I hear that," he says, and licks my shoulder a few times.
"So what about your first girlfriend? Your first full blown, all systems go one, I mean."
"Her name was Greta. Tall, statuesque," Jim heaped some imaginary curves on his chest. "She was a model. On the Swedish Bikini Team." He cracks a smile and I wallop him with the pillow.
"You are so full of shit, Ellison," I inform him.
"Fine, fine. Okay. Her name was Penny, and her parents were away for the weekend. I was... It was a week after my 17th birthday, and she let me... She let me. I felt like Superman for three days. And then she dumped me for some other guy." He sighed, stretched out, folding his hands behind his head. "The school year ended, and when I turned 18 I joined the army. Not many steady girlfriends when you're working covert ops."
He was quiet for a while and I wondered if he was thinking about Lila, Lila who had set out to murder him and in the end taken the bullet herself.
To distract him, I ask him a question that had been puzzling me since I had first gotten to know him.
"How did you and Carolyn get together?"
He laughs a little, face warming up, eyes sharp and bright again.
"Carolyn," he smiled. "She hit on me. I mean, she was relentless. She was like a little jungle cat. And she caught me, I guess."
"Well, you liked her, didn't you?"
"Yeah, sure I liked her. She was a good cop. And she was cute, and she knew her way around the sack." His ears pink up a little, and I can tell he'd rather not discuss Carolyn's sexual prowess. To be truthful, I'd like to avoid the subject myself. Carolyn and I never really warmed up to each other; she thought I was some flake cop groupie and I thought she was... ah, I didn't have a lot of warm fuzziness for her, either.
"Did you love her?"
His face got solemn, and he ran a hand through his hair.
"I loved her," he asserted. "She's a tough little cookie, Caro. A real scrapper. I admired that about her. But... I had nothing to compare it to, you know? Carolyn was my first stable relationship, and I married her because it seemed... Well, kind of rude not to. She was a nice girl, we were sleeping together, she loved me..." He counted out each point with a wave of his hand. "It just took me a while to realize I wasn't in love with her. And that I wasn't going to be, no matter how hard I tried."
I am stunned.
"You married someone because you wanted to be polite!?"
"Whoa, whoa, easy there, Tex. Relax. It was okay. We had an okay time. We didn't really fight, and it was nice at first. I just... I just wanted something I could hang on to. But Carolyn didn't really seem to know what to do with me once she finally had me, and she started noticing that she wasn't in love with me any more than I was with her... so we called it quits. Chalked it up as a learning experience. Moved on."
"While you were married, did you think about having kids?"
"We talked about it a little. I told her I didn't know what kind of father I'd be. I never really told her about my dad, but she knew we didn't get along, and it was kind of obvious when neither my dad or my brother showed up at my wedding. She never really pushed the issue." He chuckled a little. "She said once that she wished she still smoked pot, that she would have liked to see me relax for once.
"I know she was curious-- but part of what was wrong with our marriage was that she never felt she could ask me about stuff, and I never felt I could tell her about the things that really... really bothered me." His voice was a little furry by the last couple of words, and I snug closer, squeeze his hand.
He clears his throat.
"What about you? Ever think about having kids?"
"Not really. I mean, I had the whole terror of pregnancy thing for a long time, and then, later a vague idea that if I ever had the money and the time that I'd adopt an older kid. I mean, there are plenty of 'accidental' children out there who weren't as lucky as I was."
Jim smooches my temple and tucks me under his chin.
"Hey now, aren't you the one who says there are no accidents?"
"Well, you know me, Jim. I'm flexible. I vacillate-- supreme being, or chaos theory -- it really depends on when you ask me." He snuffles against my ear to make me laugh, and I do, but I make an effort to stay focused.
"But now-- I don't think a two guy household, and both of us dodging bullets, could really give a kid the time... and the safety... he or she would need, right? So us, we're strictly uncle material."
"'Uncle Blair'," Jim says, and he sounds kind of satisfied. "It's got a nice ring to it. My niece is gonna love you."
"Most kids do," I agree.
"Well, they like it when they can see eye to eye with someone--" He fakes a grunt when I slap his chest.
"When did you get to be such a wiseass?"
"About the time I realized I wanted you to fuck me," he growls, and I get a funny little shiver of anticipation in my belly, a sparkle on the nerves that makes my dick twitch.
"Jim. Look. We'll get to it. I promise. Just... just not today, man, okay?"
"Okay," he says easily, and he digs his chin into my sternum and I squirm in his arms. "And Blair...?" His voice is just dripping sincerity. "I promise not to let you knock me up."
"Oh man, you are so gonna get it--" and I elbow him and reach for another pillow.
"Damned straight, Sandburg." And he pats my ass before gliding his hand up my back and taking the pillow from my relaxing hand.
He nuzzles my ear, and repeats, "Damned straight."