Guidance - PsychGirl
“Of course it is, Jim; it’s a hot tub.”
“I don’t think this is such a good idea.”
“Stop being such a pansy and get your ass in here.”
Sullenly, Jim stepped over the edge of the tub and eased himself slowly into the steaming water, adjusting the legs of his shorts-style bathing suit. “I feel like an idiot,” he muttered.
“No wonder,” Blair replied cheerfully, “since you’re wearing the bathing suit equivalent of a burka.”
Jim glared at him. Sandburg had brought a tiny black Speedo that barely covered his unmentionables – not that Jim was thinking about Sandburg’s unmentionables. Or had ever thought any other part of Sandburg... well, any part that he wasn’t already supposed to be thinking about. If that was any of his parts at all. “I just don’t think--” he hissed.
Before he could finish that sentence, Sandburg had pressed a button and jets roared to life all around the circumference of the tub, churning the water around them into a bubbling froth. “See,” he said, grinning happily at Jim, “with the jets going you can’t really see anything.”
He had to admit that being in the tub did feel good. Now that his body had adjusted to the heat, his muscles felt loose and relaxed, the skin around his knees pleasantly itchy. Scratching, he leaned back against the side of the tub and noted how the jets hit right at the perfect spot on his lower back, pummeling the muscles there in a firm massage. The effect was somewhat interfered with by his bathing suit, but other than that it felt heavenly. Jim sighed and sank a little deeper into the tub, trying to shift his suit to allow the jets unhampered access.
A black scrap of cloth floated to the surface of the tub and Jim stared at it a moment, drowsily trying to process why it looked so familiar. The moment that he realized it was Sandburg’s bathing suit was the exact same moment that two guys came over and asked if they could join them in the hot tub. Sandburg assented merrily to the request, while Jim grabbed the offending piece of clothing and sat on it hurriedly.
One of the guys was tall and rangy, with blond hair pulled back in a long ponytail. The other was short and stockier, with red curls cut short. They plunked themselves into the hot tub, then removed their own bathing suits with a relieved sigh. Sandburg was chattering away with them – he knew Blair had introduced them both, and he’d raised a hand in a casual greeting when Sandburg had said his name, but otherwise he was way too conscious of the secret wedged under his ass to be paying any attention to the conversation.
A waiter came around and took drink orders, and Jim threw a beseeching look at Sandburg, and Sandburg rolled his eyes briefly, and said something, and somehow Jim ended up with a glass of clear, pale wine that had a lovely, sharp citrus taste, and so he was pleased, and tried to communicate this to Blair with a smile.
Blair smiled back, and Jim was struck by the sudden beauty in his expression, the way his lashes splayed across his cheek as he looked down, the way his mouth curved tenderly, the way his face flushed slightly. His hair was pulled back in a ponytail, but some determined tendrils had managed to escape and clung to his damp cheeks. Jim imagined he could feel the gentle heat coloring Blair’s face from across the tub, even over the steam and hot water between them.
The guy with the ponytail asked Blair something, and Blair shook his head, his eyes downcast, the blush in his cheeks deepening, and Jim wondered what the guy had said that caused that reaction in his friend. There was another glass of the pale wine at his elbow, or maybe it was the same one, and he took a long swallow, the cool wine sliding down his throat, contrasting nicely with the warm heat in his body. The two guys stood, pulling on their bathing suits, and there were some parting words, and then Blair was floating in front of him, his hands braced on the tub on either side of Jim.
“What’d he want?” he asked Blair. His tongue felt thick and it was like he was speaking through mush.
“Nothing,” Blair said, his expression slightly amused.
“No, seriously, he asked you something. What did he want?”
“Nothing,” Blair replied, a little more forcefully, “at least nothing you’re ready for, yet.”
Jim was trying to puzzle out exactly what that cryptic comment had meant when Blair put a finger under his chin and tilted his face up. “Check out the stars,” he said, his voice low and husky. “We’re far enough from the city; you can really see them well.”
And Jim could, and they looked gorgeous, like diamonds and emeralds and rubies strewn haphazardly across the deep black of a jeweler’s cloth, but then he realized that they weren’t a tenth as beautiful as the sight in front of him, and so he lowered his head and gazed into Blair’s eyes, so blue, the color of the depths of the ocean.
Blair’s hands were at his waist, tugging on his suit, sliding it down his hips. “I think you’d be more comfortable if you took this off,” he was saying, a mischievous smile on his face, and Jim didn’t have time to disagree, not that he was sure he would have if he’d been able.
He almost gasped at the change in sensation. The suit had felt clumsy, the wet material clinging awkwardly to his thighs and ass. But now the water moved silkily, lushly against his bared skin, like a lover’s caress. The jets were still pounding, but now the massage went all the way down his tailbone. Bubbles broke in effervescent bursts against his chest and arms, like champagne. He felt dizzy, suddenly drunk on tactile input. He knew he should dial things down a little, but pushed the thought away in a burst of sudden recklessness. His hands floated up through the steaming water, almost of their own volition, reaching for Blair’s hips.
But Blair was on the other side of the tub, leaning back against the edge, his arms stretched out on either side, a wineglass held loosely in one hand. He smiled at Jim, his eyes half-lidded in sleepy pleasure. “Isn’t that better?” he said.
No, Jim wanted to say, because you’re over there.
Blair’s eyes opened wide. Crap, Jim thought, did I say that out loud? He took a gulp of his wine to cover his own shock.
Ripples lapped gently against his side, because Blair was sliding over to him, shifting himself along the curve of the tub. Jim stretched his own arms out, resting them on the edge of the tub. Blair was almost close enough to be in the curve of his arm.
Tipping his head back, Blair gazed up at the stars above. “Look at them, Jim,” he whispered, “it’s such an amazing sight. On clear nights like this, I can really understand why ancient cultures navigated by the stars.”
The words seemed to tumble out of him, without conscious thought, from some well of feeling deep within him. “You’re my star,” he murmured huskily, “my compass, my bearing, my guide.” Oh, nice, Ellison, the conscious part of him sneered, very suave, very smooth. Idiot.
But Blair was moving nearer, gazing up at him from underneath his lashes, that shy, tender smile curving his mouth again. Jim felt a thrill of terror, mixed with anticipation. Shit, we’re gonna do this, he thought. We’re really gonna do this, this thing we’ve been dancing around for three years.
Dancing they might have been, but Jim also had to admit there’d been a slow, inexorable progression forward. After all, he’d known what kind of resort Blair had booked them into, and, in the weeks before they’d left, had been torn between fear that Blair had no idea, and fear that he knew exactly what he was doing.
Evidence seems to suggest ‘knew exactly what he was doing’, Jim thought, as he slid a hand around Blair’s neck and pulled him in close.
Blair’s mouth was cool at first, with a lingering bright, sharp flavor from the wine he’d been drinking earlier. But deeper in it was hot and velvet; the taste rich and musky, like chocolate and spice. Jim couldn’t get enough of him. Blair’s skin was satin under the water, and Jim could feel the shudders that rippled across his body as they kissed.
It felt so good, he couldn’t imagine why it had taken him this long to do this, or why he would ever stop, but eventually he registered Blair’s hand pressing firmly against his chest, and he drew back, his throat tightening. His heart set up an uneven tattoo in his chest. He’d blown it. He’d misread the whole thing, and this was the point that Blair, earnestly and gravely, said, Wow, man, I’m – I’m, like, totally flattered, but...
He was pulled out of his reverie by a gentle smack across the back of his head. “You’re catastrophizing, aren’t you?” Blair said. “I can tell.”
“No,” he replied defensively.
“Bullshit,” Blair said cheerfully. He looked debauched; his ponytail had come undone – or I undid it, Jim thought, looking ruefully at the hair tie tangled around his fingers – and his hair fell around his face in a dark halo. The flush had spread from his cheeks to halfway down his chest, and his eyes were bright and enormous, the pupils huge. Jim bit back a groan of desire at the sight.
“You think I’m having second thoughts, or possibly thirds, or maybe even firsts, like I really didn’t know what kind of place I’d invited you to,” Blair continued. “Well, I’m not. I just figured we could continue this somewhere a little... ah, cooler.” He grinned at Jim. “And maybe just a little more private.”
“Oh. Okay,” Jim said, relief making his knees wobble for a brief moment.
Blair rolled his eyes, and pushed himself out of the tub, then helped Jim out and into a towel, and gathered up their suits, muttering all the time about “thick-headed, stubborn Sentinels” with a grin on his face and a glint in his eye. Jim watched him, content to just bask in the afterglow of successful action, and nurture a tight sense of anticipation for what was to come.
Finally they made their way back towards their cabin, arms looped about each other’s waists. In the distance, a star streaked across the sky, the white tail flaring and then dying, and Blair gasped in delight, and tightened his arm around Jim. “Make a wish, Jim,” he said excitedly.
He stopped, and pulled Blair close, the warmth of his body comforting in the cool desert night. “Don’t need to,” he said, mirroring Blair’s smile, “I’ve got everything I need right here.”
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Acknowledgments: Thanks to Patt for the art.