All Surface, No Feeling by Annie

All Surface, No Feeling - Annie

You know that old song, Two Out of Three Ain't Bad? I'm starting to think it was written for me. I mean, here I am sucking Blair's brains out through his dick, his hand cupping the back of my head, encouraging me to take him deeper, and all I can think of is that stupid song.

"I want you, I need you, but there ain't no way I'm ever gonna love you…"

The song wails to its end in my head right around the time Blair jerks his hips and spurts his completion down my throat and all I can feel is despair. I do want him, I do need him and Jesus, how I love him. Don't want to, tried not to, especially after he told me he'd never feel that way about me but I can't help it. I love him. It's that simple and that damn complex. And you know the next line, that two out of three ain’t bad? It’s a crock. It’s not enough, will never be enough…

~oOo~

“So, Jim, you busy tonight?” Blair waggles his eyebrows at me in invitation.

“I think I’m going to have an early night,” I reply, busying myself with breakfast so I won’t need to see the pout form on his lush lips.

“I’m all over that,” he says instead, walking up beside me to take the plates from my hands and depositing them on the dining room table.

I shake my head, sit opposite him and fix him with a firm look. “I mean sleeping, Sandburg. Look,” I raise my hand as the pout appears on cue, “I just don’t think we should continue with this…” I wiggle quote marks with my fingers as I run out of words.

“Buddy fuck thing,” he supplies helpfully. “Hey, you started it, big guy, right after Zeller shot me-“

“I know,” I interrupt loudly. “I know,” I repeat more quietly. “At the time, it just happened, I was worried about you, thought I’d come too close to losing you…” I look down at the eggs congealing unappetizingly on my plate then back up into his eyes. “I don’t want to do it any more… I want more than a buddy fuck but-“

“I can’t, Jim,” he says, his eyes taking on the look of a frightened deer. He shakes his head firmly. “I like the sex, hell, I love it but I can’t give you more than that.”

“Why not?” My voice is harsh. We’ve gone over this a thousand times. Each time I’ve asked the same question and he’s never given me a direct answer. “Because Maya was your one true love and she broke your heart.” I lace the last words with sarcasm and he winces.

“Ouch,” he retorts mildly. “No, it’s got nothing to do with Maya, though my relationship with her kinda clarified some things in my mind.”

“Like what?” I ask.

“Stuff,” he says, forking up eggs hurriedly and stuffing his mouth with them as if by doing so he can avoid talking about this. He puts his fork down, gets up and walks over to pick up his backpack from under the coat hooks. “I gotta run. I’m late.”

“Blair, come on, at least talk to me about this…”

He shakes his head. “Can’t,” he says, “not yet. So, tonight?”

“I’ll be sleeping,” I say, picking up my still-full plate, walking across and slamming it down hard on the counter next to the sink. “In my room,” I add coldly, “while you sleep in yours.”

“So no more…” His eyes telegraph what he’s asking and I shake my head.

“No, no more. I’m sorry,” I add but he’s already slammed out the door. “I can’t do it,” I whisper to myself as I clear up the dishes. “It’s not enough, Chief, not for me.”

I’m in a pissy mood by the time I make it to work and I can see Rafe sidle over to Brown’s desk after I snap at him one time too many. He bends and whispers something and they both look over at me then look away when they realize I’m watching them.

“Sandburg coming in today?”

I look up to see Simon standing next to my desk, coffee cup in one hand.

“Beats me.” I shrug. “Why?”

“Just wondering. You’ve got that interview to do on that date rape case. Just thought it might be handy to have the kid along, that’s all.”

“I’ve done plenty of interviews without him, sir. I’m sure I can handle this one.”

“Sure you can. I just figured because the girl’s not much more than a kid, Sandburg might have better luck drawing her out.”

I stand up and grab the relevant file from the pile on my desk. “I can do sensitive when I need to, sir,” I say, waving the folder under his nose. “Actually I think I’ll go do it now.”

Banks frowns then nods, waving me off with his cup. “Sure thing. So… Sandburg’s busy at school, huh?”

I shake my head, closing my eyes in frustration. “I’m pretty sure I just said I don’t know what he’s up to.”

“What’s going on? You two have a spat?” Simon’s smiling but there’s genuine concern in his eyes. He doesn’t know about Blair and me, I’m pretty sure, but the reference to a spat makes me wonder if he’s been getting a clue.

“No, nothing like that,” I reply, pushing the niggling worry to the back of my mind. It’s a moot point now anyway. I’ve ended it so there’s no need for anyone else to know Blair and I were ever lovers. Just thinking of him that way makes my throat ache and I grab my keys and walk toward the door. “I’ll fill you in on what she has to say when I get back.”

“I hope she remembers something we can use,” Simon says, making his way towards his office. “This is the fourth one in two weeks.”

“I know.” I sketch a wave at Rafe and Brown who are still huddled together at Brown’s desk, grinning as I hear Simon tell them to find something to do. Then I shove all thoughts of my sorry love life out of my mind and head down to the garage.

The interview doesn’t go well. The girl is nervous and shaky and apparently not comfortable with giving the intimate details of what had to have been the worst night of her young life to someone like me. I try my best to be sympathetic, empathetic and all those things that come so naturally to Blair but simply end up watching the girl dissolve into floods of tears while I wish I’d just done what Simon suggested and called Blair to come with me. That makes me even pissier. I hate that Simon’s right, and I hate that Blair’s not with me in equal measure. Finally, I ask the girl if she’d rather wait another day before telling her story and arrange to come back tomorrow with my partner. I ask her if she’d prefer to just talk to a female cop but she shakes her head and assures me she’ll be fine by tomorrow. She just needs a bit more time. I nod as understandingly as I can and let myself out of her apartment.

I have to hand it to Simon. He doesn’t so much as say ‘I told you so’ when I fill him in when I get back to the PD. Just nods and says that hopefully Blair will be free to accompany me the next day. I don’t tell him that whether he is or not, Sandburg’s coming with me to talk to the girl, even if I have to send Rafe to cover his classes for him.

By three PM I’ve given up pretending to work and stick my head into Simon’s office to ask if he minds if I leave early.

He waves me off with a shrug and a grin and tells me not to forget to ask Blair to go with me tomorrow.

That rankles all the way home and when I walk into the loft and find a strange guy sitting on my couch… well, let’s just say all the good manners my father drilled into me growing up fly right out the window.

“Who the fuck are you?” I demand, walking up to the couch and pinning the guy in place with my legs and a diamond-hard glare.

“Hey, Jim, back off,” Blair says from across the room. “Don’t scare Patrick off. He’s a nice guy.”

I glare down at Patrick who’s looking like one of those wide-eyed kid statues you see in Copperart. Grudgingly, I back off enough so he can get some circulation going in his legs.

“Um, hi, you must be Jim… um, Detective Ellison,” Patrick says, getting to his feet and holding out a slightly shaky hand in my direction.

I look down at it then over at Blair and raise an eyebrow. Blair shrugs and grins so I shake the guy’s hand, making Blair smile even wider. Shit I curse inwardly, I’m pretty sure I know who Patrick is now and it’s just made a crappy day even crappier. “Sandburg, a word, if you don’t mind?”

“Sure thing, man. Give us five minutes, Patrick, then we’ll get going,” Blair replies.

I suddenly realize Blair’s got his clubbing gear on. He looks great – tight black jeans, midnight blue silk shirt, hair slicked back into a ponytail, showing off the earrings in his ear. I swallow down the lump in my throat and will the lump in my pants to disappear as I grab him by the elbow and tow him into his room.

“What’s going on?” he asks innocently as he closes the door gently behind us.

“We had an agreement, Chief. No sex in the loft, remember?”

“What?” He sounds stunned and I feel a little the same. That wasn’t what I’d intended to say. “What the hell have you and I been doing these past few months then?” he asks.

‘Making love’, I think, though I know it’s not true, well, not for both of us anyway. While I’d been making love, Blair had been having sex… in the loft. Kinda blew that house rule out of the water.

“Look, Jim,” he pats my shoulder and I try not to shiver at the touch of his warm hand, “Patrick and I are just going out for a few drinks, get to know each other a little-“

I shrug his hand away. “If you want to sleep with him, do it somewhere else,” I growl, pushing past him to the door. “I don’t get it,” I say, turning to face him, my hand on the doorknob. “I say no more sex this morning and you’re already with someone else.” I cringe at the naked hurt baring itself in my voice.

“Patrick and I aren’t together, Jim,” he says. ‘Not yet’ my mind adds. “But if we were,” he goes on, “it’s not your business anymore, is it?” There’s a cutting edge to his tone now.

“What do you want from me, Blair?” I ask.

“Not as much as you want from me,” he snaps back.

“Can you just tell me why?” I hate that I’m pleading but I need to know why. If I know why, I think, I can let it go.

“I have to go,” he says softly, moving past me, his hand covering mine on the knob.

I grab him then and turn him so his back’s against the door and claim his mouth in a hard kiss, forcing his lips open beneath mine, pushing my tongue inside till I hear him groan and feel his hips buck forward. As soon as they do, I push myself away and open the door. “Go,” I tell him, “please just get out of here, Blair.”

He stands for a minute, his eyes glittering with passion. Slowly he licks his lips. Then he walks out of the room, grabs Patrick by the hand and leads him from the loft.

It’s not until he’s left that I realize I forgot to ask him about coming with me to interview the girl.

I open the fridge and search desultorily through it for something to eat, something that will fill the hole that seems to have developed in my gut. Nothing appeals but I grab bread, sliced cold cuts, mustard, cheese and tomato and slap together a huge sandwich that I carry over to the couch, take one bite out of and then leave while I sit and stare into space.

The phone ringing jolts me suddenly awake and I’m momentarily confused and wonder if I zoned on something. On Blair perhaps, or at least the absence of Blair.

“Yeah.” I fumble the phone to my ear and grunt the greeting out, hoping whoever it is will get the message that I’m really not in the mood tonight to buy encyclopedias or donate money to save gay whales.

“Jim, it’s me, Blair. Look, don’t hang up, okay? I’m sorry. That was a pretty shitty thing to do, to shove Patrick in your face like that, in your home but I just… It’s complicated but he’s not, if you know what I mean. Jim? You listening? Guess you must be. You haven’t slammed the phone down yet. Patrick’s just a friend, all right? I mean, I think he’d like to be more but he seems okay with the fact that I don’t want a relationship with him.”

‘Unlike me’ I think but I stay silent.

“Anyway, I just wanted to say sorry and I’ll see you tonight or tomorrow morning. You’ll probably be asleep by the time I get in-“

“Sandburg?” I say.

“Yeah.”

“I need you to come interview a witness with me in the morning, one of the girls who was date-raped…”

There’s a sudden indrawn breath over the line then, “Okay.”

“Good, nine AM,” I add. “Blair?”

“Yeah.” His voice is subdued now.

“Shower before you come home, all right?” I hang up the phone and go upstairs to bed.

It’s just after midnight when I hear him come in and perversely, because I don’t really want to know if he had sex with Patrick or not, I find myself extending my sense of smell. All I get is Blair, adulterated with the scent of stale cigarette smoke and a whiff of Scotch and beer, but no hint of sex. It’s pretty obvious he hasn’t showered. Oddly comforted by that, despite the fact it means he ignored my request, I roll over onto my side and go to sleep.

My internal alarm wakes me up at 7AM and I roll out of bed and head downstairs, first to the kitchen to turn on the coffeepot then to the bathroom to shower and dress. Surprisingly, when I walk out of the bathroom, Blair’s already pottering around in the kitchen, cooking breakfast. He waves at me with a mug of coffee. “Take a load off, Jim. Breakfast is almost ready.”

Grinning at the memory it evokes, I sit then quip, “This little courtship ritual isn’t going to work, you know.”

He grins back at me and just for this moment, it’s like the old days before we complicated everything by falling into bed together.

He plunks an overloaded plate in front of me then takes a seat opposite and starts digging in as if he hasn’t seen food in weeks.

“Hungry much?” I query around a mouthful of great-tasting eggs.

“Starving,” he mumbles back. “So, this girl. What’s her story?”

“She went out on a blind date with a guy she met on the Internet. Apparently he drugged her with Rohypnol and managed to get her out of the club they were in, took her somewhere and raped her. She woke up lying on a park bench in Whittier Park with no real memory of how she got there and or what happened. She had some internal tearing when she was examined so the guy obviously wasn’t gentle.”

“Damn.” Blair lowers his fork, his face suddenly pale. He stands up, picks up his plate and walks over to scrape the food into the garbage disposal.

“I thought you were starving.”

He shrugs. “Not anymore. So, why did you ask me to go with you? I thought you would have already interviewed her by now.”

“I tried.” I feel my face heat at the memory. “She didn’t seem to feel too comfortable talking to me about it. Simon thought she might open up more to you.”

“He did?” He looks surprised and a little pleased at that. Then he frowns. “Why?”

I stand up and join him at the sink, my own uneaten food meeting the same end as his. “You’re good at getting people to open up, especially when they’re traumatized. Simon knows that.” I scrape my plate off and put it in the sink then reach out and ruffle his hair. “You did it with me,” I add.

“Not always,” he says but he smiles as he says it and when he does, it’s all I can do to not pull him into my arms. Instead I walk back to the table and pick up my coffee. “So,” I take a few sips then take the cup over to the sink as well, “ready to go?”

“Yeah,” he agrees, picking up his backpack from under the coat hooks and grabbing his keys from the basket. “Let’s go.”

~oOo~

For the first twenty minutes of the interview, I think it’s going to go the same way as mine did but then there’s a moment where Ashleigh tells us something that changes everything.

“I was a virgin,” she whispers, eyes downcast, her face heating with a blush. Her eyes flick upward momentarily to look at Blair then down at the table again. “I know, it’s ridiculous, isn’t it? I mean nowadays. I’m 21 after all, but…” She rubs at her eyes with the heel of a hand and Blair, very cautiously, places his hand on her shoulder, just keeping it there while she talks. “I wanted to wait, you know, till Mr. Right came along.” The tears spill over in earnest then and I grab a handful of tissues from the box on the table and push them into her hand.

“It’s not ridiculous at all,” Blair says firmly. “You know, in a lot of cultures, it’s still an accepted norm for girls, and even men, to wait till they’re betrothed before being intimate with someone.”

She smiles at him through the tears. “You don’t talk like a cop,” she says.

“I’m not. I’m an anthropologist.”

“That was the worst thing for me,” she goes on, as if it’s perfectly natural to be interviewed about being raped by an anthropologist instead of a cop, “worse than finding out I’d been a complete idiot for going out with someone I’d never even met, worse than the pain.” She lifts her chin and looks into Blair’s eyes. “He took something from me that I valued and that I wanted my future husband to value.”

The tears flow again and Blair’s fingers squeeze gently on her shoulder.

“Can you tell us anything about him, Ashleigh?” I ask quietly, not wanting to wreck the mood of trust she’s developed with Blair but also knowing we have to get the information out there before another girl has to go through what she has.

“I don’t know,” she replies hesitantly. “I just feel so ashamed and stupid.”

“I understand that,” Blair says and for the first time anger replaces the sadness in her face. “How could you understand?” she snaps out harshly. “I’m sorry. You’ve been very kind but you couldn’t possibly understand how I feel.”

I can see Blair’s Adam’s apple jerk as he swallows then he takes a deep breath, glances quickly at me then looks back at Ashleigh. “I understand because it happened to me too,” he tells her and I feel as if everything that I haven’t understood about our relationship up till now has fallen into place.

I clench my fingers around the pen in my hand, looking down at the notepad in front of me, tears suddenly burning my eyes. When I look up, Blair’s watching me, sorrow in his eyes. He nods quickly then turns back to Ashleigh.

“Oh,” she says, sympathy blossoming in her eyes. “It must have been even worse for you… I mean, being a guy-“

Blair’s shaking his head. “Rape is rape,” he tells her, “regardless of gender. And it’s not about sex; it’s about power and control. You can take control back,” he says firmly. “You can’t regain your virginity but when you tell that guy you’re going to meet and marry what happened, he’ll be more grateful that you kept your life than he will be that you lost your virginity. And,” he holds up a finger, “you can help us catch this slime so he can’t hurt anyone else.”

She takes a deep breath. “Okay. I’ll try to remember whatever I can that will help.”

“Good. First, what site did you meet him on?” And Blair’s away, asking pertinent questions, being the cop here while I act as his sidekick, writing it all down and putting in an occasional inquiry. In thirty minutes we have a solid lead and Ashleigh hugs Blair as we leave.

I keep quiet in the truck on the way back to the PD till suddenly Blair breaks into my thoughts. “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you.”

“I’m sorry you didn’t too,” I reply. “Might have explained a lot. I gather he’s the reason-“

“I’m hesitant to fall in love? Yeah.”

I take my eyes off the road for a moment and reach out and grab his hand. I keep it wrapped in mine all the way back to the station.

As soon as I pull into my parking spot, Blair gives my hand a quick squeeze then pulls it free and gives me a smile. “I’m sorry,” he says.

“It’s okay.” I shrug but I know I can’t prevent the hurt reaching my eyes. “I just wish you’d confided in me, trusted me enough to tell me. What gave you the idea that I wouldn’t understand?”

“Because you don’t even now,” he replies and I can see my pain reflected in his eyes.

“What do you mean?” I ask him, really not getting it.

“We should go write up the report, see what we can find out about this site,” he reminds me.

I nod at that. He’s right and I shouldn’t have needed him to remind me of that. I’m the cop, after all.

“Okay.” I climb out and walk around the truck, catching him up on the way to the elevator. “Will you talk to me about it when we get home?”

He nods and punches the up button. “Yeah, I think it’s time I did.”

“What, no hot date with Patrick?” I tease, wishing I hadn’t as he shoots me a barbed look. “Sorry.” I raise my hands in apology. “That was uncalled for.”

“Yeah, it was, but I can’t really blame you.”

I’m sitting in Simon’s office telling him about the interview when Blair comes barging in, belatedly stopping to knock on the inside of the door as Simon frowns at him.

“Sandburg?” Simon asks, sounding mildly peeved at the interruption.

Blair’s grinning from ear to ear though and I don’t think the Captain’s irritation has even registered with him. He holds up a sheet of paper. “I think I found him.”

“Who? The perp?” I’m on my feet, reaching for the paper and Blair lets it go then stands there, hands on his hips, still smiling.

“See, all I did was go to the site and post a message on the board from Ashleigh, saying that I wanted the guy I had the blind date with the other night to call me so we could get together again-“

“What? You did what?” I’m stunned at what Blair’s telling me. How could he be so stupid… “Do you realize what kind of danger you’ve put her in?” I demand, glaring at him. “If the guy contacts her-“

“What?” Comprehension dawns on his face and he shakes his head. “I left my cell number,” he says. “Jim, I’m not that stupid as to leave a witness open to retaliation by a perp. I’ve learned a couple of things hanging around you.”

“I don’t see how that’s going to help,” Simon jumps in. “The guy calls your phone, he’s going to know you’re a guy the minute you answer, unless you’ve got a Rich Little impression you’ve been hiding from us.”

“No, see, I spoke to Megan and I’m going to let her answer my phone and she’ll set up a meeting with him and then Jim and I can stake the date out-“

“Whoa, slow down,” I say, holding up my hand to stop the flow of words. “We won’t necessarily know it’s him.”

“I gave the exact date and time that Ashleigh met with the guy the night she was attacked-“

“And he’ll figure that she remembers what happened after all,” Simon interrupts. He gives a low whistle. “Nice police work, Sandburg,” he tells Blair, sounding impressed. “Maybe we should get you that badge after all.”

Blair’s smiling again and he looks like he’s preening a little but he replies quickly, “Me, a cop? No way, Simon.” He touches the ends of his hair with his fingers. “Don’t have the hair for it.”

“Jim?” He looks at me. “What do you think?”

Much as I hate to rain on his parade, I have to raise the obvious. “He’s going to know it’s not Ashleigh the minute he gets a good look at Megan.”

Blair’s shoulders slump then he looks up at me. “What if Ashleigh was willing to meet with him?”

“I don’t know, Chief, she’s pretty spooked.”

“Yeah, I know, but I think she really wants this guy caught. I think if we could tell her that she’ll be safe-“

“How do we guarantee that?” Simon asks before I get a chance to.

I can almost see the hamsters getting a workout as Blair mulls it over. “We put Megan in the bar with her, at the next table, and Jim and me on the outside, listening in. She won’t need to wear a wire that way. All she’ll need to do is lure him into saying something incriminating-“

I shake my head and Blair looks crestfallen. “Look, Blair, it’s a great idea. I just don’t know if Ashleigh’s up for it.”

“We could ask her though, right?” Blair asks. “You know what her major is?”

I shake my head. I hadn’t taken much notice of her academic load.

“Drama.” Blair gives me a triumphant grin, one I can’t help returning. He just might be onto something after all.

“Go see her again,” Simon tells us, “ but make it clear to her that if she agrees to this, the department-“

“Yeah, I know,” Blair replies. “We want your help, Ashleigh, but by the way, if you get hurt doing this, don’t think of suing the PD or the city.”

Simons shrugs. “It’s a standard disclaimer, Sandburg. If she doesn’t want to do it, we track the guy down some other way.”

“It might just work.” I pat Blair’s shoulder then, clenching my fingers just a little so I can feel the warmth of his skin through his jacket. “Good thinking, Chief.”

He smiles up at me in obvious gratitude and all I can think of is how much I want to make him smile like that more often. I pat him on the back and usher him out of the office and over to my desk then hand him the phone. “She bonded more with you than me,” I tell him as he raises a questioning eyebrow at me. “You ask her.”

Five minutes of in-depth conversation with Ashleigh later, he hangs up the phone. “She wants to do it,” he says flatly.

“So why so glum, Chief? I thought that’s what you wanted.”

“I did… I do… I’m just worried. What if we don’t catch him?” Blair’s voice is tight.

“We’ll catch him,” I reply with assurance.

And we do. The sting/date went down as smooth as silk and ten hours later David Heymann is taking up space in a holding cell. We got trace evidence from his person and clothing as well and the case is looking so airtight that the other victims have agreed to come forward and give evidence against him. The last time I spoke to his public defender, the guy was talking nolo contendere.

“Good job, Chief.” I give Blair a quick sideways hug in the elevator on the way down to the parking garage, enjoying feeling him in my arms again.

He molds himself against me then pulls away as soon as the doors open at the garage level.

“So… dinner and a chat?” I suggest as I unlock the doors to the truck, climb in and head for home.

He nods jerkily at me. “Sure.”

“I can stop for Chinese on the way,” I add.

“Wonderburger’s fine.”

“What? Hey, who are you and where have you hidden my partner?” I demand in a mock-shocked tone.

He grins at me. “It’ll be quicker than Chinese. I’m starving.” He looks down at his feet for a minute then back up at me. “I want to get home,” he says. “I think I have some ‘splaining to do.”

I reach out and ruffle his hair with my free hand. “You sure do, Lucy, you sure do.”

~oOo~

My burger’s growing cold on my plate as I watch Blair desultorily pick at his chicken salad. Finally, he shoves the plate away, stands up and goes to sit on the couch. I pick up his plate and mine, carry them out to the kitchen and leave them on the sink. I detour to the fridge for a couple of beers then carry them back to the living room and hand him one as I sit next to him, my arm, out of long habit, stretching behind his head to rest comfortably on the couch top.

“So…” I begin.

“So…” He pauses, scrubs a hand through his hair, and almost of its own volition, my own hand moves down to rest on his shoulder.

“Start from the beginning,” I suggest.

“Yeah, good idea.” There’s another long silence and I nudge him with my hip. “Chief?”

“I met Peter when I was a freshman at Uni. I was 16, he was 24, he was my tutor, or mentor if you like. He was supposed to help me acclimate to University life. I was young for a freshman and pretty much on my own.”

I turn so I’m half-facing him, moving my arm so I can see him better. He seems to tense a little at that, so I drop my hand to his thigh and keep it there, relishing the contact, rubbing my thumb in small circles over the denim of his jeans, wanting to give him assurance that I’ll simply listen.

“Go on,” I murmur when he stops again.

“I thought he was great. I was just beginning to question my sexuality at the time and he seemed to be attracted to me too, so when he asked me out for drinks one night, I said yes. I thought we’d have a few drinks, talk, get to know one another better…” He grins sardonically at me.

“Didn’t turn out like that,” I prompt him.

“Oh, it did that night and the next few dates we went on. I told him I’d never had sex and that I was hoping to meet someone I’d really want to share that with rather than sleeping with everyone I went out with so I could find out if I was really gay or bisexual,” Blair says softly.

“So what happened?” My hands have clenched into fists on my knees because, despite my question, I know what happened, or at least the bare bones of it.

“I fell in love with him and he drugged me and raped me.” Blair’s voice is so matter of fact that it takes a moment for my emotions to catch up with what he’s just told me.

“Why?” I eventually manage to grind out between clenched teeth.

Blair shrugs. “I wouldn’t sleep with him. He kept asking and I kept saying no, not till we’d known each other longer.” His voice drops to a whisper. “Not till I was sure he was in love with me.”

And there it is, my epiphany, glaring in my face, giving me the answer I’d been waiting for, searching for, ever since Blair told me he could never be in love with me. “And so you decided to keep love and sex separate,” I say quietly.

“I’m sorry.” He looks up into my eyes. “I had to be sure. It seemed such a… casual thing at times, you and me. You still saw women, so did I, and until Patrick, you never complained about that.”

“That was because it wasn’t till Patrick that I realized there was a chance of me losing you.”

“That would bother you?” he asks hesitantly.

“Bother me?” I shake my head. “Bother doesn’t begin to cover it, Blair.” I lean forward now and pull him toward me. “It drove me crazy, the thought of it. Blair, I’ve told you I love you. Do you believe me?”

“Yes. I know you do.”

“Are you sure you don’t love me too?” And then I bend down and kiss him, softly, with just enough passion to make his lips part beneath mine. I pull away and take hold of his shoulders, holding him away from me. “I will be here for you, no matter what. This is not just about sex for me, Blair, and if you want to go back to the beginning and start over, move back into your old room, then that’s what we’ll do.”

“Okay,” he replies.

“Okay what?” I can’t help asking.

“I want to start at the beginning again. I want to move back into my own room…” a finger brushes my lips gently and he adds, “… for now.”

“Is there anything else I need to do?” I ask.

“You could woo me,” he replies, a wicked gleam in his eyes.

“Woo you?” I try to sound outraged. “I thought that’s what I was doing. I bought you Wonderburger,” I point out mock-indignantly.

And then before he can move away, I kiss him again, deeply, passionately, giving my love for him free rein, and this time, when he pulls away, I see it… in his eyes.

Blair loves me.

The End

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Acknowledgments: Thank you to the wonderful Lady Ra for the beta.