Sequel to: "Consequences"
Notes: Several of you asked for a sequel and who am I to refuse? *g* I'm excited to see so many responses to this challenge. Suggestions for improvement are *highly* welcome.
Jim's hand on his back startled him, even though he'd felt it a thousand times before. It shouldn't be any different now. Except it was. And all because he'd read that stupid journal.
"What's the matter with you, Sandburg?" he asked as they stepped into the elevator.
"Nothing. You just startled me."
Jim looked at him like he had two heads and pressed the button to go up. "You've been acting weird for days."
Blair fidgeted on his feet and stared at the doors, praying that the ride would be over soon.
Jim stared at him pointedly, as if willing him to speak.
"What?! Nothing's going on. I just have a lot on my mind. Stuff at Ranier. It'll pass."
"Do you need to head over there?" Jim asked as they got off the elevator. It was the perfect out.
"You know, I probably should. I have a load of papers to grade and I have to prepare for the midterm review, but I could probably be back in the afternoon."
"Whatever you can manage, Chief. Don't rush back on my account."
"Great. Thanks, Jim."
Jim waved him off and headed toward his desk. Blair felt relief wash over him as he headed back down the stairs.
He had gone over it and over it in his head and he still could not reconcile the Jim Ellison he knew falling in love with another man, not even if that man was him. And every time Jim touched him, he was torn between wanting more and wanting to run away. So, he'd flinch, Jim would notice, and the questions would start all over again.
Jim knew something was going on, Blair was certain. He only hoped that Jim hadn't guessed the real reason behind his odd behavior. Unfortunately, he'd gotten no closer to a decision in the four days since he'd read Jim's journal.
He was always on guard, looking for signs of Jim's affections - a look or a touch - and he felt guilty about reading something into everything. Two nights ago, he'd gotten home late when it was his turn to cook and Jim already had something going on the stove. So, naturally, his mind went to *that* place when it shouldn't have. Jim had cooked before when it was Blair's turn. It didn't have to mean anything. Or maybe it had meant something all those others times. He had no idea how long Jim had felt the way he'd expressed in his journal.
And there was still this uncertainty. Jim had written that he wanted love from his "best friend." Blair thought of them as best friends and had for years, but what if Jim didn't see them that way? What if he saw Simon as his best friend? Blair could be making a huge mistake by bringing this up. But he also felt like he might explode if he didn't.
The day went by in a blur. It was a good thing he didn't really have a lot to do at the university or he'd have been in trouble. He spent most of the day walking around campus thinking.
He was stirring the pasta when he felt a hand clasp his shoulder. He jumped and the spoon went flying across the room.
"Jesus, Sandburg!" Jim exclaimed, brushing specs of water off of his face.
"Oh, God, Jim, I'm sorry. Did the water burn you?"
"What the hell is wrong with you?" Jim snapped, grabbing a dish towel to wipe up the mess on the stove.
"I didn't hear you come in."
"That's bullshit. Are you going to tell me what's going on?"
Blair rested his hands on his hips and looked down at the floor. "I can't."
Jim turned the burner off and placed his hands on Blair's shoulders, forcing him to look up. "You can tell me anything. I'm your best friend." His eyes pierced Blair through.
"Come over here," Jim said, leading him to the couch. He guided Blair to sit down sideways. Jim sat behind him and started massaging his shoulders. Blair had to bite back a moan. "First, we're going to work some of this tension out of you and then you're going to tell me what's on your mind. Have you done any meditating in the last few days?"
"No," Blair mumbled, letting his head fall forward and giving himself up to Jim's ministrations.
"Well, that's probably part of the problem," Jim said, working the muscles of his neck. Blair decided he really liked the feel of Jim's hands on him and, God help him, he wanted more.
"Mmmmm. That feels great, Jim," he said, finally letting some of the tension out.
Jim paused for a second and then continued. "You've knots on top of knots here, Sandburg. What's got you all twisted up like this?"
Blair took a deep breath and moved out from under Jim's hand and leaned back against the couch. He looked into his friend's eyes. They held only trust and interest.
"Do you remember four days ago, when I was in your room, and you saw me coming down the stairs?"
"Yeah," Jim answered, looking puzzled.
"I read your journal, Jim. The most recent entry." Jim moved back and closed his eyes in defeat. "I didn't mean to. It was just open there on the bed and my curiosity got the better of me. I'm sorry." He touched Jim's arm. "Please, don't be mad."
Jim pulled his arm away. "I'm not mad, Sandburg.
Just...disappointed. I never intended for you to know. I'm sorry if it makes you uncomfortable. At least that explains the way you've been acting," he said, starting to get up.
"Wait. Jim. I'm not uncomfortable. I was. But I'm not anymore. I just needed time to think and figure things out."
"What are you saying, Sandburg?"
He put his hand on Jim's shoulder. "I'm saying this," he whispered, and pressed a kiss to Jim's lips.