Rating: NSY (No Sex Yet)
Disclaimer: The Sentinel is not mine and Jim and Blair are not mine. They're clearly meant to belong to each other. Anyway, the only thing I get out of this is dark circles under my eyes from staying up too late writing.
Notes: I don't know that this really qualifies as a make-over, but it's where I wound up when I thought about the challenge, so here you go.Unbetaed.
I tossed the plastic bags on the counter and failed to suppress a growl of frustration. Men are not big shoppers in general, but sadly, there comes a time to bid good-bye to those favorite old boxers. I was folding laundry and watching the Jags play last Saturday when I realized I could see the action on the screen right through my underwear. A trip to the mall was in order.
How tough can it be to buy underwear? Well, Penney’s didn’t have any in my size-and how can that be? I mean, I’m a regular guy, I wear regular sized underwear, but there wasn’t a single pair to be found-at least, not a single pair of 100% cotton, hidden elastic white boxers. I’m not just a regular guy, I’m a sensitive regular guy, OK? So I shuffled down the mall, fighting my way through gaggles of shrill teenaged girls posing for gaggles of sullen teenaged boys, feeling my headache spike when some toddler broke into screams that sounded like someone had tried to rip his arm off. I should have done this at lunch on a weekday, but I’d rather eat lunch with Sandburg.
Anyhow. Get down to Sears, and oh, yeah, they had boxers in my size-if I wanted Scooby-do or Sponge-Bob all over them. What the hell ever happened to plain white, or even some sort of blue and grey stripe? I searched through the racks, even found a salesperson, but it just wasn’t my day to buy underwear. So I went to the auto parts store for windshield wipers and some transmission fluid, stopped by the place Sandburg likes for a pound of Blue Mountain coffee and went home.
“Hey, Jim.” Damn, he looked good. Looked exactly the same as he did earlier today when I left, except somewhere along the line he pulled his hair back. I like it when he does that-little strands of it escape and curl at the nape of his neck, which makes it easy for me to imagine brushing them aside and…
“You zoned, Jim?”
“No, I’m not zoned, I’m irritated beyond all recall.” So I told him the story of my fruitless search. He shook his head in sympathy.
“You know, there are alternatives.”
“I’m not wearing some damn cartoon character under my chinos!”
“No, no, I meant alternatives to shopping at the mall for stuff like that.” He was walking as he talked, headed for his bedroom. “C’mere a second.”
Never one to lose an opportunity to stand close to my roommate, I trotted behind him. He’d fired up his laptop and was dialing the internet.
“No way, Sandburg. I’m not buying over the internet. Identity theft aside, if they sent me the wrong thing it would be hell to return. I’m just not doing it.”
He waved away my concerns with one square workman’s hand, while he typed something into a search engine with the other. “Look.”
J.C. Penney’s website showed 100% pima cotton boxers in my size, on sale. I wavered for a second, but the thought of chasing some jerk through an alley and hearing--no, feeling--my underwear shred as I went for the tackle made me dig out my credit card. Damn Sandburg for mentioning that, anyway.
So the order was made and we went on with the weekend. It was good that he hadn’t been dating lately; not good for him, I mean, but it’s nice spending Saturday and Sunday hanging out, watching a movie or something when the cleaning’s done. It’s-well, I just like having him around.
Thursday evening when we got home the woman who works the counter at Collette’s caught me on my way up to the loft.
“Jim! Oh, I’m glad I saw you. The postman left this with us.” She held out a big padded envelope with a J.C. Penney’s return address on it.
She waved and smiled as I turned back toward the stairs. Sandburg was waiting for me at the first landing. “Oh, you got your underwear. That didn’t take long.” He seemed a little out of breath. I should insist that he join me when I go running; the man has no stamina. I let us in and he started going through the mail while I pulled the string that opened my package.
There was something about his face when he looked up from the mail. It was gone, but I could have sworn there was…
“They sent the wrong thing!” I held out the first pack of underwear. It was clearly labeled “boxer briefs.” The packing slip that fell out with it also said “boxer briefs,” so they not only sent the wrong thing, they had the order wrong to begin with. “You ordered the right ones, didn’t you?” I slipped the folding top of the package open and pulled out white cotton knit briefs that, if I would wear them, which I wouldn’t, would have hugged my thighs and clung to my ass and pretty much left nothing to the imagination. I held a pair up to my waist. “At least they got the size right.”
Sandburg seemed to be pretty affected by the mistake. He was kind of stuttering when he pointed out the customer service number on the packing slip.
I didn’t get around to packing them back up that night, and it’s a good thing. Friday, sure enough, I was rounding a corner in foot pursuit of that slimeball Coakley when I felt it-the breezy sensation you get when you’ve just lost whatever support your underwear was offering. It pissed me off, so I put on a little speed and caught the guy. I was really relieved to hand him over to the uniforms and give Simon a call to tell him I’d be taking lunch. There was mud on my shirt anyway, so I thought I’d just go home and change.
Back at the loft, I looked at the boxer briefs laid out on the bed while I stripped off the dirty shirt and the torn boxers. There was no way I was putting on one of the old pairs of boxers; I need to feel confident when I’m on the job, and the knowledge that my undergarments might give way at any time does not inspire confidence. With a skeptical sigh, I slipped the new ones on.
The sound of keys in the door distracted me from my inspection of the way they fit.
“Jim, you OK, man?”
This guy worries too much. “Yeah, I’m fine.” I walked to the head of the stairs. “You were right, Sandburg. My boxers split on my this morning, so I’m trying…”
I noticed the spike in his heart rate and the change in his scent about the same time I heard him whisper, “Damn…” in a tone bordering on reverence. He was standing at the bottom of the stairs, looking up at me with what I could have sworn was hunger. Had to be a trick of the afternoon light. I’d never seen him look at me like that before.
“They, ah,” Sandburg licked his lips and started again. “They seem to fit real, real well.”
“Yeah, they do. I feel pretty well-supported here.” I turned sideways and gave an experimental wriggle, just getting used to the different feel. There was a slight gasp from Sandburg. Too much information, Ellison. “Well, you know what I mean.”
“Oh, yeah, I can certainly see what you mean about the support thing.” His breathing was all over the map, like he was trying to take deep breaths but it wasn’t working.
“You OK, Sandburg? Your heart rate and your breathing are really off.” I started down the stairs to feel his forehead, see if he was running a fever. His eyes got big; he backed up a quick step and fell over the backpack he’d dropped when he came in. I ran down to him and grabbed his arm to pull him up. “Jesus, are you OK? You better sit down or something.”
He looked up at me, and I was suddenly hyperaware of the warm muscled arm I was holding on to. And the blue eyes I wished I didn’t have to resist. And his relatively clothed body, and my relative nakedness. And the heat from his hand, where it rested on my chest as he balanced himself.
The taste of his mouth overshadowed it all. He tasted like he smelled, only moreso: spicy, earthy, but now with a musk that darkened and softened. Those arms are strong, too; I knew they were, but having them wrapped firmly around me in a situation that did not involve the survival of the entire Pacific Northwest gave me the chance to really appreciate their strength.
He opened to me lavishly, giving himself over to our kiss the way he gave of himself every day I’d known him-completely, joyfully, no holding back. If I had been somehow robbed of my senses, I would still have known his kiss; it’s so much like him. The idea that I was standing in my underwear at the foot of my bedroom stairs kissing Blair Sandburg like my life depended on it struck me like lightning, and I pulled back a little bit to suck in some air.
He nuzzled into my collar bone and erased any doubt I might have had about the kiss. “Damn, you’re fine. So fucking beautiful. Man, oh, man.”
I did some nuzzling of my own, teasing my senses with the delights of his hair. “So you’re as OK with this as I am?”
His warm chuckle assured me that we were fine. “Sorry about the ambush. When I ordered those I knew you’d look good, but I was unprepared…” He trailed off; I had him right where I wanted him, in more ways than one.
“You deliberately misordered these, Sandburg!” I bit at his earlobe a little to emphasize my displeasure.
“Well, yes and no, big guy. I mean, you wanted new underwear. I made sure you got them. You’ve been wearing boxers since you were in the army, Jim. It was time for a makeover. It was just a matter of getting you the ones I wanted to see you in. ”
I pulled him tight against me and bent to whisper in his ear. “Oh, yeah? Well, there’s a lot that’s going to get made over around here. We’ll start with that room under the stairs.”
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