Check and Mate
As he comes out of the shower, he glances over at the board.
Fuck. Jim´s made another move. He advances, dripping. Jim, diligently chopping bok choi for the stir fry, pretends not to notice.
Fuck. Where´s his queen?
The groan escapes him without his conscious consent. You did it again, didn´t you?’
Tough luck, Chief.’
Luck has nothing to do with it, and they both know it. Jim Ellison, he´s discovered, is simply a kick-ass chess player. Maybe it´s because the only time he ever connected with his dad was over a chess board, maybe it´s the military strategist in him, maybe it´s the way his cerebellum is connected to his medulla oblongata. Who knows? The upshot of it is, they´ve been playing for months now, ever since Blair found Jim´s chess set buried in the closet, and wellJim´s beaten the pants off him every time.
And then Jim´s pants tend to disappear shortly afterward, because the other thing Blair´s discovered is that it´s a huge turn-on watching Jim play chess.
Well, on the surface that´s not such a big deal, because these days watching Jim butter toast is a huge turn-on. But there´s something about the sheer brain power required to play the game with this level of finesse that pushes Blair´s buttons. Or maybe it´s the juxtaposition of macho cop and chess club geek, like those goofy Anne What's-her-name photos with the tiny babies cradled against a man´s massive, muscled chest. Incongruity as aphrodisiac.
Whatever it is, it works, and Jim knows it works, damn him, and that´s why his lips curl into a Cheshire smile as he dumps vegetables into the sizzling wok.
Yeah, I can tell you´re really broken up by your victory,’ Blair says, and has the satisfaction of seeing the tips of Jim´s ears pinken. He sidles up to the bigger man and elbows him aside so he can take over the rest of the prep work; for several minutes they work in companionable silence, until Jim says softly:
Sometimes I wonder if you´re letting me win.’
Blair´s head snaps up. Why would I do that?’
Jim shrugs, eyes still on the wok. Hell if I know. Boost my self-esteem?’
Blair barks a laugh. Yeah. And my screaming ‘You are a fucking sex god!´ last night was a similar strategy.’ He shakes his head. I hate to break it to you, but you´re just a better player than I am. I like the game, I know the moves, but with you it´s art, man. You can see so far ahead I don´t even know what hit me half the time.’
Jim glances at him, eyebrow raised. We are talking about chess here, right? Because if we´re talking about the other thing, you not knowing what hit you is a definite problem.’
This time, Blair shoves him for real. Dick.’
Bingo. We have a winner.’
After the laughter dies down, Blair wipes his eyes and sobers. No, I don´t think I´m ever gonna beat you, but I love playing. I love watching you play. I´ve learned a lot from you.’ He held up a hand. And before you say it, we´re still talking about chess.’
Jim´s eyes dance with mischief then, and Blair´s already half-interested libido comes to full attention. I think you could beat me. If you had the rightmotivation.’
Oh, yeah?’ Blair means for it to sound cocky, but it comes out as a lust-choked croak.
Jim reaches up to gently tuck Blair´s hair behind his left ear. Then he leans closer and brushes a thumb slowly over the exposed lobe. Blair unleashes a full-body shiver.
How about this,’ Jim murmurs. You win a game, and you can have me any way you want me.’
Jesus,’ Blair breathes, every nerve ending in his body suddenly snapping, crackling and popping from the jolt of electricity delivered by those words. You mean’
Yeah,’ Jim says. I mean.’
It´s been three weeks since Jim first took himup against the wall, yet. And while being on the receiving end is more fun than he ever would have guessed, Blair´s overactive imagination has been going into extra innings cooking up Ways and Means of Making Jim Give It Up. The problem is, he´s all the way to threat of gigantic meteor wiping out all life on Earth’ by now, because he simply cannot picture a plausible scenario in which Jim would consent to being fucked up the ass.
Apparently, all he had to do was ask.
I know you´ve been thinking about it,’ Jim´s saying, voice still low and sexy.
Uh, yeah, just every other second,’ Blair hears himself admit, and Jim chuckles. Hey, I´m a guy, right?’ He leans into Jim, and the bigger man steps up behind him and wraps an arm around his chest. Justdidn´t think you wanted it.’
Jim´s arm tightens for a moment, then releases him. You´d better start working on your game plan,’ he says as he turns back to the wok, and Blair tries not to think about the way Jim has neatly avoided answering him.
It´s another two and a half weeks before Blair sets up the chessboard again. In the interim, he spends nearly every free waking momentand a few he should´ve spent sleepingporing over every text on chess he can get his hands on. He studies Kasparov´s strategy. He studies Big Blue´s strategy. He buys a computer simulation and practices moves over and over and over again. One night Jim finds him slumped in front of the softly glowing keyboard and lectures him the whole next day about Blair not getting enough sleep, and how that can translate to danger on the job.
This isn´tsome Anthro tutorialyou can sleep through,’ he wheezes, as they pound down an alley after a perp wanted on three violent assault charges.
Hey, I´m keeping up,’ Blair puffs, arms flailing to help him turn a corner. I´m like the wind.’
I´m noteven gonnatouch that one,’ Jim huffs. With a grunt, he launches himself into the air and tackles the perp to the ground. Five seconds later, Blair´s got him in handcuffs and is reading him his rights.
As they haul the sleazebag back toward the truck, Jim turns to him suddenly and says, out of nowhere, So when are you going to start the next game?’
It takes Blair a few seconds to process this, and a few more seconds to figure out what´s acceptable to say in front of the sleazebag.
Um,’ he manages. Tonight?’
Jim nods, once, and they don´t talk about it again, not even when they´re alone.
Check and mate,’ Jim says.
That´s my line, isn´t it?’ Blair stares at the board as Jim tips his king over in a gesture of defeat. He should be spontaneously combusting with anticipation, gratitude and sheer horniness right now, but he isn´t.
Because Jim let him win.
He´s as sure of that fact as he is of his own name, because first of all, their average game takes about four days. He was positive this one would take at least six, and it took less than two. Second, he flatters himself that he´s acquired a certain familiarity with Jim´s playing style, and it was nowhere in evidence this time around. Jim left himself open to attack, vulnerable, on more than one occasion, and that is not his partner´s modus operandi.
Now Blair´s only problem is trying to figure out why.
So where do you want me?’ Jim asks after they put the board away.
What, I don´t even have to buy you dinner first?’ Blair quips, but it´s closer to a snap.
Jim blinks at him, then nods and reaches for the cell phone. Sure. Chinese okay?’
Tonight winds up pretty much like every Saturday night at the Ellison-Sandburg residence for the past four months: takeout cartons scattered over the coffee table, couch cushions spread out on the floor in front of the fireplace, Jim and Blair necking like teenagers on the aforementioned cushions. Blair´s tried to broach the subject, he really has, but every time he attempts conversation there´s a tongue shoved down his throat.
When one of Jim´s hands grabs ahold of one of his and guides it unceremoniously to the crack of Jim´s ass, however, Blair manages to muster some self-control. Whoa, whoa, whoa,’ he pants, drawing back to look into Jim´s eyes. We on some kind of timetable here?’
You tell me,’ Jim murmurs. His eyes are shadowed, his expression shuttered.
Hey,’ Blair says softly, one hand reaching up to stroke Jim´s cheek. If you don´t want it’
You want it,’ Jim interrupts, ice-blue gaze freezing Blair in place. And you won, fair and square.’
You sure about that?’ Blair shoots back.
Jim jerks at that, looks away. I just wanted to’
Get it over with?’ Jim´s stony silence is answer enough. Sighing, Blair lies back, propping himself on one elbow.
Jim. Listen to me. What I might want doesn´t matter any more. Because I´m no longer a me, I´m an us.’ He rolls his eyes. Shit, that´s so Naomi. Anyway. My point is, I honestly don´t care if I ever get to dothat. If it´s something you don´t want, we won´t do it. End of story.’
Jim opens his mouth to protest again, and Blair finally gets it, finally figures it out.
Jim, I´m still gonna love you,’ he blurts, and that´s it, home run, because Jim´s mouth snaps shut and he pushes himself to a sitting position.
Blair´s hand automatically goes to his shoulder, as much a move to prevent him from escaping as to reassure him. Get this through your thick skull: I am not going anywhere. You´re going to have to pry me off you when we´re both old and ugly.’
Jim snorts in spite of himself. He turns to look at Blair. What if I´m too old to pry you off me?’
Blair reaches up and pulls the other man down for a kiss. Then the nursing home staff are going to get one hell of a shock.’
Jim chuckles, and kisses him again, and pretty soon they´re back to where they started, only Blair senses none of the tension he felt in Jim earlier. Concentrating on bringing Jim as close as he can to the brink, he proceeds with lips and teeth and tongue and hands to turn the bigger man into a moaning puddle of goo. He´s just about there when Jim stops him and pulls him back up with desperate hands.
You ready?’ Blair breathes against Jim´s mouth, and Jim nods jerkily. Reaching out, Blair grabs a condom off the coffee table and prepares to roll it on Jim´s cock.
No,’ Jim says, and Blair´s head snaps up. On you.’
Blair stares at him. Jim ’ he begins, but Jim silences him with a look. There´s no more fear there, no shadows, and for an instant Blair marvels at how fucking beautiful this man truly is.
Still, he has to add, All you have to do is say the word and I´ll stop.’ Jim nods again, and takes a deep breath, then lies back and spreads his legs wide. Blair closes his eyes for a moment to keep from coming or crying or both.
After a few awkward moments and a few ridiculous ones, and what feels like a whole quart of lube, Jim´s sweating and squirming under him, hands twisted in the carpet, knees trembling, cock red and swollen. His voice is hoarse from shouting; once Blair finds that sweet spot with his fingers he can´t resist stroking it again and again, because it´s just too damned amazing to hear Jim Ellison yelling his name to the heavens like a holy mantra.
Finally out of patience, Jim twists away from Blair´s hand and hauls himself up on one elbow, while the other hand snakes itself around Blair´s neck and pulls him down, until Blair´s staring into a pair of laser-sharp blue eyes, only slightly glazed.
Sandburg,’ Jim says, slowly, clearly. Fuck. Me. Now.’
Blair kisses him, hard. You don´t have to tell me twice,’ he breathes, rearing back onto his haunches. You want to’ He makes a spinning motion with his index finger.
Jim shakes his head, then loops his hands under his thighs and pulls up.
Holy’ Blair chokes at the sight of the big man laid out before him like a smorgasbord. Jim´s lip curls in the first smile Blair´s seen on him in a while.
You like that?’ he purrs.
Blair´s answer is to line up and guide himself into Jim in one slow, smooth motion. Jim´s eyes widen and his mouth opens on a soundless gasp.
You like that?’ Blair growls, voice unsteady despite his best efforts, because this may be the most incredible thing that´s happened to him since birth.
Jim´s answer is to groan, fling his head back against the cushions and push, and then just like that they´re locked together in another game, move and countermove, attack and retreat, check and mate.
Except this time they both end up winners.
Pawn to queen four.’
Oh, man, your ass is so mine.’
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