"Not now, Sandburg."
Blair set down his cup carefully. He liked it. And the urge to throw it against the wall was suddenly overwhelming.
"Actually, Jim, right now."
"Can you just let it go? Isn't that what you're supposed to do? Detach with love?" Jim's voice floated over the back of the sofa. The channels began to flick at a faster rate. "Just let it go."
"Stop acting like I'm the one who fucked up, okay?"
"I didn't fuck up."
Blair blew out along breath between his lips. He had tried to keep his
feelings from being hurt. He really had. Jim had his own life, and god knew
that they had spent enough time together since becoming lovers. But still,
that Jim would elect to go off with some army buddies on Blair's
birthday irked him. Probably even more than he wanted to.
"Fine. Tell you what, Jim. When you want to continue this relationship, you have my cell phone number. Give me a call." Blair rose, and grabbed his jacket. His anger brought him as far as the deli down the street. He ducked in, sat at one of the metal tables and ordered a coffee.
He idly watched the table tilt under the pressure from his elbows. The legs 'ticked' against the floor as it rocked too and fro. His head hurt and he wanted to just scream at the world. He loved Jim. He did. He couldn't imagine not living, not loving the man. But damn, he was tired.
He was tired of dealing with a partner who refused to talk, refused to
communicate, refused to...show he cared. Blair sighed. He had resisted putting
it down to a gender thing, that men were just less inclined to be that way,
either by nature or culture; take your pick. Ultimately, it
came down to Jim and he, not some culturally specific stereotypes about proper behaviour. And it wasn't like he was looking for the picket fence, kids and a two door garage for Sweetheart and the Volvo. No. He wasn't.
But he felt like he was in an emotional vacuum that originated with Jim. All of his feelings were being sucked down a black hole, never to be seen again, and he was tired of not getting anything back.
It was like when Jim's hearing had gone off the wall. He'd worked damn hard to get those white noise generators. He had. To have that effort brushed off like a piece of lint had hurt. They had moved past that, though. Or at least he thought they had. Jim had become much more sensitive - Blair snorted to himself - and even thanked Blair for things. At least for a while.
He just wanted to feel loved. Was that so wrong? He cursed silently as tears welled involuntarily in the corners of his eyes. He blinked furiously and they dissipated, but not before a horrible feeling washed over him. That's why things were going so wrong.
He used to be able to cry. He'd never been ashamed of it. He'd felt proud that he had the courage to cry. Naomi had always said it was cleansing. Since when had he felt the urge to hide it, or stop it, or curse it?
Since he'd been told that if he wanted to live in Jim's world, he'd have to check his emotions at the door.
Well, no more. In fact, he'd go back to the loft and would tell Jim exactly what was wrong, and how he wasn't sure he even wanted to fix it. Blair crushed the napkin between his finger tips.
But he did want to fix it.
"Hey, Chief. Mind if I sit down?"
Blair looked up. Jim was holding two plates, one with a bagel and cream cheese, the other with a doughnut, probably buttermilk.
"Seat's free," Blair replied blandly.
The metal legs of the chair screeched horribly before Jim picked it up rather than push. The chair was as uneven as the table and rocked slightly.
"Blair..." Jim stopped. He sighed. "Look, I won't pretend that everything is okay anymore. But...I just don't like talking about stuff. It's like beating a dead horse."
Blair waited, and when Jim didn't continue he folded his hands in front of him. "Jim, you really hurt my feelings."
"I didn't mean to."
"I know you didn't. But you did."
"I just don't get why you're all upset."
"I thought you knew me, Jim. My god, we've been together for almost seven months, and we've lived in the same place for almost three years!"
"Christ, it's not like we're married, Chief."
Blair's napkin tore in two. "No. No, we're not."
They sat in silence for a few minutes.
"I've never been with a guy before you, Sandburg. You knew that."
"So?" Blair pulled at his earlobe. "What does that have anything to do with this?"
"So, I figured that a guy wouldn't be so...so..." Jim floundered.
"Needy? Emotional?" Blair's anger began to rise again. "Fuck, Jim. What am I to you? I thought we were in a relationship...not just fuck-buddies."
"Christ, Chief. Tell the world, why don't you!" Jim hissed.
Blair sat back in his chair. "That's it, isn't it? You're freaked out by the whole 'gay' thing. Treating me like you would treat a woman just makes it worse."
"You aren't a woman, Chief, why the hell would I treat you like one?"
Blair shook his head. "You just don't get it."
Jim savagely ripped off a piece of doughnut. "Get what?"
"I don't want to be treated like a woman. I want to be treated like a *person*." He leaned forward again. "I want to know that you care about me. I want you to say, yes, you do love me. That I matter to you."
"I do, and you do matter," Jim protested quietly.
"Yeah, well, when you ignore me on my birthday that's not really showing me, Jim." Blair took a steadying breath. "I know it's just a birthday to you. Another day in the calendar year. It's more than that to me."
"I can't change who I am, Blair. You can't expect me to just start being all..."
"Caring? Considerate?" Blair sneered, then softened his voice. "Jim, you *are*. The problem is how to show it. When we make love, you make me feel liked the most precious thing in the world. I know you care."
"So what's the problem?"
Blair smiled crookedly. "I want a relationship outside of the bed, man. Or are we just fuck buddies?"
Jim shook his head. "You were never a fuck buddy."
"Well that's what you're going to have to prove to me." Blair tossed the remains of his napkin down as a gauntlet. "Because right now, all I feel like is a warm body who keeps you satisfied in bed at night and helps your senses during the day."
He rose. "I know you have issues about being gay. And I'm willing to work with you, suggest some places you can go. But you know what? As long as we're more than fuck buddies, you're going to have to deal with it. And deal with me."
"I'm not sure I can." Jim said without looking up. Blair held his breath. The world tilted and his heart felt like it was cracking. But then Jim raised his head. "But I'll try for you."
Blair smiled and held out his hand. "Let's go home."