EMAIL: Annie


I don't think I've ever been more nervous in my life.

More scared, definitely - when I was chained in a chair and facing down David Lash, and when I woke up after being in a coma for 3 days after being dosed with Golden… Oh yeah, and when Wade Rooker shot me when Jim and I were trying to rescue Simon from Quinn. Which brings to mind the time I was shot twice in the chest by the Iceman (luckily, Jim had insisted on a Kevlar vest) and when… Well, anyway, you get my drift.

But, today I did the most nervewracking thing I've ever done - I kissed Jim and told him the reason I wasn't happy about becoming a cop was because I was scared I'd never get to kiss him again.

Don't get me wrong. I wasn't lying or even obfuscating about that. It was my biggest fear, had been the minute Jim threw that gold badge at me.

See, I had this big plan. I'd pack up my stuff at the U and the PD. Then I'd do the same at home… I mean at the loft, and then I'd wait for Jim to come back and I'd tell him I was leaving and just before I left, I'd lean forward and kiss him goodbye. Right on that gorgeous mouth, just like I'd been wanting to for the past 4 years.

But all my well-laid (excuse the pun) plans got blown out of the water with the handing over of that badge and by the time I'd followed Jim up to the roof, I knew this was it. I wasn't ever going to get the chance to tell him how I felt now.

But Jim, being the Sentinel that he is, read me perfectly, asked the right questions and before I knew it I was leaning across and kissing him, admitting that what I was most afraid of was never being able to do it again.

I mean, we'd be partners for real, professionally, that is, and although I know, realistically, there are probably a few gay cops out there, I figured that there was no way in hell they'd let me stay with Jim on the job if they thought we were involved, that way. I mean, it'd be like partnering a husband and wife, right? And I'd just denied that Jim was a Sentinel, so there'd be no reason for TPTB to keep me at his back because I was his Guide. Hey, if there's no Sentinel, there can't be a Guide, right?

I'm not sure what surprised me more - the fact that Jim didn't sock me in the jaw when I kissed him or the fact that he kissed me back. As a matter of fact, it's that last thing that's got me this nervous.

Jim didn't just kiss me back. He poured all his soul and his love for me into that first kiss. God, I felt as if my heart had melted and trickled down into my shoes.

Then, he'd hauled me up and said we needed to get home. He called the loft home as if he still wanted me there, so I trailed after him, still speechless (yeah, I know, it's an unusual condition for me) and followed him back here.

When we were inside, he pulled me over to the sofa and made me sit down while he perched on the coffee table across from me. Then he leaned across and did something that made my heart melt again. He placed both hands on either side of my face and kissed my forehead, very softly - a butterfly's wings against my skin.

He pulled back but left his hands where they were and said, "Chief, I have so much I need to say to you, so just hear me out, okay?"

I guess he read my agreement in my eyes because he just went on.

"First thing is, I love you, Blair. Don't know when that started but I know I do. I've never been so sure of anything in my life."

He pulled his hands away from my face, yet I fancied I could still feel the residual warmth of his palms against my skin.

"I'm sorry. Sorry for all the times you got hurt, sorry for all the times *I* hurt you. I wish to God you hadn't felt you had to sacrifice your career to give me back my life but I know it's my fault you did. I don't quite know how to make it up to you or if I can give you back what you've lost but, I swear, Chief, if you give me… give us, a chance, I'll spend the rest of my life finding a way, if that's what it takes."

He'd stopped then, his head slumped forward on his chest as if he couldn't meet my eyes any longer.

Before I knew I'd moved, I was kneeling in front of him, lifting his head with both *my* hands till he was looking at me again. Then I placed one hand palm down over his heart. "Jim?," I could barely get his name out, my heart was so full it felt like it was cutting off my breath. "You've already given me back my life. More than that, you've given us both a new one."

After that things got a little blurry and frantic and more than a little sweaty so I wasn't too surprised when Jim pushed me away gently and said he needed to go take a shower. I was hoping like hell it wasn't gonna be a cold one. I mean, I had plans, you know and they didn't include a cooled down Sentinel.

And now I'm more nervous than I've ever been in my life.

Because somehow, after the kiss, I forgot to mention to Jim that I've never been in love with a guy before and, I'm not sure, but I don't think he has either. Mind you, we handled the kissing pretty well for a couple of neophyte gay guys.

So here I am, sitting on the couch like a virgin on a blind date hoping she's gonna get lucky, while Jim's in the shower, both of us probably wondering what on earth we've gotten ourselves into this time.

Don't get me wrong. I want Jim. Have done since the day he slammed me up against the wall of my office.

I took one look at those icy, angry blue eyes staring me down, heard that deep growl threatening to throw my ass in jail and I was in lust - big time.

But this is different. This isn't lust or want or even need. This is meaning of life stuff - mine and Jim's. It's like I can't bear to live another day without him.

I love him.

It's that simple. It's just the way it is.

I hear the door to the bathroom open and he's there, wreathed in steam, like some netherworld god. He has a towel wrapped around his hips and a huge smile on his face as if I'm the one person in this world he wanted to see.

I smile back, trying to consciously will my pulse to slow. I don't want him to know how nervous I am about all of this. After all, I started it. *I* kissed *him* first.

My mother had a boyfriend once, a real tough guy. He tried to teach me to stick up for myself when he found out I was being bullied at school. One of the best pieces of advice he ever gave me was, "Don't start anything you don't want to finish, Blair."

Mind you, he didn't give me any advice at all on what to do if I became scared witless once I did start something and wasn't sure I could finish it.

So here we are, Jim and me, grinning inanely (and nervously) at each other across the expanse of the loft. He crooks a finger at me and I find myself walking toward him, stopping an inch or so away.

It's times like this I wish he wasn't a Sentinel because I know he can hear my heart thundering beneath the shirt I'm wearing, can feel the heat of my skin, can smell my pheromones as my desire for him releases them, can almost taste my nervousness wafting in the air, can see my love for him in my eyes.

Suddenly, he reaches out a hand and snags my arm, pulling me forward so I'm up against his chest. He puts one arm behind me, at my back, holding me in a loose, supportive embrace, as if he knows my knees are about to give way. He raises his other hand and places it beneath my chin, lifting my face so he can look into my eyes.

"Jim?" I ask, needing to fill the silence, as much to drown out the sound of my heart hammering in my ears as for any other reason.

He leans forward and places a gentle, almost achingly chaste kiss on my mouth. Then he holds me back at arms-length, and just looks at me for a long moment. His eyes hold mine as he says, "Take it easy, Chief. We've got all the time in the world. I love you. You love me. The rest can wait till we're both ready."

I hitch in a sobbing breath and pull myself into his arms, anchoring myself against his chest, hearing his own heart thundering away beneath the silk and steel of it. I hold myself there for a moment and realize I recognize that beat. It's echoing mine.

Pulling back, I look up into his eyes. I take a deep breath and then I tell him the truth.

"I'm ready, Jim. I love you."

He returns my gaze steadily, then he leans down and takes my mouth in a breath-stealing kiss.

"Then let's go," he says, grabbing hold of my hand and towing me up the stairs to his - our room, into our future.

The End

January 20th 2005