Running Towards Resolution

By: Debbie Tripp

EMAIL: Debbie

 

This is the third story in my Running Trilogy, Running Towards Resolution. In this story, Blair and Jim continue to talk about what they want from each other and start to come up with a plan to stay together. Both men are honest and truthful. Originally posted on the SentinelAngst list 2/2005.

 

RUNNING TOWARDS RESOLUTION -- BLAIR

 

I break eye contact first with Jim. I walk past him towards the door.

 

"Blair! Don't go!"

 

I hear him call out my name and not to go just as I open the door.

 

I'm not sure I trust myself to turn around and see why Jim wants me to stay. I think it was right to come back to Cascade, but not so right to come back to the loft. I should have just stayed away.

 

But something deep in my heart wants to keep this friendship alive and vibrant. Something in me wants to know if Jim and I can get past this chasm of difference. I close the door, still not turning around to face Jim.

 

I feel him behind me, hesitating, not sure where we stand. Well, I can't help him with that. I'm not sure where we stand either.

 

"You just going to stand there?"

 

I hear something in his voice. That spurns me into turning around. I see the smile on his face, which quickly disappears when he sees the frown on my face.

 

"Did you mean all those things you wrote in your goodbye letter?"

 

"At the time, I did. But you have to remember, Jim, I was reacting to you running away without me. I think it was a knee-jerk sort of reaction. I felt hurt and somewhat betrayed by you because you were leaving me like everyone else."

 

Jim actually laughed at that. And I frown at him again. Before I can say anything, he holds up his hand.

 

"Sorry about the laugh, Blair. You know, we're two of a kind. Maybe it's because we've been together for so long. We've rubbed off on each other."

 

He must notice my look of confusion as he continues.

 

"It's like this -- I thought I would make a preemptive strike and leave before you had a chance to leave ME like everyone else had done to me. Of course, my father stopping by the night before I left influenced part of my reasoning. He told me that I should kick you out before you did anything else to disgrace me. I have to admit I didn't stand up for you as much as I should have. I'm sorry about that."

 

I'm surprised Jim has made such an admission to me. That he'd make that kind of admission to anyone. Finally, I find my voice.

 

"Wow!! I never thought I'd hear such an admission from James Ellison. Do you think we can get past our insecurities?"

 

"If you're willing to try, I will. I'd hate to lose your friendship."

 

And that's how we start off. I don't want to lose Jim's friendship and apparently, Jim doesn't want to lose my friendship. But I still see a long road ahead of us.

 

"I know it's going to be a long road. Look, why don't I call my dad and see if I can have the cabin for another week. You'll love the place, Blair. It's got a fantastic view. And it seemed to really clear up my senses after the sensory overload I've had for the past several weeks. What do you say?"

 

I can only gape at Jim. Who is this person? Is this the same Jim Ellison who wanted to push me away when Alex came to town, who didn't care where I went, just as long as it was out of his sight range? The same Jim Ellison who blamed me for all the ills in the world and said I betrayed his trust and that he could no longer trust me? He's got to know it was a two-way street. I felt the same betrayal of trust. He didn't trust me to do the right thing. He always belittled my contributions to helping out both at the PD and with his senses. Oh, sure, he'd praise me once in a while, but more often than not, he thought I was a burden to him.

 

Those feelings are coming back again. The feelings I felt when Jim up and left the loft without me. He didn't want me then, why should I believe he'd want me now? But he looks sincere and I don't sense a flight risk from him if things get too intense.

 

Of course, I'm not the sentinel in this relationship. Jim is. So I really can't *read* him to find out if he's truly sincere. And he still has that goofy smile on his face. It must have been an interesting week at his father's cabin.

 

"--you want me to call?"

 

Oops!! Jim's talking and I'm not paying attention.

 

"Cat got your tongue, Blair?" He chuckles again. And I'm getting a little irritated with Jim.

 

"No. I'm fine. Go head. Call." I'm short and terse with Jim, but he doesn't seem to notice. He still has that goofy grin on his face.

 

I walk away from Jim to go stand by the balcony windows. I look out on the approaching night. I have missed this view. Whenever I felt stressed or wound up, I could always stand here, either alone, or with Jim by my side, and calm myself. I sense Jim behind me, wanting to return to the familiar. I've got to keep my mind open about this or else I'll blow it before it begins.

 

Jim places his hands on my shoulders and he starts to knead away the tightness there.

 

"You're tense. Is something wrong?"

 

He continues to knead the muscles in my shoulders and upper back, knowing just when to add pressure and when to back off. The image in my head makes me chuckle. Out loud.

 

"What's so funny?"

 

I don't turn around. I can see Jim behind me in the reflection of the glass. "You'd make a perfect masseur. If you ever want to change careers, we could open our own place."

 

"Oh, really? And what would you do while I gave the massages?"

 

"Well, I could do shampoos, manicures, pedicures, even facials."

 

"You ever done that before?"

 

"You don't know half the jobs I had when I was an undergraduate. We could really clean up."

 

Jim reaches up and smacks me in the back of the head. I've missed this bantering back and forth.

 

"Smart aleck. No. I don't want to be a masseur. I've got a job."

 

The pang of guilt and hurt hits me without warning. I try to pull out of Jim's hold on me. But he doesn't let go. And he continues on with the massage.

 

"It's okay, Blair. We'll figure something out."

 

And I start to wonder when this Jim Ellison became psychic.

 

"So? Will you stay?"

 

I want to say yes immediately, but I don't. I relax back into the massage, hoping it can last forever. After a few minutes, I speak.

 

"Yeah. I'll stay."

 

"Thank you."

 

And that is the last proof I need this is not the Jim Ellison who came before. Maybe he had an epiphany at the cabin. I'll have to find out from Jim. I'm sure if I asked, he'd be forthcoming and honest. It's the new improved Jim Ellison. I only hope it lasts. Because if he becomes psycho-Jim again and questions my loyalty, purpose or trust isssues, I'll walk away and not look back. I don't need to put up with such nonsense. Hopefully, Jim's realized its nonsense also.

 

Jim stops the kneading and he walks away from me. I feel the loss and turn to see him on the phone. That's right, he was going to call his dad, asking for more time at the cabin. Somehow, I can't see William Ellison in a rustic cabin in the middle of nowhere without cell phones, fax machines and computers. I walk over to where Jim is on the phone.

 

"You sure it's no problem, dad? Yeah. My leg is doing much better. No, I haven't seen him. Thanks, dad. Yeah. I'll call you."

 

He hangs up the phone and looks at me.

 

"It's a go. We can stay as long as we want."

 

"But you didn't tell him I was going along, did you?"

 

"It's going to take some time before my dad accepts you. He thinks you were to blame for what happened. And for a while, I wanted to believe it also. Believe me, Blair; I've had a lot of time to think about what went wrong between us. Both of us were to blame."

 

"Yeah, you're right about that. Can you get more time off from the PD?"

 

"Sure. No problem. I'll just call Simon, or whoever they put in charge, and tell them I need the extra time. I shouldn't be running around after criminals anyway. I don't have to use the can anymore, but it still hurts."

 

"Um -- how are the dials?"

 

"Sort of out of control once I got to the cabin. I never was able to get them back into line the way you can help me do it."

I chuckle again and Jim gives me a concerned look. He must think I'm cracking up or something.

 

"It's okay, Jim. I don't know how to take this new and improved James Ellison. I guess I'm used to the --" I stop before I say something I'll regret.

 

"Hardass?"

 

I smile at him. He smiles back.

 

"How do you do that?"

 

"What?"

 

"Know exactly what I'm thinking and going to say?"

 

"We're attuned to one another. Didn't you realize that?"

 

I laugh again and wonder when Jim got the clue.

 

"Yeah. I realize that. I think I realized that years ago. And I think I also tried to tell you a time or two."

 

"Yeah, well, I've never been accused of being fast on the uptake."

 

"I never said that."

 

"I never said you did. But I never wanted to believe in the mystical side of me being a sentinel, you being my guide and what it meant for the two of us. Even though you tried to tell me it was important."

 

"Are you sure a week is going to be long enough?"

 

"It will be a start. And we'll be coming from the same thought processes."

 

"That cabin must be magical."

 

"Not magical, Blair. The solitude gave me time to think and realize things."

 

"So? How about something to eat? I don't know about you, but I'm hungry. I drove almost nonstop to town and didn't stop for anything to eat."

 

"Well, I don't have much in the 'fridge. How about we get takeout? Your choice."

 

"Okay. Sounds good. I'm in the mood for Chinese."

 

"Chinese it is. I'll call it in, my treat. Why don't you go downstairs and bring up some of your things? Since you'll be staying here."

 

"Sounds good."

 

I head back towards the door as Jim picks up the phone to call in the takeout order. As I leave the loft and walk down the stairs towards the lobby, I think this is how it used to be. And my thoughts drift back to the question Simon asked me. If I was going to reconsider the offer to go to the police academy. I'm not sure. I'll reconsider it, but I'm not sure if I'll take it. It depends on what happens when I confront Rainier. And if I confront Sid Graham. If I'm able to reclaim some of my former life, maybe I'll want to keep the connection to the Cascade PD also. Especially if Jim has *seen the light* so to speak.

 

I reach my car, pulling out my backpack from the front seat, my laptop from the back seat and my duffel bag. I can leave the rest for now. I lock the car back up and make my way back inside the apartment building. I take the elevator up to the third floor this time.

 

As I walk down the hall to the loft, I pinch myself to make sure this is all real and not some fantasy conjured up by my overactive imagination. No, this is real. And I have a real chance to get things right this time. I'll keep an open mind. I walk back inside the loft to see Jim looking at my *goodbye* letter again. He looks up at me as I walk in. He quickly folds up the letter and stuffs it in the back pocket of his jeans.

 

"Caught. I know it's not enough, Blair, but I'm sorry."

 

"Don't worry about it, Jim. If I can get you to explain things to me, it will be enough for me."

 

"Not tonight, buddy. I'm tired. I just want to eat the takeout and then get a good night's sleep."

 

"Fair enough. Once we get to the cabin, it will be soon enough."

 

We sit in relative silence until the Chinese takeout comes. Jim pays for it and we eat in silence. It's so reminiscent of the last meal we had together here. We look up and over at each other and smile.

 

"I thought --"

 

"So, what --"

 

We start off in sync. We both laugh and the awkwardness is gone. I would have never thought we would get to such a place.

 

"You first, Blair."

 

"I was just going to say I thought maybe I'd stop by the university and see if I have any recourse to being just let go. There have to be procedures and protocols in place for such a thing. I mean, even a student kicked out of the university has a right to a hearing and to appeal the dismissal."

 

"You may have legal recourse, Blair."

 

"I don't have the money for a lawyer, Jim. Unless they'd do it on a contingency basis?"

 

"I have a lawyer, Blair. I could call him and ask."

 

"Let me talk to the university first, Jim. I may not have to call in a lawyer at all."

 

"Do you want to contact the university right away? We can postpone our trip."

 

"I'll go there in the morning. I can meet you at the cabin."

 

"I can wait for you. I'm still on medical leave. We can take as much time as we need. My dad said I could use the cabin as long as I needed to. While you're at Rainier, I can check up on Simon and Megan. How was Simon when you saw him?"

 

"He looked pretty good. Of course, he's still using a walker to get around, but he's up and moving."

 

"Yeah. That was pretty scary when he was on the floor of his office, bleeding. I thought he was going to die right there. And it was all my fault."

 

I frown at Jim, wondering how he came to that conclusion. "It wasn't your fault, Jim. Zeller was the one that took the shot."

 

"Yeah. And he was aiming at me. It should have been me."

 

"It wasn't your fault, Jim. Just like it wasn't my fault."

 

Now, it's Jim's turn to look at me in confusion.

 

"Simon explained it all to me. Zeller was the one who fired the gun. Not you, and not me. It was going to happen, no matter what. We're just fortunate no one died and Zeller was killed. By you. You were there when it counted."

 

"You've got to quit putting me on a pedestal, Blair. I'm not a god."

 

"I know that, Jim. But you are there when it counts. You can't deny that."

 

"I suppose not. So, you go to Rainier in the morning, I'll go visit Simon, Megan and the guys at the station, and make sure I can get leave for another week. What about that schmuck Sid Graham? I'm sure we could get him to give you compensation. After all, you denied him the right to release what was sent to him. And it was your private property, sent to him under false pretenses. I'm sure my lawyer could use the recording of the phone call you got at the PD, along with some fancy footwork and get him worried. What about it? I can get a copy of the recording and give it to my lawyer. You have a right to your privacy, Blair."

 

I smile at Jim. He wants to make it all right. And I want it to be all right. And there is a ring of truth in what Jim has said. I slowly nod my head, knowing Jim would do it even if I didn't ask for it. At least, that's what the new and improved James Ellison would do. He is a changed man.

 

"Sure, Jim. Go ahead. And could you ask about helping me if I need it with the university?"

 

"Of course, Blair."

 

I smile and get up to take my things into my bedroom. Just as I left it. It looks so big with everything boxed up and out of the way. I close the doors behind me and sit down on the bed. This feels so right and so comfortable. I don't know why I ever thought I had to leave Cascade to find out where I belonged when I belong here. This is my home. And even if it's not with Jim, it's still my home. My city. It's where I grew up. It's where I became a man. Where I learned about the world. Where I found my sentinel. And my destiny. And where I want to grow old. Hopefully, with my sentinel. My friend. This is familiar and I don't want to have to start over again. I don't want to have to make new friends.

 

Soon, there is a knock on the door of my bedroom. Seconds later, Jim opens the door and is standing there.

 

"I'm going to bed. I need a good night's sleep."

 

"Okay, Jim. I'll be quiet. I could sleep too, after driving that distance back home."

 

I notice Jim smiles when I say home. It's the same for both of us.

 

"Good night, Jim."

 

" 'night, Blair."

 

He closes the door to my bedroom as he turns to leave. I wish he would stay and talk some more, but I didn't need to have sentinel sight to see Jim is tired. We'll have the opportunity to talk. Hopefully, it will be ongoing and continual.

 

I get to my feet and get ready for bed. I'm tired too although I didn't want to admit that to Jim. But he does have sentinel sight and probably noticed. He's always been attuned to me, although now he fully realizes it. I smile as I lay down in my bed. This could be the start of new aspects of being a sentinel never researched before. I've not been able to find much about guides in my research. Jim will help me be a better guide if he works with me instead of against me. I fall off to sleep, thinking of sentinels and their guides.

 

RUNNING TOWARDS RESOLUTION -- JIM

 

Blair breaks eye contact first. He walks past me and reaches the door. He's about ready to bolt. I can't let him leave.

 

"Blair! Don't go!"

 

I can only hope he turns around. He's just opened the door. But there's no forward motion. He doesn't move at all. He doesn't even turn around to look at me.

 

But what is even more frightening is Blair doesn't say anything at all. I'd like to know what is going on in his mind. He at least closes the door, a step in the right direction.

 

I inch closer towards him. But I hesitate from making contact, not sure where we stand. Maybe he has a clue. Well, if he's not going to speak, I will.

 

"You just going to stand there?"

 

That gets him to turn around. I smile at him, but it disappears when I see the frown on his face. I press forward.

 

"Did you mean all those things you wrote in your goodbye letter?"

 

Maybe I can find out where we stand.

 

"At the time, I did. But you have to remember, Jim, I was reacting to you running away without me. I think it was a knee-jerk sort of reaction. I felt hurt and somewhat betrayed by you because you were leaving me like everyone else."

 

I laugh at Blair. How is it that we are so much alike? He frowns at me again. I hold up my hand to forestall anything he might say.

 

"Sorry about the laugh, Blair. You know, we're two of a kind. Maybe it's because we've been together for so long. We've rubbed off on each other."

 

I see a look of confusion on Blair's face.

 

"It's like this -- I thought I would make a preemptive strike and leave before you had a chance to leave me like everyone else had done to me. Of course, my father stopping by the night before I left influenced part of my reasoning. He told me that I should kick you out before you did anything else to disgrace me. I have to admit I didn't stand up for you as much as I should have. I'm sorry about that."

 

I can't quite read the expression on Blair's face. It looks like amazement.

 

"Wow!! I never thought I'd hear such an admission from James Ellison. Do you think we can get past our insecurities?"

 

"If you're willing to try, I will. I'd hate to lose your friendship."

 

And that's how we start off. I don't want to lose Blair's friendship and I hope Blair doesn't want to lose my friendship. But I still see a long road ahead of us.

 

"I know it's going to be a long road. Look, why don't I call my dad and see if I can have the cabin for another week. You'll love the place, Blair. It's got a fantastic view. And it seemed to really clear up my senses after the sensory overload I've had for the past several weeks. What do you say?"

 

I continue to smile at Blair. He looks at me as if I've lost my mind. I think of all the things I have to make up to Blair. All the wrongs I've done to Blair over the years. I told him he betrayed my trust. How can I make it up to him?

 

Uh-oh. Blair's gone silent again. I continue to smile at him, but he's contemplating something very serious. He still may bolt.

 

"So? Do you want me to call?"

 

He looks up at me, confusion still on his face. Maybe I've befuddled his brain.

 

"Cat got your tongue, Blair?" I chuckle. And Blair is clearly not amused.

 

"No. I'm fine. Go ahead. Call." Short, clipped answers. I'm still smiling and Blair is finding nothing amusing about all of this.

 

He walks away from me to go stand by the balcony windows. He looks out to the city beyond and the approaching night. I remember all the times we would stand by the windows, either alone or side-by-side. I go to stand behind him, wanting to return to the familiar. I don't want to blow it before it begins.

 

I place my hands on his shoulders and I start to knead away the tightness. He's tense.

 

"You're tense. Is something wrong?"

 

I continue to knead the muscles in his shoulders and upper back. With my sensitive touch, I know when to add more pressure and when to back off. I sense the chuckle building in Blair. And it comes out loud.

 

"What's so funny?"

 

He stays put. He can see me in the reflection of the glass. "You'd make a perfect masseur. If you ever want to change careers, we could open our own place."

 

"Oh, really? And what would you do while I gave the massages?" He has an active imagination.

 

"Well, I could do shampoos, manicures, pedicures, even facials."

 

"You ever done that before?"

 

"You don't know half the jobs I had when I was an undergraduate. We could really clean up."

 

I reach up and smack him in the back of the head. I've missed this bantering back and forth.

 

"Smart aleck. No. I don't want to be a masseur. I've got a job."

 

Blair tries to pull out of my hold. But I don't let go. I continue with the massage. And I realize what I've said.

 

"It's okay, Blair. We'll figure something out."

 

Blair gets that strange look on his face again. I've got to know something.

 

"So? Will you stay?"

 

Blair hesitates again. He relaxes into the massage. I keep it up. After a few minutes, he answers.

 

"Yeah. I'll stay."

 

"Thank you."

 

It means a lot to me that Blair says he'll stay. I have a strange feeling I'll have to tread carefully or Blair will take off. And this time would be for good.

 

I continue to massage Blair's shoulders and upper back. He seems less tense now. I remember I was going to call my dad. I stop the massage and walk over to the phone. I dial the number and my dad answers.

 

"Dad, it's me, Jim. I just called to find out if I could have some extra time at the cabin?"

 

I look up to see Blair coming over to where I am.

 

"You sure it's no problem, dad? Yeah. My leg is doing much better. No, I haven't seen him. Thanks, dad. Yeah. I'll call you."

 

I hang up the phone and look over at Blair.

 

"It's a go. We can stay as long as we want."

 

"But you didn't tell him I was going along, did you?"

 

"It's going to take some time before my dad accepts you. He thinks you were to blame for what happened. And for a while, I wanted to believe it also. Believe me, Blair; I've had a lot of time to think about what went wrong between us. Both of us were to blame."

 

"Yeah, you're right about that. Can you get more time off from the PD?"

 

"Sure. No problem. I'll just call Simon, or whoever they put in charge, and tell them I need the extra time. I shouldn't be running around after criminals anyway. I don't have to use the cane anymore, but it still hurts."

 

"Um -- how are the dials?"

 

"Sort of out of control once I got to the cabin. I never was able to get them back into line the way you can help me do it."

 

He chuckles and it's my turn to look at him strangely. I'm starting to question his sanity. Maybe we've both cracked up.

 

"It's okay, Jim. I don't know how to take this new and improved James Ellison. I guess I'm used to the --" He stops abruptly.

 

"Hardass?"

 

He smiles at me. I smile back.

 

"How do you do that?"

 

"What?"

 

"Know exactly what I'm thinking and going to say?"

 

"We're attuned to one another. Didn't you realize that?"

 

He laughs again and I begin to believe we'll be okay.

 

"Yeah. I realize that. I think I realized that years ago. And I think I also tried to tell you a time or two."

 

"Yeah, well. I've never been accused of being fast on the uptake."

 

"I never said that."

 

"I never said you did. But I never wanted to believe in the mystical side of me being a sentinel, you being my guide and what it meant for the two of us. Even though you tried to tell me it was important."

 

"Are you sure a week is going to be long enough?"

 

"It will be a start. And we'll be coming from the same thought processes."

 

"That cabin must be magical."

 

"Not magical, Blair. The solitude gave me time to think and realize things."

 

"So? How about something to eat? I don't know about you, but I'm hungry. I drove almost nonstop back to town and didn't stop for anything to eat."

 

"Well, I don't have much in the 'fridge. How about we get takeout? Your choice."

 

"Okay. Sounds good. I'm in the mood for Chinese."

 

"Chinese it is. I'll call it in, my treat. Why don't you go downstairs and bring up some of your things? Since you'll be staying here."

 

"Sounds good."

 

Blair heads towards the door as I pick up the phone to call in the takeout order. Blair leaves the loft and I think this is how it used to be. I wonder what Blair plans on doing? Will it be the academy or the university?

 

I finish the takeout order. I've ordered way too much, but it will keep. I want to make sure I get all of Blair's favorites.

 

I'm able to track Blair coming back up to the loft. I have a real chance to get things right this time. I'll keep an open mind. I pick up Blair's *goodbye* letter again. And I think about what I almost lost. I look at Blair as he walks in. I quickly fold up the letter and stuff it in the back pocket of my jeans.

 

"Caught. I know it's not enough, Blair, but I'm sorry."

 

"Don't worry about it, Jim. If I can get you to explain things to me, it will be enough for me."

 

"Not tonight, buddy. I'm tired. I just want to eat the takeout and then get a good night's sleep."

 

"Fair enough. Once we get to the cabin, it will be soon enough."

 

We sit in relative silence until the Chinese takeout comes. I pay for it and we eat in silence. It's so reminiscent of the last meal we had together here. We look up and over at each other and smile.

 

"I thought --"

 

"So, what --"

 

We start off in sync. We both laugh and the awkwardness is gone. I would have never thought we would get to such a place.

 

"You first, Blair."

 

"I was just going to say I thought maybe I'd stop by the university and see if I have any recourse to being just let go. There have to be procedures and protocols in place for such a thing. I mean, even a student kicked out of the university has a right to a hearing and to appeal the dismissal."

 

"You may have legal recourse, Blair." I want to let him know that.

 

"I don't have the money for a lawyer, Jim. Unless they'd do it on a contingency basis?"

 

"I have a lawyer, Blair. I could call him and ask."

 

"Let me talk to the university first, Jim. I may not have to call in a lawyer at all."

 

I can hear it in his voice -- he wants to do this on his own.

 

"Do you want to contact the university right away? We can postpone our trip."

 

'I'll go there in the morning. I can meet you at the cabin."

 

"I can wait for you. I'm still on medical leave. We can take as much time as we need. My dad said I could use the cabin as long as I needed to. While you're at Rainier, I can check up on Simon and Megan. How was Simon when you saw him?"

 

"He looked pretty good. Of course, he's still using a walker to get around, but he's up and moving."

 

"Yeah. That was pretty scary when he was on the floor of his office, bleeding. I thought he was going to die right there. And it was all my fault."

 

Blair frowns at me again. "It wasn't your fault, Jim. Zeller was the one that took the shot."

 

"Yeah. And he was aiming at me. It should have been me."

 

"It wasn't your fault, Jim. Just like it wasn't my fault."

 

Now, it's my turn to look over at Blair in confusion.

 

"Simon explained it all to me. Zeller was the one who fired the gun. Not you, and not me. It was going to happen, no matter what. We're just fortunate no one died and Zeller was killed. By you. You were there when it counted."

 

I shake my head at Blair. The things he comes up with. "You've got to quit putting me on a pedestal, Blair. I'm not a god."

 

"I know that, Jim. But you are there when it counts. You can't deny that."

 

"I suppose not. So, you go to Rainier in the morning, I'll go visit Simon, Megan and the guys at the station, and make sure I can get leave for another week. What about that schmuck Sid Graham? I'm sure we could get him to give you compensation. After all, you denied him the right to release what was sent to him. And it was your private property, sent to him under false pretenses. I'm sure my lawyer could use the recording of the phone call you got at the PD, along with some fancy footwork and get him worried. What about it? I can get a copy of the recording and give it to my lawyer. You have a right to your privacy, Blair."

 

Blair smiles at me again. He has to know I want to make it all right. And I'm sure he wants it all right. He slowly nods his head. I think he knows I'd do it even if he didn't ask for it. I'd do whatever I could for him.

 

"Sure, Jim. Go ahead. And could you ask about helping me if I need it with the university?"

 

It's my turn to smile. He's coming around to my way of thinking. "Of course, Blair."

 

He's still smiling as he gets up to take his things into his bedroom. It's a barren place in there right now. I'm hoping Blair brings up the rest of his things. I'll even help him as much as I can. We both came home. It's more amazing Blair came back since he had run away all the way to Atlanta. It's warm and far away. He could have stayed there. But he came home. I can only hope I had some sway in the decision.

 

I put the leftover Chinese in the refrigerator and clean up. Then I go around, making sure everything is locked up and secure for the night. I take my stuff up to my bedroom and come back down. I walk over to Blair's room and knock on the closed door. I open it a short time later. Blair is sitting on his bed, contemplating the future. At least that's the look on his face.

 

"I'm going to bed. I need a good night's sleep."

 

"Okay, Jim. I'll be quiet. I could sleep too, after driving that distance back home."

 

We both smile when Blair mentions home.

 

"Good night, Jim."

 

" 'night, Blair."

 

I close the door to his bedroom and turn to go upstairs. I would have like to talk more, but we're both tired. We'll have the opportunity to talk. And I will continue to talk. Maybe I am the new and improved James Ellison.

 

I take the stairs up to my bedroom. I automatically listen in to Blair's preparations for bed, as I get ready to go to bed myself.

 

I've always been attuned to him. I smile as I lay down in my bed. I think probably I've opened up a whole new can of worms with admitting to Blair that I accept the mystical side of sentinels and guides and our connection together. But that's okay. Blair will help me be a better sentinel if he knows I'm working with him instead of against him. And I'll help Blair be a better guide to me. I fall off to sleep, thinking of guides and their sentinels.

END