The Rules Of Love

By Demeter

EMAIL: Demeter

It takes him seven rings to answer the phone, and damn it, I know the apartment's not that big.

"Oh, hi, Jim. Sorry, I just got out of the shower."

I've futilely tried a couple of times over the course of the day, and when I actually hear his voice this time, the relief is deep and profound. "Where the hell have you been?" It's the wrong approach, to let him know I freak whenever Sandburg doesn't answer the phone - I know before the words are out of my mouth, but I just can't help it.

Yes, I'm trying to build a future, something solid for both of us; doesn't mean I haven't developed an active imagination for worst case scenarios. And don't I have reason for it?

He's silent on the other end of the line, and I tell him I'm sorry. "I didn't mean to yell at you. How are you?" Treading on thin ice again with the question, no doubt.

"Okay. Look, Jim, maybe you could call another time, or I could call you back. I'm expecting someone."

Now he's bluntly lying, doesn't he remember I can tell?

"Yeah, you are. Me."

"Jim..."

At this point, I wonder how much of the optimism I showed Simon was more than an act. I get angry with Blair, but there are moments when I wonder myself, if things are ever going to be better. But I promised not so long ago I wouldn't give up on him, and I won't, such are the rules when someone's that important to you. Whatever it takes.

"Actually, I have some good news. By the way, Simon says hello, and call me mushy, Chief, but I miss you."

Another moment of silence. Over the past few weeks I've learned that I don't find it so hard to understand what depression's all about - a genuine mistrust in the good in life. From that point of view, I can surely relate. Only Blair never let me get away with that kind of attitude.

"That *is* mushy," he says after a while, but I can hear he's not doing so well at the moment.

It's painful, but I keep up the lighter tone anyway. "So sue me. I'll see you in half an hour."

The tone of his voice is between relief and exasperation, "If you must..."

Oh yes, I do. After we've hung up, I just sit there for a moment, wondering if things would have turned out differently - if I'd ever told him how much I love him *before*.

END

March 18, 2006