I'm an anthropologist. An observer of people, of what makes people who they
are. So, why the hell didn't I see this coming? I've been living in Jim
Ellison's spare room for two years now, sharing his kitchen and bathroom, and
the odd grunt of what passes for conversation over breakfast.
I've had more women in my bed; well, not in this bed; Jim kind of frowns on me
having sex in the loft, and I've never bitched about it because it is after
all, his apartment. I'm straight, damn it! So why do I suddenly find myself
It began with an occasional lingering on his face whenever he smiled at a funny
joke I told him. Jim's not big at smiling, but when he does, it lights up the
room; gives those blue eyes of his a life of their own.
He places a hand on my shoulder or back and I find myself pressing into the
touch, wishing I were the sentinel, to better feel the warmth and strength of
his hand. I lap up the feel of his hand ruffling my hair like an obedient,
affectionate puppy. It's got to be an anthropologist's quirk, I tell myself.
After all, we're taught to watch, to observe, to study, though I have to admit
that I don't know too many anthropologists who have gone from straight to gay
in the blink of an eye, and professed an undying attraction to their study
subject. The academic in me provides another idea. Maybe, it's a sentinel
thing. After all, even after two years of working and living with Jim, and
about a thousand textbooks later, I have to admit I still know jack-shit about
my chosen field of study. Jim and I having feeling our way, make that,
stumbling our way through this from the beginning. If only Sir Richard Burton
hadn't gotten bored with South America so fast, there might have been something
in his writing about guides, and their physical, sexual attraction to their
sentinels. A sentinel thing, yeah. I take heart in that small thought and
unpack my laptop, taking it into the living room, confident in the knowledge
that Jim is asleep, earplugs in, unlikely to be disturbed by the tapping of the
I find my attention irrevocably drawn to the bedroom at the top of the stairs,
and my imagination runs riot with visions of Jim, his muscular body covered
only by boxers. I feel myself grow hard at the image, and suddenly disgusted, I
turn off the laptop and stand, ready to head to my own room.
Halfway there, my steps slow and I find my gaze shifting unerringly to the
stairs. Cursing myself, yet knowing I can't fight it, I find myself climbing up
to Jim's bedroom.
The moonlight from the skylight lends an ethereal look to the figure in the
bed. Jim is lying on his side, facing me, his eyes covered by a sleep mask. His
chest rises and falls slowly with the rhythm of deep sleep and I find myself
fighting the urge to go over and run a hand over those hard chest muscles.
Panicked at where my thoughts are taking me, I turn quickly, overbalancing and
almost tumbling headfirst down the stairs. Regaining some of my composure, I
make my way back down.
My name husks out groggily behind me and I freeze, one foot raised to take the
next step down.
"Nothing," I say, shaking my head to emphasize the point, though I know he
can't see me down here, and I suspect it's more to convince myself.
I hear him shifting in the bed and my hopes that he'll dismiss my nocturnal
wandering to his bedroom plummet.
"Must be something," he says around a yawn. "You sleep like the dead usually,
unless something's bothering you."
"Just got a lot on my mind," I reply, grimacing at the truth in my words.
"C'm'ere," he says, and I'm heading back up before I have a chance to rethink
I stand at the top of the stairs, shuffling my feet like a recalcitrant
schoolboy. He pats the side of the bed in invitation, and I give up the fight
and cross quickly to sink down beside him. He rolls to his back, and even in
the darkness, I know he's studying me, watching me, like I've been . No, not
*that* way, but an unnerving scrutiny nonetheless.
"Talk to me," he commands.
I sigh and let my head drop to my chest, feeling as though the weight of the
world is on my shoulders. "It's just my research," I begin, suddenly terrified
of telling him the truth. Wanting Jim and not having him, I can live with. I
think, but having him disgusted by me, or hating me would be my undoing.
"There's just some things I haven't been able to get any information on, and I
don't know that I ever will."
"Can't you leave it out?' he asks, slumping back onto his pillows.
"Oh yeah, probably," I reply, shuddering a little at the thought of how he'd
react if I committed my Jim-crush to paper.
"Well, that's good," he says, yawning again and scratching his chest.
I shift a little and sit on my hands when they seem to want to stray over and
take over the scratching for themselves. The sheet is bunched around Jim's
waist, tenting a little where his. Oh God. It's getting awful hot in here and
I'm thinking Jim should maybe think about turning down the thermostat.
"So, is there anything else I can help you with?"
'Yeah, right, Jim. How about you just throw me on my back on this bed and fuck
me senseless.' I grind my teeth together to force the words back and silently
shake my head.
"Okay," he says, tousling my head. "Better get some sleep. We've got to go over
the report with Sheila tomorrow morning."
My heart sinks to my feet. Sheila Irwin, the classy, attractive, smarmy bitch
who's stolen Jim's heart. I stand and lock my knees as they tremble a little.
"Right. Night, Jim."
"Night, Sandburg. Hey," he says as I'm almost to the stairs and I turn around a
little too quickly.
"I think I knocked those white noise earplugs to the floor. Can you pick them
up for me."
"Sure." I make my way back to the bed and sweep my hand over the floor until I
find the little case.
"These are pretty cool," he says as I drop them into his hand. "I've been
sleeping like a baby with these in."
"Cool," I reply. I turn back and stomp down the stairs, figuring I won't be
bothering him now he's got the earplugs that I bought him firmly inserted in
his ears. Cost me a packet, those things. I doubt I'll be eating much more than
cheese on toast for the next month. "A thank you'd be nice," I mutter.
Sinking back onto the couch, I sigh and scrub a hand through my hair, and admit
to myself I want more than a thank you, and more than the card Jim so
sarcastically offered to send me. What I want is for him to take me in his arms
and kiss me senseless, then strip off my clothes and. Down, boy. I give my
extremely interested cock a conciliatory couple of strokes, then stand and take
it into my bedroom for some one-handed attention. Thank God I have a good
I don't think I cheered out loud when Sheila introduced us to Stan the man, her
fiance, but I know my heart did a triple drum roll in my chest. I handed over
the twenty bucks I'd bet Simon, putting on a good act of being pissed about it,
silently adding it to the cost of the earplugs. Maybe just dry toast for a
month would have to suffice. Jim slaps me on the back as we make our way back
into the bullpen, chuckling a little and shaking his head.
"What's so funny?" I ask. "I thought you'd be pissed you're out of the running."
He shrugs those broad shoulders of his. "Well, there's always the doctor who
gave me my physical. She and I are already intimately acquainted, if you get my
drift." He waggles his eyebrows and makes a show of adjusting his crotch and my
face flames as I feel myself harden at the display.
"Right." I do an abrupt about-face and head out of the bullpen, heading for.
Christ, I have no idea where I'm going.
"Sandburg, what's wrong?" Jim bellows after me. "What about lunch?"
"I'm not hungry," I answer him truthfully. "Something I have to do. I'll see
you at home."
I give him no time to follow me. The elevator doors open just as I reach them
and in relief, I hurry inside. I endure the ride to the top floor, ignoring the
strange looks I get when I don't get off, and hit the button for the lobby. I
have got to get out of here.
I drive aimlessly for what seems like hours, finally deciding to go home and
face Jim's "What the fuck was all that about, Sandburg?" when I stop
concentrating on the road and almost run up the back-end of one of those neat
and expensive European jobs.
Walking into the apartment, I stop dead in my tracks at the sight before me.
The dining table is laid with a white linen tablecloth and polished silver I've
never seen before. Intoxicating aromas waft from the kitchen and Jim comes out
of there, pulling off his flowered apron as I head in that direction. He's got
that blue shirt on that stretches over his muscled chest and really brings out
the glacier blue of his eyes.
He smiles. "Oh good, you're home."
"Yeah." I wave toward my bedroom. "I'll just go change and get out of your way.
Looks like the doctor was interested, huh?" I say, feeling a lump rise in my
throat. That's it, I tell myself. I have to get out of here. A new apartment,
new city. fuck, Australia's looking pretty inviting about now.
"Where are you going?" Jim asks, stepping closer.
"Well, you obviously have a date," I reply, uncharitably thinking that it's
probably okay for him to have sex in the loft, seeing it's his.
To my surprise, Jim grabs my hand and leads me to a chair, pushing me down into
it. "Well, that would ruin everything, Chief," he says and his voice sounds
"But you have a date," I babble.
"Yep, with you." Before I can react, Jim leans forward and presses his lips to
For a moment, I'm so stunned I can't even kiss him back, but when his tongue
presses against my lips, pushing them open, I give a small gasp and let him in.
It's just as good as I've imagined it to be. no, better, so much better. I can
feel his fingers stroking through my hair, his other hand on the back of my
neck, pulling me closer. He tastes of red wine and his famous spaghetti sauce.
He pulls back just as I'm getting into the spirit of things and I feel a slow
blush heat my cheeks as he studies me for a long moment. "All right?" he asks.
I nod my head dazedly, my heart trying to pound it's way out of my chest.
"Why?" I manage to say.
"Well," He kneels on the floor between my legs and takes my hand, stroking it
gently, "You said a thank you would be nice so."
"You heard me?" I squeak. "I thought you had your earplugs in, or are you
talking about the first time? I'm sorry, Jim, I didn't mean it to sound so
nasty. I was just pissy over seeing you and Sheila together."
I do as he asks without thinking and continue to babble on inconsequentially,
trying to take my mind off the fact that Jim is unbuttoning my fly and. "Oh,
"Do you have a problem with this?" Jim asks.
He's got me sitting half-on, half-off a dining chair, laid open like a fucking
Christmas present, my dick hanging out, begging for attention, and he's asking
me if I have a problem?
I try to work enough spit into my mouth to answer. "What?"
He smiles and rolls his eyes and I suddenly feel nothing like the genius Naomi
claims me to be.
Jim bends down and gently licks the head of my cock like it's an icecream cone
then looks up at me. "Do. you. have. a problem. with. this?" He says it slowly
like he's talking to a particularly slow-witted child.
"No," I say hoarsely. "No."
He grins, bends his head again and sucks me into his mouth.
"Jesus, James," I whisper. My hands come up involuntarily to clutch at his head.
Jim licks and sucks my cock and balls until I'm gasping for breath. I feel like
he's mapping me with that incredible tongue. He hits a particularly sensitive
spot and I arch up off the chair, but he keeps me in place; one hand pumping
the base of my shaft, his forearm resting on my bare thighs, pinning me there.
His other hand is busy between his own legs, bringing himself off, and I
realize I didn't even see him take off his pants.
He brings me to the edge and backs off until I'm begging him to let me come. He
presses his tongue against that sweet spot just below the head and then sucks
me into his throat and I explode.
A few seconds later, he growls deep in his throat, sounding not unlike his
spirit animal, and his movements still. I feel his semen spatter my leg as my
cock continues to twitch gently in his mouth.
Finally, he leans back, sets me free and looks up with those blue, blue eyes
and smiles. "Thank you," he says.
"You're welcome," I whisper, then roll my eyes at the inanity of the comment.
"Think we might take this up to the bedroom next time?"
We're lying upstairs in bed now. Dinner has been packed into the refrigerator
ready for tomorrow night. We never did get past the entrée. Blair is lying with
his head pillowed on my chest, one lax arm thrown across me as though he's
afraid I might disappear.
I smile. I'm a detective. I'm trained to observe things and people, and with my
sentinel abilities, I tend to pick up a whole lot more detail than ordinary
folk. I knew Blair had been watching me for some time, and getting aroused by
it. With this nose, I could smell his arousal every time I touched him or even
got close. The thing is, I'd been having those same feelings for some time
myself, and the knowledge that he was turned on by me, just excited me more.
I don't know why I waited this long to let him know how I felt. I guess I was
as nervous as he was at voicing my attraction, even knowing it was
reciprocated. It's not easy for a straight cop to suddenly admit to feelings of
love and lust for his male roommate. Maybe it's a sentinel thing.
Blair mutters a little and shifts, his arm tightening a little around me. I
brush the hair from his face and settle in to do a little Blair-watching of my