This had gone on long enough. I was sick and tired of seeing him mope and him being oblivious.
That’s it. This ends. Now.
“ELLISON! SANDBURG! MY OFFICE! NOW!”
They walked in – and I could see nothing’d changed. Blair was dragging his feet and Jim sauntered in like nothing was wrong.
I sighed. “Wonderful.” I closed the door behind us and gestured to the seats.
They both sat down and neither would look at the other. “Fine,” I said, glaring at them. “What the hell is going on between you two?”
Jim blinked. “What? Nothing’s goin’ on, we’re fine, aren’t we, Chief?”
Jim frowned and looked – really looked – at Blair. “What--?”
I nodded. “This was why I called you two in here. This has been going on for weeks.”
“Weeks?” Jim repeated, startled. “You let this go on for weeks and you never told me?”
I fixed him with my best ‘Captain’ glare. “Figured a smart guy like you would be able to figure out something was wrong! After all, you live with the man!”
In the stunned silence that followed, Blair said softly, “Long as it doesn’t directly affect Jim, he doesn’t notice.”
“But this does affect Jim,” I pointed out. “And you. Something’s got your knickers in a twist –“ Now why did he flinch when I said that? “—And I want it to stop – now. You’ve been mopin’ since your birthday, Blair, and—“
Jim blinked. “Your b-birthday?” He looked at Blair. “Why’re you upset about that? I remembered…”
“I know. I ‘m just bein’ silly. It’s nothing, really.”
“No, Blair. If it makes you this upset, it’s not ‘nothing’ and it’s not silly. Talk to us.”
He looked me square in the eye. “I can’t, Simon.”
And I understood. “It has to do with Sandy, doesn’t it?” He looked stricken and shot Jim a ‘how-could-you’ look. “Blair, I figured it out on my own when we were looking for you when your mother was so sick. When Jim told me, I’d already figured out most of it.”
He took a deep breath. “Then you know what I am.”
I nodded, and Jim broke in. “but what does this have to do with your birthday?”
He glared at Jim. “That gag gift you gave me after the party.”
Whoa. I’d never heard the kid’s voice fill with ice this fast!
Jim looked like he’d been blindsided. I could all but hear the wheels turning in his head as he tried to figure this out. Suddenly, comprehension dawned in his eyes. “Aw, hell. Chief, that’s all it was. Just a joke – between best friends.”
“Some joke,” Blair growled at him, folding his arms. “A reminder of what I can never have.”
I guess my puzzlement showed, because Jim turned to me. “I gave him a black teddy. Lace, panties, the whole works. I just meant it as a joke – a gag! I was trying to tell him it doesn’t matter what he is, he’s my friend and that hasn’t changed!”
Blair had curled into a ball in the chair. “And all it did was hurt. To me, it was a reminder that I can never have a normal relationship – with anyone.”
Jim opened his mouth, but I held up a hand. “Blair,” I asked gently, “is that from being what you are?”
He nodded, and so did I. “Jim,” I said slowly, “gag gifts won’t work. You forgot—that’s a female mind, too. Sometimes it’s gonna show itself.”
Jim groaned and ran a hand down his face. “So what do I do? I can’t un-give the gift!”
Blair perked up. “Actually, Jim? There’s a newlywed I know that would love a slinky black teddy….”
As they left my office a few minutes later, I overheard Jim’s apology and saw Blair’s nod of acceptance.
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