Written by Beth

So Tim and I are in a movie megaplex buying tickets to see an action adventure film. I suppose I have only myself to blame for this--after all, I did make him sit through that really awful poetry reading last week. But really--how was *I* to have known that the poetry would be so maudlin?

It's not even that I hate action films--I'm a reasonable man, and I liked *Pulp Fiction* and *Terminator 2* just fine. I can even take Clint Eastwood sometimes: *Unforgiven* is a hell of an anti-western, and some of the old Dirty Harry films aren't half bad, either. But the film that Tim, the man I've chosen above all others to spend my time with, wants to see stars Steven Seagal, he of the wooden face and bad hair. And rumors about the guy's sexuality aside, I'm really, really not up to it.

I'm not going to complain, though--well, at least not until after I've seen the damn film. And I'm sure as hell not going to miss the opportunity to sit close to Tim in a dark room, no matter what's on the screen in front of us. In fact, I'm about a heartbeat away from putting my arm around him right now, but there's something holding me back.

He's been a little skittish since our trip to the bookstore a couple of weeks ago, and it's bugging the hell out of me, but I'm trying to let him work through it on his own. The depressing interpretation of the situation is that after reading his magical book about sex with other men, Tim's gotten cold feet, has decided that maybe he doesn't want to do all that icky stuff with me after all. The optimistic interpretation is that he read the book and it freaked him out but that he'll eventually be okay, and that one day he'll look at me with those lovely eyes and murmur, "I'm ready--I want us to do this, Chris." Then, of course . . . Well, you can imagine, I'm sure.

So I'm waiting to see what's going to happen. I could push the issue, but Tim doesn't seem to react well to pushing. And besides, what I really want is for him to make the decision and to come to me on his own. God, I want it to happen.

"Let's get some food," he says, handing me my ticket and heading toward the long line of people at the concession stand. The theater is absolutely packed ("It's just more *fun* on opening night," Tim said when I tried to talk him out of coming here on a Friday), and it's impossible to concentrate on anything, so I spend my time watching any number of different things for five-second periods. Mostly I see high school kids on dates, the girls with carefully overdone make up and too much perfume, the boys with baseball caps and work boots, all of them radiating almost unbearable nervousness and energy. It's exhausting even to watch them. There are also lots of young families here, harried parents stepping up to the register and ordering insane amounts of junk for their whining children to suck down. Twenty-two dollars would get them a very, very nice entree at the Zodiac, but hey--why eat Italian when you can have unnaturally yellow popcorn covered in strange butter- like powder?

This is of course precisely what Tim wants, a big tubful, in fact, and although I raise brows at him I say nothing. If he wants to go from egg whites at breakfast to lard for dinner, it's fine with me.

"I'll take a mineral water," I say. Tim looks at me in shock for just a moment--obviously I've broken an important rule of manhood by choosing such a faggoty drink for an action movie--but then smiles fondly and orders it for me anyway. And that's exactly why he enchants me--I love that he can embody such ridiculous contradictions so unselfconsciously and generously, love that he can want to take his gay boyfriend to see an idiot testosterone film.

"Okay. Let's go get seats," Tim says, his arms full of corn and coke. I've already forgotten where we're supposed to go: this theater feels more like an airport than a cinema, right down to the numbered gates, indecipherable announcements, and hurried people. But Tim knows what he's doing and leads us quite safely to theater number 10, where we file in behind a group of adolescent boys.

"Where do you like to sit?" he asks.

Like I care. "You choose," I tell him. Jesus--what if he wants to sit one seat away from each other like some of the kids already here are doing?

Tim leads us to the very back row of the theater and looks apologetically at me. "I--with my height, I don't like to sit in front of other people," he says.

"That's fine," I tell him, then hold his popcorn and drink while he sheds his coat and sits down next to me. Thank god.

The floor is sticky and covered with bits of popcorn and candy wrappers and everyone in here is talking at full voice. I'm pretty sure they're not going to be much quieter once the movie starts, but in the end, I suppose it doesn't really matter. I mean, I don't quite think people go to Steven Seagal movies for the dialogue.

"Want some?" Tim asks, holding the popcorn out to me.

"Maybe later," I say, and he grins broadly.

"You're being so good," he teases. "I mean, really--I'm impressed, Chris. No complaining and no whining, just a mild look of disdain here and there."

"Shut up," I say, laughing. "We won't even go into the look *you* were sporting at the poetry reading last week."

"*That* was appropriate," he says darkly, then adds, "A girl's lips caress with silent, silent puckers," which is a line from one of the poems he found particularly annoying and that he's repeated an infinite number of times since the reading.

I look with great amusement at him but don't speak.

"Hey," Tim says then, his mind as always floating from one subject to the next without regard for logic or context. "I forgot to tell you this--Frank and Mary, they--well, they invited us for dinner next week. Could you make it on Thursday, do you think?"

Thursdays at the Zodiac are actually pretty busy, but there's no way I'm missing this, no way I'm going to miss the opportunity to sit close to Tim in front of Frank. And in a less jealous vein, I really do want to meet Mary.

"Great," I say. "Ask Mary if she wants us to bring anything, okay?"

He nods absently, then adds, "I think it was her idea, you know. Not Frank's."

"I can believe that," I say, then stop there because I'm on very dangerous territory.

"Yeah, well, Frank'll come around," Tim says optimistically, then looks happily around the theater. "Looks like a full house."

And so it is. "When does this thing start?" I ask just as the lights dim, then settle back into my chair and prepare for the worst.

You can usually tell what a movie's going to be like from the previews, and sure enough, the previews we're getting all feature muscle-bound lunkheads blowing things up.

"Oh, I wanna see that," Tim murmurs ardently as we watch Jean-Claude Van Damme do a strange sort of splits maneuver while in mid air, his ass round and full, and it's all I can do to keep myself from putting my hand in Tim's lap and showing him what the excitement he's feeling is really all about. But I refrain.

Besides, it's kind of fun to sit here watching Tim watch the screen; thank god for peripheral vision. And it's just what I'd expect: he watches very intensely and shifts around excitedly in his chair. Normally, I'm a strong advocate of sitting *still* at the movies, but when Tim fidgets, I find it completely fetching, yet another sign of how bad I've got it for him.

After about fifteen minutes, the movie finally starts, and I sigh a little and take a long drink of water as Seagal beats up seven guys who made fun of his truck. It's going to be a long movie, but since I'm a very inventive and creative man, I occupy myself by starting a death tally and figuring out at exactly what point during the movie I'm going to reach over and take Tim's hand in mine.

Seventeen dead people into the show, however, something strange happens. We can still hear the movie, but the screen has gone dark. For a moment I entertain the thought that this is an artistic decision, that the director is making a bold statement about the complete and utter blankness of such entertainment, but then, one of the adolescents bellows "What the *fuck*?!" and I'm thrown back into reality.

We sit there watching the blank screen for a few moments until a few people stream out of the theater to tell the staff what's going on. Then the house lights come up and anarchy ensues: hundreds of angry men yelling and grumbling all at once until a scared-looking usher boy comes in.

"We'll have the problem fixed in just a few minutes, we hope," he says in an about-to-crack voice, and anger rises up in me as someone shouts "Fix the goddamn movie, ya faggot!"

Tim looks aghast; he meets my eyes for a second, then quickly glances away. We wait a while longer, and a few moments after *that,* a real grown-up comes in and says, "We'll have the film working in just a few minutes, people."

"Rewind!!" the people in front of us yell. "Rewind it and start over!"

"I'm sorry, but we can't rewind," the man says, and is greeted with a chorus of boos, some hissing, and a few handfuls of popcorn.

"Look--if you don't like it, you can head back to the ticket counter and get a refund, all right?" he defensively says, then stalks out.

"So what do you want to do?" Tim asks me.

"We can wait a while if you want to," I diplomatically say.

"Really? I wouldn't, but it's just--I really want to see this," Tim says, then nods his thanks at me. "Five minutes tops, Chris--I promise."

Quite a few people are leaving the theater already.

"Wasn't that part with the machine gun and the combine cool?" Tim asks, and I frown, puzzled, until I figure out that he's teasing me.

"Oh, definitely," I say, and grin at him.

We sit quietly. Five minutes have definitely passed, but Tim doesn't say anything, and *then* it seems like ten minutes are gone, but still he waits. By now three-fourths of the people in the room have left.

"Tim," I say gently after we've waited for fifteen minutes. "Let's just get the refund, all right? I'll come see it again with you sometime, I promise."

"Yeah, yeah," he says dejectedly. "I didn't even get to eat all my popcorn!"

"You can take it with you," I tell him.

"Take it with me where?" he asks, and suddenly I realize that the entire evening is free again.

"Well, what do you want to do?" I ask as we head toward the lobby.

"I don't know," he says. He sounds pretty depressed, actually. Good god--did this movie really mean that much to him? "I suppose we could go get a drink someplace," he finally suggests.

I nod. "We could do that. Or--we're not all that far from your place right now, are we?"

"About ten minutes," he says, nodding. "Yeah. Yeah. We'll go there and then we can figure out what we want to do--does that sound good?"

I already know exactly what I want to do, but I cheerfully agree. This night has begun to look a lot more interesting.


In the squad room, late Saturday afternoon, less than an hour left in the shift. Frank's on the phone with Mary, his voice gentle even though he's been ranting on and off all day about the fight they had last night. I tune out and try to concentrate on an old case file I've been reviewing in hopes of getting a new perspective on it. Miles Vanderman, gunned down in a bar crowded with people too frightened, too apathetic, or too drunk to give a coherent description of the shooter. All of them probably know more than they're saying; my hope is that by going through the witness statements again I might be able to identify someone who can give us more. A woman, maybe, or a family man, someone who might be outraged by the crime and who might come clean in another interview. And on a more pragmatic note I've already requested a check of all witnesses to see if any of them have priors or are under parole . . . because I might very well be able to convince those folks to talk, too, albeit in a slightly different fashion. It's not exactly exciting work, but this late in my day I don't need excitement; what I need is to get out of here soon.

I sigh, shift in my chair, and then wince. And then I start to blush as I think about last night after the movie (well, the non-movie), and my heart begins to jump.

Really, it's ridiculous. I've moved umpteen times today, and have been sore each and every one of them, so there's no reason for me to keep reacting like this, no reason to get excited all over again each time I realize that last night I had Chris inside me, and that it was the first time, and that it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life.

I'm at work. I should think detective thoughts, law enforcement thoughts--not sex thoughts.

What got to me most was how intense Chris was. He was powerful and direct, completely absorbed and . . . hungry, I guess, for lack of a better word. He didn't baby me, didn't whisper calming or reassuring things or treat me like I wasn't able to handle it. And I . . . I was shocked, I guess, first by the fact that it was happening at all, and then because it felt so goddamned *good.* Even just his fingers, and then most certainly the rest of him . . .

It started so casually. Us in bed together, so I'm figuring on something happening, but still. The moment I felt his fingers touching me, well, *there,* I gasped, but Chris didn't seem to want have a big conversation about it--he just pressed me to the bed and continued what he was doing.

And I was moaning and trying to get my mind around it, to adjust to this overwhelming and pleasurable new sensation, but before I really got there, Chris's fingers were moving even deeper inside of me. I remember calling out his name in surprise, and him kissing my shoulders as he firmly wrapped an arm around my waist to keep me close to him.

My god, those fingers--such excitement and panic, and excitement again as I *realized* . . . as I felt him opening me up. And that--my god. There's just something about how confident he was, how direct. Letting him take over like that was just--

Suddenly it registers that Frank is calling my name.

"Yeah, uh . . . what Frank?" I say, making my voice sound annoyed to cover my embarrassment. Law enforcement thoughts, law enforcement thoughts.

Frank's looking at me very hard in a way that only he can, eyes dark and searching. And although I've learned by now to control the expression on my face when he does it, I still feel exactly like a guilty child under the eyes of a parent. He knows, he knows: my skin is transparent, my heart is on my sleeve, and Frank just knows.

He rubs his head, looks down and grins to himself, then back up at me.

"Something's different about you today," he observes.

"I don't know what you're talking about, Frank," I say. "I'm just here doing my job." I shake a handful of witness statements at him to emphasize the point.

"You're staring at those but you're not reading them," he says. "I've been watching you. I can tell."

"Shouldn't you be over there doing work of your own instead of watching me?" I ask.

"Normally, your weird behavior doesn't bother me," Frank says, warming up. "And in the past several years I've worked with you I've learned to ignore great deal of your more annoying habits and tics, so technically, I shouldn't be giving your pretending to work a second thought. But today, there's something off about you, something unsettled."

"Frank, please," I say, glancing at the clock. "We're going to be out of here very soon, and I don't have time for this."

"Mmm, yes. I see," Frank says, then slowly stretches in his chair, hands straining toward the ceiling, his face scrunched up a little in delight. I return eyes to the papers in front of me.

"It's just that you seem so . . . excitable," Frank says lightly. "Jumpy." Just casual conversation with my partner, his face says, but I know better.

"I don't know what you're talking about," I say, trying to tell him that I'm bored by this conversation with the tone of my voice.

"Well for one thing, you haven't been able to sit still for more than--"

And at that point, a miracle occurs: Frank's phone rings, and it's not a new case, and I don't have to talk to him any more. Five more minutes and I'm out of here.


"Hi, Tim," Noreen says, smiling, and I look closely at her, trying to see if she has any special knowledge, if Chris told her anything about--

Then I see Chris walking across the restaurant toward me, and all thoughts of Noreen vanish as I register the intense and possessive look on his face. Jesus--is that for me?

"Oh god," he says a moment later when he's in my arms. "It's so good to see you, Tim."

"I, uh, you too," I say, my voice low and nervous. Noreen's pretending she's not watching us, but I know she is.

Chris steps back, then grins up at me. "Let's get out of here."


In his bedroom, in his house, on his bed. I'm shaking and groaning as he runs clever hands over my back, across my chest, down over my stomach.

"How sore are you?" he softly asks, and I'm flabbergasted, struck silent.

He smiles, then kisses my neck for a while, his mouth hot and eager. "Roll over and we'll see," he urges, and I feel my face burn in excitement and shame as I do it, as I make myself available to him.

"Good," Chris murmurs as I moan and press back into his probing fingers. "That's so good, Tim."

I'm making high, astonished sounds and gasping desperately into the pillows, completely out of control and completely vulnerable. It scares me and it embarrasses me, but I can't stop it, can't pull away; it feels too goddamned good.

And when he slides into me it gets even worse, because then I'm shouting and moaning brokenly, sobbing even, because everything feels so acute, so extreme. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that getting taken, pounded, by another man would be so pleasurable; never did I imagine myself collapsing into an exhausted heap underneath someone else, my own come splattered all over the sheets. I don't even know myself any more, can't fathom where these desires have come from, or why they're so all-encompassing. All I'm aware of is that I have to do it, need to do it, and that Chris is the man who makes it happen for me.


He looks up at me with soft, exhausted eyes, absolutely beautiful and debauched, and a little shocked, too--I can see it in his face.

"It's okay," I whisper, then move in and hug him, kiss the side of his face. "It's okay, Tim."

He turns his face and opens his mouth to mine, then eagerly sucks my tongue when I offer it to him. Jesus, Jesus. I finally have to pull back because if I don't, I'm going to lose it all over again.

When I move away, Tim groans, then murmurs, "God--I want you inside me again already. This is just-- What the hell is wrong with me?"

"I don't think there's anything wrong with you," I say, smiling. "From where I'm sitting, you're kind of perfect, actually."

Tim blushes, then slowly rolls away, stares at the wall. A little worried, I lean in, slide an arm around his waist and kiss his shoulders.

"If you're--if I'm upsetting you, we can stop, or try some other things," I murmur. "There are lots of ways to--"

"I know," he interrupts. "I read the book."

I grin a little but don't feel confident enough to laugh. "So, tell me," I coax. "Is this okay?"

"Of course it's okay," he aggravatedly says. "Do you think I would have let it happen if it weren't?"

I can laugh this time. "Good. I'm glad."

"But Chris, I do want--" Tim takes a deep breath, then goes on. "I want to be on top sometimes, too," he quickly murmurs, then sighs as I tighten my arm around him in excitement.

"Anytime," I finally get out. "Anytime you want, Tim."

He laughs a little, then looks over his shoulder at me. "I should probably stop and write that down for blackmail purposes," he teases.

"I mean it," I say, still holding him close. "Really."

"Really," Tim repeats, then pulls me even closer.


God help me, we're back at the theater, but since it's Sunday afternoon instead of Friday night, things are slightly less revolting in general. Tim's laughing and exuberant, and he puts his hand on the small of my back as we walk down the hall to the movie.

"I think you're going to like it this time, Chris," he says once we're seated again, his voice full of amusement. "Really."

"Technically, anything could happen," I answer.

"You sit there all superior, but I know."

"We'll see," I say.

"Hey Chris," Tim says a moment later. "Wanna go home and rent a bunch of Seagal videos after the movie?"

"Hey Tim," I say. "Wanna go to another poetry reading?"

"Buy me a book of poetry and I'll buy you a Seagal film," he offers.

I grin at him and take a swig of mineral water. "Well, then. There's Christmas," I say, then reach over and take a handful of popcorn.

"Hey, what if I sold my brain to buy you the movie and you sold your eyes to buy me the book?" Tim asks. "Wouldn't that be tragic?"

Since I'm completely incapable of formulating a response to that, I'm greatly relieved when the house lights darken immediately afterward. I settle back in my chair, prepare myself for the death count, and grin like a fool as Tim straightens up and leans forward in excitement. He's a giant goof, but I think I'm starting to love him. I mean, I'm probably never going to understand the universe he inhabits, but it's going to be a hell of a lot of fun to try.


"*Executive Decision* is my favorite movie ever, if only because it killed off Steven Seagal very early into the film. The greasy, thick-skulled mumbler is exactly the kind of person we need less of in this world." --Mike Nelson