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
"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-
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
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,
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
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
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
"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
"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
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
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
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
"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
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
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,
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,
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
"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.
"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
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
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