Written by Shell
Note: Thanks to Gemini & Beth for the great beta.
It's December 23, and today I leave the hospital. I get my gun back, I get my privacy back, I get my life back. A very different life, with a loss of a different kind of privacy, but with so much more than I've ever had before. Today I get to go home with Bill. Home. With Bill.
I wonder if that should make me more nervous than it does. After all, I've never been to Bill's house. He's certainly never been to my apartment in Baltimore. We haven't talked about it, but it's clear that I'm moving in with him. It's just what we're doing, what's natural after two months of living together in the hospital. Truth is, I can no longer imagine living anywhere else but with him.
We're both thrilled to finally be leaving the fishbowl we've been in all these weeks, but it's still a little difficult to leave. There have been a lot of teary hugs from nurses and other staff the past couple days. Last night they threw a party for us--everyone brought in something to eat or drink, and Marilyn made a cake. Everyone came--all the nurses, the physical therapists, the housekeeping staff, even a couple of the physicians made a brief appearance. And this morning, it's more of the same--smiles and tears and hugs.
I'm leaving for good. If I need any more surgery, it will happen in California, not Arizona. I don't know when or if I'll see any of these wonderful people again, so it's difficult to say goodbye. Bill and I have spent some time talking about what to do to let them know how much they mean to us, and he decided to endow a fund to be used for nursing scholarships, support of Planetree efforts, and physical improvements of nursing lounges throughout the hospital. He insisted on calling it the Timothy Bayliss Fund, and since it's his money, I can't really object. He's also paying for a holiday party for the entire seventh floor staff.
This is the first time I've been presented with such obvious evidence of his wealth. I've always known he is a famous and presumably well-paid guitarist, but it's a little startling to realize just how much money he actually has. It's not as if he flaunts it in any way, other than the fact that he has more guitars than I have suits.
It's definitely a little weird to be moving to California, to Beverly Hills, to go live with a multimillionaire, a man, a famous rock star. Or maybe what's weird is how it doesn't feel weird. In some ways, I think he's having a harder time of it. I've gone through hell and come out the other side, and merely being alive is pretty great; being with Bill is more than I ever dreamed possible. After all the changes in my life these past few years, one like this just doesn't seem to bother me.
Bill, though, he's been in a pretty stable situation for the last few years, has gotten settled in his house, has his own routine. I'm a disruption in that routine, have been for the last few months. A pleasant disruption, yeah, but it's still hard to have someone move in to your place. But for now, I think we're both so happy, so in love, that none of that really matters. I mean, come on. A week ago, the man played me a fucking Neil Diamond song. Now that's love.
I get the star treatment right along with him today. I guess maybe I can get used to that. After a last hug from Marilyn, who insists on wheeling me out personally, we take a stretch limo to a private Lear jet owned by the record label. There are crowds waiting downstairs, reporters, fans, lots of flashbulbs going off, but Bill gets me into the limo in short order, doesn't even seem to notice them. Something else I guess I'll get used to.
Chris called last week, after the news broke. He said the Zodiac's doing well, and so is he. He's hooked up with his new sous chef, and it's pretty serious. We had a long, comfortable conversation--I think we both feel more at ease, knowing we're each in committed relationships. Things ended so awkwardly between us, but we seem to have salvaged a friendship, and I think that pleases both of us.
I look out the window, at the clouds below, comfortable in my padded leather seat, and almost laugh. When I joined the FBI, I had no idea where my life was going. All I wanted was to get out--escape Baltimore, escape my past. I took the undercover assignment as a way to escape even more, and never thought about what would happen after it was over. Bill's probably right about what was really behind my leaving, but I told him the truth last week when I said the only thing I wanted now was to be with him.
I have no idea what I'm going to fill my time with, although Bartlett mentioned the possibility of doing some teaching at Quantico. I know there will be months of physical therapy ahead. After that, who knows. I've begun meditating more, something that's come easier since my time in Church Canyon. It's also easier to stay in the moment with Bill around.
At this particular moment he sits next to me, as always radiating a heat that warms more than just my body. I know without asking that we're both thinking the same thing--soon we will be home, in his house, where we will have the luxury of privacy, of a large, comfortable bed.
His hand rests on my thigh, his fingers stroking lightly. I cover his hand with mine, rubbing my thumb over his knuckles, my pulse quickening. I feel warm breath in my ear.
"Hey there, Tim, how are you doing? Looking forward to getting home?"
"You have no idea," I answer, my voice husky.
He chuckles. "As a matter of fact, I have a pretty good idea, Secret Agent Man, an idea that involves you, me, and no one interrupting us."
"Oh really? Would you care to elaborate?"
"No, I think I'll leave that up to your imagination." Our hands are entwined now, our breathing a little ragged.
"I seem to remember a promise you made me once, a long time ago."
"What was that?"
"I believe your exact words were, 'when you get done with this assignment, I plan on fucking your brains out.'"
"Did I promise that? Well, I guess I'll have to follow through, then."
"I was wondering, Bill. Did you mean figuratively, or literally? Because I was really hoping for literally."
He's quiet for a minute, quiet and still. Shit. Me and my big mouth. I should have known--after what happened to him, when Joe raped him--shit, why did I have to say that?
"Bill, I'm sorry, I wasn't thinking--"
"It's okay, Tim. I guess I should have realized how that sounded. I shouldn't be surprised that you would want that--I guess it's the next step, or something--"
"It's okay--we don't have to--Bill, I don't need that, really; I love you; it was stupid of me to even mention it."
"It wasn't stupid, Tim. It's something we probably need to talk about. Definitely need to talk about. But let's not talk about it now."
"Sure, Bill. As long as you're okay--you're not mad, or upset, or anything, are you?"
He turns, smiles at me, brings my hand up to his face, kisses each knuckle. "I'm not upset or angry. I love you. You're not the only one who's had some fucked up stuff in his life, that's all. We'll talk about it later. Besides, we're going to be landing soon."
"Okay. You, me, talking, no holding back, right?"
"You, me, talking, no holding back."
He's quiet through the rest of the flight and during the limo ride out to the house. I close my eyes for a minute in the limo and fall asleep, something I do with alarming regularity these days. Bill wakes me as we pull into his gated driveway.
His house is smaller than I expected, and I'm touched by the fact that he's had ramps installed over the few steps in and around the house. Once the external fixators come off, it'll be easier to manage on the crutches, but for now I still need a wheelchair for all but the shortest of trips. He brings me in while the limo driver carries all our stuff, then gives me the grand tour.
The house is furnished simply but comfortably, the main decor blond wood, a sizeable entertainment center, and lots of guitars. There are four bedrooms. Billie's is filled with posters and toys, the kind of room neither of us had as a child, and we pause in the doorway for a moment, no doubt identical smiles on our faces.
"You're a good dad, Bill."
"I try to be. I've got a good kid. She likes you, you know."
"Not as much as I like you,though."
And with that he rolls me over to the master bedroom, as sparsely furnished as the rest of the house. I get my gun out of the suitcase, check it, put it in the nightstand. Without another word, Bill helps me out of the chair and over to the bed, kneeling to take off my shoe. I reach out to stroke his hair, and he stops, leaning his head against my thigh, looking up at me, his blue eyes so beautiful they take my breath away.
"I love you, Bill."
In one graceful move he's up, fingers framing my face as he kisses me softly. "Love you, Tim." He starts to unbutton my shirt, but I take his hands in mine, squeezing them apologetically.
"Hold on a minute. We've got all the time we need, and no interruptions, remember? I think maybe there are some things we should talk about, don't you?"
He sighs, then helps me pull my legs up onto the bed, settles the two of us together, sitting up, propped by pillows. He nestles into my arms, leaning his head back against my shoulder, and I kiss the top of his head, smelling his hair.
"Have you ever done it, Tim?"
"Have I ever fucked someone?"
"Yeah, or been fucked."
I nod, knowing he can feel it. "With Chris, just once, he wanted me to, so I did him."
"Did you like it?"
"Yeah, it was great; I mean, it felt great, but it freaked me out, too, you know? Because it was the first time, and because, well, sex with Chris was like this big experiment for me."
"Because it was your first time with another guy?" "Uh-huh. And the thing was, Chris, he's a great guy--he's gorgeous, smart, really kind-hearted--but I didn't love him. I wanted to, because he was so great, but it was basically just about attraction for me. I mean, he was so confident, you know? He was gay, he was totally out, totally self-assured about it, and I was just this fucked-up mess of attraction and doubt. I didn't know what the fuck I was doing, just that it felt really good and totally terrifying at the same time. And after I fucked him, it was just too weird all of a sudden, and I backed off, and I really hurt him."
"Tim, when you were a kid, with your uncle--did he ever--I mean, what exactly did he do?"
"He never--he made me suck him off. He didn't rape me, the way Joe raped you. Bill, I'm sorry, I wasn't thinking about that. I just wanted to be close to you, to feel you inside me. I never wanted that with Chris, just with you."
"When you fucked Chris, did he like it?"
"Yes, of course he liked it! Bill, he *asked* me, he *wanted* me to fuck him, because he liked it. I was nervous, afraid of hurting him, but we went slow, used lube, you know, and he really, really liked it. That's what freaked me out the most, I think."
"Because I guess I figured he was doing it for me, because he knew it would be good for me, and I didn't realize how into it he was, or something. And it made me realize how strong his feelings for me were, and how I didn't feel the same way about him."
"He was in love with you."
"Maybe. He never said it, but maybe. But I wasn't in love with him. I am in love with you."
He leans back for a kiss, then faces forward again, idly running his fingers up and down my arms. Neither one of us says anything for a few minutes.
"Bill, you said that you weren't even sure what happened with Joe until the next morning, that you were passed out. Is that really what happened?" I'm speaking as gently as I can, worried what his reaction will be, because I've suspected ever since he told me that there was more to the story than he let on.
There's a sharp intake of breath as Bill stiffens, digging his hands into my arms. I squeeze him gently, nuzzle his hair again, murmur that it's okay, and he relaxes a little.
"Yeah, I was passed out, that much is true," he says softly. "But I woke up. I woke up, because it fucking hurt. Felt like I was going to split open. I didn't know exactly what was happening at first, because I was pretty fucked up drunk. Couldn't move--Joe, he was a big guy, not tall like you, but really solid, had me pinned down pretty good, and it felt like there was a burning poker up my ass, and there was nowhere to go, no way to get away. And then he came, yelling in my ear. After, he just covered me up and went to sleep, didn't even notice, or care, that I was bleeding. I bled for a week, off and on."
"Jesus, Bill. I don't know what to say. I can't understand how he could have done that to you."
"He was a fucker. Joe Dick."
"I'm glad he's dead. Maybe that's not what you want to hear; I know you loved him, but I'm glad he's dead."
"Me too, most of the time. Which sucks, since I still miss him. Miss him, want to yell at him, want to fucking shove my life now in his face, you know? Show him how wrong he was."
"You loved him."
"Yeah, I did. How fucked up is that? Even after he fucking raped me, I still loved him."
"After I told Frank about Uncle George, I went to find him. I don't know what I was going to do to him--confront him, hit him, who knows. But when I found him, he was old and sick, old and sick and alone. And I didn't do anything to him. I bought him groceries, cooked food for him, until he died. The whole time, for months, I felt sick, I couldn't understand what I was doing to myself, why I was helping this man who made my childhood, even my adulthood, a living hell. I never loved my uncle, but I still helped him."
Bill looks up at me for a minute, nods in rueful understanding.
"When Joe called, told me the story about Bucky, I got right on that plane and headed up to Vancouver. Knowing he'd find some other way to fuck me over, always had, always would. And I'd always let him, because that was the only way he knew to show me he cared. He never fucked with Pipe or John the way he fucked with me. I mean, he fucked with everyone, that was Joe Dick, but it was different with me. With me, it was personal. And I tried to fight it, fought as hard as I fucking could, but Joe always won, always took what he wanted. Until the only thing I could do was take away what he wanted the most--me. And even when I did that, he still won, because then he went one better and fucking killed himself."
"But you're still here, Bill. You survived. You made it through all of that, and you came out the other side. You're the strongest person I know."
He laughs at that. "Not that strong, Tim. Not strong enough, or the idea of making love to you, in any form, wouldn't fucking terrify me."
"I meant what I said, Bill. I love you, and I would never want you to do something you weren't comfortable with. Believe me, I have absolutely no complaints about our sex life--it's wonderful, it's fucking amazing, I never knew it could be that good." I'm blushing, and also very aware of my growing erection. Despite the serious nature of the conversation, just the thought of how good we are together is all I need to throw an instant boner. Ever since I met Bill, it's been like puberty all over again.
"But you want this, right? Be honest with me."
I reach my hand up to his face, turn him gently, look into his eyes. "If you wanted it too, yeah. With you. No one else, just you." Then I kiss him, just a soft, quiet kiss, trying to let him know how much he means to me. His lips are soft, answering mine with gentle pressure. He breaks the kiss, and without a word we reposition ourselves until we're laying side by side, facing each other.
"I can't do it, Tim. Not yet, anyway. I couldn't stand it if I hurt you."
"It's okay, Bill. Just let it go, all right? It's not important. We don't need to talk any more--unless you want to, that is. Personally, I can think of a better way to pass the time."
"Oh yeah? Does that mean I get to take your clothes off now?"
"As long as I get to take yours off."
"You got a deal, Secret Agent Man." We kiss again, softly at first, as he unbuttons my shirt and I reach under his. We break off the kiss just long enough to shed our shirts, then our lips meet again in a deeper, more intense joining, tongues slicking together. I manage to unbutton his jeans as he pulls my sweats and boxers down, and I groan in frustration as his mouth leaves mine again, this time to get the rest of our clothes off. Then we're both naked, twining arms and legs, luxuriating in the freedom of the open bed.
I lean over him, pushing him onto his back, putting my good leg between his and kissing my way down his body from his forehead to nose, lips, neck, and chest. He moans, grasping at my back as I circle his nipples with tongue and teeth, suckling gently.
"God, Tim, so good to feel you there," and I realize this is the first time we've made love in this position, with me on top. Then all thought leaves my head as he shifts slightly and I feel the sweet friction of our erections rubbing together, both of us slick with need and desire. I feel his fingers on my face, still buried in his chest, and I turn my head, bringing one long, calloused finger into my mouth as we rock together, arousal building with each pulse of my heart, each pulse throbbing in my cock.
Bill reaches his other hand down to my ass, urging me on, both of us moaning now. I release his finger and recapture his mouth in a burning kiss, exploring every inch of his mouth with my tongue, wrapping one hand around our cocks, the other behind his neck, pulling him tightly to me.
His arms are wrapped around my back and ass, pulling me just as tightly to him as I stroke us together. He gasps his way free of my mouth, grabs onto my shoulder with his mouth, biting down with a grunt as he comes. The feel of him exploding beneath me is all it takes to put me over the edge, both of us pulsing out in long bursts, hot and thick.
I collapse on top of him, gasping for breath, as he tangles his fingers in my hair, kissing my neck and shoulder between rasping breaths. I finally find the strength to raise my head and say, "So much for taking our time, huh?"
He laughs weakly. "I think I made a mark on you there, Tim. I don't think I've ever bitten anyone like that before--hope you don't mind."
"Believe me, I didn't mind," I say. "Say, I'm not too heavy for you, am I? I can roll over--"
"No, I like you where you are, as long as your leg's okay."
"What leg? Do I have legs? Because I really hadn't noticed anything below my crotch, at least not lately." He laughs again, snakes his arms back around me, and I rest my head on his chest again, listening as his heartbeat gradually slows, loving the feel of his hands gently massaging my back and shoulders.
"You sure you're okay with me here?" I mumble eventually.
"Yeah, I like it," he answers softly.
"Because I think I'm about to fall asleep again." "Okay. You warm enough? Because I could maybe reach the blanket, if you need it."
"Is it too corny to say you keep me nice and warm?"
I feel a kiss on my temple. "Not as long as you never tell anyone else."
"'kay. Love you."
"I love you, you big sleepy lug."
And the feeling of falling asleep in his arms, waking up in his arms, is worth the sticky mess we'll have to clean off later, worth the soreness in my leg, the imprint of the pins from my leg on his.
The truth is, Tim is pretty heavy, and the pins in his leg are digging into my thigh. Also, we're pretty damp and sticky; I think we're going to be plastered together when he finally wakes up. Never mind the drool drying on my chest. But I do like having him here, so I'm willing to put up with all of that and let him sleep. Even fall asleep for a little while myself.
Tim sleeps more than anyone I've ever met. I know he's healing, and I know he's on pain killers, but he still sleeps a fucking ridiculous amount of time. So when I wake up, I nudge him until he stirs. He raises his head and smiles an utterly goofy smile at me, and I forget all about the pins digging into my leg and just grin back at him.
"Feel better, Sleeping Beauty?"
He rolls off me, stretches, and groans. "That wasn't the best idea, was it? I mean, I was really comfortable when I fell asleep, but I think I'm paying for it now, and I can only imagine how you must feel."
"Let's just say I don't think I'll be volunteering as your pillow again. You *are* heavy, and you sleep way too much."
"I'm just making up for lost time--I haven't slept this well since I started in Homicide. I've got *years* of sleep to make up for."
"Great. I get to live with someone with fucking narcolepsy." I ruffle his hair to let him know I'm okay with it.
"That's what we're doing, huh? Living together."
"Yeah, it is. I mean, we haven't really talked about it, I guess, but this is it for me. You're it. You and me, together, every day."
"For me, too, Bill. Every day. When we're 64 and all that. If you can put up with me that long."
"When we're 64. Yeah. When we're 104, Tim."
"Mmm," he agrees. "When we're 104." His eyes are closing, and I nudge him with my elbow.
He looks at me a minute. "Bill, I know you're not too thrilled about my gun being here, but I really think it's important. Can you put up with that, too?"
"I think I have to, at least for now. But Tim, when Billie's in the house--"
He nods. "It's already got a trigger lock, and I'll keep everything locked up when she's here. I support gun control, you know. I only joined the NRA as Timothy Rawls, never as Tim Bayliss. But we need to be careful."
"Yeah, I know." And I do, more than he realizes.
He squeezes my hand, sighs, and closes his eyes again.
"Tim, if you're going to live to 104 with me, you've got a lot of work to do to get back into shape. You are *not* going back to sleep now--we both need a shower, and you're getting there on your own power, you hear me?"
He opens his eyes again, looks at me skeptically. "You're not channelling Frank, are you?"
"No, Tim. I'm perfectly capable of ordering you around on my own. And you can look forward to a lot of that from now on. I had a talk with Marilyn and Scott, the head of PT at Good Sam. They told me you needed a slavedriver, and I volunteered."
He groans. "Now you tell me, now that you have me at your mercy, stuck in your house!"
"You're only stuck in my house until you can walk out, you know. Come on, up and at 'em--let's get that shower." It takes a little more pushing and prodding, but eventually Tim's up on his crutches, slowly making his way to the bathroom, complaining and whining the whole way. I get him settled on the shower chair, right leg covered in a garbage bag, then get into the shower behind him.
He's leaning back into the spray, and he smiles as he feels my arms go around him. He leans even more, resting his back and shoulders against my belly and chest, a blissful expression on his face. I bend forward and kiss him, licking that full lower lip, our faces curtained by the water. Then I straighten up again, let the water run over his head, and reach for the shampoo.
I guess eventually he may want to wash his own hair again, but for now we're both content with the fiction that he needs my help. He obviously loves it, his face even more blissful, occasional groans of pure sensual pleasure escaping his lips as I gently massage his scalp. Once his hair is rinsed, he surprises me by pushing himself up, turning, leaning against the tile, and proceeding to wash my hair. Fuck, no wonder he likes this so much--the simple intimacy of his loving fingers in my hair is unbelievably erotic.
When he finishes with my hair, pushing me back into the spray to rinse, he says, "I've been wanting to do that for a long time." Then he almost loses his balance, winces, and sits back down, this time facing me. I crouch down next to him, concerned, but he smiles at me and reaches a washcloth up to my face.
I've helped bathe him for weeks now, but this is the first time he's had a chance to return the favor. We pass the washcloth and soap back and forth as we silently work our way down each other's bodies, turning now and again to allow for access to backs, under arms, behind ears. As always, I marvel at the beauty of his body, despite the ugly scars on his chest, back, and leg, the loss of muscle from two months of bed rest.
He lovingly runs the soap over my belly, washing the remaining stickiness out of my pubic hair, then lathering my erection, eyes intent, licking his lips. I kneel to do the same for him, then help him up briefly so I can get at his ass. He moans as my soapy fingers massage his cheeks, leg buckling as one finger circles and enters. He really does like that. Maybe soon I'll trust myself enough to do more.
I settle him back on the chair after I'm done, and before I know it he's pulled me to him, hands firmly on my ass, and I feel the warmth of his mouth around me. Yeah, that mouth I first noticed biting into a slice of pizza, it's deep, it's hot, it's moist, and it's moving up and down, tongue flicking, and I can't help but thrust up into that incredible heat and suction.
He takes his time with me, one hand on the base of my cock, keeping me from thrusting as deep and fast as I want to. The other hand moves from my ass to my balls, fondling, stroking, a long finger occasionally seeking brief entrance. It feels good, really good, and I widen my stance a little to give him better access. He stops for a minute, and I know he's thinking, wondering, probably worrying about me.
"Tim, it's okay, it's good," I manage to gasp, thrusting up into his mouth again, and he murmurs agreeably around me, and then I feel his finger pressing more insistently for entrance, moving gently up and into me. It feels strange, a little tight, but then as his finger moves more, it hits something inside me, must be my prostate, and it feels amazing, and I let out a surprised shout.
He freezes, and I reach my hand down into his hair, soft and silky and wet. "Good, Tim. Fucking great, do it again," and he moans and moves his finger again, and I'm thrusting into him, out of control, coming hard as he swallows, practically falling over on top of him, because my legs just won't hold me up any more. I manage to kneel down again, resting my face against his belly as I try to catch my breath.
When I can open my eyes, I see a beautiful sight in front of me--long, thick, twitching with each beat of his heart, waiting for me. I feel his hand behind my neck as he pulls me up for a long, deep kiss, and I can taste myself in his mouth, salty and bitter. That only makes me want to taste him even more, so that's what I do, running my tongue over the tip of his cock, trying to figure out exactly what it is that tastes so good, what subtle differences there are between my taste in his mouth and his taste on my tongue.
He's close, closer than I realized, so I give him what he wants, swallowing him down fast and deep. I ride out his thrusts, letting his hands in my hair guide me until they turn to fists as he comes into me. After I've swallowed every drop, I kiss him again, tastes mingling in our mouths, the shower still beating down on us, the water starting to cool.
He hasn't spoken a word since he washed my hair, and somehow the silence seems appropriate as I turn off the shower. We dry each other off as tenderly as we'd washed each other's hair. The sexuality is well below the surface now, both of us more than sated, but I see the love shining in his eyes and know he sees it shining in mine, and neither one of us needs to speak it aloud.
The companionable silence continues until we're both dressed, until I've helped him out to the couch and turned on the television.
"I have a surprise for you," I tell him, and he grins at me like a boy on his birthday, and I have to kiss that mouth again before I can pop the tape in the vcr and press play. He starts to laugh as the theme song starts.
"You got me a Mighty Mouse tape? Bill, what a great surprise!"
"Well, I figured I had to find something to keep you occupied while I was at rehearsal. And you can watch it now while I heat up some dinner, okay?"
"Okay," he answers, eyes now firmly locked onto the tv, legs propped up on the couch, engrossed in his own form of Mighty Mouse meditation. Well, at least he won't fall asleep again.
The rest of the evening is quiet, boring, domestic--wonderful. I didn't realize how much I missed being in my own space, and having Tim there with me is the icing on the fucking cake. There are no interruptions for vital signs or nursing assessments. Tim falls asleep early, no surprise there, and I sit up for awhile, working on some songs, making plans with Chelle and Kat for tomorrow night, when they'll be coming over for a Christmas Eve dinner. I catch up on the latest financial statements from my manager, sign some paperwork, wrap a couple Christmas presents, even give John a call to wish him a happy holiday.
And then, when I'm getting tired, I walk into my room, undress, and join the long, warm tangle of arms and legs that's taken over two thirds of my bed. I grumble and nudge him until he wakes up, scoots over, and envelopes me in those long arms again.
"Feel at home, Tim?"
"Mmm-hmm. More than I ever have before," he answers, nuzzling the back of my neck.
"Good. Planning on staying?"
"Long as you'll have me."
"Till we're 104?"
"Till we're 104."
And with that he's asleep again, and so am I, probably all of thirty seconds later.
I wake up early, as usual. Bill gives me a hard time about falling asleep so easily every night, but he's the one that has a hard time waking up in the morning. I manage to get out of bed and into the bathroom without waking him, too, despite banging my crutches into the shower stall on my way out. Once he's asleep, he's well and truly asleep--a car alarm going off in the bedroom wouldn't wake him up.
That's one reason I'm glad I've got my gun back. He hates having it there, but he tolerates it, knowing it makes me feel better. He's taken everything Bartlett and Roberts told us at face value, but I keep thinking about how Luther got to Junior Bunk when Terri & Meldrick put him in that hotel room, and all the killers who were paroled or even had their cases dropped. No, I definitely feel better with my gun in the nightstand.
But there are other things I'd rather be thinking about this morning, so I get back into bed, spoon around him again, and enjoy the feeling of our first morning in what I'm thrilled to think of as our bed, in our house.
Once the holidays are over, we'll head back east, clean out my apartment, and make a side trip to DC to appear on the Tim Russert show. Mark's been fending off tons of requests for interviews--everyone from Montel Williams to Barbara Walters wants to talk to us, apparently--and the two of us finally decided that Megan's cousin is probably our best bet. I'm still not exactly clear on what we're going to talk about, although Bill's made mysterious noises about having some sort of an announcement after the first of the year. He says it's a surprise, but that he'll tell me about it soon.
Today's Christmas Eve, but it doesn't feel like it. The holidays have always been a bitch, but Thanksgiving in the hospital was fine, maybe because it was so strange. Maybe Christmas will be okay for the same reason--I'm in sunny Los Angeles, not Baltimore, after all, and I won't be spending any time with any blood relatives, not even my mom. Tonight, we'll have dinner with Chelle and Kat, and tomorrow afternoon Billie will arrive from Vancouver to spend a week with us.
It's definitely a departure from my usual holiday routine of going to my mom's, seeing all the relatives, and then going off to the Waterfront and getting stinking drunk, trying to forget, ending up puking my guts up into the kitchen sink because I can't stand to go into the bathroom. The memories hit me like a truck, all of a sudden, just like they always do, the images of that hated bathroom, the hated voice saying "Shhh, Timmy."
I shiver, then bury my nose in Bill's hair, inhaling his scent, feeling his warm body pressed up against mine, willing myself to believe that this Christmas will be different. I concentrate on feeling his chest gently moving with each breath, eyes flickering beneath the lids as he dreams, his hands twitching slightly. He is real; he is here, now, with me; this is real; this is true. I breathe in, and then out, repeating to myself that I am here, now, with him.
My heart slows again, my stomach settles, as I lie beside this man I love on the morning of Christmas Eve. I've known him less than a year, but I feel I've known him all my life. He stirs a little in his sleep, moving his arms to clasp mine to his chest, shifting to bring his body even closer to mine. I rest my lips against the back of his neck, content for now just to enjoy the sensation of warmth, the faint taste of sweat, the tickle in my nose as my breath stirs the short blond hairs where his hairline meets his neck. He turns his face towards me, mumbling a little in his sleep, and I kiss his eyelid, his temple, his cheek, the corner of his mouth, feeling my hardening cock pressing up against his ass.
Even asleep, he's responding to me, breathing harder, tongue sneaking out to lick his lips. I decide it's time to wake him--as much fun as I'm having, I'll have even more if he's awake and actively participating. He may be able to sleep through a car alarm, but he's been so attuned to my needs in the hospital that he wakes instantly when I softly say his name.
He's startled for a moment, I think, although he hides it well. I wonder regretfully if he's bothered by the insistent pressure of my erection against his ass as he wakes up. But then he reaches for my hand, kisses my knuckles as he so often does, a gesture I find immeasurably sweet and tender, and murmurs, "Hey, morning, my own bed, my own retired FBI agent; this is a good thing, I think."
"Morning, our bed, my own Hollywood Rock Star; definitely a good thing," I answer, running my fingers down his chest to a cock that is definitely happy to see them.
"Our bed," he repeats softly. "I like the sound of that."
"Get used to it. Our bed. Our house. Right?"
"Our bed, our house, our life." He wriggles up against me. "Your dick, my ass."
"What?" I can't believe I heard that right. Or maybe he's just making a statement about our current positions, relative to each other. He couldn't mean anything else, could he?
"You heard me, Tim," he says, turning to face me, his eyes somehow managing to be both serious and positively twinkling with mirth. "Your dick, my ass. If that's okay with you, that is, because I know you kind of had other plans."
"Bill--are you sure? I mean, I thought if we did anything, it would be easier the other way. Easier for you."
"I want this, Tim. Told you before, fuck, I would have done it with Joe if he'd only asked. Yeah, it scares me, but I want it. Want you. It'll give me something better to remember, something right to supercede the wrong. And I think then maybe I'd feel okay about doing it to you, because I'd know how it could be, not just how it was with Joe. Does that make any sense?"
I nod, feeling stunned. "Yeah, it does. But you've got to promise me, Bill, if this is something you really want, you've got to promise me you'll tell me to stop if you need me to. You've got to let me know if you need me to slow down or stop, or if I do anything that doesn't feel right. Will you do that?"
"I don't think there's any way I'll need to do that, Tim, because I know you won't hurt me," he says, then adds quickly, seeing I'm about to protest, "but yes. I will tell you if I need you to slow down or stop."
"No holding back, Bill."
"No holding back. I promise. But first things first--you're nice and minty fresh, but I'm not, and there's something in the bathroom we're going to need, so if you'll excuse me, I'll be back in a minute." He leans over for a quick kiss, caressing my face, then saunters into the bathroom.
And I'm left lying in bed, completely thrown, and totally hot. I'm remembering how it felt to be inside Chris, and just imagining sharing that with Bill practically makes me moan out loud. Soon enough he's back, kissing me fiercely, putting a tube of K-Y down on the bed next to me.
"So, how do we do this?" he asks, finally letting me come up for air. "Could we do it face to face? Because I think I'd like that."
As soon as enough oxygen is in my brain to allow the synapses to fire, I start to laugh, because he's practically quivering with energy, not even giving me time to respond before he pulls me up to a sitting position, straddling my hips, devouring my mouth with his even as I laugh.
I think about telling him to slow down, decide it's pointless, and give in to the inevitable, reaching for the lube. I manage to fumble it open and get some on my fingers, probably spilling half of it on the bed. I pull my mouth from his, grab his chin with my other hand, make sure he's looking at me as I reach back and stroke gently down and in. His eyes open wide for a second, only to close as he leans his head back, moaning in undisguised pleasure. Oh yes. So far, so great, but I'm still watching carefully as I add a second finger. That gets me another deep, intense kiss, his tongue moving in tandem with my fingers, and I can feel wet streaks on my belly from his dick rubbing against mine.
I add a third finger, slowly working it into tight, rippled heat, and he tenses up for just a minute. I stop, start to take my fingers out, but he glares at me until I put them back. He takes a few deep breaths, then I feel the constriction ease a little, then a little more. I kiss his neck, then his ear, still working my fingers in and around, feeling my way as he continues to relax and open, moaning again, a beautiful sound.
All of a sudden he's pulling up, pulling away, and I wonder what I've done wrong, but then he kisses me again and says, "Okay, Tim, okay, now," the last word a command grunted out as he repositions himself over me and starts to lower his body onto mine.
"Wait, wait," I manage to growl, giving me just enough time to slick my lubed fingers over my cock before he presses down again, insistent. I guide the tip to the opening, then let him take control, my hands on his hips just for support as he eases slowly down, hissing a little until I'm past the first tight ring of muscle.
"Slow, Bill, don't let me hurt you," I gasp, but he gives me a wicked grin and pushes down a little more. He's so tight, so hot, so good. It's almost impossible to stay still, not to move, but I remind myself how important it is, how important he is, and manage it, marvelling at the intensity I'm feeling. With Chris, I'd been up against his back, and it had been incredible, but this is so much more than anything I've ever felt before, Bill's sweating chest and neck in front of me, the soft heat of his erection against my belly, oh jesus I'm all the way in, and Bill's swearing under his breath, and I'm making some sort of noise, I don't even know what, because I'm beyond any conscious thought at this point.
Then Bill rocks forward a little, both of us gasping as I rub up against his prostate, and I hear myself saying please, fuck, Bill, and he says yes, okay, and I thrust into him, stroking my hand on him at the same time, and I don't even know which one of us comes first, both of us overwhelmed and screaming and shuddering together, inside and outside, feeling his contractions around mine and mine in his until at last the pulsing stops and we come back to ourselves, soaked in sweat and shaking.
I come back to myself a little more, realize he's shaking with more than release, and the dampness on his face isn't just sweat. I know without him saying a word that this is another kind of release, one he needs, and I wrap my arms around him and pull his head down to my shoulder. His arms come up and around me then, grabbing so tight I know I'll have bruises later, and he turns his head a little so that his lips are at my ear. I can't make out what he's saying at first through the sobbing breaths he's taking, but then I get it.
"I never knew, never fucking knew it could be like that, it could have been like that, Tim, why couldn't it have fucking been like that, but it never would have been like that with him, just with you. Just with you, Tim, just with you, never could have been like that with Joe."
And all I can do is hold him, tell him it's okay, I love him, and marvel once again at the trust he's placed in me. I know he's never shown this raw vulnerability to anyone else, and that includes Joe. To the rest of the world, even to friends like Kat and Chelle, he's still the edgy former punk, only rarely allowing an brief glimpse of the intelligent, sensitive man within. He's open and loving with Billie, but fiercely protective as well, never exposing her to the legacy of pain he holds within him. I'm the only one he lets all the way in.
So I gently ease him off my softening cock, pull us into a more comfortable position, and I hold him until he's done, done with Joe Dick, hopefully for good.
I knew it would be good. I was scared, sure, would have been fucking terrified if I'd given myself time to think about it (which I didn't), but I knew this was different, this was going to be good. Yesterday, in the shower, I'd gotten enough of a hint to know it could feel great. And sex with Tim always managed to be amazing, because it was with Tim.
But this was beyond good, beyond amazing, beyond anything I'd ever experienced before. I hadn't felt this combination of physical pleasure and terrifying intensity since the first time we made love that night in Las Vegas, and even that was nothing compared to this. I'm barely conscious of the tears running down my cheeks, but he notices and pulls me close, and before I know it I've grabbed on to him as tightly as I can, words jumbling out of my mouth and into his ear between gasps for breath.
It hurts, just a little, when he pulls out, but the pain is gone immediately and I'm left lying in his arms, hearing the love and concern in his voice as he murmurs reassurance. I take a deep breath and let it out in a long sigh, moving to kiss the fingers stroking the last few tears away.
"Are you okay?" he asks softly.
"More okay than I've been in years, I think," I answer him. "I think I just laid Joe's ghost to rest, maybe for good."
"He may still come back sometime--ghosts have a way of doing that." He's speaking from experience, I know, and I turn to look into those clear hazel eyes.
"Any ghosts of holidays past visiting you, Tim?"
"Fuck no," he smiles, but there's a little pain there, too. He knows I see it, acknowledges it with a nod. "Earlier, before you woke up, just a little," he admits. "But not like it usually is. This time, I just concentrated on being here with you, and it was okay. And now, it's way better than okay."
"I would say that's the fucking understatement of the year, Secret Agent Man."
He laughs, kisses me, and then we move into a morning of the same kind of wonderful, boring domesticity we shared last night, complete with Frosted Flakes and Mighty Mouse. I put every single "Very Special Christmas" cd on the changer, figuring anything more traditional might trigger some bad memories for Tim, something I definitely don't want to do. He ropes me into meditating with him before lunch, fussing to get me into the proper sitting posture ("hey, if I can't sit properly, at least I can get you to"). I last about five minutes before I start to fidget, but he's still there a half hour later, and when he opens his eyes, they're full of peace.
I might have to give it another try.
Kat and Chelle show up a couple hours later and take over my kitchen. They sit Tim up with a chopping board on his lap and generally order both of us around. I'm not that bad a cook, and they know it, but they pretend I'm totally clueless and tease Tim about saving him from some sort of culinary disaster.
After an admittedly fabulous meal, Chelle gets a gleam in her eye and announces it's time for presents. We all do pretty well--I get veggie cookbooks and cooking lessons, they get FBI sweatshirts and Lakers tickets, Tim gets visits from a yoga instructor. Kat stares, then squeals in delight, when she opens the turkey baster from Chelle, and both of them cry when they open the antique crib I got them from P.E.I.
Tim presents me with reservations for three for a two-week trip down the Colorado in the Grand Canyon next September. I think I might have mentioned once that I thought it would be fun, but somehow he figured out how much I'd like it, so now Billie, Tim and I will be going. I bet he had to pull some strings to get the tickets--I'd checked when I was in Page that first time, and there's over a two year waiting list.
He's a little puzzled by the long box I hand him, especially when he realizes how heavy it is, but he oohs and ahhs when he sees the silver handle and polished wood, tells me it's not a cane, it's a work of art. I tell him it's a cane and he's going to be using it soon if I have anything to say about it. He kisses me and calls me a slavedriver again.
Before Kat and Chelle and I can pull together our surprise for Tim, the phone rings. It's Frank, so I leave him with the phone while the three of us go into Billie's room, where I've hidden the stuff. I'm struck by a sudden fit of nerves, and they reassure me that he's going to love it, whether or not he wants the job that goes with it.
I get off the phone with Frank, wondering what they're doing in Billie's room. Maybe they're putting together some present for Billie I don't know about, so it'll be ready when she gets here tomorrow. It was nice of Frank to call, even though I know damn well Mary put him up to it. I talk to her, too, promise Bill and I will come over for dinner when we're in Baltimore in a couple weeks. It'll be good to see Olivia and Frankie again.
Then Bill comes back out, followed closely by the two women, who are smiling, excited about something. Bill looks excited too, and a little nervous. He sits down next to me and hands me a small package, a cd I think. I open it to find a mock-up of the next Jenifur release, which is strange, since they haven't even started recording it yet, and a copy of a press release. Bill opens up the cd, shows me the handwritten liner notes. There's a dedication: "To the bravest man we know, Tim Bayliss, with love and gratitude from Bill, Chelle, and Kat." I look up, start to thank them, but Bill takes my hand, tells me to read the press release.
It's dated January 1st, and it opens with a paragraph describing the Church Canyon investigation. Then it says, "Jenifur is proud to announce their one million dollar endowment of the Adena Watson Memorial Fund, established by William Boisy to provide education and advocacy against childhood sexual abuse. A portion of the profits from every upcoming Jenifur release and tour will go to this fund, as well as 100% of the profits from their next album.
"The first grant of the Adena Watson Memorial Fund will go to care for the children who survived Church Canyon. Jenifur and Bill Boisy would like to recognize the incredible contributions Tim Bayliss has made to his life and the lives of countless others." Below that, in Bill's handwriting, is "I love you, Secret Agent Man."
I turn to Bill, speechless, tears in my eyes. He folds me into his arms, holding me as I held him this morning, murmuring the same words of comfort. My thanks are muffled by his chest and my tears, but I know he hears them, understands how much this means to me. Kat and Chelle come over and join us on the couch.
"I don't know what to say. This is amazing. I can't believe you're doing this--it's wonderful. This is a great thing you're doing," I manage to babble.
"There's a little bit of a catch, Tim," Kat says.
"Yeah, a fund like this, it requires someone to oversee it," Chelle adds. "Someone who knows the issues."
"Someone dedicated, committed to helping kids," Bill says. "Like a certain retired FBI agent I happen to know, who happens to be between jobs."
"Job's yours, if you want it, Tim," Kat finishes. "We'd be happy to put that on the press release, too."
Bill takes my hand again, squeezes it. "You'd be helping the living, Tim. Helping kids. What do you think?"
"I--I think I'd like that."
He squeezes my hand again. "Good. It's settled, then."
There are kisses and hugs all around, and then the women get ready and leave. We're alone again, at least until Billie arrives. But there's still one more present I have for Bill, so once he settles back down next to me, I hand it to him with a kiss. "Merry Christmas, Bill."
"Merry Christmas, Tim. What's this?"
He does, looking curiously at the small, black, leather book on a key ring.
"A keychain? Some sort of little black book? I don't need one of those anymore--not that I ever really did, you understand."
"Yeah, tons of groupie sex, I know," I say, smiling at him. "It's not a book, exactly--open it, see the snap?"
He undoes the snap, reads the inscription in the front (Christmas 2001, With love from Tim), then flips to the pictures--one of me, taken by Marilyn in the hospital; one of Billie, her latest school portrait. Then he flips to the back, sees the other picture Marilyn took, one of me and Billie together on the hospital bed. I thought we'd never get that picture, but finally he went out of the room long enough for Marilyn to take it.
"It's kind of like a locket, see, but I couldn't exactly give Billy Fucking Hollywood a heart to wear on a chain around his neck. So I figured you could carry around this funky keychain, and no one would ever know but you and me."
He runs his finger over the pictures, murmuring, "No one but you and me." He looks up, runs his fingers over my face. "I think I'll show Billie, too, okay?"
"Yeah, that would be good," I say, smiling, taking his hand in mine and kissing the palm.
"You know, for you, I'd wear a fucking heart on a fucking chain."
"Your secret's safe with me. I won't ever tell anyone you're a sensitive new age putz."
"You'd better not. I know where you live, and at least until your leg's all healed, I could kick your ass."
"I suspect you could kick my ass any old time, Bill."
"Then it's a good thing I never will. Come on, let's go to bed."
"Isn't it a little early for you?"
"Did I say anything about sleeping, Tim?"
Christmas in prison isn't that bad. I just play the innocent, God-fearing part I've been playing my whole life. The guards watch out for me, and my lawyer worked out a deal, used my age and the fact they didn't have a whole lot of evidence against me to get me a short sentence in a low-security prison. No one even noticed how closely I was watching for television stories on Billy Tallent. I sat in the common room and watched the press conference in Phoenix, and no one cared.
My lawyer, the one my Holy Father recommended, thought I could get off if I went to trial. But he wanted me to testify, tell the jury what I told him, and I couldn't do that. Lying to the lawyer was easy, but I don't know if I could do it after swearing on the Bible. Besides, I thought maybe I could learn some stuff in jail. So I told him to make a deal, and eventually he agreed, and in six months (maybe three, since I'm definitely on good behavior), I'll be released.
Then I can complete my Holy Father's mission.