Written by Spinner

"Nice-- nice-- nice--"

Tim glanced up at me as I stammered out the words. I squinted in frustration and clenched my left fist as my mind refused to cough up the rest of the sentence I had been trying to formulate. A faint smile of sympathy traced Tim's mouth. He slid his long fingers up and down the sole of my right foot, continuing the massage he had started some ten minutes ago. I could feel his thumb working over the ball of my foot and down over the arch. I couldn't believe the way he touched. It was gentle with an underlying strength that was hypnotically seductive. I moaned a little and stretched in his grasp.

"I'm glad you like it. I've been searching out books that would help me figure out what would be good for you in your condition, what might help stimulate nerve centers and all. Why are you squinting at me, Frank? You wanted to say something else? Don't struggle. Relax and the words might flow easier."

"Be-- be-- you can't."

Angry, I pushed the pillow beside me off the divan and gargled an unintelligible sound to show my displeasure. Tim lifted my foot and held it carefully on his right knee. He was sitting cross-legged on the floor in front of the divan, facing me but avoiding my gaze. I suspected he might be starting to get the drift of what I had meant to say. He seemed to be able to read my mind almost when I myself couldn't get the tangle of ideas in my brain to coordinate for the short journey from brain to mouth to tongue. It was like packing a suitcase for a trip but forgetting to bring pants, or losing the suitcase even though you're sure you had it in your hands for the whole ride.

"I can't be nice to you? I shouldn't be nice to you? I'm not being nice to you?"

"NO!" I shouted.

"Frank, don't shout at Tim," Mary chastised from the other room. I growled again and reached out at Tim with my left hand. His eyes widened in surprise, and he dodged the touch. He put my right leg down, and climbed to his feet. His expression was a crestfallen one. He scrunched up his mouth with a frown, and headed for the kitchen area.

"It's okay, Mary. He's tired and frustrated. I happen to be the nearest available puppy to kick, that's all," Tim said softly. "He doesn't mean it."

From the divan, I turned and gazed at him. He was slumping, chin to chest, hands folded in front of his waist. Mary balanced Olivia on one arm as she stood up from the table.

"Why don't you take the baby upstairs and put her down for a nap, and I'll deal with Frank?" Mary suggested, placing the infant in Tim's grip. Bayliss hugged the baby to his shoulder, and nuzzled her small cheek as he carried her slowly towards her nursery. Mary waited until Tim was up the steps before she sat on the divan next to me and turned my chin her direction. She was giving me a fearsome scowl.

"I understand you're pissed off about what has happened, but you quit picking on Tim," she whispered to me. The heat of her breath touched my face as she spoke. "He doesn't have to take time off work and drive you to physical therapy, or spend his evenings with you and Livie so I can leave the house for a few hours, or devote his entire weekend to you and your needs."

"Nice to me," I growled. "Don't-- don't-- "

"You don't want him to be nice to you? Why not?"

I muttered and chewed on words, unable to give her what I was thinking. It irritated me, how nice Tim was being to me. That's all. It annoyed me that he was here every time I opened my eyes, ready to do whatever I might ask of him, from fixing my dinner to fluffing my pillows. He had always been too eager to please. There was more to it than that though. I couldn't decide what about it annoyed me the most. Was he trying to replace me in my own family? Be father to Olivia and husband to Mary? Was that what this was all about? All he had talked about for months was how excited he was for me about having a baby. He had been jealous of me that much was clear. He was getting the opportunity to spend more time with Olivia than I was. And Mary? She was growing to depend on Tim more and more to do the things that I would do for her. Go to the store. Fill the car with gas. Give the baby a bath. Feed the baby her cereal. When I couldn't muster a reply, Mary continued to speak.

"It's almost four. You should rest for a while before dinnertime. Why don't you let me walk you upstairs?"

"Not-- not-- "

"I don't care if you're not tired. You need to rest. Do you need to use the bathroom?"

I growled at her and took a swipe. She grabbed my hand and yanked it back down to the cushions.

"That's what I'm talking about. I saw you do that to Tim too. You'd better stop it."

"Did not," I managed. She put an arm around my waist and slowly hauled me to my feet. It took slightly less than eternity getting to the top of the stairs, faster day by day. My body was returning to normal. I would have rather have stayed on the divan in the front room though. I had pushed too hard today and perhaps that could account for my foul mood. At least Mary didn't do like Tim. When it came to obstacles like the steps, he would actually pick me up and carry me! I couldn't believe he would humiliate me that way! The first time he did it, I clawed and scratched at his face. He almost dropped me in surprise. Mary couldn't have carried me if she wanted to, so the option wasn't open to her. Thank God! I was determined to get better if only to avoid having Tim treat me like I wasn't a fully capable man.

At the top of the stairs, I leaned against the wall to support myself. Mary walked behind me, one hand on my waist still. I paused at the door to the nursery. Tim was in the rocking chair with Olivia on his chest. She was sound asleep, and he staring off into space. His eyes drifted closed as he rested his chin against her. It looked as if Tim had needed a nap as much as the baby had.

"See what I mean? You're wearing him out," Mary chided me.

"Huh," I snorted. "You think this is a-- a-- a-- picnic for me??"


"Where-- where-- where-- "

I greeted Tim at the front door the next day. It was Saturday. It must have been. And he was late. I don't know how late. I just knew he should have been here before now. Part of me was worried he had taken to heart our argument of yesterday and decided not to come at all. Tim was dressed in cut-off jean shorts and a black tee-shirt that was emblazoned with scrawled hand-writing. He was wearing those bizarre men's sandals made of canvas and cork, and he smelled like freshly mowed grass. I paused him at the door and held his chest still. I wanted to decipher the cryptic message on his shirt.

"Don't you remember, Frank? I told you I was going to mow the lawn for Mom this morning, and that I would be here at eleven. It's only ten thirty. Don't worry. I wouldn't....what?" he realized I was focusing on his chest.

"Don....Don....Don...T "

"Don't," Tim said softly, smiling down at his chest. "Do you want me to read it to you?"

"NO! FUCK!" I exclaimed. Tim's eyes lit up with amusement, drawing my attention to his head. There was something different. I couldn't put my fingers on what though. "I know the-- the-- words! It's spitting them out that-- that-- that-- takes so long."

" 'kay, Frank. Don't pop a vessel over it."

I sneered at him and went back to his shirt, tracing the red letters as he stepped inside and closed the front door.

"Fuck you," I said as an afterthought.

"I see you increased your vocabulary again. You're talking more clearly today."

"Don't.....pi...pi..ssssssss," I went on, nodding. "Don't piss me off?"

"Keep going."

"Don't-- don't-- don't piss me off. I'm runn-- "

"Running," Tim said. "Can I sit down?"

He landed on the divan and nearly tipped me over. I stood before him and straightened out his shoulders, planting my butt awkwardly on the coffee table to be able to touch his shirt. My left hand ran over the letters as I continued to sound them out. He wanted to close his knees, but I got between them, balancing myself with a hand in his stomach.

"Run-- Run-- Running out of places "

"Places. Places to hide the bodies," Tim concluded quickly, taking my hands away from his chest. Why didn't he want me touching his chest? I put my fingers back where they ad been, going over the letters once more. I wanted to memorize each one.

"You're very goose-- goose-- goosey," I told him, pinching his side.

"The shirt is from my mom. She said she saw it and immediately thought of me."

"Good morning, Tim," Mary said, coming down the steps.

"Mar-- Mary," I said, pounding on Tim's chest. "Don't piss him off. He's-- he's-- hiding bodies," I mused, reaching forward to mess up Tim's floppy hair. Only I didn't find floppy hair. I found bristles instead.

I caught my breath and clenched my fingers around the top of his head. That's what was different about his head!! Tim had gotten all his hair cut off! His beard was gone too!

"Hi, Mary," Tim smiled, ducking when I put my hands both on his skull. "Frank, quit mauling me."

"Where-- where-- the fuck is your hat?" I said loudly.

"Hair. Hair. Hair," Tim said quickly.

"BZZZZZZ," I laughed, rubbing my left hand hard on his scalp. "You going into-- into-- into the army or shit?" I asked. He pushed me away, and I pounced back into the divan, sprawling into his frame. I wanted to hold him still to scrape his nubbies harder. Tim fended me off without much effort, shoving me into the corner of the cushions.

"Frank, cut it out," Mary chided. She was dressing Olivia for a car ride. I clawed at Tim's bare leg, and he jumped off the divan.

"You have any special instructions for today? I figured we could go to Fell's Point, maybe take a stroll around the pier. How about a car ride?" Tim started to say when Mary leaned closer to him to whisper.

"I don't know if he's up to Fell's Point yet. Why don't you try a few times up and down the stairs, maybe up the street once, but not too far. A car ride would be okay. Very relaxing. He's been pushing too hard, and I'm worried he'll overdo it."

"Okay," Tim replied. "Slow and easy. Gotcha. Where are you ladies off to?" he asked, tickling Olivia's toes through her sandals. She erupted into happy sounds that made Tim smile.

"We're going to go to the mall for some clothes, to the grocery store, to the library, to the office, in reverse order," Mary replied. "I'm going to catch up on some of my backlog. You sure you can handle him?" she added, watching me as I approached. I latched onto her shoulders and steadied myself.

"BZZZ," I said, laughing to myself. Tim smiled faintly.

"Yeah. I can handle him."

"Fuck-- fuck-- fuck you," I spit the words at him jokingly. Mary gouged my side with her hand.

"You behave," she scolded sternly. She picked up Olivia's car seat and put a soft kiss on my cheek. She turned and put an identical kiss on Tim's cheek. He blushed accordingly. Her fingers jumped over the top of his head. "You look nice, Tim. That reminds me of when we were little, and my father would give my cousins that same haircut. Less mess and fuss to deal with." Mary headed for the front door as I smiled innocently at her. Once she glanced away, I glared hard at Bayliss.

"Don't worry, Mar. By the end of the day, he'll be eating out of my HAND!" Tim's voice rose in surprise as I grabbed his butt. He jumped forward and slapped at my hands blindly without turning around. Mary shook her head at us both, and closed the front door.

"BZZZZ," I repeated, smiling wickedly at Tim.

"What do you want to do first?" Tim asked.

"Roller-- roller-- skating?" I suggested.

"Very funny," Tim said, narrowing his eyes.


"It's not too hot outside, if you want to go for a small walk, or even a car ride," Tim suggested as I moved myself up one more step and paused midway up the flight. He was sitting cross legged on the landing, knees slightly apart, hands folded loosely in his lap. I wondered if I should tell him I could see up his cut-offs when he sat like that. Maybe not. I moved up three more steps and paused for a long breath.

"You-- You-- mowed?" I asked.

"Yep. For my mom," Tim told me.

"Like to?" I asked.

"Yeah. I kinda like to."

"Al-- Al-- "

"You mean Gee?"

"No. Aller-- "

"Allergies? Does the mowing make me sneeze? No."

"New York? No mowing," I laughed. I snuck another glance at his long legs and sighed. He had a faint tan clear up his thighs. I vaguely remembered watching him packing a pair of swim trunks. Yes. From when I had gone after him to Texas last summer. When we left the hotel room, he had packed a pair of very small swim trunks into his overnight bag, smaller than I would have imagined him wearing. He must have purchased them in a moment of self-assuredness. Not that he should be at all embarrassed about his body. Tim stretched out his legs and reached a hand down towards me to steady me. I pushed the hand away and shoved off the railing to stand on my own. I would have to ask Mary if she found him attractive. That haircut, I smiled to myself. His face had doubled in size, and his eyes were huge.

"Frank, quit fucking around. You wanna fall backwards down the steps?" he asked. I climbed two more steps and towered over him briefly before I landed on him. Tim flattened out on the carpet and stared up at me in concern. I dragged myself up on all fours over his hips and chest, and gazed predatorily down at him. Feeling very much like a large cat having landed its catch, I lingered for a moment, getting almost nose to nose with my cornered prey.

Tim, you are delicious from this angle, I thought. Buzz cut and all, baby.

"Frank, is there something you want?" Tim asked huskily, raising a brow at me.

Yes. I think I want to kiss you, I thought.

"Foot rub," I told him quietly. Tim breathed deeply a couple of times, and darted his tongue over his top lip. I wanted to do a lot more than kiss him. Could he read that in my face? I wanted to trace the tip of my tongue along his pulsing throat and sink my teeth into his neck.

"Don't move. Let me get up, and I'll help you stand, okay?" Tim whispered. He slid northward, and I watched his frame wriggle out from under me a segment at a time.


"--'s on your mind? You-- you-- are quiet," I asked Tim. He had moved the coffee table a little out of the way in order to sit on the floor in front of me in my favorite place on the divan. His graceful fingers danced over the soles of my feet, first one and then the other. He had started with the right and moved to the left, but the right one was getting jealous of the left. It climbed back into Tim's open-legged lap and begged for attention. He was tending to me, but I could read in his eyes that his thoughts were a million miles from here. Tim set my right foot back on the floor out of his lap.

"Nothing," he answered softly. I slid my right foot slowly up over the edge of his left thigh, dropping it back in his lap, and he sat up straighter.

"Lie-- lie-- lie--" I tormented. "Truth."

"You have to promise you won't be angry," Tim said, hesitation in his voice. "You have to remember your blood pressure."

"Fuck, it must be-- be-- be-- bad," I said, rolling my eyes.

"Gee volunteered me temporarily to another lieutenant for a special assignment," Tim admitted.

"What kind of-- of-- of-- thingee?" I asked excitedly, prodding him in the shoulder. Tim continued to verbally drag his feet. "Tim-- Tim-- Tim-- my? Spill. Tell me everything."

"It's some kinda of undercover operation in the Midwest. They need a man to go out and survey what they think is a meth lab supplying drugs that are channeled out East through a horse ranch in Colorado. I would have to go there, search the area, see what I turn up."

"Why not a local?" I blurted.

"You are talking better today," Tim repeated, smiling. "Cause they are afraid the area law enforcement is involved in the drug ring. Gee said Narcotics needed cops who were built for hard farm labor and who wouldn't be out of the ordinary in the area."

"White, big-- big-- and um, and um, wholesome?" I teased.

"I'm sure you mean that in a nice way," Tim sighed. There was an awkward pause between us; our minds both on the same thought from different sides of the issue. Tim was clearly no more eager to go do this than I wanted to let him. What if he got out there and managed to get himself hurt? Or worse, what if he got out there and absolutely loved it in Colorado? What if he decided to stay there permanently? Was that what Gee was up to? I'm flat on my ass, and Gee ships my little bunkie out to the boonies in order to separate us?

"Squeaky-- squeaky-- squeaky whole come," I told Tim. "Wholesome," I corrected myself. How could Gee do this to me? How could he send Tim away? I needed him! This was my partner.

"I don't want to do this, Frank," Tim confided, shaking his head. "Gee said that while you're out of commission though, that the change of scenery would be good for me. The truth of it is, Frank, I'm afraid I can't be murder police without you."

"I'm coming-- coming back, Bay-- liss. I'm getting back my-- my-- badge, and you can bet your ASS on it," I promised.

"I'm not the same without you," Tim whispered.

"Oh, shit. Yes-- yes-- yes, you are," I told him firmly. Tim slouched miserably against his side on the front of the divan.

"I don't want to feed your ego, Frank, cause God knows what an arrogant prick you can be at times, but I don't feel right out on the streets without you. I feel dirty. I feel-- I don't know what I feel."

"Feel what?" I said when he didn't finish his thought.

"Like I'm stepping out on you when I partner with someone else on the squad."

"I'm not-- not-- the first partner you've ever had. You weren't a-- a-- virgin when you came to me," I teased him with a soft stroke along his forearm.

"No, but you are the best I've ever had," Tim said unabashedly. "I've never connected with anyone like I've connected with you."

"You need me," I smiled broadly.

"And I feel like I'm being adulterous if I don't stay by your side when you need me," he nodded.

"A few weeks ago, you-- you-- you were ready to pack up your pencils and move to L.A.," I reminded him, putting on a dismissive air. My heart was still digesting the magnitude of what Tim had said to me. It was clearly a declaration of his need to stay monogamous to me. He felt like he belonged to me. What wasn't there to smile about? I caught my face getting bigger and bigger, and made my mouth fall back into its normal position.

"Things are different now," Tim whispered.

"Because of my-- my-- stroke?" I asked.

"Yes. It wouldn't be right to leave you when you are down and out."

"Fuck you! I maybe be-- be-- be-- down but damn you if I'm out," I huffed at him. Tim winced, letting his hand trace the top of my right foot.

"Don't be grumpy. You're coming back to Homicide. You need to be realistic though about the kind of changes this will mean, the adjustments we'll both have to make."

"Nothing about me is different," I stressed.

"Yes, Frank, it is. You haven't even begun to imagine what this means to you, to Mary, to me. You're going to be affected both physically and emotionally. You're going to need Mary and me both."

"Why would I need-- need-- either of you-- you-- two?" I growled.

"Because, you're my friend, and we love you," Tim replied. "I don't want to do this assignment in Colorado because I don't want you to feel like I ran out on you when you needed me most."

I couldn't find the words for a second, as my tongue tangled around the emotions that washed through my throat. I did found another smile as I shook my head.

"Must think you're pretty-- pret-- pretty damn special," I laughed. "We aren't married, bunk-- bunkie. You can partner with whoEVER you want," I told him. "But no hanky hanky."

I ran my toes along his leg, and Tim shivered as his skin warmed up. He leaned on his elbow and pulled his leg out of my reach.

"I can't help the way I feel about you, Frank," Tim murmured. My heart raced at the words, and softly subtle but detectable, the very way his mouth, his voice, his tone conveyed these words to me. They lingered in the air as I worried what I should make of them.

"Ba-- ba-- baby," I whispered, reaching over and stroking the top of his head. "It's only good for you to stretch your widdle-- widdle-- wings while I'm-- I'm-- I'm down. Be good for you. It's only temporary."


"You won't-- won't-- won't-- be alone too long. I'm coming back."

"I realize that, Frank."

"But when I do, you prom-- promise me?"

"Anything," Tim said, in that tone of his that made me shudder. I reached down into his lap, delighted in the momentary brush of my palm to his inner thigh, and scooped up his hand.

"Don't be nice."

"Frank?" Tim laughed. "Don't be nice to you?? That's what you were telling me yesterday."

"Too nice," I said. "Driving me fuck-- fuck-- fucking insane."

"You want me to beat you up?" Tim wondered. "Talk mean to you in front of the squad? Jesus, Frank. What does being too nice to you consist of? Or does it change from day to day? You're my partner. How could you ask me to be mean to you?" Tim's voice was beginning to choke up. He stared into his lap as tears welled up in his eyes.

He put his face down on his arm on the sofa, and shook with silent sobs. After so many weeks of penning up his tension and anger and fear and frustration, letting it out this way would be good for him. I let go of his hand, and that arm curled up under his face too. He took a deep breath and tried to quell his gasps,but the waves washed over his body once more. I couldn't just sit there, not when I was the cause of this. I scooted sideways and drew him close. Tim buried his face in my shoulder, and I could feel wetness falling against my skin. Tightening my grip on his back, I rested my knees to his sides and pressed his chest to mine. His trembles worked into my heart as a soft sniff sounded in my ear.

"Shh," I whispered. "Pull yourself to to together. I didn't mean it bad," I lied. Tim continued to cry, and didn't answer me. "You you should take this Colorado thing," I said. "You need a-- need a--"

My brain supplied several funny possibilities of what to say there. A good kiss? Oh yes. A week-long, mind-melting fuck that sucked out all his energy and tension? A spanking and a headjob. That too. The sudden mental image of Tim naked, writhing beneath me, and moaning my name went through my head. My hand went down over his waist and butt, patting cautiously. I recalled very well having him lying on his bed, half naked under my hands, completely at my mercy as I rubbed and kneaded his body. As if my thoughts were telepathing to Tim, he held more tightly to my chest and waist, and I closed my knees against him more firmly.

"You need a break," I finally coughed up as I reared back to see his face, all the while keeping a tight grip on his waist. He was nodding, attempting to dry his face with the back of one hand. With a slow draw of a palm, I dried away the tears I had caused. My mind went back to being in the car, taking him home the night of the Waterfront opening party, and how he had cried at the thought of me abandoning him. And it was all clear to me, so suddenly clear that I laughed. Of course he wasn't going to leave me, because I needed him. He needed to be needed, and here I was, needing him. He wouldn't abandon me because he himself had been abandoned, more than once, and by someone he deeply loved. It was without a doubt his greatest insecurity. "You go to Colorado," I told him directly.

"You're sending me away because I'm being too nice to you, aren't you?" he anguished. A fresh tear heralded another downpour if I didn't think of something fast.

Well, it had worked before.

So I kissed him.

Surprised at first, Tim eventually melted into the kiss as if it had been years since anyone had touched him this way. A soft, pining moan vibrated our chests together. My left hand went around Tim's waist and drew him closer to me, because his first reflex to pull away was still at work. The soft pining noise became an unbearably tender gush of pleasure when I touched my tongue to the tip of his and slid deep into his mouth. Our slow and easy kiss lingered on his wet lips as I closed my mouth around his tongue and pulled back from him for a momentary glance at his half-lidded eyes. I was met with clear hesitation in his gaze. Before he could change his mind, I slid all ten fingers through his bristling scalp and seized his mouth for another slow tongue-fuck. My right hand dropped to his chest. A full three minutes of gently lapping away Tim's sorrows like this was enough to make even my stroked-out blood vessels consider the possibility of life after death. I wouldn't be able to engage in all-out, full body contact sport-sex with him when I was like this, but there was no harm in a little necking and heavy petting.

God, but Tim tasted marvelous, and he could kiss like no one I'd ever done this with. He was responding to me, unlike our last kiss like this, when he had been content to let me touch him, but hadn't returned the favor. His hands moved up my chest and back down again, brushing over my nipples and back around under my shoulders. The smell of fresh cut grass echoed in my nose as I traveled from his mouth and down his throat. I dug my teeth into his neck and sucked ravenously. I wanted him to start imagining how it would feel, the further south I went on him. He apparently understood me. Begging pants erupted in my ear, punctuated by smaller and smaller pauses. He was heating up like asphalt in summer, flushing with color and tension. I released his neck and rammed my tongue into his nearest ear. Tim seized my arms and pushed at me to let go. I pushed the collar of his shirt out of my way and repositioned my teeth with a tight grip on his shoulder, letting my tongue dance on his flesh. A tiny glance to my left showed the first love bite already coloring his fair skin. The beautiful sight of it urged me on to see what else on him I might bruise and arouse.

Sliding my fingers up his chest, I pushed my thumbs into his nipples with slow and mercilessly hard circles. Tim's cock practically leapt into my lap, straining against his tight jean shorts. Daring to let go only for a second, I pushed his shirt front up to his armpits and lapped at the middle of his chest. I put my hands on the small of his back and ran them down to cup his butt, lifting him off his knees as I grasped one nipple in my mouth. His chest inflated with surprise at the pain. I was rewarded with a little whimper of pleasure.

I pushed Tim onto the length of the short, flat coffee table and knelt over him, giving his other nipple a thorough sucking while I worked on getting his shorts undone. The snap wouldn't undo for me. Frustrated, I moved south anyway, pushing his knees apart and sinking my teeth into the highest part of his thigh I could reach. I was mere inches from my intended target, leaving a bite mark in a tender, soft area as Tim writhed in near delirium on the table. My fingers tugged a tight denim as my tongue trailed through dangling loose threads. I had to get these shorts off him! My teeth grasped above the junction of his femoral artery, and his pulse jumped beneath me.

Tim started to pull away instead of submit further to me. Refusing to let go, I held his knees apart and planted myself where he couldn't close his legs together without wrapping them around me. I heard a sandal flop off behind me as Tim stretched out one leg in order to get the leverage to sit up. The snap came loose, finally! I undid his zipper and licked across his abdomen as I lowered his boxers. Fingers appeared in my field of vision, intent on stopping me from going any further.

"Frank....." Tim choked. Never one to be easily persuaded once my mind was made up, I ventured on, sure I could change his mind. I took his intruding hand and slid three fingers into my mouth, considering it a small preview of what I could do to him if only he would lie still for me like a good boy. Tim moaned for mercy. "Oh....oh....oh..." Every flick of my tongue on his fingers and between them made a new and more colorful sound emerge from his throat. "Frank....." Tim begged. "Please let go."

I continued to suck, working one of my hands into his boxers. He was completely ready for me. All for me and no one else. I couldn't believe how lucky I was. This was all mine. This beautiful, panting, begging, writhing, six and a half feet of pure man beneath me was all mine.

The most amazing thing happened next. Tim scrambled out of my grasp and disentangled himself from me. As he heaved for breath, he gathered his clothes and his composure. I made a move towards him, and he balled up into the chair a few feet away, grabbing a pillow to whack at me with if I got closer to him. Tim was laughing in shock, and blushing so red I thought he would explode.

"Jesus Christ, Frank Pembleton!" he panted. "Have you lost your goddamn mind?!"

He zipped and snapped his shorts and curled back up, holding the pillow over his lap.

"What's what's the matter?" I asked calmly.

"FRANK! WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE??" Tim shouted. "I should leave," he moaned, sitting up on the edge of the seat and putting his face down in the pillow on his knees. I've never wanted to be a pillow so bad in all my life. "I'm going to take the assignment in Colorado, and then it will be all right," he told himself out loud.

"You should take the assignment," I agreed, ready to do whatever it took; lie, cheat, cajole, promise the moon and give him the sun; whatever it took to get him to let me back between his legs. So close! So fucking close! What was the matter with me? I shook my head and listened to his breath evening out as he eyed me worriedly.

"What the fuck was that, Frank?" he breathed huskily, continuing to glow with sexual heat and need.

"That-- that-- that-- Timmy, was almost the best ten minutes of your entire life," I told him, working up a wicked half grin. Tim hid his face in the pillow and mumbled under his breath. "What?" I demanded.

"I said, are you trying to give yourself another stroke?" he exclaimed. He covered his nearly naked head with both hands, dragging his fingers down over his face to hide his eyes.

"Calm-- calm-- calm-- down," I laughed.

"Don't you tell me to calm down," he replied angrily, making that little pouty frown that I usually found irritating. At the moment, he was unbelievably cute no matter what he did. "I'm going to take the assignment in Colorado."

"Good for you-- you-- " I said.

"When I get back, you'll be sane again, and I'll be better, and we can forget all about whatever it is that keeps popping up between us this way," Tim reassured himself.

"Of-- of-- of-- course we can," I soothed, smiling at his embarrassment as my eyes traveled over his body in lieu of my hands.

"I'm not that kind of man, Frank."

"What kind-- kind-- kind-- of man would that be, baby?" I teased.

"Nothing," Tim wailed. "I'm not the kind of man who fornicates with his best friend in the middle of his living room on a Saturday afternoon while that friend's wife is out of the house. IN FRONT OF A FLOOR TO CEILING WINDOW!" Tim added, pointing to the sliding glass door behind him. "I'm not the type of man who enjoys being sprawled out on a coffee table like a tray of hors d'oeuvres."

"Baby-- Baby-- Bay-- liss," I chuckled. "He was enjoying himself until you inter-- inter-- butted into the ma-- matter," I said, indicating the pillow in his lap and what he was hoping to keep under it.

"Well he doesn't make the decisions around here," Tim retorted. "Okay?"

"It's nothing to-- to-- be scared of, baby," I promised.

"I'm going to call Gee and talk to him," Tim stammered, reaching for the phone on the side table.

"I need a drink," I said, getting up off the floor and dragging myself to the kitchen. "You need something, baby-- baby? A drink? A bite on the thigh? A cold-- cold-- cold shower?" I laughed. Tim tucked the phone under his chin and held up a middle finger, narrowing his eyes at me. "Sorry. You had-- had-- had-- your chance at that already," I said slyly, smiling as I made my way into the kitchen.


"Frank? What are you smiling about?" Mary asked. She pushed my foot off the coffee table and put it down the length of the divan. "Don't you think it will be good for Tim to take this assignment in Colorado for a few weeks?"

"Oh? Yeah yeah yeah," I nodded. The sliding glass door was opened to the night air. Through the screen, I could make out city lights and the sounds of cars. I wondered what Tim was doing right at this second, and I closed my eyes to try and visualize him. Another smile traced my face. Throwing himself into the arms of a willing woman? Gasping and moaning alone in his shower? I wished he had decided to stay longer tonight. The place felt emptier without him here.

"Al and I talked for hours about it at the mall this afternoon when I ran into him. It would give Tim a terrific opportunity," Mary said. "You're smiling again."

"Uh huh," I mumbled, dropping a pillow on the floor as she sat on the coffee table.

"You'll miss Tim, won't you?" Mary soothed. "Don't worry," she caressed my arm. "He promised you he would write, and it's only six weeks."

"I won't miss-- miss him," I replied. Mary laughed.

"You will too. How many other friends do you have who will even speak to you after you tackle, maul, and bite them for not letting you have your favorite spot on the divan?" Mary teased. "Tim told me all about it while he was helping me fix dinner."

"He was ask-- asking for it. This is MY spot," I sniffed.

"He was good natured about it, but don't kid yourself, Frank. He let you win. If I'd've been here, I'd've paddled you for doing something like that to your friend."

"When he comes ba-- baa-- back, he'd better not be nice to me."

"You better not bite him when you see him again," Mary mused. "Al said that if we need anything at all, we should call him, and he'd come out directly to the house, or drive you to physical therapy."

"Footrubs too?" I asked hopefully.

"No, you'll have to make nice with Timmy before you get another one of those footrubs," she told me, picking up the pillow.

"Those are-- are-- great footrubs. Where-- where-- in Colorado is he going to be?" I asked.

"Gee didn't say," Mary shrugged.

"Hope he-- he-- packs his toothbrush and warm undies," I smiled, letting a wonderful image of Tim in denim and chaps and rawhide circle through my brain. "You-- you-- you think he can ride a horse?"

*the end*