He'd mentioned close male friends -- real close -- with decreasing subtlety. Greeted a vicious joke about gays in the bar with a cold and disapproving silence that everyone but Blair had noticed. Walked around the loft nearly naked, completely naked, wet and naked, and got nothing more than a casual glance and a sympathetic shiver from Blair.
He'd even invented a dream Freud would've wept happy tears over, laden with homoerotic subtext and shared it with Blair at breakfast, only to get a murmured, "Maybe you should lay off the late-night snacks, Jim?" as reward.
He'd try one last time. One. Then he'd give up.
"Chief? Want to go out to dinner with me?" Still too ambiguous. He ate out with Blair all the time. "I mean, you and me. Out. Eating." Shit, how was that any better? Blair was frowning up at him now from the couch, his book forgotten by his side. "What I mean is, I'm asking if you would like to go out. With me."
"Out to dinner?" Blair asked slowly.
"Not entirely." There. You just couldn't get any plainer than that.
"I'm not hungry."
Fuck. Jim swallowed and nodded once, a jerky bob of his head. Maybe, glass half full time, Blair still hadn't got it. Maybe. Though what the hell did a guy have to do? "Sure. No problem. I was just wondering if you wanted to."
Blair looked at him, sweet and kind, salt and lemon on the cut. "Want to stay in? With me?"
Jim shook his head and turned away. He couldn't take another night of sitting next to an off-limits Blair. "No, I'm hungry. I'll just go and grab something by myself." The quiet, frustrated sigh Blair gave froze him in place. He glanced back.
And saw that he hadn't been the only one trying to get a message across.
Blair moved over on the couch as Jim sat down beside him with a heavy, astonished thud, his thoughts a kaleidoscope of adjusting conceptions. "I thought you were hungry."
Jim smiled at him, hopeful, hoping, God, please, let me not be wrong about this. "I'm starving."
Blair smiled back contentedly and picked up his book. "Yeah, me, too."
His other hand found Jim's and pulled him closer. A moment later, the book slid to the floor with a soft, ignored thud, lost in the creak of the couch's springs.
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