Bottled Courage



I want to get him drunk. I want to sit beside him and let the room get dark and feed him beer until he's loose and smiling at me, touching me as he talks without knowing he's doing it.

I want to get him drunk enough that he won't remember what I ask him if the answer's no, drunk enough that if it's yes, I'll have to back off, wait, because I don't want -- I wouldn't take advantage of him that way.

But I don't think I've got the balls to ask him when we're both sober. I'm wound up as tight as my dad's watch used to be right now, and all I'm doing is getting the first beer out of the fridge, the glass cool and slippery against my shaking fingers.

Shit.

I give him his beer feeling treacherous, tricky, desperate. He takes a single sip, puts it down, and says earnestly, "Jim? Did I tell you I love you? Because I do, and I thought it was time --"

I don't hear the rest, no, there is no next, because I'm kissing him and he stops talking and kisses me back. My beer's warm and flat by the time I take my first sip, half an hour later, but I'm drunk on the taste of his smiling mouth and I think the room's spinning and I need to go to bed.

Or maybe we both do. Together.

And maybe I'm braver than I think, because I ask him if he'll join me there, ask on one mouthful of beer and a dozen slow, sweet kisses, ask feeling happy, not shit-scared and shaking.

Even if he says no, not yet, too soon, or any of the other things I'm thinking myself, it doesn't matter. I can always ask him again.

Yeah. I can. And I will.

Turns out the only thing I need to ask is what side of the bed he wants, and by the way, this side's mine, Sandburg, and by the time we've argued that point as flat as the pillow he's been using to make his point with, I'm grinning so wide my face hurts.

He's good for me.

That, I don't tell him. Not on one lousy mouthful of beer, anyway.


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