My World is Pepto-Pink

by Jane Davitt

The number of times since Blair moved in that they've left a half-eaten meal cooling and congealing and gone to stare at a corpse doing much the same: too often -- twice this month. Blair's gotten used to feeling both hungry and queasy and ketchup has become a dubious enhancement to a meal.

The number of times, they've eaten in the truck, Jim bitching about the way the aroma of food soaks into the upholstery and making Blair roll his window down until he's chewing with one side of his face numb from an icy east wind: every day this freaking week, man, and mustard just doesn't wash out of flannel.

The number of breakfasts Blair's cooked for Jim, if 'cooking breakfast' can be defined as hitting the switch on the coffee maker that Jim filled with water and grounds the night before. Lots. Hey; he does his share. He's not one of those house guests who don't pull their weight. He made toast just last Monday, and didn't object much when Jim snagged the piece he'd just buttered and took a giant bite out of it.

Only to spit it out, because to a Sentinel's taste buds, apparently soy spread tastes like castor oil.

And, yes, Jim had pretty much nailed it about that first, lavish breakfast being a courtship ritual.

The number of times they've baked cookies. None. Zip. Zero. Blair supposes, vaguely, that people do make them from scratch with, uh, flour, yeah, and butter and sugar, definitely, but he's only consumed the end product and the process involved is a mystery.

And it's one Detective Ellison and his trusty sidekick have no intention of solving with Mrs. Henderson living next door and determined to kill them both with an overdose of chocolate chips.

The number of times, they've eaten breakfast in bed. Once each. Jim's was a rare hangover breakfast of aspirin, water, and dry toast, carried up to him by an amused but sympathetic Blair. Blair's was the morning after his encounter with Lash.

Jim had brought him herbal tea, flecks of leaves floating in lukewarm water stained deep green, a bowl of oatmeal with a few tablespoons of brown sugar on top, crunchy, richly aromatic, and a tall glass of OJ, ice-cold and tartly sweet.

And Jim had sat and watched him choke it down, because Blair wasn't all that hungry, but Jim had made it for him and he didn't want to leave it, an odd expression on his face, part anxious, part relieved, and patted Blair's face when he'd finished.

Blair's starting to think about another kind of breakfast in bed these days. One that leaves the sheets in need of changing but not because of crumbs. One where he wakes and reaches out and finds something to nibble on right there beside him, all hot skin and hard muscle, languid with sleep.

Number of times they've left a restaurant precipitately, Jim flinging money down on the table and then backtracking to retrieve the hundred he mistook for a ten before grabbing Blair's arm and hustling him toward the exit, lips compressed, eyes wild: once.

So maybe it hadn't been the best place to bring up the breakfast in bed idea.

But Jim hadn't said 'no'. In fact, once they're home, with the door slammed shut, Jim doesn't say much of anything.

Too busy kissing Blair with a hunger Blair shares, avid, appreciative moans spilling out.

Number of strawberries Blair's hand-fed Jim as they lie naked on creased, damp sheets: none.

(You're kidding, right?


Jim loves strawberries. I'd lose a finger.)