The Coldest Winter
Genre: Slash (Jim/Blair), angst, h/c, post TSbyBS
Warnings (artwork): None
Warnings (story): None
Author’s Note: Thank you to Banbury for the wonderfully evocative art, Patt for the wonderful cheerleading, Lyn for the fantastic beta and constant encouragement and brainstorming when I almost gave up on this, and Morgan for organizing this shindig and for being patient with me. The disorder mentioned towards the end of this story really does exist.
Summary: She’s determined to get him back. Nothing will stop her. Not hell, high water, or Blair Sandburg.
She sits at Jim’s desk and looks out at the room, at the people she used to know so well. Over by the coffee machine Joel Taggart looks like he’s busting a gut over something Henri Brown is saying. Rafe walks into the bullpen looking his usual GQ sartorial best, sees her sitting there and gives her a broad delighted grin. He looks like he’s about to walk over to talk to her but she turns away from him, pretending an interest in a file on Jim’s desk, and when she glances up out of the corner of her eye, she’s grateful to see he’s been pulled aside by Henri. She picks up a photo on Jim’s desk. It’s of Jim and Blair. Jim’s ruffling Blair’s hair and there’s a look of - amused tenderness is the only way she can describe it - on Jim’s face. The emotion of it takes her breath away and she finds herself slipping the photo out of the frame and pocketing it. She’s not sure why she wants it. Maybe it’s because she’s never seen that look of love in Jim’s eyes, not even when he was with her.
She gets up and casually walks across to the door, hoping she can escape before any of the men catch up with her. Her hopes are dashed though when, just as she’s almost out the door, Simon Banks comes out of his office and spots her. He calls to her in that big, booming voice of his, and of course, the other guys turn and see her as well. She feels her shoulders slump for a moment, then, pasting a bright smile on her face, she turns to greet her old boss and co workers.
“Hey,” Simon says as he reaches her and leans down to plant a kiss on her cheek, “you weren’t going to try to sneak out of here without saying hello, were you?”
“Of course not,” she says brightly as if the thought had never occurred to her, “I was just going to go grab a coffee from the machine and bring it back.” She glances askance at the coffee pot in the corner and shudders theatrically. “You know, I can’t stand bull pen coffee.”
“I’ve got good coffee,” Simon replies, tucking a possessive hand under her elbow and trying to draw her away from the door.
“No, really, Simon, it’s fine. I can only stay for a few minutes anyway,” she interrupts him, literally digging in her heels and standing her ground. She smiles around at the others. “It’s good to see you all though. I thought maybe Jim might be here…”
“He’s got a few days off,” Simon says. “He and Blair have a lot of organizing to do.”
“You’re here for Jim and Blair’s wedding, right?” Henri breaks in and her heart feels like it lurches down into the soles of her feet.
“It’s not a wedding, doofus,” Rafe jumps in before she can respond and her heart moves back into place until Joel says, “It’s a handfasting ceremony. Blair says it’s an old Celtic custom. Just as binding as a wedding for Jim and Blair though.”
“Oh,” she replies, “that sounds nice. Um, well, no. I’m not here for that. Just visiting some friends and thought I’d catch up with Jim while I was here. You guys take care now. Maybe we can have a drink before I head back to San Francisco.” She shakes Simon’s hand from her arm politely but determinedly and walks as quickly as she can out to the elevator. She’s grateful that it’s standing open when she reaches it and that there’s no one else inside. As soon as the doors close behind her, she slumps against the wall and sobs. By the time it hits the garage level, thankfully with no stops along the way to pick up passengers, she’s regained her composure and decided what to do. She’ll just have to go talk to Jim, make him see sense. After all, she knows he’s not really gay. They were married, for heaven’s sake. Blair’s done this to him, influenced him somehow. She can make Jim see sense, she’s sure of it. Mind made up, she hurries to her car.
“Well, hi,” Blair says as he opens the door to her knocking. “Sorry, Jim didn’t tell me you were coming.” He looks down and she realizes he’s just dressed in a bathrobe as if he’s just gotten out of bed. “Sorry, late night marking exam papers,” he says.
“They let you go back to the university?” she asks, not hiding her surprise that they’d allow an admitted fraud to go back to teaching.
“Community college,” he replies, “just till I go to the Police Academy in a couple of months.” There’s a sudden shine of enthusiasm in his eyes at that and that surprises her even more.
“I never really pictured you as wanting to be a cop,” she says.
Blair laughs. “I didn’t either but well, you know, Jim can be very persuasive and he wants me to be his partner so…” He stops then and backs out of the doorway, leaving her room to enter. “Um, sorry. You coming in for a coffee? Jim should be back soon.”
She hesitates for a moment. She really wants to speak to Jim alone without Blair around to influence him but she’s not sure how she’ll get to him if she doesn’t wait around so she nods and steps inside. “Thanks, coffee would be great.”
She wanders around the apartment while Blair brews coffee in the kitchen. It really has become as much Blair’s space as Jim’s, she realizes. There are tribal masks hanging from the walls, little statues scattered across the top of the bookshelves, photos of Blair with a woman she assumes is his mother, with his friends, with Jim…
“You still take it black, right?” Blair’s voice at her shoulder startles her and she jumps, almost dropping the photo she’s picked up. She places it carefully back on the bookcase then turns and takes the coffee mug from his hand. “Yes, thanks. “ She moves over to an armchair and sits down, blowing on the coffee then taking a cautious sip. “This is great,” she says as Blair perches on the arm of the chair opposite her. He looks nervous, uncomfortable at having her here. “It’s freezing out there,” she adds when he still doesn’t say anything.
“A little different to San Francisco, I guess,” he says finally.
“Yeah, I don’t think I’ve seen this much snow since I moved away from Cascade.”
“That’s why I told Jim we should probably wait till after winter to do the ceremony—“ Blair stops, rubs a hand over his eyes and then puts his coffee cup down on the table in between them.
“It’s okay, I know about it,” she tells him, purposely injecting a couldn’t care less tone into her voice. She doesn’t want to hear the details though so she changes the subject, burbling on about her work in California and her colleagues down there, her apartment, her cat, anything to keep him from mentioning marrying Jim again even if it’s only in abstract.
Blair seems to understand because he simply goes along with her lead, interjecting a question here and there but mostly just letting her babble on. An unmistakable look of total and abject relief crosses his face as they hear the door open and Jim walks in.
“Simon told me you were in town,” Jim says casually, walking across the room to join them.
She stands up, moving forward, her arms already outstretched in anticipation of a hug but instead he leans down and very deliberately brushes a kiss across the top of Blair’s hair before walking around the table and giving her the briefest of hugs. It almost feels like her heart breaks a little at the snub but she firms her resolve. This isn’t her Jim, this is Blair’s Jim and she knows won’t get him back by antagonizing him. She just needs to get him alone, away from Blair, remind him of what they were to each other before Blair came into his life, of what they could have gotten back if she hadn’t given up so easily and run off to San Francisco.
“I was wondering if we could talk… privately,” she asks. She offers Blair a mock-apologetic look and he responds by immediately getting up.
“I was gonna go for a walk anyway,” he says. “I’ve been cooped up here all day. I really need to stretch my legs.”
“You don’t have to leave,” Jim tells him. He turns and looks at her. “You can say whatever you came to say in front of Blair. We don’t have any secrets.”
“Jim, really, I don’t mind. I’ll just go get dressed,” Blair interrupts and if she wasn’t so angry at him for corrupting Jim, for ruining her hopes of getting her life with Jim back, she could kiss him for understanding. She watches as he walks up the stairs, feeling a little shaft of pain as she realizes that’s where he sleeps now, up there… with Jim.
“Say whatever it is you came to say, Caro,” Jim says flatly. “Blair and I have plans for the evening.”
She flicks a glance up toward the loft bedroom, wonders if Blair’s eavesdropping and modulates her voice a little, just in case he is. “Jim, what’s going here? A wedding? You’re not gay. We were married, remember? I’d have known something like that.”
Jim shrugs and she can’t help noticing how muscular those broad shoulders still are, his chest too. He’s kept himself in shape. He looks incredibly fit and masculine and handsome and her skin almost aches with her need of him, her want for him…
She jumps, blinks, refocuses on Jim’s face.
“Things change,” Jim says. “People change. I’ve changed. I love Blair. Blair loves me. That’s all there is to it. I don’t much care whether you understand it or not and I sure as hell don’t care whether you approve of it or not. Go back to California, Caro. Get on with your life. There’s nothing here for you anymore.”
The harsh honesty in his eyes brings a sharp stab of pain and she feels her own eyes fill with hot tears. She lifts a shaky hand to cover her suddenly trembling lips, holding back the sob she can feel wanting to break free.
“I’m sorry.” Jim’s voice is gentler this time and she rubs the tears away and looks up to find him standing just in front of her. “I’m not trying to hurt you but it’s better to be honest with each other.” He smiles a little ruefully. “Blair taught me that.”
“Blair’s changed you,” she whispers. “Remember that night you followed me out of the restaurant and you kissed me. I told you if you’d kissed me like that before, we’d still be married. Jim,” she puts a hand on his arm, “you’re not gay. Blair’s just made you think that. Maybe it’s because you’ve grown so dependent on him. If you got away from him—“
He lifts her hand from his arm and then he’s turning her toward the door, pushing her along, one hand in the small of her back, the other on her shoulder. He opens the door, gently nudges her through it then bends and kisses her cheek chastely. “Go home, Carolyn,” he says. “I wish you nothing but the best but you’re not going to find what you want here. It’s over, in the past. Move forward. I have.”
And then the door closes in her face.
When the elevator comes, she enters, slides down to sit on the floor and pulls out the photo she’d taken from Jim’s desk. She studies their faces, then angrily she pulls out her lipstick and obliterates Jim’s image then screws the photo up and tosses it in the trashcan in the lobby on her way out of the building. Jim will only listen to Blair, she realizes now. It was pointless trying to get through to him herself. She’ll just have to speak to Blair then, make him understand that if he truly loves Jim, he’ll walk away and give Jim his life back, a life that she knows only she can give him.
Jim slams the door behind him and looks up to see Blair walking down the stairs. True to his word he’s dressed now but as he walks past to grab his coat off the coatrack by the door, Jim waylays him with a hand on his arm. “It’s okay,” he says. “She’s gone. You don’t have to go out. It’s too cold out there anyway.”
Blair nods then pulls Jim into his arms and just stands there, holding him, the strength of his embrace a balm to Jim’s soul.
“How’d it go?” Blair asks.
“I told her she should go home,” Jim replies. He drops a kiss on Blair’s hair then pushes him away so he can look into his eyes. “Don’t tell me you’re feeling sorry for her.”
Blair shrugs and Jim sighs. “Hey, I’d be upset if I couldn’t have you too,” Blair says and Jim can’t help smiling at that.
“Well, you will always have me,” he replies, punctuating each word with a kiss on Blair’s lips.
“Good. Because you know I’d track you down and drag you back if you ever left me.”
Jim grins, grabs Blair by the hand and hauls him back upstairs. He pushes him down on their bed, blankets his body with his own and then shows Blair why he never has to worry about that happening. By the time they fall asleep an hour later, sated and sweaty, Jim’s almost forgotten about Carolyn’s visit.
The phone in her hotel room is ringing as she walks in the door and Carolyn crosses quickly over to it and grabs it up, grimacing as she recognizes the voice on the other.
“How’s it going in Cascade?” Dr. Werner asks brightly.
“It’s fine,” Carolyn replies, sitting down on the edge of the bed and shrugging out of her fleecy jacket. It leaves a scattering of snowflakes across the carpet as it falls to the floor and she shivers, wanting nothing more than to get her psychiatrist off the phone so she can climb into a hot shower and crawl into bed.
“Have you spoken to Jim?”
“Yes,” she says shortly. “Look, I know you thought it was a bad idea me coming here but you’re also the one who told me I had to confront my past in order to put it behind me.”
“Yes, I did,” the doctor agrees, “but is that what you’re there for, to put it behind you?”
“Of course,” she lies blithely. It’s her life after all and all her problems will disappear like dust in the wind once she and Jim are back together anyway. She just knows it. Suddenly she’s anxious for the next day to come. She’s sure she can make Blair see that Jim will be so much better off with her and if Blair truly loves him, he won’t stand in the way of what’s best for him. “Look, Doctor Werner, I’m really cold and really tired. It’s been snowing pretty much since I got here and I just got in. I’m about to head to bed. I’ll be sure to make an appointment with you as soon as I get home.” She hangs up the phone on the doctor’s goodbye then heads into the bathroom, showers then crawls into bed.
She doesn’t sleep for a long while though. She can’t get the image of Blair climbing the stairs up to Jim’s bedroom out of her head. She starts to imagine them in bed up there together, even as she’s lying here alone, aching for Jim and finally the tears come again. She lets them fall, sobbing into her pillow long into the dark cold night.
When she wakes, it’s to another bleak snowy day. The drabness of the sky outside her window drags at her mood, making her feel even more depressed and miserable than she did the night before. She goes to the bathroom and takes down her bottle of pills from the vanity cupboard. It’s so tempting just to take them all, lie down on the floor and never wake up to another day of sadness again. She thinks Jim would be sorry if she did. It almost makes a crazy kind of sense until she realizes that if she does that she’s leaving him open to Blair’s wiles again and there’ll be no one to protect him from them if she’s gone. She opens the lid of the toilet and flushes all the pills away. She hasn’t used them in days anyway. She won’t need them anymore. Jim will be her crutch, her support.
She showers and dresses warmly. She could be waiting around in a cold car for a while before she gets the chance to speak to Blair alone. She just needs to impress on him that he’d be doing this for Jim, she thinks as she heads down to her car. She saw the sacrifice he made for him once before, when he admitted to that he’d lied about him in his thesis. She’s sure she can make him see that he needs to make that sacrifice again and give Jim back his life, and hers too.
“Is she coming up or not?” Jim’s standing on the balcony when Blair comes out of the shower.
“Who?” Blair pokes his head out through the glass doors and shivers. “Man, Jim, come on in. It’s freezing out there. I can’t believe we’re getting more snow today.” He heads over to the kitchen and pours himself a cup of coffee then asks again when Jim comes back in and joins him, “Is who coming up?”
“Carolyn,” Jim says as he stacks his breakfast dishes in the sink and walks over to the coat hooks to grab his jacket. “Well, if she wanted to talk to me she’s missed her chance.” He glances at his watch. “I’m already late as it is. I told Simon I’d call in and go over the paperwork for the Donnelly case today. That way he’ll have no excuse to be calling me while we’re away on our honeymoon.” He turns and blows a kiss at Blair who catches it and blows one back then waves him off.
“Go on, ya big mushball, go talk to Simon. And tell him I’m making sure your cell phone is switched off while we’re away so it’ll be no good him even trying to call.” Blair laughs as Jim gives him a thumbs up. “I’ll meet you at the station for lunch around 12-30,” he calls after Jim’s retreating back then adds, “What should I tell Carolyn?”
“Tell her you snooze, you lose. Tell her I’m taken. Tell her goodbye,” Jim calls over his shoulder as he closes the door behind him.
An hour later her car’s still there and Blair can’t help but feel a twinge of genuine empathy for her. He can only imagine how he’d feel in her place, wanting Jim and unable to have him. He grabs his jacket, hat, and gloves then makes two steaming mugs of coffee and takes them down to her car.
The sharp rap on her window snaps her out of the reverie she’s fallen into. She looks up, surprised to see Blair standing there. He lofts the coffee mugs in his hands, she can see steam wafting from them and she rolls down her window.
“You looked like you might need this,” he says, handing a mug into her.
She takes it, smiles her thanks, watches as he wraps both gloved hands around his own cup and blows on the top of it before taking a sip.
“Did you want to come up?” he asks. “Jim’s not here though. He had a meeting with Simon at the station.”
“No,” she replies brightly, “actually it was you I wanted to see.” She unlocks the passenger side door. “Want to get and take a drive? There’s something I’d like you to see. Please,” she adds pleadingly as he looks hesitant. “I’m leaving tomorrow,” she lies. “This is my last chance to visit this place. It’s really special to me but I don’t want to go alone. All my friends are working and I don’t have family here anymore. I remember you told me once how much you love the mountains around here so when everyone else was too busy to come with me, I thought of you.”
“Yeah, sure,” he agrees finally, opening the door and climbing in. “I gotta meet Jim and Simon at the PD at 12-30 though,” he tells her as he puts on his seatbelt and snaps it closed.
“No problem. This won’t take long at all. It’s just outside the city limits, only about a half hour drive from here.” She put her own seatbelt on and places her coffee mug in the drink holder between them then starts the car and pulls out into the traffic.
Neither of them talk much on the way. She senses he doesn’t know what to say and she doesn’t want to start her planned discussion with him till he’s seen what she wants to show him. Once he sees it, he’ll understand, she’s sure. She pulls the car into the parking lot just outside Cascade National Park and climbs out, taking the binoculars from the side pocket. She waits for him to join her then grabs her purse from the backseat and locks the car.
“Cascade Park?” Blair says as they walk through the gates. “This isn’t exactly what I was expecting.”
She hurries on ahead of him. “Wait till you see what I wanted to show you,” she calls back over her shoulder. She’s moving so quickly, she slips on the snowy path and he runs to catch up to her and grabs her arm then keeps hanging on as she leads the way further into the park.
She stops beneath an old tree that’s bent and weighted down with snow. Lifting the binoculars to her eyes she finds the place she’s seeking then hands the glasses to him. “At the crest of that mountain there,” she tells him, pointing it out, “that’s where Jim proposed to me.” She laughs at the memory. “He actually got down on one knee in the snow.”
Blair laughs too. “That sounds like him. He’s a romantic at heart.”
She turns on him at that, unable to keep the anger at bay. “How would you know?” she snaps. “What you think you and Jim have is nothing like what he had with me.”
He hands the binoculars back to her. “Look, Carolyn, I don’t want to argue with you,” he says. “I don’t doubt you think you still love Jim but nothing’s going to happen between you.”
“How would you know?” she snarls, leaning in close to him. “You’ve never given him a chance to have a normal relationship since you met him. You’ve been in his face, in his house, in his bed… Why won’t you leave, go somewhere else, let him have a normal life? If you loved him, you would.”
He shakes his head. “If I left he’d follow me,” he says, “just as I’d follow him. To the ends of the earth,” he adds. “We should get back.” He turns away from her and starts to walk back to the gates.
Jim hadn’t followed her when she’d left; he’d barely even called to see how she was doing… There’s a moment of white hot fury at the realization of that and the next thing she’s aware of is holding her gun in her hand and Blair on the ground at her feet, blood turning the snow around his head crimson.
She leans over him. His eyes are closed and he looks strangely peaceful. “I’m sorry, Blair,” she whispers. Only she’s not really sorry at all, she realizes as she heads back to her car and leaves him there to be covered by the snow. She doesn’t think she intended to kill him but maybe it’s fitting in a way. He’d sacrificed his professional life for Jim once before, and now his physical life too. She wonders if maybe he loves Jim almost as much as she does after all…
“I thought you said Sandburg was meeting us at 12-30,” Simon grouses goodnaturedly while looking at his watch.
Jim looks up from the paperwork they’ve finally finished going through and then at the clock on the wall. It’s 12-45. Blair’s late as usual. “I’ll go give him a call,” he says, standing up and stretching the kinks out of his back. He opens the office door and his heart sinks as he sees Carolyn walking towards Simon’s office. “Oh for crying out loud,” he mutters, pulling his head back inside and closing the door. He looks over his shoulder at Simon. “Carolyn’s headed this way. Please don’t ask her to come have lunch with us.”
“Problem?” Simon asks.
“She seems to think there’s a chance we’ll get back together,” Jim tells him. He turns and leans against the closed door as if he can stop her from knocking and gaining entrance that way.
“Ah,” Simon says. He grabs his coat from the rack behind him then walks over to Jim and pats his shoulder. “I’ll tell her we’ve got a private lunch meeting with the DA. She’s a cop. She’ll understand.”
“Yeah, good thinking. You talk to her while I go call Blair.” Jim straightens away from the door and pulls it open, catching Carolyn in mid-knock. “Carolyn,” he says politely, moving past her and ushering her into the office.
“Jim, I wanted to talk to you,” she says. Her smile is wide and she looks… excited, is the only way Jim can describe it.
“Sorry, Caro, I have to go call Blair. We’ve got a lunch meeting with the DA and he’s late. Again.” Jim forces a smile and groans sub-vocally as she grabs his arm as he tries to walk away.
“Blair’s not coming,” she says. “I tried to tell him he should just leave but he didn’t want to listen. But you don’t need to worry about him. He won’t bother you again, Jimmy. We can finally be together again.”
Jim whirls on her and grabs her by the arms, fingers pressing so tightly he knows he’s leaving bruises and doesn’t care. “What do you mean?” he asks, giving her a shake when she doesn’t immediately answer. “Where’s Blair?”
“I even took him to our special place so he could see that my being back here wasn’t just a coincidence, that we were meant to be together,” she replies. “You’re not gay, Jimmy. You’re my husband. Blair wouldn’t listen.”
“What did you do to him?” Jim’s voice is almost a growl. He can feel his heart racing and cold sweat beginning to bead his forehead.
“I think he’s dead,” she says. “I don’t think I meant to kill him but he wouldn’t listen. He made me so angry.” She leans in and tries to wrap her arms around his neck but Jim pushes her away. “Keep her here,” he tells Simon, who’s looking shell-shocked. “I know where she took him.”
He’s out of the building and in his car without even registering the elevator ride down to the garage. He peels out into the traffic and heads for Cascade National Park. He’d proposed to Carolyn there. It had to be the special place she’d spoken of. He pushes the thought that Blair’s dead far back into the recesses of his mind and concentrates on getting himself safely to where he needs to go. He’ll be no good to Blair if he gets himself into an accident He’d thought Blair dead once before and been able to bring him back. He won’t give up on him yet. He can hear the gratifying sound of sirens behind him and knows Simon’s called for an ambulance to meet him. He presses down on the accelerator as hard as he dares and prays to any gods who love Jim Ellison to give him the chance to save Blair one more time.
When he reaches the park, he pulls the truck into side-slithering halt just outside the gates then gets out, heart in his mouth as he runs, sliding on the snowy ground, into the park. He’s vaguely aware of the ambulance pulling up behind him but he’s focused only one thing and he stops just inside the entrance and dials up his sight and looks out into the distance as far as he dares go without zoning. He almost collapses to his knees in sheer relief as he sees a figure stumbling towards him, almost falling in the ankle deep snow. Jim takes off sprinting to reach him and grabs Blair around the waist just in time to keep from taking a header. He hauls him up and holds him close. Blair’s shivering and covered in blood but he’s alive. Jim presses a heartfelt kiss to his sodden curls then tips him over his shoulder in a fireman’s carry as Blair’s eyes roll up and he passes out. He hands him over to the care of the medics, places a quick call to Simon to tell him Blair’s been found then climbs back in the truck and follows the ambulance as it heads for Cascade General.
“How you doing, Sandburg?” Simon asks as he walks into Blair’s hospital room and stands next to his bed.
“He’s got a nasty concussion, a gash on his head and a touch of hypothermia,” Jim replies.
Blair rolls his eyes. “I’m fine,” he says. “Grateful to be alive and warm.” He shivers and Jim pulls the blankets up more closely around his shoulders. “Stop fussing,” Blair says but he smiles as he says it and Jim can’t help but give the blankets one more tuck just because. “How’s Carolyn?” Blair asks and now Jim rolls his eyes. The woman had tried to kill him and Blair is still concerned about her. Blair gives him a steady look. “Hey, you have to admit this came out of left field. This isn’t something Carolyn would normally do. There has to be a reason.”
“There is. Kind of," Simons says. "It’s not an excuse, at least not in my book and probably not as far as the courts are concerned but she’s apparently suffering from something called PMMD. I spoke to her psychiatrist. The full name is premenstrual dysphoric disorder. In most cases when women suffer from it causes mood swings, depression, that kind of thing but she said Caro’s was an extreme case, one where the person can become uncontrollably angry and depressed, even paranoid. She was on medication and having therapy to alleviate the symptoms but the doctor thinks she may have stopped taking her meds. She’d developed an obsession with getting back with Jim. When she got here and found out about you two being together, it just pushed her right over the edge.” Simon pushes Blair’s feet a little to one side so he can sit down on the bed. “I feel kind of sorry for her though I don’t in any way condone what she did to you, Blair.”
“I’m not going to press charges,” Blair says.
“You have to,” Jim retorts.
“Much as I hate to say it, Jim’s right,” Simon says. “Look, if you press charges, the courts can make mandatory psychiatric and medical treatment a part of her sentence.”
Jim grasps Blair’s hand in his. “You’ll be doing the right thing for her,” he says.
Blair sighs. “All right,” he agrees. “I don’t like it but I see your point.” He rubs at the bandage on his head. “I guess I should be grateful she only clocked me with the gun instead of shooting me with it.”
Jim shudders at what could have been then gives Blair a very gentle noogie. “Very grateful,” he says.
“Well, I’ll let you get some rest, Blair.” Simon stands up and pulls a cigar from his pocket, sniffing it appreciatively. “Apparently we’ve all got a wedding to go to in a couple of days.”
“It’s not a wedding,” Jim and Blair both say at the same time and Simon snorts out a laugh. “Oh yes, it is,” he says as he leaves the room.
“He’s right, it is.” Jim leans in and gives Blair a sweet and tender kiss.
“Yeah, okay, it is,” Blair replies, kissing him back. “As binding for us as any wedding ceremony can be anyway.”
“I’ve been bound to you from the moment we met,” Jim tells him.
“I know but hey, nothing wrong with a little added insurance, is there?” Blair asks.
Jim shakes his head. “Nothing wrong at all.”