Title: A Fair Distance:Ball and Chain.Chapter Ten
Type: Slash The Sentinel. Jim/Blair
Warnings: none for this chapter.
Beta’ed by t_verano. As always, I appreciate the time and assistance you give me.
Summary for A Fair Distance: A year after Blair left Jim, and Cascade, they meet again in a small Tennessee town where Blair's been arrested and is being held for questioning at the request of the Cascade PD.
A Fair Distance can be found at my LJ here or at 852 Prospect here, if you prefer one text file(but it only has the first arc A Fair Distance: Running on Empty, and not Ball and Chain or at Artifact Storage Room 3 here, to read chapter by chapter, including other stories in the series.
Ball and Chain is the second arc of A Fair Distance.
A Fair Distance: Ball and Chain. Chapter Ten
I whirled around to see if I could spot Blair; maybe he hadn’t hitchhiked away from me yet. Nothing.
Jesus! Fuck! Jesus. I wasn’t -- I couldn’t lose him again. I had to find him and as I listened for the sound of his voice, I grabbed the groceries I'd dropped and tossed them into the truck – just an automatic reaction -- and then I heard the most reassuring sound in the world at the same time that I spotted the note he’d left me.
That little shit!
He’d torn out a piece of paper from his notebook, and on it -- in capital letters that he’d gone over several times, so they were dark and noticeable -- he’d written: DON’T PANIC !! There was an arrow on the paper pointing to the other side; I picked up the note and turned it over. I already had figured out what the note said from the sound of his heartbeat, and I walked around to the back of the truck, let down the tailgate, and lifted the back window of the camper shell.
And there he sat, cross-legged –an infuriating and wonderful sight – with a concerned look on his face.
“Jim, man, you okay?”
I didn’t trust my voice yet; I might yell at him or chant his name in a litany of relief that then would escalate to yelling if I opened my mouth.
“Uh, hey, are you all right? Shit, maybe this wasn’t such a good idea, but you just wouldn’t see reason – I wanted you to understand that I can take care of myself. But I didn’t leave you; I stayed in the truck, just like you always wanted me to do when we investigated cases. I know I didn’t do it as much as you would have liked back then, but I only would get out of the truck if you needed me. And I helped you, Jim. All the time, I helped you. I can still do that.”
I could feel my skin flushing as Sandburg was running his mouth. When I’d seen the empty handcuffs dangling from the steering wheel it had felt as if every drop of my blood had rushed to my toes and I probably had looked pale as a ghost, but now anger was heating my skin. And I needed to be careful; If I unloaded that anger on Blair I could destroy the tentative bridge we’d been building together.
“Jim. C’mon now, I left you a note and everything. I could have disappeared, could have grabbed a ride while you were in the store, but I didn’t. I just want you to treat me as your partner. Your capable partner. I need that from you."
Blair ran his hands through his hair as his voice picked up speed. "And I could have gone to meet up with Bergman on my own, kept a voice recorder in my pocket, and then turned it over for evidence. I didn’t leave because I was hoping you’d see reason after my little demonstration, and we could work this case together. You and me. Sentinel and guide. Ellison and Sandburg. Jim? Try a few deep breaths, my man.”
He was starting to look a little wild, and I made a stab at calming down. I did take a few deep breaths, as suggested, and then I handed him his own damned sign back and pointed to where it said ‘DON’T PANIC!!’
“That’s good advice, Sandburg. Let me add my own. Don’t say another fucking word right now. I’m trying to not blow up and I’d appreciate it if you’d get your ass back up front so we can leave here. But I promise you – we will talk and I’ll listen to your plan.” And as I reached in to help him scoot out, I -- maybe, kind of -- yanked a little hard on him because I pulled him free of the truck with enough oomph that he landed against me as he tried to regain his footing.
Christ, it was all I could do not to strip him where he was standing and run my hands over every inch of his naked skin. And it wasn’t because I wanted to make love with him. No, I wasn’t aroused at the sight of him. I wanted to take inventory, really be sure that he was unharmed. Fuck. I needed to get us to the cabin and then maybe I would do exactly that. Let Blair see what he’d unleashed with his little stunt.
I did give him a tight hug, hard enough that he squeaked out “Jim,” before I walked him to the cab of the truck. I opened the door and lifted him in. Yes, I knew and he knew that he could have climbed in easily enough on his own, but I could feel the adrenaline coursing through my arteries and I needed to be physical to settle down. I really should have dropped and done fifty pushups, but I was afraid that would've drawn too much attention to us.
I didn’t ask him to sit right next to me – too unsure of my own reaction to chance driving off the fucking road and smashing into a tree – but Blair reached over and grabbed my wrist, pulling my hand off the steering wheel. He held tightly to me and I let him. I let his hot, sweaty hand keep my temper anchored as I drove to our destination for the night. I’d held his wrist just this way when I’d put him in protective custody. I’d needed that connection back then, and I guessed, right now, Blair did, too.
Jim was still radiating anger as he escorted me into our cabin-for-the-night. I wasn’t scared of him, though. I knew the origins of his fury and I intended for us to deal with… these, these, fears of his.
These fears -- that he couldn’t keep me safe, that I would leave him. Not that his fears weren’t legitimate or anything. I’d died for Christ’s sake! And… I did leave him. I wouldn’t do that again.
Somewhere over the last day, a decision had emerged from the murky depths of my brain. I wanted to be Jim’s partner again. Partner in the... partner thing. Watching his back. Guiding his senses. Looking out for him. Hadn’t decided about sex – sex was another whole dimension to the Twilight Zone that was our lives together. And, Goddammit, I wasn’t going to let him push me aside under the guise of protecting me. He was just going to have to deal. I hoped me showing him that, man, I had skills, would aid him in accepting my active help. And the Chief of Police with his restrictions could just blow me. I wasn’t going to let anybody separate us again.
Jim had dragged me with him while checking out the doors and windows. I wondered if he was going to handcuff me while he brought in our things or if he would let me help him this time. Then he returned to the front door and locked it, still holding tightly to my arm.
“Shut up, Sandburg. I’m indulging myself. And you asked for this, little buddy.”
Jim unzipped my sweatshirt and tossed it on the floor. The floor. Oh, shit.
My other sweatshirt and shirts quickly were heaped up on the floor, and Jim took my hands and slowly raised them until they were close to his chest. He stroked my thumbs and studied my palms, then turned them over and frowned at a small scrape I’d gotten climbing into the back of the truck. I hadn’t paid it any attention, but Jim touched the roughened skin, smoothing it with his finger.
He ran his hands down my arms and firmly across my ribs, then palmed my nipples. The heat from his hands felt good to me and I shifted a little on the balls of my feet.
What was going on with this strange little meet-n-greet? I thought he’d be demanding that I explain my actions, not reverently touching my skin. He shifted his hands to my shoulders, then he probed and found a sore area on my neck. He turned me around and massaged my neck muscles; I started to feel a little boneless and my eyes felt heavy. I shut them and longed to lie down.
“Be quiet, Blair. I’m listening to your body," he commanded.
That made my eyes open back up; I turned my head and saw that Jim had his head cocked to one side in that very familiar pose of intense listening.
“What are you hearing?”
Jim didn’t answer me, just shifted a hand up to my mouth and traced my lips. The boneless feeling grew and I swayed a bit till he gently settled me, my back against him, and he let both of his hands drift through my hair, lifting it off of my neck and scenting it. I shivered, feeling him along the length of my spine. He dropped his head to the side of my neck and licked the skin. Over and over, moving slightly each time so that a new section of my skin was tasted. My nipples pebbled up and my dick hardened.
Jim took a deep breath and I realized that, of course, he smelled my arousal. His hands moved down my belly to my belt buckle and he tugged my belt away a little from my body. It was loose – too loose – and he was able to easily slide his hand down into my boxers.
I squirmed and tried to think about if this was a good idea or not. But his hand felt warm against my dick and my body voted to continue. Before my brain voiced its vote, Jim had withdrawn his hand.
He slid his arm around my waist and walked me into a bedroom and sat me down on the bed. Oh, man – I didn’t know what to do. That slippery slope I’d been inching down suddenly became like a bobsled run and I felt myself flying down it towards probably a big mistake. Shit, shit, shit. And Jim had knelt and taken off my shoes, and was caressing my bare feet. Should I stop him? I didn’t want to. This was Jim. And yeah – I’d been telling myself it might be for the best if we left sex out of the equation… but, this was… Jim. And I wasn’t going to tell him no. I was going to let it happen. Whatever he wanted. Because this was Jim.
Jim unbuckled my belt and unzipped my jeans. I lifted up so he could pull my boxers and pants off of me. Which he did, slowly, and so unhurriedly that I tried to finish yanking them off myself, but Jim captured my hands and laid them against the bed, then he went back to gradually inching my clothing down my hips and thighs and finally down my legs. I kicked my boxers and jeans the rest of the way off before Jim climbed on the bed and pinned my lower legs by sitting on them. I couldn’t move very much and I wanted to. I wanted to pull him down against me and thrust against him. Fuck, he hadn’t taken a stitch off. He just continued to look me over, smoothing the skin on my belly and thighs, and when my hands reached up to pull him down, he grasped them and held them pinned down on the bed, and bent his head to my groin, sniffing deeply before licking a trail around the base of my dick. Begging suddenly sounded like a great idea and I started moaning a disjointed litany of Jim, please... God -- I wanna come. Jim stopped what he was doing and just watched me, and I surfaced out of my lust haze enough to realize that something was weird. Jim didn’t look erect. Of course, he had his clothes on, but – I was pretty sure about this – he didn’t want to fuck me. What was he doing? And he couldn’t leave me like this.
“Jim, c’mon, lose the clothes and join me. I’ll make you feel good, I promise.” And I licked my lips and tried to thrust up again.
Jim bent down and tongued my nipples and nuzzled my armpit. But then he moved off of me and said softly, with no anger in his voice anymore, “Roll over, Blair.” I did as he asked and tried to get on all fours, so he could fuck me if he wanted to, but he pushed me flat against the bed. He started at my ankles, employing his mouth to lave my skin up to my butt, then did the same thing on my other side. He spread my cheeks and licked his way down to my hole and the delicate skin between my hole and my balls. Jesus, he was killing me here.
“Please,” I whined.
He just laid his head on my back, with his ear against my skin. Still listening to my bodily functions, I guessed.
Then he licked around the spot on the back of my neck where the stigmata bite had appeared. I went wild and writhed for all I was worth. God, if he didn’t join this party soon it was all gonna be over before he even made an appearance. He didn’t stop tormenting my neck, and I started to pant.
“J…Jim… so close. Come with me. Let me touch you.”
Jim breathed out a long sigh, a very relaxed sound that didn’t make sense to me. I was so tense you could have bounced a quarter off of me. How could Jim sound so mellow?
He kissed my neck, lifted himself up, and stood next to the bed. No. No-No-No-No! He wasn’t quitting now!
I heard him start to walk away. Fuck. He was punishing me. This was his revenge for my tricking him in the truck. I felt like yelling at him that using my sexuality was dirty pool. I also felt sad that it looked like we still had major problems, if he could do this to me.
“Jimmm... Don’t go.”
Jim stopped, and sniffed the air, then turned and walked back. I rolled over and looked up at him, feeling miserable, with a hard-on that wouldn’t quit. And yeah, I could jack off but Jim had started this. I wanted Jim to finish it.
“Are you that mad at me for getting out of the handcuffs that you’d set me up like this, and leave me? Jesus, Jim. Is this your idea of revenge because I hadn’t decided about being lovers again? You’re teaching me a lesson, right? That you can seduce me and I’ll roll right over for you, easy as pie? I thought we were getting somewhere. Didn’t you hear me in the truck? I said I want to be your partner again.”
Jim shook himself slightly, and said, “Babe, I’m sorry. I was kind of on my own mission and I didn’t realize you were hurting. You want me to touch you again, Blair? You want me to make you come? I will. I’ll make you come so sweet, if you want me to. Just tell me what you want – you can have my mouth or my hand.” And Jim knelt down on the floor next to the bed and started playing with my dick with his hand. Not like he did before, which was with a kind of detached air, but sweetly teasing me and I felt myself start to reach the point where I’d spill. I grabbed his hand with my own and made him hold me tighter while our hands together made slow, exquisite slides up and down my dick. I reached out to him with my other hand and held on tight to his bicep as my body bowed up and I came so damn hard. It had been forever since I’d had Jim touch me like this. Except for that time in the spirit plane when I’d been bitten as I climaxed.
I felt tired and lethargic after the sharply pleasant after-orgasm feeling evaporated away, and I felt my eyes closing. Dimly, I felt a blanket being laid over me. And then I was falling asleep. I knew I was going under but I was powerless to stop it, even though Jim and I had so much to talk about.
Emerging into what I gradually realized was the spirit plane, I became aware that I was walking down a tunnel in Blue Jungle Land. Well, it was trees bent over the path, but the effect was tunnel-like. It was dusk and the fading light made the jungle look more blue than normal. I was naked – as usual -- but I was comfortable. I felt that I was in synch with my spirit self – whether in wolf form or in jungle boy persona -- and that I was open to understanding the lessons offered on this level of the spirit plane.
Jim’s spirit plane.
I gravitated to Jim’s dreamscape like iron to a magnet. Well, that wasn’t too surprising, since in the mundane world I had had a constant attraction to Jim. He had fascinated me since I’d met him at the hospital – me disguised in a lab coat, although my crummy sneakers would have given me away if he’d noticed them. And if he hadn’t agreed to let me help him? Who knows? I might have become a stalker.
I wanted to talk to the sentinel spirit; I had concerns about the way Jim’s fears were impeding our return to a full partnership. I also was keeping a wary eye out for whatever, whoever, was responsible for the destruction of my previous hiding places and lairs. However, despite being watchful, I walked along enjoying the jungle. I had rarely been able to do so before Jim and I'd reconnected. Most of my prior experiences here were of hiding from Jim in his sentinel form or his black jaguar form -- or of spying on him.
I passed brightly colored tropical vines and I looked closely at a beautiful one with five pale pink petals to the flower. I’d seen it before on expeditions. It was one of the many varieties of ayahuasca that could be found in the jungle, and I touched it reverently. Shamans used it for soul journeying; it was a sacred medicinal plant. Stupid thrill-seeking idiots took it hoping for a quick lift to enlightenment. I’d never taken it; I'd rather send myself into a trance through drumming or meditation, but I hadn’t ruled out using those kinds of drugs. Of course, Jim would rule it out for me. Still, on impulse I asked the plant for permission and picked the flower, tucking it behind my ear. It was just a flower. The power of the plant resided in the vines.
I walked the jungle paths for a long time, till night had fallen and I was tired, hot, and sweaty. Finally, by moonlight, I found where a spring flowed into a pool about the size of a couple of hot tubs. I stuck my feet in the water and decided I was going about this all wrong. Jim had had these fears about losing people he loved for a long time. With reason. He had lost a lot of people, through death or abandonment. He was trying to keep me safe to protect himself from the pain of another potential loss. Well, that was partly it; he also genuinely didn’t want to see me get hurt because he cared about me, but that didn’t make my theory invalid. I suspected his spirit guide was reacting to that fear of loss by avoiding me. That was about to change. And once I could talk to Jim’s spirit guide, I was sure I could get him to be my ally.
Jim and I were linked; I had no doubts about that. My presence here in Blue Jungle Land was proof enough. And earlier, Jim had spent time mapping me with his senses -- because that was what all that licking and touching and scenting was about. He had said I’d asked for it – I hadn’t. Not verbally anyway, so I guess my actions triggered his impulses. He’d said he was indulging himself. He’d indulged me, too, when I needed to come. And that act of orgasm released energy. Psychic energy. Energy that I thought I could tap into right now because it had strengthened our connection. His hand, my hand, my dick all touching together – there had to be a residual signature from the sex I’d had that I could trace, here in the spirit plane -- if I tried.
I moved a little way from the pool and sat cross-legged in a meditation pose, then took the ayahuasca flower from my hair, setting it on a tall rock so that it was almost at eye level with me. I would focus on this flower from a sacred plant -- use it to help deepen my trance – and project to Jim’s spirit guide that I desperately needed him.
As I ended my meditation, I sensed that the sentinel spirit guide was standing near me; I opened my eyes to see a golden shimmer that wound from me to Jim’s spirit double. That... that was our bond, the manifestation of the tie between us. And there were more colors emanating from us -- cool! I was looking at our auras! -- and I realized that there was a trick to seeing our bond and our auras. I kind of had to look from the corner of my eye – not directly -- or the layers of shimmering colors would blink out of sight. Sort of like a hologram. And this was so fascinating; Naomi had taught me the meanings of the aura hues and she would feel proud that I could see my own multi-layered, colored aura energy field as well as Jim’s. Although... some of the tones in Jim’s aura were not quite right – muddy blue and gray -- instead of a clear shade. That worried me for my lover. My own hues were mostly fine, except for some black holes at the edges, but right now the emerald green for healing was dominant.
Healing. Shamans did healing on the spirit plane. I was here in the spirit plane. I had been named a shaman – although I was untrained in shamanism – and Jim was in need of healing from his fears. The dull colors in his aura told me that. And I had a long history of winging it and being a fast learner. I could try this. Because Jim’s fears were hurting him.
I rose and bowed to the sentinel spirit. “Thank you for coming to me. Enqueri denies my place at his side out of fear of harm coming to me. And he wishes for us to resume as lovers – but there is poison in his heart from his fear that I will leave him. It transmutes his care and concerns into jealousy, anger, and depression. I want to help him, but I am untutored in the ways of those who walk two worlds. I ask for your help.”
The sentinel spirit placed the palm of his hand over my heart and was still as he looked deeply into my eyes. The heart. The fourth chakra. I knew as much about chakras as I did about auras – basically what my mother and various teachers had told me and what I had read on my own. I tried to convey how I felt about Jim, willing him to understand, and bit my lip. The sentinel spirit guide pressed his hand against me for another long moment, then he moved his arms until they were crossed over his chest and gazed thoughtfully at me before he held out his hand.
“Walk with me, Little Shaman. Enqueri learned much at Incacha’s side, although he chooses to not remember most of his time with the Chopec. Incacha knew you for one like him, and blessed you. I will show you what to do.”
I took his hand and he examined the trees as we walked. “Damage was done to you long ago, Enqueri’s Lover. When you were a child, when you should have been kept safe, others forced their desires upon you. You have done well in mostly healing yourself, Little Shaman, but the evilness you experienced is still casting a shadow on the love you have for Enqueri. You must untwist the tangle to fully heal. Enqueri suspects what you have not told him. The snarl must be made smooth before the binding will succeed.”
He stopped speaking cryptically, and guided me to where branches from a tree were scattered on the ground. He snapped a branch into several pieces and handed them to me.
“Scent them.” I did so, and I recognized Palo Santo. The smoke would help me with what I had in mind to do for Jim.
I thanked the sentinel spirit for his knowledge and the tree for its gift. And I gathered up as many branches as I could carry.
We had returned to the pool I had found, and the heavy, pleasant smoke of the Holy Wood drifted around the two of us, as we stood facing each other across the tiny fire I had lit. I was feeling my way here, with no real clue about what I was doing, but I knew I was going to work with energy and I was going to do it in a ritual. My own ritual, taken from what felt right from various disciplines. This was going to be eclectic to the max, but then that was the way I operated in life. The spirit plane would reflect that style. At least I thought so. Well, I’d find out, anyway.
I looked into the sentinel spirit’s eyes and raised my palms. He matched his palms to mine and gave me a tiny smile with the corner of his mouth crooked up. Jim’s smile. The smoke drifted up to our hands, but the fire was so small that it wasn’t anything but pleasantly warm.
“Enqueri. James Joseph Ellison. You are loved.” I repeated this two more times. The power of three, man.
I looked again at Jim’s aura. I could see where the gray patches were gathered. That had to change because I didn’t want Jim to become sick from the imbalance in his aura. The dull blue shade – that indicated the fears that he guarded against revealing. Probably he was ashamed of them.
“I ask your permission to become closer to Jim’s inner self.” The sentinel spirit nodded and closed his eyes.
Our auras were touching but not mingling with each other. I closed my eyes and focused my energy by chanting a mantra – I love you – while I visualized my aura blending with Jim’s. I let go of my sense of time passing and stayed in the moment. I directed my love and care towards Jim and slowly felt a change occurring between us. Without looking, I knew that Jim had allowed me into his aura and I searched all through the different shades seeking out the imbalances and sharing my own energy. I could sense where there were old wounds in his psyche – negative energy from his mother’s abandonment, the deaths of his men in Peru, his friend Danny’s dying in his arms, seeing me dead at the fountain, the anger and loss when I’d left him. So much fear and grief and anger – oh, Jim. And I knew what to do to end this imbalance for good, not just give him some immediate relief. Shamanic tradition recognized the damage such energies could do; shamans would do an extraction.
I had no idea how much time had passed – for that matter time had to be relative on the spirit plane anyway; I admonished myself to keep focused and not drift off into such speculation – and I opened my eyes and looked at our blended auras. We were beautiful together. I really hoped I would be able to remember this sight when I returned to my body. I slowly began to shift my aura away from Jim’s, and I watched to see if his aura had healed. When we were separate again, I carefully examined the shimmering colors and was pleased that the muddy tones in his had disappeared. But I knew this was a temporary cure. Unless the negative energy-wounds were removed, Jim’s fears would return and sabotage our love for each other. And I hadn’t forgotten the sentinel spirit's words to me. I needed to do my part in healing myself of my injuries from long ago. I hadn’t realized how much hold on me they still had, as evidenced by the black holes I had seen in my own aura.
“Sentinel, I ask again for your guidance. I see what needs to be done for my lover, but I need his permission. Can you grant it?”
The sentinel spirit shook his head. “Enqueri is still divided. He has not accepted his spiritual self, as you have, Little Shaman. You must speak to Enqueri when you return to the world. I will be here, at this fire, when you come back. But you must rest first, and come again only when you feel strong again in your body.” He took his palms away from mine and drew his hands up to my face and kissed me deeply. The smoke swirled so densely around us that I couldn’t see him anymore, only felt his kisses, drugging me to a sensuous haze. I closed my eyes, lost to everything but the feel of Jim against my lips and the taste of him in my mouth. When I opened my eyes, Jim was kissing me… and I was lying in a bed. Our new cabin.
Jim smiled at me from where he was kneeling on the floor. “Hey, time for supper. And I’ve been sitting out on the patio, mulling things over while you slept. I’m not angry at your disappearing act, Houdini. Not anymore. You told me you wanted us to be partners; that’s what I want, you and me together again. Are we lovers, too, Blair? I… yeah. I maybe was over-reacting about you being involved in dangerous things again."
Jim got up and pulled the covers off of me and stretched out his hand. I took it and he pulled me up, kissing me again, and then he laid his head on top of my hair.
“Um… Jim? Aren’t you worried about getting sick from kissing me?”
“The blood tests I was given when I first met you, Dr. McKay, showed that I’ve got immunities against mono. And somebody very wise recently told me that life was dangerous. If my partner is going to be risking his neck in police business, then I think I can risk a few strep germs, although, I think enough time’s gone by since you’ve been on meds that the hazard is low. Will you try and keep the odds low on your side, Chief? I mean, there’s taking a calculated risk and then there’s working without a net. Just tell me that you’ll always have a net under you for safety when you’re doing your crazy-ass stunts, okay?”
“Okay. And wait till I tell you how I got out of the cuffs.”
Jim chuckled, and said ruefully, “You’ve made Joel a happy man, Chief. This will top his story of how you got out of his protective custody.”
He moved away from me and ruffled my hair. “C’mon.” He walked over and handed my shirt to me from off of the top of the dresser. I grinned to myself as I put it on. Jim throwing clothes on the floor was a real indicator of the urgency he’d felt to check me out with his senses – taste, touch, hearing, sight and smell all focused on me. But when he’d relaxed? He could no more let clothes lie on the floor than I could let an anthropology journal sit on a table untouched.
“I picked up some major protein for dinner. How long has it been since you ate a rib-eye steak? And I’ve got real butter and sour cream for the baked potatoes. You need the calories. And after supper? We’ll talk, Blair. And after we talk, I want to make love to you. Both of us, this time. You scared the be-jeezus out of me when I saw you'd ditched me while I was in the store. I didn’t read the ‘Don’t Panic’ sign fast enough. And I, uh, well, when I found you, sitting like Buddha in the back of the truck I wanted to check every inch of you. That’s what all that licking and sniffing was about once we were inside this cabin. I was so intent on satisfying my senses that you were here and all right, that I kind of missed the boat on how it affected you. I’m sorry. I wasn’t punishing you. You do want to be lovers again, don’t you, Blair?”
Jim started to look a little anxious and I looked at him out of the corner of my eye and did my hologram-aura trick. Bright, clear colors still radiated out around him. Right now, Jim was happy and content. I planned on making sure he stayed that way.
“Yeah.” I reached out and took his hand. “I want to be your lover. I never want to stop being your lover. I’m committing myself to you, James Joseph Ellison. Enqueri. I tell you three times that I’ll love and stay with you till my death. And after that? Probably then, too.”
And this time I kissed Jim. Three times.
A Fair Distance:Ball and Chain Chapter Eleven