Thanks to Diane Fraser for beta-reading
This is not what it looks like. Just read to the end and you'll understand what I mean.
Jim Ellison stood motionless, the phone receiver forgotten in his hand. He couldn't bring himself to hang it up. He couldn't move at all. Grief had frozen him in place.He tightened his grip around the receiver and closed his eyes in desperation.
A stupid accident had snuffed out a gentle and caring soul, shattering his life in the process and darkening his world a little more.
He had been in a good mood this evening, preparing dinner and waiting for his roommate to get home. When the telephone rang, he had expected it to be Simon or Blair, telling him he was on his way home.
He hadn't expected to receive a message that brought his world to a screeching halt.
Dinner preparations forgotten, Jim nearly drowned in his emotions.
He was so caught up in the thoughts whirling through his head that he missed the noise of the loft-door being unlocked and opened.
An anxious voice cut through the fog in his mind. "Jim? Jim man you look awful. Is something wrong?"
It was Blair who had finally come home. Blair who sometimes was the only anchor Jim had left against the blows of life.
Jim pulled himself together and finally placed the receiver in the cradle. He took a deep breath. "That was my dad. Sally's been in an accident. She's dead Chief." Again the grief threatened to overwhelm him.
Blair knew how much the housekeeper of his friend's father meant to Jim. He winced in sympathy. "Oh god. I'm sorry Jim. Is there anything I can do?" The thought that Jim had lost another person he loved and deeply cared for made him sick to his stomach. Sally had been like a mother to Jim so her death had to hit him hard.
Jim didn't seem to have heard him. He was lost in his desperation. "The funeral is next week. God, I can't believe this."
Blair took Jim by the shoulder and gently led him over to the couch. "Come on, sit down. You're in shock." He pushed his unresisting partner into the cushions and left him for a few moments to set the teakettle on the stove.
While he waited for the water to boil, he returned to Jim and eyed him critically. Some color had returned to his friend's face and he didn't look totally shaken anymore. But there still was a lost expression on his face.
The teakettle whistled and Blair went into the kitchen to prepare the tea. It was a mild sort which was supposed to soothe the nerves and help to relax.
He pushed the mug of tea into Jim's hands and settled himself on the coffee-table in front of the couch. "Here drink this. But be careful, it's hot."
Still dazed, Jim did like he was told. He took a few careful sips. The hot tea burned his way down his throat and into his stomach where it helped to thaw the block of ice that had settled there since he had gotten the phone call.
Blair laid a hand on Jim's shoulder. "I know how hard this is for you. Sally meant a lot to you. If it's okay with you, I would like to accompany you to the funeral."
Jim looked up at his friend and saw the sincere sorrow in his eyes. He swallowed and managed a graceful smile. "It'd be a big help if you were there, Chief."
Blair smiled gently. "Then it's settled. We'll go together. Do you feel up to telling me some more about Sally? I only met her a few times and she was a nice, gentle lady. I'd like to know more about her."
Jim sat the mug down onto the coffee-table and leaned back into the cushions. Memories of his childhood surfaced and he once again saw himself as a little boy who turned to his father's housekeeper as a confidant since his mother was gone.
"You know Chief, Sally took care of me and Steven after my mother left. She was really great. She always tried to intercept when dad got too harsh and told us that brothers had to stick together..."
And as he told his friend about the good times he had had with Sally, Jim Ellison felt the ice in his stomach finally thaw totally and the ache in his heart lessen as his world started to brighten again. With the help of Blair he would get through this difficult time.
Did you really think I'd kill Blair without the proper warning? I like the boys too much to write a death story about them.
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