By Paula C
From my own life experience, a little massage once a week keeps the aches and pains at bay. But unlike Blair, I don't have anyone at home to give me a massage.
Blair sat down at the dining table with his bill planner, a gift from his anal roommate, Jim Ellison. He had received his monthly stipend and he needed to pay his monthly bills. Looking at the low amount, he knew he wouldn't be covering all his bills this month. Taking a piece of paper and a pencil, he worked on the math, deducting down as he went, eight hundred and fifty dollars could only be split so many ways.
Mumbling out loud he made out the notes. "Okay, start with $200.00 rent, have to pay it this month, I still owe Jim for December, since I needed money for Christmas. Okay, that leaves $650.00."
Blair looked at his note to 'buy book.' He had come to the crunch time to buying a textbook for a class he was taking. Though he was in the doctorate program, he did pick up a class to help get additional grants. What he had gotten as a book stipend went to buying four tires for his Volvo. He couldn't put it off any longer; Theresa was getting testy with him borrowing her book. "Hundred twenty-five for the textbook," he mumbled.
Looking through his notes he added in other details, "Health Insurance $125.00, Hospital bills I owe towards, $150.00. Gives me $250.00. I need gas for the car, that is $50.00. Leaving $200.00, also, money towards groceries, a hundred, and car insurance for a single young male for $125.00. Gives me a grand total of ... Negative $25.00."
Blair looked at the figures and sighed.
"Okay, pay $75.00 towards hospital bill, something is better than nothing. That gives me $50.00. But I need to pay the minimum for the credit card, which is?" Digging through his folder, finding the statement, "Fifty-five."
Looking over the list he changed his rent from $200.00 to $150.00. That gave him forty-five in the black for the month. Hardly enough for a date in his opinion but at least he had something in his pocket in case of emergency.
He wrote out his checks, sighing, thinking the one thing he couldn't afford was to see Stella. He stopped by to see her once a week when he could afford to for a massage. Since working with Jim, he had been in more accidents than he cared to admit, and the abuse took its toll. A short massage kept the worst aches at bay. He missed a few weeks here and there and could tell the difference in how he felt.
Blair wasn't about to ask Jim for any money. Jim had told him if he couldn't make ends meet, he would help, but it was the principle of the thing. "Guess I can survive a little agony this month."
With checks written, Blair paid his bills then picked up after himself. He looked at the time, "Better get dinner started, Jim will be home soon."
"Come on Chief, rise and shine." Jim yelled once more. He had given his first call ten minutes ago and still no Sandburg had emerged from the cave of doom.
"I'm coming, I'm coming," he heard in reply to his second call. Blair stumbled out of his room and made his way to the bathroom. Jim barely heard his grumble, "Hope there is hot water left. Maybe it will feel better."
Jim had no idea what he meant by 'it'. He went back to fixing their coffee cups and setting out breakfast.
Twenty minutes later Blair emerged washed and somewhat dry, with his towel around his hips. He picked up his coffee and headed back into his room to dress.
Jim noticed that Blair walked slower than normal and without the usual bounce in his step. "What's wrong Chief?" Jim asked as he came back into the kitchen for the bagel dressed in his typical fashion of holey jeans and layered flannel.
"Just stiff this morning, it will work itself out." Which was the truth. Blair was feeling every muscle he had. It had been three weeks since seeing Stella and each morning was getting harder to get up. He even resorted sleeping with the heating pad for his back was giving him fits.
Jim nodded, noting that the answer was the truth from his partner. He went to the sink and washed out his cup. "Coming in this afternoon?"
Blair thought for a moment of his day schedule and nodded, "Out at noon, lunch then the PD by one. I'm all yours."
"Good, I want to go back to a scene then question some of the employees, something doesn't jive with me on this case."
Blair eased into the seat of the truck, knowing his back protested from any movement. Why did he have to get slammed into the wall? Not once but twice. Why always him?
He pulled out his cell phone and looked at the time. 9:30. They had been on the scene for over three hours. Their last witness to talk to and they had to have a total melt down.
Sullivan had freaked when they were into the interview. Blair didn't know when things went wrong. At first they were doing their usual jive talking, asking mundane questions, then all of a sudden, the man reached for him and threw him into the wall, then into another before throwing him at Jim. The first slap into the wall wasn't as bad as the second. Jim had been torn into helping him and going after Sullivan. Blair had told him to go, he would be okay.
Sullivan had locked himself into a closet. Jim waited for back up before they broke in the door and took Sullivan out in handcuffs.
Blair had slowly gotten himself off the floor, called in the back up and waited for them to assist Jim. Once the drama was over, Jim and Simon went over the facts and found more evidence in Sullivan's locker that he was the one who shot Douglas, the man who's death they were investigating.
Now three hours later, Blair was sitting in the bench seat, wondering when they could go home.
A few minutes later, Jim slipped in behind the wheel, ready to leave. "How ya doing?"
"Tired. I'm so ready for bed."
"So am I. Lets head home."
Jim pulled out of the lot and headed over to Main Street. "Want anything to eat?"
Blair had closed his eyes. "No, I'm good, had a large lunch with Valerie."
"You sure, I'm buying." Jim gave a reassuring smile to his partner.
"No, I'm good. A little thirsty, been a long afternoon." Jim pulled into a fast food restaurant and ordered himself up a combo meal and an ice tea for his partner.
Blair winced when he sat up straight in the seat. His back was freezing up. He took the tea and put the straw in under watchful eyes. "What?"
"Are you sure you don't want to tell me anything?"
"I'm just a little sore. I'll be okay."
Jim nodded but not quite believing him just the same.
Blair slowly let his feet touch the ground, letting his body slide down from the truck. He winced when he shouldered his pack. He followed Jim into the building and nearly groaned when they saw the "Out of Order" sign on the elevator.
"This is not happening." Blair shook his head and started up the stairs. Jim was already in the loft when Blair made it to the landing.
Blair closed the door after him and locked it. He dropped his pack on the floor and then hung up his coat.
Jim stepped behind him and gently touched his back. He could feel the knotted muscles through the layer of shirts. "Chief, you are tighter than a knotted rope."
Blair knew that once Jim figured out what his problem was, Jim would try to help him, it was his nature. "The slam didn't help any."
"Go take a warm shower and I'll see what I can do to help that."
"Really, Jim, I'll take a hot shower and take two Advil and go to bed."
"I noticed this morning, you're kind of moving slow. Your back is way too tense. Take your shower while I eat then I'll see what I can do to help."
Blair nodded, knowing at this point it was pointless to argue with Jim and headed to his room.
Blair found the loft darkened when he emerged from the bathroom.
Jim had set up some candles around the room and had put on a soft blanket on the bed.
"Lay down on your stomach and unknot your towel. I'll give you a massage."
Blair did as he was asked. "Put your head on the pillow and keep your arms out from you." Blair got himself situated and waited.
Jim found the oil and positioned himself to the side of Blair's back. Taking some of the oil and warming it in his hands he first touched Blair's shoulders. The skin was tight and with some enhanced touching he could feel the knots.
"Talk to me Blair, keep me off balance." Jim whispered, knowing he would most likely zone while working on Blair's back.
Blair started talking about mundane things, which was interrupted by him saying 'yes' and moaning, when a muscle was found and dealt with. Blair wanted to fall asleep but did his best to keep up the litany to keep Jim from focusing on his sense of touch.
After some time, Blair felt like a puddle and all he could manage was to hum in appreciation.
Jim moved back and let Blair slip into sleep. He was glad to see that he could use his senses to help his young friend. Standing up, he pulled the comforter over his friend and then doused the candles as he went downstairs.
For tonight he would sleep on the couch, letting his roommate get what he deserved. A good nights sleep.
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