He clearly was about to go on when Timothy's cellphone rang. Jim winced a little.
"Sorry, Ellison. I don't know how to turn it down. Hello?"
He mouthed "it's them".
Simon looked at Lisa. She shrugged. "We have that service that reroutes your phone calls if you don't answer."
"Let me talk to my kid!"
As Timothy shouted, Simon made the calls necessary to begin tracing. "Hey, Teege. You okay, guy? Oatmeal, huh? Those guys touch you or anything? Good, cause you know what I'd have to do, right? Mommy? Damn you, let my kid talk to his mother! What do you want? Give me the instructions already!"
He closed the phone so hard that Blair was surprised he didn't break it. At the same time, Jim was looking thoughtful.
"They were using a cell phone. No way to trace where they were." Simon looked apologetic.
Timothy shook his head. "Stupid stuff. If he'd used a normal phone...."
"Umm, Timothy, if *you'd* used a normal phone, you'd have missed the phone call ." Blair looked straight at him.
"Damn! Can't live with'em, can't live without 'em. Sunk both ways."
"Timothy only likes things he can fix with a wrench." Lisa almost smiled.
Jim nodded. "I *completely* agree with you, Timothy. I can spend simply *hours* under my truck just...fiddling, but computers? Oh, please. That's Blair's department."
Timothy stared. "Don't that ruin your manicure or something?"
"I stopped worrying about *my* nails a *long* time ago. Now, can you give us a list of all TJ's little friends?"
"We already talked to their parents, Jim. Timothy and I both said so."
"Yes, but, darling, you didn't speak to the little angels themselves. They must have seen *something.*"
Lisa nodded and pulled an address book out of her purse. Simon handed her a notepad, and she and her husband sat down to confer.
Blair felt a hand on his shoulder. "Sweetie, let's find someplace...private."
"Jim, this isn't..." He caught sight of Jim's eyes. "Let's go to one of the interrogation rooms."
They settled in one of the drab, windowless rooms, where Jim drew the blinds over the mirror. He sat on one of the chairs while Blair climbed on the table.
"What is it, Jim?"
"I think I *knew* that voice. It's been *absolutely* years and she'd *never* do anything like this, but it was *so* *her*."
"Jim, is this a her her or a him her?"
Six months ago, Blair never would have had to ask that question.
Jim grinned. "Sorry, babycakes. She's a him, if it's *her* at all. Miss Melly would *never*..."
"We can't rule out anyone, baby. You know people can change."
Jim sighed dramatically. "*Tell* me about it. I'll keep Miss Melly in mind, but...ohhh, you *do* look so gorgeous like that."
Blair blinked. "Stay on the program, Jim."
"The program *is* you right now. We *were* interrupted *so* rudely before, and we *do* have this place all to ourselves."
He stood up and moved closer to the table, forcing Blair's legs apart.
"Jim! Their little boy is..."
"I know...but we might not get any chance later, and you are *so* adorable."
"You are *so* bad." Blair grinned ruefully and opened his arms, which were soon full. "Mmmmm, yeah...oh, Jim...." Those talented lips were sucking oh, so gently on his neck and, once again, Blair remembered that when he sat on the table, it brought *other* parts of their bodies to just the *right* level.
"Have you...oh...yes...been ready *all*...this time?" Blair hadn't been, but he was now.
"Oh, what you *do* to me, Blair...Let me have that shirt..."
He slipped it off Blair's shoulders and dropped it to the floor, and then followed it. Blair had to fight to stifle moans as Jim's skillful fingers unfastened his jeans and began fondling him. And then...when he felt that mouth, he had to literally bite his own hand to stay silent.
Jim didn't answer, since his mouth was quite full. Over flowing, fact.
So much so that he had to use his hand, and did, quite well. Blair found himself reduced quickly to moans and gasps as he clutched convulsively at Jim's shoulders. Jim knew exactly what to do to give him the most pleasure, and within minutes he was pouring his seed into Jim's mouth as he bit down hard on his own lips.
Bonelessly, Blair fell backwards onto the table as Jim, having swallowed everything possible, proceeded to quite thoroughly lick him clean.
"What about you?"
Jim paused for a moment. "Don't you worry about me, honey. I'll get mine *after* this is over. There you go...nice and spanking clean." He gave Blair a final little pat and tucked him back into his jeans. Then he hauled Blair up and kissed him, hard. Blair could taste himself in Jim's mouth. This wasn't his favorite thing, but kissing Jim *was* and he set out to enjoy it as much as he could.
Finally, though, they pulled apart. Blair sighed.
"I guess we'd better go back to work...how do I look?"
"Delicious. Utterly delicious. I am *not* leaving you alone for a second." Jim smiled. He bent to pick up Blair's shirt.
He shook off the dust from the floor and slipped it around Blair's shoulders. "That bad, huh? As in, Simon's going to guess as soon as I show my face?"
"That *wonderful*. The Martins should be finished with their little list. I'll get them so you can stay out of Simon's way. Don't want him getting ideas."
Blair rolled his eyes. "What about not leaving me alone? How soon they forget."
Jim giggled and helped him off the table. Twenty minutes later, they were following the Martins to their home.
They spent that Saturday morning setting up meetings with TJ's friends. There weren't many, but people seemed to be out for breakfast, so they had to call some more than once. Lisa insisted on making them pancakes herself, refusing both Jim and Blair's offers of help.
"Both you guys cook?" Timothy looked in awe, which quickly changed to sympathy. "I guess bachelors gotta know. Me, I married Lees almost as soon as I left home, so I never hadda learn. Course, you're not gettin' married, are you, Ellison?"
Jim shrugged and smirked. "Oh, honey, you *never* know." He looked at Blair, who struggled to hold in the laughter.
By the time the pancakes were finished, they'd managed to reach all of TJ's friends' families and set up appointments.
"Darling, these are delicious."
Lisa blushed as she passed the syrup. "Just Aunt Jemima, Jim, plus a little extra cinnamon."
"More than that." Blair closed his eyes. "You also added a bit of vanilla and...orange juice?"
"Orange peel, actually. Very good, Blair. I guess you have a sensitive tongue."
"Lees makes *the* best."
"We'd better go. Zack Thompson has Little League practice in an hour."
"You sure you don't want me to go with you?" Timothy jumped up, his plate in hand.
"That might not be a bad idea, Jim."
He pursed his lips, and nodded. "Lisa, you'll be all right here alone?"
"I'll be fine, Jim."
"Lees, them guys call again, you call us, okay?"
The three men took their plates into the kitchen, where Jim all but washed them before sticking them in the dishwasher.
The three of them climbed into Jim's truck. Timothy seemed incredulous at first, but said nothing as he rode shotgun beside Blair, who was in the middle.
He directed them to the Thompson house. It was a modest colonial like most houses in the development. The parents, who were in their early thirties, met them at the door.
They got out of the truck and walked to the front door. Jim looked at Timothy. "Hon, maybe you'd better knock, since they *do* know you."
The man grinned. "This'll give'em some gossip." The grin faded. "I just hope their Zacky saw something."
"Kids see plenty, Timothy." Blair hastened to reassure him.
He squared his shoulders and rang the door bell. A man in his mid-thirties - a few years older than Blair and Timothy. "Martin, I'm sorry about your kid."
He ushered the three of them into the house.
"I'm Jeff Thompson."
"Jeff, these are Detective Jim Ellison and his partner Blair Sandburg. They're from the Cascade PD."
"Nice to meet both of you." He stuck out a hand. As he shook with them, he seemed to noticed something.
"Umm, Martin...these are *cops*?"
He looked at Timothy, who nodded. "Yep. These guys are cops. Good ones, too."
"Okay...My wife's in the kitchen. I'll introduce you and get Zacky."
Meg Thompson was about the same age as her husband. She, too, was slightly startled by Jim and Blair, but she hid it a better. Blair did notice her watching them with interest.
They made awkward smalltalk for a couple of minutes, but after Meg inquired after Lisa's wellbeing, it all sort of died. She only stared when Jim asked who decorated her kitchen so delightfully.
Finally, Jeff came downstairs with a small boy in a baseball uniform. He smiled apologetically. "We couldn't find Zacky's baseball socks."
Blair stood up and went to the boy. "Hi, Zacky. My name's Blair, and this is Detective Ellison."
"A real policeman?" Zacky's eyes went wide. "Can I see your gun?"
Meg's eyes widened in fear. "Zacky..."
Jim held up a hand. "Zack, one of the things we learn is not to draw a weapon unless we intend to use it. Your mom and dad would be unhappy if I fired my weapon in here."
Zack nodded. "Okay."
"Why don't you have a seat, guy?" The little boy nodded and sat next to his mother, who put a bowl of cereal in front of him.
"You have to have something before the game, boyo." He rolled his eyes, but took a spoonful.
"Zack, what do you remember about yesterday afternoon?"
"Lots." He spoke around a mouthful of Cheerios. "Came home from school, played video games, watched TV."
"I mean about TJ. Do you remember what happened to TJ?"
"He left school with the rest of us. He was reading a book. TJ is a real dork. He walks and reads at the same time."
"Zacky! Don't talk like that."
"What happened then, Zack?"
"This guy stopped him, and talked to him. Zack walked away with him and got into a car."
"Did you see the guy?"
"Can you describe him?"
Zack screwed up his face. "Funny guy. Tall, and real skinny, and he wore funny clothes."
"They were bright colors and kinda tight an'...an' he wore a thing on his neck...a cloth thing."
Zack shrugged. "Like in winter? Just cloth. Purple cloth. Shiny."
"Did he wear a necklace?"
"That's okay, honey. You were very helpful. Good luck at the game."
"I'm first baseman!"
"I was shortstop on my Little League team. Got the homerun record when I was ten."
Both Jeff and Timothy gave Jim a long look for this. "*You* played baseball?" Timothy was frankly incredulous.
Jim smirked. "Honey, I'll have you know I *could* have had a football scholarship. *And* I was all-state for basketball." He tossed his head back.
Meg stared. "I'm going to take Zacky to the game now. You coming, Jeffrey?"
"Sure...*football* scholarship? Er - Detective, why didn't you...?"
"Oh, the *army* paid my way, sugar."
"Ummm...let's go, Meg." He took his wife's hand and held it very tightly as they left the house. The others followed them so they could lock up.
They watched the Thompsons speed off before they climbed back into the truck.
"Where are we going next, Timothy?" Blair closed the door, which meant that Timothy was between them.
"The Lesters, just a couple of houses down."
Blair grinned: their new friend was doing his best to not touch either of them as he sat dead center on the truck seat.
"Just point the way, hon."
The Lesters were almost a replay of the Thompsons, except that their son Zacky was dressed for soccer and Bill Lester wouldn't even look at Jim. Zacky Lester did see a bit more - TJ was being pulled around the corner and looked unhappy.
The third family was named Glass. And so was their house...a wall of smoked glass and wood that was as far from the traditional ranches and colonials in the neighborhood as it could be.
"Oh, my, my, my. And in the middle of suburbia, too. How *did* this happen, Timothy?"
He shrugged. "Was there before I moved in. Prettiest house around here, even if it don't really fit. Some people don't like it cause of that, but they don't like me much either."
Timothy didn't seem bothered by that statement. Blair looked at him a little more closely. All he could see was a pleased smile as the man looked at the house, which was spectacular.
They knocked on a natural pine door. A tall woman with black hair that she could probably sit on answered the door. "Timothy! Please, come in. I just made a pot of tea."
She ushered the three of them in to the house, which was filled with eclectic furniture and huge potted plants.
"Who are your friends?"
"These are the cops helping me...Detective Ellison and his partner Blair Sandburg."
She shook both men's hands. "I'm Miri Glass. My husband Jake is getting Zack ready for practice."
The kitchen took up most of the first floor, with a restaurant quality cooktop and oven, and despite the wood and stainless steel color scheme, managed to feel warm and inviting. She gestured to a table with a basket of various pastries. "Please, have a seat, gentlemen."
"Mrs. Glass, this place is *spectacular*. Did you do it yourself, darling?" Jim was looking at everything.
"Call me 'Miri', detective. We had some help." She took an old-fashioned tea pot from the stainless steel counter and set it and several mugs on a tray.
"I hope you like herbal tea, gentlemen." At their nods, she poured them each a mug. "Timothy...how is Lisa?"
"Not good, Meer. She's all alone in that damn house, waiting for the phone, you know?"
"As soon as Jake takes Zacky to practice, I'll go over there. Is TJ all right? Do you know?"
He nodded. "I got to talk to him a couple times. He's not even scared, so I think they're treatin' him okay."
"Good morning, people." A tall man with a head full of curls came downstairs, holding his son's hand. Blair blinked while Jim grinned...*this* Zacky wasn't wearing a baseball or a soccer uniform. He was wearing a pair of tights under a Star Wars t-shirt.
"Sorry I took so long. Young Mr. Glass here insisted that he wear his tights to the studio this morning."
"But daad, if I talk to these guys, I'll be late. This way, I won't have to change, which will save time. Maestro hates if we're late."
The father waved a paint-stained hand in the air. "He *does* have a point. I'm Jacob Glass, and if there is anything we can do to help you find TJ, just ask." Miri nodded emphatically before she introduced everyone. Blair noticed that Jake Glass had no problem shaking Jim's hand.
Zacky got a cup of juice out of the refrigerator and sat down next to the two "cops." "Okay, what do you want to know?"
"What did you see yesterday, Zack? Anything?" Jim picked up his tea mug and sipped daintily.
The boy shrugged. "I saw TJ talking to this man. He dressed like Maestro does sometimes...lots of purple. The man, I mean. And TJ didn't want to go with him at first, but then he did. And then he took him to a car."
"A car? What sort of a car, Zack?" Blair leaned forward.
"One of those new Volkswagens. Not like the one that Uncle Ari drives, the new kind. And it was...what's that color, Mama? Not pink, but not really purple? More...light..."
"Like that one that you put in the drawers...la..lav.."
"Lavender." Five adult voices chimed as one.
Zack rolled his eyes. "Musta been custom. Pretty color. Anyway, he put TJ in the car and that was that."
Glass looked straight at his son. "Why didn't you tell us last night?"
"Nobody asked me. And I didn't know TJ was missing 'till just now."
"Sometimes adults can be *so* silly." Jim grinned. "Can you describe the man in purple, Zack?"
He nodded. And then proceeded to deliver a description so clear and precise that Blair stared at him in wonder. Then he noticed something. "Jim...why aren't you taking notes?"
"Don't need to, sweetcheeks. I just don't understand *why*..."
"Good job, honey!" Miri looked very proud.
"How'd you get so good, Zack?" Blair played with his tea.
The boy shrugged. "Mama and Papa taught me how to see and I've been taking drawing class."
Jim nodded to the parents in appreciation. "Well, you did a good job. I think you solved it for us."
Zacky nodded solemnly. "Then I guess it was worth being late for ballet class. Even if Maestro gets mad and makes someone else the lead dancer."
"You think you solved it, Ellison?" Timothy nearly spilled his own cup.
"I think so, hon. Thanks a lot, Zacky."
Zacky smiled, shook everyone's hands politely and dragged his father out of the house.
"Now what?" Timothy looked at them.
"Now we go back to your house and see how Lisa is holding up." Blair stood up. "Thank you for the tea, Miri."
"I'll see you there after I get this place cleaned up. Bring TJ home, please." She smiled warmly as she began to gather up the cups and teapot.
"We will, darling." Jim nodded emphatically as they left the lovely house.
Go to Part 3.
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