Secrets I

Debra Fran Baker                             

      We walked into the station as if nothing had happened
the night before, or at least I hoped we looked that way. 
Man, I was not ready for what that particular closed society
would say if they knew that James Ellison had finally
succumbed to my, er, charms and took me into his bed.   I
didn't know why Jim didn't seem worried.  Not then.  I did
notice that Simon looked unhappy, but the captain was always
unhappy about *something.*
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     It took me totally by surprise.  I mean, I'd been
lusting after the big guy since the first time I'd seen him. 
You wouldn't think that a little guy like Blair Sandburg
would have it in for muscle types.  Honestly, I wasn't.  I'd
gone for the nerd type when I went for guys.  But there he
was, and he just took my breath away.  God, those blue eyes
and that chest...and there was a brain under that crew cut,
too, and a heart under that chest.
     So, he was probably the straightest man in the universe
and I was in major lust.  Okay, I can deal.  I can go out
strictly with women so he doesn't even suspect I swing both
ways.  I *like* the ladies, so it wasn't exactly a
sacrifice.  Only, I couldn't really commit to any of them. 
That bothered him.  Jim values loyalty, I figured.  So why
didn't *he* stick with one lady?  I wasn't thinking.  
     I don't know when it was I fell in love with him. 
Maybe I started out that way - some weird Sentinel-Guide
thing designed to keep the two of them together.  I do know
that by the time I became a shaman, I was doing my best to
stay in his life.  I was even delaying my dissertation, for
God's sake.  I had to, because every time I thought about
leaving him, I felt like I couldn't breathe.  He was my life
now.
     Okay, I could deal with this, too.  I thought.  It
wasn't easy, but I could deal.  He seemed to want me around,
even when we fought over Cassie.  Now that was just dumb. 
She's become one of the guys now, and I like her better for
that.
     So, anyway, that night we were watching the game and I
was sort of pretending to grade papers, and really watching
him just breathe.  Oh, yeah.  I had it so bad.  I mean, I
never watched a woman breathe.  And then, since he's
watching the game so closely it was almost a zone, I stop
pretending.  I figure he wouldn't notice.  Right.  Sure.  He
was a sentinel.
     The commercial comes on, and Jim looks at me. 
Actually, he looks at my pants.
     "So, Chief, how long are you going to wait?"
     I swallowed and looked around and, well, down.  "Wait
for what, Jim?"
     "We've been living together how long?  And you've been
holding out on your dissertation, and it can't be for love
of paperwork and it can't be because you get off on Simon
yelling a