Overnight Guest

Debra Fran Baker

dfbaker@panix.com




Jim groused. He was already late for his date with...with what's her name from Traffic, and now Blair wanted him to pick him and this *friend* of his up because his car had broken down. Again. Muttering, he pulled into the parking lot. At least they had the good manners to wait for him outside.

"Hey, Jim. Thanks a *lot*, man. I want you to meet Adam. Adam Pierson."

"Hi." Jim barely glanced at the man....about Blair's age, tall, big nose, same clothing sense. Great. Another grad student. Just what he needed in his life. Then Pierson began to move, and Jim blinked.

The man didn't move like a grad student. Not even the baggy sweater or the slouch could hide the fact that here was a trained fighter. His movements were so smooth, he could have been dancing, and he was *aware* of his surroundings. Jim's hackles raised slightly.

Blair climbed into the truck between them. "I told you about Adam. We met last year at Seacouver University at that seminar. He's a historian from Oxford."

"Oh, right." Jim nodded.

"Yep, Balliol, actually." Pierson took his own seat and closed the door. "But I've been practically everywhere."

"Jim majored in military history in college."

"Really? How...fascinating." Pierson stared right over Blair's head into Jim's eyes. Jim had never seen eyes like his. He couldn't look away.

"Jim...Jim..." Blair's voice called him back. "Jim, what happened?"

He'd zoned. He'd zoned on someone's eyes. On a *man's* eyes. A man who wasn't Blair, although Blair was oblivious anyway. "I'm fine, Chief." He started the truck and took them to the loft. While there, he called what's her name...Lois? Louise? And canceled. She seemed almost relieved. When he returned, Adam was alone in the living room, sucking on one of Blair's microbrewery beers.

"Where's Blair?"

"Getting ready for a date." Adam's tone said, "what else?" "Thanks for letting me stay here, Jim."

Jim shrugged. "Not a problem." He got out his own beer and settled on the couch. "What's your field, Pierson?"

He shrugged. "A bit of everything. Sort of a professional student, you know? I've done a fair piece in military history. Sometimes, I think I've been fighting for centuries." He smiled. "I prefer...other means of interaction."

He couldn't mean what Jim thought he did. And Jim *couldn't* be interested in what Jim thought he meant. Except he did and Jim was and tonight might prove interesting indeed. He moved closer to his guest.

Blair burst out of his room. "Hey, JimcanIborrowthetruckIpromiseIwon'tscratchitokay?"

"Sure, Chief. Don't be out too late."

"Thanksbye!" Blair grabbed the keys and bounced out the door.

"He's sublimating, you know." Adam drained the bottle in his hand.

"Excuse me?"

"Blair. He's dating all those women because he can't get you."

"And you know this how?" Jim felt his heart leap. Why? First Pierson and now Sandburg? What was going on?

"I'm a student of human behavior. I know. Just like I