Sweetcheeks VIII: Pride

Debra Fran Baker

dfbaker@panix.com


The phone kept ringing and ringing. Finally, Blair shook his head in disgust as yet another answering machine message clicked on. "Simon? This is Blair. Come on, man! Pick up! Look, I don't know *what's* going on, but I can't reach *anyone.* I give up." And he slammed down the receiver.

Jim came out of his dressing room, where he'd put the final touches on his outfit.

"Simon wasn't there, either?" He sounded disappointed. "What is up with *that*? We *told* him."

"I know. Maybe something's happening at the station and they didn't want to...you know. Drag us away?"

Jim shrugged. "I'm sure they *all* have good reasons. *Airtight*, even." Jim bit his lip.

"Oh, James." He wrapped his arms around his lover, careful not to wrinkle the fine linen suit. "I know those guys. They wouldn't do this to us, to you."

"You have *so* much to learn, baby." He gave a tight-lipped smile, and then kissed Blair on the cheek. "Now, let's see how you look."

Blair let go and stepped back. He was wearing a plaid cotton shirt in all the colors of the rainbow over a pale purple t-shirt and a pair of khakis. "Is this okay?"

"This is *beautiful*. Those jerks don't know *what* they're missing. But do you *have* to tie your hair back?"

Blair put on a grin and loosened his curls. "Better?"

"Oh, yeah. No one will even *see* me."

"Right." He flipped his hair back over his shoulders. "We'd better get a move on. They expect us early."

"They can't start without us, darling. They wouldn't *dare*."

Even so, he pinned a red ribbon to his jacket and picked up his car keys. Blair put on his own ribbon and followed him out the door, casting one more look at the telephone as he did.

************************

As soon as they got out of the truck, they were ambushed by someone in black crinolines, a small basket hooked over one arm.

"You two look simply *delicious* - especially *you*, Blair. You absolutely *need* to wear more colors."

"He is *not* resurrecting that vest *again*, Miss Melly. And *when* are you going to get out of that...dull stuff?"

"Soon, darling. But right now...all I can think is that my poor Freddie would have been *so* proud of you today."

"You think?"

"I *know*. Isn't that right, Buster?" He reached into the basket to retrieve a half-grown black kitten. "He wanted to see Auntie Jim and Uncle Blair today, didn't you?"

Blair grinned. "You just wanted to coordinate with the cat, didn't you?"

"Why, how*ever* did you guess? I must fly, darlings. I have *so* much to do." He allowed Jim and Blair to pat Buster once each and then tripped off, long lace veil trailing behind him.

They stared after him for a bit.

Jim shook his head. "She's trying *so* hard, but I don't think her heart's quite into the role right now. I'm so glad we gave her that kittycat."

"He's right, you know. Miss Freddie would have been shepping naches about you."

"Come again, Chief?"

Blair grinned. "Pride, Jim. It's all about pride."

"That it is."

They made their way through the increasing crowd, stopping to exchange hugs and kisses with half the people they met.

"Jim! We're over here!"

Jim turned his head, and his face blossomed into a huge smile. He ran towards the voice, Blair doing his best to keep up. The group standing in the corner began waving and jumping up and down.

"Now how come I can't get Timothy to dress like you,