Bump in the Road

BY : OpenPage
Category: 1 through F > 21 Jump Street
Dragon prints: 75
Disclaimer: I do not own 21JS or the characters. I do not make any money from the writing of this story. All characters and events in this story are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead is coincidental.

 


I apologise for neglecting this series for so long.

In peace,
OpenPage x

 

Left alone in the untidy bedroom, Tom wondered what the hell he was supposed to do. His lover had told him to get out, but he didn’t want to leave without having the chance to adequately explain himself. Hearing Booker professing his love had caused him to panic, and he’d muttered the first words that had popped into his head. But as soon as the faltering sentence had left his lips, he had immediately regretted his thoughtless response. Not only had he surprised the dark-haired officer by not acknowledging the intimate attestation with a grand gesture of his own, he had humiliated and hurt him too. The words ‘I love you’ were three of the most sacred words in the English language, and those who uttered them usually did so with confidence because they assumed the feeling was reciprocated. The last thing they expected was the recipient to dismiss the sacrosanct declaration with a boorish, ‘Um, okay.’ It was sacrilege, a travesty of the most delicate of human emotions. And not only had he stomped on Booker’s feelings in spectacular fashion, he’d done it right after the most skilled and titillating blowjob of his life.

Talk about timing.

A loud slam yanked Tom’s mind back to the present and turning around, he stared at the closed door. Seconds later, he heard the shower turn on, followed by the sound of water hitting the tiled bathroom wall. The steady thrum echoed throughout the small apartment, his lover’s ritualistic cleansing taking on a symbolic meaning in Tom’s mind. Booker was purging himself of his scent, and by washing the aroma of sex from his body, he was also removing him from his life.

Unnerved by his thoughts, Tom padded across the room, his silhouette following him across the cream-colored wall. Opening the door, he stared out into the empty living area. A cool breeze wafted through the open window, the flurry of air chilling his bare flesh. He shivered, a feeling of vulnerability settling over him, and casting his eyes downward, he stared at his flaccid penis. He could still feel the ghostly tingle of Booker’s lips wrapped around him, the dark-haired officer’s hot, talented mouth edging him closer toward orgasm with each suck, lick and oral caress. A wave of embarrassment washed over him. He was still having trouble coming to terms with the knowledge he’d willingly permitted another man to orally stimulate his penis. A handjob was one thing, but the intimacy of fallacio wasn’t just a whole different ballpark...it was off the freaking map.

Suddenly feeling exposed, Tom turned around and stared at the rumpled bed. Goosebumps prickled his skin. He’d ruined one of the most significant moments of his life, and he wished it had ended differently. But what that actually meant, he wasn’t sure. He thought he’d come to terms with being in a homosexual relationship, but once again, the seed of doubt had sprouted, leaving him feeling isolated and confused. And while he knew he owed his friend an apology, he wondered if he’d actually feel relieved if it were rejected. Then he could put it all behind him and return to his life, relatively unscathed.

Relatively.

A weighty sigh exhaled from between the young officer's lips. Whatever happened, the first step was speaking to Booker, and deciding he would feel more comfortable confronting him clothed rather than buck naked, he picked up his boxers and started to dress.

**

Booker stood under the therapeutic spray of water, hot tears burning his eyes. He’d given his heart to Tom, only to have it trampled, kicked, and torn from his chest by two small yet highly significant words. The chilly response, ‘Um, okay,’ continued to echo inside his head long after the universe had swallowed the words into its void, and no matter how hard he tried to block out the sound, he couldn’t ignore its meaning. The evasive reply spoke volumes. Tom didn’t love him, and the sooner he came to terms with it, the easier his life would be.

Except it wouldn’t.

An emotional lump rose in the dark-haired officer’s throat, and swallowing it down, he screwed his eyes closed, trapping his tears behind his lids. Having taken the risk to pursue Tom romantically, he now found himself in a difficult situation. Believing he had finally found the one, he’d laid his heart on the table early in the relationship, a move he now regretted. He’d backed himself into a corner, and the thought of ever having to work with Tom again sent his mind into a spin. Love wasn’t a static emotion you could turn on and off with the flick of a switch. Itwas an all-consuming, all-encompassing, living, breathing, entity that ruled not only the heart, but also the mind, body, and spirit. Life without Hanson seemed an impossible ask, but deep down, Booker knew he had no choice but to walk away. He’d carried a torch for the beautiful officer for so long, he couldn’t go back to viewing him as nothing more than a coworker, and that meant transferring to another department. It wasn’t an ideal solution, he hated the thought of starting over again with new people, but what choice did he have? If he wanted to move forward with his life, he needed to leave his past behind, and as much as it pained him to admit it, Tom was now his past.

Turning off the faucets, the dark-haired officer stepped out of the shower cubicle. Water pooled around his feet, and realizing he’d forgotten to put down the bathmat, he cursed loudly. Any other day, he would have viewed it as a small inconvenience. But with waves of anger undulating through him in an emotional tsunami, his mind blew the situation out of all proportion, and grabbing the mat from the towel railing, he hurled it to the floor. “FUCKING SHIIIT!”

The expletive resonated around the small bathroom, the sound of his voice ringing loudly in his ears. Close to tears, he shut his eyes and attempted to calm his breathing. As his frustration slowly ebbed away, he straightened out the mat, and grabbing a towel from the rail, he proceeded to dry himself.

When he was done, he tossed the wet towel to the floor, and wrapping a clean towel around his waist, he stared at his reflection in the steamy mirror. His hazy image stared back at him, his dark eyes lacking their usual spirited appeal. His lifeless exterior masked the internal pain tormenting his soul, a pain so debilitating, his heart physically hurt. But he was determined to battle through, to rebuild his battered confidence, and not let the experience taint his outlook on love. He was, and always would be, a romantic, and he would continue to search for that one special person he could spend the rest of his life with.

A sudden weariness washed over him, and opening the bathroom door, he walked out into the living room. Out of the gloom, a figure emerged and stopping midstep, his body stiffened. “I thought I told you to leave.”

Heat flared in Tom’s cheeks, but he stood his ground. “I know, but I wanted to explain why I—”

“Explain?” Booker snapped, his dark eyes flashing with anger. “What’s to explain? A week ago, you fucking asked me if I loved you! Remember? And I said I did, and you seemed cool with that. But when I say it after sex, you have nothing to say except okay? What the fuck is that all about? Are you screwing with me, Hanson? Huh? Is this a game to you? Because if this is just some belated college-type experimentation and you’re using me for your own sexual gratification, I’m not... fucking... INTERESTED!”

The heat of Booker's accusatory glare had Tom shifting uncomfortably, and shoving his hands in his pockets, he lowered his eyes to the floor. “Everything makes sense for a split second,” he explained in a low trembling voice, “like I'm seeing things clearly for the first time. And then all the religious and societal conditioning comes flooding back, bringing with it all the insecurities and doubts that make me question our relationship. What if we’d never had drinks on my birthday? Would you have still kissed me? And if you did, would we have still ended up in bed together? It’s like this whole thing between you and me centers on that one moment in time. I didn’t even know I had feelings for you, for Christ’s sake. How fucked up is that? How could I not have known, Dennis? HOW?”

Deflated, Booker’s shoulders slumped. “I dunno, Tommy. Maybe you were right all along, maybe I took advantage of you and—”

“You didn’t,” Tom reassured quietly. “I wanted it, I just didn’t know I wanted it. Which is weird, right?”

“Wanted it or want it?” Booker breathed, the sultry pitch of his voice hanging heavy in the air.

Unsure of what to say, Tom chewed anxiously on his lower lip. But he knew he couldn’t avoid the question forever, and taking a deep breath, he did his best to answer as truthfully as possible. “I’m gonna be honest with you, Dennis. I really don’t know. When I came here tonight, I thought I knew exactly what I wanted… No, don’t look at me like that. You’ve gotta believe me, I don’t regret anything we did, but… do I want to continue? I can’t answer that, not at the moment. I need time.”

The muscles in Booker’s jaw flexed. “Time?” he queried through gritted teeth. “How much time? An hour? A day? A month? A year? How do you expect me to keep working with you when—”

His voice hitched in his throat and turning away, he addressed the floor. “I think it would be best if you left.”

“Maybe you're right,” Tom whispered. “Maybe we should—”

“Just go.”

With a nod, Tom walked across the room and opened the door. Stepping into the dimly lit hallway, he turned and offered his friend a sad smile. “I really am sorry.”

“Yeah, me too,” Booker murmured, and before his emotions could betray him, he closed the door, leaving Tom alone to ponder where it all went wrong.

**

Monday morning

The sounds of the city drifted in through Tom’s open bedroom window, the aural haze disturbing his dream. The young officer’s ears tuned into the early morning traffic, the loud rev of a vehicle’s engine robbing him of his last remnants of sleep. Opening his eyes, he rolled over and stared up at the ceiling, a weighty sigh expelling from between his lips. He had no idea what the day would bring, but he had a feeling it would be peppered with awkward moments and cold shoulders. His fight with Booker had left him hanging in limbo, which didn’t fit comfortably with his well-ordered life. It was the ambiguity of the situation that was driving him crazy. Were he and Booker still a couple, and if so, what exactly did that mean? He’d told the dark-haired officer he needed time, but if he were honest with himself, he didn’t understand his own reasoning. Did he want time spent together or time spent apart? And while there was no doubt in his mind he had feelings for Booker, he wasn’t sure if feelings were a strong enough reason to change the whole structure of his life. He’d subconsciously balked at the idea of saying ‘I love you too’ for a reason, and it was this uncertainty that bothered him. Was Booker right and he was just curious about homosexual sex or were his affections legitimate? It was a conundrum he wasn’t sure he could figure out on his own, but was it fair to lead Booker on when all his promises hung on a wing and a prayer? He had no idea, but in his heart, he knew he needed to work it out because it wasn’t right to keep stringing his friend along.

Friend? The word continued to reverberate in Tom’s mind for several moments before a knowing smile slowly spread across his face. Maybe life wasn’t as complicated as he thought and maybe, just maybe, he had the solution to their problem.

Climbing out of bed, he walked over to the window and stared down at the steady stream of traffic. Little by little, the burden of his guilt lifted from his shoulders and turning away, he headed toward the bathroom.

 



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