Hearts on Fire

BY : OpenPage
Category: 1 through F > 21 Jump Street
Dragon prints: 32
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.

 

Three weeks later

Tom’s convalescence passed by in a haze of tedious boredom. One day blurred into the next, his only reprieve, the occasional lighthearted conversation with Blowfish. He missed the excitement of undercover ops, but more than anything, he missed Booker. With the dark-haired officer continuing to work around the clock, the two men barely spoke, let alone saw each other. But although Tom longed to spend time alone with the man who had captured his heart, his lover’s absence wasn’t the only thought occupying his mind. Over the course of several weeks, Dennis had started to exhibit telltale signs of stress, a characteristic he rarely displayed in public. Their short, clandestine phone conversations became peppered with angry expletives and impatient sighs, leaving Tom worrying about the state of his lover’s mental health. Infiltrating a gang of youths beating up gay men was taking a noticeable toll on the dark-haired officer, but despite Tom’s best efforts, he failed to get him to open up about his feelings. Whether it was an ego thing or part of an ingrained coping mechanism, he couldn’t say for certain, but whatever the reason, his lover remained stubbornly tight-lipped. And while Booker’s refusal to speak openly about the case frustrated Tom, the young officer knew it was pointless to push him too hard. Some assignments were more personal than others, and he knew all too well how different scenarios affected different officers. It was all part of the job, but that didn’t mean he didn’t worry, and he longed for the day when the case was over, and he could thank Booker for all that he’d done.

And so, when Fuller finally announced Booker had successfully wrapped up his assignment after a month undercover, Tom sprang into action. Several phone calls later, his plan was in motion, and he spent the rest of the day listening to the clock loudly announcing the passage of time with each passing tick. When the hour hand struck four, he sought out Fuller and asked if he could call it a day. He still had several items to buy, and he hoped his captain wouldn’t unknowingly stand in the way of him turning a perfect weekend into an awesome one. As luck would have it, Fuller was in a charitable mood, and after receiving his superior’s blessing to leave early, Tom walked briskly to the location where he’d agreed to wait for his ride. A minute passed, then two, and he tapped his foot impatiently, his eyes anxiously scanning the street. But just when he thought his rapidly beating heart would explode out of his chest, he saw the familiar black Cadillac Brougham Limousine approach, and he exhaled a sigh of relief.

“Good afternoon, Tom,” Simon greeted through the open window. “I was surprised to receive your call. I didn’t think I’d see you again after you fired me.”

Pleased his new friend had agreed to stop with the sir nonsense and treat him like an ordinary Joe, Tom grinned back. “I didn’t fire you, Si. I just didn’t want Dennis wasting his money on me. So, how’s it goin’? How’s Emily?”

Simon smiled. He’d spent a week driving Tom to and from the chapel, and unlike most of his clients, he’d found his passenger pleasant company. They’d chatted about their lives, and during one such discussion, he’d mentioned he was engaged to be married. To his surprise, Tom had shyly admitted he was in a relationship with Dennis, and when the revelation wasn’t met with a look of horror or quotes from the bible—i.e., Leviticus 18:22—the officer had grown bolder, confessing the reason behind the unconventional limousine ride. Sensing the young man’s need to talk, Simon had lent him an attentive ear, and little by little, Tom had opened up. As his confidence grew, the young officer had readily confessed his uncertainties and fears, along with his growing affection for Booker. Simon had listened to every word, offering advice when he thought it appropriate, remaining silent when it wasn’t, and it was during these exchanges they’d cemented their friendship. There was no judgment, and it was this acceptance that had Tom believing in a brighter future, free from bigotry and the likes of Jimmy ‘The Jab’ Fitzpatrick, who ruined life for everyone.

“She’s well, thanks,” Simon replied in answer to Tom’s question. “How’s Dennis? Is he still working long hours?”

“Not anymore,” Tom grinned. “Which kinda brings me to why I hired you.”

Simon laughed. “I’m all ears. Where to first.”

“Home Depot,” Tom instructed as he climbed into the limo. “Then my apartment.”

The chauffeur tipped his cap in jest. “Yes, sir! Whatever you say, sir!” and with a quick check of his mirrors, he pulled out into the afternoon traffic.

**

Tom stood in Booker’s apartment, his expression that of a petulant child. “Aw, c’mon, Dennis, don’t be a spoilsport. We haven’t seen each other in weeks. I wanna go out.”

Booker flopped down on the sofa, a weighty sigh exhaling from between his lips. “Hanson, I’m tired. This case has wiped me. All I wanna do is sleep until it's time for me to do it all again.”

With a beguiling smile, Tom held out his hand and beckoned with his fingers. “Gimme your keys. I’ll drive. But you need to take a shower first.”

Reaching into his pocket, Booker pulled out his keys and tossed them to Tom. “Why?” he asked, a moody pout forming on his lips. “I’m dressed okay.”

“Sorry, man, I hate to break it to you, but you stink.”

Booker lifted an arm and sniffed his armpit, a look of disgust wrinkling his nose as the stench of stale sweat assaulted his nostrils. “Yeah, okay, I get your point. Maybe a shower isn’t such a bad idea.”

“Great. Take your time. I’ll wait here.”

Tom's weird behavior barely registered in Booker’s tired mind. He was emotionally and physically exhausted, and all he wanted to do was fall into bed and put the homophobia he’d witnessed behind him. But to deny Tom was to deny his own heart, and hauling himself up off the couch, he trudged into the bathroom and closed the door.

A sly smile curled Tom’s lips, and shoving the Caddy’s keys into his pocket, he boldly walked into his lover’s bedroom. He had twenty minutes tops to set the final phase in motion. It wasn’t long, and he knew without Simon’s help, he never would have had a chance to achieve his goal. But everything was falling into place, just as he’d planned, and in a few short hours, he would reveal all.

**

The Pacific highway stretched out before Tom, its gentle snaking curves mostly devoid of traffic. To his left, the sun dipped low on the horizon, the fading rays splashing the sky above the ocean a vibrant shade of amber. Beside him, Booker dozed peacefully, unaware of the spectacular performance nature had gifted them. The dark-haired officer had drifted off the moment they’d left the city limits, the drone of the Caddy’s engine lulling his exhausted mind into a restful slumber. It was the therapeutic, dreamless sleep he needed to banish the haunting images from his memory, and although he remained unaware of the healing taking place, after weeks of stress, his mind was finally at peace.

Tom glanced at his sleeping lover, a slow, tender smile curling his lips. Even in sleep, Booker radiated a mesmerizing presence, and the young officer's heart skipped a beat. Tearing his eyes away from the captivating beauty of the dark-haired officer's face, he checked the odometer, his mind calculating the miles left to travel until they reached their destination. They were almost there, and he could feel his excitement rising. It was his turn to prove the depth of his love, and while there would be no poems, he hoped his surprise wouldn’t disappoint.

**

The final ten miles passed quickly. With thoughts of the coming weekend planted firmly in his mind, Tom pulled into a roadside office, and leaving Booker asleep in the car, he went inside. He returned several minutes later, a set of keys dangling from one hand. Climbing back into the Caddy, he started the engine and drove the short distance to a lone beachside condo. The night was almost upon them, the elongated shadows of the palm trees casting shade over the sandy beach, and pulling into a parking space, he switched off the ignition. Turning toward his lover, he leaned forward and placed a kiss on the shell-like curve of his ear. “Wake up, sleepyhead,” he murmured against the sleep-warmed flesh. “We’re here.”

At the sound of Tom’s voice, Booker opened his eyes, and wiping a hand over his mouth, he stared out into the gloom. “Where’s ­­ exactly?”

“You’ll see,” Tom replied with a grin, and getting out of the Caddy, he walked to the back of the vehicle and opened the trunk. Inside were two bulging backpacks and several brown paper bags, each crammed with assorted groceries. As Booker climbed out of the car, he tossed him a set of keys. “Open the door, and I’ll carry these.”

Sluggish and still in a sleep-induced daze, Booker’s coordination was off, and the keys fell to the ground. Tom chuckled, the soft tinkle of his laughter echoing around the deserted parking lot. “Forget it, Herman Long,” he quipped. “Just let me put these bags—”

“I can do it,” Booker pouted, and scooping up the keys, he walked over to the set of steps leading up to the condominium. “So, you didn’t answer me. Where the hell are we? I thought we were going on a date.”

There was an edge to Booker’s voice, an undeniable petulance that instantly dampened Tom’s mood. Things weren’t turning out quite as he’d hoped, but he decided to cut his lover some slack. Booker was tired, and a tired Booker was a grumpy Booker. And while it wasn’t the perfect start to the weekend, he figured all he had to do was stay calm, and everything would work out fine.

Hoisting the backpacks onto his shoulder, Tom grabbed a grocery bag in each arm and slammed down the lid of the trunk with his elbow. “Malibu,” he answered. “I leased us a condo for the weekend. I thought a few days on the coast would help you relax after… well, you know.”

Booker did know, and he immediately felt like an ungrateful asshole. Abandoning his plan to open the door, he walked over to Tom and took the two brown bags from his arms. “Did I ever tell you I can be an ungrateful sonofabitch when I’m tired?” he grinned, working his boyish charm for all it was worth. “Do you forgive me?”

“Depends,” Tom pouted.

Sensing a teasing inflection in Tom’s answer, Booker played along. “On?”

“Whether or not I get a kiss.”

Heat flared in Booker’s groin, the soft, seductive tone of his lover’s voice rippling over his flesh like waves breaking on a sandy shore. Stepping closer, he pressed his mouth against Tom’s and kissed him tenderly, the light, gentle motion of his lips conveying all the love he felt in his heart.

A low moan resonated in the back of Tom’s throat, and wrapping his arms around the dark-haired officer’s waist, he deepened the kiss... tasting, possessing, losing all conscious thought until fireworks erupted inside his head. He’d always thought a kiss was just a kiss, but with Booker, it was a sensory explosion, an erotic dance of emotion that ignited his deepest desires. Theirs was a once in a lifetime union, and it was then he knew Booker was more than just his lover. He was in every beat of his heart, the warmth of his soul, each breath he inhaled, his light, his dark, he was, in every sense of the word, his everything.

Breaking the kiss, Booker stepped back, a slow smile tilting his lips. “Maybe we should go inside before things escalate.”

At that moment, Tom wouldn’t have cared if they had escalated, but he also wanted the weekend to be a memorable celebration of their love, and a quick grope in a parking lot wasn’t what he had in mind after abstaining from sex for a month. Booker deserved more, he deserved the whole enchilada, with every bell and whistle imaginable. And that’s what he had planned. If time had taught him anything, it was that he could no longer deny what his heart already knew. He was in love with Dennis, and he was prepared to show him just how much by giving him the ultimate gift, the gift of commitment and the gift of love.

Offering his lover a shy smile, Tom’s eyes motioned toward the condo. “You first, I left something in the car.”

Booker returned the smile, and with the crushed grocery bags still in his arms, he trudged up the wooden steps. Turning away, Tom walked over to the front of the Cadillac and opened the driver’s door. He leaned in and flipping open the center console, he pulled out a small box wrapped in blue paper. He stared at it for a moment before shoving it into his jacket pocket. Next, he opened the glove compartment, his heart skipping a beat as he picked up the white drugstore bag hidden inside. Cramming it in his other pocket, he closed the car door and gazed up at the light shining from the beach house window. He was ready for the next step, and although nervous, he couldn’t wait to profess his love openly, physically, emotionally, and completely to the one person who made him whole… Booker.

To be continued…



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