Tim has to attend his book launch party and he wants to take Jimmy with him as he has a surprise for him. But Jimmy isn't sure it's a good idea.
An established relationship story.
Written: February 2012. Word count: 1,990.
Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities, truth isnít Ė Mark Twain
"I don't know if I should, Tim. I don't know if it's a good idea." Jimmy's tone was earnest as he stared across the table into Tim's eyes.
Tim put his fork down and took Jimmy's hand. "But I want you there, Jimmy. You're my . . ." he trailed off and smiled at Jimmy. It was a discussion they'd had more than a few times: what term fitted them best? 'Boyfriend'? 'Partner'? 'Lover'? 'Friend'? Tim was more than happy with any of them, as they all fitted. It was Jimmy, however, who seemed less certain. "Boyfriend?" he finished, deliberately making it a question.
Jimmy smiled. "I do like that. I like it more every time you use it."
Tim leaned a little nearer to Jimmy and said, "In that case I'll start introducing you to random strangers as 'my boyfriend'." He laughed at the look of shock on Jimmy's face. "I'm teasing," he said. Jimmy looked relieved.
Tim squeezed Jimmy's hand, picked his fork back up and began to eat again. "It's not as though it's a secret any longer, Jimmy. We do live together. It's okay for us to be seen together; we don't have to hide any longer."
"I know, Tim. And I still can't believe Agent Gibbs gave his permission."
Tim shrugged. In all honesty he'd been more than a bit surprised too. Yes, Gibbs had been okay about the fact they were seeing one another, but Tim had expected him to be less than happy about them sharing an apartment. But all Gibbs had done was to shrug, nod and tell him to make sure all the relevant paperwork was filled out properly. "I think Ducky may have had something to do with Gibbs's decision," he said.
Tim smiled. "You know, Jimmy, one of these days you really must start calling him 'Ducky' as he's told you to do many times."
Jimmy sighed softly. "I know. I tell myself every day to say 'good morning, Ducky' rather than 'good morning, Dr. Mallard', but then I get to work and before I know what I'm doing, I'm saying 'Dr. Mallard'."
Tim smiled. "It'll come."
"Maybe. So what makes you think Dr. Mal- Ducky had anything to do with it?"
Tim shrugged. "I don't know. I haven't got any proof; it's just a gut feeling." He smiled at Jimmy again.
"Maybe he locked Agent Gibbs in a room and kept talking until Agent Gibbs agreed just so he could escape," Jimmy said with a twinkle in his eye.
Tim laughed. "You better not let Gibbs hear you say that," he said. He laughed again as Jimmy paled slightly and looked over his shoulder. "You're safe. I double locked the door behind me when I got home."
But Jimmy still kept looking around him. He put his fork and knife down and pushed his plate away. "I didn't mean anything, Tim. You know that. I was just -"
Tim put his own silver-wear down, pushed his plate away and took Jimmy's hand. "I know you were, Jimmy. And Ducky wouldn't mind anyway. I think he'd be quite proud actually."
"Proud?" Jimmy looked surprised.
"That you feel relaxed enough to make a joke about him."
"Maybe. But you know Agent Gibbs when it comes to Dr. Mallard. He's like -" Tim reached across the table, pulled Jimmy towards him and kissed him to silence him.
"Enough talk of Gibbs and Ducky. You, Jimmy, are just trying to distract me from the book launch party."
Jimmy opened him mouth and closed it again. "Well, maybe just a bit," he said.
"Do you really not want to come?" Tim asked, standing up and started to stack the plates and silver-wear together.
Jimmy took them from him. "No, Tim, I want to come with you. It's just . . ." He trailed off, broke eye contact and instead hurried off into the kitchen with the plates.
Tim suddenly knew what Jimmy's problem was; what Jimmy's problem often was: he felt inadequate; he felt he wasn't good enough.
He followed Jimmy into the kitchen and waited until he'd put the plates down then he put his arms around him from behind and turned him around into a loose embrace. "Jimmy," he said, pausing to kiss Jimmy lightly on the lips. "You are going to be a qualified doctor next year. That's amazing and something very few people will ever achieve."
"I know that, Tim, really I do. But the people at the party will all be -"
"There to get free food and drink," Tim said. "Well, a lot of them will be," he corrected at the look of surprise on Jimmy's face.
"But I won't know what to say to them."
Tim pulled Jimmy a little nearer to him and nuzzled his ear. "Just be yourself, Jimmy. Besides, I'll be there. I'll rescue you if you need it - but you won't. Everyone will like you. And Lyndi's looking forward to meeting you."
"You told her about me?"
"Of course I did, Jimmy."
"Oh. Well if you really want me to come with you, then -"
"I only want you to come if you want to come, Jimmy. I don't want you just to come for my sake." Tim's tone was firm.
Jimmy licked his lips. "I do want to come, Tim. And I'm going to." He beamed at Tim.
"Good." Tim kissed him again. "Now how about we leave the dishes until the morning?" He raised his eyebrows and looked at Jimmy.
Jimmy swallowed then grabbed Tim and kissed him hard.
A WEEK LATER
"Lyndi, this is Jimmy Palmer, my boyfriend. Jimmy, this is Lyndi Crawshaw, my editor.
Lyndi took the hand Jimmy held out and shook it. Tim smiled to himself as he realized Lyndi never ceased to surprise him. He knew she automatically air-kissed everyone, even if they did offer their hand to be shakem. But clearly Lyndi (who was actually incredibly intelligent even if she never admitted to the Masters degree she had) had read Jimmy's body language. "I'm delighted to meet you, Jimmy. Timothy has told me so much about you. And you sure you must be -"
"Lyndi!" Tim interrupted her swiftly. But as she fell silent and looked questioningly at him, as did Jimmy, his mind went completely blank. "Um," he managed, desperately seeking for something to say. "I -"
At that very moment Todd Ryder hurried over. "Lyndi, darling!" he cried. "You have to come and talk to Sally; she really has been a very silly girl. Oh, I cannot begin to tell you what she's done. Really, I can't. You won't believe it."
Lyndi frowned, looked at Todd then at Tim. "I'm sorry, Timothy, Jimmy," she nodded towards Jimmy. "But I really should go and see what the matter is. I'll be back as soon as I can. Come on, Todd."
"Bye, Timothy. Be back later," Todd all but squealed. "You do look gorgeously sexy tonight," and before Tim could stop him Todd planted a kiss on his cheek and then ran off after Lyndi.
Tim looked at Jimmy who was just staring his mouth open in the direction Todd had gone. "Is he for real?" Jimmy asked, taking a long swallow from the glass of wine he held.
Tim nodded. "Yes and no. Actually, most of it is a huge act. Yes, he gay, but he's not the promiscuous gay man he pretends to be - far from it. You don't have to worry," he added.
Jimmy smiled. "I wasn't," he said and touched Tim's hand. "Lyndi seems nice."
Tim nodded, not surprised by Jimmy's perceptiveness. "She is, very nice. Very protective as well - too protective at times. She'd do anything and I mean anything for her writers. But she's a good person."
"What was she going to say when you interrupted her?"
"What? Oh, nothing. Just - Oh, look, there's Daisy - now you'll love her." And with that Tim, took Jimmy's hand and all but dragged him across the room.
The evening was coming to a close; most of the guests and press had left, the platters on the tables stood empty as did the vast majority of the wine bottles. Tim had spent the last hour signing copies of his new book and his hand was beginning to ache.
He'd been pleased to see that Jimmy had relaxed fairly early on and seemed quite happy to talk to the other people at the party. Thus, Tim hadn't felt bad about leaving him alone while he mingled as he knew he'd have to do.
He had, however, been a little surprised when on more than one occasions he'd looked around only to see Jimmy deep in conversation with Todd, and even more surprised to see Todd had all but dropped his 'act'.
Finally the moment Tim had been waiting for but also to an extent dreading arrived. It was the moment he gave Jimmy a copy of his book and told Jimmy to open it on the dedication page. Tim had spent literally hours writing the dedication; it had taken him longer to write than the final two chapters of the book. And even now after hundreds of tweaks, he wasn't certain it was right. For once the writer had really struggled with the written word.
"Jimmy," he called as he signed the last of the books, thanked the person for coming and said goodnight. "Come here."
Jimmy turned and smiled. He said something to Todd before hurrying across to where Tim stood. "Yes, Tim?"
Tim picked up the copy of his book he'd put to one side for Jimmy and held it out to him. "This is for you, Jimmy," he said.
"Thank you, Tim. I'll start it tonight." Jimmy had never asked to see any of Tim's writing before the book was published, nor had he asked for any details. Tim had been touched by the gesture and how well Jimmy knew him. He loved Jimmy, but he liked to keep his writing to himself until it had been published. He would have hated Jimmy to have asked to see a chapter or two as he'd either have to have said 'no' which would have made him feel bad or say 'yes' and hate it. "Or," he said lowering his voice a little and gazing at Tim. "Maybe not."
Tim smiled. "Open it," he said, putting his hands over Jimmy's and guiding Jimmy to the correct page.
Jimmy frowned a little, but did as Tim told him. He looked from Tim down to the page. Tim watched him, more worried now than ever as the silence dragged out and Jimmy just stared seemingly transfixed at the page.
Just as Tim was about the snatch the book away from him, Jimmy looked away from the page and back at Tim. "Tim?" he whispered. "You . . . You . . ."
Tim swallowed hard. "Yes, Jimmy. I dedicated the book to you. My boyfriend; my partner; my lover; my friend; my other half; my world; my completion. My Jimmy."
Jimmy looked down at the words Tim had written again and then back at Tim. "It's beautiful," he said quietly and then, without making a big scene, leaned nearer to Tim and lightly kissed his lips.
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