The Seduction of Dr. Jesse Travis By Juli November 2000 Challenge story
Steve Sloan pulled up to his friend's apartment complex, watching fondly as the kinetic young man jogged down the front steps of the building to meet his car. When Jesse had called to ask for a ride to the hospital, he hadn't minded a bit. Alone? In the relatively small and confined space of a car's interior? With Jesse?
Steve had all but jumped at the chance.
He'd known since meeting his father's newest protege' that he'd been attracted to young Dr. Travis. Although long reconciled to his preference for men, Steve had made sure to keep his desire for the other man to himself, not sure that Jesse shared his orientation. Loathe to disrupt their budding friendship by making a sexual pass that might ruin it, Steve had chosen to bide his time.
Such patience was a two-edge sword. The more time he spent with Jess, the more he felt his heart open up to the compassionate young man, not to mention the rapidly building desire he felt for Jesse's compact but athletic physique. Every time he had to stand by and watch Jesse get involved with a new woman, only to eventually get rejected, Steve wanted to step in and declare himself. With him, at least, Jesse's heart would be safe.
"Thanks, Steve," Jesse said as he got in the car, bringing Steve's focus back to the here-and-now. "I can't believe my car broke down again."
Steve grinned at the younger man. "Jess, at this point, I think you'd be more surprised if your car did run than if it didn't."
Jesse rolled his eyes. "Please. No nagging about the car. I told you, it has to get me through my internship. Then I can get a new one." Realizing that he was being a little less than gracious to the man who was helping him out by giving him a lift to work, he quickly added, "unless I become too much of a nuisance, bumming a ride all the time."
By this time, Steve had brought his sedan back into traffic and he could only spare a quick glance in Jesse's direction. Sure enough, the doctor had a puppy-dog expression on his face. That particular look got past the detective's defenses every time. The sexually frustrated portion of Steve's mind immediately wanted to slip this particular puppy a bone, but he took firm control of himself and instead reassured his young friend. "Don't worry about it, Jess. With all the time and trouble you go to help me with some of my cases, a ride now and then is the least I can do in return."
"I do?" Jesse's voice sounded cheerfully surprised. "Help, I mean. On your police work."
Steve threw a confused look towards the doctor, wishing they hadn't made it to the freeway so he could spare more time to figure out what was going on with the other man. "Of course you're a help. I thought you knew that."
When he answered, Jesse's voice sounded a bit sheepish. "Sometimes I wonder. I mean, I know that Jack was a big help to you, but I'm not so good at it. I've been afraid that maybe I've been getting in the way instead of being of assistance to you."
A trained observer, Steve couldn't help but notice not only the reference to Dr. Jack Stewart, but also that Jesse was concerned that he'd been in Steve's way. Not Dr. Mark Sloan, the one who actually instigated most of the instances where Jesse had been drafted into police work, but Steve.
"Of course you're a help to me. So was Jack. But, you know, you bring a whole new outlook and set of experiences. Don't sell yourself short, Jess."
Steve's firmly wholehearted response seemed to reassure the young doctor. Steve spared a little attention away from his driving and was rewarded with the sight of a happily grinning passenger.
The thought that he'd been the one to make Jesse's smile so wide went straight to Steve's groin. Considering what he'd observed earlier, and now the way Jess was smiling at him, maybe his feelings were as unrequited as he'd feared.
"So," he said casually, "how long's the bug gonna be in the shop."
Jesse sighed. "Just a couple of days, I hope. It depends on how long it takes to get the parts."
Steve shook his head in contemplation. "On second thought, despite what I said before, that car really suits you. You know that old saying, that people with dogs start looking like their pets...."
"Oh, no," the doctor groaned, "please don't tell me that I look like my car. I've been hearing that I was 'cute as a bug's ear' since I was a kid, I don't wanna hear it from you too."
The detective grinned at the younger man's protest. "Actually, I was thinking more that your VW convertible was compact but more powerful than people give it credit for, kind of like you. But now that you mention it, adorable seems appropriate."
Steve bit his lip to keep from laughing at Jesse's flummoxed expression. Apparently, the last thing the young man expected was for his friend to describe him as adorable. It was the only time that the detective could recollect that Jess had been rendered speechless.
Luckily for Steve's composure, they had reached their destination of Community General and he pulled the car up to the entrance. When several seconds went by without the other man getting out, he realized that Jesse was still staring at him and hadn't noticed they had arrived.
"Umm, Jess?" Steve finally prodded. "We're here."
"Oh? What?" Jesse looked around in confusion, then made a wild grab for the door handle. "Hey, thanks a lot, Steve, I appreciate it." Then, without waiting for a reply, the confused doctor fled into the hospital.
"Don't mention it," Steve called after him, enjoying the view of Jesse's rapidly retreating backside.
Dr. Travis wasn't the only one that had found the direction of the conversation unexpected. For the last several months, Steve had been working under the assumption that Jesse was not interested in men. Now, based on the younger man's reactions, he wasn't so sure. Jesse had reacted with confusion, true enough, but hadn't seemed repelled. Had Steve erred on the side of caution?
Only one thing was for sure he had to find out.
Steve couldn't wait to get rid of his dad.
Waiting at the gate for his father's flight, the detective couldn't help but be impatient. He loved his father, but sometimes the older man was too observant for his peace of mind. Too involved in his son's life. Too... there. Once having decided that he needed to determine, once and for all, if Jesse would be receptive to a deeper relationship than what they currently enjoyed, Steve was eager to get on with it. But he wanted to wait until his father was out of the picture, temporarily, at least, before he started anything.
It wasn't that his dad didn't know of his sexual preference. A keen observer, Mark Sloan had known Steve was bisexual even before his son had. Even so, Mark didn't really approve of some of Steve's liaisons and the detective had a feeling that his father wouldn't like the idea of Steve wooing Jesse Travis. Not one little bit. Steve wasn't the only one protective of that particular young man and his father was sure to object to him making a move on his innocent protege'.
"Got something on your mind, son?"
The question startled Steve and he replied with an eloquent, "Huh?"
His father chuckled. "You're only that preoccupied when you're up to something. Not planning any wild parties at the house while I'm gone, are you?"
Steve blushed. In fact, he was planning something. What he had in mind was more of an intimate seduction than a wild party, but still....
"No, Pop," he laughed, feigning amusement at the question, "no wild parties."
Mark Sloan tilted his head and narrowed his eyes, automatically noting how his son wouldn't meet his gaze. Something was going on here...
Luckily for Steve, his father's flight was called, stalling any additional questions. Dr. Sloan pulled his son in for a quick hug, making sure to catch Steve's eyes this time. "Whatever you've got planned, just be careful and clean up after yourself, okay?"
"Okay, Dad," the detective promised, resigned to the fact that his dad had seen right through him. "You have a good time. Call me when you get there...."
Finally, Mark Sloan was on the plane and his son could turn away with a sigh of relief. Thank goodness his father hadn't admonished him not to do anything he wouldn't do. His reaction to a statement like that would have given the whole thing away and Steve wasn't sure if his father would leave, if he knew what his son had in mind. Disaster narrowly averted, the detective set his mind to more important business.
After several months of hopeless longing and a couple of days of frantic planning, Operation Jesse could now begin.
"Are you sure this is such a good idea?"
Steve put his hand on the small of Jesse's back, gently pushing his young friend into the deserted shooting range. "I'm sure, Jess. What if something happens while you're helping my dad and I with a case and somehow you get a gun in your hands? Would you know what to do with it? Even if you never plan on carrying a firearm yourself, which, by the way, I wouldn't recommend, it's best for everyone if you know how to use one."
The Los Angeles detective had thought hard for several days to figure out a legitimate way to get his hands on Jesse Travis, something more intimate than the casual gesture he was currently enjoying. Despite his ulterior motives, his reasoning for the gun training was sound. As long as Jesse continued to help Steve and his father with police work, there was a very real chance he would be called upon at some point to use a gun. While the cop didn't really like to think of the younger man being weapons trained, he liked the thought of Jesse being killed or seriously injured due to ignorance even less.
Of course, that wasn't his only reason for having Jesse out here, but the doctor didn't need to know that. Not yet.
"I dunno, Steve." Jesse wasn't quite so sure. "I'm a doctor, I'm supposed to heal people, not shoot holes in them."
"Jess, we've been all through this," Steve said, pocketing the keys he'd used to open the building and moving to turn on all the lights. "You're less likely to hurt someone with a gun if you know how to use it. Even my dad has taken shooting lessons-- and they've come in handy a time or two. Ask him."
"All right, all right," Jesse reluctantly conceded, only then taking a good look at the place and realizing they were the only people there. "Where is everybody?"
Steve shrugged. "It's Sunday, the one day of the week the range is usually closed."
"Then why are we here?"
"I know that this isn't easy for you, so I thought it would be best if we had your first lesson when there isn't anybody else around, so you wouldn't feel so weird about it," Steve explained.
"Oh. Okay," Jesse smiled, pleased that his friend had taken his feelings into account and made special arrangements. "Thanks."
Steve squelched a feeling of guilt, knowing his respect for Jesse's feelings wasn't the only reason he'd gotten the younger man here on a day they were assured to be alone. Still, if this worked out the way he hoped it would, Jesse wouldn't mind. And if it didn't turn out in his favor, well, Jesse need never know. "Let's get started."
The detective set his bag on a chair and pulled out the safety equipment, showing Jesse how to adjust the protective ear muffs to provide the maximum noise shielding. Then, he handed the doctor a pair of safety goggles and waited until they were firmly in place before proceeding.
"Okay, we'll go over the parts of the gun and some basics on how to take care of it later. The main objective today is for you to get comfortable with it in your hand, and not to be afraid of it when you have to discharge your weapon."
Succinctly, the detective went over the procedure of how to fire. Tugging the smaller man into position, Steve stood close behind Jesse and wrapped his arms around him. His longer arms made it easy to cup Jesse's hands in his own, guiding the doctor in the proper hand-hold for a gun. "Okay, nice and easy now, Jess. No, keep you feet wide apart." Steve closed his eyes and reminded himself to behave, then inserted his knee in-between Jesse's legs, gently encouraging the other man's feet to part in order to achieve the correct firing pose. "That's good. Now, gently squeeze on the trigger...."
An experienced marksman, Steve was prepared for the kick-back as the gun was fired. His hands still wrapped around Jesse's, he braced himself as he felt Jesse's finger tighten on the trigger. With a loud bang, the weapon discharged and Steve soon found himself with an arm full of doctor as the jerk of the gun pulled the smaller man off balance and he tumbled backward.
Steve allowed himself to enjoy the feeling of Jesse's ass pressed hard against his groin as the other man struggled to maintain his balance.
"You okay?" He asked when Jesse regained his footing.
"Yeah. Sorry about that." The doctor answered with a blush.
The cop chuckled. "Happens to everyone with their first shot. Dad fell flat on his butt."
As expected, the comment about Jesse's idol and mentor brightened the younger man up. "Really?"
"Really." Steve winked. "Just don't tell him I told you, all right? Now let's try it again."
By the time Steve was convinced that they'd accomplished enough for Jesse's first lesson, he'd managed to touch most of the younger man's upper body at least once and below the belt a time or two. All under the cover, of course, of showing Jesse the proper stance for using a gun.
He was quite satisfied with the results.
Not only could the doctor manage to hit the shooting target more often than not, but the object of his desire was also distinctly flushed and panting by the time they were finished.
It looked like Operation Jesse could go on to Phase Two.
The next day, Steve Sloan poked his head into the doctor's lounge. A familiar face to the hospital staff, the nurse he'd questioned had no hesitation on telling him where to find Jesse. To his bemusement, however, the young doctor was curled up on the lounge's lone couch, fast asleep.
Steve walked quietly, even though he'd come to Community General with the sole intention of talking to Jesse. But if the younger man was so tired, he was reluctant to disturb his nap. Looking down on the drowsing figure, he smiled fondly at how young the other man looked while asleep. Jesse had an innate innocence that always made him seem younger than his years even when awake, but asleep, well, Steve felt like a cradle robber for his planned seduction. Bending down, the detective tenderly brushed the hair out of Jesse's eyes, intending on leaving and speaking to Jess later, but even as carefully as he'd touched the smaller man, it was enough to wake him.
"Wh- Steve? What's the matter? Is everything okay with your dad?" Jesse rubbed both eyes in attempt to become more alert.
Steve crouched down, applying pressure with one hand on the nearest shoulder to keep the other man from rising. "No, everything's okay, Jess. Relax. I'm sorry I woke you." When Jesse settled back into the sofa, he explained the reason for his visit. "I was in the neighborhood and just wanted to see if your car was still in the shop or if it'd been fixed."
"Hey, thanks," Jesse smiled. So far from home and his family, the other man's concern made him feel good. "Nah, I got it back this morning before my shift started. Good as new."
"Until next time it decides to quit running," Steve teased, then went on to add an invitation before Jesse could respond to the jibe. "I was wondering, there's a full moon tonight. Were you serious when you said you'd be interested in doing some moonlight surfing? Tonight would be a good night for it," Steve offered, going on to clarify when the doctor's jaw cracked in a huge yawn, "If you're up for it, that is."
"Are you kidding?" Jesse asked, dimples deepening as he grinned ear to ear. "I've always wanted to try that. Thanks! I'll be there..." Suddenly noticing the time on the clock behind his friend, he leapt to his feet. "Oops. It's my turn to do Mark's rounds and I'm five minutes late. Gotta run...."
"Not so fast," Steve grabbed the young man before he could leave the room. Using his fingers, the detective smoothed Jesse's hair back into its proper place. "There. Now you look presentable."
"Thanks," Jesse gave his friend an odd look before making his way towards the door. "I'll see you tonight."
"Yeah, tonight," Steve echoed to the now-empty lounge. "I can hardly wait."
"Wow, it's really beautiful out here." Jesse's voice held awe as he looked at the moonlit beach.
"Yeah, beautiful," Steve agreed. Only, instead of looking at the water, his eyes never left Jesse's face.
Something in the detective's tone must have alerted the doctor, because Jesse threw his friend a confused look. The younger man opened his mouth to say something, but must have thought better of it, because he simply grabbed his surfboard and headed towards the waves.
Steve took a moment to admire Jesse's Neoprene clad body before following. His open admiration was throwing Jess off-balance, just as he'd hoped.
He loved it when a plan came together.
A little while later, Steve Sloan was regretting that smug satisfaction as he helped a hobbling Jesse Travis up from the beach, all but carrying the smaller man. Jesse had been off-balance all right, enough that he'd come down hard and twisted his ankle. The doctor couldn't put any weight on it just yet, but was resisting Steve's efforts to take him to the emergency room, grumpily reminding the detective that he was a doctor and should know when he needed medical help.
Instead, the detective assisted Jesse into the beach house he shared with his father, carefully depositing the younger man onto the couch. Then, following the physician's tersely given directions, he carefully wrapped up the ankle. Once he confirmed with his own fingers the slight swelling to the ankle, Steve calmed down. Even he knew that if it was seriously injured, there would be a lot more inflamation and soreness that what Jesse exhibited. Since that was the case, he took advantage of the situation, allowing his hands to linger on the other man's feet and calves.
"All right, that's it," Jesse finally said, pulling his leg out of Steve's grasp and curling up on the sofa.
Steve settled back onto his knees, dismayed by the younger man's defensive posture. "What's it? What's the matter?"
Jesse looked at him warily. "Have I done something wrong?"
The detective got up and joined Jesse on the couch, discouraged to see the younger man flinch back into the pillows. "Wrong? What makes you think you've done something wrong?"
"You've been acting funny the past couple of days," Jesse explained. "First it was that adorable comment the other day, the morning you gave me the ride to work, remember? Then, you were playing touchy feely at the shooting range and tonight..." The doctor gulped and looked away, "Tonight, when you said it was beautiful, you were looking at me, not the beach. I was just wondering if I'd done something wrong..."
Steve shook his head. "No, Jess, you haven't done anything wrong. Quite the contrary, actually." The big man got up from the couch, quickly returning with some ibuprofen and a glass of water. While Jesse downed the pills, he continued. "Frankly, I'm glad you finally noticed. I've been working really hard to get your attention."
In the middle of taking a second sip of water, Jesse stopped with the glass halfway to his mouth. Steve was immediately reminded of the proverbial "deer in the headlights." Reaching over, he ran his thumb across the smaller man's lips, wiping away the water droplets lingering there.
"Jess, I've been attracted to you from the first day I met you, but I didn't think you were attracted to men, so I didn't do anything about it. But as I've gotten to know you better, I realized what an open-minded person you were, so I thought that I'd take the chance that you might be able to return my feelings..."
Hurt ankle or not, Jesse exploded off the couch. The young man immediately winced and faltered, but he waved Steve off when the other man started to rise in order to assist him. "Look, Steve. You're my best friend and I... I think it's safe to say that I love you. But not That Way. I've never been attracted to a man That Way before."
Steve arched one eyebrow. "Oh really? Didn't I see you checking me out in my wetsuit tonight?"
Jesse sputtered a denial. "Wh-? No way!"
The detective settled back, a smirk on his lips. "Methinks the doctor doth protest too much."
"What!" Jesse started to take a step forward, but his ankle gave way. Steve was there before he could fall and, with a strong arm around the smaller man's waist, assisted him to the couch. Frustrated at needing help and, especially, not being able to deny Steve's claim without reinforcing it instead, the young man brooded silently.
"Look, seriously, Jess," Steve said, "have you ever been with another man?"
Using his most reasonable tone, the detective replied, "Then how do you know you don't like it?"
In a nervous gesture, Jesse ran an hand through his hair. "Some things you don't need to experience to know you won't like them."
"Okay, I'll grant you that." Steve blew the air out of his lungs in an explosive sigh of frustration. "You were right, you know, about how I've been acting for the past couple of days. I've been using any excuse I can think of to get my hands on you. And I noticed you haven't protested. Can you truly say you didn't like the attention?"
Jesse was an honest man and answered, albeit reluctantly. "No-o-o-o-o-o."
"Look, Jess, I know this is kind of out of the blue," Steve leaned in so that the doctor could see his sincerity. "And I know this a big concept for you to get your mind around. I'm not expecting you to jump into bed with me."
"Then what are you expecting?"
"A chance, Jess. Do you trust me?" Steve held his breath, waiting for an answer.
Jesse thought about all of his experiences with his friend, about the type of man that Steve Sloan was. He nodded. There was no question about it; he did trust Steve, with his life.
Steve smiled. "Thank you, Jesse. You have no idea what that means to me. Since we've established that you trust me and that my attentions over the last couple of days haven't been totally unappreciated, I'd like to ask you for a little more time. Give me a week, sweetheart, that's all I ask. If at the end of a week, you can honestly say that you still can't see yourself in a relationship with another man, then I'll back off and we can go back to being friends, same as always. You have my word on it"
Inwardly, Steve winced at his slip in referring to Jesse as "sweetheart." Although the endearment flowed naturally off his lips, he was afraid that it was too much too soon, and that he might have already ruined any chance he might have had at wooing the skittish man.
Jesse considered carefully. Frankly, his responses over the last couple of days had confused him and here Steve was offering him a risk-free opportunity to explore this aspect of his personality. Still, this was his sexual outlook they were talking about, not a topic to be taken lightly. "What if during the week, I get chicken?"
Steve had already thought of this eventuality. "Wait here a minute, I've got an idea."
He was off the couch and halfway to his bedroom before Jesse could even blink. Only a heartbeat or two later, the big man was back, something small and glittering in his hand. "Wear this. If you feel at all uncomfortable or want to stop before the week is up, just give this back to me and it's over. No questions asked."
Wordlessly, Jesse took the offered object, realizing once it was in his grasp that it was ring. Looking closely, he could see a military insignia on it and quickly deduced that this was the ring Steve had been presented when leaving the army after two tours of duty in Viet Nam. The doctor weighed the small circle of gold in his hand, the significance of what it implied much heavier than its negligible physical weight. Then, still silent, he slipped it on his finger...
... where it promptly slid off.
Both men watched as the ring bounced off the cushions of the sofa, the accident breaking the tension in the air. Steve was the one to grab it and, gently taking one of Jesse's hands, eased the ring on the smaller man's thumb.
"I forgot that your hands are smaller than mine. It ought to be safer there." He dared a quick look into the other man's face. "That is, if you still want to go through with it."
"I trust you, Steve" Jesse softly said, "I won't promise how it'll turn out, but I'm willing to give this a try. I know you won't abuse that trust."
"That's all I ask, Jess. Thank you."
And with that, Operation Jesse entered into Phase Three.
As Jesse Travis limped down the steps of his apartment complex, he was surprised to see Steve Sloan pull up. The older man had eventually convinced him the night before that a quick trip to the ER for an x-ray was in order for his ankle. Jesse had rolled his eyes at the detective's fussing, but gave in when he realized that Steve was feeling guilty for having suggested the moonlight surfing to begin with. The x-ray had shown what the doctor had known all along, instead of a broken bone or even a sprain, the injury was merely a deep bruise.
Jesse had been quite eloquent with his "I told you so" comments.
Still, at least the unnecessary trip had proven to the detective that Jesse truly wasn't hurt. Thus, the doctor's surprise when the older man showed up curbside just as he was leaving for work.
"What are you doing here?" He asked as the cop put the car in park and got out.
"Good morning to you too," Steve cheerfully responded, circling the automobile to come to Jesse's side.
The younger man bit his lip, realizing that he'd been less than friendly to the man he'd agreed the night before to date. "Sorry about that. I guess I was just surprised to see you this morning."
Steve did a surreptitious check to make sure the ring was still on Jesse's thumb. It was. Sighing in relief, he explained to his would-be lover why he was there. "I just thought your ankle might be too sore to drive with, so I thought I would give you a ride." He opened the passenger side door with a gallant gesture.
"Oh," Jesse said in surprise. He let the other man guide him into the car, enjoying the warm feel of Steve's arm on his waist as the bigger man helped him in without jostling his injury too much. It felt strange to have another man assist him like that. Odd, but Jesse had to admit to himself, odd in a good way.
The two men chatted during the entire ride about inconsequential things, Jesse thoughtfully fingering the ring during the entire trip.
Friends for several months before entering into their romantic adventure, Steve and Jesse had taken in dinner and a movie together many a time. But, it was different now, Dr. Travis admitted to himself. For one thing, their previous outings didn't have the underlying tension that this one did.
For another, Steve had never held his hand during the movie before either.
When he first felt the older man's hand engulf his own in a firm but relaxed grip, Jesse's whole body had stiffened at the unexpected gesture. But, when nothing else happened, his muscles started to relax and he began to enjoy the sensation. Soon, he felt his own fingers begin to stroke the other man's hand, gently exploring the calluses that hours on the shooting range brought to Steve's palms, while the skin between the fingers remained soft and particularly sensative...
With a start, the doctor realized that when the movie was over and the lights came up in the theater, he was reluctant to relinquish his clasp on the bigger man's hand.
He blushed all the way through dinner, but Steve was gentleman enough not to bring attention to it.
The next day, Steve took advantage of having the beach house to himself by inviting Jesse out to Malibu for a picnic. On the bluffs overlooking the ocean, the two men had relative privacy and lots of opportunities to talk.
The couple spread out a blanket and lay flat on their backs, spending a lazy afternoon watching the clouds and talking, the lulling sound of the waves providing a soothing background to their conversation. They talked about anything and everything, from the relative merits of bubble gum to the state of world hunger. Their lunch itself was fairly basic, Steve being a man of simple culinary tastes, but dessert had been chocolate. Not just any chocolate, but Godiva and the men took turns feeding each other the sweet, decadent morsels.
Later that night, Jesse couldn't decide what had been his favorite part of the picnic. It was a toss- up between the way that Steve listened, really listened, to everything he said without laughing or the way the other man's fingers had felt penetrating his mouth, depositing the chocolate on his tongue.
Not to mention the warm lips that had enveloped Jesse's own fingers when he'd reciprocated....
Sleep that night was a long time coming.
"Bowling? You want to take me bowling?"
Steve grinned at the younger man's surprise. "What's the matter? Not masculine enough for you?"
The challenge in the cop's voice was clear and Jesse's protests immediately ceased. He briefly considered complaining that his ankle was achy, but the injury hadn't been bothering him for a couple of days by this time and he hated to lie to the policeman. Besides, knowing Steve, he'd insist that Jesse go for a follow-up exam and that would be tedious.
So, Jesse had shut up and put up, only to find that he enjoyed the experience. The last time he'd tried to bowl, he'd been in high school and it had been a humiliating experience. But, in the intervening years, he'd grown out of his adolescent awkwardness and was pleasantly surprised to find that his game had improved. At least, he no longer sucked at it to the extent he had before.
Besides, like the shooting range, showing Jesse how to bowl gave Steve another chance to have his hands on the smaller man. Only this time, it was in public and Jesse was aware of what the detective was doing. He was glad it wasn't a league night and the bowling alley was relatively deserted. Otherwise, his body's reactions would have totally embarrassed him. As it was, it was Jesse that had to restrain himself from giving Steve a big hug when he got his first strike.
After Steve had taken him home, Jesse had to admit to himself that he was having a good time, that the week was going much more quickly, not to mention more smoothly, than he'd ever imagined. But they were halfway there and he still didn't know what answer he was going to give his... friend? Lover? Somehow the first word didn't seem like quite enough, but the second... well, Jesse wasn't sure he was ready to refer to another man as his lover.
Looking into his refrigerator the next afternoon and contemplating its empty state, Jesse concluded that he'd been neglecting his normal routine in order to spend time with Steve. Not that it had been wasted. A smile came to the young man's lips as he remembered the good times they'd been having. He'd known, of course, that he enjoyed hanging out with Steve. After all, they were already good friends. What he hadn't expected was the warm flutter in his stomach that now came whenever he thought of the other man. Or how easy it was proving to be to ease their friendship into something more intimate...
Or how the big detective had begun to haunt his dreams, the erotic images of the two of them together waking him with his heart pounding and his groin aching.
Eventually, the continual cold draft from the still-open refrigerator door shook the doctor out of his reverie and reminded him that he had an errand to run. An hour later found him in the check out line of the local supermarket, attention only half on the young woman ringing up his purchase.
Despite what Amanda thought, Jesse was well aware that he was a little too accommodating, too eager to please the people that he cared the most about. Even before Steve Sloan's startling revelation that he was sexually attracted to Jesse, the young man knew his detective friend was an important part of his life. The past few days had been mind-altering to say the least, as Jesse felt his world-view shift to encompass the possibility of taking another man as a lover. Still... had his dawning awareness of Steve as a possible lover come about because Jesse truly was attracted to the other man... or was it because Steve wanted it so badly and he was loathe to disappoint his friend?
"That'll be 34.95."
"What? Oh, yeah, right. The groceries." The supermarket clerk's voice had broken through Jesse's intense train of thought and he was somewhat abashed to realize that he'd lost track of what he was doing. The young man quickly finished making out his check and handed it off to the waiting cashier.
"*Doctor* Travis?" She said, reading the information off of check, "I wish my doctor was as cute as you. You can give me a physical any time." With a wink, the brazen young woman handed him his receipt.
Jesse felt his smile freeze, but he accepted the small slip of paper and quickly moved to start bagging his groceries. He hated comments like that, but at least she hadn't told him he looked too young to be a doctor. That was even worse. It was odd, when Steve had said he was adorable, it had surprised him, but in a good way. With this woman, it just made him feel... shallow.
"Lucky you." The voice came from a young man bagging groceries in the aisle next to his.
Jesse looked around, to see if the stranger could be addressing anyone else, but no other people were near. "Me? Lucky? What do you mean?"
"I saw her flirting with you," The other man was practically oozing envy. "I come here three, four times a week and always make sure I get Sandy's lane, but I can't make no time with that woman. But you? She's all over you."
"Oh, I wouldn't say that."
"I would," the talkative stranger said. "Lucky dog."
Jesse shrugged. "I'm already spoken for."
The doctor stopped as he reached for the bag. The words had slipped, unbidden, from his mouth but now that they were said, he realized they were true. Glancing back at the flirtatious clerk, he winced when she saw him watching and waved at him, all but thrusting her chest in his direction. A young woman, attractive and desirable, was flirting with him...
...and all he could think about was Steve.
That evening found the two men back at the Sloan house. It was another clear night and, although the moon was no longer full, it was still bright enough that they could be down at the beach with no other lighting other than the moon and the stars. Jesse had been a little surprised when Steve brought a portable compact disc player with him and watched with interest as the older man set it up.
"You're a little quiet tonight," Steve commented, looking over at Jesse before inserting the first CD.
As the soft music wafted out across the sand, the doctor shrugged. "I had an interesting afternoon."
"Oh, a fascinating patient came into the Emergency Room?"
"Nah, just an eye-opening trip to the grocery store," Jesse replied. Then, in an obvious attempt to change the subject, "I didn't know you liked this kind of music."
Steve just smiled at him and held out his hand. "Care to dance?"
"Dance?" Jesse asked, even as he let the bigger man pull him into a loose embrace, "I thought you didn't like to dance?"
"There's dancing," the detective said, leading his partner into a slow swaying shuffle, "and then, there's dancing."
Jesse let the older man lead, body at first stiff at the unfamiliar contact, but soon relaxing into the warmth of the bigger man's frame. Finally sighing in contentment, he let his head rest against Steve's chest.
Under the wide expanse of the star-strewn sky, the men swayed to the sound of the music, the waves seeming to move with them as the water gently lapped around the couple's ankles.
Steve Sloan braced himself, knowing this likely wasn't going to be a conversation that he wanted to have.
He'd told himself that he'd be able to accept Jesse's rejection, should the young man decide that he couldn't enter into a relationship with him. But, the fun they'd been having all week, and especially the gratifying feeling of having Jesse in his arms last night, even if it was for dancing rather than more intimate activity, had lulled him into complacency. Jesse had not only *not* objected to anything he'd suggested as yet, but seemed to be throughly enjoying himself. Steve had let himself begin to believe that this could actually work out, that Jesse Travis might actually become his.
Which was what made the phone call he'd received early that morning so very difficult to take.
Jesse's voice had sounded so terse when he'd asked Steve to come over right away. It wasn't like the young man and the detective's stomach had immediately sunk to the general vicinity of his ankles. He had a feeling he knew what was coming and he didn't know if he could handle it but he had no choice. He'd promised Jess that if he wanted to stop their new relationship at any time, he could. No questions asked.
That didn't mean that Steve had to like it.
With that general frame of mind, the cop arrived at Jesse's door, determined to be a man and see this thing through. He'd started it after all. If Jess wanted to end it, he'd make it as easy as possible for the doctor. He owed him that much.
Steve rang the bell and waited for his world to end.
Jesse answered with alacrity, and the taut expression on the young man's face did little to reassure the detective.
"Steve," Jesse said with a faint smile, "C'mon in. Thanks for coming over so fast." He ushered the bigger man to a chair, but instead of sitting himself, began to pace. As he moved, Steve couldn't help but notice that the younger man was wearing the same clothes from the night before, the bottom of his pants still wet from the ocean, and that he hadn't shaved either.
The doctor didn't seem to hear Steve's attempt to get his attention, jumping right into what was obviously a rehearsed speech. "Look. You asked me for a week to convince me that having a relationship was possible with you and, since then, you've been doing everything possible to... I dunno... woo me?"
Again, the nervous young man ignored him. "This week's been great, but I don't think we need to do this anymore."
Steve closed his eyes. He'd been trying to tell Jesse that it was okay, that he didn't even need to say anything. The doctor was so agitated, that Steve just wanted to get the rejection over with, since it was obviously distressing Jesse so. But hearing him say it was almost a physical blow. Still, a promise was a promise and he tried to pull himself together enough to make this as easy on the other man as possible.
"Jess, it's all right. You don't need to say any more. We'll forget these last five days ever happened, just like I promised." He got up to leave, but was stopped by a hand on his arm.
"Where are you going?" Jesse demanded.
"You just said you want to end the trial period, Jess. I told you I wouldn't put pressure on you, so I thought I'd better go." Steve took a couple of steps towards the door.
"Whoa, wait a minute." Jesse grabbed his arm again, preventing him from leaving. "I didn't say that, Steve."
"Jess, you said you didn't want to see me anymore."
Jesse shook his head. "No, I didn't. I said I didn't want to do a trial period anymore." Seeing that the detective had stopped moving, Jesse let go of Steve's arm in order to hold up his hand.
The ring was still on his thumb.
"I don't need the full seven days. I've made up my mind." Jesse smiled. "I want you. Today, tomorrow, forever."
Steve did a double take, almost staggering with confusion. "You want... me?"
"Yeah," Jesse said, looking down at his feet, then quickly lifting his face to meet Steve's eyes. "I've been doing a lot of thinking and I decided that it wasn't an issue of if I wanted to be with a man or with a woman."
"It's not?" Steve didn't know if he could keep up with Jesse's quick line of thinking.
"No, it's not." Jesse shrugged. "I got to thinking, it's not a matter of *what* I want to have as a lover, a man or a woman. It's all about *who* I want love. As soon as I figured that out, the answer was simple."
"Yeah," the younger man said, a twinkle in his eye. "The answer was you. Man, woman, it doesn't matter. I want *you.* Steve Sloan. Whether you have a penis or not is merely window dressing."
And with that startling pronouncement, he pounced.
Still dazed by Jesse's decision, Steve wasn't prepared for the other man to launch himself at him. Luckily, the couch was directly behind them, so when Jesse's added weight threw him off balance, the entangled men landed on its soft cushions. Which, it turned out, was right where Jesse wanted them to be.
Steve had arrived at Jesse's apartment, desperately trying to resign himself to going back to being the younger man's friend instead of aspiring to be his lover. In an amazing turn of events, a span of a few minutes found him sprawled beneath the other man's slighter form, learning that, although Jesse Travis might be new to having sex with a man, he was still one hell of a kisser.
Once it dawned on him that he was actually doing it, kissing the man he'd loved in vain for months, the detective growled. Then, he used the physical prowess gained by years of police experience to overpower the doctor and reverse their positions, pinioning the squirming young man beneath him. For several minutes, the apartment was filled with the moist sounds of lips locked together, accompanied by the distinctive rasp of fabric rubbing fabric as two bodies writhed against each other in a drive for completion.
"Oh, God, Steve," Jesse finally whimpered in frustration. "Show me what to do!"
The desperate sound abruptly brought the older man to his senses.
Pulling back from Jesse, Steve disentangled his limbs from the other man's and reluctantly sat up.
"Steve? Wh-what are you doing? Why'd you stop?"
Steve looked down at his companion, the confusion obvious on the other man's face. Tenderly, he reached a hand out and ran his fingers over Jesse's kiss-swollen lips. "I think we need to slow down a bit, sweetheart."
"Slow down?" Jesse rose up on one arm, his shirt parting where Steve's nimble fingers had undone the buttons. "We've been working towards this all week, why stop now?"
Steve struggled to bring his physical desires under control, his body knew its mate was nearby and ready for him. It knew what it wanted to do and all of Steve's willpower was necessary to keep from stripping the rest of Jesse's clothes off, mounting him, and finishing what they had started. But a frantic coupling on a couch? Was that really the way that Jesse should lose his male-to-male virginity?
Not if Steve had anything to say about it.
"Jess, you're new to this. At least," he quickly added, seeing a mulish expression come over the smaller man's face. "You're new to being with a man. The original agreement was for a week. I think we should stick to that. Just to make sure that you're positive that this is what you want."
"Steve, I'm not a kid," Jesse protested. "I know what I want... and what I want is you," He sat up enough to wind his arms around the bigger man's neck, trying to pull the detective back down on top of him.
For a moment, Steve was tempted to let Jesse convince him, but in the end, he realized he couldn't. The stakes were just too high. He let himself be pulled low enough for a quick kiss, but then got up before Jesse could wrap his arms around him.
"Look, I know you're not a kid, Jess," he said, "but this is too important to rush. I want to make sure there are no regrets. So, let's wait the full seven days, okay? After all, if you're as sure as you think, then we'll have all the time in the world to explore each other."
Jesse saw the determined look that was in Steve's eye and realized he'd seen it before. It was the glint that meant that Steve was determined to protect someone. Realizing that resisting the older man was impossible at his point, he acquiesced, but not gracefully. "All right. If you insist."
"Thanks, Jess." Steve leaned in for one more kiss, big hands coming up to cup Jesse's face. Pulling away before he did something he might regret, the detective reluctantly moved towards the door. "Day seven is a Friday. If you still feel the same way.."
"If you still feel the same way," Steve said, ignoring the interruption, "I'll pick you up on Saturday morning."
"Saturday morning? Can't we get together on Friday night?" There was a definite whine in Jesse's voice.
"If you think, for one minute," Steve said, voice trembling with passion, "that one piddly little night will do for our first time together, then you are sorely mistaken." One hand on the door, he grinned ferally and left after issuing one final parting shot.
"When I finally get you in my bed, I'm gonna make you cum for days, baby."
When Saturday morning dawned, not only had Jesse's commitment to Steve not wavered, the young man was even more eager to begin the intimate nature of their relationship. As per instructions, he and his duffle bag were seated on the steps of his apartment complex, waiting none too patiently for the other man to arrive.
At first, Jesse had been frustrated by Steve's refusal to make love the morning he'd made his declaration. It seemed grossly unfair of the older man, to open his eyes up to the possibilities by teasing him all week, only to leave Jesse high and dry after making a statement that nearly got the doctor off in his pants, just by thinking about it.
But frustration gave way to tenderness when Jesse thought more about the likely reasons behind the decision. Part of it, no doubt, could be chalked up to Steve's protective nature, an attempt to shield Jesse from the ramifications of any decision made while under the influence of his body's drive to mate. The more he thought about it, though, the more the young doctor became certain that maybe Steve's insistence on a waiting period had to do with a bad previous encounter. Could it be that someone else had hurt the cop in the past, by using him to try out a new sexual experience and then discarding him when it didn't work out?
The notion convinced Jesse to prove to Steve, when the big man finally gave him a chance, just how serious he was about making this work out. The detective hadn't come out and said it, but Jesse had gotten the distinct impression that Steve was in this for the long haul. The idea of forever sounded good to the doctor too, it being easy to see himself spending his life with his friend and soon to be lover.
It was just as well that Jesse came to that conclusion, because not only did Steve insist that they not become intimate until the seven days were up, the detective also thought it wise that they not see each other during the final two days. Jesse had reluctantly agreed, but he had to admit that the distance gave him time to do some final reflecting. The absence of Steve, even for 48 hours, convinced the doctor he was on the right course. Somehow, long before the week-long trial period, the detective had become an important and necessary part of his life, he just hadn't been aware of it before. Phone calls helped ease the ache of separation, but Jesse was thoroughly glad the time was up and they could finally move on.
During the last phone conversation they'd had Friday night, Steve had instructed Jesse to pack an overnight bag and be ready to be picked up bright and early in the morning. When the doctor had asked where they were going, the older man had said they were taking a short trip "somewhere secluded." The cryptic comment had piqued Jesse's curiosity, but when he'd tried to wheedle their destination out of Steve by asking what he needed to pack, the other man had chuckled and said that it didn't matter, because he had no intention of letting Jesse stray far from the bed anyway.
Jesse had been shivering in anticipation when he'd hung up the phone, but by the time Steve pulled up the next morning, the young man was beginning to get a bit apprehensive. This was a big change he was about to make and, although he was looking forward to it, the idea was a bit daunting too.
Steve got out of the car, and since there wasn't anyone in sight this early on a Saturday morning, pulled the younger man into his arms for a quick hug and kiss. As he did, he could feel the minute trembling in his lover's body. "Hey, you okay?"
"Never better," Jesse claimed. "Just glad to be started, you know?"
The cop gave the smaller man a last squeeze before letting go. "I know," he said, remembering his own nervous beginnings with loving a man for the first time. "Let's go, sweetheart."
Jesse smiled. "Finally!"
With Steve's typical efficiency, Jesse's small bag was quickly stowed and the two men were on their way. The couple made small talk at first, but soon an uneasy silence settled over the car's interior.
"Would it help if you knew what to expect this weekend?" Steve asked, going straight to the heart of his love's obvious nervousness.
Jesse sighed. Most of the time he was touched by how protective the older man was, but sometimes Steve forgot about Jesse's medical training. "Steve, I am a doctor, you know. I've read the textbooks, I'm well aware of the basics."
Steve responded with a rude noise. "And I'm a doctor's kid, you know. I've read the textbooks too and they're about as dry as unbuttered toast."
"You've read the medical texts?" Jesse's curiosity was warring with his skeptism.
The detective grinned. "You betcha." He darted a glance over at his younger companion. "You know what it's like to be a horny teenager. Once I hit puberty, I snuck a look at all of dad's desk references, just to see what they had written about sex. And each and every one said approximately the same thing: 'Insert Tab A into Slot B.' No real correlation to the real thing at all."
Jesse chuckled in admiration at the other man's quip. He had to admit it, Steve was right. "Okay, I give. So I know the mechanics of what's gonna happen, it's how it's gonna feel in real life that's got me a little... I dunno. 'Worried' isn't exactly the word I'm looking for. I trust you, I really do." Jesse turned in his seat, anxious to impress the trueness of his feelings on his soon- to-be lover. He didn't want the older man to get the idea he was chickening out. "I know you won't let anything happen that will hurt me. It's just..."
"What, Jess?" Steve prodded when the doctor fell silent.
"What if I'm not any good at it?"
The detective adjusted his grip on the steering wheel, freeing up one hand to reach out to his companion. Jesse hesitated a minute, then grabbed onto it like a drowning man clutching a life preserver.
"Jess, the other night, when you got mad at me for leaving?" When Jesse nodded, Steve continued. "That felt right, didn't it? You got frustrated when I made us stop. Remember?"
Steve brought their clasped hands up to his mouth, turning them so he could kiss the back of Jesse's. "Trust me, you don't have anything to worry about in the talent department. Did you know, when I got back to the parking lot after leaving you, I had to jack off in the car before driving home?"
The detective spared enough focus from his driving to catch a quick glimpse at the shocked young man in the passenger's seat.
Jesse's eyes were as big as saucers. "You did?"
"Yup. That's what you do to me, babe."
Steve wasn't lying. It had been so hard to leave a wild and wanton Jesse behind that he knew he couldn't make it home before giving his body relief. The cop had sat in his car, giving himself the rawest and shortest hand job in Sloan history. It had felt frighteningly delicious, the release of sexual pressure bordered on the divine, while the underlying fear of being caught with his hand down his pants in public gave the whole incident an extra bite that had left him shaken.
The older man grinned, glancing over at his companion. He couldn't help but notice that Jesse was a little pale and the faint blue circles under his eyes betrayed that the intervening two days had been hard on his new lover too.
"Why don't you curl up and take a nap, Jess. It'll take us a couple of hours to get where we're going... and you're gonna want to be well-rested when we get there."
"Okay." Jesse smiled shyly, still not quite believing what Steve had just told him about his affect on the older man. It was odd, he'd been unable to sleep well for the past couple of days, anxious and anticipating the consummation of their new relationship. But just when he thought he'd be most keyed up and too wired to rest, simply being in the car with Steve was enough to relax him.
Snuggling down in the seat, he drifted off to sleep. But even as he dozed, he was aware that the older man kept his hand firmly intertwined with his own.
Continued in Part 2
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