Cuddle Stories  D - L

Includes:        Dance Cuddle

                        Fathers Day Cuddle

                        Headache Cuddle

                        Irish Cuddle

                        Line Cuddle

                        Lonely Cuddle

Dance Cuddle

For once, it wasn’t a Community General event that had the lovers in tuxedos. The LAPD had decided to do an old-fashioned “policeman’s ball” as a fund-raiser for a local children’s charity. Steve Sloan, having been coerced into attending any number of similar functions for the hospital, took a special glee in “convincing” his father’s colleagues to buy tickets.

The opportunity to strong-arm doctors and hospital administrators into coughing up a donation was one of the few pleasures the occasion brought, however. Seeing his lover in a tux was a joy, but watching the younger man fend off advances from any number of women, eager to snare a seemingly eligible bachelor physician, was *not* his idea of a good time. Unfortunately for Steve and Jesse, however, the LAPD wasn’t as open-minded regarding sexual preferences as other work environments. Steve didn’t dare let it be known that he was gay, precluding the detective from growling at any female daring to make a move on his mate.

Jesse had taken to dancing with Amanda Bentley as often as possible. Steve had to admit that they made a handsome couple... which was yet another irritant. It was hard to watch from the sidelines as Jesse danced with anyone else, even such a beloved and platonic friend as Amanda. It should be *Steve* twirling Jesse around on the floor, appreciating first hand how the smaller man’s compact body moved smoothly to the music.

“I’d offer you a penny for your thoughts, but considering you’ve been staring at Jesse for the last ten minutes, I think I’ve got a good idea of what they are.”

Steve’s father stood beside him, the older Sloan looking dapper in his traditionally cut tuxedo. His face was sad, though, as he contemplated his son’s situation. Mark thoroughly approved of Jesse as a life partner for Steve and felt bad that the couldn’t be more open with their relationship.

“I knew when I decided to become a cop that it’d mean hiding what I am and I thought I’d come to terms with that a long time ago,” Steve admitted, “but sometimes it gets to me. Is it too much to ask to be able to dance with my lover in public?” The detective’s voice seethed with barely restrained frustration.

Mark placed a calming hand on his son’s arm. “Hang on a minute, son. I think I have an idea.


“So, are you and Dr. Bentley romantically involved?” The older woman asked Jesse. Then, she proceeded to continue the one-sided conversation without bothering to wait for an answer. “Because if not, I have a daughter I’d love for you to meet.”

Jesse Travis tried not to squirm. He was beginning to feel like a lamb lost in the midst of a pack of hungry wolves. He’d allowed himself to be drawn into conversation with this particular woman because she seemed too elderly to pose much of a threat. Sadly, he’d forgotten that females sometimes hunt on behalf of their young and so he found himself once again having to turn down unwanted advances.

Luckily for Jesse, the female of the species also tends to be protective. In a cloud of chiffon and sweet-smelling perfume, Amanda sailed to his rescue. “There you are, honey,” she said brightly to Jesse as she took his arm. “I’ve been looking all over for you.”

Jesse gaped at his friend’s use of a romantic-type nickname for him, responding only when the other doctor surreptitiously jabbed him with her elbow. “What? Oh. Sorry. I was just talking to Mrs. Johnson while we’re waiting for the orchestra to finish their break.”

“Pleased to meet you,” Amanda nodded at the other woman even as she propelled Jesse towards the door. “Now, if you’ll excuse us, I absolutely must get for a breath of fresh air. It’s a little stuffy in here.”

Since Jesse had overheard several other attendees complaining about how chilly the ballroom was, he knew Amanda’s excuse was utterly fabricated. He wasn’t about to complain, though, not when escape was in sight.

“Thanks, Amanda,” the grateful young man said as they made a successful exit to the garden. “I wasn’t sure how I was going to get away from her.”

Amanda grinned at him. “The things I do for you, kiddo....”

By this time, the two had reached the garden. The ball was being held at a swanky hotel, one with Elaborately groomed grounds. Mark Sloan was waiting for them by the entrance to a somewhat secluded courtyard.

“Hey, you guys, over here,” the older doctor beckoned them and his colleagues hurried to obey.

“What’s up, Mark?” Jesse asked, confused by his friends’ machinations. “No one’s been murdered, have they? That wouldn’t be too smart, to kill somebody at the *policeman*’s ball.”

“No, not that,” Mark responded, his teeth flashing white as he grinned. “Someone has requested a private dance, that’s all.”

It didn’t take any time at all for Jesse to figure out who the “someone” was that Mark was referring to.

“Oh, wow,” the young man breathed, moving instinctively towards the entrance. He’d ached to be in Steve’s arms every bit as much as the detective had yearned to have him there. Jesse had only gone a step or two, though, when reality set in and he came to a stop. “Won’t somebody see us? I don’t want to risk Steve’s cop cronies finding out.”

“No, that’s what we’re here for,” Amanda explained with a wink. “We’re your look-outs and a friendly distraction, if it comes to that. Nobody’s going to see you, trust us.”

“Go on,” Mark pushed Jesse gently towards the courtyard. “You know you want to... besides, Steve’s waiting.”

Since he did utterly trust his friends, Jesse smiled at them and eagerly moved underneath the latticed arch that marked the entrance to the private courtyard. His faith was rewarded because his lover was indeed waiting for him, bathed in moonlight. Then Steve turned and looked at him, his smile greeting the younger man.

Jesse didn’t need any other invitation and gladly moved into the other man’s embrace. “Oh, man, you have *no* idea how much I needed this.”

Steve chuckled. “Yeah, I do - almost as much as I did.”

The lovers were quiet for a few moments, reveling in each other’s presence. Then, the orchestra started playing again, the sound muffled a little by distance but still quite audible. Taking advantage of finally being able to act on the urge he’d had all night, Steve wrapped an arm around Jesse’s waist and started moving him to the music.

Jesse sighed at the sensation but then tensed. “Are you sure it’s safe?”

“Oh yeah,” the detective immediately answered, “I’ve done stakeouts here before. This courtyard’s totally shielded by the trees and Amanda and my dad are guarding the only exit. Relax, no one will see us.” Jesse was happy to comply, leaning into the bigger man and letting Steve take the lead.

After a few minutes, the orchestra finished the song and launched into another. Jesse swallowed his puff of disappointment before he could exhale it. He was lucky, he knew, to get the one dance with Steve under these circumstances. It would be churlish to long for more and he was determined not to ruin the perfect moment with his unrealistic demands.

Jesse had forgotten, however, to take Steve’s wishes into account. When the doctor moved to pull back from him, the older man wrapped his arms more firmly around his partner. “Na-uh, no you don’t. I’ve waited all night for this, I’m not ready to let you go yet.”

The shorter blond grinned up at his mate, offering absolutely no resistance as Steve started them dancing to the next melody. This time, Steve started singing softly along with the song, holding Jesse so close that his breath tickled the younger man’s ear. It was a sappy ballad from the 1970s, but instantly became Jesse’s absolute favorite.

“I didn’t know you could sing,” he complimented his lover when the song was over and Steve had lapsed into silence.

“Oh, I can,” the taller man smiled down at him, leaning down to rub noses with his mate. “When I have the right kind of inspiration, that is.”

“Really?” Jesse teased, head tilted as he heard the orchestra strike up another tune.

“Yup,” Steve asserted. “You know what else I’m inspired to do?” When Jesse just silently shook his head, Steve chuckled softly and lifted Jesse so that the lovers were eye-to-eye. Jesse wrapped his arms around the detective’s neck and the two men kissed intensely. Easily able to support the extra weight, Steve’s feet continuing to move in a waltz pattern, twirling the lip-locked lovers around the courtyard.

“Aww, isn’t that sweet,” Amanda whispered to Mark. The two had become concerned when Jesse and Steve were gone for three songs instead of the agreed-upon one and stuck their heads in to see if everything was all right.

“Yes, it certainly is,” Mark agreed. Looking up at the moon, he made a suggestion. “You know, it’s awfully nice outside tonight. I’m not eager to go back in, are you?”

“No, I’ve never really cared for crowds,” Amanda played along with her friend as the two retreated to their lookout station. “How about we just hang around out here for awhile?”

Oblivious, the lovers danced on, with only the moon as a witness.

~the end~


Father's Day Cuddle

"Mark, you got a minute?"

Dr. Mark Sloan looked up from the crossword puzzle that had been confounding him for the last hour. Far from being an interruption, Jesse's voice had rescued him from having to admit defeat and so was an even more welcome distraction than normal.

"For you," the elderly doctor said with a smile as he gestured for the other man to enter his office, "I might have two minutes, not just one."

Mark watched as Jesse came in, the short blond careful to keep both hands behind his back. As the younger doctor approached his desk, Mark could see how nervous the other physician was.

"I wanted to thank you again, Jess," Mark said, hoping to put his colleague at ease, "for covering my shift after yours yesterday. When I heard that Dr. Poller called in sick when she was supposed to do my rounds for me, I thought I'd be roped into coming in "

If anything, Mark's gracious comment only served to increase, rather than alleviate, Jesse's visible nervousness. Blushing, the younger man replied, "I was happy to do it, Mark. It was Father's Day and I know that's a special day for you and Steve both."

Jesse was shifting from foot to foot as his eyes darted around the room. It immediately occurred to Mark that he hadn't seen the young man this nervous since he and Steve had told Mark of their relationship. Unlike that occasion, however, Mark had no idea of what was bothering his prot‚g‚. Steve and Jesse had been virtually the last people who realized they were in love with each other, so their "big" revelation had come as no surprise at all. To his knowledge, though, there was nothing currently going on that should be distressing Jesse and Mark was beginning to be a bit alarmed as to what could be the cause of this strange agitation. Before the older doctor could as, however, Jesse began to talk again.

"Speaking of Father's Day, I wanted to give you a present." The young man brought his hands out from behind his back, revealing the brightly wrapped package he'd been concealing. Moving quickly, he gingerly placed it on the desk in front of Mark.

Mark loved getting gifts, almost as much as he enjoyed giving them. "Jesse, you shouldn't have," he protested, even as his fingers fiddled with the bow.

"No, it was my pleasure," Jesse insisted, pleased at his mentor's delighted reaction. "Go ahead, open it."

Mark didn't have to be encouraged twice. Gleefully, he tore into the wrapping, making short work of it. In no time at all, he was looking at a box of . "Sneakers? Thanks, Jess, I've been meaning to take up jogging."

"Not just any sneakers," Jesse explained, pointing out the footwear's hidden feature. "They just look like normal athletic shoes. Actually, they're roller-skates."

Sure enough, there were small inline wheels on the bottom of the shoes. Mark was impressed and responded with the hippest word he could think of. "Wow. These are really keen!" Smiling from ear to ear, he grinned at the younger man. "Thank you, Jesse, these are a very thoughtful gift."

"I'm glad you like them," the other man replied, blushing at the praise. "I saw somebody on Venice Beach with them last month and just knew you had to have a pair."

As the younger doctor was speaking, Mark found the card tucked inside the box. Not too surprisingly, it was a Father's Day card. On the outside, it read World's Greatest Dad and on the inside, there was a handwritten note. Anybody who has you for a father is the luckiest person in the world, it read. Thanks for treating me like a member of the family. It means more to me than you'll ever know.

As Mark was reading, Jesse sidled towards the door. He hadn't made it out of the room, however, when Mark stopped him. "Jesse, this card - it's beautiful. I like it even better than the shoes."

"Really?" Jesse sounded relieved. "I was hoping you wouldn't be offended. I mean, even before Steve and I were together, you took me under your wing and all. I couldn't ask for a better mentor and sometimes, I wish " The younger man broke off his spate of words with a shrug. "Well, let's just say that now I know what I missing when I was growing up."

Mark came out from behind his desk, eyes serious as he addressed the other doctor. "Jesse. I'm sorry you and your dad aren't closer. No matter the reason, there's no excuse for a man abandoning his family." By this time, the elderly man had reached his companion and gripped his shoulders. "But his loss is my gain. You know I'd welcome you as a son-in-law in a second, if our laws allow it, right?"

"Yeah, I know," Jesse said softly, not looking Mark in the eye.

"Well, until the rest of society catches up, well just have to make do," Mark said, "how does 'chosen son' sound to you?"

"Sounds great," the younger man answered. He would have said more but he was too choked up. Mark saw his distress and gathered him into a big hug.

They stayed that way until the sound of a throat clearing behind them startled both doctors.

"Hey, Dad, that's my boyfriend you're holding mighty close there," Steve Sloan said dryly. "I always knew I'd have constant competition for Jesse, but I never figured it'd be from my own father."

"I will have you know that the Sloan Mystique only increases as you get older," Mark said with a wink to Jesse, "if I'd seriously wanted young Dr. Travis, you never would have stood a chance."

"You don't say " Steve responded, coming fully into the room and planting his feet a short distance from the other two. The big detective rocked back on his heels, arms folded across his chest as he fixed his father with a mock glare.

"I don't know," Jesse added, getting into the spirit of the teasing. "I always favored guys with facial hair."

Steve stroked his chin. "I can grow a beard!"

Mark burst out laughing. "Enough of this nonsense. I'm in the mood to take my sons," he wrapped one arm around each of the other men, making it clear who he was referring to, "both of them, out to dinner."

As the trio left the office, the sound of Mark's voice drifted back. "Now, Steve, I've reason to believe that you're dating my chosen son, Jesse. Let me tell you what the consequences will be if you ever should be foolish enough to hurt him ."

~the end~

Headache Cuddle

"Hey, babe, I'm glad you're home. I've got " Steve Sloan's cheerful greeting broke off when he got a good look at his lover. "Shit. Please tell me that you feel better than you look."

Jesse gave him a wan smile. "That good, huh?"

The older man finished wiping his hands on the dishtowel he was holding as he watched Jesse remove his sodden coat and hang it on the doorknob. The doctor was missing his usual bounce and Steve could see that his face was unusually pale. Given how carefully Jesse was moving and how he winced at the light, the detective had a pretty good idea of what was wrong. "Headache again?"

"Yeah," his lover admitted, scrubbing at his face with his fingers. "My brain's throbbing and sunlight feels like knives stabbing into my eyes. I just feel ooky."

Despite himself, Steve lifted one eyebrow in amusement. Damn, if Jess wasn't cute when he was sick too. "'Ooky?' You spent how many years in medical school, survived your internship, and the best description you can come up with for how you feel is 'ooky?'"

Jesse was feeling too bad to mentally dig out some medical verbiage that would put Steve in his place. "Yeah."

Sloan took pity on him. "Well, it's just your luck that my dad taught me how to deal with 'ooky.'" Steve settled himself into the big recliner chair, then wiggled one finger at his lover in a gesture that was both a command and an invitation. "C'mere, babe."

The younger man crossed the room, smile ghosting across his face, subdued because of his headache but still enjoying himself. "Your dad, huh? Funny, he'd teach you a medical procedure but not teach me."

"Shush." By this time, Jesse had reached the chair and Steve reached out for him. Soon the smaller of the two men was straddling the other, facing the detective as he was perched on his lap. Steve started at Jesse's head, running his long fingers through Jesse's hair and down his neck, trailing his hands down the length of his lover's spine before finally ending by briefly cupping his fingers around both khaki-clad cheeks. Then, after a gentle squeeze of the firm flesh, Steve would start at the top again.

Soon, Jesse was a relaxed puddle of doctor, with barely the muscle control to softly murmur, "I have a hard time picturing Mark teaching you this."

The comment generated an equally quiet chuckle from his partner. "Quiet, you're ruining the mood." Affecting a doctor-like tone of voice, Steve went on to explain what he was doing. "You see, first you loosen the patient's muscles," Steve's large hands left off stroking his mate and one gently lifted Jesse's chin, "and then, you kiss the headache away."

And the detective proceeded to do just that.

"Wow," Jesse exclaimed in wonder when their lips finally parted. "I think you sucked the pain right out of my head."

"Yup," Steve was smug in satisfaction, but then became less full of himself when something occurred to him. "Now, just because I taught you that, doesn't mean I want to find out you've used it on any of your other patients."

"Nope," Jesse promised, snuggling down against Steve's chest. "Only you. Forever."

And there was no doubt in either man's mind that he wasn't referring only to his newly learned medical technique.

~the end~

Irish Cuddle

Unfortunately for the lovers, Steve's bedroom at the Malibu home he shared with his father was located directly under the kitchen stairs.

"Ugh," Jesse Travis moaned. "Does he do that every morning?"

Suffering too much himself from a hangover similar to his bedmate's, Steve didn't offer the younger man much sympathy. "The singing? Yes, that's every morning." The detective cracked an eyelid open only when a loud clattering joined the sound of his father's cheerful tune. "The jig's new, though. Must be in honor of St. Patrick's Day."

The other man grabbed Steve's arm and attempted to wrap it around his head, as if it were a pillow he was using to block out the noise. "But that was yesterday," Jesse complained.

Steve pried the other eyelid open. "Jess, have you ever known my dad to celebrate a holiday – any holiday - for only one day? We'll be lucky if he drops the Irish brogue by the end of the week."

In spite of his discomfort, the young doctor chuckled. "Yeah, I suppose you're right."

Steve waited for the reality of their situation to hit his lover. Counting under his breath, the detective only got to seven before Jesse sat straight up in bed, a panicked expression on his face.

"Omigod," the younger man panted. "We're in bed together at your house with Mark right upstairs! Steve, he'll figure it out!" Instinctively, the doctor clutched the covers to his chest, as though Mark Sloan could see him right through the floor.

Stifling a groan, Steve struggled to sit. He didn't have the heart to tell his lover that his father had probably figured out that Steve was attracted to Jesse before Steve had. "Just calm down, babe. He's upstairs, we're downstairs. We'll just be real quiet until Dad leaves for work."

"Okay, okay. We'll just be quiet. Real quiet. That'll work." Jesse took a deep breath as he made a valiant attempt to settle himself. Turning a pale face towards Steve, he even gave him a shaky smile, no doubt meaning it to be reassuring.

Steve Sloan didn't take it personally that his lover virtually started hyperventilating at the thought of his dad finding out about their relationship. The older man was aware of Jesse's history and knew his mate's hesitation had nothing to do with being ashamed of Steve and everything to do with worrying over Mark's reaction. Steve knew he had a firm first place in his lover's heart but Mark had a close, if platonic, second. Jesse had already lost one father due to his sexuality, he was terrified of losing his mentor over it as well.

Unfortunately, the detective's musings were cut short by the distinctive creak of his father's footsteps on the stairs.

Frozen in horror at the sound, Jesse just stared at the door, a glazed expression on his face. Although Steve didn't share the dread of Mark's reaction that his lover had, neither did he relish the thought of being caught in bed with his boyfriend like a wayward teenager.

"Bathroom," Steve hissed at his bed partner. "Quick!"

With a muffled squeak, Jesse tumbled gracelessly from the bed and dove into the small bathroom that was adjacent to the bedroom. Moving quickly, Steve fluffed the covers, trying to hide the evidence. Practicing skills he hadn't needed to utilize since high school, the forty-something man had managed to flop back on the mattress and slacken his features into a semblance of sleep right as his father opened the door.

"Steve?" Marked called cautiously. "You up? I thought I heard you stirring."

"I'm awake," The younger Sloan said. "I don't think I qualify as 'up' yet, though."

As his father entered the room, Steve noticed that the older man was carrying a tray. He didn't have a chance to see what was on it, however, before his dad turned to set his burden on the dresser. Then, the elderly doctor turned and leaned against the bureau while he appraised his son with a knowing eye.

"From the looks of you," Mark teased, "you and Jesse had one heck of a pub crawl last night."

The detective grimaced. "I didn't have a choice. Jess claimed that Los Angeles couldn't beat Chicago's celebration of St. Paddy's. It was a challenge."

"Uh-huh," his father said, not convinced. "And who won?"

Steve didn't answer him directly. "Never challenge a city willing to dye a whole river green. You can't win, trust me."

Mark laughed, shaking his head. "I could have told you that." The father gave his boy a parental look. "Please tell me that neither one of you drove home last night."

His son rolled his eyes. Some things never changed. "No. We took advantage of the reduced cab fares for the night. That reminds me - I might need you to drive me out to pick up my car later."

"I'd be happy to," Mark answered. "I brought you some of the secret Sloan hangover cure. Guaranteed to work wonders for those who have overindulged as long as you don't make a habit out of needing it too often." Gentle admonishment delivered, the old man headed for the door but turned at the last minute for a final comment. "I hope Jesse's better off than you are." Then, with a wink, he headed back upstairs.

Steve's eyes darted back over to the dresser. Sure enough, the tray had two glasses of hangover cure on it.

The cop pulled himself out of bed and stumbled across the room. "Jess," he said softly, tapping on the door. "It's safe to come out now. He's gone."

"In a minute," came the younger man's response.

Steve took one of the glasses and drained it one gulp. He didn't know what his father used in the concoction, but it worked. It tasted awful, no doubt as an encouragement not to need it very often, but it did do the job.

"Oh, man," Jesse said as he leaned against the doorframe. "Green beer always seems like a good idea when you're drinking it, but the next day," the young doctor shuddered. "Well, it's not as appetizing."

Steve didn't like the wan look on his lover's face. Grabbing the other glass, he crossed over to where Jesse stood. "Here, drink this. It should help."

The shorter blond looked at the glass doubtfully. The viscous liquid didn't exactly inspire thirst. Taking a delicate whiff at its contents, he recoiled sharply. "Ugh. What's in this stuff?"

"Trust me, you probably don't want to know," Steve answered him. Crossing his arms over his chest, he pinned his lover with an authoritative look. "Just drink it, it's good for you. It's Dad's special hangover cure."

Thinking fast, Jesse tried to hand the glass back to his lover. "No, Mark brought this down for you." Wide, guileless eyes looked up at Steve. "I couldn't accept a potion that a father specially prepared for his son, it wouldn't be right."

"Guess again, babe," Steve held up the other glass, already empty. "He brought two. Now drink up."

Jesse responded automatically to the command, a fact that Steve soon regretted. As with when he'd first awakened, the import of the older man's statement didn't hit the doctor right away and he was halfway through his tonic when he realized what it meant. The reactionary sputtering resulted in more of the nasty stuff being spit out on Steve than going down Jesse's throat.

"Two glasses?" The doctor gasped.

"Yes, two," Steve dryly answered, flicking stray droplets of hangover cure off his bare chest. Seeing the dismay on his lover's face, though, he quickly moved to comfort the younger man. Hurrying over to him, he gently took Jesse into his arms, glass and all. "Jess, it's all right. You know my dad and he's nothing like your father. Us being lovers isn't going to be a problem with him."

"I know, I know, but what if ."

"What if nothing," Steve firmly interrupted. "My dad's the most accepting person I know." The detective smiled. "Besides, he doesn't make hangover cure for just anybody. That alone should tell you that he's okay with us being together."

Jesse looked at his half-full glass ruefully. "Yeah, unless he's trying to poison me." The young man thought for a moment, then his expression became more resolute. Moving decisively, he drank the rest of his hangover potion in one gulp. Then, he deliberately placed the glass on the dresser before snuggling deeper into Steve's arms. "You're right. Mark's a great guy. I'm worrying for nothing." Looking up at the taller man, he hesitantly made a suggestion. "You suppose we should go up and join him for breakfast? Thanks to that cure of his, I might actually be able to eat something."

Steve considered. "In a minute," the detective said, keeping his arms wrapped around his lover and walking him backwards towards the bed. "but, we were too sloshed last night to do anything but strip down to our boxers and fall into bed."

Jesse saw the glint in his mate's eye and grinned. A heartbeat later, however, he remember where he was. "Steve! Your dad's right upstairs - he'll hear us!"

"Serves the meddler right," Steve declared, bending in to sloppily kiss the other man's neck. Lifting his head, he waggled his eyebrows and, in a Irish accent so bad that it made his father's seem almost authentic in comparison, added, "Hmmmm . magically delicious!"

Upstairs, Mark heard the laughter and smiling fondly, moved his pancake fixings back into the refrigerator. From the sounds of it, it looked like the boys were going to be late for breakfast.

~ the end ~

Line Cuddle

“First, you stick it in.”

“Like that? 

“Yeah, Steve, exactly like that.  Now pull it back out.”

“If you say so,” Steve Sloan’s voice sounded a little doubtful.

“Okay, now stick it back in again.”

“Jess….”  Doubtful had become dubious.

“Trust me, Big Guy.  Stick it in.”  Jesse’s voice, on the other hand, was the epitome of confidence.  Pushy, even.

“All right, it’s in.  Now what?” Steve sounded on the verge of exasperated.

“Now you wiggle it around a bit.”

Steve turned and glared at his partner.  “Jesse, you’re supposed to be showing me how to line dance, not do the Hokey Pokey.”

The younger blond gave him a cheeky grin.  “Oh, but you looked so cute, I just couldn’t help myself.”

That comment pulled Steve up short.  The brawny detective had been called many things in his life, but it had been years since ‘cute’ had been used to describe him.  “Well, the next time the hospital sponsors a Hokey Pokey dance, I’ll keep that in mind.  But, since it’s a line dancing event….”

“Party pooper,” Jesse accused, even as he prepared to demonstrate some dance steps.

Affectionately, Steve shook his head at his lover’s teasing.  “Just tryin’ to keep from being a party pooper, babe.  You know me and my two left feet.”

Jesse stopped to dispute his lover’s claim.  “No way.”  He wagged his eyebrows at Steve.  “I’ve sucked on those toes.  They’re not both from left feet, trust me.”

Steve flushed in reaction to the way Jesse’s voice dropped to a sexy whisper but then his eyes narrowed in suspicion.  “Can’t help but noticing that you seem to be doing a lot of delaying here, Jess, instead of getting down to the actual teaching.  You sure you know how to line dance?”

His goad worked.  Jesse rolled his eyes but stopped teasing and got down to business.

“I’ll have you know that I’m considered a line dancing god in some parts of the country,” Jesse claimed.  “Watch this, disbeliever.”

Hands tucked inside his belt, Jesse started to demonstrate his moves.  “You’ve got your heel, your grapevine, the hitch, the drag, and – my personal favorite – the left ball touch.”  He came to stop, looking at Steve in anticipation.

Steve frowned.  “Smooth moves, babe.  I didn’t quite get it, though.  Could you run through that again?”

“Sure,” Jesse readily agreed.  “How about, instead of facing you, that I turn around so you can watch from behind?  That way, you won’t have to flip the moves around in your head.”

“Perfect,” Steve agreed.  He licked his lips as Jesse moved to stand in front of him.  The doctor went through the same demonstration, but Steve wasn’t really paying attention.  Or, rather, he wasn’t paying attention to Jesse’s feet or his explanation of what he was doing.  Instead, Steve’s attention was taken by the way Jesse’s nicely rounded ass was outlined by the soft denim of his jeans, the well-worn fabric stretched tightly over the firm globes that Steve could see Jesse’s cheeks working as he danced.

“That better?”

“Huh?”  Steve grunted eloquently.  When he realized that Jesse had stopped moving and was looking at him, the detective tried to cover his lapse.  “Sorry, I was concentrating.  Think you could run that by me again?”

It was Jesse’s turn to look suspicious.  “But I just did it twice.”

Steve shrugged.  “What can I say?  I’m a slow learner.”

Jesse grabbed Steve’s hand and pulled him to the middle of the floor.  The furniture had been moved to the sides, leaving an open area in the middle of the living room.  “I tell you what, this time, you try it with me.”

The two men went through the steps again, Jesse calling out instructions as Steve strove to follow.  “No, no.  It’s a grapevine, you cross your feet and keep moving.  Don’t stop – ouch!”

Steve had indeed stopped and, since he was standing too close to Jesse, the younger man tripped on him and lost his balance.

“I don’t think your heart’s in it,” Jesse said as Steve helped him up from the floor.  

“Sorry,” Steve said sheepishly.  “I keep thinking that we’re dancing, I ought to have you in my arms.”

“It’s line dancing, Steve.”

The big man shrugged again.  “I know that, but I’d rather hold you.”

“Oooh, score romantic points for the Big Guy,” Jesse said with a grin.  Reaching up on his tip toes, the young man kissed Steve lightly on his nose. 

This was more like it!  Steve reached for his lover, hoping to pull him close, but Jesse all but danced out of his arms.  “I know what your problem is!  You need something to help you get in the right mood. Hang on a minute.”  With that, Jesse darted down the hall and into the bedroom.  Steve could hear his somewhat muffled voice as his mate was apparently retrieving something.

“I’m in the mood all right,” Steve growled to himself.  “But not for dancing.  At least not the horizontal kind. 

“Just you wait,”  Jesse promised as he re-entered the room.  “This will get your juices flowing.”  

He held out a big box to his lover.  Steve took it somewhat gingerly, looking askance at the younger man.  “What’s this?”

“Open it!” Jesse directed, all but bouncing.  

Steve obeyed, untying the string that bound the box and lifting the lid.  Inside, was a cowboy hat.  It was dark brown leather and had a leather braid around the crown.  The detective gave a long, low whistle of appreciation before lifting it out and putting it on.  “What do you think?”

“Ride ‘em, cowboy!” Jesse responded enthusiastically.

Steve leered at his lover.  “Well, pardner, that’s ‘xactly what I had in mind.”

”Oh, no,” Jesse protested, backing up from the bigger man.  “I’m supposed to be giving you dance lessons tonight.”

Steve stalked him, noticing that – despite his protests - Jesse’s retreat was taking him closer to the bedroom.  “We’ve got a week until the dance, Jess.  Plenty of time.  Now, why don’t I take you into the bedroom and show you my moves?”’  

Jesse grinned.  “Yipee-ki-yea, cowboy – hey!”  

As soon as Jesse had started to speak, Steve had lunged forward and grabbed his lover.  Slinging him over his shoulder, he strode to the bedroom with his best John Wayne-style strut.  “If you’re good, I might just show you my left ball touch.”

“Oh, I’m very good,” Jesse responded confidently as they reached their destination.  Just as Steve was closing the door behind them, he made one last request.

“Hey, Steve, you think you could leave the hat on?

~the end~

Lonely Cuddle

The worst thing about hotel rooms, as far as Steve Sloan was concerned, was that they were empty.

He could put up with the stale, canned air, endlessly recirculated through a building where the windows were hermetically sealed shut.  He could deal with the faulty air temperature controls, deceptive little gizmos that never worked but were there to give you the illusion that you had some control over your rented room's environment.  Not being talented in the interior decorating arena, he could even tolerate the bland room furnishings, which seemed to always be designed for little old ladies from Indiana.

In other words, hotel rooms had none of the comforts of home and were about as friendly as a bus terminal.

He could deal with all of that.  What really got to him, though, was the fact that Jesse wasn't there. He'd meant to be.  The police conference Steve was attending was located in Chicago.  The plan had been for the younger man to visit family and friends while Steve was in seminars, joining him for dinners and then tacking a few days off at the end of the conference to show his lover around his hometown.  It was a good plan but even the best laid plans, however, were prone to change.  This time, the alteration had not been to the couple's benefit.  When another doctor was, literally, hit by a bus and suddenly unavailable, Community General became short staffed. Jesse had been given no choice but remain behind, despite Mark's protests to the administration.  Steve hadn't been happy about it, but since he'd promised his captain he would attend the seminar, he didn't have a choice about the matter any more than Jesse did.

Going solo had meant that there had been no Jesse to share the airplane ride with.  As far as Steve was concerned, the only recompense for the ridiculously tiny airliner seats was the opportunities it gave him to legitimately brush up intimately against his mate in public.  Going by himself had also meant that there had been no one to eat dinner with either, since Steve didn't anticipate meeting up with any other police until the next day.  Last but not least, as far as the detective was concerned, was that he had this stuffy, airless, ugly hotel room all to himself without a Jesse to cuddle up with on its king size bed.

All in all, by the time he finally got to his room, Steve was a crabby man.  He ached from being squished for too long in a airplane seat that was too small for his tall body, his stomach was more than a little uncertain of the food he'd eaten on the fly while waiting for his hotel room to be ready, and he had nothing to look forward to that night except hoping there was a halfway decent movie on cable.  In short, it wasn't exactly the working holiday he'd been looking forward to.

Steve threw his suitcase on the bed.  It was a little bigger than he would have packed for himself, but Jesse had insisted on taking care of it.  His lover had said that it was the least he could do for Steve, since he'd had to back out of the trip on such short notice.  Realizing he needed to get into a better frame of mind before calling home and letting his man know he'd arrived safely, Steve decided that maybe a quick shower would help.  Traveling always made him feel like he had several pounds of dirt on him.

Unzipping his bag, Steve dug around in its contents, almost afraid of what he'd find.  He and Jesse had pretty similar taste in casual clothes, but this was a police conference.  God forbid that the younger man had found him one of those purple dress shirts that he was so fond of.  Or, worse yet, pink.  The other cops would just love that. While he was looking for something comfortable to slip into after he showered, Steve's fingers suddenly encountered something soft.

Very soft, in fact, and... fuzzy. 

"What the heck," the detective murmured, moving carefully folded clothes aside as he reached for the mystery object.  When he'd finally succeeded it pulling out, however, he was at loss to explain its presence.  "What the *hell*?"

It was a teddy bear.  The stuffed animal's cute face seemed to look eagerly into his own , the black plastic eyes bright with a perky _expression very similar to that of his lover.  Embroidered over its chest was the name "Jesse" and a little red heart. 

Steve was so startled to find a toy in his belongings that he at first missed the note tied around its neck. When he did see it, he pulled it off and tucked the bear under his arm as he read his message.

"Steve," the note read, "I'm so sorry that I can't be with you.  I bought this bear a couple of weeks ago and had planned on giving it to you at Valentine's, but thought now was a better time.  If you get lonely, just hug the bear and it will be - almost - the same as hugging me.  I've got one too.  It's got your name on it and, before you ask, it's a lot bigger than the little guy I packed with you. Gotta keep things in scale, after all! I'll be hugging it tonight, hard, and missing you.  Call me! Love you, Jess."

Grinning, Steve did as the note directed and hugged his bear.  Holding to his face, he breathed deeply. Was it his imagination or did it smell a little bit like Jesse?  He carefully set the bear in a place of honor at the pillows of the bed.  There, it looked on in approval as he dialed home.

Steve looked around as he waited for his lover to answer.  Yes, when you got right down to it, this was one heck of a nice, cozy hotel room.

~the end~


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