"Oh, no, no, no way, man, there is nothing that starts a fight faster than two people working on a one-person job," Blair said. "Too many cooks, you know?"
"I'm not looking for a cook," Jim said. "I'm looking for more like a scullery maid."
"Yeah, sure, let me just go put on the skirt," Blair leered.
Jim sighed elaborately. "Sandburg, just come over here and hold the back steady until I can attach the base and sides. Think you can handle that division of labor?"
"Dunno, man, depends on what kind of a foreman you are." But Blair allowed himself to be positioned behind the skeleton of the wardrobe, holding the sheet of composite that would serve as the back.
They were so close together that he could smell Jim, laundry detergent and a pleasant hint of fresh sweat. Looking down, he lost himself in watching the muscles contract and expand in Jim's forearms as he tightened each screw.
An uneasy feeling of being watched made him look up to see Jim watching him gravely, his hands still turning the screwdriver. "What?" Blair said.
"I love you," Jim said, and then, "Steady! Hold it steady!"
"Jeez!" Blair sputtered. "Way to spring it on a guy out of nowhere, man, way to -- you do? Really?"
Jim was looking at him with affection and exasperation, and mechanically fitting a screw into a slot. "No, I just said it," he said, "what do you think?" His cheeks were pink.
"Wow," Blair breathed. "Can I let go now?"
Jim looked down, as though he'd forgotten the wardrobe. "Yeah," he said, "that's the last ---" Blair's hug cut off his words.
After a long moment, Jim lifted his face from Blair's hair. "Sandburg," he said tenderly, "we're never going to get this wardrobe put together, are we?"
Feedback me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read the story notes
Read "Midnight Oil"
Read the rest of the "Six Weeks" snippets:
Back to in medias Res