As always, Jim and Blair and the Ford don't belong to me. I don't receive money for this, and am greatful to the owners of this intellectual property for not suing me over their use. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Listening With The Soul
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Neither man was speaking to the other. They were both still angry from the argument they'd had earlier and neither one was willing to take a step back and try to talk things out and reach a compromise. Each was absolutely convinced that his was the only correct point of view, and had said things to the other that neither man had really meant, but it was too late to take back the hurtful, biting words. And it didn't help one bit that they were stranded in traffic on the Green Street Bridge, due to an overturned big rig at the other end. Since the bridge had been repaired, they'd put a median barricade in the center of the bridge, preventing anyone from turning around and escaping the snarlup.
Jim, jaws clenched, and fingers white-knuckled on the stearing wheel, forced one had free and reached over to turn on the radio. If he was going to have to sit here in the sweltering heat and not make things worse, he needed to hear something besides the seething man beside him, or the voices from the accident site.
Blair jumped slightly when Jim's hand came off the wheel. He half expected the fingers to curl into a fist and head his way. He felt an instant's relief when he realized the bigger man was just turning on the radio.
Naturally, there was a news bulletin announcing the closure of the bridge, and Jim savagely punched the button for another preset...and then another, and another, and finally, the last one. He seriously thought that he should upgrade the stock radio to something FM...Finally, the last button and soft strains of Motown came through the speakers. Never even looking at his partner, he turned to look out his window, letting the smooth sounds of R&B wash over him.
Oh, good. There was a station that actually had music. Motown. Acceptable, not that Jim had bothered to ask... Blair cast a glance at his partner, wondering how they were going to work this out. He'd said some pretty horrible things...of course, Jim had said some just as awful stuff to him, but still. He glanced surreptitiously at his friend. Wondering, once again, if this was it, or if, one more time, they would work things out. Sighing, he turned his attention out his window... and, since the temperature was nearly ninty degrees...he rolled down his window, hoping for the slightest breeze. Too bad Ellison's glare, frosty as it was, didn't have any real effect on the ambient temperature.
Jim kept his attention on the traffic ahead. Knowing good and well that they were going to be stuck there for at least another hour, he closed his eyes and leaned his head back against the car door and tuned out everything except the music coming from the radio.
"I've had my share of life's ups and downs,
but the fates' been kind, the downs have been few.
I guess you could say, that I've been lucky.
Oh, I guess you could say, that it's all because of you..."
As the sweet sounds of Gladys Knight and the Pips flowed through the heated silence between the two men, they listened...and heard...
'Oh, man. That is so true. That is so me...Up and down, like a yo-yo. Moving from place to place, never settling in any one place for very long...Yeah, I've been really lucky. I mean, how many people search for something their entire lives, only to never find it? What are the odds that I'd be studying Sentinels...and that I'd find one, right here, in Cascade, not in some backwoods tribe somewhere deep in the jungle...' Blair cast a quick glance at Jim, thinking of some of the cruel things he'd said to him earlier...
As the words sank in, Jim's fingers loosened their white-knuckled grip on the steering wheel. 'Boy, ain't that the truth,' he glanced over at his partner, who looked totally engrossed with the song.
"If anyone should ever write my life story
for whatever reason there might be.
You'll be there, between each line of pain and glory,
'Cause you're the best thing that ever happened to me.
Oh, you're the best thing, that ever happened to me."
Jim paled for a moment as he heard those words, then flushed as the meaning came clear. Of course, Blair actually had written his life's story...well, the freaky parts of it, anyway. Still...if Blair hadn't come into his life when he had, there would have been a lot more pain, and no glory whatsoever...and, all in all, his life was a great deal better than it would have been without his friend. He cast another quick glance over at his partner, who still seemed engrossed in the song.
Blair flinched at the second verse...no one would ever be writing his life story...and the mess that had come from his writing about Jim's...well, he really could have done without that...but still...he could honestly say, to himself at least, that Jim truly had been the best thing that had ever happened to him, and he wouldn't trade their time together for anything. He shifted in his seat, just enough to be able to see his friend with his peripheral vision. He was a bit surprised to see Jim glance at him and the strange look on his face.
"Oh, there have been times when times were hard,
But, always somehow I've made it, I made it through.
'Cause for every moment that I spent hurting,
There was a moment that I spent on just loving you."
'Oh, man...' That was so true. For all the bad things that had happened to them, they were far outweighed by the good things. Of course there were hard times, times when he wasn't sure he was going to survive, times when he was afraid that their friendship wouldn't survive...like now... Blair turned his head to look at his friend, and found him looking back at him.
He was used to hard times...but if he was honest with himself, and he did try to at least tell himself the truth, Blair had been instrumental in his making it through most of the hard times they'd had in the past four years. No matter what happened, their friendhip had managed to survive... Jim turned to look at his partner, and this time, when Blair turned to look at him, he didn't look away.
"If anyone should ever write my life story
for whatever reason there might be,
Oh, you'll be there, between each line of pain and glory
'cause you're the best thing that ever happened to me.
I know you're the best thing, oh, that ever happened to me."
"I'm sorry," they chorused as one.
In case you couldn't figure it out, the song, by Gladys Knight and the Pips, is 'You're the Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me.'
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