“Hearts Live By Being Wounded” ― Oscar Wilde
“Sorry, Hutch,” said Starsky, bowing his head and exhaling.
“It’s ok, don’t worry about it.” Hutch tightened his embrace.
“I am so sorry.”
“Starsk,” said Hutch quietly. “It doesn’t matter.”
“I love you so much,” whispered Starsky, not daring to look up.
“I know… And I don’t need your proof. I love you too.”
Starsky let his head drop sideways on Hutch’s shoulder and let out another long breath.
Hutch kissed the top of Starsky’s head. “Relax. Will ya? Just relax.” He caressed Starsky’s arm. “Come on, lie down, put your feet up.”
Starsky slid down along Hutch’s torso and rested his head on his lap.
“Come on, feet up!” Hutch urged.
Starsky obliged with a sigh. He turned on his back and dragged his bare feet onto the couch, staring at the ceiling and still avoiding Hutch’s eyes.
“If you tell me to relax once more, I’ll punch ya in the face.”
“That’s my boy,” Hutch smiled tenderly and started stroking Starsky’s hair.
They hadn’t made love in what felt like an eternity. It had been a week since Hutch had been able to rescue Starsky from the clutches of the Simon Marcus cult. He still had no idea how they had abducted Starsky right from the courthouse. In broad fucking daylight. His face hardened at the thought and his eyes narrowed.
The change in his lover’s face did not escape Starsky’s notice. “Penny for your thoughts?”
“Yeah,” said Starsky and snuggled his head deeper into Hutch’s lap.
They sat in silence for a while, Hutch tenderly stroking Starsky’s hair, his other hand resting on his chest. He could feel Starsky’s heartbeat slowing down.
Those fucking bastards, thought Hutch. He still hadn’t made any progress on the case. Starsky had been off work since the events and hadn’t left his apartment once. While Hutch was in the office or out and about in the city, Starsky kept the door securely locked and had his gun within reach. It was there on the coffee table now. All shiny, new and loaded. A whole lot of fucking good his gun did him last week, thought Hutch angrily. The kidnappers had taken Starsky’s old gun, which hadn’t been found yet.
Hutch was coming round every day to look after his partner. He bought groceries and cooked for him, although Starsky didn’t eat much. He really needed to get his strength back, Hutch thought and decided to cook the Paul Muni Special for Starsky the next day.
His thoughts were interrupted by Starsky, who stroked the hand on his chest. “I’m so sorry…” he began again.
“Starsk, please!” whispered Hutch and put his fingers on Starsky’s lips.
It wasn’t that they made love every single night. There were nights spent alone, each in his own apartment. But it had been more than two weeks now, and Hutch could feel the pressure mounting. His yearning for his lover’s body lying on top of him. Feeling his weight. He didn’t want Starsky to know how much he needed the physical relief; he didn’t want to stress him out even more.
But it was particularly painful that Starsky had insisted on being alone every night, and had sent Hutch home right after dinner most evenings. Hutch was as accommodating as possible, but today, after dinner, as they sat on the couch, he had tenderly stroked the inside of Starsky’s thigh. Starsky had become tense and had stopped Hutch from touching him. Hutch had put his arm around Starsky to reassure him of his love and that’s when Starsky had started apologising.
Nevertheless, Hutch was grateful for their togetherness right now. Grateful for being able to hold Starsky’s head in his lap. This was the first day since the abduction that Hutch was allowed to stay around after dinner any length of time. But these thoughts were suddenly interrupted with those words he’d come to dread each night.
“Hutch, I need to be alone right now.”
Ahhhh. Hutch’s heart grew heavy. He had hoped so much that Starsky had finally gotten better. He stroked Starsky’s chest and closed his eyes, breathing deeply in and out.
“I’m sorry,” said Starsky again.
“Stop apologising.” Hutch slowly slid out from under Starsky’s head and stood up.
Starsky didn’t move. He was still lying on his back, staring at the ceiling. Hutch gathered his shoes and tried to slip into them without falling on the coffee table. He caught himself on the couch with his left arm by Starsky’s shoulder and his right just over Starsky’s head, his face over Starsky’s face. They looked into each other’s eyes. Hutch gave Starsky a quick kiss on the lips and then straightened his back.
“See ya tomorrow, buddy,” he said and moved towards the door. “Lock up behind me.” He looked back at Starsky, who still lay motionless on the sofa.
The next day, Hutch decided to leave work early. Captain Dobey wasn’t too pleased that there was still little progress in finding out how Starsky had been abducted from the courthouse, but he knew that keeping Hutch behind his desk just for the sake of it would achieve nothing.
Hutch went to the nearest grocery store to buy the ingredients for the Paul Muni Special. He realised that at this time of the day, there were only housewives out shopping. Well, he was sort of a housewife for Starsky now. And his nurse. Once Starsky would be back to normal, he thought, he’d be all man again. And how manly he’d be. He giggled to himself and an elderly lady beside him shot him some suspicious looks.
When he got to his partner’s apartment he knocked at the door.
“Door’s open,” came Starsky’s voice from inside.
Hutch stepped in, grocery bags under his arms, and closed the door with a kick. “You didn’t lock it?”
“No, mother,” mumbled Starsky from the couch.
Hutch noticed that Starsky was actually lying in the same spot as the evening before, staring at the ceiling. Wearing the same clothes.
“You’ve gotta get up, buddy,” he said worriedly. If Starsky was starting to let himself go, recovery was going to be slow.
“Nag, nag, nag,” said Starsky and finally looked at him. “Oh, you’ve been shopping. Again?”
“I’m gonna cook something special today.” He placed the grocery bags on the counter, pulled out a bottle of wine to put in the fridge and started gathering cooking utensils.
“If you’re gonna make a mess in here, I’m gonna disappear,” said Starsky and swung himself up from the sofa.
“Where ya goin’?” asked Hutch as he placed a pan on the stove.
“I’m goin’ for a run,” said Starsky and went to his bedroom to change into his sports clothes.
At least he’s going out, thought Hutch. But at the same time he wasn’t too happy that Starsky would be going out on his own in the state he was in.
“Want me to come with you?” Hutch shouted towards the open bedroom door.
“Nah. You do your thing. I’ll be hungry when I get back.”
Hutch raised his eyebrows and tilted his head. He then started slicing the onions. Starsky came back from the bedroom in his running shorts and a tee shirt and looked over to the kitchen area.
Hutch was fighting tears from the onions and wiped right wrist over his eyes. “Don’t cry, I’ll be back soon,” said Starsky with humour in his voice.
“’Kay, see ya in a bit, be careful out there.”
“Yes, mother,” said Starsky and left the apartment.
At least Starsky was regaining his sense of humour, Hutch thought, as he continued dicing more vegetables.
The Paul Muni Special was ready to go in the oven. Hutch slid the tray in and set the timer. He laid the table, added some candles he’d bought and glanced at the clock. It had been half an hour since Starsky had left. Hutch tried to keep his cool. Starsky could take an hour or so if he was really in the mood for a good run.
Hutch decided to look for some soft music he could play on the stereo system, to calm his own nerves and to set the mood for when Starsky finally came back.
He looked through the record collection. Hutch shook his head in disbelief at some of the records he found. He pulled a couple of them out but rejected the rest.
“We really gotta have a talk about that music collection,” he said out loud and snorted.
Just that moment, Starsky entered the apartment. “What?” he asked.
Hutch jumped, he hadn’t heard Starsky enter. He turned around and saw Starsky gesture at the dinner table, still standing by the door.
“What are you… what’s all this?” His voice was half an octave higher.
“I cooked, relax!”
“Hey, Hutch! You gotta take it easy with the relax talk, it’s beginning to drive me mad.”
“I’m sorry!” Hutch lowered his head.
“And stop apologising”, insisted Starsky.
“Come here!” Hutch had walked towards Starsky and pulled him close. He put his arms around the sweaty body and pressed his face against Starsky’s shoulder. “Mmmm. You smell nice,” he whispered and could feel a tingle between his legs.
“I’m gonna take a shower.” Starsky pushed away gently.
“Awww,” said Hutch, not hiding his disappointment.
While Starsky was in the bathroom, Hutch put a record on and checked the food in the oven. It was coming along nicely, he thought. They could probably eat once Starsky came out of the shower. He put his feet up on the coffee table and reclined on the couch.
A little later Starsky emerged with a towel wrapped around his waist, drying his hair with another one. Hutch looked at Starsky’s fit body. The broad shoulders, his hairy chest. Well endowed. His Starsky. He was proud that this man was his lover and felt that tingle between his legs again.
“Hey, Hutch, it smells lovely. I really appreciate all this.” Starsky paused. “I’m starving.”
“Well then, let’s eat!” Hutch got up from the couch.
“I’ll just put something on, back in a sec.” Starsky disappeared in the bedroom.
“Don’t do it on my account,” Hutch laughed.
He put on some oven gloves and carried the steaming casserole from the kitchen to the dinner table. Then he lit the candles and poured two glasses of wine.
Starsky came out from the bedroom and rubbed his hands. “Man, Hutch. You’ve really outdone yourself. What is it?” he asked as he sat down.
“The Paul Muni Special,” Hutch said. Starsky looked at him sideways. Hutch had teased him with that ever since Starsky once mentioned that his mother thought he looked like Paul Muni.
“Really, Hutch!” he said dryly and began to fill his plate.
“That was fantastic,” said Starsky, after he’d drained the last drop from his glass. “Come on, let’s sit down and digest.” He took Hutch’s hand and led him over to the couch.
They sat down, side by side, feet on the coffee table and each with one arm around the other. No one spoke or moved until the music stopped.
“I’m gonna turn the record,” said Hutch and Starsky didn’t protest. He followed Hutch with his eyes and smiled.
When Hutch dropped back on the couch again, he was relieved that Starsky hadn’t sent him home after dinner, like he had done all week. He thoroughly enjoyed being with his lover and that was all that counted for the moment. He felt content.
Starsky hadn’t said a word since dinner but had equally enjoyed Hutch’s presence. He pulled Hutch closer towards him.
“Are you gonna send me home tonight?” asked Hutch quietly.
Starsky didn’t answer. They sat in silence for another eternity, even after the music stopped.
“Hutch,” said Starsky suddenly and took Hutch’s hand. He looked deep into those blue eyes and placed Hutch’s hand between his legs.
“Mmmmm!” Hutch’s smile broadened. He could feel the hardness. And he knew he was going to make good use of it.