Intro to Chemistry
Hutch picked up the phone on the first ring. He had been headed out the door, beer in hand, to meet Starsky and Samantha at Sullivan’s. He wanted a quiet night in, but Starsky had called earlier and insisted he join them. He’d been joining them a lot lately. A sure sign that Samantha’s days were numbered.
“Yeah. What is it?” Hutch looked under some files for his keys.
“Starsky – I’m on the way.” He spied the keys on the piano bench.
“Starsky – it’s only just eight – I’ll be there in fifteen minutes.”
“Uh, change of plans.”
Hutch finally caught the hitch in Starsky’s
voice. “What’s wrong?”
”Nothing, really. Sam can’t . . . well . . .”
“How’d you know?”
“Starsky, I always know. Where are you now?”
“Phone booth – around the corner.”
Hutch pulled the phone cord to the limit, reaching for the lock on the front door. He kept two fingertips on the receiver, stretched his considerable arm span to the limit, flipped the lock, and walked back toward the phone. “Okay, Superman, doors unlocked – come on up.”
He turned to get another beer out of the fridge. He sat both bottles on the kitchen table, and was shrugging out of his suit coat when the front door swung open.
Starsky stood in the doorway, undecided. He watched as Hutch walked into the bedroom, tossed the jacket on the bed, and walked over to the front door. Hutch grabbed Starsky by the elbow, pulled him two steps into the room, and reached around him to close the door. Starsky still stood.
“Starsky, sit down, will you?” Hutch went to retrieve the beers. “You look like you need this,” he remarked as he walked over to the statue of his partner and handed him the beer. “Really, man, come sit down.” He settled into the couch.
Starsky took the beer. He walked over and sat on the edge of the couch. His eyes darted around the room, finally settling on Hutch, who was watching him with a bemused expression on his face.
“So, what was it this time? Line of work excuse? You don’t have time for me excuse? I’m not ready for a serious relationship excuse?”
“Hutch excuse,” Starsky said softly.
“That’s a new one.” Hutch watched his partner carefully. Starsky looked like a caged cat. He was sitting still, but every muscle was on alert. He could even see his pulse beat in the hollow of his neck. He reached out a hand and placed it on Starsky’s knee and felt the denim stretched taut.
“Not so new.” Starsky pulled away from Hutch. He couldn’t be comforted – not yet. He watched Hutch frown and reluctantly move to the other end of the couch, honoring his unusual need for space.
“This is more than Sam, isn’t it?” Hutch asked.
“Well, she did break up with me. Can’t say I blame her. Can’t say I’m all that torn up about it.”
“So, what’s got you so wired? And what’s a Hutch excuse?”
“I guess it’s a version of the ‘I can’t date a cop’ excuse – she said I spend more time with you than her. Which I guess is also the ‘no time for her’ excuse.”
“So what? Not like you haven’t heard that before.”
“That girl just has a way with words.” Starsky stood and began to pace.
“So, Starsk, what you’re telling me is that Sam, whom you say you weren’t that jazzed about anyway, tells you she can’t see you anymore because you spend too much time with me – which, by the way, she has a point since I have been on your last four dates – and now what, you’re upset about it?”
“She said I was in love with you.” The words were out before Starsky could stop them.
“That’s ridiculous,” Hutch sputtered.
“Yeah, that’s what I told her.”
“And what did she say?” Hutch wasn’t sure he wanted to know.
“She said she thought we needed professional help and that she was surprised we haven’t been fired yet, and that she thought it was horrible, what we do to unsuspecting women who fall for our ‘act’.” Starsky waited for Hutch to deny it all, to build up some righteous indignation. No such luck.
Hutch just sat. He took a long pull from his beer. He made a decision. He felt dizzy. He tossed a silent prayer to the heavens. Finally he spoke. “I can see her point.” He shrugged and took another drink.
Starsky looked at him to make sure he hadn’t grown another head. “What point?”
“It is all an act.”
“What’s an act?” For the second time that night, Starsky felt like he had been given the punch line without the joke.
“The girls, the dates.” Hutch kept his voice matter-of-fact.
“You mean. . .” Starsky couldn’t finish. He had no idea what any of it meant. He felt dizzy. Maybe he was getting the flu.
Hutch walked over and stood toe to toe with his agitated partner.
“Do you love me, Starsky?”
“Well, sure, I mean – you’re my pal, Hutch. Of course I love you.”
“And I love you, too. Now answer me this – why do I come with you on all your dates?”
“That’s just what we do. Double-date.”
“Starsky, it’s been a threesome for the last two weeks. Didn’t you notice I had no date – unless you count you?”
“That’s because. . .”
“Because you would rather spend time with me than her – or any hers, really, right?”
“What are you saying?” Starsky wasn’t sure he wanted to know.
“I’m saying that you prefer my company above all others.”
“Kind of arrogant on your part, buddy. You didn’t come with us when we’re holed up at her place. Didn’t need your company then, if you know what I mean.”
“Might have been better.” Hutch watched his partner squirm. He had Starsky so tied in knots that it might take all night to unravel him. And that thought suddenly appealed to him. He felt his ears getting hot. Maybe he was coming down with something.
Starsky stepped back. He could banter all night with Hutch about anything and everything, but the idea of Hutch and a girl in his bed? He was appalled and turned on all at the same time.
“Hutch, come on. Stop it. Some girl
suggests we might be fuck buddies and all of a sudden you’re ready to try a
“Haven’t you ever thought of it? Don’t tell me you haven’t. I know better. How about you’re pissed because maybe every single word Sam said was true?”
Starsky couldn’t hear any more. His heart thumped against his ribcage and his head hurt. His world had been tilted by Sam’s very public rant earlier, and now Hutch was doing his best to send him right over the edge. And he couldn’t for the life of him figure out why.
So he gave into his instinct and he bolted. He shook his head, mumbled something about not being able to do this right now, and got the door open before Hutch had time to react. He heard Hutch shout his name as he hit the bottom step.
Hutch stood in the middle of his living room, a little nauseous. Perhaps he didn’t handle that so well. Did he just suggest to Starsky that they actually try a threesome – or even more disturbing – a twosome? And where did it all come from? Sam? Hell, she didn’t say anything that just about every person they had ever dated had at least thought. Even Terry. Especially Terry. She had it all figured out within a week and had marched right over to confront him about it.
“So, do we duel at dawn?” She had asked after softening him up with Cabernet and Gouda. “Or do I just let you sleep with him, too? Or do you share me? I need some guidelines here, Hutch.”
Hutch had assured her that it wasn’t like that, and that he respected what she and Starsky had together, and that it was just that he and Starsky were best friends, and had been through so much, but it wasn’t anything like that. Terry had not been convinced but from that night on, she had called Starsky her “best friend.” The endearment had brought Starsky to his apartment a week later, making sure Hutch didn’t take exception to the term usually reserved for him. And then she was gone and it didn’t matter anymore.
So now it seemed they were circling back to the same spot. What was so damn odd about him and Starsky’s relationship? Did no one else in the world ever think about making it with their best friend? The thought of a naked Starsky lying between those blue sheets of his suddenly danced before his eyes. He shifted uncomfortably and tried to concentrate on just where his partner might be headed.
Three phone calls later, he still had no idea where Starsky could be. He headed down his stairs, intending to cruise the streets for a while, when he saw Starsky sitting at the bottom of the steps. He walked down and sat on the step just above him and placed a hand on his shoulder. Starsky tensed, but said nothing.
“Starsk? What are you doing down here? Come back upstairs.”
“Can’t or won’t?”
Starsky sighed. “What’s the difference?”
Hutch slid down onto the same step and nudged Starsky over. “Wanna talk here?”
Starsky wiggled, trying to find room. He started to slide down a step, but Hutch pressed him against the wall, trapping him. “You’re smashing me,” he complained.
“More room upstairs.”
“C’mon, Hutch – I can’t breathe.”
“Lots of room upstairs.”
Starsky, using Hutch’s leg as a brace, managed to lift himself off the step. His hand slipped off Hutch’s left thigh and landed in his crotch, his head on Hutch’s shoulder. Hutch winced as Starsky’s hand crushed his groin, and he wrapped his arms around his waist to steady him and protect himself.
“Starsky, all you had to do was ask.” Hutch took the moment to burrow his nose in Starsky’s shoulder.
Starsky, horrified, turned on, and embarrassed, struggled to climb over Hutch. Hutch grabbed both of Starsky’s legs and found himself looking at Starsky’s crotch, which to his surprise and amusement, was straining mightily against the fabric of Starsky’s too-tight jeans.
“Well, hello partner.” Hutch drawled.
“Dammit, Hutch, if you don’t let me go, I’m gonna slug you.”
Hutch let him go and Starsky bolted up the stairs into Hutch’s bathroom and locked the door. Hutch followed slowly, thinking and planning.
Within the space of an hour, he and Starsky had gone from commiserating another failed relationship to foreplay on the steps. Well, not foreplay, really. More like pre-foreplay. If Starsky had pigtails, Hutch might’ve pulled them. His heart raced. He felt slightly feverish. Chemistry – he knew all about their chemistry. Saved their lives more than once. This was different. Stronger. Pheromones, probably. But for Starsky? Why not? Of course for Starsky. He loved Starsky. Starsky loved him. No doubt about that. He often found himself daydreaming about his partner’s denim-clad ass. Starsky called him cute, told him how beautiful his eyes were, kept his hand on his leg when they drove anywhere, and straightened his collar a dozen times a day. On the other hand, if he didn’t touch Starsky at least once an hour, he started to feel pangs of withdrawal. So he patted his stomach, squeezed his shoulder, tugged his jacket, slapped his thigh. Hell, half the squad thought they were already lovers. Dobey was always reprimanding them for sitting in the same chair in his office. They shared every glass of water, every bottle of beer, and every cup of coffee they drank. They sat on the same side of every booth in every crummy diner Starsky had ever dragged them to. They might as well be living together. . .
Starsky was making a similar list in the bathroom. He had shared a bed with Hutch during and after Forrest. After the shot. After getting shot. Both times. After getting hurt. Getting dumped. Getting drunk. In fact, every Saturday night lately they found themselves drunk and together. They’d give their dates the heave-ho and end up at Huggy’s and then back to Venice, usually. Falling into bed. Sleeping. Waking up wrapped like pretzels. One Sunday paper and a pot of coffee later, they were back to business. So why did Sam’s accusations get to him this time? If you weren’t already in love with Hutch, then maybe we’d have a chance. Why the hell do you do that to people? To me? Why not just be with him and get it over with? Hutch had practically fallen all over himself denying Sam’s words. And then started flirting with him. Blatantly. Not under the usual cover of a late night and a case of beer. Sober. Breaking the rule that had been written on the wall they had erected between them early in their partnership. In their friendship. In their relationship. So why now was he standing in Hutch’s bathroom, fighting an overwhelming urge to walk out the door and jump all over him? Why did he feel like he had a fever? Because his partner was smart, beautiful, sexy, and had hair like spun silk and lips like brushed satin? And was wrapped around his heart so tight he sometimes couldn’t tell the beats apart? Because he chose Hutch above all others? Starsky ran cold water over his shaking hands. This was going to get complicated. He heard movement and then a tentative knock.
“You coming out?”
Hutch paused. He should leave Starsky locked in the bathroom more often. He came up with that one all on his own.
“I asked first.”
“Well, technically I did.”
“Not the same question.”
“Could be the same answer.” Hutch rested his head on the door. He finally heard the click and felt the door give way beneath him. He straightened up and looked at Starsky.
“Blintz, move.” Hutch felt encouraged by the familiar endearment. He took just two steps back. He wasn’t going to let Starsky bolt out the door again. Starsky edged his way past Hutch and into the kitchen. Hutch walked over and stood next to the front door.
“Afraid I’ll bolt?” Starsky grabbed a beer.
“Reading my mind.”
“Getting that way.”
Starsky spit out the mouthful of beer. “Hutch, stop it.”
“You want me to?”
Starsky sighed. “Don’t you think we need to talk?”
“Bout what?” Hutch smiled and walked toward Starsky. Starsky couldn’t keep his eyes off the man. The long legs, those shoulders, that smile. Before he could do anything about it, Hutch was nose to nose with him. He took Starsky’s hand, twined their fingers together, and pulled them toward his lips. Starsky took a swallow of beer, frantically searching for a place to put the bottle down. When Hutch took his pinky finger into his mouth, he gave up and dropped the beer on the floor. Hutch smiled and captured Starsky’s now free hand and pulled him close.
Starsky made one last attempt. “Hutch, what are you doing?”
“Partner, if you don’t know – we are in big trouble.”
“But why? Why now?”
Starsky had no answer for that one and took a deep breath before the blond head descended. He closed his eyes and felt a soft pressure on his lips. Yep, brushed satin. He pressed back. Tentatively. Hutch dropped both his hands and grabbed him by his ass and his curls. He wrapped both his arms around Hutch’s neck and hung on for dear life. The kiss deepened. Starsky let his hands float up and twist themselves into Hutch’s hair. Yep, spun silk. Hutch pulled his lips away for a moment.
“Are you saying something?”
Starsky just recaptured his lips and forced them open, exploring the heat inside. Hutch moaned and pressed his body into Starsky’s. He couldn’t get close enough.
Starsky lightly brushed his tongue along Hutch’s lower lip. And then his upper lip. Starsky’s tongue followed the line of his jaw up to his ear, flicking his tongue in and out. Hutch let out a deep moan, and pushed Starsky back until they stumbled onto the couch; Starsky continued his exploration down Hutch’s neck. Hutch knew that he was so close if he didn’t do something quick, he was going to explode.
He grabbed Starsky’s hands, which were sliding under his shirt, and pulled them over Starsky’s head, severing all contact above the waist. This helped – a little. He watched the rapid rise and fall of the curly chest, the mouth swollen and tender, the heartbeat fluttering in the hollow of his neck, the eyes that had deepened three shades till they were almost purple, the raised eyebrows, the unspoken question, and he was undone. He couldn’t stop – this train was an express. He maneuvered himself above his partner and asked him the same question he had asked him a thousand times. “Push or shove?”
Starsky smiled and pulled Hutch down onto him so close that there wasn’t room for a single sheet of paper and murmured, “You can play bad cop. I want it good.” Hutch swallowed hard, hoping he could live up to the promise in Starsky’s smile.