Monday, August 19, 2013

Shards To A Whole: Chapter 179

McGee-centric character study/romance. Want to start at the beginning? Click here.

Chapter 179: The Dive

Two quarters of a game to cool down, get their minds off of Tony's past, and relax back into the idea that this is supposed to be fun, and that there's nothing he can do about the man he used to be was a good thing.
And it was a good game. The Buckeyes were evenly matched with UNC, so the game stayed close the whole time, keeping the four of them interested.

And when Ohio State won it with a three pointer that whispered through the hoop less than half a second before the buzzer, they were all shouting (Tony jumping up and down) with excitement.

Late night drinks and barbecue went very well with basketball.

Honestly, it looked like a dive. It's the dive-y-ist dive Tim's ever seen. A ramshackle, beat the hell up, the only reason the health inspector hasn't closed it down is they spend more money bribing him then they do on décor shack of a place. He's honestly nervous about bringing them here, let alone eating anything.

But it also came up over and over again on the list of barbecue joints you absolutely had to go to if you were anywhere near Chapel Hill.

And it smells like absolute heaven.

And they are men, engaging in a sacred male ritual, and sacred male rituals need meat that has been cooked over fire.

And since Tony is convinced that barbecue is hot dogs and burgers on the grill, Tim is considering it his duty, as both his friend and best man, to make sure he gets introduced to the joy that is spice rubbed slow cooked pork.

So it's late. They're in a dive. But the beer is cold and delicious, and the pulled pork and ribs are come-in-your-pants good. Tim loves food. He really does. But this is the first time he's ever honestly considered food to be almost orgasmic experience, and he's also very glad that this place is eight hours from home, because otherwise he'd be 210 again in about six weeks.

Tony is sucking the rib bones it's so good. (He'd tried to follow the rules. He started with the chicken, and that was awfully tasty, but he saw Gibbs' ribs and decided that God would probably forgive him some decadence for his bachelor party. Especially since there were no strippers involved.)

Gibbs, who usually isn't a big eater, has ordered seconds and thirds.

And it's not that Jimmy can't eat sugar, it's just that he has to adjust his insulin levels to do so, and thus usually avoids sugar so he doesn't have to inject himself. But he was happily gnawing away, telling them that this was totally worth the shot.

And, as in the past, when a certain amount of beer has been consumed and the girls aren't around, the conversation turned to sex.

Tony's looking at Gibbs and finally says, "So… not until your wedding? Really? Just, twenty years, seems like a really long time."

Gibbs just shrugs. He was eighteen when he met Shannon, and while it's true he was ambivalent on the yes sex or no sex before marriage issue (He's Christian and his church had been pretty clear about the only with your wife thing, but he was also eighteen, so having sex was something he was deeply interested in.) Shannon wasn't, and once he met her, the idea of doing it with someone else just made him sad.

They wait another beat, but Gibbs doesn't say anything, just eats more of his rib.

Then Jimmy elbows Tony and says, "You can't miss what you've never had. You want to talk about a long time, Breena made me wait until we got married. So, at thirty-two, long after I had thought I was done with terminal blue balls, I was back to being bestest friends with my right hand. That was hard."

"I think you mean you were hard," Tim says.

"That, too." Jimmy smirks and takes a drink. "Anyway, waiting until you get married when you get married before you're even old enough to drink, please."

"Drinking age was eighteen then."

Jimmy flashes Gibbs a you're missing the point look. "Great. Still, no sex to lots of sex, easy. Somewhat regular sex, start dating the hottest, most desirable woman on earth, and knowing exactly how good it's going to be and what you're missing, and because she's evil, making out with her on a regular basis but not having sex, that's har—difficult."

Tony's laughing at that. "I didn't think she was that religious."

"She was deeply religious, but that wasn't why she made us wait. Our first date she said to me, 'I've known a lot of guys over the years, and one thing I've noticed about all of you is that you're pretty possessive and you like to know that when something is yours it's really yours.' So I nodded at that, because, well, yeah, that's true. So she says, 'Look, I love guys. I love the way they feel and smell and look and touch me. I love kissing and making out and rubbing up against them, but I'm a virgin. I'm not having sex with any guy until I get married. That's my wedding present to my future husband. He'll know, absolutely, that I'm his and only his. And when that ring's on my finger I'm going to absolutely rock his world.' And she just smiled at me, and wrapped her lips around the straw in her drink, took a sip and finished up with, 'If that's not something you respect, well, this was fun. If it's something you do, then I'd like to see you again.'"

"What did you say to that?" Tim asks, smiling.

"You mean once some of the blood got back to my brain and I could form words?"

Tim nods.

"Marry me."

All three of them laugh at that.

"Then she said, 'How about we go on a second date first?' And we did, and it was the longest most sexually frustrated two years of my life. And then because God hates me, Dearing blew up NCIS on my wedding day, and since I'm a decent guy who wanted her to have a good time, too, we waited another week, until I was able to crawl out from under the mile-high stack of paperwork I had to deal with, get enough sleep so I could keep going for more than two minutes, and take the time to do it right."

"It was worth it," Gibbs says, sharing a look with Jimmy, one that understands what waiting for something you desire above everything else and then finally getting it is like.

"Oh yeah." He grins and shakes his head in wonder. "And, yeah, there's a real kick to knowing she's only been with me. It's stupid, because we aren't supposed to feel that way, but… I do. I'm the only guy who's gotten to see her naked. Only one who's ever enjoyed her body. And she was dead right, that was one hell of a wedding present."

Gibbs nods at that, too, agreeing. "It was expected when we got married. You'd be her one and only. And yeah, maybe you fooled around before you got married, but she didn't, or if she did, it was with you. And you didn't feel bad about liking it. Didn't feel like there was something wrong with you if you got a kick out of letting her learn what to do with a guy on you. Didn't feel like it was wrong to say she was yours. Bunch of guys were jerks about it, and that wrecked it for the rest of us, but we all feel it. Hell," he tips his head at Tim and Tony, "those two feel it, even if it's not quite the same."

Tim nods along with that, swallowing his beer and putting the glass down. "Certainly got a kick out of everything I've done with her that no other guy has."

"What have you done with Abby that no other guy has?" Tony asks, rib paused midway to his mouth. Sure, he knows that Tim's not vanilla about sex, but he's also fairly sure that if Tim's ever imagined it, then Abby's done it.

Tim smiles wide and fairly dirty. "Got her pregnant among other things, and 'other things' is all you get to know about that."

Tony, Jimmy, and Gibbs laugh.

"And there's definitely a thrill to everything I've done with her and no one else. It works both ways."

Gibbs smiles at that, eyes the waitress, looking like he might be thinking about fourths, but decides against it. "Yeah, it does."

Jimmy's phone buzzes. He reaches for it, taps the screen, and smiles. "Speaking of the girls who make our lives worthwhile. Breena just sent me these." He turned the screen so they could all see. The first shot was Abby and Ziva, looking like they were taking a break from dancing. The next was Breena with Ziva, putting a little sparkly tiara on her head. There was a dim, grainy shot of all three of them dancing together.

Tim's looking at them, and says, "So it looks like a good time and minor hearing damage has been had by all."


"So, they home, or just taking a break?" Tony asks.

Jimmy flashes a quick text to Breena and thirty seconds later says, "Home. The pregnant matron of honor needed some sleep."

Tim checks his watch; it's 12:48. "She's going to be pissed about that. She hates how tired she is these days."

Tony notices that their waitress is sort of glaring at them. "I think we're overstaying our welcome."

So they settled up and headed to their hotel.


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