Friday, February 23, 2018

(28) I am what I am

~ Quinn ~

By mid-afternoon we’d managed to get a subpoena that allowed us to obtain the addresses on the list of Doctor Freer’s patients, but nothing more. His files were still off limits until we could prove one of them might hold information we needed for the case.

Freer’s secretary met us at his office. She was less than happy to be there, mainly because she apparently was grieving his death. But she understood why we needed the information and put it together for us, addresses and phone numbers.

“I wish…if I’d been here maybe he’d still be alive,” she said as she handed us the list.

“Were you off sick?” I asked her.

“No. He sent me home early because it was my anniversary. I’ll admit I was a bit surprised but I wasn’t about to look a gift horse in the mouth. He still had two patients to see but he said he could handle the little bit of paperwork on them, so I left before he changed his mind.”

I glanced at the list and noted that Blair Ryley’s was the last name on it, preceded by an Arthur Holmes.

By the time we got back to the station house it was close to five. We split up the list with Jack taking the first three and me the last. It seemed logical to do this tonight, since as far as we could tell they were all home addresses. So after we’d signed out we took off in separate directions.

I immediately headed for Ryley’s address and fifteen minutes later found myself in front of a small apartment building. I didn’t find the name on the list of residents but since I had the apartment number that wasn’t really a problem. I buzzed the manager who let me into the building when I showed him my badge. He wanted to know why I was there and I told him police business which effectively shut him up.

When I got to the apartment I rapped on the door. It opened as far at the security chain would allow and a woman peered out at me.

“Can I help you?” she asked.

I identified myself and asked to talk to Blair Ryley. She frowned, asked to check my badge and then let me inside.

“Why do you want to talk to Blair? Not that you can right now, she’s not here.”

I heaved a sigh of relief as I asked, “When will she be back?”

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

(27) I am what I am

~ Quinn ~

“You look like hell,” Jack said when I walked into the squad room the next morning.

“Feel like it,” I muttered as I stopped long enough to pour a cup of the lukewarm rotgut that passed for coffee around here.

“Want to talk about it?”

I shrugged, tossing my jacket over the back of my chair before sitting down. “Nothing to talk about.”

“Which means there’s a lot to talk about but you’re not sure you want to.”

“Yeah, no.” I picked up the nearest file and began thumbing through it. “Hell, when did we get this,” I barked, looking at the list of Doctor Freer’s patients on the day he was murdered.

“It came in this morning. Why?”

“Just…surprised me. I thought we’d need a subpoena to get it.”

“One of the men found the secretary’s desk calendar. It’s just names, nothing more. A start but we need a connection, something that says one of them may have had a hate on for the good doctor. Assuming he wasn’t just assaulted by some random punk.”

“Which you know doesn’t fit with the fact that he’s not the first or last one of the victims to have his cock stuffed up his ass, Jack.”

“Yeah, I know, and so far there’s nothing linking any of the four men.”

I hoped there wasn’t, because the last patient to see Freer was Blair Ryley. Which didn’t mean it was my Blair, but it’s an unusual enough first name that it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up with worry.

‘My Blair’. I should have laughed at that thought. He’d vanished and I had no clue where to. But as far as I was concerned he was mine. There had been a connection between us that he couldn’t deny, as much as he seemed to want to.

“We need addresses for all the people on this list.”

“Working on it, Quinn. Oh, the report came in on the two punks, umm murder victims. No trace elements found on them that could specifically point towards their killer, just as we figured.”

“And the others?” I nodded when Jack tapped the forensics files on Freer and Ward and I began skimming them until he dropped a printout on top of them. I read it slowly and smiled. “At least this proves that the same person killed them both, as if we didn’t know that from the MO.” Trace evidence from both bodies has been found that matched; flakes of skin and short strands of hair. “Too bad there wasn’t anything on the punks too.”

“Agreed, but we have a start for when we catch the freak.”

Monday, February 19, 2018

(26) I am what I am


I’m in so much trouble.

This was not supposed to happen. I didn’t want someone in my life. I couldn’t have someone in my life. Not now. Not ever. Not until…

But all my resolves melted when I looked at Quinn. There was such caring in his eyes, in his touch. As if I was important and not…not what I am.

I needed to run before things got any worse, or better, or god knows what.

“Blair, you’re off somewhere.”

His voice brought me out of my thoughts and back to reality. A reality I knew was going to bring pain to both of us if I let it continue.

“I have to leave,” I said, grabbing my jacket as I stood up.

“Why? Did I do something wrong?” Hurt and worry flashed across his face.

“No. It’s not you, it’s me. I can’t…we can’t…damn it.” My vision blurred as tears started to form.

“Tell me,” he said softly, taking my hand before I could move out of reach.

“I wish I could.” I met his eyes and shook my head. “There’s too much, too much wrong in my life and I won’t bring it into yours as well.”

He didn’t let go of my hand, but he didn’t make any move to pull me closer to him either as he searched my face. “If you’re in trouble maybe I can help.”

“No!” I realized I’d shouted and dropped my voice. “No. There’s no way anyone can help me. I just have to keep hiding and running…” My hand flew to my mouth when I realized what I’d just said. I wrenched free of him grasp. “I’m sorry,” I whispered before I began pushing my way past the people who stood between me and the exit.

I heard him calling me as I opened the door and stepped onto the pavement. Looking around wildly I saw a cab letting out its passengers. Without a thought I jumped in. The driver turned to look at me, shook his head and asked where I wanted to go.

“Just drive, please, now.”

As he took off I looked back and saw Quinn standing there. He looked the way I felt, disconsolate. I almost told the driver to stop, but I didn’t. I couldn’t. Burying my face in my hands I cried.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Guardian Angels - If It's Fated… (5)

Dom watched Tim with a mix of amusement and concern. He's like a kid who suddenly realizes there might be a Santa Claus after all. Now I have to be doubly careful not to break his bubble because it only took seconds for him to go from depression to this. Dom knew that because he'd checked before knocking on Tim's door. Invasive, yes, but if he was going to help Tim, he had to know what he was feeling. He wasn't at all happy with the idea the young man had been so down just because he was a few minutes late. What if I hadn't shown up? Not that I wouldn't have. But what if it had been someone else instead of me? Someone who decided after the fact that he didn't want to bother with a guy as needy as Tim is? 
"I'm ready," Tim said, breaking into Dom's musings.
"Then let's hit it." Dom waited until Tim had closed and locked the door before asking, "How was work?" as they walked to the elevator. "Oh, right, you were off today."
Tim shrugged. "I was, but if I hadn't been it would have been the same as always." Then he smiled. "It's the kids that make it worthwhile. Okay, not quite true. Helping anyone find the right book is a good thing, but showing the kids that reading is where it's at, instead of burying themselves in some TV show or a video game—that makes my day."
"I bet you're good at it," Dom replied, stepping onto the elevator when it arrived.
Tim looked surprised. "Why? I mean you don't even know me, so how do you figure?"
"I'm a good judge of character. After all, you're willing to help me find furniture and"—he grinned—"you don't even know me, to turn your comment back on you. Ergo, I can only imagine how important it is to you to help the kids learn to love something that means so much to you."
Tim seemed disconcerted when he replied softly, "I…I don't mind helping people if they ask. It just doesn't happen often. Well, almost never."
"Your friends don't ask?" Dom knew what Tim would reply to that, but he needed to get the question out there if he was going to come up with a logical way to help him.
"I don't really have any friends to speak of," Tim said desolately. The elevator door opened and he walked into the lobby and quickly across it to the front entrance.
Dom hurried after him. "You have one. Me. I mean…if you want."
"You don't even…"
"Do not go there again," Dom broke in with a smile as they walked out of the building. "No, I don't know you, but I think I'd like to. And furniture shopping is a good way to start. Right?"
"Umm. Right, I guess."

* * * *

Two hours later, when Tim and Dom returned to the apartment building, the truck was loaded with furniture.
"I still think I should have gotten the bigger dresser," Dom said, as he parked in the lot behind the building.
Tim snorted. "Unless your bedroom is a lot larger than mine, there wouldn't have been room for it with the bed and the nightstand you chose. Besides which, it wouldn't have fit in the truck."
"True," Dom agreed, as he got out and then looked at what he had bought, which filled the bed of the truck almost to overflowing as it was. "Now I get to haul all of this upstairs."
"We get to," Tim said, "I'm not going to disappear."
Dom grinned. "If you did, I wouldn't blame you."
"Naw. It might be amusing to see you carry the sofa inside on your back, like you kidded about this morning, but I'd feel guilty if you got squished."
"Yeah, not quite my idea of fun." Dom lowered the tailgate and then, piece by piece, they got the furniture inside and up to his apartment, with much huffing and puffing along the way.
"Finally," Dom said, collapsing on the sofa when they were finished. "I could use a beer or three right about now, but it's getting late, and I think we're both too tired to even think about going out for one."
Tim nodded. "Besides which, we both have to work tomorrow."
"Had to say that, didn't you," Dom replied. "So tell you what, how about we do it tomorrow night."
"Sure, why not? Hey, who knows, maybe we'll meet some nice girls."
Dom studied Tim. "You don't sound too enthusiastic about that idea." 
"No, no, it's just…" Tim chewed the corner of his lip. "Sure, who knows, maybe we will." After that comment, no way am I telling him girls don't interest me. They must interest him though, or he wouldn't have said it.
Dom continued studying him, his head cocked to one side. Then, smiling, he said, "Not your thing, are they?"
Rather than reply to the question, Tim shrugged. "I should get out of here now. You look like you're going to fall asleep sitting there."
Dom chuckled. "I might, since I don't think I have the energy to make the bed. What time do you get home tomorrow?"
"Good. How about I pick you up around six? That'll give you time to change clothes and eat supper. We'll have to walk though, since I need to return the truck."
"That's fine. I'll… see you tomorrow then." Tim was at the door by then. "Sleep well."
Dom smiled. "Thanks. I suspect I will."
Tim nodded and left the apartment. As he went down to his, he was smiling. He's a nice guy. Okay, so he's straight but still. Maybe we really will be friends and that's not a bad thing. At least for as long as he's here in town, before his job sends him somewhere else. I can handle that.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Out today--'D-Boy'


NOTE: This is the re-release of a previously published story.
At sixteen Derek loses his memory -- and his family -- in an accident. He's rescued by the reclusive Michael. Then he begins the long journey to discover his past.

In Denver, Derek finds a job, a place to live, and trouble when someone attempts to kidnap him. Members of the Company help him escape and later recruit him. Ending up in New Orleans, he's nineteen and working undercover when he's teamed with Brad, who teaches him the joys of sex. Heartbroken when he thinks Brad has found another man, Derek transfers to Denver.

At twenty-four, Derek is still with the Company when he remembers more about the accident, leading to shocking revelations about his father. Then Brad is sent to Denver on a job. Can Derek trust Brad's love again while working with him on the assignment?


    Derek would never forget the last time he saw his parents, even though he couldn't remember their names -- no more than he could remember his own name, the one they'd given him.

    His father was driving, his mother beside him, her hands clasped over her belly, as if to protect her unborn child. Derek was in the backseat, watching the road curve through the mountains, rocky heights on one side, a steep drop on the other. A sharp turn ahead, his father taking it carefully, a loud bang as he did -- swerving, tearing metal, the door springing open. Derek was flying.

    Michael told him later he must have been thrown free from the wreck. He found him at the base of the cliff and thought he was dead at first "like whoever was else was in the car, though they didn't make it out. Then I felt the flutter of a pulse. So I brought you here."

    'Here' was a small cabin deep in the forest. It was Michael's home. Had been forever, Michael told him when Derek finally woke up. That was a week after he'd found him, according to Michael.

    Derek was around sixteen, give or take, or so Michael figured. Derek didn't know. He'd been battered and bruised, with a bad abrasion on the back of his head and one broken leg. Michael had set it in a splint made of roughhewn branches then took care of him until he regained consciousness

    The man was old, at least in Derek's eyes -- maybe fifty, maybe more. He never said exactly. Gray-haired and scarred, with deep-set blue eyes and a kindly smile -- when he smiled -- which wasn't often. A recluse, he said he had lived the last twenty plus years on his own, deep in the mountains. "Got no use for people," he told Derek.

    "What did they call you, boy?" Michael asked, soon after Derek finally awakened.

    Derek frowned. He had no memories of anything except the moments before the crash. "I don't remember," he replied, scared and feeling terribly alone, even though Michael was right there beside the small bed.

    "Humm. Then we'll have to come up with a name for you for now. I had a friend once, only real friend I ever had. His name was Derek. That suit you, boy?"

    He nodded, and so he became Derek. No last name, just Derek.

    When he asked, which he finally did -- although he didn't want to know, Michael said he had heard the sound of the crash while he was out hunting.

    "Loud enough to wake the dead, so I went to investigate. Wasn't nothing left but a burned out hulk at the bottom of the cliff by the time I got there. That's when I found you, like I said. Hoped maybe whoever was in the car got thrown free, so I looked and there you were. I'm sorry, but your folks didn't make it."

    Derek cried then, even though he'd been sure they were dead, and Michael had held him until he stopped. After that, they never talked about it again.

    A month after Michael had found him, the splint was off Derek's leg and he could walk without the home-made crutch Michael had devised. However, he limped a bit since the break hadn't been set quite right.

    "Now what do we do with you?" Michael asked late one evening after they'd eaten a meal of venison and home-grown vegetables.