Tuesday, June 19, 2018

My Brother’s Keeper - 42


“Why isn’t he answering?” Roy asked; a rhetorical question of course since Jerry and Max had no answer for him. Roy had tried calling before they’d left Tad’s apartment and had been sent to his voicemail where he left a message. Now they were at Max’s office after a twenty minute walk and he still couldn’t get through to Tad.

“I bet he turns his phone off when he’s in class,” Jerry suggested.

“But he knew I was going to call. He’d at least have left it on vibrate.”

“Guys, how about we get started,” Max said. He commiserated with them but he did have his own schedules to meet.

Once they were all settled in his office he laid out exactly what was going to happen and what Roy had to do in order to obtain guardianship of Jerry. When he finished, Roy nodded slowly as he looked at the notes he’d taken. Then, hesitantly, he asked the two questions that were uppermost in his mind at the moment.

“Will the court have a problem if Jerry and I are living with Tad, and what happens if my parent’s fight me on this?”

“As long as you can prove you legally live there you should be fine. I would suggest however that you omit the fact that you and he are in a relationship, if you are that is. As for your parents, I’m quite certain they’ll fight this, but I’ll fight harder and I have the weapons and the training to do that.”

“Then my name needs to be on the lease too?”

“It does.” Max stopped when the office door opened. Tad stood there and Max beckoned for him to join them.

Tad did, apologizing profusely for being late. “But I have a good reason, which I’ll tell you later,” he whispered to Roy.

“We were just discussing Roy’s need for a permanent residence.”

Tad looked at them in surprise. “I though that had been decided, they’re going to live at the apartment.” He frowned at Roy. “Or did you change your mind?”

“No, no,” Roy hastily assured him. “But…” he looked at Max.

“If this is going to work his name has to be on the lease as well,” Max explained.

“Oh, is that all. That shouldn’t be a problem. I’ll talk to the rental company as soon as we finish here. It is a two bedroom apartment so they must expect people to have roommates.”

“Just make certain you let them know that’s what he is. There’s no sense in giving his family any unnecessary ammunition,” Max cautioned.

“But I was planning on marching in there and telling them I was moving my boyfriend in,” Tad replied with a straight face. Then he chuckled. “I’m not a complete idiot, Max. I already figured that part out.”

“Thought you would,” Max told him. “Now let’s get some paperwork done and then you’re free to leave.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

My Brother’s Keeper - 41


Tad tossed some cash at the cab driver, grabbed his bag and portfolio, and dashed into the building. He slid into his seat just as the professor entered the room. An hour later, after he’d explained why he had missed some classes, which the professor accepted with reasonably good grace, he was walking on to his next class.

As he crossed the campus he heard Melodie call his name. With a sigh he waited for her to catch up. When she linked her arm with his and asked in a very aggravated voice why he hadn’t called her he gave her a brief rundown on what had happened.

“Well you should have called anyway,” she pouted. “After all I am your girlfriend. You’re supposed to let me know what’s going on.”

Tad bit his lip, and then bit the bullet. “About that, I think it’s time we went our separate ways,” he replied.

“You what?” she screeched. “Are you breaking up with me?” Before he could reply in the affirmative she said almost as loudly, “After all we’ve been to each other, how could you?”

“That’s rather cliché,” he muttered. “And if you want to face the truth, Mel, the only thing I’ve been to you is a source of help with your class work and someone to be with to show your friends that you did have a boyfriend.”

“That’s so not true.” She glared daggers at him for a long moment. “Well you know what, I was going to break up with you anyway. Paul Arthur’s been after me for ages and he’s much more interesting than you.” With that said she flounced away.

“Well that went well, not,” he commented under his breath, ignoring the looks some of the other students who had watched Melodie’s little scene sent him. When he got to his next class, which was Mr. Moore’s, he dropped into his seat with some relief.

“Nice of you to decide to join us again, Mr. Cooper,” the professor said acerbically. “Where’s your sidekick?”

“I have a feeling she’s going to drop the class,” Tad replied quietly.

Mr. Moore nodded and class began. When it was over he told Tad to meet him in his office. “Close the door, please,” Mr. Moore said when Tad came in. “Now, would you mind telling me why you’ve been MIA?”

Tad did and when he’d finished Mr. Moore actually smiled. “That is quite a story. It will add something to your portion of the Winter art show.”

“Umm,” Tad said hesitantly, “I never got a chance to submit my photos to the committee.”

“I’m aware of that. I managed to wrangle you an extension. Do you have them with you?” He glanced at Tad’s portfolio.

“Yes, sir.”

“Very good. Come with me. Oh, and from what you implied before class I have the feeling you and Miss Raines have had a parting of the ways. Congratulations.”

Guardian Angels – Ambivalent - 3


The more Mike thought about it, the more he wondered what would have possessed his father to start searching for him after four years.
I suppose the simplest way to find out would be to call him. He snorted derisively. As if. I don't believe for one second he suddenly wants to become a loving parent. He never was. Okay, he never was after I reached my teens and mom died. By then I figured out I was my own person, not someone he could mold into the image he had of the perfect son. 
"I could call Mandy," he murmured. "She must still be living at home since Mr. Keefe said she's the one who had the pictures." He chuckled softly. "I bet Father blew a gasket when he found out she kept them. Call and ask for her. If Father answers the phone, I'll say I'm a friend of hers. That could work. Then I'll have her meet me somewhere." 
Taking out his phone, he called the number he knew by heart, even though he hadn't used it in over four years. When it was answered, by a voice he didn't recognize, he asked to speak to Amanda O'Donnell.
"I'm sorry, you must have the wrong number," the person replied.
"Is this 555-6389?" Mike asked.
"Yes, but there's no Amanda here."
"Oh," he said dispiritedly. "I guess… How long have you had this number, if you don't mind my asking?"
"Over two years."
"Thank you." Mike sighed and hung up. "Now what?" Using his phone to go online, he ran a search for his father's name, hoping to get his new number. "What the hell?" he spat out moments later. The first thing to come up when he searched was an obituary, dated a month ago. In it, it said his father had died from a massive heart attack. He felt an instant sense of grief as he shut down his phone.
How could he have died and I didn't know about it? It must have been in the papers, and on the news. He wiped his eyes, realizing they were tearing up. Is that why Mr. Keefe is looking for me? If so, why did he say he'd been hired by Father? Something's not right here.
Turning on his phone again, Mike went back to the obituary. It was from an online newspaper site in a city halfway across the country. As he read the story, he realized his family, well his father and sister since his mother was dead, had moved there a year after he had left home.
Mike blew out a long breath. "Okay, Mr. Keefe, I think it's time I had a talk with you. Presuming of course that you're still at the shelter." He was on his feet seconds later, walking swiftly back to Crossroads House.   
* * * *
Paddy followed Mike, albeit invisibly. The young man was angry and it showed.
No wonder. I would be too under the circumstances. However, it might not be such a good idea for Mike to reveal who he is to this Keefe person. At least not until I find out why the man is looking for him.
Instantly Paddy was inside Crossroads House. It took him a couple of minutes to locate Mr. Keefe in the employee's area. The man was talking to two of the people who worked at the shelter, showing them a picture.
"Nope, never seen him," one man said. The other one nodded in agreement.
Mr. Keefe's mouth tightened in apparent frustration. "Is there anyone else I could ask?"
The man shrugged. "Try Mr. Jones. He's the head of Crossroads and had been here forever. He should be in his office."
Paddy gave Mr. Keefe a small nudge, implanting the idea that he had already talked to Mr. Jones—and everyone else who worked there.
"I have already and he doesn't remember the kid either," Mr. Keefe told the men. "I guess I'll have to keep searching other places. Thanks for your help."
Mr. Keefe started toward the door to the front counter area, until one of the employees suggest he use the side door instead, saying, "We're about to get hit with all the kids who know they have to be here early to get in line for a meal and a bed."
That worked well as far as Paddy was concerned since Mike had just come in the front door. Paddy got there in time to hear Mike ask the girl at the counter "Is that man, Mr. Keefe, still here?"
"He was a few minutes ago," she replied. "I haven't seen him leave."
"Buzz me through," Mike said, and a moment later he was striding down the hallway in the employee's area with Paddy right behind him. Mike stopped to talk to a couple of people, shaking his head angrily when he found out Mr. Keefe had just left via the side door.
"You might be able to catch him," the guy suggested.
With a nod, Mike went out the door. A car was just pulling away from the curb half a block down. "Damn it all to hell," Mike growled.
Paddy, being a fairly smart angel with a penchant for investigation, took note of the license plate number. I bet Vic can track it down. Vic was one of Paddy's past charges, a private investigator who had gotten himself involved in trying to stop a blackmailer. Paddy, with help, had kept Vic from harm, more or less.  Which means—he grinned—it's time to pay him a visit.

Friday, June 15, 2018

My Brother’s Keeper - 40


“I’m going to kill him,” Roy growled.

“Not if I get to him first.” Tad laughed, curling up closer behind Roy as he called out, “Go make your own breakfast Jerry and leave us alone.”

“Well, if that’s the way you’re going to be,” Jerry huffed. He smacked the bedroom door one more time before he walked away.

Tad rolled his eyes when Jerry’s laughter drifted back to them. “This is going to be very interesting. Maybe you should send him off to military school until he’s eighteen?”

Roy chuckled. “I’ll definitely consider it if he keeps this up.”

“I suppose we should get up and moving, now that he’s awake. Besides you two have to meet with Max sometime today.”

Roy rolled over to look at him. “You’ll come too? I mean this does sort of involve you now. That is if you meant it when you said… Well…you know.”

“I meant every word of it. I want you here and he’s part of the package, so of course I’ll come with you.” He cupped Roy’s cheek in one hand while kissing him deeply. When he decided that another second more and they wouldn’t be getting up he pulled away. “Move it boy.”

Roy groaned as he sat up. “Tomorrow morning…”

“I have classes, which I’ve missed for the last couple of days. But tonight…”

“Damn. Don’t you have them today too? You’d better be the one to get moving.”

“At this point missing one more day isn’t going to make that much difference.”

“Go. I don’t want to feel responsible for your flunking out or something.”

Tad smiled and slid out of bed. “Make you a deal. I’ll go but you have to call me the second you know when and where you’re meeting Max and I’ll cut out and join you.”

“All right, I guess that works. How are you getting there though? Your car is useless now.”

“Ugh, good point. I could…no, that wouldn’t be a good idea.”

Roy’s eyebrows rose. “Call the girlfriend?”

“Ex-girlfriend at this point as far as I’m concerned though I guess…” Tad sighed, “I guess I have to tell her that.”

“That would probably be a good idea.”

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

My Brother’s Keeper - 39


Tad opened the bathroom door to be met by a thick cloud of steam and quickly shut it again to keep the heat in. As he undressed and dropped his clothes on top of Roy’s he watched the younger man’s silhouetted body through the glass shower door. Praying that Roy wouldn’t ask him to get out, he stepped into the shower.

“What are you doing here?” Roy asked. He tensed but didn’t turn around.

“Taking a shower? Saving water?”

Roy snorted. “Some excuse. Like you have to worry about that.”

Tad hesitated then said softly, “I’m sorry.”

“For what?” Roy turned slowly to look at him.

“For being insensitive in what I said to you earlier. I was just trying to get you to see that things were working out for you finally.”

“And you. Now you get your apartment back all to yourself.”

“What if I don’t want it all to myself?”

“Then call up your girlfriend. I’m sure she’d be glad to keep you company.”

“Believe me that is the last thing I want.”

Roy hid a small smile. He was beginning to enjoy this game although he’d never admit it to Tad. “Then I guess you’re shit out of luck, aren’t you.” He reached for the shampoo, squeezing a dollop into his hand.

“Guess I am.” With a sigh Tad opened the shower door enough to step out.

“You give up too easily,” Roy replied quietly as he began to wash his hair.

Tad hesitated, one foot in the shower, the other on the floor outside.

“And you’re making more than a mess out there,” Roy added. “Hope the bathmat can soak it all up.”

“I hope.” Tad finished getting out, closing the door behind him.

“Tad, get back in here. I need…umm…my back washed?”

“Thought you were doing your hair,” Tad muttered but he rejoined Roy.

“I think that’s a hopeless cause. How long ‘til the dye washes out anyway?”

“Hell if I know. Days, weeks, and you won’t want to leave until it does you know.”

“Oh? Is that the reason I’m staying around?” Roy cocked an eyebrow, smirking.

“Maybe, or maybe because you want to, and I want you too.”

“Possibly.” Roy smiled, tracing the line of Tad’s jaw with one finger. “Probably.” He put his hands on Tad’s hips to pull him closer. “Or just perhaps…definitely.”

“My favorite word.” Tad cupped Roy’s face in his hands, studying it.

“Do I pass inspection?” Roy asked. When he got a nod in return he said, “Then prove it. Kiss me.”