Thursday, May 30, 2013

The family that preys together…- 35

Crispin woke wondering for a moment where he was because he definitely wasn’t in his own bedroom. Then he remembered and wondered what in the world had prompted him to accept Kent’s invitation. But he had and it was too late to do anything about it. A fast check of the time told him he had a couple of hours before he had to be to work, and then he realized it was Saturday.

“Now what,” he muttered to himself as he threw back the covers and sat up, looking for the bathroom. “Damn, it’s an apartment so it’s probably down the hall.” A quick check and he saw his clothes neatly folded on a chair. Getting up he pulled on his slacks and cautiously opened the bedroom door.

“You’re awake,” Kent called cheerfully from the kitchen doorway. “I’ve got coffee going. If you want a shower it’s down the hall. I put out clean towels for you.”

Scrubbing a hand through his hair, Crispin nodded his thanks before heading in the indicated direction. Fifteen minutes later he returned down the hall feeling marginally more awake. Kent saw him and immediately came over, handing him a cup of coffee.

“I’ve got sugar, sweetener and half-and-half if you need it.”

“No, this is fine thanks.”

“Ah, a man’s man who takes it straight.”

Crispin chuckled. “It’s coffee, Kent, not whiskey.”

“Good point.”

There was a long pause while the two men wondered what to say to each other now. Crispin sipped his coffee; Kent nervously bounced on the balls of his feet.

“Do you have to..?” “I really should…” they said at the same time, and then laughed.

“I guess I should finish dressing and head out, let you have your place to yourself,” Crispin said first.

“It’s Saturday, you don’t have to work do you?” When Crispin shook his head Kent went on. “There’s a new movie playing down the street. They have an eleven o’clock show we could catch.”

Kent looked so hopeful Crispin felt almost guilty when he said he really should head back home, so he told him, “Perhaps next weekend.”

“Great! I mean, sure that would work.”

“Then we have…a date.”

“We do.” Impulsively Kent hugged him, stepping back quickly. “Go get dressed.”

“Going, going.” Crispin looked at him for a long moment before returning to the bedroom. As he dressed he wondered about his reaction to the hug because much to his surprise he’d liked it, even as quick as it had been, and deep down inside he wished he’d had the nerve to return it.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The family that preys together…- 34

“Presuming he gave the correct information to the people at the health club when he joined Mr. Kent Tyler is twenty-five, single, lives in Minneapolis proper and works for a moving firm.”

“Get on the computer and check that out, all of it,” Gerard practically ordered.

Bryant nodded sharply. “I’m no hacker but I can probably confirm the basics.”

“Where’s your brother when we need him. And, speaking of which, where’s your brother period?”

“Still at that party I suspect. And I somehow doubt if he was here that he’d be willing to dig into whether Mr. Tyler is legit or not, all things considered.”

“One would hope,” Gerard said somewhat acidly, “that he would be more than willing to make certain this young man doesn’t have some ulterior motive.”

Bryant spent the next twenty minutes doing what he could to substantiate the information he’d gotten from the health club. When he finished he turned to his father, who was standing at the window looking out over the moon-bathed lawn of the side yard.

“So far, so good. He does work where he said and his address checks out. He’s a native Minnesotan, born up-state and has an associates degree from MBC in accounting.”

“Then why’s he working as a mover?”

“He’s not; he’s an accountant there.”

“How did you find all this out?” Gerard wanted to know.

Bryant snorted. “His Facebook page. It’s a great starting place if you want personal info because most people tell way too much about themselves for the whole world to see.”

“I’d presume neither you nor Crispin has one of those.”

“I do, but the only thing legit on it is my first name. I’m smarter than the average bear.”

“You had better be,” Gerard muttered, causing Bryant to roll his eyes although his father couldn’t see him.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The family that preys together…- 33

Leaning his head back against the car window Kent studied Crispin’s profile as the man concentrated on the highway ahead of them. Finally, becoming aware of Kent’s scrutiny Crispin asked, “Just what are you doing?”

“Thinking, enjoying the view, wondering what’s going through your mind.”

“That I’m bushed and still have an hour’s drive home,” Crispin replied with a small smile. “And that I actually enjoyed myself this evening.”

“That surprises you?”

Crispin shrugged. “I’m not a social person as I think I’ve mentioned before, so yes it does.”

“Well you certainly fooled me and I think everyone else there.” Reaching across the console dividing them Kent stroked Crispin’s arm. “So see, when you relax and go with the flow you do just fine.”

Crisping looked down for a second, eyeing Kent’s hand warily, but didn’t move his arm. Kent, being nobody’s fool, did nothing more than leave his hand where it was for a few beats before removing it. He was encouraged but just minimally by that and single slightly possessive touch from Crispin earlier in the evening at the party. He knew the latter could just have been Crispin’s way of getting him moving but he was one to live on hope and he definitely hoped that there was something more happening between them. Of course, he had to acknowledge to himself, it was more than possible that on a conscious, mental level Crispin wasn’t even aware of it.

“Now where’s your mind going?” Crispin asked, breaking into Kent’s thoughts. When Kent hesitated Crispin said, “Turn about’s fair play and you did as me the same question."

With a laugh Kent replied, fudging the truth, “I was more spacing out than anything else but it did occur to me that if you don’t want to make that drive home I have a spare bedroom. Well not spare because it is Rick’s but last seen he was heading off with that really cute woman he works with. They have an on again, off again relationship and it looks like it’s on tonight.”

Crispin remained quiet for so long Kent began to wonder if he’d even heard him. Then he said, glancing hesitantly at Kent, “If you’re sure. I am dead on my feet almost. I’m not used to late hours like this to be quite honest.”

“I wouldn’t have offered if I didn’t mean it.”

“Then thank you, yes.”

Friday, May 24, 2013

The family that preys together…- 32

“We need to find out about this young man of Crispin’s,” Gerard said.

Bryant nodded. “I’m not certain I’d call him ‘his’ because Spin keeps insisting they’re just friends, but I agree.”

“Do we even have a name for him?”

“Kent, but no last name. All I know is they met at the health club Crispin goes to.”

Gerard glanced at his watch. “There’s time and we know neither of them is there right now so go see what you can find out.”

“Yes father,” Bryant said, trying not to sigh. He’d had plans of his own but obviously for now they were on hold.

“Be aware, if you find out anything detrimental about this Kent person you and I will deal with him. I will not let him destroy us.”

“Father, damn, give Spin some credit for having a bit of common sense. He wouldn’t have anything to do with someone who’d endanger us.”

“As much as I hate to say it, in some ways Crispin is very much an innocent. He’s always been a solitary person in his personal life so I do begin to wonder why this particular young man has managed to worm his way into it. Quite possibly it’s as harmless as it seems, but we won’t take chances.”

Bryant smiled slightly. “Innocent is an understatement, although na├»ve might be a better word. And he doesn’t take well to waiting for the next game these days. Maybe we should hope Kent is exactly what he seems and that they develop a relationship of sorts. It would relieve some of Spin’s stress.”

“My, my, aren’t you quite the liberal thinker.”

“Would it bother you if something developed between them?”

Gerard gave a small shrug. “I have always hoped that one day our legacy could be passed down to the next generation but I’m beginning to think that’s a futile wish. And, perhaps, it’s for the best that it doesn’t. The chances of either of you finding someone like your mother who would condone our actions is, I’m afraid, vastly unlikely.”

Bryant snorted softly as he picked up his jacket. “It certainly is from my end. I have no desire to have a female in my life for more than a night or two at best.”

His father smiled, acknowledging his statement. “Go, find out what you can and report back to me.”

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The family that preys together…- 31

“Bout time you got here.” A tall, slender man said to Kent as he and Crispin made their way around to the backyard of the house. He looked Crispin over while Kent introduced the two men. “Nice to have a visual to put to all the talk Kent’s been doing about you.”

“Rick! Geesh.” Kent glared at his roommate.

“Well it’s true,” Rick replied with a grin. “Come on, I’ll introduce you to the people you don’t know, which,” his grin widened, “would be everyone in your case Crispin.”

Crispin nodded, relieved to see that Kent had been right, he wasn’t the only person over thirty at the party. Half an hour later, beer in hand, he found himself in a discussion about the ‘Cell Phone Killer’ with two of the cops who had peripheral knowledge of the case.

“Are you any closer to finding out who did it?” Crispin asked, his face showing the interest of someone who likes to be in the know about anything even slightly crime related.

One of the cops shook his head. “Not really. Whoever this nut is he’s good at covering his tracks.”

Kent, who was standing as close to Crispin as he could without being obvious about it, wanted to know, “Do you think the same guy killed that man found in the handicap parking space.”

“Sorry, we can’t answer that,” the other cop said, shooting a look at his companion.

Kent nudged Crispin. “That’s cop-speak for ‘yes but it’s none of your business’,”

The cops laughed, one of them saying, “Not necessarily. We’re not on that case in any way, shape or form.”

“But it could be a possibility,” Crispin said with the same faked interest he’d asked the previous question.
The cop veered away from the question saying, “Anything’s possible,” before changing the subject by asking Kent how he and Crispin had met.

“Oh I picked him up at a gay club on Hennepin,” Kent replied with a straight face, ignoring the look of shock from Crispin.

Catching on, one of the cops said with an equally straight face, “Haven’t I warned you about that?”

“Well, yeah, but come on, look at the man…”

“I am so going to kill you,” Crispin muttered.

“With a dozen cops around?” Kent looked at him wide-eyed then laughed. “You should have seen the look on your face just then.”

“Yes, well…”

“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done that.” Kent turned back to the cops. “We actually met at a health club so it’s all quite innocent. There was this woman there that we both thought…”

“Was cute and sexy but stand-offish so I dared him to make a move on her.” Crispin winked at Kent. “He failed.”

“And he didn’t even try,” Kent added. “But then she was really young.”

“Gentlemen,” Crispin looked at the cops, “you might want to turn your backs while I strangle him.”

“He does bring that impulse out in people at times,” Rick said, coming up beside them.

“No fair double-teaming me,” Kent grumbled. “Just for that you get to buy the next round.”

“Since it’s free that’s hardly going to break me,” Rick replied. “Come on you two, food’s up and I always say never to drink on an empty stomach. The results can be disastrous, take it from an EMT.”

“This is my first and last,” Crispin told him. “I’m driving.”

“Then I can get smashed. Hot damn,” Kent said with a laugh. “But I won’t,” he promised seconds later.

“I hope not.” Crispin put a hand in the small of his back, gently propelling him towards the barbeque area. “You’re still eating however.”

Kent leaned back against his hand for a moment before pulling away. “I know, and from the look of that spread the only problem will be stopping.”

Monday, May 20, 2013

The family that preys together…- 30

Kent slid into the seat, buckled up, looked at Crispin and asked with concern, “Are you alright?”

“Other than being nervous as all get out, yeah.”

“There’s nothing to be nervous about.” Kent checked him out, from the blue shirt that perfectly matched his eyes to the tight jeans to the casual shoes and back up again. “You look fantastic.”

“I look like I’m trying to be ten years younger than I am,” Crispin’s tone was wry as he pulled into traffic.

“Oh bull, not true, turn here,” Kent said in quick succession.

With a chuckle, following the last command, Crispin muttered, “A bit more notice next time?”

“Sorry. I’m used to driving not giving directions so I make the turn instinctively.”

“It’s alright.” Crispin reached over to pat his arm. “I’ll forgive you this time. How far to the next sudden turn?”

With a laugh Kent told him to get onto the highway at the next entrance, which he did. A few minutes later Kent gasped as a car veered into their lane, sped up and then cut back into the next lane seconds later. “I totally hate drivers like that,” he growled.

“Don’t we all. I’m sort of used to it since I’m on the highway coming and going practically every day, but it can be nerve-wracking, especially during rush hour.”

“Which is why, even though I have a car, I tend to take the bus as often as not. Not that I mind because I can read.”

Glancing over Crispin asked, “What sort of books do you like?” before concentrating on driving again.

“I’m pretty eclectic in my tastes, mostly fiction, mysteries, thrillers, whatever I find in the used book stores that strikes my fancy.”

They spent the next few minutes comparing books, with Kent interjecting addition directions to where they were going as needed. Finally they pulled onto a residential street and after they found a parking place Kent led the way to nice home in the center of the block.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The family that preys together…- 29

“Are you out of your mind, what mind you have left?” Bryant asked angrily. “You’re going to walk into a nest of cops?”

“Hardly a nest, Bry. Just a few and it’s a party and they’re friends of Kent’s. Though I will admit the idea did get my adrenaline up.”

Bryant scrubbed a hand over his face. “I’m not sure I approve of your hanging with this person, Spin. Are you sure there’s nothing more going on than just friendship?”

“Good lord, Bry, we’ve gone to dinner twice and we see each other on and off at the health club. This is hardly turning into some fiery affair of the heart if that’s what you’re worried about.”

Eyeing his brother, Bryant nodded. “Just making certain. I mean I know you’ve keep saying that but you’ve never spent this much time with any woman. Hell I’m not even sure they’re your thing.”

Crispin shrugged. “I’m no virgin and you know that. It’s just…I’ve never met woman I’m interested in as more than a way to, what is that rather crass phrase, get my rocks off with?”

“That’s the one,” Bryant said, laughing. “And I agree. There are more important and more interesting things to do with our time.” He sobered, looking at his brother. “Just don’t let your friendship with this man make you forget that.”

“Don’t worry I won’t. Born and bred to the game as they say so I really don’t think it’s even a possibility. After all it’s not like we’re doing something that a lot of other people don’t wish they had the guts to do themselves.”

“Exactly.” Bryant cut another slice from what was left of the breakfast quiche, waving his fork at his brother. “Speaking of which, we need to make plans because we only have a month before we can do what father suggested.”

“Tonight. Right now I’ve got to get dressed and head into the city. I’ve got an important client meeting in two hours.”

“Makes me glad I work retail. At least we don’t open until eleven.”

“Yeah, yeah, rub it in yet again,” Crispin said with a grin as he left the room.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The family that preys together…- 28

“I feel like I ate a horse.” Kent sighed happily. “You were right, this is great food.”

“I’m still surprised you didn’t know about this place.”

“This isn’t a neighborhood I really come to, too high class and expensive.”

Crispin tapped a fingernail on his teeth, a small frown on his face. “I thought you said you had a good job.”

“Oh I do, but I still watch my pennies. Habit I guess and the way I was brought up. I’ve found if I avoid the places I know are over-priced I’m not tempted to spend money on trivial, useless things.”

Crispin’s eyebrows shot up in annoyance. “So this was trivial and useless?”

“God, no. The food was great and so is the company. It’s just, well on my own I’d be at the Olive Garden or some such if I was craving Italian.”

“I’m not quite certain they qualify as Italian, but then I’ve never eaten at one.”

Kent leaned back, looking at Crispin. “So how rich are you?”

“If you’re looking for a sugar daddy,” Crispin replied somewhat scathingly, “I’m not it but I’m not hurting as far as money goes either.”

A look of shock crossed Kent’s face. “Okay, now you’re pissed at me. I’m sorry if I said something wrong.”

“You didn’t. I’m just being an ass and you don’t deserve that. That was a legitimate question that I took the wrong way. So, to answer it, I have enough money to buy the things I want but that’s partly because I live with my brother and my father in our family home.” Crispin smiled slightly. “Some people would, and have, called it a mansion and it comes with all that that implies including several servants.”

“Holy shit. Seriously?”

“Very seriously, Kent. I have a good life and a good if boring job which I think I told you about last time.”

“And probably all the friends you could ever want so why…” Kent hesitated.

“So why am I here eating dinner with you? Because I want to be. Because, despite what you may think, I don’t have a lot of friends. I’m a fairly solitary man.”

“Then we’ll have to change that.”

“Oh will ‘we’?”

“Yes. There’s a party this weekend. Would you come with me?”

Crispin shook his head. “I’m sure I wouldn’t fit in. I’m more then years older than you and probably all your friends as well.”

“Not really. They’re people my roommate works with, cops, firefighters. He’s an EMT.”

A slow smile crossed Crispin’s face at the idea of mingling with policemen. “It sounds like I might not feel so out of place after all. But how will they take it if you show up with an older man?”

“Are you worried about the ‘older’ part or the ‘man’ part?” Kent asked with a grin. 


“I really doubt they’ll care one way or the other. Most of Rick’s friends are fairly liberal and easy going from what I’ve seen.”

Crispin nodded. “Then yes, I’d like to go with you.”

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The family that preys together…- 27

“I don’t suppose you’re up for dinner with me again are you?” Kent asked hesitantly as he took the chair next to Crispin’s at the pool.

“I think I can handle it, but only if you let me pay this time, and take you to one of my favorite restaurants.”

Kent’s eyes lit up. “If you’re sure. I mean I’m the one who did the inviting.”

“Only,” Crispin replied, patting his arm, “because you beat me to it.”

“Is it fancy because all I have with me is jeans and a shirt?”

“No shoes?” Crispin teased.

“Do sandals count?”

Crispin started to frown then remembered he was talking to a twenty-something young man so he chuckled instead. “I can see I’m going to have to start dressing down if we’re going to be doing things together.”

“I have a suit,” Kent replied quickly. “But we’d have to stop by my place.”

“No. For where I’m taking you jeans are fine. I actually own some myself believe it or not. It’s just that I always come here straight from work where suits are de rigueur.”

“I figured as much from last time. But without the tie and jacket you look just great.”

“Meaning with them I don’t?”

Kent winced. “I didn’t mean that.”

“I know. I was just messing with you.” Crispin patted his arm again and then stood. “Ready?”

Looking down at his swim trunks, and then at Crispin’s, Kent laughed. “It must be a really informal restaurant.”

“Not quite that informal. Let’s get changed and then we’ll go have the best Italian food this side of Rome.”

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The family that preys together…- 26

Bryant was smiling when Crispin walked into the study a few minutes after noon. “I think one was enough,” he told his brother, pointing to the television screen.

“Good lord, it’s a damned circus.”

“And the clowns are the mayor and the police chief. Listen to them. ‘We’ll catch this madman and he will pay to the fullest extent of the law for what he’s doing’.” Bryant snorted as he mimicked the mayor’s words.

“Let’s not get over confident though.” Crispin set his cup on the side table before sitting down on the sofa to watch the rest of the news conference. “At least they did get the message. The question is, are they connecting this to the two earlier killings?”

“If they are they’re not saying so publicly but any fool can see it.” He held up his hand as a reporter shouted out a question. “And apparently that fool just did.”

By the time they’d turned the television off the brothers were feeling fairly satisfied with what they’d done so far. But again Crispin cautioned that they would have to stop for a while. “At least until things cool off a bit and the public outcry for our heads dies down.”

Bryant chuckled. “Believe it or not I agree. When it was just between us and our victim we were relatively safe. And I suppose when the urge hits again we can just do that, two on one and dispose of the body as usual. No more public demonstrations for at least a couple of months.”

“Boys.” They both turned to look at their father as he came into the room. “You did well. That was quite graphic, if I do say so myself.”

“Thank you, father,” Crispin replied, smiling.

“What do you have planned next?” Gerard asked, taking a seat in the wing back chair.

“To lay low for at least two months,” Bryant told him.

“And then?”

“We haven’t decided.”

“Then if I may, I have a suggestion.” He told them, eliciting nods of agreement as he did.

Friday, May 10, 2013

The family that preys together…- 25

“Where should we start brother mine?” Bryant looked at Crispin and then the nude back of their prey. The man was suspended from a hook in the basement ceiling as was the usual with most of their victims. However this time they had tied ropes to his ankles as well, anchoring them to the floor so that he wouldn’t rotate while Bryant played his game.

“Start at the beginning, go on to the end, and then stop.”

“This is the beginning?” Bryant smiled as he touched the bottom of the man’s spine with edge of his knife.

“I’d say so.” Crispin stood to one side, watching. “If I remember correctly, severing his spine there will affect bowel and bladder activity and whether he can get an erection.”

“Sounds good to me.” He carefully, almost gently cut through the skin and severed the spine, his knife so wickedly sharp that for a moment the man didn’t think anything had happened. Then he gasped as the pain from the slicing of the flesh hit.

“That would certainly make him somewhat handicapped,” Crispin declared, “but hardly enough that he’d need to use a handicapped space. Perhaps higher?”

Bryant ran the back of the blade up, counting under his breath. “Here,” he said. “It should leave him a paraplegic. Then he could justify parking where he did.”

“Please,” the man blubbered, tears streaming down his face. “I’ll never do that again, I swear. I was just in a hurry. It was a mistake. A mistake.”

Crispin moved to stand in front of him, gripping his chin in one hand. “You’re right; you won’t ever do that again.” He nodded to his brother and once again the knife did its work. This time the man screamed, not so much from the pain but from the terror of what they were doing to him.

“Paraplegic, not the best way to live but he’ll have the use of his upper body and could still drive if he can afford to have that junker modified.” Crispin released his hold on the man and stepped behind him, tapping his spine a couple of inches below the base of his neck. “Here and he’ll be completely immobile from the neck down.”


“Yes.” Bryant’s cut this time was sharp and swift.

The man passed out.

“No staying power, honestly,” Bryant said in disgust as he cut the ropes holding the man.

Crispin nodded in agreement. “Finish it and let’s get him back where we found him.”

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The family that preys together…- 24

Bryant crouched on the floor behind the front seat of the car. As he waited he searched for any indications they were making a mistake.

They had watched the driver pull in, park and then hurriedly head inside the mall just like any other man or woman would. Except there was one difference, the perfectly healthy-looking male had chosen a handicap spot. He’d also made what would prove to be a deadly mistake. In his rush to get finished with his errand and back to his car again he’d neglected to lock it.

“He has to know what he’s doing is wrong,” Crispin had said when he and Bryant walked past the side of the car testing the doors and finding them unlocked. Bryant had nodded as he slipped inside the car.

Crispin continued a few feet further on, stopping to put his foot on the car’s bumper and retie his shoe. If anyone had been paying attention they might have wondered why that took him so long.

Their prey returned ten minutes later carrying a bag of fast food. When the man got back into his car, Crispin moved quickly, sliding into the passenger seat. Before the man could protest Crispin pulled a gun partially out of his jacket pocket, saying, “Drive.”

“What the hell!” The man looked at the gun, then at Crispin and for a moment Crispin thought he was going to cause problems. Then, shakily, the man started the car and pulled out of the parking spot.

Once they were on the street Crispin told the man where to go, tersely replying when he asked that their destination was none of his business.

“Are you going to steal my car?” the man asked, keeping his eyes on the traffic ahead of him.

“This piece of junk?” Crispin laughed then told the man to turn left and a minute later to pull into an alley and stop. The moment he had Bryant sat up, snaking an arm around the man’s neck before knocking him out. As the man slumped forward Crispin got out of the car, pulling their prey into the passenger seat. He quickly cuffed his feet and hands before pulling the seatbelt harness tightly around him. While he did that Bryant moved to the driver’s seat and once Crispin got in back he took off.

Fifteen minutes later they were in a parking garage at the far side of the city. They transferred their victim to the trunk of Bryant’s car. 

When that was done Crispin drove the man’s car to a dark corner of the fourth tier of the garage and returned to join Bryant. “Home, James,” he said with a grin.

Monday, May 6, 2013

The family that preys together…- 23

“Where the hell have you been?” Bryant growled when Crispin strolled into the living room late that evening.

Crispin’s eyebrows rose as he replied, “Out.”

“You never go ‘out’.”

“I guess there’s a first time for everything.”

Suddenly Bryant’s eyes lit up. “You met someone. You finally found a woman you’d actually be willing to date. It’s about damned time.”

“Maybe I just stopped off to see a movie in town instead of being the ‘good brother’ who always shows up in time for dinner.”

Bryant shook his head. “If, and it’s unlikely, you did that you’d have called to let us know.”

“Why? You never do. Hell three days ago you didn’t come home till mid-morning and we had no idea if you were still alive, or in jail or what.”

“That’s me, Spin. I do that. You don’t. So where were you really?”

“I went out for dinner with a friend after going to the health club.”

“Someone you met there? Is she nice? Are you going to see her again? Tell all brother mine.”

“I did meet them at the club and yes they’re nice and maybe I will see them again.”

Bryant frowned as he thought about what Crispin was saying, or not saying. “What’s her name?”

Crispin smiled evilly. “His name is Kent.”

“Oh fuck, are you kidding?”

“Bry, you are jumping to conclusions. He’s just a nice young man who it’s fun to spend time with. Absolutely nothing more.”

Bryant studied his face for a very long moment before nodding. “All right, I’ll take your word for it.”

As he turned to leave the room Crispin said a bit tartly. “I don’t think you have a choice in the matter.”

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The family that preys together…- 22

“So then you’re not gay.”

“Kent, that’s a quantum leap in logic. Have you had sex with a woman?” Crispin said with a sight smile on his face.

“Well, once or twice. Wait a minute, now you’re making the leap you know.”

With a laugh Crispin nodded in agreement. ‘Just proving my point, Kent. I’m not totally unaware of things. I’ve seen how you watch some of the men around here as compared to the women. Sure you took me up on the dare to make a move on Miss Cell Phone but I’ve got the feeling it was the challenge of it, not the fact that you were really all that interested.”

“Got me,” Kent replied with a shake of his head. “I’m not immune to a charming female but given my druthers I’ll take a man any day.”

“I figured. Is that why you’re hanging around right now with someone old enough to be your…uncle?”

“Older brother,” Kent said in all seriousness. “And maybe. You’re not the only one who keeps tabs on things. I’ve noticed how you don’t appear even the slightest bit interested in anyone here, male or female. And some of the women are more than interested in you.”

Crispin snorted. “I doubt that.”

“They are, you’re just not seeing it. You seem to be quite unaware of how good looking you are.”

“Kent,” Crispin said, suddenly getting it, “are you coming on to me in your own way?”

Kent grinned. “Maybe. Is it working?”

Instead of answering the question Crispin replied with, “You’re coming on to an older man who really has no clue himself if he’d be interested.”

“As they say, you won’t know until you try. Do you at least find me even a little bit attractive, or interesting?”

Crispin thought about it as he looked Kent over with an appraising eye. “You’re cute, athletically built, a decent conversationalist I’d say from the few times we’ve talked. You seem to have good manners but you don’t mind asking questions that just might shock the person you’re talking to which means you’re a bit impertinent as well.” He tapped his lip consideringly.

“That’s not a bad laundry list is it? Well unless impertinent means you don’t like someone who speaks their thoughts.”

“That I have no problem with as long as they’re honest ones. I can not abide liars.”

“Me neither,” Kent said seriously. “So,” he took a deep breath, “if I asked you out to supper sometime would you consider it?”

“I’m actually hungry right now.” Crispin laughed at the look on Kent’s face and his stuttered, ‘But I thought…’ “Sometimes thinking is overrated. Yes I said I should head home, but I don’t have to. My family consists of one father and one brother, neither of whom will die of shock if I’m later than usual. So…dinner sounds good to me.”