Otis reached for the pad of paper again, wiping a tear from his eye. “I will love him forever,” he wrote. “Hope he loved me until he died. Hope he found someone else to love too. Being alone“—he paused, his face a picture of sadness—“is so lonely.”
“We’ll find out soon enough, I suspect,” Ross replied once he’d read Otis’ words.
The three men went back to Charles’ journal, working through the young man’s rapturous ravings about his affair with Otis. In one section he told about how Otis convinced him it would be safe for him to come to work at the theater.
He is a wonderful, foolish boy, and I love him for that. We came up with a plan. I was to tell my father, and the man who was the director of the plays, that I had seen an amazing young actor who was available if they wanted him. Our plot worked, although I had to talk long and hard to convince them that he was worth their hiring. I chuckle now when I remember how he showed up two days ago. If I had not known it was him, well, I might not have known he was my Otis.
The director is ecstatic, as am I. I believed Otis when he said he was a fine actor. I did not realize quite how wonderful he was. He has been cast a Laertes in ‘Hamlet’, which while not a major role, is one of importance. My only qualm is that I know something about the actor who will be Hamlet. He was also a man of our persuasion, although he did not know that I was. Otis however, while diligent, was young and could not seem to hide his occasional loving glances at me as much as I warned him to be careful. He would agree, and then would come down to the costume room on the slightest pretext to be with me. I truly feared for him, especially when that actor seemed to become quite too insistent in helping Otis with his lines, wanting to ‘tutor’ him as he put it.
However, we managed to keep our affair, and our love, from anyone else. If we had not my father would have dismissed Otis without hesitation.
“Obviously, he had no idea what was happening with you and that actor,” Kirk said, tapping the last line.
“No,” Otis wrote. “I told you that I told no one.” He sighed mournfully. “If I had,” he scribbled.
Ross gave him a fast hug, somehow at this point in time not the least bit surprised that he could. “If you had you might still be alive, but the two of you would still have been separated.”
Kirk chuckled wryly. “Given the options, I think I would have opted for separation rather than death. But then there was no reason for you to think someone might want to kill you. Right, Otis?”
Otis nodded. “No reason,” he wrote in confirmation.
“Which leaves us with the question of who would have,” Ross pointed out. “So far, it might have been the actor if for some reason he thought you might finally tell someone what he was doing.”
“Or that assistant director who was giving you grief,” Kirk added. “If he was homophobic he might have wanted to get rid of you, or“—Kirk’s eyes lit up—“just the opposite. He was jealous because the actor was paying you too much attention, Otis.”
“Now that’s something we hadn’t though about. Would that be possible, Otis?”
After a brief moment, Otis shrugged. “Possible,” he mouthed.
“Then we had Charles’s father in the mix, if somehow he found out about you and Charles. He’d sure want you gone for good. Even more so if he also knew who you really were.”