Saturday, May 31, 2014

I could a tale unfold - 7



"Just over two weeks and counting before tech and dress rehearsals." Kirk stretched, and then bent to touch his toes, giving Ross an excellent view of one of his favorite parts of his lover's anatomy. Kirk straightened, turning to grin at Ross. "Mind out of the gutter there young man."

Ross laughed hard. "It's a pretty damned sexy gutter you know."

With a roll of his green eyes, Kirk said, "Be that as it may, let's finish getting dressed. We've got a long day ahead of us and I'd feel better with some decent food in my stomach."

Half an hour later, dressed casually in jeans and T-necks, the two men were sitting in their favorite diner, perusing the menu. When Kirk decided on a double order of pancakes and sausage, Ross frowned. "You do want to be able to fit into you doublets, right?" he muttered.

"Yes, father." Kirk sighed, cutting the order in half when the waitress arrived. "Not like I wouldn't have worked it off," he grumbled when she'd left.

"I know, but"—Ross reached over to pat Kirk's stomach. "So, anyway, what's on your schedule today?"

Kirk gave a groan. "A full run-through without scripts in hand."

"You'll do just fine if last night was any indication. You've got ninety percent of it down cold."

"The words, yeah. Now I have to work on the emotions behind them."

Ross nodded. "That's the hard part, and the reason I'm glad I didn't take up acting. Well, other than having a major case of stage fright."

"That still surprised me, considering how well you get along in large groups. You're much more personable than me in that way."

"If you wouldn't glower so much."

Kirk frowned. "I don't 'glower'."

"Yeah you do. You sort of close down and—glower when there are more than a few people around you in social situations."

"Nope, don't glower." Kirk shook his head in denial. "I just listen hard."

"Alright, I'll take your word for that," Ross replied with a laugh, muttering 'glower' under his breath.

"You are so asking for it, buster."

Ross was saved from making the obvious retort to that by the arrival of the waitress with their food.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Thursday, May 29, 2014

I could a tale unfold - 6



Late that afternoon Ross, was about to shoot Claudius, aka Terrance Bender, aka a royal pain in the ass who was never satisfied unless his costumes outshone everyone else's on stage.

"I don't give a tinker's hoot in hell," the man in question was saying, mixing his metaphors, "I'm the King, I should have more jewels, more gold, and the damned jacket is too loose."

"It's a doublet and it fits the way it's supposed to," Ross retorted, not willing to bow to Terry's demands. "You're the king and older. You want to show off your physique go to 'Aunties' or 'The Bloodhound'."

"Well I…"

"If you end that with 'never' you're a damned liar," Ross said caustically while winking at his crew when Terry turned to check himself in the mirror.  

Beth snickered, covering her mouth when Terry glared at her, telling him, "You really look quite handsome. Honestly."

Somewhat placated, he smiled before going into the shop's dressing room to change.

"Why the hell didn't I stick to digging ditches?" Ross muttered.

"Because you're good at this, and love it," Kirk replied, coming into the costume shop at that moment. "Are you ready for me?"

"Am I ever," Ross whispered as he walked past Kirk to get his costumes off the rack.

One of the girls overheard the comment and laughed. "You two are so—cute."

"Cute, huh? I prefer to think of myself as handsome and debonair with a bit of dashing thrown in," Kirk replied with a straight face.

"And cute," Ross told him, handing him the costumes. "Terry should be out in a minute."

At that moment Terry stepped into view, eyeing what Kirk was holding before saying to Ross, "He gets four and I only get two?"

"He's the star," Ross replied, taking Terry's costumes out of his hand, "and we do have a budget, believe it or not."

"Favoritism," Terry sneered as he stalked away.

"Yeah, right," Ross called after him. "Take it up with Chandler if you don't like it." When Terry closed the door sharply behind himself on the way out, Ross muttered, "Bastard. I swear."

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

I could a tale unfold - 5



"Drew, it's a foil, not a damned battering-ram," Newt said tersely as he adjusted the actor's hold on the hilt. "Try to remember this is supposed to be artistic and theatrical, not a back-alley brawl."

Kirk would have laughed except he had the feeling Newt would lay into him next if he did. For the last week, the man seemed to take special pleasure in finding fault with every move he made, correcting his footwork and his stance every chance he got. He knew why and mentally damned Hildie for telling her husband about their brief dalliance.

"Again!' Newt barked out. "And for God's sake make the sword exchange look unplanned the way I showed you."

For the next hour, Newt ran them through their paces until both men were drenched in sweat and panting for breath. Finally he deemed that they'd practiced enough for the day, sending them away with a few brief words of praise and the admonishment that they still had a way to go to be perfect.

"I'll settle for almost perfect," Kirk said once he and Drew were in the hallway.

Drew chuckled. "No you won't. You'll do your damnedest to make certain he can't find any fault with you. And next time, keep it in your jeans when it comes to Hildie."

"Hell, does everyone know what happened?"

"Umm, I don't think the janitor does, but I wouldn't count on it." Drew ducked away when Kirk took a swipe at him. "Kidding, man. I didn't really know anything for sure until just now. I did wonder though, since he's being really hard on you and usually he thinks you're practically perfect…"

"In every way. Yeah, yeah. Mary Poppins I'm not, smart ass."

Drew snorted. "Not with that build you aren't. More like, humm." He tapped a lip as he looked at Kirk.

"I don't even want to know." Kirk opened the door to his dressing room. "Tell Chandler I'll be up in a couple if he wants to know. I need to change shirts."

"And he will." Drew laughed as he headed on down the hall, stripping his shirt off as he did before disappearing into the men's dressing room.

"Damned shame you're straight," Kirk murmured watching him. "Not that it matters, I've got the best of the lot," he added—smiling as he thought of Ross. "Most definitely the best."

Sunday, May 25, 2014

I could a tale unfold - 4



A week after the 'Hildie' incident, as Ross thought of it, one of his assistants grumbled, "We're never going to get finished on time," as she worked sewing on the trim for Rosencrantz's costume.

"Of course we will," another girl said perkily while working on comparable trim for Guildenstern's tunic. "All we have to do is not sleep for the next week and spend twenty-four/seven here."

"Good idea, Beth," Ross said, not missing a beat as he walked around the costume he'd just finished for Polonius to make certain it met his high standards. "I'll have the fast-food joint down the street deliver supper every night. Burgers and fries work for all of you?"

There was a universal groan from everyone in the room.

"Seriously," he told them, "we're right on track."

* * * *

Halfway across the building, the cast stared at Chandler in shock.

"I mean it," he said firmly. "Either get it together and start concentrating or we'll be rehearsing every waking moment until we open. This is a drama, people, not a comedy of errors."    

"Maybe we should be doing that one instead," Kirk muttered sotto voce to Drew, the man playing Laertes.

"Kirk," Chandler growled, "if you would pay attention, please."

Kirk nodded. "Sorry."

"Alright, enough of reaming all of you. I think you get the picture. Everyone take a fifteen-minute break, except Kirk and Drew. You two will meet Newt in rehearsal room one for some more fencing practice. We'll work around you until you get finished"  

The two men groaned as they headed off stage.

Friday, May 23, 2014

I could a tale unfold - 3



"Catch!"

Kirk almost ducked when he heard that as he walked into the costume shop. Then he caught the object Ross tossed at him. After looking at it he held it aloft, declaiming, "Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite jest." Setting it down on the cutting table he looked at his lover. "Micah's handiwork I take it. At least I hope it is. I'm not certain I want to be handling a real skull night after night."

"Yep. The man's a genius when it comes to props."

"What if I'd dropped it? One of us would be facing his wrath right now."

Ross grinned. "I had confidence in your excellent reflexes. Although come to think of it, maybe I shouldn't. My ass is still sore from last night."

"Not my fault you’re a bottom," Kirk replied with a straight face, knowing Ross was talking about the fall off the barstool.

Ross rolled his eyes as he went back to cutting the last pieces for Ophelia's final costume.

"So where's all your crew?" Kirk asked, looking around the large room.

"It is Sunday, and believe it or not, I’m not a slave-driver. They're not due in until one. By the way," Ross looked up, "what are you doing here? I thought you had a blocking rehearsal for the last act this morning."

"Chandler put it off 'til this afternoon. It seems our Gertrude has a headache and needs time to get over it."

Ross quirked an eyebrow in amusement. "Meaning Hildie and Newt spent most of the night making up for their various indiscretions and she's still recovering."

"Probably." Kirk came around the table, taking the shears from Ross' hand before kissing him thoroughly. "Just as we did, with spectacular results."

"Very much so," Ross agreed as he took back the shears. "And if someone who will remain nameless will let me get back to work, I might get enough done today that we can be 'spectacular' again tonight."

"Anything I can do to help? I'm rather at loose ends at the moment."

Considering that Kirk's sewing skills were limited to replacing a missing button on a shirt, if that, Ross shook his head. Then he reconsidered and nodded. "Run and pick me up something for breakfast, or I suppose lunch at this point?"

"Sure. What's your druthers?"

Ross paused to deliberate that. "Breakfast burritos with extra green chili and real coffee."

"You got it." Kirk headed to the door, stopping to pat the skull on the way by. "He does do great work."

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

I could a tale unfold - 2



Ross sat at the bar, nursing a drink while listening to the house band murder a classic song that they were obviously too young to have heard in the original.

He knew he had no right to have gone off on Kirk, but damn it, walking into their bedroom to find his lover in bed with Hildie had pissed him off big time. He'd thrown out that comment intending to hurt both of them, even though it was a total fabrication. Yeah, Hildie's husband was bi, just like Kirk, and he did play around, but he'd never come on to Ross. He knew better.

"Who pissed in your Wheaties?" someone asked, touching Ross' shoulder.

He spun around and smiled slightly. "Me, actually. I think I made a mountain out of a molehill."

"Kirk had his dick where it shouldn't have been again?" Micah asked, taking the vacant seat beside Ross.

"You know him well," Ross replied, chuckling.

"Very well actually, but you know that." Micah had been one of Kirk's casual lovers before Ross had met either of them, and he made no secret of it. Not that it bothered Ross—too much anyway.

Ross told him what had happened, ending by saying, "I of course threw a minor hissy fit."

"You? You're the model of decorum. I so can't see you doing that."

"It was more caustic than 'hissy'," Kirk said, grabbing the stool on the other side of Ross. He wrapped one arm around Ross, pulling him back against his chest while being careful he didn't fall off his seat. "Sorry," he said contritely. "It was a really crummy thing to do on my part." 

Ross turned his head to look at his lover. "You think?"

"I know." He made an exaggeratedly sad face while batting his thick eyelashes. "Can you ever forgive me?"

Micah snorted as he watched him. "Always the clown, Kirk."

"I'm debating between Pagliacci and 'It'," Ross muttered.

"I'm devastated you'd even consider 'It'," was Kirk's reply, clutching his heart dramatically. Of course, in order to do that he had to loosen his hold on Ross. This led to Ross starting to fall off his barstool. Kirk made a grab for him, teetered, and they both ended up on the floor.

"You two okay down there," the bartender asked, leaning over the bar to check.

Kirk looked at Ross, Ross looked back, and they both started laughing. "Yeah," Ross replied, "We're good."

Monday, May 19, 2014

I could a tale unfold - 1



"So it's okay for you to screw his wife, but not for him to screw me!"

"Ross, come on, be reasonable. It's not the same."

Ross stared daggers at Kirk before storming out of the room.

"Sorry, sweetie," Kirk muttered as he watched the wife in question, Hildie by name, crawl out of bed and start to get dressed, all the while keeping her gaze anywhere but on him.

Once she'd finished, she rounded on him, asking angrily, "Just what the hell was he talking about?"

Kirk shrugged. "It seems Newt's no more faithful to his marriage vows than you are."

"I swear I'm going to kill him," she grumbled, calming down some. Then she sat on the edge of the bed, wrapping her arms around Kirk's neck as she looked at him. "Does this mean we're through?"

"Honestly? Yes. I don't mind an occasional dalliance; after all, as you can tell Ross isn't above having them himself. But in the end, he's the most important person in my life. So go home and play with your husband instead of looking for someone else to satisfy your very healthy libido."

"I suppose." She brushed a kiss over his lips before getting up again. "If you ever change your mind…" she said, smiling.

"I'll find you in the dressing room next to mine, yeah I know." Reaching out, he patted her ass. "You okay?"

"I'm fine. Now go find your pissed off boyfriend and make amends before," she grinned, "he decides to make all my costumes two inches too small." 

Kirk chuckled, but he wouldn't put it past Ross to do exactly that. Well if he wasn't the consummate professional that is.

After she left, he went to take a shower. Trying to talk to Ross while still smelling of Hildie's perfume would not help his case in the least.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

34 - There dwells a spirit, waiting to be released



Merlyn felt the hands release him and turned as he had at the club to look at the man—or god perhaps. And as had happened then, there was no one behind him. “He’s got to stop doing that,” he grumbled before breaking into a smile that lit up his face. “You’re mine, forever, just as you are now.”

Alan’s smile matched his. “I am, if you’ll have me.”

“Always.” Embracing Alan, Merlyn kissed him gently. And then again with rising passion. Suddenly he broke away to look at him. “The roses, they were from him?”

“Yes, a message for me. Not that I needed it. I was supposed to find them before you,” Alan snickered softly, “before you woke up with what I presume was the hangover from hell. The problem was, it was the first time I was actually human and, well it took a bit of getting used to. He told me to go down and take a look at you. By the time I got to the top of the stairs you were coming to. I saw the roses and later I heard you when you read the message.”

“And you wondered if you really wanted to choose me considering I was hardly in the best of shape right then.”

“Choosing you was a no-brainer, I’d already done that.”

“Even though you were a statue you could do that?”

“Yes.” Alan smiled. “Even then I knew I loved you.” He tapped his chest. “Somewhere deep inside was all the passion that you invoked when you made me. That allowed me to feel—or he did. I suppose we’ll never know which. But from the moment you finished I knew that you were all that I wanted but couldn’t have—ever.”

“Apparently you were wrong about that,” Merlyn told him, kissing him softly. “You have me now, and I have you. We have each other and by all that’s holy,” he glanced over his shoulder for a second to where the god had stood, hoping he wasn’t tempting fate, “nothing and no one will keep us apart.”

“Will you two stop taking this to death,” a deep voice growled, “and seal your union. Merlyn, you are decidedly over-dressed.”

“Oh hell, I hope he’s not going to be doing that often,” Merlyn muttered.

Alan laughed happily as he reached for Merlyn’s shirt, pulling it off over his head. “Even if he’s watching that’s not going to stop me. You and I, my love, are going to do exactly what he ordered and seal our union as he put it. Several times if I have my way. Here, at home, maybe on the way home as far as that goes.”

“I think I can handle that, even at my age.” Merlyn grinned, embracing Alan the moment he was as naked as his lover.

And he did handle it. Several times in fact.

The End

Thursday, May 15, 2014

33 - There dwells a spirit, waiting to be released



“It’s not a dream; a miracle perhaps, the work of a god who understands love and need and the human heart.”

“I don’t believe in miracles," Merlyn protested weakly.

“Then believe in me. You created me, Merlyn. A dream, an unobtainable dream. That’s what you told Alton that day when you first showed me to him.” Alan stepped closer to Merlyn in the way one would approach a wary animal. “I’m not a dream and I am not unobtainable. I’m real and I’m yours if you will accept me.” He held out his hands.

Merlyn reached for them then stopped. “If I don’t, if this is so beyond everything I believe is possible that I can’t, what then?”

Alan smiled slightly. “Then you have a statue standing in your studio to remind you of what could have been if you had dared to face the impossible and taken hold of your dream.”

Merlyn nodded. “He talked to me, this god of yours. Twice. He knew that I dreamed of you. Were they dreams?” He searched Alan’s face for the answer.

“Yes and no. He gave them to you but he allowed me to be there, to feel them as deeply as you did, the passion, the desire. Those we shared even then.”

“And then he allowed you to become… human.”

“No Merlyn, you did that. He assisted I suppose you could say, but it was your need for someone to love that convinced him to turn stone to flesh, at least for a time.”

“But not… forever,” Merlyn replied, feeling deep despair. “Only for a few hours when it amused him to do so.” He turned away, staring out across the bay although he didn’t really see it. “You said you loved me. Are those just words he put into your mind, into your mouth, as part of his game?”

Taking hold of Merlyn’s shoulders Alan turned him around to face him. “They are my words, said from my heart. I do love you. Not because I have to, not because he is manipulating me, but because you are you and I am me and I can say with all that is in me, I, Ailín, love you, Merlyn.”

“And I love you, Ailín.” Merlyn touched his lips, feeling their warm softness under his fingertips. “But…” He closed his eyes, unable to look at Alan as he asked, “how long before you are forced to become the statue I created until he decides to let you return to me again for a few hours?”

Strong hands gripped Merlyn’s shoulders from behind and a deep voice said with a trace of amusement, “Do you think I would deny you your need for him, or his for you? Your love brought you here, his love for you allowed him to find you here. That is all it took. From this moment on he will remain human, with all that that encompasses.” There was a soft chuckle. “He’ll be just as you created him, and that includes the scar on his thigh, a reminder of the pain that anger and distrust can inflict.”

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

32 - There dwells a spirit, waiting to be released



Leaving his car parked by the side of the road, Merlyn made his way down the rocky cliff to the cove. A warm breeze ruffled his hair as he stared out over the sparkling water, his thoughts traveling back to the last time he’d been here.

“Where are you?” he murmured. “Have you given up on us so easily and moved on? Was I just a passing fancy, perhaps the first of many in your life? The older man to be toyed with before being cast away?”

“Never.”

Merlyn stiffened, starting to turn, but strong arms wrapped around him, soft lips kissing the nape of his neck as Alan whispered, “I would never cast you away.”

“I was so afraid I would never see you again,” Merlyn replied, his voice trembling with emotion.

Releasing his hold, Alan moved to stand before Merlyn, his eyes filled with remorse. “I had no choice. I couldn’t come back to you until now.”

Puzzled, Merlyn asked, “How did you know where to find me?”

“Instinct?” Alan smiled. “I’ll always know where you are. As they say ‘it comes with the territory’. It's a part of loving you.”

“If that were true then by the same token I should have been able to find you.” Merlyn searched Alan’s face. “But I couldn’t.”

“But you did, you know. You came here.”

“Alan this makes no sense at all,” Merlyn said almost angrily as he stepped back to put some distance between them.

“Someone told you once that you have to accept the unacceptable if you want your dreams to come true.” Alan reached out to touch Merlyn’s cheek with a gentle caress. “Now is that time.”

As Merlyn watched Alan slowly undressed until he was standing naked in front of him. He shifted his pose, the fingers of one hand touching his thigh, his hips canted as he bent one knee slightly.

“No,” Merlyn whispered softly and then more emphatically, “No!” when he saw a long thin gash along Alan’s thigh. “This is… insane. I’m insane. You’re not here. This is all a dream.”

Sunday, May 11, 2014

31 - There dwells a spirit, waiting to be released



Three days had passed since Merlyn and the detective came up with a logical motive for the murders that didn’t involve him. She had called at one point to say the police had indeed found the names of three persons who had shown an interest in buying the okimono figures from Alton and were checking them out. She told him they were still a long way from tying any one of them to the murders but she wasn’t giving up hope.

Other than her call, the only ones he’d received were from potential clients wanting him to create something for them. If he took every order he’d be busy for months if not for the next year. Somewhere along the line he knew he’d have to go in search of another agent but he still wasn’t ready to do that.

The one call he really wanted to get he didn’t. There was no word from Alan. It was as if he’d dropped off the face of the earth. As morning slid into afternoon of the third day Merlyn was nearly frantic with worry. He couldn’t believe that the man who had said with such sincerity that he loved him would just walk away from what had seemed to be becoming a serious if still tentative relationship.

“Damn it Alan,” he growled as he threw himself into the beginnings of a new, life-sized sculpture of a nymph for one of his clients. He was so focused on his feelings of betrayal and loss that he brought the mallet down too hard and at the wrong angle on the pitching tool. A large sliver of marble flew off, striking his bare forearm. Swearing vehemently at the damage he’d done to the block of marble, more so than about the blood dripping from his arm, he hurled the tools across the studio. He heard the mallet hit the floor but the pitching tool struck something before it bounced off the far wall to land in a corner of the room.

By then his arm was bleeding freely so he barely took in the fact that the tool had cut through the canvas covering the statue Alton had so admired a few long weeks ago, hitting in the area of  the statue's thigh.

Hurrying downstairs he went into the bathroom to clean and bandage his arm. By the time he finished he was royally pissed at himself for being so upset that he’d made the stupid mistake that he had and then had a childish tantrum as a result.

“I need to get out of here. Away from… everything, at least for a few hours,” he admonished himself.

That decision made, he stripped out of his work clothes while trying to decide where to go and what to do. Suddenly an idea hit him. Quickly he pulled on jeans and a T-shirt, knowing he could just be compounding the emotional mess he was in at the moment but still needing to do this.

Grabbing his wallet, cell and keys he left the house, locking up and setting the security alarm as he did. Moments later he was in his car, heading toward the highway out of town.

Friday, May 9, 2014

30 - There dwells a spirit, waiting to be released



Merlyn paused at the office door and felt a wave of loss flood him. He’d been here so many times to visit Alton. He knew the room like the back of his hand. It had been designed with Alton’s flair for the dramatic with plush carpets and antique furnishings, accented with bright flashes of color in the paintings on the wall and the pieces on the glass-fronted shelves of the long display case that took up one full wall.

As he started across to the file cabinets he stopped, frowning. “Did your people take anything from the shelves for some reason?”

The detective shook her head. “No. Why?”

“Because there are some pieces missing from the display case.”

“Are you certain?”

“Very, yes.” He walked over, pointing. “One was there where the Forster dog is now, the other, a set, was here between those two. THey've been moved, I’d presume to disguise the fact that something’s missing.” He chuckled as he remembered what had been there, eliciting a questioning look from the detective. “One was a Japanese okimono of two men practicing lovemaking on a barrel while sharing a Kama Sutra kiss called the ‘fighting of the tongue’. Very erotic and extremely expensive. Actually the other missing pieces were also okimono. Three male figures, one kneeling with his mouth open and his ass exposed, the other two with very large cocks that could be placed… Well you get the picture I’m sure. They were small, between two and three inches tall I’d say, dating from the nineteenth century.”

“So the thief was apparently after those specific pieces unless either Mr Weber or Mr Hunt moved them for some reason.”

“Alton wouldn’t have. He loved all of these,” Merlyn swept his hand out to encompass the display case. “They’re part of his private collection. He enjoyed being able to sit as his desk and look at them. As for Brian, I rather doubt he’d have touched them. He respected Alton’s wishes in everything. That's what made him a good manager in Alton’s estimation.”

“Would they be worth killing a man, or two men, over?”

“Under the right circumstances, perhaps. An avid collector might have fixated on obtaining them. Or someone knew their worth, and that they could find a buyer for them who wouldn’t ask questions about how he or she obtained them.”

“There’s a large market for stolen art?”

“Not large like say for guns or whatever, but there are buyers as I said who are willing to turn a blind eye in order to have a painting, a sculpture or what have you in their very private collection.”

“I presume that Mr. Weber didn’t deal in or buy stolen art for the gallery or for himself,” Detective Jonas said.

Merlyn replied vehemently, “Hell no. Alton may have had his faults but that was not one of them. In his business he was scrupulous to a fault.”

“Then this definitely bears looking into. Not that it lets you off the hook just yet but it is certainly an interesting and logical motive for murder that covers most of the facts.”

He nodded. “At least maybe I can start breathing regularly again and stop looking over my shoulder for a potential killer.”

“Speaking of which have you heard anything more for the person who left the roses?”

“Nope, thank goodness. I hope whatever that was about is past history now.”

“Just be very careful for a while yet. Personally I wouldn’t count out your ex as the perp. Especially now that you’ve got a new man in your life.”

“Elliot’s not like that. Even during our last epic battle he was all verbal, nothing physical at all.”

“That doesn’t mean he wouldn’t threaten you to try to scare you into coming back.”

Merlyn thought about that then shook his head. “I wasn’t even seeing Alan when the roses were left. I met him later that evening actually.”

“Either way, just be careful.” She glanced at the office door. “And unless you see any reason to go through the files at this point, it’s time for you to leave so I can get on with what I have to do.”

“No. The files were just a wild idea and I’d say useless under the circumstances, though your people might want to check them to see if there are any inquiry letters about the okimono.”

“Oh believe me we will, and we just might get lucky.”

“I hope so. I want to see the murderer caught and as Alton once said about someone, castrated and de-cocked among other things.”

The detective chuckled. “An interesting idea although I doubt the courts would go for that. Anyway, I’ll keep you updated on what we find out.”

“Thank you, and thanks for believing in me.”

“Welcome,” she replied even as she took out her phone, an obvious sign of dismissal that Merlyn took to heart.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

29 - There dwells a spirit, waiting to be released



“I’m sorry sir but the gallery is closed.”

Merlyn nodded at the cop’s words. “I’m aware of that but I need to go inside anyway. Is Detective Jonas here?”

“That depends. Who are you?”

“Merlyn Knight. I’m… I was a client of Mr. Weber’s. There are several pieces of mine on display that I would like to retrieve if possible.”

“This is a crime scene as I’m sure you’re aware, Mr. Knight, so it won’t be possible.” The sneering look of distrust on the cop’s face said it all. There was no way he would let Detective Jonas know he was here.

“You sir are an ass,” Merlyn grumbled in his best Alton impression as he took out his cell. Scanning through his caller ID list he found the detective’s phone number and called her. “I’m outside and the… nice… cop here is unwilling to let me in. Can you do something about that please?”

He could almost see her debating on the wisdom of allowing him entrance but in the end she agreed to. As he hung up he could see her coming into the gallery from the back. She unlocked the front door and told the cop it was alright to let him pass.

“Is there a reason you’re here?” the detective asked as she locked up again.

“Yes. I want to go through the gallery’s files.”

“What are you looking for?”

“That’s a good question. I’m not really sure but I’ll know when I find it.”

“Mr. Knight, I can’t just let you rifle through them. You really don’t have any right to. We can’t even access them until we get a warrant.”

Merlyn smiled. “Even if I’m looking for my contract with the gallery because I want to retrieve the pieces of my work on display and in storage here? I need to see when I can legally do that you know.”

She tapped a finger on her lips and then grinned slightly. “Well I suppose I could be convinced that you have a legitimate reason to get into the files. But I’ll be watching you every second.”

“I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

She led him back to the office, cautioning him not to touch anything other than the file cabinets. “The crime scene techs have been over the place with a fine-toothed comb of course but I still don’t want anything disturbed.”

“Understood.”

Monday, May 5, 2014

28 - There dwells a spirit, waiting to be released



“I know you are not a killer. My heart tells me so. And, if you want the truth, you are the first man I have ever made love to.”

Merlyn pulled back to stare at Alan, shaking his head. “How can I believe that when you’re so… such a fantastic lover?”

“You think I would lie to you? I was…” He stopped, gazing at Merlyn. “It’s true. You are the first. The only one. I think perhaps this is fated, that I was created to show you that you have worth, that someone can love you and care for you the way you deserve.” He dropped his eyes from Merlyn’s, saying softly, “Does that sound insane?”

“It sounds crazy and poetic and just what I needed to hear right now. I’m not quite sure how you manage it but you make me feel glad to be alive for the first time in forever.”

“Good,” Alan replied before drawing him back so that he could kiss him gently. “Alive is very good, and you are very alive and make me feel as if I was too.” He smiled somewhat grimly then. “And we have to do something to make certain you stay alive. Like find the killer before he completes his agenda.”

 “Alan,” Merlyn said, suddenly realizing something. “Is it alright that you’re here and not with the man you work for?”

“Damn, what time is it?” Alan looked around for a clock. “I could be in deep trouble. I told him I was going shopping to get some things the housekeeper needed.” He didn’t look at Merlyn as he said that, crossing the room instead to pick up his jacket from where he’d dropped it after showing the detective the sketch.

“Do you want me to drive you?”

Alan thought for a moment then nodded. “I could use a ride to the store.”

“And home after that?”

“No. The chauffeur will pick me up. He’s probably wondering what’s been taking me so long as it is.”

“Let’s get a move on then. I don’t want you loosing your job even though it does keep you on a tight leash.” Merlyn grabbed his keys off the side table. “How far are we going?”

“Just a few blocks.”

Ten minutes later they were pulling up behind one of the shops in the center of the city. Before getting out of the car Alan leaned in to kiss Merlyn and get one in return. “I’ll call you,” he said as he slid out of the passenger seat. “Soon, if I can figure out how to get some more time for myself again.”

“I’ll be waiting. I hope your boss doesn’t ground you for being late today.”

Alan grinned. “I’ll come up with a good excuse. Now I’d better get. I’m sure the chauffeur has been here for a while. I just hope he hasn’t decided to search the shop for me. That could be a problem.”

“Go then, and hurry.” Merlyn bit his lip before pronouncing suddenly, “Love you.”

If Alan’s grin could have gotten any wider it would have as he declared, “I love you too.” Then he closed the car door and quickly vanished through the back door of the shop.

It wasn’t until he’d pulled back into traffic that Merlyn realized he’d never found out how Alan had managed to get into the house and up to the studio without his being aware of it. He would have to ask the next time they were together. But for now he had something he wanted to do, if he could gain access to the gallery.