Kirby looked up again as the door to the coffee shop opened to let someone in. And again it wasn’t Dean. He checked the time, shook his head, and got up, tossing a couple of dollars on the table to tip the young woman who had come by several times to top off his coffee.
"I should have expected at much. After all, it was just a hunch that he might actually want to talk," he muttered as he headed across the room to leave.
He stepped out onto the busy sidewalk without really paying attention to where he was going and almost ran into someone.
“I thought you wanted to talk to me,” Dean said, backing away a bit.
Kirby gave him a half smile. “And I thought you weren’t coming.”
“Well I did.”
“And I do.” Kirby turned back, opening the door then waiting for Dean to go in ahead of him. The table he’d just vacated was still available so he headed for it.
“Sorry I’m late, but I did say we ‘might’ be finished by eight. It wasn’t a definite.”
“I know, I know.” Once they were both seated he asked Dean, “Coffee, or something else?”
“Coffee. I’ll get it. You want some too?”
Kirby considered the question before shaking his head. “I’m floating in it already. A bottle of mango juice I think.”
With a nod, Dean headed to the counter. Kirby watched him then quickly turned away when he realized he was looking at him as a man, possibly an interesting one, rather than a suspect in a murder case.
When Dean returned, setting down their drinks before taking the chair opposite Kirby’s, he said, “So what’s so important you needed to talk to me?”
“First off, we’ve partially eliminated you as a suspect.”
Which was the truth, as far as it went. Before he’d left the theater earlier in the day Kirby had picked up one of the programs, which had pictures of the cast and other people of importance, including Dean’s. From there he’d gone to the Red Moon where he’d shown it to the waiters and bartenders who had been there the night of the murder. None of them had recognized Dean, which at least gave credence to the claim that he didn’t go barhopping with the rest of the people in the company. When he’d also asked if any of the men even vaguely resembled the one Ms Westcott had left with, all of them said ‘no’, including the two who had gone down to the station to work with the sketch artist.
“That’s good to know, although I’d prefer being totally eliminated,” Dean replied.
“Unfortunately, while you have a decent alibi, it’s not perfect. Just because you were working late does not mean you couldn’t have met up with her after she left the bar.”
“True, but doesn’t that hold true for any of us?”
“It does. Some people have firm alibis even though they were at the club. Others, like you, are iffy at best.”
“But you don’t think it was me.”
Kirby shrugged. “I’m leaning that way. Not because you couldn’t have killed her, but because I don’t see that you have a motive.”
“To get her off my back?”
“I think beating her to death is a bit drastic, especially since her coming on to you so forcefully made a good cover for you, even it you did try to stop her from doing so.
Dean nodded slowly. “I’ll admit you’ve got a point. Not one I’d thought about but I suppose it did.”
Kirby leaned back, looking at him. “Why?”
“Why didn’t I think about it?”
“No. Why, especially in a place where no one would care, and I’d be willing to bet there are at least a few gay men who are out at the theater, are you trying so hard to keep your orientation a secret?”
Kirby snorted. “No shit. That’s usually the reason. Family? Someone you’re hiding from?”