“Believe me, I’ve never been in a relationship, so there’s no one I’d have to hide from,” Dean said.
“Are you serious? You’re twenty-six, and yeah of course I know that,” Kirby added when Dean looked startled. “It’s part of the information we have about you. Anyway, you’re twenty-six and never had an affair or been with a man for more than say one night?”
“This coming from a cop who is probably as closeted as I am.”
Kirby shook his head. “Not at all. I don’t flaunt it—in point of fact most people outside of work don’t know, other than my family and a few close friends—but I am out and have been for quite a while.”
Dean looked at him in surprise. “The other cops know?”
“Yeah. The stereotype of homophobic cop is, if not a myth, at least fading somewhat. The guys I work with know, and most of them don’t really give a damn as long as I do the job required of me.”
“Must be nice,” Dean said pensively.
Kirby nodded. “It makes life easier.” After studying Dean, who was now staring down at his cup of coffee as if it contained some answer he was seeking, Kirby asked, “Do you want to talk?”
“Wouldn’t do any good.”
“Does your sister know?” When Dean nodded, Kirby continued. “I have the feeling she may be the only one in your family who does.”
“You’re right,” Dean replied tersely.
“That’s none of your business.”
A thought occurred to Kirby then and he said, although he was fairly certain he was way off base, “Technically it could be. If you actually did tell Ms Westcott you were gay to get her to leave you alone, and she threatened to let everyone know…” He left the sentence hanging as he watched Dean.
Dean shook his head sharply. “That didn’t happen.”
“But if it had, and you’re desperate to keep your family from finding out, it would give you a hell of a reason to kill her.”
“I am not ‘desperate’ as you put it. It would just…” Dean scrubbed his hand over his forehead. “Cause problems”
“With your parents. Half the gays in this country have gone through that and survived.”
“Have you ever heard of the Classic Values Alliance?” Dean asked, seemingly out of the blue.
Kirby scowled. “CVA? Damned right I have. It’s so anti-gay if makes other homophobic organizations look like kiddy groups. Someone should have strangled the minister who founded it… Oh hell!”
Dean nodded. “Lou Travers. He’s my father.”
“Whew. Okay, now I get why you’re hiding the fact from him.”
“No shit,” Dean growled.
“I’d take it his indoctrination didn’t work on your sister, since she knows about you. He must be seeing red that the two of you are in the theater, the bastion of all things ‘gay’.”