Reid hid a smile as he watched both men react as if they’d been burned, Kirby quickly pulling his hand back while Dean jumped in surprise. Dean looked up at Kirby for a second and then away, embarrassed it seemed—if Reid were to make a guess.
With a shake of his head, Reid said, “You’d think you’d never been touched before, Dean. Haven’t you ever played sports and gotten a slap on the back, or your ass swatted?”
“Well, actually, no. I was a ninety-pound weakling in high school, much to my father’s disgust. After all ‘real’ men go out for all the teams”
Kirby snorted softly. “You’re far from that now.”
“A real man?” Dean said indignantly.
“A ninety-pound weakling.” Kirby stared at him intently, taking in the slender but well-built body in front of him. “You’re no, what’s his name, something Atlas, but I bet you can handle yourself when necessary.”
Dean reddened under his scrutiny. “Maybe, if it came down to it, but…”
“It never has, I take it.” Kirby smiled. “That’s a good thing in my book.”
Reid was majorly tempted to say ‘Mating dance later, business now.’ but resisted. Instead, he asked Dean when he thought he’d have time to go see Mrs Nester.
“Good question.” Dean ran hand through his hair then he snapped his fingers. “We open tomorrow night, well tonight I guess given how late it is. She’ll be there of course and at the party afterwards. And before you think we’re a callous bunch, it’s just going to be a small one. Frank said it would be as much a farewell to Ange as a celebration of opening night. Like a wake I suppose, but without the funeral.”
“Do you think you can corner her and get her talking?”
“I can try. That’s all I can promise.”
“That’s good enough for us,” Kirby said. “For right now, however, I think we should call it a night. As you pointed out, Dean, it is late.”
“Yeah. And I have to be at the theater by mid-morning to take care of some things.” Dean stood, saying as he did, “I’ll call you after I’ve talked to Beth, umm Mrs Nester.”
Kirby chuckled. “We knew who you meant.”
“Oh, yeah, right. Sorry.”
“Don’t be. Now get. Go home and sleep. We’ll see you tomorrow sometime I’m sure.”
“I hope so,” Dean replied, and then reddened again as he hurried to the door.
“Oh you will,” Kirby said softly as the door shut behind Dean. “Trust me on that one.”