“That wasn’t a bad movie,” Dean commented as they left the theater.
“Wasn’t bad? It was fantastic,” Carrie countered as she linked her arm with Jim’s.
“Well,” Kirby said, “I’m not certain I’d rate it fantastic, but it was better than I expected.”
Dean gave him a mock glare. “What? You planned on dragging me to a semi-bad movie?”
“A semi-good one?” Kirby was all feigned innocence, which had them laughing.
“Mr Travers,” a voice called out the second they stepped through the doors onto the sidewalk.
Without a thought Kirby moved between Dean and the speaker, his hand sliding under his jacket.
“Mr Travers,” the man said again, “I just wanted to thank you for what you did. If you can stand up to all the haters then there’s hope for the rest of us.”
Despite Kirby’s growl, Dean walked over to the young man. “It’s cliché, but as long as we don’t let the bastards get to us there is always hope.”
“Sometimes it doesn’t seem like it,” the young man said morosely.
“Hey, come on. Not everyone hates people like you,” a second man said, joining in the conversation.
“People like us?” Dean’s eyebrows rose as he shook his head. “We’re no different than you or him,” he pointed to the male half of a couple who were watching the exchange, “or her.” He smiled at the man’s girlfriend.
“Well technically you are,” Kirby said from behind him. “You’re famous now, at least around here. But that begs the question. We’re all human beings. Most of us, gay, straight or anything else, just want to live our lives in peace.” He put his arm around Dean’s shoulders. “So…when we see someone like his father and the haters who follow him, we have to speak out and let the world know they will not win.” He turned his gaze on each person in the now sizable crowd that surrounded them, then smiled. “End of lecture. If you don’t mind we have a date for a good meal, with good friends.”
“That would be us,” Carrie said as she and Jim joined them. “By the way, I’m Dean’s sister. Nice to meet you all.”
The crowd parted to let them through, some of the people voicing their support of Dean, the rest remaining silent, although most of the faces registered approval. There were a few of course who seemed less than happy. Kirby kept a close eye on them until he and the others reached his car. After a hasty consultation, Carrie and Jim begged off supper. Carrie hugged Dean tightly for a moment, kissed his cheek and then she and Jim took off for his car.
“So, where to?” Kirby asked as they got into the car.
“Somewhere quiet and out of the way.” When Kirby opened his mouth to speak Dean caught the look on his face. “A restaurant, a bar, a coffee house.”
Kirby grinned. “Killjoy. Okay, I know just the place.”