“Where the hell have you been?” Carrie said the moment she saw Dean walking down the hallway to his office.
“Having a not so nice conversation with dad—in person.”
“Oh shit. Seriously? That must have sucked.”
Dean smiled at her. “You could say that. I either got him off my back or he’s going to send his CVA enforcers after me. It’s probably fifty-fifty which.”
“Then you better call Kirby to let him know, and,” she waggled a finger at him, “to tell him you’re still among the uninjured living. He’s already called here two or three times, as well as calling me personally.”
Dean nodded, wincing inwardly. Kirby would undoubtedly read him the riot act, on several levels. Might as well bite the bullet he thought as he went into his office. Too tense to sit, he set the phone to speaker and dialed Kirby’s private number.
“Where the hell have you been?” Kirby asked without preamble.
“I went home to change clothes.”
“You fucking what? Do you know how stupid that was? At least tell me you went in the back way.”
Dean chuckled. “I went in the back way.”
“This isn’t funny, Dean.”
“Yeah I know. I, umm, had a visitor when I got into my place.”
There was a long silence before Kirby said slowly, “Do I want to know who?”
“No, probably not, but in the interests of being open and aboveboard, it was my father.”
“Well that’s the frosting on the cake, isn’t it? Tell me.”
Dean did. When he finished he heard Kirby sigh.
“You are to stay at the theater until I pick you up, which won’t be for a while. We’re in the middle of something. And please make certain there are people around you even if you have to…well whatever you have to do.”
“All right, but Kirby, I think in the end this was the best thing that could have happened.”
“We will talk about it when I see you. I have to go. Be there when I get there.”
Dean shook his head and walked back to the desk to hang up the phone. “If you weren’t a cop…” he muttered as he took out his drawings and tools and went down to the scene shop where he knew there would be people.
* * * *
“Kirby, I am not a fool, your opinion to the contrary,” Dean said tightly. “You said yourself no one would actually take shots at me. That means I’m perfectly safe so long as I don’t go wandering down deserted alleys, or walk the streets at two in the morning. And would you please stop pacing and land somewhere?”
Kirby replied, still pacing, “I said that when it was just Jones we were worried about. Damn it, Dean, your father threatened you. What part of that isn’t getting through your thick skull?”
“They were just threats to scare me into not going on television or giving interviews. He wouldn’t really carry through on them.”
“You’re ready to bet your life on it?”
“Yeah, exactly.” Kirby finally sat down, at the other end of the sofa in Dean’s apartment. “Go pack.”
“No. I’m tired of hiding because of my father. It’s exactly what he wants. For me to shut up and vanish.”
“And I want you safe.” Kirby moved next to him. “Does that count for anything?”
“It… Well…” Dean studied him, seeing the worry and something more in his eyes. “It counts for a lot,” he replied quietly.
“Then please do as I ask.”
“Where are you planning on stashing me this time? You do realize I have a job. One I’m not going to avoid going to, no matter what else your have in mind for me.”
“I’m aware of that. I’ll talk to Mr Nester in the morning and get him to call the security company he uses. If they add a couple more guards I’ll feel more comfortable with your being there.”
“Oh Frank’s going to love that.”
“He’ll deal. Now will you please go toss some clothes in a bag so we can get out of here?”