Dean had just finished getting dressed when Kirby showed up with Carrie right behind him.
“Aren’t both of you supposed to be working?” Dean asked them.
“We figured you might want some moral support, or whatever you want to call it,” Carrie told him.
“Uh-oh, now what?” Dean asked, his mouth tightening as he sat down on the edge of the hospital bed.
Kirby sat down beside him. “Nothing too dire, just a bajillion reporters waiting to interview you when you leave.”
Dean sighed. “Oh well. I guess I might as well face them and get it over with.”
“There’s one other thing,” Carrie added, handing him an envelope. “This came for you at the theater.”
Dean looked at the return address, and then the handwriting. Slowly he opened it, his face reflecting his emotions as he read it.
Kirby put one arm around his shoulder, waiting until he’d finished before asking, “From your father?”
“No, from Mom. She…” He shook his head. “A lot of it’s what I would have expected but at the end… She says she’s told my father he is not to do anything to me, or have anything done to me or she will…” Dean smiled slightly, “She’ll take matters into her own hands with him. And knowing her, she will and he’ll regret it. She’s a strong woman in her own right. She ended it by saying, ‘In spite of what you are, Dean, you are still my son and I love you’.” He folded the letter then put it in his pocket. “I guess perhaps in her own way she does.”
Kirby hugged him very gently for a moment. “A lot of people do,” he said softly.
Carrie nodded, waiting until Dean stood before giving him a light hug in deference to his ribs and bruised body. He smiled at her, ruffling her hair. “What would I have done without your support all these years?”
“Probably screwed up royally,” she replied with a grin. “Now I think it’s time for you to face your public, or at least the television part of it.”
“Can we sneak out the back door?”
“Unfortunately that’s a no-go,” Kirby told him. “They’re not as stupid as you might think. They have it covered too, just in case.”
“Ah well. Then let’s do it.”
* * * *
With Kirby and Carrie at his side, Dean managed to weather the reporters, answering their questions as best he could. All except one.
“Mr Travers, are you and Detective Lasiter a couple?” a female reporter called out.
Dean froze, totally nonplussed by the question.
Kirby took matters into his own hands, as he put an arm around Dean’s waist. “Let’s just say we’re exploring the options and leave it at that, shall we. And now, if you don’t mind, it’s time to get him home so he can rest. And those,” he grinned, “are the doctor’s orders, not mine.”
A few minutes later, having managed to get through the crowd of reporters and television cameras they made it to Kirby’s car. As they drove away Dean looked at Kirby, studying him.
Kirby glanced at him for a second, smiling. “What?”
“You do realize you just outed yourself to the world. It’s not just a secret between you and…well the few people who knew, anymore.”
“Well hell, I guess I did.” Kirby’s smile widened. “Is that going to be a problem for you?”
Dean snorted. “Not hardly.”
“Good. So, your place or mine?”
“Umm, I’m supposed to be resting, doctor’s orders according to you.”
“Which you can do in either place. I’m just dropping you off. I do have a job and a partner who would really like it if I showed up for work on a regular basis now that all this is over.”
“Well, since you’re giving me an option...” Dean held out his hands, palms up, moving them up and down as if weighing something.
Kirby pressed down on one palm. “My place it is.”
“Now what makes you think that hand wasn’t my apartment?”
“A good guess?”
Dean laughed. “Your place it was—and is.”