Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Colors of Hate - 47

It was mid-morning before Dean awoke. Once again it took him a second to figure out where he was, until he remembered Kirby bringing him over to Jim’s house. As soon as he was inside, Carrie had led him to the spare bedroom and he’d collapsed on the bed, barely taking time to kick off his shoes before he fell asleep.

He sat up, listening for any sounds that would tell him Jim and Carrie were still there. Hearing nothing, he headed to the bathroom, took care of business, finger-brushed his teeth, splashed water on his face, and then went down the hall to the living room. Since it was vacant, he moved on to the kitchen. A pile of clothes sat on the table with a note on top telling him to use whatever fit.

He wasn’t about to protest. He felt as if he’d been wearing what he had on for days, even though he knew it had only been late yesterday afternoon when he’d put them on. Luckily for him, he and Jim were close to the same height, although Jim was a bit more muscular. He found a pair of jeans and a shirt that would do and changed into them, smiling when he realized one of them had thought ahead and added a pair of socks to the pile as well.

Now I feel almost human. He folded the clothes he’d been wearing, found a plastic grocery bag to put them in, and went back to the living room to call a cab.

* * * *

Reid scowled at Kirby. “It is not our job to babysit him. And before you get pissed, I know he’s important to you but that’s personal. We have more than enough cases to keep us busy. Beef up the patrol cars around the theater if it makes you feel more comfortable then let’s get to work on what’s considered ‘our’ job.”

Kirby would have protested but he knew Reid was right. Their job was catching killers, not stopping harassment by some fringe group who was doing nothing more than sending Dean messages. So with a sigh, he started to call Dean. “Shit,” he muttered seconds later. “I’m losing it.”

“Now what?” Reid asked, looking up from a case file.

“Nothing. Just stupidity on my part.” He scrolled through his numbers, finding the one to Dean’s office phone at the theater, and dialed. Four rings and it switched over to the theater’s main line. When someone answered he asked if Dean was around.

“I haven’t seen him, but hang on and I’ll check if anyone else has.” The woman put him on hold, returning a couple of minutes later to say Dean hadn’t come in yet. “But it’s only eleven,” she pointed out.

After thanking her, Kirby called Carrie. She told him Dean had been sound asleep when she and Jim had left and gave him the number to Jim’s home phone. He called it, getting no answer from Dean. You had better be in transit. In frustration he hung up and opened a case file, staring at it blankly for a minute before concentrating on what he was being paid to do.

Monday, June 27, 2016

The Colors of Hate - 46

Dean had just gotten out of the shower when he heard a phone ring. It took him a moment to realize it had to be the room phone, as Kirby had forgotten to return his. He hesitated answering, but Kirby had only said no outgoing calls. As he crossed the room he wondered if it might actually be Kirby and picked up the receiver in anticipation.

“Hey, boy-fucking fag, we ain’t done with you yet,” a rough voice said. “That was just a taste of what happens to people who go against the CVA. Turn around.”

A frightened breath hissed through Dean’s teeth. “Why?”

“Turn around at look at the door, faggot.” The caller hung up.

Dean turned slowly. On the floor in front of the door was a folded slip of paper. He bent to pick it up, holding it by one corner as if it was going to bite him. It fell open to reveal a crude sketch of a man screwing a very young, very terrified boy. The man’s face wore a lewd smile and horns sprang from his forehead. Below the picture, in large, ill-formed letters was a message. “You will suffer for your sins and then burn in hell.” It was signed, “Friends of the CVA.”

“And so it continues,” Dean muttered, his voice tight with a mix of fear and anger. He dropped the paper on the desk then went to the phone. When Kirby answered Dean said, “They know I’m here.”

* * * *

“So much for good security,” Kirby growled as he drove away from the hotel.

“You know someone probably followed us there, and since they didn’t do anything overt, the security people wouldn’t have noticed them. Hell, for all we know it could have been Jones. He could be staying there himself.”

Kirby glanced at Dean and nodded. “Good point, although if he is he’s using an alias. As soon as we get to the station house I’ll send someone back with a picture of him.”

Dean snorted. “If it was him he’ll be long gone by now.”

“Still, it would be a good idea to find out.”

“True.” Dean yawned. “You going to put me in a jail cell so I can get some sleep?”

“Might,” Kirby replied with a straight face.

“You know, right now, I really wouldn’t give a damn if you did. At least I wouldn’t get more threatening phone calls. Speaking of which, may I have my phone back?”

“What? Oh yeah, sure, except right now it’s sitting on my desk at home. By the way, the only calls you got were from a couple of TV stations and the newspaper, all wanting to do interviews with you. Oh, and one from your father.”

Dean was so tired he couldn’t work up any real emotions on hearing about his father. “Did he leave a message?”

“Just that he would call again.”

“Something to look forward to.”

“Or not,” Kirby said with a brief chuckle as he made the turn into the station house parking lot.

Once they were in the squad room, Kirby left Dean at his desk while he took the note from the CVA down the hall to be examined. When he returned he paused at the door, smiling. Dean was sound asleep, his arms resting on the desk, cradling his head. Now what do I do with you? he wondered. "Duh, stupid," he muttered seconds later. He made a call, ignoring Carrie’s sleepy grumbling when she answered. “Kirby here. Any chance you can put your brother up for the night, or know someone who’d be willing to?”

The surprise and worry was evident in her voice when she asked what had happened. After he explained she instantly told him to bring her brother to Jim’s place as that’s where she was, reeling off the address when Kirby asked.

He thanked her, hung up, and walked over to Dean, shaking his shoulder gently.

“Wha’?” Dean said. He sat up, glanced around for a second to figure out where he was, and then looked up at Kirby. “Sorry.”

“For what? You’re exhausted. Come on, I’m taking you to Jim’s. He’ll put you up for the night, or what’s left of it. Carrie’s orders,” he added when Dean started to protest. “She’s there too.”

Dean smiled slightly as he stood, murmuring, “Of course she is.”

Saturday, June 25, 2016

'Lonely Vampire' is out!

Lonely Vampire
Staid vampire Armand Lyon knows what it means to be lonely. Yes, he had human acquaintances. But since he can't reveal what he is, he lives a solitary life.

Tino Verona is a new and very charismatic vampire in town. When he hunts in Armand's territory, Armand is not amused. Then Tino decides to rob the wealthy of the city. Armand catches him and, when Tino claims he's only playing Robin Hood, Armand points out he isn’t giving to the poor. The result? The pair, plus a vampire police detective who's onto Tino's thefts, band together to create shelters for the homeless.

As they do, the attraction between Armand and Tino grows. Has Armand finally found the one man who can make his life complete? Or will the appearance of a rogue vampire who preys on the homeless destroy any hope of happiness for the lonely vampire?

    "Again?" Armand murmured when he sensed the presence of the vampire who had been down by the creek two weeks ago. Apparently he wasn't just passing through town.

    After shielding and going invisible, he homed in on the vampire's location -- in the alley behind the club. He moved silently forward until he saw the male.

    Handsome, in a rakish way.

    As he watched, the vampire approached a young man, saying something to him. The young man nodded, gesturing to a darkened doorway, then took what Armand presumed was money. At that point, the pair disappeared into the alcove.

    A few moments later, the vampire reappeared. Armand was waiting for him, visible but still shielding. "You are trespassing on my territory," he said with quiet ferocity.

    The vampire merely smiled, asking, "Do you own the whole city?"

    "Not all of it. My territory spreads west through all of downtown -- as well as south to the Creek, where I first saw you."

    "Not a small area." The vampire paced, keeping his eye on Armand. "Can I ask who you are?"

    Armand nodded.

    "Well," the vampire said, lifting an eyebrow.

    Armand chuckled. "You wanted to know if you can ask -- which is obviously possible since you speak."

    "Word games? All right, I'll be direct. Who are you? Will that get me an answer?"

    "Armand Lyon. And you are?"

    "Constantino Verona. Tino, to those who know me personally."

    "Italian, I presume."

    Tino chuckled. "Way back in the mists of the past. Armand is French. Right?"

    "Correct. Although it has been over well over two hundred years since I last lived in the country of my birth."

    Tino stopped pacing to lean against the alley wall, smiling when the young man he'd fed from appeared, scurrying away toward the sidewalk at the far end of the alley. "Sorry for intruding on your territory," he said to Armand. "But I'm new to the city, so ..." He spread his hands.

    "From where?" Armand asked.

    "Most recently, Philadelphia. I decided it was time to leave, for the usual reasons."

    "Not aging."

    "Exactly. How long have you been here?"

    "Almost one hundred years," Armand told him. "Under various aliases."

    Tino nodded. "So you're the grandson, grandnephew, or what have you of who you were when you first arrived. I've done that a time or two, in the last thousand years, when I had something to keep me in one particular place. Then wanderlust would hit, and I'd take off again."

    "Well, if you decide to remain here, I suggest you find somewhere else to feed."

    "Third time in your territory is not the charm, I take it."

    "Not if I catch you at it."

    "Duly noted.” Tino gave Armand a mocking salute. "Hopefully, we won't meet again. Arrivederci."

    "Adieu," Armand replied -- a moment too late, as Tino had vanished. He may be, according to him, over one thousand, but he acts like one of the punks who hang out along the 16th Street Mall.

The Colors of Hate - 45

“Oh, hell. Now what,” Dean said in shock as they turned the corner onto his street. Ahead of them, in front of his building, were several police cars as well as two television news trucks.

Kirby quickly pulled the car to the curb. He took out his phone, making a call. After talking briefly and listening to the person on the other end he hung up. “It seems not everyone was happy about your TV appearance and they don’t mind defacing private property to make their point. Of course they didn’t stick around to see how you’d react.”

“Which will be badly, I take it,” Dean growled as he opened the car door.

“Hold on. You’re going nowhere. I’ll drive us by your building slowly enough so we can see what they did, but we are not stopping.”

“Kirby, I’m not a coward.”

“No shit, and that’s the problem. You go up there, you’re going to be interrogated by the reporters who are just waiting for you to show up. You’ll probably go off on whoever did this, it’ll hit the news, and that will put you more in their sights than you already are. Trust me on this Dean and let’s do it my way.”

“I… all right.” Dean’s face was tight with anger. “You’re the expert.”

“In this, yes I am, and give me your phone, please.”

With a frown Dean handed it over, asking, “Why?”

“Some of those calls you got could have been from the people who did this.” Kirby set it on the console and pulled back onto the street. As promised he drove slowly past the building.

“God,” Dean whispered as he saw the slurs which had been sprayed across the front doors and the walls beside them.

“Not nice people,” Kirby agreed, his gut clenching in rage.

“That’s a bit of an understatement.” Dean sighed. “I suppose I’ll have to look for a new place to live now. You better believe my landlord’s not going to want me staying on here.”

“We’ll face that problem tomorrow. For now I’m taking you to a hotel.”

“Four star one?” Dean asked with a slight grin.

“No, you nut. Although…” Kirby tapped a finger on the steering wheel. “Yeah, that might not be such a bad idea. One of the better ones would have more security.”

“I’m all for that, as long as it includes no one telling anyone I’m there.”

“We’ll let them know what happened to your apartment building. That should keep them quiet. Kidding,” Kirby added when Dean frowned at him. He made a turn onto the main avenue through the city, heading into the heart of the downtown area. “This one should work,” he said a few minutes later.

As they entered the hotel Kirby said, “You sign in. I want to have a few words with security.” He scanned the lobby as Dean crossed it to the check-in desk, saw the man he wanted and went to talk to him. By the time he was finished, so was Dean. Kirby beckoned him over, introducing him to the night head of security. Then they went up to Dean’s room.

“Wait here,” Kirby said when they got inside. He made a quick but thorough survey of the room and bathroom, deeming them both fine, then came back to Dean. “You are not to leave the room until either I or Reid comes to get you. You are not to make any phone calls. You are not to open the door to anyone. You are not to order anything from room service.”

“Do I have permission to shower and watch TV?” Dean asked tightly.

Kirby grinned suddenly. “Yeah, but no porn. Look, I’m sorry if that all came off wrong but I don’t want anything happening to you.”

“I know. I get that. I shouldn’t have taken it the way I did.”

“We’re both tired and tense. Get some sleep and I’ll see you sometime tomorrow. Okay?”

“Yes. You get some sleep, too. You look like hell.”

“Excuse me?”

“Well you do. Go. I’ll be just fine.”

“Just remember…”

“No porn, got it.”

They both laughed, albeit tiredly, before Kirby left.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Colors of Hate - 44

Fifteen minutes later they pulled into the parking lot behind a small restaurant on the outskirts of the city. Once inside Kirby greeted the host, introducing him to Dean as Tom, an old friend and ex-cop who had gone into business for himself after retiring.

The older man shook Dean’s hand, saying while he led them to a table to one side of the room, “You did a brave thing tonight young man.”

“Thank you.” Dean replied. “It was time, I guess.”

“More than,” Kirby said in agreement as he sat down. “A beer? Or something stronger, or weaker?”

“A beer’s fine.”

“It’s on the house,” Tom said, “as are your meals.” He patted Dean’s shoulder when he began to protest. “Do not argue with your elders. You earned it I think.”

As Tom walked away Kirby smiled. “He used to be a really prejudiced asshole when he was on the force. But towards the end he mellowed out and we became friends.” He chuckled. “I’m not sure he approves of me, but he’s accepts me as I am and that’s what counts.”

A waiter came over with their beers and asked if they knew what they wanted to eat. Kirby suggested the house special, ordering it for both of them when Dean said it sounded good.

“To…success,” Kirby said when the waiter was gone, lifting his glass.

“To success.” Dean smiled; tapping the rim of his glass with Kirby’s then taking a sip. “Now the question becomes, success in what?”

“In surviving your father, for starters I guess.”

“I will. He’s done his worst, making me live in fear of him and his warped ideas all these years. It’s over now. He can’t hurt me any more.”   

Kirby refrained from saying it wasn’t quite true. He didn’t want to spoil what was left of their evening together. Instead he said, “There’s also the success of your next show, after all that happened.”

“We’ll pull together. We’re theater people, we always do.”

“And then…there’s success on a more personal level. Yeah, I know, we’re not going to think about it until everything is back to normal, but I can still drink to it,” which he did. He smiled when Dean nodded, lifted his glass to him and took a drink.

For a long moment they just looked at each other, neither one quite sure what to say next. Their silence was broken when Dean’s phone chimed.

“What are the odds it’s my father,” Dean muttered before checking the name on the screen. His mouth tightened and he pocketed the phone.

“Dean, you’re going to have to talk to him sometime.”

“I know, but not right now. Maybe not for a long time to come. He’s only going to tell me I’m sick and need counseling to cure me of my ‘affliction’.”

“If he does you can suggest he’s the one who needs it.”

“I so wish.” Dean sighed. “I don’t have what it takes to fight him, Kirby. I never did. What happened tonight was purely an impulse born of frustration and a need to finally be open and step out of the closet I put myself in because of him.”

“Exactly, because of him, not because you wanted to be there. Now you’re out and I suspect in the days to come you’re going to find out you’re exactly where you should be. If that makes any kind of sense.”

Dean smiled. “It does, and you’re right, and I’m hungry. Where’s our food?”

Reaching over, Kirby patted his shoulder. “That was a very effective way to end that topic, and unless I’m wrong we’ll be eating momentarily.”

He wasn’t wrong. The waiter arrived seconds later to place their plates in front of them.

“If this tastes as good as it smells,” Dean said before taking a bite of the entrée.

“Fit for the gods, or two starving men,” Kirby replied with a grin.

They ate in companionable silence, Dean studiously ignoring his phone when it chimed several times during the meal. Finally Kirby pointed out he could just turn it off, which he did with a sigh of relief.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Colors of Hate - 43

“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.”

Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Colors of Hate - 42

“Damn, Dean,” Carrie said softly when the news program switched back to the anchorman—who began to give a brief recap of the CVA’s history. “Just… Damn. I’m so proud of you.”

“We both are,” Kirby told him, gripping Dean's shoulder. “Now, shall we run for the hills before the national reporters descend on the city?”

“Oh hell, I never considered that,” Dean muttered.

Kirby chuckled. “Sort of thought you hadn’t, but they will.”

“My fifteen minutes of fame.” Dean rolled his eyes.

“It will be more than that I’m afraid. By this time tomorrow the fall-out will have begun. Therefore, I suggest we get our asses in gear and go take in the movie while you’re still just a person, not a cause.”

Carrie glared at Kirby. “You’re going to let him leave here and go out in public, on a public street, to a movie?”

“Carrie,” Dean said, laughing, “first off I am not going to hole up here like some escaped convict. Secondly, he doesn’t rule my life. I’m quite able to make my own decisions, and right now getting out of here to do something normal sounds just fine to me. You’re welcome to come along if you want to.”

“She is?” Kirby asked, a trace of petulance in his voice.”

“If she brings Jim along, sure.”

“Gee, thanks.” Carrie shook her head, obviously unsure whether she was amused now or still upset. Either way, she took out her phone to call Jim, moving away from the others to have some privacy after Dean told her which theater they were going to.

When she was out of earshot Kirby grumbled, “I’m not trying to rule your life as you put it.”

“Well, as a cop you are. As a person, I don’t think that’s been decided yet.”

“As a cop it’s my job to keep you safe. Well, maybe not technically but I’d rather do that than have to go after someone who attacks you.” He smiled, resting his hands on Dean’s shoulders. “As a person, I would never try to rule your life, but I wouldn’t mind sharing it with you, if and when you might decide you want me to.”

Dean nodded. “I’m…thinking about it. It’s early on and hell, Kirby, this is all new to me, as I think you know. I hope you do. I like you, I like the fact you want to protect me…as a cop...”

“And as a man,” Kirby said softly. “I get what you’re saying though and I’m not going to pressure you. After all we barely know each other when it comes down to it. We were thrown together due to circumstances beyond either of our control. Let’s get past this new…problem before we try to make such a personal decision.”

“Just give me time.” Dean smiled. He traced the line of Kirby’s jaw with one finger then dropped his hand. “That’s all I ask.”  

“All the time you need.”

“Guys,” Carrie broke in, “I hate to destroy your moment, but Jim’s on his way to the movie theater and the show starts in,” she pointedly checked her watch, “twenty minutes.”  

“All right. Do you want to ride with us?” Kirby asked.

Dean shot him a questioning look. “Us?”

“Yes, because right now I’m in cop mode. I’d rather keep a close eye on you when you’re out in public.”

“You can’t be with me twenty-four-seven.”

Kirby grinned. “Well damn.”

“Gentlemen, move it!” Carrie ordered. “You can discuss safety issues later. Dean, if you don’t mind I’ll leave my car here, pick it up tomorrow and ride with you all.”

“Sure.” He opened the door, said, “Now shall we?” and made a production of ushering them out of the apartment, much to the other’s amusement.

Friday, June 17, 2016

The Colors of Hate - 41

“He got the photos, Dean,” Carrie told him the moment he opened his apartment door to let her in. “He just called me. He’s through the roof.”

“But privately?”

“Of course. Did you think…” She stopped, looking at him in horror. “You’re really going to do this, aren’t you?”

“Yeah, he is,” Kirby said, coming in from the living room. He checked his watch. “It’s almost five, Dean.”

With his arm around his sister’s waist, Dean led her into the living room while Kirby turned on the television to the local news.

After the usual headline stories, the anchorman looked seriously at the camera. “Most people know or have heard about the Classic Values Alliance, or CVA, an extremist group which is adamantly opposed to homosexuals and what they deem the ‘gay agenda’. It was founded by Pastor Louis Travers, who runs it from his church in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Tonight we have an interview, taped just an hour ago, with his son, Dean Travers.” The picture switched to two people sitting in one of the station’s interview areas.

“Good evening, Dean. May I call you Dean?”

Dean nodded. “Good evening, Miss Nicholls.”

“To get right to the point, you have lived in the city for the past two years, working as a costume designer at the Front Row Theater.”

Dean nodded. “I have.” He smiled slightly. “I still am actually.”

“In all that time, you have never revealed what you are going to tell me to anyone. Correct?”

His smile broadened a bit. “This is beginning to sound like a police interrogation, but it’s true. I haven’t told anyone except two people who are very close to me.” He turned to look at the camera. “Now I’m telling the world. I’m gay. From now on this will no longer be a secret. Interestingly, if you want to look at it that way, my father Lou Travers is the founder of one of the most rabidly anti-gay hate groups in the country. A group which would, among other things, like to criminalize homosexuality.” Giving a slight wave at the camera he said, “Hi, Dad. Now you know. Your son is a criminal. An abomination in your eyes and those of your followers. But to those people who have an ounce of common sense, I’m just another man. One who happens, by nature, to be gay. It’s not a choice I made. It is who and what I am and always have been, and I’m tired of hiding the fact from those people I call friends and colleagues.” Turning back to Miss Nicholls he said, “And there you have it.”

“Yes we do,” she replied seriously. “One question. The CVA has a reputation for being, shall we say, less than accommodating to those they feel have betrayed their trust. Are you afraid they may come after you now?”

“Not afraid, just aware that it’s a possibility.” He turned to the camera again. “If they do, it will be on my father’s head.”

“Brave words.”

“And true ones.”

“Thank you, Dean, for allowing this interview.”

Dean smiled. “I think I should be the one thanking you.”

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Colors of Hate - 40

Dean bristled a bit at the commanding tone of Kirby's voice, and then reminded himself Kirby was in ‘cop mode’ as he took out his phone. When Carrie answered he explained briefly what was happening.

“Dean Travers, I swear,” she growled. “Why the hell did you wait so long to tell me? What if this person had done something to you? I wouldn’t have had a clue why. I swear…”

“Twice in a row,” he said with a bit of a smile in his voice. “Honestly, I’m sorry. I just didn’t want to worry you.”

“Well you should have. Dad’s a raving lunatic and it scares me that he’s going to know.”

“Carrie, come on. He’ll rant and rave, as Kirby put it, and then disown me. And that will be a blessed relief. I should have let him know years ago.”

“Dean… God, where did your common sense go? He’ll do something drastic to you.”

Dean realized then with sudden clarity what he had to do and smiled slightly. “No, he won’t. Because, Carrie, I plan on coming out to the world at large. The CVA founder’s gay and proud of it son.”

“Fuck that,” Kirby spat out from beside him, taking the phone from his hand. “Carrie, he’ll call you back later when he’s regained his senses,” he told her before hanging up. Then he glared at Dean. “Are you out of your mind? I thought that was the last thing in the world you wanted to do. It was supposed to be just a threat if he gave you any grief.”

Dean stood straight, looking Kirby in the eye. “I changed my mind. I am allowed to do that aren’t I? I’ve been living in fear of his finding out and I’ve been putting my life on hold as a result. Now the bastard knows. So let’s see how he feels when the rest of the world does too.”

“He’ll kill you,” Kirby said quietly. “Him or one of his fanatics.”

With a slight smile, Dean replied, “No. He’ll be damned certain no one harms me because while he may be insane, he’s not stupid. If anything happens to me it will come back on him. You know that.”

“I don’t know that. Well, I do, of course. He’ll be held responsible by those who hate him and his sort of rhetoric. But will he really care? Or will he think of it as ‘God’s retribution’ on you and use your death, if someone kills you, to prove he was right? That ‘the only good fag is a dead one’, even if it is his own son.”

“I guess we’re going to find out, aren’t we?”

Monday, June 13, 2016

The Colors of Hate - 39

“These were in your mailbox with the rest of your mail?”

Dean nodded as he watched Kirby spread the three pictures across his desk in the squad room.

Reid stood beside Kirby, studying them. “Taken last night from what you said, Dean.”


“It didn’t take him long to get them developed and to your place.”

“I don’t know which is more worrisome, the fact he was watching us, or that he knows for certain where Dean lives,” Kirby said. He smiled slightly at Dean. “When I said he wouldn’t take pot-shots at you, I wasn’t thinking about a camera.”

“A good camera, not one on a cell phone.” Reid tapped one of the pictures. “It looks as if the two of you were in the shadows from the lighting but it’s still very clear.”

Kirby nodded. “Jones, if it was him, knows what he’s doing.”

“Who else would it be?” Dean asked tensely.

“Probably no one, unless there’s another CVA member in town.”

“Oh, that makes me feel real safe,” Dean grumbled.

Kirby patted his shoulder. “You’re safe, honest. What I wonder is, were copies sent to your father as well.”

“I’d bet my bottom dollar on that.”

“Then I suspect you'll be hearing from him. Want an asbestos phone for when he calls to rant and rave and damn you to hell?”

Dean snorted. “He calls, I won’t answer.”

Reid shook his head. “Not a good idea. Better for you to let him read you the riot act I think. Once he’s done that, then hopefully he'll wash his hands of you, and you can move on.”

“I’m not going anywhere,” Dean replied firmly. “This is my home now.”

“I meant move on with your life." Reid said. "Be who you want to be rather than hiding it.”

Dean glanced at Kirby. “Is he serious?”

“Actually, he is. My partner’s one of the good people of the world, so listen to his words of wisdom. He’s seldom wrong.”

“I’m never wrong thank you very much,” Reid huffed. “And my next proclamation is that we keep a good watch on Dean until he does hear from his father.”

“Agreed,” Kirby said tersely, all business again. “Dean, let your sister know what’s happening.”

“Damn. Do you think there’s any danger to her?” 

“No. But if your father calls her, she should at least be aware one of his people has been keeping an eye on you, if you haven’t told her already.”

“I haven’t. I didn’t want to worry her.”

“Then it’s time to. So call her,” Kirby ordered.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

The Colors of Hate - 38

Dean debated going to the theater Monday morning. It was everyone’s day off because there was no show on Mondays—although sometimes he, the other designers and whoever was directing the next show would take advantage of the relative peace and quiet to get some work done. Since he had to rework his designs to accommodate the changes Vince wanted, he decided to spend the morning there and take the rest of the day for himself to do chores before he was supposed to meet Kirby.

After showering and dressing, he stopped long enough in his small kitchen to brew some coffee, which he poured into a large travel mug, and make some cinnamon toast. He ate it while he made certain he had what he needed to take with him, because he planned on grocery shopping on his way home.

The morning passed quickly. When Vince showed up around eleven, Dean showed him his revisions. The new director was enthusiastic, made two small suggestions which Dean incorporated, and that was that.

Once he’d stored the designs in his drawing table, and checked his supply of fabrics to see what he’d need to purchase, Dean was ready to call it a day. He got into his car, tossed his bag on the passenger seat and then leaned back to stare out the windshield at the gathering storm clouds.

Not raining on my parade He chuckled. Just hold off ‘til I get home and I’ll be happy.

Perfect timing, he thought an hour later when he carried the last of the bags into the foyer of his apartment building—just as the skies opened up. He got everything upstairs, deposited the grocery sacks on the kitchen counter and the mail on the small dining room table, before going to the bedroom to kick off his shoes and change into a pair of old, comfortable jeans.

He put the food away, started a fresh pot of coffee and went to check his mail. Three advertisements went onto the pile of paper to go into the recycling bin; two bills were tossed onto the desk in one corner of the room. That left one medium-sized envelope with no return address and, he suddenly realized, no stamp either.

How the hell did this get into my mailbox, he wondered as he opened it. All it contained were three pictures. Photos obviously taken the previous evening when he was with Kirby. One showed the two of them at the restaurant table. The second had been shot at the moment Kirby had leaned close to whisper to him. The angle gave it a curious sense of intimacy, as if at any second Kirby would take the next step and kiss him. The third showed Kirby standing with his hands on Dean’s shoulders. Again it looked like an intimate moment between two men who cared for each other.

Dean sat down hard on a chair, staring at them, his hands trembling as he picked one up to look at it again. He dropped it, grabbing the envelope to see if there was some message, a note or something, still inside. Nothing.

“Jones,” he growled, suddenly more angry than scared. He pulled his cell out, punched in Kirby’s private number, and waited for him to answer.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Colors of Hate - 37

“Damn it, Dean, please relax. I won’t let anything happen to you.”

“How could you stop a gun shot?”

Kirby stepped in front of him, facing him. “You said yourself the CVA doesn’t kill, or at least I suspect not outright. No one is going to take potshots at you.” He took a quick look around, saw they were in the shadows between the streetlights, and put his hands on Dean’s shoulders, not releasing his grip when Dean tried to move back. “I like you, as a friend and possibly more, if we give it a chance. I’m not going to force it. If it happens, it happens. In the meantime, stop acting as if I’m trying to attack you any time I happen to touch you, or get too close to you.”

Dean stared at him. “But what if he sees us? You know what will happen.”

“No I don’t know, and neither do you when it comes right down to it.” Kirby dropped his hands. “For all you know, you’ll get a nasty letter from your father disowning you, maybe including a threat if you dare reveal to anyone you’re his son.” He started walking. “I gather no one you know is aware of that fact.”

“No,” Dean told him, keeping pace. “And believe me, I have just as much of an interest in keeping it a secret as he will, once he finds out.”

“Which he probably will if it’s the reason Jones is here, but you have to stop worrying. You’re just going to drive yourself crazy.” They crossed the street and headed back the way they’d come before Kirby said, with a slight chuckle, “We’re not going to start walking down the street holding hands, or kissing under a streetlight. That’s definitely not my thing.”

Dean smiled. “Mine neither.”

“No shit. And in the cause of being open and honest with one another, there’s a reason I don’t flaunt my sexuality in public. Just because I’m out does not mean I want to become the ‘Gay Cop’ poster boy, which could happen. It might not be fair, but it’s the way I am.”

“With your looks you’d make a great poster boy. I can see them now, stuck on every lamppost in the city, slathered across the fronts of vacant buildings. Hmm. Maybe even a calendar.” Dean grinned.

“You’re a nut, you know that?” Kirby told him, grinning back.

“No,” Dean replied. “In all seriousness I’m beginning to relax, just the way you wanted.”

“If it takes making fun of me to get you to do it, I’ll accept it.”  

“It takes…being with you.”

“Then we’ll have to make certain it happens more often, won’t we?”

“I can live with that.” The corner of Dean’s lip quirked up in a half smile. “But for now, right turn then half a block down and we’ll be at my car.”

When they got to it, Dean opened the door before looking across the roof at Kirby. “I had fun tonight. Thank you.”

“You’re welcome. Would you consider trying it again, or maybe a movie, or… something?”

Without a beat of hesitation Dean said, “When?”

“Tomorrow night? There’s a good movie at the Paramount.”


“Six-thirty. It starts at seven.”

“Deal. I’ll meet you there.”

Kirby almost suggested he could pick Dean up, before realizing he wouldn’t let it happen. “That works. See you then.”

“You will.” Dean got into the car, turned the key in the ignition, and pulled out into the late night traffic. As he looked back at Kirby in the rear view mirror, he saw him give a small wave. He waved back. Then he continued on his way home, a happy smile on his face.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Colors of Hate - 36

By the time they left the restaurant it was dark, the sidewalks only half-full of people on their way to or from somewhere. Dean glanced around, quickly scanning the passers-by, a fact Kirby didn’t miss. “My car’s that way,” Dean told him with a nod of his head in the right direction.

“I’ll walk with you.”

“Kirby, I’m quite capable of going on my own.”

“You said I needed to walk, we’re walking. In fact,” Kirby turned in the opposite direction, “we’re taking the long way there.”

A flash of panic filled Dean’s eyes. “I…”

“Dean,” Kirby said quietly, “it’s perfectly safe. If he is here, he’s not going to do anything while I’m with you. I am a cop, and if he’s been watching you he knows that.”

“How did you..?”

“Because I’m good at reading people, especially those I’m interested in. The minute we left the restaurant you wound up tighter than a clock spring. Relax. It’s a nice evening, we had a good meal, let’s just enjoy it a bit more before we head home.”

Dean took a deep breath. “All right, I can do that.”

“Good.” Kirby resisted patting his shoulder. He knew without a shadow of a doubt Dean would, at best, flinch away, and at worst immediately turn around to go to his car. “So,” he said, smiling, “how about those Cardinals?”

“Cardinals?” Dean looked around. “I don’t think birds come out at night, well except owls.”

“Not a baseball fan I take it.”

Dean grinned. “I knew what you were talking about. I’m not a big one but I do know they’re a team. So are…” he rattled off the names of a few others. With a laugh, Kirby pointed out that the Seahawks were a football team. “I knew that,” Dean replied. “I was just testing you.”

“Uh huh, sure you were.”

“I was.”

By then they’d reached the corner. “How about we go up a block or two,” Kirby said.

Again, Dean glanced around.

“I told you, you’re safe. Come on.”

“Two blocks, then we go back. And no more baseball talk, okay? Or football, or hockey or any other sport.”

“You don’t like sports?”

Dean grinned. “Is auto racing considered a sport?”

“You are so kidding me. You like that?”

“Honest truth, yes and no. It’s good background noise when I’m working, and some of the crashes are spectacular.”

“You, my man, have a warped sense of… something or another. Why not music instead?”

“I tend to sing along and loose track of what I’m doing.”

“Don’t tell me you like musicals. How cliché.”

Dean nodded then laughed in agreement. “It is, but I do none the less.”

Kirby leaned in to whisper, as if it was the deepest, darkest secret in the world, “I do too sometimes, but if you breathe a word of it to anyone…”

Dean stiffened at Kirby’s closeness, the touch of soft breath against his ear sending a thrill through him. But if anyone saw He pulled away quickly.