Morning was a major disappointment. When I woke David was already gone. I showered, realized I had forgotten to bring a razor and rubbed at my sandpaper rough face. I have a slow beard, but after two days even I'm showing.
I looked positively scruffy.
I slipped into my clothes and was just lacing up my boots when I heard the key in the door. David opened to let a blast of sunshine and early morning heat into the room. He quickly shut the door and relocked it, then held up a take out bag full of what smelled like donuts and coffee.
"Breakfast of champions, cop style." He set the bag down on the bedside table and sat beside me on the bed.
I grabbed a donut and shoved it in my mouth.
Leaning forward he gave me a quick sugary kiss on the mouth. He frowned. "Didn't anyone ever tell you Miami Vice is dead? People shave nowadays."
"Very cute." I shoveled another donut in my mouth. I hadn't realized I was so hungry until I smelled the food. "But unless you pack a razor along with that gun forget it."
He leisurely culled through the donuts and picked out a Boston creme. Then he moved the bag out of reach. "You'll get fat if you keep that up. Then I'll divorce you. Drink your coffee."
"Protect and serve, remember?"
"Do you really think I look like Crockett? He was sexy."
"Sexy as a man," David said, taking another donut. "But lousy as a cop. TV bullshit." He brushed crumbs off his pant legs. "I called Foothills. They should be sending a unit out here in the next hour. I suggest you use the time to call your boss. Use your cell, I'm going to be tying up the land line."
It wasn't high on my list of things to do, but I knew he was right. I needed to call Petey. I checked the time. Eight ten. No doubt he'd be in the office now thinking up new things to fret about. Might as well add to his list.
He answered on the fourth ring.
"Where the hell have you been, Chris? Things are falling apart here and you're gallivanting off on some wild goose chase."
"I'm not chasing geese, Petey, I'm running from them." I told him in the briefest words possible what was happening. I left out all the details about Detective David. That Petey didn't need to know.
"Christ. So what does that mean, that you're going to be on the lam until this guy get caught?"
"I'm not on the lam, Petey. That's the bad guy - oh, never mind. I should be able to make it in - what's today - oh shit, it's Thursday already. Monday then. I swear I will be in the office on Monday. Take this out of my vacation time. You know I haven't use any in two years. I got plenty coming."
"Fine. Take your holidays now. But you better be in here Monday prepared to do a full days work or we'll be talking, Mr. Bellamere."
The phone went dead in my hand. I closed it and put it away.
"Problems?" David asked, the motel phone cradled between his cheek and his shoulder, his thick fingers poised over the buttons.
"Just the usual."
"Yeah, him. Asshole. Looks like you're not the only one taking time off."
"He fired you?" David looked outraged. "The bastard."
"Nah, he can't afford to fire me and he knows it. He'd never get another systems analyst with my credentials and experience. Guy's got too much of a reputation in the industry. Everyone knows he's a jerk. He may pay well but he's still a jerk. My being gay is just icing on the cake for him."
"Why put up with him. Surely there are other companies?"
"Yeah, but they might not put up with my idiosyncrasies."
"Geez, you have those too?"
We both heard the car pull into the slot out front and we looked at each other.
"Here we go again," David muttered.
I was getting as used to this routine as David was. The two cops entered. A tall heavy set black guy named Parsons and a slender bald Hispanic who introduced himself as Hernandez.
The three cops flashed their shields at each other then they turned to me. I smiled weakly.
While David pulled Steve Williams mug shots and gave a brief run down on the case against Clarence William to Parsons I answered Hernandez's questions about my activities the night before.
"And you're sure this guy was following you?"
I shrugged. "He shows up in two bars I'm in, right after I get there. He's Birdy Williams' brother and someone trashed my truck."
"Someone trashed your truck?" Hernandez frowned, looked at his notes. "I don't have any mention of that."
"It happened at my place. In West L.A."
"And you think that's linked to the Williams brothers?"
"I don't." I bristled. "Detective Laine does."
"So you don't think he's involved?"
"I didn't mean that. I trust Detective Laine's judgement. He thinks there's a link, I think there's a link."
"Good." Hernandez snapped his notebook shut. "I need to confer with my partner and Detective Laine."
"Maybe I'll go find a coffee shop," I muttered.
David looked up and met my gaze. "There's one down the street. Stay there, I'll meet up with you later to let you know what progress has been made."
I nodded absently and left the room. I could see the coffee shop from here so I decided to walk. It was a beautiful California day. Heat played off the pavement and parked cars, blurring into movement like shimmering water. It was hard to focus my eyes in the eternal glare. I wish I had David's sunglasses.
I didn't notice the dark green car as it pulled up beside me on the quiet street. La Canada wasn't exactly a hopping place. Suddenly the car swerved and its front bumper dipped and stopped inches from my kneecaps.
I looked up angrily just as the front door flew open and I saw Steve Williams level his gun at me.
"Get in the car, asshole, or you're dead right here."
Numb with terror I half fell half stumbled into the front seat. The barrel of the gun nudged my ribs. "Shut the door, that's a good faggot."
The sound of the door shutting had a cold finality to it. I knew I was a dead man.
Oh God, David. I'm sorry.
[More to come]
If you like this story so far, let me know at Patrick's email I'm always happy to hear comments, suggestions, anything.