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I tossed the towel up over the shower door once my hair was fairly dry. It was raining outside, as it did so often here in the City, so I wasn’t too concerned with the damp. My hat would keep my head warm, anyway.
Looking down at the bed kept a smile on my face as I dressed. Looking at my face you wouldn’t think I smiled all that much. It was a face more accustomed to growling or frowning. After decades of being a City cop, the frown seemed etched into my soul like a brand on my bones. I’d seen things… and done things… which made me wonder if I would ever smile again.
Andy always made me smile. Just looking at his sweet face and his perfect body made me feel like a kid getting his first look at a Christmas tree piled with presents. Andy was all that was good and right and loving in my world.
Of course for the uninitiated, a look at the bed where he lay face down might look a bit like a crime scene or the aftermath of some violence. The sheets were rumpled and pulled all out of place. The comforter and half of the pillows were strewn across the floor around the bed. My young beautiful partner lay face down, arms and legs askew in the position I had left him in when I went to shower. The only sign of life would be if you got close enough to hear the soft snores leaking from his nose. Five small bruises were forming on his right shoulder where I had gripped him a bit too tightly in passion and there was a red mark on the back of his neck where I had bitten him.
Normally our life and our lovemaking was gentle and sweet. But on certain occasions Andy really got excited when I was a little more rough with him. Holding him down and taking him hard and fast sometimes sent my lover right over the edge, making him cry out and come again and again and again.
As it had this evening. Were it not for work, I’d be curled up next to him napping with a satisfied smile on my lips. But instead I will leave him in our bed, sweaty and bruised and happily asleep with the sticky residue of my come spattered on those perfectly edible little ass cheeks of his. Some of it was even leaking down over his balls to join the puddle of his own happiness beneath that wonderful cock trapped under his body.
If my mind had been on the linens, I would have awoken him to shower and clean up the mess. But I knew my lover and his ways. He’d be awake in fifteen minutes with his batteries recharged and a happy smile. He’d strip the bed and take a shower and start a load of wash then patter into the kitchen to leave me a midnight snack for when I came home again.
Living with Andy I always came home hungry for one thing or another.
But alas… work calls. And out into the night I go.
“I am sorry, but we don’t handle divorce cases.” Somewhat reluctantly, I slid the envelope of pictures along with a sizable check back across the desk. The client raised an eyebrow at me incredulously, as if he wasn’t used to being denied. Being told “No” stunned him a little bit.
I swear, the rich are getting so spoiled these days…
“I don’t think you understand. I am offering you quite a bit of money here.” Leaning back and listening to my antique wooden chair creak in protest, I steepled my fingers over my belly and sighed.
“I understand it is quite a bit of money, Mr Vanport. Enough to keep me in trench coats for a year. Maybe two. But the simple fact of the matter is we do not handle divorce cases. You can take it over to Schiller and Brio down the street. They will peep through all they keyholes you need. No thank you.”
“But… but… you come highly recommended! I.. I assure you…” He was beginning to sputter.
I hated it when they sputtered.
“Schiller and Brio come highly recommended too. By me. No thank you, Mister Vanport.”
“Well!” He huffed as he swept up his dirty laundry and stuffed it back in the pocket of a coat that cost the best part of a grand. “I never!”
“Maybe you should sometime.” I muttered under my breath as he stomped out of the door in a snit. “Might do you some good.”
“And don’t you make that face at me, Andrew Jones.” I raised my voice once the door was firmly shut. “That guy was a stiff. One good orgasm would probably shatter his spine. I didn’t like him, his pointy nose or his money and we are better off without customers like that.” Andy held up his hands in defeat as he peered at me around his computer screen.
He just didn’t understand that not every person who came in the door was a patient for him to heal. Some were just annoyances who needed to be thrown out.
“All right, Alex. All right. Don’t get your blood pressure up.”
Oooo… He was playing the age card. Which he well knew would get me riled. As much as I was deeply madly in love with Andy, sometimes it bothered me a little being more than a decade older than him. He was well past the legal age of course, but I often felt as if I were robbing the cradle. Andy was young and pretty and looked at least ten years gaziantep escort younger than his age. He kept himself in excellent physical shape and looked yummy no matter what.
Me, I looked so much like a retired detective it didn’t matter what I was wearing. There was something about my demeanor that said “Cop” so loudly it was as if I had a giant neon badge floating over my head. As a matter of fact if it hadn’t been for a certain drunken teenager who t-boned my car and the weeks of surgery and rehabilitation I’d still be a detective with the City police, instead of medically retired for disability. I now had more metal in my body than most cars nowadays.
But then if it weren’t for a certain drunken teenager I wouldn’t have ended up in Andy’s physical therapy room in the hospital. I wouldn’t have fallen in love with him, gotten better and opened a private detective agency, working side by side with the love of my life.
I may have to look that kid up and thank him some day.
“I was just trying to find you a case, Alex. When you have something to work on you are so less… grumpy.” He lowered his voice just a little. “And while I do love my rough, tough, grumpy, studmuffin bear with all of my heart, I love you even more when you are busy and happy.”
Just like that my mood lightened and a smile crept across my lips. One that even went all the way up to my eyes. Only my greatest love could make me smile like that. He well knew the effect his silly adjectives had on my heart. And on other parts of my body as well. Even though I couldn’t see his body past his desk and all of the associated computer equipment, I knew every curve and inch of that sweet sweet little form intimately. Just the thought of Andrew Jones made me drool.
I was just about to suggest we retire up to our apartment for an early lunch and perhaps a long creative nap when the door to the outer office opened. I almost snarled at the awful timing. But the look on the young man’s face slipped past my frustration. He looked so upset and worried, as if he might burst into tears at any moment.
Besides, he was kind of cute. Although nothing in this world could ever convince me to look anywhere but to my sweet Andy for love, there was nothing which said I couldn’t look. We both often played the “I’d do him” game when we were out together. I think we would have agreed on this one.
The look on Andy’s face confirmed my hypothesis.
The man was young… maybe early 20’s at best. Long-ish blond hair tied back in a ponytail hanging down his back. From the smooth look of his face I’d wager he had never needed to shave a day in his life so far. I almost envied that. I had to shave twice a day just to keep the 5 o’clock shadow down to a dull roar. Bright blue eyes behind little gold framed glasses and soft lips. He wore loose blue jeans with a white dress shirt tucked in the waistband and a black blazer two sizes too big for him over the shirt. And of course the backpack slung over one shoulder which seemed to be the prerequisite accessory for all of the younger crowd here in the City. Resale shop chic.
At first glance, my impressions said “college student.” His hands were soft looking and not calloused. No dirt or paint under the fingernails. His brown suede shoes weren’t scuffed and his clothes were rumpled but clean. It was obvious whatever he did it wasn’t manual labor. The young man’s clothes were all a bit too big and baggy for him so it was difficult to see how he was built under there but from what I could see he was fairly fit and within ten pounds of his ideal body weight.
Okay, so I’m not Sherlock Holmes.
If it hadn’t been for the woebegone expression on his face he would have at least been a diverting bit of eye candy which Andy and I would have shared secret glances over.
“Umm… excuse me, I… need some help, please.” Andy was out of his chair in a flash, helping the young man to a seat in front of my desk. My lover was a sucker for someone in distress. Even though he only worked three days a week at the hospital now, he still treated potential clients like his patients. His heart was a mile wide and I loved every inch of it.
“Come in. Come in. Sit down. Of course we can help you. Coffee?” Andy went to his side of the office and poured three cups, setting one down in front of the client and one in front of me before sitting back down behind his computer screens. The young man looked back and forth between us, a little lost in the décor.
I didn’t blame his confusion. Our office was a little bit time warpy. My side was done in dark wood and brass. A huge old desk with a green blotter and a cup full of number two pencils. A brass desk lamp with a green glass shade. Oak bookshelves stuffed with books lined the wall. In the corner was a wooden coat rack which held a trench coat, fedora and a shoulder holster with my trusty .45 1911 with extra clips. Next to it on top of the book shelf was an antique oscillating fan rattling softly.
My side looked like you had just stepped back into the late 1940’s. Sam Spade or Phillip Marlowe would have been right at home, even down to the bottle of scotch in the bottom drawer of the desk.
In contrast Andy’s side of the office was all chrome and white formica and computer equipment. He had an impressive array of tech available at his fingertips. Two screens faced him so he could multitask with another so he could swivel it out and show the client things without them invading his space. A small refrigerator with a glass front full of sports drinks and herbal teas and a programmable coffee pot which demanded a degree in astrophysics before it would surrender even a single cup of plain old black coffee.
The impression most people got was they had just slipped back in time and Andy had brought them there. It was often amusing just watching their faces. Partly because they could never decide where to look, exactly.
I settled that dilemma for the moment by setting my cup down noisily, catching his attention. Startled, he looked across the expanse of my desk at me. His backpack began sliding off of his shoulder and he caught the strap and set it on the floor between his feet.
“What seems to be the problem?” Just thinking about voicing his problem to complete strangers seemed to bring a hint of color to his cheeks.
“Well… ummm… It’s… It’s my sister, you see. I think she might be in some trouble.”
“What sort of trouble?”
“Well.. she’s fallen in with a sort of… strange crowd. A month ago out of the blue she came home and told me she was engaged and I never even knew she was dating anyone. Some guy named Kelvin. Kelvin Mathers. I’d never even heard his name before and now she’s talking about marriage!” From behind Andy’s desk I could hear the soft sounds of his fingers tapping the keyboard.
“They… She… I mean we…”
“Take a deep breath.” He stammered to a halt and breathed.
“Start from the beginning.”
“Yes, of course. My sister and I live together out in the Lair Hill area. Our parents left us the house when they were killed in Paris on vacation. A stupid traffic accident five years ago. Between the inheritance and the insurance they left us pretty well off so we both went to college and just continued on with our lives. April… My sister… got a scholarship to the City School of Music and she’s been going there for the last four years. She plays piano, you see. And… until just recently, that was all she seemed to do or care about. Her music.”
“Do go on.” A nod from Andy got my attention and I leaned back a little in my chair. Hidden from view of the clients was a small computer screen attached to the front of my top drawer where my partner could give me information without the client’s knowledge.
Hmmm… Kelvin Mathers. 40. Divorced. Assistant manager of a small hardware import company over by Chinatown. Been there ten years. No criminal record other than a few parking tickets. I knew Andy would keep digging.
“For the past few years our house has always been full of April’s music. If she was home, she was playing. I got so I could tell her mood inside of a few notes. But for the past month or so…” He sighed and spread his hands. “The house has been quiet. She hasn’t played a note in weeks. Her teacher called me, concerned because she has been skipping classes and recitals. April won’t talk to me. She sleeps all of the time when she’s home and she always walks like she is in pain or something. I think he might be beating her…” He took a deep breath with a catch, as if he was fighting back tears.
“What is your sisters full name?”
“April Gentles. April Marie Gentles.” I could hear fingers softly tapping again.
“Derrick. Derrick Kenneth Gentles.” I fished a card from my top desk drawer, sliding it and a pen over towards the distraught young man.
“I’ll need you to fill this out for our files, Mister Gentles. My partner and I will see what we can do. Of course, there’s no guarantees. It might be nothing. Your sister might just be tired of playing the piano and looking for other amusements. Maybe she’s joined a gym or learning karate or something. And she might be genuinely in love with this Mathers character. But we will see what we can find out and hopefully ease your mind.”
“But I do have to advise you we don’t work cheap. If you want our best, it is going to cost you some money.”
Bent over the desk scribbling, he shook his head.
“I’m not worried about that. I have seventeen million dollars in the bank. MY IPO went public last year in a big way. If it takes every cent of it to get her out of trouble, I won’t mind a bit.”
Andy and I shared a startled look while he was writing.
All righty then.
Derrick pushed the card towards me then reached in his pocket for a checkbook. Scribbling in that he asked “Will ten thousand be enough for a retainer?” I just blinked a couple of times. It was twice what that pointy nosed fool had offered before I tossed him out just twenty minutes ago.
“More than enough, Mister Gentles. More than enough. We’ll start tonight.”
I inhaled the steam from the water, a deep breath which seemed to go all the way down to my toes. It always seemed to blow the cobwebs out of my brain and helped me think.
Back when I was with the City police force, I’d always go to the “Y” and use their steam room when I was working a case. Now with Andrew as my partner I found a much better place to relax and think.
The tub was wide and deep and long. Big enough I could submerge myself all the way to the tip of my nose if I wished. Tubs this size were hard to find these days. On the side of the tub was a spray bottle full of some essential oil mix Andy had come up with. Menthol and eucalyptus and camphor, I think. Spraying that around gave the steam some teeth, like it was scrubbing you clean from the inside out.
Of course the biggest boost to my thought processes was the warm wet naked body of my partner and lover leaning up against my chest while I reclined against the back of the tub. Being around Andy always made my mind go a mile a minute and being around him naked made it go even faster. He lay with his head against my chest, hands resting on my upraised knees. My hands were on his broad shoulders, fingers idly massaging the muscles there. If Andy was within arms reach, I always wanted to be touching him. I couldn’t get enough of him or that exquisite body.
We’d spend the rest of the day and a good part of the evening earning the client’s money. Andy had done a complete internet search on all of the parties involved while I had gone out and done most of the legwork. Mr. Gentles had allowed me to do a quick search of his sisters room while she was away. He’d been a little reluctant at first.
“Is that really necessary? I mean… It’s her room. I haven’t been in there myself in ages…” I just stood and looked at him for a moment.
“You’ve already hired private detectives, Mr. Gentles. Now is not the time to be worrying about invading her privacy. I promise I will be discreet. She will never know I have been here. What I need you to do is make sure she doesn’t come home unexpectedly and find me in there. If she does, makes some noise and stall her for a moment or two.” As I closed the door in his face I added “I’m counting on you.”
Once the door was shut my detective senses kick in to overdrive. First, an overall view. Inhaling deep through my nose told me there wasn’t a decomposing body in here, nor was there much in the way of trash. Whoever this girl was, she smelled pretty good. Or her room did, anyway. A pleasant fresh clean scent.
Even if I did prefer the company of men, I still liked the way girls smelled. Off and on, there had been a fair share of them in my life.
I could see the changes in her behavior. The way things were kept showed me that while her room was a bit untidy her old habits kept trying to reassert themselves. Anything out of place was close to where it should have been. Dirty clothes on the floor were dropped near the hamper. Her bed was rumpled, but pulled up. A half empty glass on the nightstand was still sitting on a coaster. The hangers in the closet were spaced evenly. Even the empty ones.
She’d obviously once been tidy and fastidious but now that was slipping a little bit. I’d seen the rooms of twenty year old girls much worse than this one.
Clothes and shoes in the closet. The boxes on the shelves showed enough dust to say they hadn’t been moved in a while. Empty suitcases under the bed. Nothing more than clothes in the dresser. Not even anything particularly sexy in there.
Birth control pills, a vibrator and a small baggie of weed in her nightstand. Not really surprising. A well-read paperback. Some fluff bondage romance novel, like so many of the ones popular right now. She’d either gotten this one used or read it several times. There weren’t any ropes or scarves or handcuffs. No marks on the bed frame to show she’d been tied up. So maybe it was just a favorite secret fantasy.
No condoms. No men’s clothes or other items. No personal letters, memento’s, romantic jewelry or love notes. Only one hairbrush and toothbrush in the bathroom. Only one towel on the rack. Not a single sign anyone besides April had ever been in here. If she was having a thing with this Kelvin Mathers, she wasn’t doing it here.
Despite my short synopsis, this actually took me well over an hour. Searching a room is not as quick a process as they show on teevee. People are always startled by how long it actually takes, especially if you are trying to be careful and not leave a trace.
It’s an art.
Art or not despite my best efforts, it produced nothing in the way of information. I stood in the middle of the room, a little disgusted. One last scan around to see if I had missed anything.
Thick curtains had covered most of the sliding door leading out to the patio. They were slightly parted, maybe a foot or two, letting in just enough light to see. What I hadn’t noticed from the angle as I went by was the little bulge at the back corner.
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