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- V -

The ring of the doorbell successfully ended my trip down the memory lane which was a good thing because all those memories made my hands shake. They also turned me on to the point that I would probably look obscene if not for my long shirt. I glanced at the clock and marveled at the Domino’s efficiency. They managed to get my order here in less than half an hour? Good God!

I swung the door open without bothering looking into the peephole. And then I just stood there, blinking like someone who is suffering from neurasthenia. It wasn’t a Domino’s guy after all. It was some woman. She looked like she was in her early thirties, her dark hair short and spiky, minimum makeup on her face. She was shaking rain water off her umbrella. She gave me a very quick professional smile.

“Connor Blake?” she asked.

“Who wants to know?” I asked carefully, trying to figure out who the hell she was.

Her hand dove into her pocket and I cursed silently in my head. Son of a bitch, she is a cop!

“My name is Dinah Waters”, she said and pulled out her I.D. “I am with the Private Investigation Department…”

I made sure that a huge wave of relief didn’t reflect on my face. A private dick, not a cop. Thank God…

“Can I ask you a couple of questions?”

“What is this about?” I asked and stepped outside, pulling the door closed behind me.

“May I come in?” she asked with the same professional smile.

“It’s not a good time, I am afraid”, I said with regret.

Her smile faltered just a notch.

“Still feeling under the weather, huh?” she asked sympathetically and I gritted my teeth.

She went to my work place.

“Yes”, I said tightly.

“I am sorry”, she said as sympathetically as several seconds ago but her eyes weren’t sympathetic at all. They were calculating. “I won’t take much of your time…”

“What is this about?” I interrupted her and leaned on the wall, my arms folded in my chest.

“You are not getting inside, sweetheart”, I thought gloomily. “Nobody does unless they have an order signed by the freaking judge.”

“Do you know a person named Dylan Mort?” she asked as if not noticing my hostility.

I almost snorted at that. I knew that she was perfectly aware of the fact that Dylan and I went to the same school.

“Yes”, I nodded calmly. “We went to high school together.”

“Was he your friend?”

“Yes”, I nodded again. “Why?”

“Have you seen him recently?” she completely ignored my question.

“Not to my recollection”, I cocked my head to the right. “Why?”

“When was the last time you saw him?” she flashed another smile at me.

“Eight years ago”, I said calmly. “Once again I am going to ask why?”

“A client of ours is looking for him”, she said indifferently. “I can’t get into the details, I am sorry.”

Bullshit, I thought. Mickey wasn’t stupid or suicidal enough to tell the whole story to the cops but he was smart enough to hire a private investigator.

“Sorry you had to waste your time”, I said calmly. “I haven’t seen Dylan for eight years.”

She was absent mindedly tapping her wet umbrella on the floor when the elevator doors slid open and Domino’s guy got out. Crap, I thought.

“Your pizza, sir”, he said and popped his gum.

Dinah - or whatever her name was - looked at the boxes in his hands with curiosity.

“You like pizza”, she said.

“Love it”, I nodded and took the boxes. I shoved a fifty into guy’s hand. “Keep the change”, I said and he smiled and popped his gum again.

“That’s a lot of pizza”, Dinah smiled.

I shrugged.

“When I am sick, I eat a lot”, I said. “Now if you excuse me, I need to…”

“Yeah”, she nodded. “Sure… I hope you are feeling better…”

“Good night”, I said and stared at her.

I am not opening the door while she is still standing here. We stared at each other for a full minute. Then she blinked, shook her umbrella once again, and turned towards the elevator. She pushed the button and I waited for her to get in. She glanced at me sideways and gave me a smile that said “I know that you are lying, buddy”. I could care less right now. There was nothing she could do and she knew that. Finally the elevator door slowly slid open and she stepped inside the cabin. I waited until it started to move down and only after that I went back inside my apartment.

Dylan was smoking by the open window. I slammed the boxes on the table, grabbed him by the collar and pulled him away from the damn window. Just in time too because the minute I pulled him away, there was Dinah emerging from my building. Just as I predicted, she looked up and when she saw me, she smiled and gave me a small wave before popping her umbrella open. I watched her get into the dark Ford and drive away.

“What was that?” Dylan asked behind me.

“A private dick is looking for you”, I said. “At my place nevertheless. Wonder why…”

He shrugged, stabbed his cigarette in the sink and opened one of the pizza boxes.

“They probably did their homework”, he said indifferently. “Doesn’t surprise me.”

“Nothing surprises you”, I muttered, watching him attack a slice of pizza with small vicious bites.

“Mm-mm”, he swallowed whatever he had in his mouth. “You surprise me. You are the only one though.”

I sighed and grabbed a slice of pizza for myself. I sat on the windowsill and looked outside into the rain. It was pretty dark by now and the rain drops seemed to be made out of glass when they slammed against my window. Slam and break into nothing. Slam… Break… Slam… Break…

I was chewing on my pizza absent mindedly, my mind wondering again. The raindrops mesmerized me. I started thinking about that first morning after when I woke up because of someone’s terrified gasp…


…I opened my eyes and froze when I saw the gorgeous face of Kay Laurie. She stared at me with such dark helpless hatred that I almost choked on my own saliva. She looked like she wanted to rip me into shreds right there, on the spot.

“Errr…” I said weakly and she didn’t even blink.

“Dylan!” she called sharply, her voice sounded like she was about to lose it any second. “Dylan!!”

He shifted next to me and opened his eyes slowly. He turned his head, looked at her, and gave her a lazy smile.

“Hey, Kay…” he muttered and wrapped his arm around my waist.

Is he nuts, I thought in panicked amusement. She looks like she is going to kill me and he decided to cuddle in front of her?! To my farther confusion, Kay’s eyes lost some of the hatred and she finally blinked.

“You okay?” she asked uncertainly and he smiled again and closed his eyes.

“Never been better”, he muttered.

She blinked again, more rapidly now. Hatred was gone and now she looked like she was going to start crying. Okay, what the hell?

“I just wanted to let you know that I am back”, she said quietly. “I’m gonna go take a shower and then I’m gonna take a nap…”

“Uh huh”, he muttered without opening his eyes, his hair spilling all over my chest.

She looked like she wanted to say something else but she didn’t. She just bit her lip, stepped out of the room, and closed the door. I took a very shaky breath.

“What was that?” I asked weakly.

Dylan opened one eye and looked at me.


“She looked like she was going to tear my throat out at first”, I said. “And then she looked like she wanted to start praying or something… What the hell?”

“Oh”, he hemmed and kissed my chest. “That’s because she probably thought you drugged me or something…”

“Drugged you…?” I repeated slowly. “Why on earth would I drug you?!”

“To get me into bed”, he snorted and I just stared at him.

“What… Why… What…?” I said finally.

He sighed and pulled away. He propped his head on his elbow, his fingers caught in his own hair.

“That’s what Roy used to do”, he said softly without looking away.

“Roy…” I repeated slowly. “Who the hell is Roy?”

“My stepfather”, he sighed and dropped on the pillow.

I rolled on my side and brushed his hair off his face carefully.

“He drugged you?” I asked finally.

“Not at first”, he said matter-of-factly. “I mean, you don’t need to waste good drugs on a nine year old, right? Especially on a skinny nine year old.”

He looked totally calm as if he was telling me that he was planning to have bagels for breakfast. For some reason that calmness got to me worse than if he was crying uncontrollably.

“He started the whole drugs ordeal when I turned fourteen”, he said after a minute. “By then I could kick his ass somewhat successfully so…” he shrugged.

Now I understood why he was so weird when it came to touching.

“When Kay got me, I would freak out every time someone would get near me”, he smiled as if reading my mind. “She seriously believed that I was damaged beyond any hope.”

He looked like he was about to say something else, a weird glint in his eyes telling me that there was more to the whole story. He looked like he wasn’t sure how I am going to react if he says anything. I solved that problem for him by kissing him slowly. He slid both of his arms onto my back and then his tongue started its quick attacking dance inside my mouth.

This morning was different from last night. Right now we weren’t in such a hurry and I took my sweet time exploring every single inch of his perfect skin. I was getting drunk on his scent, his taste, his sounds, movements - everything. Once again the same thought flashed in my head: “I’ll do anything for him…”

Then later in our moaning, groaning, gasping haze he muttered:

“Pull me up…”

I grabbed his arms and pulled him up easily. He wrapped himself around me, riding my hips. He adjusted himself slightly.

“Left…” he muttered. “Just a little to the left…”

I did what he said.

“There…” he said in a strained voice. “Oh God, right there…”

And then he was moaning so loudly that for a second I was afraid Kay would burst into the room just to make sure that I am not murdering him or something like that. She never did and then he kept repeating my name in short growling gasps. That was when I suddenly realized that I loved him. It wasn’t just an infatuation, it wasn’t just a sex craze, it wasn’t just some new and exciting experiment, no. I loved him, plain and simple. This realization, combined with him suddenly howling my name out one last time and tightening around me in an unbelievably strong grasp, made me see the stars. I never came so hard in my entire life. It was a full body experience. The kind that leaves you a complete vegetable for several minutes afterwards. Jesus Christ, I couldn’t even blink. I drew short gasps of air into my lungs just because it was something my body did on its own. If I had to participate in the whole breathing ordeal, I’d probably suffocated.

Dylan laid on top of me without moving. It seemed like he was as spent as me. I could feel his breath on my neck and it was as short and shallow as mine. We just laid there, tangle of the lifeless limbs, arrhythmic heartbeats, and gasps. His hair was all over my face and I loved the feeling of it. I didn’t even care that I got some of it in my mouth. Then I fell asleep, I didn’t even notice how. We didn’t wake up for the next four hours and this time nobody woke us up.
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