FAKE First Year Together: A New Day (May)
Rating: Lemon alert! Do not read this at work. It’s just a small, tender lemon. No lube required. But don't let it get you fired. Hey, that rhymed! I think my inner poet is trying to get out, and God help you all if it does.
Spoilers: To Volume 7
Timing: Set in May directly after Book 7 ended
Summary: Ryo is coming to terms with the changes in his relationship with Dee, as well as his new sexual identity. Meanwhile, Dee and Ryo are trying to find enough evidence to expose a crooked cop. This story explores homophobic attitudes but is primarily a love story between two men. Continues directly from Book 7 of the manga.
Disclaimer: I do not own FAKE or any of the characters created by Sanami Matoh (Tina Greenspan is my character, however). I am not making any money from this work of fanfiction, which is really very sad because I need money to buy a laptop. And cat food. But cat food will always come before laptops.
Author's notes: I had a lot of difficulty with this scene because it required knowledge of and familiarity with medical and pathological conditions and procedures. But I've got good betas. (Thanks Mtemplar for reining me in and preventing me from embarrassing myself too badly!) Just so everyone knows, if there are any inaccuracies in this chapter, they're all my fault because I didn't take all of the good advice I was offered.
A New Day
"You're gonna have to help me with my clothes, you know." Dee sat gingerly on the bed.
"I know." Ryo turned away from him for a moment to lock the door. Even though he had previously stated that he didn't think Bikky would be back for a while, he still shuddered at the memory of the time both Bikky AND JJ had burst in on them during that first test drive so long ago. "Didn't I help you in the shower earlier?" he added.
"Yeah you did. But not in the way I wanted." Dee smirked at Ryo, but his eyes were hungry as he watched his lover gracefully undress himself.
"Really, Dee! The kids were here. They would've heard us." Ryo had removed his shirt and now his hands were on the buttons of his fly. He suddenly became aware of Dee's gaze on him and he hesitated, slightly embarrassed. "MUST you stare at me like that?"
"Yeah, I must. 'Cause you're the hottest thing this side of the Mississipi. You could turn a straight man gay with that body."
Ryo colored, pleased in spite of himself. "You're the one who did that," he said shyly, and dropped his eyes from Dee's face as he lowered his jeans and briefs together.
"Fuck, I did, didn't I? I must be good." Dee rested his weight on one elbow as he watched his disrobing quarry from his vantage point on the bed, all the while making silent note of which body parts he would lick, kiss and leave little sucking marks on first. He added softly, but with a lazy grin, "Hey Ryo, am I good?"
"I can't answer that on the grounds that you're already conceited enough."
"Get over here and get me naked, right now." Dee's voice was a throaty growl.
"In a minute." Ryo smiled at him and carried his clothes to the chair in the corner.
When he returned to the bed, he stood just beyond Dee's reaching hands and looked at him with just a hint of determination in his manner. "Let's get a couple of things straight," he said.
Dee bit back the clever retort that had automatically appeared in his mind. Ryo seemed to want to take charge, which was a new thing in their sexual dealings, and he didn't want to do or say anything that might make his lover retreat into flustered passivity. Not yet, anyway. Ryo was actually standing in front of him naked without looking more than a little bit self-conscious, and that was definitely progress.
"What's on your mind, baby?" Dee was still trying to touch one of Ryo's lean, masculine hips.
"First of all, I've got some idea of how stiff and sore you are. I don't want you to exert yourself, even though it seems to be your natural instinct to grab and pounce, injured or not. You said I should take the lead tonight, and I think that's best."
"Okay," Dee said meekly, dropping his hand.
"Secondly, we're not going all the way because I refuse to run the risk of tearing your stitches, so if you had that in your mind, you can just forget about it for now. Maybe in a week, when your stitches come out, we can think about it."
"Yes Sir, but I hope that thinking about it is not the ONLY thing we're gonna do..."
"Dee, just let me take care of you, all right?"
Dee was touched. "But I wanna take care of you too," he said quietly.
"Maybe later in the week when you're not so banged up. We've got lots of time. Tonight, let's just take it easy, okay?"
"Okay. You're the boss." Dee appeared acquiescent, but Ryo suspected it was only temporary.
He stepped closer to the seated man and murmured, "Let's get you out of these clothes."
Dee could see the tenderness in his partner's dark eyes and he instinctively arched his body toward Ryo's hands. Whenever Ryo was close to him like this, touching him, it was all he could do to control himself. But Ryo was right. He wasn't physically able to do anything too energetic and he didn't think he should try. He commanded himself to relax and submit to whatever it was the other man had in mind.
When Ryo had divested Dee of his clothes and folded them neatly on the chair with his own, he picked up a bottle of body lotion and returned to where his partner was sitting. "Lie down," he instructed, pulling back the comforter and exposing the sheets.
"Lie down how?"
"Any way that's comfortable."
Dee lay down carefully on his back so that he would not be deprived of the sight of Ryo. Ryo came and knelt on the bed next to his upper body, on his un-injured side.
"What are you gonna do with that lotion, Sexy?" Dee asked in a softly teasing voice, and received a grin from Ryo.
"Nothing exciting, so don't get your hopes up. It's just a little massage, that's all."
"Which parts of me?"
"I plan to massage all the unbruised, un-concussed and un-shot parts of you," Ryo replied.
"Well, that'll take all of 60 seconds. Don't the injured parts get any love?"
"They get kisses." Ryo leaned down and kissed a bruise on Dee's ribs, left there by the skinhead he had fought the night before.
"Does my dick get massaged or kissed too?"
"I don't think it would be possible for me to forget about that part of you," Ryo remarked lightly, but without looking directly at Dee's face. He busied himself by pumping lotion onto his hand and then rubbing his palms together to warm it up.
Dee decided to push his luck further in the hopes of seeing another blush creep over his lover's features.
"Will anyone in this room be sucking cock tonight?"
Ryo hesitated, feeling his face grow warm. He always felt a little flutter of butterfly wings in his stomach whenever Dee talked dirty to him like this. But it was going to be hard for him to keep the upper hand if he allowed things to continue in that vein. He stole a glance at the other man's face and saw that his partner was grinning mischievously at him.
"I will be," Ryo replied in what he hoped was a firm voice. "Not you. Your job is to relax. Now stop talking, if that's even possible." He began massaging Dee's shoulders.
"Mmmmmm...Baby, you don't know how good that feels." Dee appeared to be ignoring Ryo's last order. "And I don't think you realize how good it feels for me when your cock is in my m--"
Ryo hastily stopped the flow of speech with a kiss, during which, Dee's tongue snaked into his mouth and reminded him of all the clever things he could do with it. After a few moments, he reluctantly pulled back, but to his dismay, Dee continued speaking, this time in a husky whisper.
"Your cock in my mouth..." He pulled Ryo's head down for another kiss-- "Your balls all tight and hot and heavy in my hand..."
"Hey," Ryo protested, feeling his control starting to slip away from him.
"Your cream spilling out all over my---"
"Dee! Stop that. I know what you're trying to do. Now cut it out, okay? I'm in charge, not you. What I say goes, at least tonight."
"Okay, sorry," said Dee, who looked anything but sorry. "As long as you understand that I'm gonna feel like a total failure as a lover and a man unless you find some Ryo-approved way for me to get you off tonight."
"All right. But later." Ryo inclined his head at Dee and resumed massaging his shoulders.
Dee chuckled and closed his eyes. "Got you hard," he said.
With an exaggerated sigh of contentment, Dee settled down to enjoy being stroked and massaged.
True to his word, Ryo applied loving ministrations to every part of Dee's body, right down to his toes. For the first time in weeks, Dee was able to relax completely. He found himself getting quite sleepy though, and he fought against it. He certainly didn't want to risk falling asleep before things had a chance to get really interesting.
Finally, when Ryo had massaged, moisturized and kissed every square inch of Dee's skin that he could reach without turning him over, he turned his attention to the semi-hard penis that was waiting for him. First he stroked it experimentally and felt it twitch under his hand. He added a bit of lotion and ran just his fingertips over its velvety surface, up and down, around and back up to the head. A little drop of precum appeared at its opening; he caught it up with his thumb and used it to create additional friction. For a few minutes, he explored Dee's rapidly engorging phallus, tracing the veins with his fingers, feeling the ridge of its helm, caressing the sensitive place on the underside of the head. Dee's penis was becoming as familiar to him as his own. It was maybe half an inch longer than his, with quite a pronounced head. Ryo's own member was slightly thicker in girth and had a more tapered crown. Despite the minor differences between their two penises, it had been clear to Ryo from the beginning that they certainly seemed to respond to the same types of stimulation. He caressed Dee's balls, gently fondling each one through his sack, eliciting a gasp and then a small groan from his lover. He felt a tentative sense of achievement that, even though he was a novice where gay sex was concerned, he was still succeeding in giving pleasure to the vastly more experienced man beneath him. Dee had refused to talk about it in terms of actual numbers, but Ryo knew that his lover had been with far more women than he had, and certainly, more men. He imagined that Dee had performed fellatio possibly hundreds of times; he really knew what he was doing and seemed to love every aspect of it, too. As for himself, Ryo couldn't say that he loved doing it, but the prospect of giving Dee pleasure in this way did hold a certain excitement. He just wished he could do it as well as Dee.
"What's going through your head, baby?" asked Dee, who actually had a pretty good idea of what his partner was thinking. Ryo probably didn't know it, but except for when he was in professional cop mode, nearly every feeling he had was written on his face.
"That thing you do with your throat... Why don't you gag or choke?"
"Experience, baby. I'm a cocksucker from way back. I had to learn and practice, just like everyone. It takes time to overcome the gag reflex."
"Did it take you a long time to learn?"
"It took me a couple of months," said Dee, grinning at Ryo. "But everyone's different. Why all the questions?"
"It...It feels so good. I want to make you feel that good."
"Are you sure? Because, let me say this, you don't have to. I love the way you do it. The status quo is just fine with me."
"Well it's not fine with me. I like to be good at things. And I hate it when you're better at something than I am!"
Dee burst out laughing, but stopped abruptly when he felt Ryo's hot, wet mouth envelop his shaft. Well, well, this was different. The last few times Ryo had done this, he had always warmed up by licking first, until he had worked up the courage to take it into his mouth. This time he had skipped the licking and just sucked it in, quite far, right away. Dee felt the head of his dick pressing for a moment against the entrance to Ryo's throat, which caused a little spasm there. When Ryo withdrew his head, there was a slight uncomfortable scraping of teeth and Dee did his best not to flinch. Ryo was aware of it, however, as he immediately lifted his head and murmured, "Sorry."
"No problem, babe. Just keep going."
Ryo's mouth was back on him, and this time he was using his tongue, and being very careful with his teeth. Over and over, he let Dee's penis bump against the back of his throat, until the inevitable gag reflex occurred. At that point, he pulled back, licking and sucking just the top two inches for a while until he was ready to go back down, whereupon it immediately happened again. Raising his head, he grimaced in frustration and looked up at Dee.
Dee's face was flushed with excitement, and his voice, when he spoke, rasped softly. "For fuck's sake, don't stop now," he said. "And that's enough deep-throat practice for today. Just... keep going with your mouth and tongue, the way you usually do." He moaned softly as Ryo took the head of his cock in his mouth again and swirled his tongue over it. "Use your hand too, if it helps," Dee added between gasps, and Ryo, taking that as a request, did so.
He continued in this way, even though the muscles of his neck and jaw began to ache quite painfully, until Dee's movements under him took on a certain urgency. His cock hardened and swelled even larger in Ryo's mouth. It was throbbing and Dee was frantically patting his shoulders, warning, "Ryo-- Ryo---"
Ryo ignored him and let it happen. Suddenly his mouth was filling with Dee's hot, salty ejaculate. He managed to swallow and breathe between jets without choking. There was a lot, but he somehow got it all down. He held Dee in his mouth gently until all the contractions had subsided, moving his lips and tongue slowly up and down the shaft, until he felt Dee was quite finished. He did that because it was his own preference when receiving this kind of pleasure. He had had a girlfriend in college whom he suspected did not really like doing it, as she had always jerked her head off him the minute she felt he had finished his orgasm, and then spat delicately into a tissue. He was determined not to do anything like that with Dee.
When he finished, he sat up and, wiping his mouth with a trembling hand, looked at Dee with a triumphant expression. Dee was grinning at him, but the grin lacked its usual brash edginess, and Ryo thought he understood why. He had noticed that whenever Dee had an orgasm, he was temporarily emotional and vulnerable, incapable of hiding his true feelings behind a mask of bravado and wit.
"My Dee," he whispered, letting all the love he felt for his partner show in his face. "My lover." He observed the way Dee's breath caught and his adam's apple moved up his throat and then back down.
"Ryo!" the other man cried out and reached out an arm to him. Ryo carefully slid up Dee's body and found himself in the circle of Dee's right arm, being crushed to a hard, lean chest, while another hand came up and caressed his hair.
"Dee...Be careful, you've got bruises here!" Ryo admonished, genuinely worried.
"Don't ever cut me loose, baby. I know I'm a pain in the neck, but don't ever leave me, please..."
Ryo hugged him carefully and kissed his chest, laughing softly to himself.
Dee was silent.
"Dee, for two and a half years you've been MORE than a pain in the neck. I've been temporarily demoted twice because of you. I've had to push your goddamned car in heavy traffic. I've been insulted, shot at, and beat on because you couldn't keep your mouth shut. I have written no fewer than fifteen apology letters. And did I leave you? No. Instead I had to go and fall in love with you and started learning how to suc-- how to become somewhat adept at gay sex! I can't leave you, you idiot, however much I may have fantasized about it. I'll leave you when I die and not before."
Dee squeezed Ryo tighter and smiled up at the ceiling. "Love you, babe."
"I know," said Ryo.
"And it wasn't heavy traffic."
"Yes it was."
"Shut up and roll over."
"What the hell for? I can't blow you if I'm face down."
"You can do that later. First I want to massage the back of your body. After I've done that, I'll see about collecting. Deal?"
"Deal," murmured Dee sleepily, rolling onto his belly.
The sun was well up by the time that Dee stirred. What woke him were the twin breakfast smells of coffee and bacon. There was also a dull pounding pain behind the front of his skull, which he thought was seriously unfair since he hadn't touched a drop of alcohol. When he finally felt he could face rolling toward the light to look at the clock, he did so. Upon receiving the intelligence that it was five after seven, he recoiled and burrowed further under the blankets. Seven o'clock on a Sunday morning was WAY too early for anyone to be up and that evil sunshine was driving knives deep into his brain. Yet, in spite of all that, he wanted to get up. He knew Ryo would be getting ready to leave for the office soon. Neither of them was scheduled to work, but given the recent developments in their case, it would be necessary to go in. Dee didn't want to stay at home if Ryo was going to work. He wanted to be where Ryo was.
Just then, the bedroom door opened a crack and Ryo stuck his head cautiously inside.
"Dee," he whispered.
"I'm awake," growled Dee sullenly, raising his head and then wincing at the unholy brightness once more.
"Dee, I'm just going to head off to the office for a couple of hours..."
"What, without me?" Dee sat up rapidly and squinted mistrustfully at Ryo.
"You're recovering from a concussion and you're not even scheduled to work today! If there was ever a day when you should stay home and stay in bed, this is it."
"No way, dude. I'm coming too. Wait for me, okay?" Dee swung his legs over the bed and looked around for his clothes.
"Are you sure?" Ryo handed him his own robe and gave him a doubtful look. "How's your head?"
"Killing me. But that's what drugs are for. Any coffee left?"
"A bit. But I'll make you some fresh."
Dee smiled for the first time that morning and hugged Ryo's robe around himself. "Thanks baby," he murmured and kissed Ryo's cheek on his way to the bathroom. "I'll just have a quick shower and shave. Back in a few."
Detective Tina Greenspan couldn't decide which of the two detectives from the 27th was better looking.
One was tall with thick, sexy dark hair he had obviously attempted to slick back with gel that morning, but strands of it were already starting to hang intriguingly in his gorgeous green eyes. She wished she were on terms with him that would allow her to reach up and push it back off his brow for him. He was flirty and fun and had already quite openly checked out her legs. She was glad she had chosen to wear a skirt and heels today.
The other one was also tall, but less so than his partner. His hair was a light, sun-streaked chestnut brown and his eyes were as black as midnight. Detective Greenspan was partial to dark eyes on a man, but these were like nothing she had ever seen before. Whenever he turned them in her direction, she felt lost in them, almost tongue-tied. Yet there was nothing provocative in his manner. He was reserved and professional and seemed to evince no interest in her beyond the case at hand. Since both the mirror and the overt admiration of just about every male she knew informed her on a daily basis that she was a woman of above average looks, she felt certain he was just hiding his attraction to her for reasons of his own.
Both men were lean and well built, and carried themselves with confidence. She couldn't believe her good luck in meeting these two fine specimens of manhood just when she had been about to give up on the dating scene in New York. She wasn't sure at this point which one she wanted -- perhaps both -- but she did know that it was absolutely necessary that she find a way to extend this first meeting into two or three, preferably more.
Accordingly she adjusted her approach so that she dealt with each man differently and in kind. With Detective Laytner, she joked, smiled and gave him the eye whenever she was sure that there was no chance his partner would see. With Detective MacLean, she met sobriety with solemnity, soft-voiced formality with an answering gravity. She was determined to win them both over, using all the means at her disposal. Chief in her arsenal was an hourglass figure, a shoulder length mass of wavy auburn hair, and a face that had helped to pay her way through university with occasional modeling gigs.
She had met the two men at the crime scene earlier and showed them the corner of the walk-in freezer where the body had been discovered, and now they were back at the 99th Precinct, reviewing evidence.
"These items were found in the pockets of his jeans," she said. "Quite a mish-mash. It's our belief that his pockets were ransacked and then everything was just stuffed back in haphazardly. And there was no cash found anywhere on his person, except for those few coins you see there."
"Is this everything?" Ryo asked.
"Yes. Most of these things were found on or near the body. The only exception is this." Detective Greenspan held up a black plastic buckle. "This was found on the floor under the counter. We don't know whether it belonged to the vic or not."
Dee held up the plastic bag that contained the buckle and looked at it. "That'll be from a backpack," he remarked and his eyes met Ryo's.
Ryo turned to Detective Greenspan with eyebrows slightly raised.
"I'm sorry," she said. "There was no backpack. Did you have reason to believe that he was carrying one?"
"Yeah, maybe," said Dee. "Guy was a booster. He ripped stuff off and then packed it around until he could offload it for cash."
"But it also could have come off a staff member's backpack," Ryo added.
"True," she said. "I'll ask Mr. Oliver if it belongs to him."
"How long did you say he owned Bam's?"
"Only six weeks," Detective Greenspan answered. "He's been very unlucky."
"Hey, do you think we could have his contact info?" Dee asked. "We might wanna ask him some questions at some point."
"If you wish to speak to him, I'll set up an appointment and we can all go," she replied firmly and then looked at Ryo. "Shall I do that, Detective MacLean?"
"Yes, please do," he replied gravely, and turned back to his perusal of a small spiral bound notebook. It had only one entry on the first page: Meet Cindy at Bams, 9:30 am. The note included the date and the address of the restaurant. On the inside front cover, he had also written: Property of Eddie C. Calvetti.
Detective Greenspan was disappointed in his continued taciturnity. Didn't the man ever smile? She was sure his handsome face would be absolutely beautiful if he did.
"Not much in there, hmm?" She indicated the notebook.
He shook his head. "Prints?"
"Only one set. The results aren't back yet, but I'm certain they'll turn out to be Mr. Calvetti's."
Both men glanced at each other again, but remained silent. She began to suspect they were holding something back from her.
"So, what can you gentlemen tell me about his drug trade activities?" she asked them.
"It's all on the rap sheet, Sister," Dee said. "I bet that was the first thing you checked out."
"Well, I'm looking for the parts that weren't in the rap sheet, Detective. And since I'm not and never will be a nun, please don't address me as 'Sister'." She gave him a slightly provocative look from under her lashes.
"No, you definitely should never become a nun, Detective," murmured Dee as he swept an appreciative eye over her physical attributes.
Detective Greenspan ignored that last comment. "I'm hoping you fellows can maybe shed some light on why Mr. Calvetti was lured to this restaurant and then murdered."
"Looks like he maybe had a couple of enemies," said Dee, who was fascinated by the effect that the cool breeze from the open window was having on this pretty woman's breasts. "He probably ripped off the wrong guy."
Detective Greenspan turned toward Detective MacLean and for a moment, she could have sworn that he had been looking at his partner with annoyance in his eyes. Ah! Perhaps he was just a tiny bit jealous? She seemed to be making headway at last.
"Did you have reason to believe that Mr. Calvetti might have been in danger?" she asked him.
He hesitated and then said, "Yes, we thought perhaps he was. He was present at the OD death of a young female a few days before he died. Unfortunately, he ran away before we could question him."
"What was it about the death of the woman that made you think he was in danger?"
"We think that the OD might not have been an accident and that it might have been meant for him. It's possible that he knew something that compromised one of his associates."
"Do you have any idea what that 'something' may have been?"
"Yes," Ryo replied, "But it's all conjecture at this point."
"Well, would you mind letting me in on it?" Detective Greenspan moved a step closer to him and schooled her features into a half serious-half earnest expression. "I'd like to help you if I can."
He disappointed her by moving back almost imperceptibly. "You can help by giving me directions to the morgue," he said, and the corners of his mouth moved in what was almost a smile. "I'm not one hundred percent familiar with this borough."
"I'd be glad to," she said, pulling out her notebook and scribbling directions to Queens Hospital Center. "Are you going there now? I'll meet you there."
"Sure, why not?" said Dee at the same time as Ryo started to say, "That won't be nec--"
She looked back and forth between them, and said, "Excuse me?" There it was again, Detective MacLean's little glare at his partner. But Detective Laytner seemed to be looking slightly abashed. What on earth was going on with these two?
"Uhh...Suit yourself," said Dee to her, shooting a wary look at Ryo.
"Let's go then, gentlemen," she said courteously, indicating the door. "And tell me when you would like to meet with Mr. Oliver. Today? Tomorrow?"
"ASAP, if you would be so kind," said Ryo.
Detective Greenspan heartily enjoyed the walk through the bullpen, down the stairs and out through the lobby. Every woman in the place stared at her and the eye-candy she was walking with. She was fairly certain she'd be mobbed with questions later. She had to try to get a date with one of them, just so she'd have something to report.
"Oh, is this your 'undercover' car?" Detective Greenspan directed the question at Detective Laytner, since he was the one holding the keys.
"No, this is my personal car," Dee answered proudly.
Detective Greenspan's opinion of Detective Laytner went down by a few degrees.
"Oh!" she said brightly. "Well, I guess I'll see you at the hospital then in, oh...25 minutes? If I get there first, I'll wait for you."
"Twenty-five minutes?" Dee grinned at her. "I took out the old V-6 and put a V-8 engine in this baby a couple years back. We'll be the ones waiting for you."
"Well, if you say so," said Detective Greenspan, looking doubtfully at the car and then bestowing a smile on Detective MacLean. This man, she was certain, would never allow himself to be seen driving around in a car that was more than five years old, possibly even seven or eight. And with such a pathetically juvenile home-done paint job, too! Imagine putting thick white racing stripes on the hood of an old Chevy Cavalier. It looked like a couple of kids had done it.
But the next moment proved her wrong, as Detective MacLean demanded the keys from his partner and got into the driver's seat.
The engine made an absurdly loud rumbling sound as he started the ignition. It sounded powerful and...embarrassing. She gave Detective MacLean a sympathetic look as he started to back out of the parking spot. "See you there!" she called. He nodded enigmatically in response.
The attractive Queens detective clicked along on her fashionable Italian slingbacks down the silent hall that led to the morgue section of the hospital. Her searching eyes had not seen that rather conspicuous car in the parking lot, but somehow it just didn't seem possible that they might have arrived before her. Oh well, maybe they were here and they had parked behind a van or something. She couldn't believe how calmly Detective MacLean had just gotten into the driver's seat of that appalling vehicle. He obviously had a good relationship with his partner and didn't want to hurt his feelings. She thought well of him for that. Detective MacLean's stock had been steadily rising with her over the past hour. She hoped he wasn't married or heavily involved with someone, despite being the father of a child. At least he hadn't been wearing a wedding ring.
As she pushed open the double doors to the morgue and felt both the chill and the horrible smell of the place hit her, she saw them. They were at the end of the room, conferring with a morgue attendant. The cold compartment that Mr. Calvetti's remains had been assigned to was open and the drawer had been pulled out. She felt a flash of irritation that they hadn't bothered to wait for her. It was her case after all, and her jurisdiction. It would have been more mannerly. She hid her annoyance by fishing about in her pocket for the handkerchief dabbed with cinnamon oil that her partner had taught her to bring whenever she had to view a cadaver.
Detective MacLean noticed her first and gave her a nod while murmuring her name by way of greeting.
His dark-haired colleague looked up then and waved. "Hey there," he said. "Sorry we started without you. We didn't know how much longer you were going to be." There was an insolent grin on his face that clearly belied his words of apology. But she didn't care. Her mind was made up. Detective Laytner, with his shallow, easy ways, was someone she could have anytime. The real challenge was his partner. His was the heart she was determined to win.
"Don't worry about it!" She made a dismissive sound and waved her hand. "At least now you're caught up to speed, right? We're all on the same page, I hope."
She looked down at the corpse with a dispassion that Dee rather admired her for. She was a tough little chick with the face of an angel and the body of a porn star, but he had her number, all right. She had a hunch that they were working on something big and she wanted in. And she was still young and naive enough to think that she could use her looks on any man in order to bend him to her will. Dee thought that her tactics would have probably worked just fine on Ted or Drake. But they ain't here, sweetheart, he thought to himself. It's just us gay chickens.
"What are you laughing about, Detective Laytner?" She attempted to conceal her vexation behind the little pink handkerchief she lifted delicately to her nose.
"Don't mind him -- he's recovering from a concussion," Ryo broke in. "He was hurt on Friday night and he wouldn't stay home and rest today."
She turned back to Detective MacLean, her resentment dissipating. That was perhaps the longest sentence he had yet spoken to her.
"Did they tell you about the autopsy?" she enquired, thereby dismissing out of hand the subject of Detective Laytner and his concussion.
"Yeah. Not 'til tomorrow morning," Ryo said. He shook his head. "Would be nice if it could be today, though."
"Yeah, don't you guys at the 99th have any pull?" Dee knew that the slight sneer in his voice would make her bristle and sure enough, it did. He wasn't about to forget the way she had looked at his car. He also thought she was the type who would look cute when she was angry, and he was right.
Stung, she drew upon her dignity and replied, "This is a special case, Detective Laytner. Have you noticed the bright pink color of the vic's lips? That's because he was frozen solid as a result of being put in the freezer by whoever killed him. The freezing arrested the normal process of decomposition, yes, but you'll observe that he hasn't fully defrosted yet. No autopsy can be done until that process has finished. And then they'll have rigor mortis to contend with. Surely you can understand that." Her words had somehow come out in just as patronizing a tone as the one that Detective Laytner had used toward her. Although she didn't precisely regret it, she hoped it hadn't done her any harm with the other man. She spared a quick glance at Detective MacLean to see if he had noticed, but his face was difficult to read.
"Ralph here says his boss estimates the time of death at some time around lunchtime yesterday," Dee remarked. "But it may have been earlier since Eddie's appointment was apparently for 9:30 am. The first thing your CSI team did when they got there at 5:00 was to mark off the location of the body and get him out of the freezer, as per instructions from the coroner's office. At least that was what it said in the file. So it seems to me that there's been more than enough time for some defrosting. Ralph, my man –" Dee turned to the morgue attendant. "Didn't you say you guys let him thaw a bit after they dropped him off here yesterday?"
Ralph nodded shyly, pleased to be asked for input.
Dee turned back to Detective Greenspan. "So what makes you think he isn't all thawed out by now?"
"Well, I… He doesn't look very thawed." She vaguely remembered something about that in the files. Damn that Ruth for going off on a stupid vacation and leaving her just as a murder case broke over their heads. She had no experience with frozen bodies and her partner did.
"How 'bout it, dude?" Dee glanced at Ralph again. "Is he still a popsicle?"
Ralph shook his head emphatically. "Not for quite a while. Still got a touch of rigor, though, which accounts for the stiffness."
Detective Greenspan shot Ralph the briefest of withering looks
"Come on, Detective," Dee said to her. "He's not frozen anymore, and we all know that the forensic docs don't usually let a little case of rigor mortis get in the way of a good autopsy. No reason it couldn't be done today."
He looked at her with a lazy smirk, which caused her to color slightly. She hoped that the general dimness of the room hid that. Know-it-all bastard.
"Well, I'm certainly impressed to learn that the detectives of the 27th are able to influence the schedule of the employees of the city medical examiner's office," she retorted. "Do let me in on your secret sometime."
Ryo, who until that point hadn't been paying close attention to her exchange with Dee, ascertained that she was feeling slighted. He smiled at her kindly and changed the subject.
"As soon as you've made an appointment for us all to have a chat with the restaurant owner, please let us know."
She conferred upon him her most attractive smile, the one that she knew showed the white perfection of her teeth and brought out the dimple on the left side of her mouth. "Way ahead of you Detective. Tomorrow morning at 11:00 am. At the restaurant."
"That's great news; thank you," Ryo said, and looked at her with friendly approval.
This emboldened her to try once more to get him to let her in on whatever secrets he was keeping to himself about this case. She wished he would trust her. She didn't want to have to use her trump card this early in the game if it could possibly be avoided.
"You know I feel it would be in all of our best interests if we were to work together on this case -- on an ongoing basis," she said. "After all, all three of us want the same thing, don't we? And that is to catch the murderer."
Ryo didn't answer immediately. Instead, he nodded to Ralph, the morgue attendant, to cover Eddie up again and put him away. He had felt inexplicably sad and mortal looking down at Eddie, cold and dead on the table, even though he had seen probably close to a hundred corpses in his career. Sometimes he took it hard, and when he did, it always seemed to be for a different reason. The last time he had been affected like this was when he had looked at the bullet-riddled corpse of Leo Grant, which had only been a few weeks ago. He sighed and pushed such thoughts out of his mind.
"Detective Greenspan," he said. "You've been very helpful and we certainly do appreciate you giving us your time like this. But the fact is that our case is, as I said earlier, inconclusive. He was the man who had the information we needed." Ryo indicated Eddie. "And now we're not going to get any answers from him."
"But you must know something," she protested. "Give me a lead, a place to start."
"I'm sorry, Detective, but I can't do that today. This case is highly sensitive." Ryo was gentle but firm in his dismissal and it irked her.
Nodding at his partner, he added, "We'll be going now. See you tomorrow at eleven."
Seething, she let the two men get almost to the door before she called out, "Detective MacLean!"
They paused and turned around to look at her.
"Yes?" asked Ryo politely.
Tina Greenspan took a deep breath and played her ace.
"At what point were you planning to tell me that your son was the one who set up the appointment that got Mr. Calvetti killed?"
That certainly got their attention. Detective Laytner recoiled in angry surprise and immediately dropped his hand from the door handle. But it was Detective MacLean's reaction that frightened her. Even from across the room, even in the dim light, she could see how white his face had gone. His black eyes glittered with a cold and ominous fury and she felt a somewhat irrational desire to get behind the nearest autopsy table.
"Who gave you that information?" he rapped out, and strode purposefully in her direction. She forced herself to stand still and tall and face him unflinchingly. Behind him, his partner was eyeing her suspiciously. "Answer me!" The urgency in his voice brought her a sudden realization that he was merely behaving like a father who was trying to protect his son. Yet he was also a cop, and he had no business trying to hide important evidence from her. This was her territory, not theirs, and her investigation, also.
"I got a call this morning from a Lieutenant Mike Abernathy," she told him, and both men's faces registered angry, yet strangely resigned reactions. Detective Laytner swore loudly, which jarred upon her already nervous emotional state. She hated it when men swore in loud, angry voices.
"What did he say?" Detective MacLean's voice was quiet and dangerous, and again she fought the urge to back away.
Despite her tension, Detective Greenspan straightened and, tossing her hair back off her shoulders, made a bid to gain the upper hand in this conversation.
"I think YOU should tell ME that, Detective," she informed him in the calmest tone she could manage.
All that did was to cause the flames of rage to leap back into his eyes, but before he could speak, Detective Laytner cut in.
"Don't you play fucking games with us, Tinkerbell. This is the man's son you're talking about! Now give it up and tell us what that fucking bastard said or you're going to wind up in shit so deep that you'll never get the stink off your career."
She stared at him, angry and a little afraid, but it was his mention of her career that decided her. There was obviously something more to this than she had previously suspected.
"He said that your son had been heavily involved with Mr. Calvetti and had in fact acted as some kind of go-between in setting up the appointment at Bam's. He...He hinted that your son, Bik --Bikky, is it?-- might even have been acting for the murderer."
"That goddamned lying motherfucking sonofabitch!" yelled Dee, smacking his fist into his palm. "I'll kill him! I'll put that fucking cowardly weasel in fucking traction! His own wife won't recognize him--"
"Dee, shh. I can't hear myself think." Ryo had his temper under control again, something that always seemed to happen in response to Dee's losing his.
"Who else have you told this information to?" he asked the somewhat shaken looking woman who stood before them.
"In the Caribbean. Back on Thursday."
"Good." Ryo nodded, more to himself than her. "Please keep this to yourself for now."
"Is it true?" she demanded.
"What Lieutenant Abernathy has said to you borders on libel. You should ask yourself what an Internal Affairs lieutenant is doing getting even peripherally involved in a murder case that is not only NOT part of his current job description, but well out of his jurisdiction. We have to take this new information to our lieutenant ASAP." Glancing at his partner, he said, "Come on Dee, let's go. Detective, we'll be in touch."
As they strode toward the door, Detective Greenspan couldn't help calling out, "Detective! I'm still going to need to interview your son!" But the door swung shut, leaving her alone with the awed and flustered Ralph. She turned flashing violet eyes on him and snapped, "What the hell are YOU looking at?" which sent him scurrying, crestfallen, to the far corner of the room to busy himself with the rearranging of some instruments.
Outside in the hallway, Dee caught at Ryo's arm. "Dude, whoa, slow down, okay?"
Ryo stopped immediately and looked at him. "Are you all right?" he asked. He saw that one of Dee's hands was clutching his injured side and he had raised the other to his head.
"I just need to sit down for a minute, that's all. I shouldn't have gotten mad like that. My brain feels like it's beating itself to death against the inside of my skull."
"You shouldn't have waved your arms around either. Do you think you're bleeding?"
"Look, there's a men's room. Come on. Do you have your meds with you?"
"Yeah." Dee patted his pocket and allowed Ryo to lead him out of the corridor and into the men's room.
Ryo leaned against a sink opposite his partner, who sat on one of the toilets, fully clothed. When he had taken a peek at Dee's injury, he had determined, to his relief, that it wasn't bleeding.
Dee had just taken two of his prescription painkillers and was waiting for them to take effect. His eyes were closed and he sat with his hand lightly pressed against his bandage.
"Do you want one of the doctors to take a look at it while we're here?"
"Hell, no! Next thing they'll be checking me in and running tests and before I know it I'll be stuck overnight. No, just give me a few minutes here and I'll be good to go."
"All right. Take your time." Ryo gazed out of the window, which offered an unprepossessing view of one of the hospital's adjacent buildings. His brow was marked by a little frown of anxiety, and despite his pain and fatigue, Dee wanted to comfort him.
"It'll be okay," he said. "We'll bring Bikky and Carol in together and they can make statements. It has to be done anyway."
"That's not what's bothering me," Ryo said. "It's that bastard, Abernathy. If he only wanted to stir up trouble, he could have made an anonymous call with a tip. But he didn't. This is cat and mouse. He wanted me to know that he's aware of what Bikky did."
"Yeah, you're right," said Dee. "How could he have known that? Do you think Eddie told him?"
"We'll never know." Ryo sighed. "Notice how he had no hesitation about using his name. I think this is his charming way of letting us know he's got the laptop and we've got nothing on him."
"You worried about Bikky?"
"Yeah, a little. If Abernathy thinks Eddie told Bikky about the work he was doing, I wouldn't put it past him to set Bikky up in some way. And I don't think he would hesitate to use him against me if he could. But I can't believe he would actually harm him..."
Dee, however, thought he sounded a little doubtful about that. He himself wouldn't put anything past Abernathy at this point.
"We got more than nothing. We've still got Shaver. I should give that guy a call, but first we need to sit down with the Chief and probably the Commish and work out some acceptable terms."
"Well, the earliest that could happen would be tomorrow," Ryo said. "There's not much more we can do on a Sunday afternoon. I'm going to head back to the station to document what we did today. You, however, ought to rest."
"No, I wanna come with you," Dee said stubbornly. "Couldn't we just pick up the files so we can update them at home?"
"I suppose we could. Then I could make sure you actually rested."
Dee stood up carefully, but looking happy. "Well, let's get the hell out of this depressing place then." He leaned in and kissed Ryo’s neck. "I'm more than ready for a quiet evening at home."
Ryo thought it was cute the way Dee had, for such a long time, referred to Ryo and Bikky's apartment as 'home', on equal status with his own. "Which 'home'?" he asked Dee. "Yours or mine?"
"Whichever," Dee answered. "Home is where you are; that's how it is with me."
Dee was amazed when Ryo slid an arm around him right there in the men's room and kissed him passionately. His normally nervous partner hadn't even looked over his shoulder first. And now he was pulling back slightly but he hadn't actually let go.
"What was that for?" he asked Ryo, delighted.
"Because I love you," said Ryo. "And I don't want you to ever get confused about that again."
"I love you too, baby! Does this mean we're going to have sex again tonight?"
"Dee! You really do have a one-track mind."
"I'm just sayin'..."
"The answer is 'not if Bikky’s around. ' And it's a school night, don't forget."
"We'll have a nice evening anyway, with or without sex. Come on, get a move on."
"God, you're bossy," Dee grumbled, but he followed Ryo with a smile on his face.