I'm also training for another charity run, a 10 K this time, that's coming up in April or May. I forget which. My husband thinks I'm insane because he still remembers how, after the 8K I did back In December, I dragged myself around whimpering for three days afterward. But this time I'll train better and I won't carb-load on danishes the day before the race. Plus the weather will be better. I've also started doing rep reebok classes at my gym twice a week, and they really kill certain parts of my body, even after two months! I used to be super-fit back when I was doing Karate, but since I stopped, I've lost some of my endurance. Strangely enough, I still have about 90% of my Karate strength, however. I thought my muscles would melt away if I stopped working them hard all the time, but they stayed with me.
In other news, I have been extra busy at work, week after week. I keep waiting for it to settle down a bit, but so far no luck. My job is always busiest in April and May, so I'm really hoping I'll be able to finish A New Day by then. If not, then I'll have to start posting slower, as in every three or four weeks.
If you have read all the boring rambling, then thank you for your patience. Here's the chapter, which, by the way, is totally worksafe if you don't count the swearing.
Fake First Year together: A New Day (May)
Pairing: Dee/ Ryo
Spoilers: To Volume 7
Timing: Set in May, directly after book 7 ended
Summary: Ryo is coming to terms with his new sexual identity, as well as the changes in his relationship with Dee. 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.
Disclaimer: I do not own Fake or any of the characters created by Sanami Matoh. (Shantaya, Giovanna, Rick and Kyle the bouncer are all mine, however) I'm not making any money from this story.
Author's notes: This is not an exciting chapter. No sex, no violence, no angst. All that really happens is that Dee builds his relationship with Bikky and Bikky gets some information from the street. You might remember Kyle the bouncer from one of my other stories.
Thank you to mtemplar for the awesome beta-work.
A New Day (May)
"Hey Shantaya. How's business?"
"Aw, if it ain't the Bikster, back like clockwork." Shantaya struck a pose and gave him a lazy smile that showed her new front teeth. "I wish all the boys kept their promises like you, honey."
"Well you know me-- Never lie to a woman!"
She chuckled at that and tossed her head, but her ironed, hairsprayed helmet of hair barely moved. "Like your daddy before you, sweetness. Your first daddy, that is. Who's your chaperone over there?"
"Him? Oh that's my dad's... boyfriend," Bikky answered, feeling just a little strange as those three unfamiliar words left his lips. "He's here to make sure no one mugs me. Word is that I'm running around at night with cash on me nowadays." Bikky grinned at her. He hadn't argued when Ryo had told him he was going to ask Dee to accompany him. His funeral-collection project was going really well. He had come home with $700 cash on Sunday night, and that kind of thing did tend to get around. Not that Doofus would be much help with his injury and all, but still. It was good for the people in this neighborhood to know that he had a bodyguard, just in case anyone was thinking of trying something.
"Your dad's boyfriend? Oh that's too bad. He's really cute. What a looker. Don't look very gay to me. You sure he don't swing both ways?"
"Forget it, he's a total fag," said Bikky firmly. "He's basically just here to shoot anyone who messes with me and tries to take Eddie's funeral money."
"He a cop like your white daddy?"
"Yeah, but don't worry, he ain't gonna cramp your style. So anyway, you told me to come back tonight?"
"Oh yeah, the money! I s'pose you come for that? And here's po' lil' me thinking you came to admire my pretty new dress." Shantaya pouted a little and swivelled her hips so that her short swingy pink skirt swished over her ample thighs.
"Looks like Rick's been good to you. New teeth, FINE new dress."
"They's always sweet at the start, honey. That's the time to get stuff." Shantaya reached under her skirt and pulled out a small wad of bills that had been tucked into the elastic at the top of her fishnet stocking. "You remember that when you're starting out your future career as a hotshot NBA star. Negotiate a good deal in the beginning, that's the time to do it. Here. You take this." She thrust the money at Bikky, looking about slightly furtively as she did so. "And don't you never tell Rick you got any cash from me. I don't know how or why, but he don't like Eddie. Blames him for killin' Tamara, if you can imagine."
"What? That's bullshit! Why would Eddie kill anyone? He spent his life looking out for the kids on the street. He and Tamara were good friends."
Shantaya gave him a knowing look. "Rick's puttin' it out that their friendship was a little TOO close -- and Eddie killed her out of jealousy 'cause he couldn't take on Rick."
"I'll take on Rick myself if he doesn't quit sayin' that crap about Eddie and Tamara! Come on Shantaya, you don't believe it do you?"
"Babycakes, I'm Rick's new sweet thang. We got teeth, we got clothes, and reeeeeal good drugs. Until he gets locked up or shot down, it's my job to listen to his big talk and go, 'Uh-huh, darling, you are SO right and SO wise 'bout everything'. Do you understand my true place in the bigger picture here?"
"Eddie just gave Tamara a place to stay after a bad trick beat her up, that's all," said Bikky. "Rick didn't protect her right; it happened a lot. Everyone said he did jack shit for the money he took off her. You know this, don't you?"
"Bikky, my sweet innocent child, look at me. This is Shantaya you talkin' to; we been friends for a long time, right?"
"Right. A real long time." Bikky's resentment toward Rick didn't entirely leave him, but he looked up at Shantaya with all the liking and trust he had always felt for her showing in his eyes.
"Well, you remember, you were there. Rick weren't my first, and he ain't gonna be my last. But right now, he's the man of the hour. I don't know how he did it, but suddenly he got money, he got confidence, and he got connections, so as long as that lasts, I'm here for the ride. You got me?" At Bikky's nod, she continued. "And whatever he is, at least he's an improvement over Tino." Bikky nodded again, remembering how she had lost her teeth in the first place.
"But Eddie was a good man," Shantaya added, "and I ain't never gonna forget the time he took a beatin' for me. Even when he was hurtin', he was always a gentleman. So you take that money and...and put it toward a real nice funeral. Buy him a... snappy suit... to wear on his big day, okay?"
Her voice rose in a high-pitched squeak on the last few words and her eyes got glassy. She quickly tilted her head back and flapped her fingers in front of her eyes as though to dry the tears that were trying to fall. "Oh crap, can't have tears, can't be wrecking my make-up..."
Bikky dug in his pocket and produced a napkin that smelled vaguely of fish and chips, and handed it to her. "Sorry I don't have anything better," he said. "Hey! Did I ever tell you about the time your aunt Crystal chased me with a wooden spoon? She's one scary lady. I swear I stand up straight and spit out my gum every time I think of her!"
He managed to get Shantaya laughing and her all-important make-up was saved. Their cheeriness lasted until Shantaya was approached by a client, whereupon she shooed Bikky off.
Dee leaned against a street lamp, smoking, as he watched the rugrat approach. "That took long enough," he remarked. "How much did you get?"
"If you're bored, you can go on home anytime," snapped Bikky, not looking at him. He was still mad about what Rick was allegedly saying about Eddie.
"I AM bored," Dee confirmed. "But come hell, high water, or P.O'd pimps, I'm here for you 'til you're ready to quit."
Bikky fell into step beside him and gave him a sidelong look. "How much did you hear?"
"Not a damn thing. But you got all mad about something back there. I'm guessing it was connected to her pimp."
"He's a fuckin' asshole."
"Want me to ruin his evening if we see him?"
"Nah. I wanna take care of the bastard myself. But in a couple of years, maybe." Bikky looked down at his hands and flexed his fingers, as if assessing their destructive power. Dee understood exactly how he felt. He had done the same thing when he was Bikky's age and size -- marking off his enemies and the scores he was going to settle with them as soon as he was big enough. But now, all he did was shrug. "Suit yourself," he said.
After they had walked half a block, Bikky spotted another girl who had promised him money for Eddie.
"There's Giovanna," he said, "Stay here, okay?"
Over the course of the past couple of hours, Dee had been receiving a crash course as to the extent of Bikky's contacts, as well as a sense of how connected he still was to his former neighborhood, despite having been adopted by a middle class, half-Japanese cop, who, as far as Bikky's former neighbors were concerned, came across as white. Bikky and Dee had talked to bus drivers, waiters, taxi drivers, thugs, junkies, valet parkers and outreach social workers, and had now moved on to the hookers. To Dee's amazement, all of them knew Eddie and most of them contributed something, even if it was only a couple of bucks. He was beginning to suspect that they were going to have a pretty big turnout for Eddie's funeral.
He stayed a short distance from the girl Bikky had identified as 'Giovanna', and watched the street while the kid went over and greeted her.
"Saluti, my friend. WHO is that magnificent male creature with you tonight?" Giovanna demanded, indicating Dee.
Bikky was annoyed. Why the hell were they all so interested in Dee? "He's just here to look out for me tonight," he told her. "He's gay, Gio. Forget about him."
"I am sure he is not. It is my job to know these things about men. Call him to me. I want to meet him."
"Gio, this isn't---"
"I have your money, mio dolce. You have my word that I will give it to you. But bring me that man. I wish to see his face."
Scowling, Bikky took a few steps away from her and beckoned Dee, who was resting an elbow on a mailbox and smoking, as usual. At first, he seemed not to understand, and tried to confirm with sign language that he should indeed approach Bikky. Bikky was forced to make a much larger gesture, and suddenly it seemed as though half the eyes on the street were on them as Dee came toward them with his customary easy swagger. No one would have guessed what it was costing him, in terms of pain.
"What is your name?" asked the pale-skinned beauty in a wine-dark, though practically see-though outfit. She was tall, slender, and small-breasted, and her ass was truly spectacular. Dee had seen her before, working this street in the afternoons and evenings.
"Dee," he replied, enjoying the sight of her.
"Is it true what Bikky says, that you are gay?" She shook her dark hair seductively so that a mass of it fell along one side of her face.
"No, technically, I'm bi, but what does that have to do with anything?"
"My name is Giovanna. You are my ideal man. "If you ever wish for comfort with a woman, please know that I would not dream of charging you--"
"Gio, if he ever does it with you, I'll kill him myself," interrupted Bikky
"Right," said Dee cooperatively, looking from one to the other while suppressing a desire to laugh. "Nuttier than a squirrel's– ow!" He glared down at Bikky, who, having kicked him, was now ignoring him.
"Wait," said Giovanna. "He is the lover of your father, the police detective? That beautiful man I have seen walking with you, the one with the dark, dark eyes? Maybe a little bit of the Asian blood in him?"
"That's the guy," said Dee proudly, with a proprietorial light in his eye. Just as he had noticed her, so she had noticed Ryo. New York City was a very big place, but sometimes the neighborhoods could be as small in their way as small towns. "Gorgeous, isn't he? And mine, all mine."
"Ah," said Giovanna sadly.
"Okay, you've met him now, right? Dee, Giovanna. Giovanna, Dee. Now Dee, get the fuck outta here while I talk to Giovanna about Eddie."
"Yes Sir, King Twerp," said Dee, saluting him casually. He gave Giovanna a short bow, to which she returned a graceful curtsey, and then he returned to his mailbox. Bikky's eyes followed Dee's retreat with hostility.
"Il mio caro ragazzo," Giovanna said to him. "Please forgive me. I am disappointed, of course, but I see that there is great love there, at least for now. I give you my word that I will not be involved in the destruction of your father's happiness in any way. And even if this man, this Dee, were free, he would not be interested in me, such as I am, a woman for all men." She sighed dramatically and continued to gaze at Dee, who gave her a friendly wave.
Bikky nodded and tried his best to be patient with her, while looking at the dark blue lights on the Empire State building off in the distance. He liked it when they were blue. He always felt lucky on those nights. It was past eight now and twilight was starting to descend. If Gio would just quit giving Dorkhead the eye, maybe he could get on with his business and get home with enough time to wrap up his unfinished English homework. Gio had always been quite a romantic, which was pretty unusual among hookers. She had often hinted that someday a man would come who would take her away from all this. He had a feeling she'd be waiting a long time.
"But let us talk of Eddie, certamente un angelo, and free from this life of pain. When is his funeral, mio dolce?"
"Thursday. Eleven o'clock. Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn." He handed her one of the info-flyers that he and Carol had created on the computer. "Can you come?"
"Certamente. I would not miss it. And here is money." She handed him a folded fifty-dollar bill. "I promised and so I shall keep my promise."
"Thanks Giovanna! You're too good for this place."
She inclined her head to one side and smiled a bit sadly. "Perhaps that is true, mi dolce. Yet... here I am."
"Hey," said Bikky. "Have you heard what Rick's been saying about how Eddie killed Tamara?"
Giovanna emitted a little sound of contempt. "Si! And also how he wanted to avenge her by killing Eddie himself except someone beat him to it. Such foolishness!" she said, and then looked over her shoulder nervously before continuing. "No one feels true respect for Rick, or should I say Ja Romeo? No one who knew Eddie could think of him as a jealous lover. Sometimes I think that Rick believes we are all as stupid as he is."
Bikky nodded, satisfied. "Yeah, that's what he probably thinks," he agreed. "Have a good night, Gio." With that, he took his leave and went to rejoin Dee, who was waving at Giovanna again.
"Did you get a real good look at her?" he asked Dee sarcastically. "Maybe you'd like to stay here for a couple more hours. I'm sure Ryo wouldn't mind at all."
"Hey, she waved at me first! I was just being polite."
"You? Polite?" Bikky gave a snort of laughter, which Dee decided to let pass.
"How long has Giovanna been in the country?" he asked. "Does she have a Green Card?"
"Nah, she's from Wyoming. Her name is Martha Elwood. She always does that Italian thing. I don't know why. Must be hard to keep it up. Can you walk a little faster? I wanna catch Dari down at Helene's before he goes for his break."
The eight pm start time for the basketball game had come and gone, and Bikky still wasn't showing any signs of wanting to go home. As they walked, Dee tried to remind him about the game and interest him in going home to watch the second half.
"I'll bet you five bucks that the Pistons stomp Miami," he said.
"Huh!" Bikky snorted. "You're gonna lose your money for sure. I don't even have to watch this game to know how it's gonna turn out. Besides, I'd rather go talk to Linda and Casey. They make big bucks at The North Pole."
"That strip joint? Don't tell me they're---"
"Yeah." Bikky stopped walking and glared up at Dee. "But YOU'RE waiting outside! I don't want you embarrassing me."
"What the hell are you talking about? Haven't I kept a low profile? Haven't I let you do your thing?"
Bikky couldn't think of an answer, because what Dee was saying was actually true.
"Well? Hey Bikky, hold up a minute, there. Give an old man with a gunshot wound a chance to rest."
Bikky cursed under his breath. Trust Dorkhead to play that up. But he felt instantly contrite when he turned around and saw Dee steadying himself by leaning one arm against a wall.
"Dee? You okay?"
"I think so. Just a bit past due for my meds, that's all. And I haven't been myself since Friday night. Not sure if it's this big fuckin' trench in my side or the concussion..."
"Whatever. Just take it slow, all right? We can go home if you want. I can try and catch the strippers tomorrow night, but Tuesday is amateur night so Linda and Casey don't come on until later."
"How much later?" Dee was fumbling the top off a plastic pill bottle.
"Ryo will never go for that. Especially if you say the words 'strip club'."
"Do I look stupid to you? I know that! But I gotta try. I might get as much as a hundred off of Linda. She makes an insane amount of money in tips and she owes Eddie big time. Hey, there's a bench over there. You wanna go rest for a minute? You don't look so good."
"Yeah. Just for a minute, though."
"Are you just gonna swallow those pills dry?"
"Yeah. What choice do I have?"
"Just a sec." Bikky ran into a nearby CVS and reappeared three minutes later with two cans of Pepsi, one of which he handed to Dee. "Here ya go. This'll give you some energy."
"Fuck, I can't believe this. Bikky Goldman just bought me a can of Pepsi for the first time ever."
"It's MacLean now, remember? And I didn't buy it, dipshit."
Dee glowered. "Did you rip it off? I seem to remember you promising Ryo--"
"No! Jeez, settle down. My buddy Mohammad, who WORKS there, donated it for the cause. Plus another five bucks."
"Sorry, Biks." Dee pulled the tab off his can and it hissed invitingly. He swallowed his painkillers with a mouthful of Pepsi.
He and Bikky sat without talking for a few moments, but it was anything but quiet. The city around them was starting to come alive. The revving noise of car engines and the blare of honking horns couldn't quite drown out the sounds of people laughing and talking on the broad sidewalk as they passed in a steady flow. The seedy streets inhabited by sex trade workers like Giovanna and Shantaya had given way to thriving restaurants and nightclubs, although not the high-rent kind. The air was full of delicious smells, and Bikky's stomach rumbled in response. Dinner had only been about three hours ago, but it seemed longer. He resolutely pushed thoughts of food out of his mind, however. He had a mission to complete. Eddie's funeral was costing Ryo a huge pile of cash, and he felt somewhat guilty about that. He was determined to help as much as he could. Ryo was always so good to him, so patient and loving, no matter how many times he screwed up. He would flip out of course, but he always forgave. Bikky's life had changed dramatically in the past two and a half years, and all for the better. Even though there were times when he felt like he was drowning in all the rules and restrictions of his new father's expectations of him, he knew in his heart that he had a lot to be grateful for. Where would he be without Ryo? It made him feel sick to think he could have lost him on Friday night. But Doofus had been there to make sure that didn't happen. He certainly had his uses. Bikky stole a look at Dee.
"Hey Dee, thanks," he said.
Dee was so amazed that Bikky was thanking him for something that he nearly choked on his soda. When he recovered, he said, "Don't mention it. This ain't the first time I've missed a game because duty called."
"I don't mean about the game. I meant about you takin' a bullet for Ryo. Ryo didn't tell me any details about Friday night with those skinheads, but I went to Freddie's and I got the whole story from Joey, a guy who works there. He told me about how the freak had a gun in Ryo's face and how you trashed him 'til he shot you instead. So I...I owe you, man. I don't think any other cop woulda done that for Ryo." Bikky paused. He had delivered that speech without actually looking at Dee, and it hadn't been as hard as he expected. However, now it was time to show him who was boss again. "But that doesn't mean I'm gonna be all nicey-nice and let you get away with shit. Ryo was mine before he was yours. Although hey, I'm not blind. I can see that he's got some kind of retarded thing for you."
"You're welcome, brat. And just so you know, I'm crazy about him too. No one's gonna put a bullet in him as long as I've got breath in my body."
"And you'd better not break his heart, either, you bastard. Do you HAVE to be constantly checkin' out the chicks?"
Dee grinned at him, knowing the kid was pissed off about the catcalls and admiring invitations he had received earlier in hookerville. Before that, there had also been a waitress who had tried to slip him her phone number. "Come on, is it MY fault that women are hot for me? In spite of my chick-magnet qualities, I've been a real good boy for a real long time. If I flirt, it's mostly just habit now. Besides, looking is not the same as touching, you know."
Bikky scowled at him, clearly not convinced.
"And another thing," Dee went on. "At least once tonight you outed Ryo in the 'hood. You'd better be careful about that, because he's not ready for the world to know yet."
"Half the world already knows." Bikky slumped lower on the bench, his arms folded defensively over his chest. "And I only did that because I didn't want you and Gio to start something up."
"Listen up, monkey-brat." There was something in Dee's voice that made Bikky turn his head and look at him, and when he did, he was taken aback by the look in his eyes. Dee's hand was resting heavily on his shoulder and he didn't like it.
"You think I'm gonna step out on Ryo, don't you? You think I'm gonna lose interest and start playing the field again. Well, let me tell you something, and you can either believe me or not. Just like you, I know how incredibly lucky I am that Ryo came into my life, and I am not going to do ANYTHING to screw that up. I went through hell to get him, and I'll do whatever it takes to keep him. Understand?"
"Yeah, I guess so." Bikky looked warily at him. Shit, the Perv sure seemed sincere. "But you just better keep a leash on your lizard and be faithful and stuff, 'cause if you aren't, I'll break your fuckin' arm."
"Deal," said Dee, offering him a fist, which the kid punched lightly. He thought it was time for a change of subject. "How much paper you carrying now?"
Bikky pulled out the wad of bills and looked around cautiously. "Keep watch and I'll count. I think I'm over three hundred."
Dee obediently kept watch while Bikky counted. "Three hundred and twenty-five!" he announced triumphantly. "Pretty good, huh?"
"That's more than good," conceded Dee. "It's flat-out fantastic. What's the grand total so far?"
Bikky thought for a moment. "Fifteen twenty-five."
Dee leaned back on the bench. "Shit," he said. "I think that calls for a celebratory burp." Taking another swig of his Pepsi, he let loose with an eruption of gas that made two passing women turn their heads in horror. "Beat that, brat," he said smugly. Bikky was thrilled and giggled madly before gulping down the rest of his own soda.
"Listen to this, loser!" He thumped his chest a couple of times and the resulting belch, when it came, was equally as loud as Dee's and perhaps a fraction longer. "Don't mess with the master!"
They both laughed and for a few minutes it totally slipped Bikky's mind that they were natural adversaries. Dee pushed that advantage a little further.
"I'll admit when you came up with your fund-raising plan, I thought you wouldn't be able to get even fifty bucks outta these people, but I was wrong. You're awesome, Bik. And this'll help Ryo, too when the bill comes."
Bikky actually flushed with the pleasure of having his efforts recognized, but as twilight had faded to darkness and the bench where they were sitting was outside an unlit storefront, he didn't think Dee could see. He struggled to come up with a suitably snappy rejoinder that was slightly less cutting than usual.
"You can call me awesome all you want, but I'm still not letting you come inside the strip club," he said in a faux-grumpy voice.
"Well, I'd like to see YOU get inside, what with being so far from legal drinking age that they could lose their license just from letting you look at the posters outside."
Bikky snorted. "Watch and learn, Doofus. It's called 'having connections'."
But Dee's words proved to be prophetic when Bikky found himself faced with a brand new bouncer at The North Pole that he had never seen before, and who wasn't about to risk his job by allowing a thirteen-year-old through the door to pester Linda and Casey.
"Come back in seven years, kid," he said.
"Where's Nels? He usually lets me in."
"Nels got hurt in a fight. He's home with a broken wrist and he won't be back until his cast is off."
"Well, if Nels usually lets me in, why can't you?"
"Because Nels is fuckin' stupid and I don't wanna get fired."
"Then can either Linda or Casey come out here to talk to me?"
"They're both busy doing lap dances right now, and Linda's onstage in fifteen minutes, so no, I don't think so."
"Look, I gotta tell Linda about a funeral for a friend of hers. She doesn't even know he's dead and she's gonna be real pissed with you if you don't let me in."
"Too bad. But hey, if you scribble me a message on a couple of dead Lincolns, I'll make sure I remember to tell her all about it. Now step aside kid. We got people coming through here."
A pair of college age boys pushed past Bikky and the doorman took their cover charges and gave them each a discount drink ticket.
"What's your name?" Bikky angrily asked the bouncer.
"His name is Kyle and he used to work at Joe Spunky's on 41st, which is a GAY club," said Dee stepping forward.
"Hey, shhh buddy, no one knows about that around here," said Kyle anxiously.
"Joe what?" asked Bikky incredulously.
"Did you finally get fired, Kyle?"
"Well, it was more of a misunderstanding, actually," said Kyle carefully.
"I bet it had something to do with-- cover your ears, Bikky."
Bikky quickly did, but not tightly. He was curious. This was probably going to be good.
"Something to do with those illegal semi-public sex shows you were letting happen in the alcoves, perhaps."
Kyle was silent, but he looked nervous and a drop of sweat ran down one of his temples.
"Tellya what." Dee was speaking in a confident, yet slightly insolent tone of voice that secretly impressed Bikky. He couldn't believe this was the same guy who'd been practically dying on a bench less than twenty minutes ago. "We're gonna stash the kid here out of sight in ... one of the girls' dressing rooms or something, while I go in and fetch Linda off the floor to come and talk with him. I'm not gonna ask you to go 'cause I know you gotta stay on the door and all. After we talk to Linda and Casey, we're gonna disappear out of your life with no one the wiser about your former life at Joe's. How's that?"
"Well, uh, yeah...I think we could do that, except it's a communal dressing room. A couple of the girls might be in there changing outfits...I don't know how they'll feel about you guys invading their privacy."
"Duh, dude, they're peelers, okay? This ain't the New York Ballet. These girls take everything off onstage. How shy could they be?"
"I guess you're right." Kyle flushed slightly. "All right, the kid can wait there. But he can't touch anything, though. That's really important."
"This boy is very well-behaved, not to mention religious," said Dee with a totally straight face. "I guarantee he won't touch anything. He won't even LOOK anywhere that God would disapprove of"
"Okay then, hang on." Kyle signaled to a gum-chewing waitress, who came over to them looking curious. "Miri," he said. "These guys are friends of Linda and Casey. Can you take the kid to the dressing room please?"
Miri stared from Kyle to Bikky and back to Kyle, but didn't bat an eye. "What's ya name, kid?" She had a pretty Asian face, but a harsh voice like a crow's.
"Bikky," he responded. "Um, that's a really nice...apron you're wearing, Miri."
A small smile twitched at the corner of her mouth. "You like it, huh?" she cawed.
"You ain't seen nothing, yet. Follow me, and stick close, okay?"
"Yes, ma'a---" Bikky was rendered speechless when she turned around revealing that there was basically no back to her outfit except a silky black thong which parted the globes of her bare buttocks.
"Go on, Bik," said Dee, with a smirk. "I'll be right there with Linda, as soon as I find her."
Bikky flashed him a quick grin before scampering off after Miri's shapely form.
They exited The North Pole more than two hundred dollars richer, and just as they got outside, Dee's cell phone rang. He looked at the call display. "Whew," he said to Bikky. "It's Ryo. Good timing huh? I'm glad he didn't call while we were in the club. That bump and grind music would've been a dead giveaway." Bikky nodded and Dee said, "Yo, Ryo!" into the phone.
"Dee, it's almost nine. Please tell me you're close to home."
"Well, not exactly. The brat's been having a good night, moneywise-- Hey Bikky! How much are we at?"
"Hear that Ryo? He's pulled in over five hundred bucks. Pretty good, huh?" There was a pause. "You wanna talk to him? Hey Bikky, talk to Ryo." Dee handed him the phone and listened to Bikky explaining that his homework was at least half completed because he had gotten some of it done with Carol before dinner.
Bikky was somewhat subdued when he finally handed the phone back to Dee. Dee assured Ryo that they would be home in less than half an hour. "And we're hungry," he added. "Right, Bikky?"
Bikky nodded enthusiastically. He was starving, as a matter of fact.
"Okay babe. Love you." Dee snapped the phone closed and put it away. "He's making us some soup," he informed Bikky.
"I hope it's not cream of celery," said Bikky, who was looking a little down.
"How much homework you got left?"
"Four pages of math and the conclusion of my book report. It's about 45 minutes worth if I don't do a totally kick-ass job on it."
"You'll get it done. You should try to start on it the minute you get home, though. Let me know if you need some help."
Dee tried not to grin. That was the second 'thanks' he had gotten from Bikky that evening. One more and he would know for sure that he was in the Twilight Zone. "So are you all ready for your interview with the Queens police tomorrow?"
"I s'pose so." Bikky looked uncomfortable. "Apparently they're coming to the 27th to meet with us."
"Did Ryo tell you anything about what to expect?"
"No, he never tells me anything unless he wants me to do something for him like run down a missing witness." Bikky kicked at a McDonald's wrapper.
"Now that's not fair," Dee said. "It was only one time and it was only Eddie. Ryo was worried about him. It sure would have been better for everybody if Eddie could have just stayed alive." He sighed, and so did Bikky. "Anyway," he continued. "I can't tell you anything about tomorrow, but I'll give you a heads up on two important points. You listening to me?"
"Yeah," said Bikky, forgetting to act nonchalant. Dee did in fact have his undivided attention.
"All right then. First, get ready to be surprised when they question you, and not in a good way. There are a couple of things you don't know and when they pitch 'em at you, you're gonna probably be upset. Second, the chick who's gonna question you has a really nice rack. They move when she breathes and it's really hard not to look. So be prepared and don't stare, especially in front of Carol. Okay? Now don't say I never give you any good advice."
end of chapter 31
Additional author's notes: So far I am trying to refrain from being too specific about Bikky's neighborhood. It seems to me that NYC has changed a lot over the past five or ten years, and is still changing. Therefore, the dangerous neighborhood I pick today could be a cleaned up yuppie area in a few years. I'm hoping that this story will be able to withstand the years without sounding too hopelessly dated in the future.
Thanks to loki_the_fraud for all the great info! I made the Empire State Building lights blue just for you.