by Tim Mead
Consciousness came in increments. Grant knew he was awake. He was spooned up against Jake, his morning erection nestled between Jake's butt cheeks, his arm around Jake's chest. From the regularity of his partner's breathing he knew or thought he knew that Jake was still asleep.
Giving in to temptation, he humped gently a couple of times. Then, thinking better of it, he disentangled himself, lifted the covers, swung his feet to the floor, and sat up.
"Don' go `way," Jake mumbled. "I thought you were gonna make love to me."
"Gotta whiz. Be right back."
When Grant slid back under the covers and kissed his lover, Jake said, "Mmm, you rinsed. I'd better go do that, too."
A moment or so later, Jake was back under the covers.
"Now, where were we?"
"You were asking about making love."
"Yeah, you should have kept on when you started humping me."
"I thought you were asleep. Wouldn't that have been rape?"
"Nope. I'm willing. Even if I'm asleep. Can you think of a better way to wake up?"
Grant chuckled. "No, now that you mention it, I can't. So, you wanna hand me the lube?"
* * *
"What's happening?" Grant asked Stonesifer as he arrived at work.
"Things are blissfully quiet, sir."
He poured himself a cup of coffee and went into his office, where he hung up his overcoat. Stonesifer had left a stack of mail on his desk.
He sipped the coffee and thought back to the morning's activities with Jake. God, he'd been missing so much! His occasional brief affairs and discreet one night stands over the years hadn't been nearly as satisfying as his new partnership with Jake. He felt a bit giddy about the whole thing. Like a teen with his first crush.
Here at the office, however, things were different.
Grant had not told anyone on the Force he was gay, whatever their suspicions might have been. He'd tacitly let Stonesifer know because he was sure he could trust his young assistant not to tell anyone else. But Colby was a relatively small city, and the Force was a tight-knit group. At least gossip went the rounds quickly, both in the city and in the police department.
He and Jake went about their lives without show or fuss, but they were no longer hiding their relationship. Anyone who was curious might have seen Grant entering or leaving Jake's Colby condo some weeknights -- or weekday mornings. They had more privacy at Grant's place in the country, but it was only a matter of time before the mailman or someone reported in the barbershop or bar that the professor spent most of his weekends there.
At any rate, though no one had actually said anything, he was getting strange looks from men he'd worked with for years. There had been no further angry words between Grant and Chief Boros, but Boros was now all business, and none too pleasant about it, either. The same was true of Grant's counterpart in the uniformed division, Carl Bongiovanni. They'd never been close, but they'd always worked together amicably enough. Now, on the infrequent occasions when they had to talk Captain Bongiovanni had been curt to the point of rudeness. The same was almost true of Bradovich, except that as a sergeant he had to keep his contempt under control when around his supervisor. And then there was Hotchkiss. Only a patrolman, he'd tried the sergeant's exam at least twice without being able to pass it. His homophobia was so rampant as to earn him at least one official reprimand from Bongiovanni. Ironic, that. Grant suspected there were others, especially in the uniformed division, who shared Hotchkiss's views. They just had sense enough to keep their mouths shut.
Grant's thoughts were interrupted by a phone call. After he hung up, he grabbed his letter opener and started in on the morning mail. . . .
* * *
Jake had to take a candidate for a job in his department to dinner that evening, so the two lovers didn't get together until the next night, which, since it was a Friday, was at Grant's house. As was often the case, Jake used his key to get in and then took Archie for a walk before Grant arrived home.
They worked together fixing their supper. After they had eaten and loaded the dishwasher, they were sitting together, shoes off, feet on the coffee table, looking at the fire.
"Want to turn on tv?" Jake asked.
"How about some music?"
"Yeah, that'd be nice."
"Anything in particular?"
Grant looked at Jake and smiled. "No. Whatever you want will be good."
Soon the room was filled with the sounds of John Williams playing Spanish music on the classical guitar.
Jake returned to his place on the sofa and put his arm around Grant, who then rested his head on Jake's shoulder.
"Rough week, babe?"
"I'm okay, Jakey. Just glad to be here." He paused. "With you."
Jake kissed the little bald spot near the back of the top of Grant's head.
"Anything you want to tell me?"
"No, let's just enjoy the moment, okay?"
When the CD finished, Jake gave Grant a peck on the cheek.
"You almost dozed off, I think. Want a snack?"
Grant smiled. "No, but I gotta pee. Be right back." While he was in the downstairs bathroom, he heard more guitar coming from the stereo, but this time it was Earl Klugh playing "Midnight in San Juan."
"Nice choice," he said to Jake when they settled together on the couch.
They were silent, listening to the music and watching the dying fire for a few minutes.
"There is something, I suppose, but if I tell you about it you'll think it's your fault."
Jake pulled away so he could face Grant. "Sweetie, I don't know what to say to that."
Grant sighed. "It's nothing important. But I now have subscriptions to the Under Gear and International Male catalogs, and they're coming to the office."
"You sexy dog. Does that mean I can look forward to seeing you in thongs and bikini briefs?"
Despite himself, Grant smiled. "Of course not. It just means I'm being harassed by someone at work. Stonesifer hasn't said anything, but I think he thinks it's funny."
"You don't suppose he did it?"
"Oh, I'm sure he didn't. Wouldn't. He's pretty loyal. I suspect he thinks of me as an ally, or a protector."
"Are you going to try to find out who's responsible?"
"No, it's not worth the effort. I've instructed Ray to trash them when they come in." He stretched and yawned. "It's just such a petty, sneaky thing to do."
"Indeed. Are you still getting snarls from some of your colleagues?"
"Nothing I can't handle."
"If they did something more overt, you could always go after them for violating the county's policies."
"Yeah. Boros and Bongiovanni don't have to like me, so long as we can work together. And Bradovich had better watch his step. He's been pretty surly a couple of times recently."
"If he knows how the Chief feels, he probably thinks you can't or won't do anything."
Grant ran his fingers through his thinning hair and said, "Yep."
"How would you like to go to bed?"
"It's a little early to go to sleep, isn't it?"
"Who said anything about sleep?"
"Oh, in that case, maybe you'd do the thing you do with your finger?"
"Baby, I've got a much better tool for giving prostate massages than my finger."
"Yeah, but you can't do that when my cock's in your mouth."
* * *
The next day the two did their new Saturday routine of working out at the gym and then shopping for groceries. As they were driving back to Grant's house afterward, Jake said, "Let's take a vacation from cooking this evening."
"I'll cook and you can take a vacation, Jake, if that's what you want."
"No, I meant let's eat out. In fact, let's splurge and go to Adrian's."
"No special occasion. I like it! We'd better call for a reservation as soon as we get home."
"Why wait?" Jake pulled his cell phone from his jacket pocket and pushed a button or two.
"You've got Adrian's on your speed dial?"
"I've got lots of numbers on my speed dial."
The reservation was made for 6:30.
That afternoon Jake went back to Colby to dust and vacuum his condo, while Grant did the same thing at his place. He was reading the latest Lescroart novel when Archie jumped up and trotted off to the front door, tail wagging enthusiastically. Grant took off his reading glasses and stood.
"I swear, Arch, you like him more than you do me." Then he thought of the night before. "But that's okay. He makes me want to wag my tail, too."
Jake came through the door with a suit in a plastic bag slung over his shoulder. He grinned. "Wow! A welcoming committee. I like that."
Grant took the suit and hung it on the hall tree as Jake stooped to pet Archie.
When Jake stood up, the two shared an affectionate kiss.
"So we're getting duded up this evening?" Grant asked.
"Well of course. It's Adrian's."
"Sure you don't want to go to Damon's and just wear jeans? I wear a suit to work every day."
"Yeah, it's a shame about you executive types. But I'd hate to cancel our reservations this late. Wouldn't want to have Adrian pissed at us." He paused, scratching his jaw. "Of course, you could wear jeans to his place."
In mock horror, Grant said, "Heaven forbid!"
Although they'd showered at the gym that morning, both decided to shower again. Grant decided he'd better shave again, as well. He felt an almost indescribable pleasure at the thought of going to dinner at a fine restaurant with Jake. A sense of occasion, though there was nothing special about this day. He was going to get dressed up and go out with his man. His man! Right there in Colby. Oh, he and Jake had appeared in public before, but somehow this evening seemed to symbolize his unofficial coming out. It was far more than a date, something less than an engagement party.
When they were both dressed and ready to leave, Jake looked at him and said, "Woof!"
Grant grinned and woofed in return. Archie, who'd had his walk and his dinner, merely looked up at them, head cocked to one side, obviously puzzled by what his humans were doing.
Adrian's was much as usual on a Saturday night, busy but hushed. The maitre d' greeted them.
"Good Evening, Dr. Handley, Captain Grant. Welcome to Adrian's. If you'll follow Lawrence, he'll take you to your table."
Lawrence led the way. When they got to the table, he gave them menus and told them that Ferde would be their server and that he would be there momentarily.
And so it went.
They had wine and an appetizer. They told Ferde what they wanted as the main course. Then they chatted.
"I've been meaning to ask you, what happened to that nasty kid, Pittston?"
"Can't tell you much. He's working harder in my class. I'm surprised he didn't drop it, but I think the Dean and his advisor told him he'd better stay in there. I kind of feel sorry for him, though. He'll probably think I'll give him an F because of what he did."
"But you wouldn't do that."
"Exactly. I suppose I should reassure him that I won't, but on the other hand, it's good to see him working up to his ability."
"How do things stand with him and his father?"
"Don't know about that, either, except that he is getting counseling. I just hope they get it all sorted out."
"You've got a good heart, Jakey."
They continued to exchange tidbits of information about their jobs for a while.
Ferde came by to offer them refills on their drinks, which they accepted.
"Jim, I got a nice note from Paul Michaels this morning."
Jake grinned. "He's the `man in black' you asked me about."
"Oh, the guy you were supposed to be getting so friendly with at Nelly's?"
"Hey, I don't know what your spy thought he saw, but I was just having a pleasant dinner with a colleague. He and I have a lot in common, but since he's English, he has a different perspective on a lot of things, too. I've explained all that, haven't I?"
"Yeah, lover. So what did the fascinating Dr. Michaels say in his note?"
"He asked me to leave you and come live with him in Yorkshire."
Grant raised an eyebrow. "You're shitting me!"
"Yep," Jake said, grinning. "Actually he merely thanked me for the evening. He knew the university was springing for the meal, but he appreciated my spending the time with him."
Grant, who wasn't really as jealous as he'd pretended to be, let the matter drop.
Then they talked about upcoming events on campus, the mediocre season the CSU basketball team was having, and eventually turned to politics.
Finally, Jake asked, "Jim, do you ever remember waiting this long to be served here before?"
Grant looked at his watch. "No. I mean, they usually do thing in a leisurely fashion, but it's been a while."
"I'm sure that couple over there came in after we did, and they're nearly finished with their meal."
Just then they heard someone practically shouting in the kitchen.
"Uh oh," Grant said. "I think I know that voice."
"Sounds like French. It must be your old flame, unless Adrian has more than one French chef."
"Wonder what has him upset. He can be emotional, but he's also a consummate pro in the cuisine."
A nervous Ferde brought them another basket of bread and said he was sure their meals would be there pronto.
But the entrees didn't arrive. Instead Adrian Lynch arrived, looking uncharacteristically ill at ease.
"Gentlemen, we have a problem in the kitchen, and I need to ask you a big favor."
Grant said, "It sounds like the problem in the kitchen is Albert."
Adrian nodded. "Yes, it is."
"Strange. Albert's such a pro."
"Normally, yes. But this evening he refuses to continue unless . . ."
"Unless what?" Jake asked.
"Unless you leave."
"Damn!" Grant said.
"What's the problem?" Jake asked, obviously puzzled.
Adrian cleared his throat, his usual poise having deserted him. He looked at Grant. "He said you wouldn't come out for him, but you'd come out for this, uh, for Dr. Handley here. So he simply refuses to cook for you."
"Poor Albert," Grant said. "I never thought of that. We shouldn't have come."
"Captain Grant, of course you should have come. I'm furious that Albert has so little self control. He's creating the kind of problem I simply won't tolerate."
"Adrian, please go easy on him. Jake and I will leave. We don't want to disrupt your procedures on such a busy evening."
Lynch looked relieved. "Jim, you're most kind. The next time you favor us with your presence you and Jake will be my guests. And I assure you nothing like this will ever happen again."
"So if Ferde will bring us the bill for the wine and our appetizers . . ."
"Not at all. I'm terribly sorry, and I'm most grateful that you understand."
Jake left a tip for Ferde, and they exited the restaurant, the recipients of curious stares from many of the patrons.
In the car on the way home, Jake was laughing.
"Really, Jakey, I feel sorry for Albert. I never thought that our going there was like rubbing his nose in it."
"Yeah, I feel sorry for him, too. But it was fun seeing Adrian so uncomfortable. When he's in the restaurant he's got a poker up his ass. Socially, though, he can be delightful."
"Well, at the moment I'm hungry. What do you suggest?"
"The drive up window at BK?"
"Oh, I'd love a greasy cheeseburger and fries!"
Rather than drive all the way back to Grant's house with their food, they parked in the Burger King lot to eat.
"Don't get grease on that suit."
"Nor you! That's a Countess Mara tie!"
After a period of munching, Grant said, "You know, I'm surprised that Adrian and Tom are still together."
"Yeah. For years Junior had one college boy after another as his trophy. It's a change in pattern that he seems to have settled down."
"I don't think I knew that."
"Oh, yeah. Some time back he and David Cromer, you know, the landscaper, were an item. And more recently, he was being seen around town with the Cox kid, the one that's just back from the Marines."
"I thought those two were together now."
"They are. I wonder if they've talked about their experiences with Lynch."
"No doubt they have. I wonder what either of them saw in him?"
"Well, he is great looking."
"Yeah, but though he's good looking and can be pleasant in a social situation, he's altogether too oily for my taste."
When they arrived home, they got out of their suits and put on sweat pants. It was too late to build a fire, so they turned on the television, surfing until they found a Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire movie to watch.
When the credits were rolling, Jake said, "Let's go upstairs. I have a lot of making up to do."
"Yeah, babe. You didn't get the special dinner I wanted for you. We made your ex unhappy. We embarrassed Adrian."
Grant grabbed Jake and nuzzled his ear. "Maybe you do have some making up to do. What ya got in mind?"
* * *
As he drove into Colby on Monday morning, Grant was thinking of the night before. He grinned. Dr. Handley might be walking a little funny that day. Jake had been so contrite about the experience at Adrian's, even though it wasn't his fault, that he'd insisted on being the bottom for the rest of the weekend.
Because of his crippled leg, Grant couldn't do anything on his hands and knees, but he and Jake had found other ways that worked. Jake seemed to enjoy impaling himself on the cock of the supine Grant and bouncing up and down, but they both enjoyed doing it on their sides. The best thing about that latter position was that they could go on indefinitely.
Grant squirmed in his leather bucket seat. `Gotta let Jakey do it to me tonight.'
When he arrived at his office, Stonesifer was already there, as always.
"Good morning, Captain. Have a good weekend?"
"Yeah. How about you?"
The young man's grin made Grant suspect they'd both had good weekends for the same reason.
Grant poured himself a cup of coffee and took a sip.
"You make good coffee, Ray. I don't tell you often enough how much I appreciate all you're doing here."
The younger man blushed. "It's just my job, sir."
"Yeah, I know. But you do your job well."
"Thank you, Captain."
"All's quiet so far."
Grant went into his office, turned on his computer, and checked for emails. He was going through them when his phone rang.
"Sir," Stonesifer said, "it's Lieutenant Marlowe."
"Put him on." He waited a moment and said, "Hi, Phil. What's up?"
"Nothing uber important, sir. But I was wondering if I could pop into your office for a moment."
"Yes, sir, if that's okay."
"Sure. Come on."
Five minutes later Marlowe was seated across the desk from Grant with a cup of Stonesifer's coffee.
"So, Phil, how was your weekend?"
"My weekend was fine, sir. How about yours?"
"Quiet. Pleasant." He grinned. "Very domestic, actually. The gym, grocery shopping, reading, doing a little housework."
The lieutenant smiled. "Sounds as if you and the professor have settled in."
"Well, we spend weekends at my place. I wish he'd move in with me, but he has the condo, and it is close to campus." Grant took a sip of his coffee and studied the face of his subordinate. How's the family?"
"Oh, we're all fine, thanks."
"So why are you here? Not that I'm not happy to chat with you, but I don't imagine you came to me this morning for Ray's coffee or to compare notes on our weekends. Got a problem with a pending case?"
Philip cradled his coffee mug in both hands. "No, it's more a personnel matter."
The lieutenant looked uncomfortable.
"It's just that, well, I've had to speak a couple of times to Bradovich."
"About?" Grant prompted.
"About his anti-gay comments. Mostly directed at you and Dr. Handley, though he's had some things to say about Anders and Moss in the PIO."
"Well, that's tricky. He's entitled to think and say what he wants. We can't infringe on that."
"Uh huh. I understand that. But he's violating the County's policies, I think, and he's getting pretty close to insubordination."
"You said you'd talked with him?"
"Yes, and he was pretty nasty. Implied that I was gay, too. And mentioned that Captain Bongiovanni and Chief Boros didn't want any gay people on the Force."
"Christ, Phil! I'm sorry that you had to be insulted because of me."
"I don't think it's an insult, Captain. I mean, I've got a wife and a kid, so what side of the street I walk is pretty clear. But, as I told him, sexual orientation is a private matter. I said if he continued to say disrespectful things, I'd have to look into filing charges against him for violation of the County's anti-discrimination policies."
Grant sighed. Then he leaned forward, clasping his hands together on his desk. "You've done the correct thing. And, on a personal level, I appreciate your support."
"Just between you and me, sir, I've given you an edited version of what he's been saying. I really wanted to clock the bastard. I'm trying very hard to be professional and fair."
"I'm sure you are. Whatever happens, don't do anything to jeopardize your own job. Thanks for letting me know. And keep me informed, okay?"
Grant stood and walked around his desk. He started to put his hand on Marlowe's shoulder but then thought better of it.
"Like I said, Phil, thanks."
On the way home Grant's thoughts returned to the previous evening. What Albert said was true. Grant had been unwilling to come out when he and Albert had been sleeping together. Though Grant's feelings for Jake were much different from those he'd had for Albert, it was, nevertheless, thoughtless of them to go there so soon after they began to be seen around town as a couple. After supper Grant penned a note to Albert, apologizing for offending him and thanking him for the happy memories he'd always have of their time together.
A few days later Cox Floral delivered a bouquet of lilacs with an effusively apologetic note from Albert.
To Be Concluded
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