Christopher Minnick is at a bad place in his life. Turning thirty and newly out of the hospital, the last thing he wants to do is attend a birthday dinner, even one thrown in his honor.
When he is introduced to a friend's godson, things just might be starting to look up.
Or are they?
Victor Polidori seems like the perfect man. He’s clever, attractive and interested. But, even as Christopher finds himself falling in love, there are some things that just don’t add up. And when bodies start disappearing, Christopher knows he must get to the bottom of it.
Will Christopher find his happily ever after or is it true what they say? All the good ones are either married or straight.
Or they're necrophiliacs.
I’d just finished saying my goodbyes to Nathan and Amber, a couple with a shop just down from mine. I had promised to stop by the following week, to help them identify the age of what they thought was probably a Scandinavian trunk, when Lee came to stand beside me.
“I’m glad to see you looking so much better. You had me worried there for a few days.”
“Thanks, I appreciate it.” I really did. It was nice to know there was still someone that worried after me. “I also really appreciate this evening. I had a good time, and I think I needed it.”
He patted my shoulder before slipping into a long coat in a soft gray. It worked with his complexion and the silver of his hair.
“I want you to take care of yourself, Christopher. You need to be with people, and none of this running yourself ragged at that little shop with what amounts to no help. You need money, you come to me.” I didn’t even know what to say. “And you come visit. I only have you and Binky now, you know. And don’t just text. I despise all these texts. People need in-person, face-to-face. It’s healthier.”
I pulled Lee into a tight hug, thanking him again, before he headed out of the restaurant door and to the curb. Through the front window, I watched him claim his car from the valet, and waved when he held up his hand in a final farewell.
He was probably the closest person I had in my life, more like family, really, than a friend.
“Did you need a ride home?”
I turned to give Vic a smile. “Thanks, but I just live down the street.”
“Could I walk you home, then?”
I almost said no. “Sure.”
We said our goodbyes to the last few stragglers before pushing our way out onto the sidewalk. I pointed north, and we started in that direction.
“So,” I began after a few moments of silence. “How is it that Lee dragged you out here this evening.”
Vic laughed. “I asked to tag along, actually.”
I turned to find him watching me, a smile on that lovely mouth. It was flattering really, and it had been a good long time since I had noticed anyone looking at me in that way.
“Why in God’s name did you want to do that?”
“I was curious, mostly. I stopped by your hospital room a couple of times, but you were asleep.” I’d rather have not known that. “I happened to see your paperwork come through the ER. I figured there couldn’t have been too many Christopher Minnicks, and I’d heard Lee talk about you for years.”
I found it odd that Lee had never talked to me about him.
“So, you’re how he found out I was admitted? I’d wondered about that.”
“Yeah, hope you don’t mind. I called him first thing.”
I didn’t. It would have been another matter completely if he had somehow managed to contact my parents. We hadn’t spoken in years, and I was pretty sure they wouldn’t have come anyway, but it wasn’t something I wanted confirmed.
“No. That’s okay. I would have told him myself when I was up to it.”
We chatted a little more about nothing important, huddled into our jackets. Late September was still warm enough during the day, but in the evenings it had already started to dip into the fifties. As much as I hated anything over seventy-two, I hated anything under sixty even more.
“This is me here,” I said, indicating the building just ahead. “It was very nice meeting you, Vic. Thanks for the company.”
He held out his hand, and I took it, shaking and letting go. I almost convinced myself that this was all there would be, surprised at my own disappointment, when he asked, “Would you be interested in going out sometime? I’m on a two-week rotation, so I’m working nights for the next two weeks straight, but after? Would you like to maybe have dinner?”
I smiled, taking a moment to answer. Not because I didn’t know what the answer would be, but so I wouldn’t come across too fucking eager.
“Yes, I’d like that.”
We exchanged numbers, me adding my number to his phone, him adding his to mine. It was exciting in a weird way, like all little firsts are when you meet someone you like, someone you could, maybe, really like. He snapped a picture of me to add to his contacts, and I made a goofy face, not comfortable with having a pale, overly thin, version of myself on his phone.
We said our goodbyes again, this time exchanging a quick hug, and he watched me until I made it inside my building. What he thought he might be protecting me from, I didn’t know. He was only the slightest amount taller than my six foot, and no broader. If I had somehow gotten myself in trouble in the eight steps it took to reach my door, we probably would have both gotten our asses kicked.
Still, it was a nice gesture, and I couldn’t stop myself watching from my apartment window until he was long gone.