Mitch Edwards has it made: at twenty-nine, he’s just been named partner at one of the largest law firms in the city and he’s just bought his first house. But he has the feeling something is missing, and he’s pretty sure he knows what it is. So when the woman he’s been dating goes out of town for three weeks, he seizes the opportunity and summons the courage to visit a gay bar.
He takes Rion Murphy home, and they hit it off so well that after a few weeks of exploration on Mitch’s part, they decide to make the arrangement more permanent. But then Mitch’s past catches up with him, and it’s up to Rion to help him cope.
Rion and I had just finished round one when my BlackBerry rang.
“Maybe I should ignore it,” I said.
“At least look at the number.”
I reached across him and retrieved the phone. “Don’t recognize it.”
“Better answer it, then.”
I did so, and listened for a minute or two. “I’ll be there in ten minutes,” I said.
“Who was that?”
“Alarm company. I need to go check my house.”
“We’d better get dressed.”
“I can handle it.”
“It’s late, and I’m not letting you out of my sight.”
Rion drove, and we pulled up in front of my house less than ten minutes later. We walked up to the front door, and I used my spare key to unlock it.
“Front door looks okay,” I said, and I went inside and used the keypad to shut off the alarm. “Why don’t you wait here for the cops while I check the back door?”
I found that the backdoor had been jimmied open, so I stepped out onto the porch. “Nobody here,” I said, raising my voice so Rion could hear me.
I turned to inspect the door more closely and thought I heard a noise. Before I could investigate, there was a searing pain in my back, and a female voice screamed, “You bastard!”
Oh shit, it’s Rosalie. Before I could turn around to face her, there was more pain, and the world went black.
When I came to, I hurt everywhere, and Rion was sitting on the floor cradling my head in his lap. “Hang on, babe,” he said. “I called 911 and help is on the way.”
“Wallet,” I said. “Dan Mahoney’s card. Call his cop friend. Use Dan’s name.”
“On it,” he said.
I felt his hand fumbling at my hip, and the world went dark again. When I finally came to once more, I was aware of Rion’s somewhat haggard face hovering over me. “You look like shit,” I said.
“Yeah, but I can’t hold a candle to you.”
“ER at St. Vincent’s. They finished stitching you up a few minutes ago. I’m gonna let them know you’re awake in a minute. First, I have a confession to make.”
“When I said that I wasn’t ready to use the L word, I lied. I was ready then, and I’m ready now.”
“I guess that makes two of us.”
“Good. I’m gonna go let them know you’re awake.”
He disappeared from view for a minute, then returned, accompanied by a young man in scrubs.
“I’m Dr. Sylvester,” the man said. “How do you feel?”
“Yeah, I imagine you do. You had multiple stab wounds and a collapsed lung.”
He put his stethoscope to my chest. Then he took another tool and peered into my eyes. When he paused for a moment, I said, “Rion.”
“Don’t you have Sam’s number?”
“Give him a call and let him know I won’t be playing racquetball with the guys for a few days -- he’ll need to find a new partner.”
“Make that a few weeks,” Dr. Sylvester said.
“I’ll take care of it,” Rion said.
“What’s next, Doc?” I said.
“We’ll get you admitted and upstairs to a room. We need to keep an eye on that lung for a day or so. We managed to get it reinflated, but it’s not too late to rule out surgery if it doesn’t heal properly.”
“You’re lucky to be alive -- you lost a lot of blood.”
“I didn’t mean to sound ungrateful.”
“Captain Martin from the Sheriff’s Office is waiting outside,” Rion said, “and he has one of his lieutenants with him. They want to ask you some questions.”
“They can talk to him, but make it quick,” the doc said. “The drugs are going to kick in soon, and he’ll be out of it for a while.”
Rion disappeared again and then returned with a good-looking blond man and a female who looked vaguely Hispanic. “I’m George Martin,” the man said, “and this is Lieutenant Sanchez. I’m turning the case over to her, and she has some questions to ask.”
“Don’t I know you from somewhere?”
“I don’t think so.”
“Your face is familiar. In any case, shoot.”
“Mr. Edwards,” she said, “do you know who did this to you?”
“That psycho bitch.”
“There’s a lot of that going around, Sir. Can you narrow it down to just one psycho bitch in particular?”
“Did you get a look at her?”
“She stabbed me from behind, but I recognized her voice when she yelled ‘you bastard’. I don’t remember much after that.”