Sidebars are stories set in the Spy vs. Spook/Mann of My Dreams universe. The stories in this book are told from three different points of view: William Matheson’s, covering the majority of the events from 2002 to 2009, including his work at the WBIS and his relationship with Theo Bascopolis, a former rent boy.
Contains the stories:
Is It You?: Wills meets Theo Bascopolis and wonders if he could be the one.
Sway: Wills goes along with Theo’s assumption that he can’t dance.
This Simple Phrase: Wills and Theo spend their first Christmas together.
Goodbye to Love: Wills returns home to the apartment he shares with Theo to find his lover has left him. Wills intends to discover why.
To Be Loved: Wills has asked Theo to marry him, and they celebrate their first Easter as engaged men in Cambridge with Wills’s family.
P.S. I Love You: Wills and Theo get married and welcome a new addition to their little family.
Dedicated to the One I Love: In 2004, same-sex marriage becomes legal in Massachusetts. For their first anniversary, Wills decides to take advantage of that and takes Theo to Cambridge so they can be legally married.
Happy Anniversary, Baby Redux: It’s Mark and Quinn’s anniversary, and Mark muses about how they got there.
The Very Best Christmas Ever (So Far): Pat Mulcahy, aka the Antichrist, has turned his life around and now lives with the Mathesons. On the trip to Washington, he meets someone who just might make this the best Christmas ever for him.
When Complications Arrive at Your Door: This is the missing epilogue from Complications. Rebecca Goddard, daughter of the former WBIS doctor, has decided making herself scarce after Mark Vincent discovered her part in the events that went down in 2004 is a good idea. Five years later, she’s no longer looking over her shoulder, but maybe she should be.
Trick or Treat: It’s Halloween, and Wills and Theo take their children trick or treating.
Happy Birthday, Baby Redux: Mark Vincent has a birthday coming up, but his husband is out of town and won’t be there to celebrate with him. In addition, it’s snowing.
EXCERPT FROM "To Be Loved"
“They don’t know you at all, do they?”
“Your family. They talk about you as if you’re the most easy-going person in the world, as if you wouldn’t harm a fly.”
“I hate flies.”
He laughed, a choking sound that hid tears. “They didn’t see you that night in the bus depot. Would you -- would you have shot those cops?”
“If they hadn’t let you and JR go? In a heartbeat.”
“I’m sorry, Wills. It just ... It felt like the end of the world. I didn’t have anyone to turn to.”
“Now you know you do.” I drew in a breath. “I’m sorry, too. I over-reacted. I just don’t want anyone hurting Theo.”
“I promise I won’t say anything about anything.”
“Fair enough. Now, if something like that ever comes up again, call us. If Theo can’t help, I will.”
“You’d ... you’d do that for me?”
“Sure. You’re part of the family now.”
“You’re welcome.” I pulled into a parking spot not too far from Whole Foods. “Okay. Now where -- shit, I must have left the shopping list at home.”
“I’ve got it.” Pat was holding it in his left hand.
“Good man. Let’s go. And watch your arm. It’s gonna be a madhouse in there.” I locked the car and found a shopping cart. I didn’t think a basket would carry everything we’d wind up getting. Even though the list wasn’t long, I knew I’d find things I wanted for both Theo and me, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Pat added a few extra things.
“Could we ... could we stop at Paine’s Candy Shoppe?”
“Sounds like a good idea. Dad always took us there to get chocolate for Easter.”
“JR told me. I have a little money. I’d like to get something for Mrs. M.”
“Jill isn’t that fond of chocolate.”
Pat finally grinned. “Maybe before she was pregnant, but who do you think those bags of M&Ms on the list are for?”
“Nope. Didn’t she have any cravings with Marti?”
“Yeah. Anchovies in strawberry sauce.”
“Yeah, I know what you mean. It wasn’t too bad with Jar. We just had to make sure we kept in a supply of Milk Bone.”
“Dog biscuits?” His eyes were huge.
“That’s why we think he’s so good with Deety.”
“Yeah.” I laughed. “I am.”
“Uh ... Wills.” He suddenly sounded nervous, and I had to stop myself from reaching for the gun I wasn’t carrying.
“That’s ... uh ...”
A tall boy stopped in front of us. He was staring at Pat’s casted arm.
“Would you mind stepping aside?” I asked.
He met my eyes. Behind the Ben Franklin glasses he wore, his own eyes were large and wary. “I’m ... I’m Andy Hancock.”
“He’s ... uh ... He’s the boy I mentioned,” Pat whispered.
“You told him about us?” Andy looked pissed. “I’m not surprised. It’s what I expected of someone nicknamed Damien!”
Pat didn’t flinch, but I could see what it cost him not to. I found myself feeling protective of him.
“Pat didn’t name names, if that’s what had you worried.”
“Oh. I’m ... I’m sorry. I --”
“But you’ve just outed yourself,” I interrupted. “Pat, do me a favor and get the flounder?” The family never ate meat on Good Friday, and when I was with them, neither did I.
“Will three pounds be enough?”
“There’ll be eight of us. Better make it four pounds.”
“Okay, Wills.” He walked away without looking at Andy again.
“Leave him alone, Hancock.”
“It’ll be my pleasure! Uh ... What happened to his arm?”
“What does your family think about you being gay?”
He blinked at the abrupt change of subject. “They’re not thrilled and they don’t understand, but they want me to be happy.”
“You’re one of the lucky ones.” So was I. I thought for a second about Theo, who’d been thrown out like so much trash. “Pat’s father wasn’t thrilled, he didn’t understand, and he didn’t care a hill of beans about his happiness. You asked about Pat’s arm. His father broke it trying to beat the gay out of him.”
The kid turned white. “I didn’t know.”
“It’s not something Pat wants strangers to know.”
His control wasn’t as good as Pat’s. He flinched. “I’m ... I’m not a stranger.”
“Why? Because you let him blow you?”
“No, I f --” He turned red and shut up.
“Grow up. And leave Pat alone. He’s part of my family now, and I take care of my family.”
There was a soft touch to my arm, and I started to reach for the Glock again. Shit. My attention had been so focused on this clown that I hadn’t realized anyone was approaching us.
“Here’s the fish, Wills.”
“Thanks, Pat. Let’s go. We’re done here.”