As a long haul trucker, Bryce was never in any one area long enough to make connections, if he’d wanted anyone to be anything more than a stranger. That the safest way, but not for the reason Rod assumed. What did he know? Rod had never even had the guts to come out of the closet as a gay man.
Any involvement in Rod's problems put Bryce in risk of drawing unwanted and dangerous attention to himself. Some stranger’s safety after witnessing a murder was not his concern. Would telling himself that enough times keep Bryce from getting involved?
Rod could at least follow orders. Hanging on like a leech, he mimicked every move Bryce made, while they whipped through alleyways and shot through intersections until Bryce was certain they weren’t being followed. Pulling into an alley, he killed his headlight, backed the bike in between two dumpsters and cut the engine. Not until that moment did he think about what the hell he’d done. Furious with himself for getting involved, Bryce stomped down the kickstand, shook Rod loose, jumped off the bike, and pulled Rod up with the front of his shirt.
“What the hell is going on?”
“I saw them kill someone,” he answered matter-of-factly.
Rod’s calm tone and words only served to make Bryce madder. He shoved, not caring that Rod sprawled on the ground from the force he used. “Are you so stupid you didn’t call the cops?”
Pushing himself up to sit, his shoes blinking on and off every time his heels touched the ground, Rod told him with the same calm voice, “They are the cops.”
“I saw two of them kill a woman. I called 911, told them there’d been a killing, gave them the cross streets, and hung up. I was moving carefully, afraid they’d see the movement, when another car pulled up, unmarked but with one of those flashing lights in the grill. I thought it strange that they got there so fast and drove straight up to the potentially dangerous scene without using any precautions. Then they got out of the car. From the way the killers acted, I surmised the cops had told them someone had seen them and called it in. I ran when they pulled out their guns. I didn’t think they saw me well enough to know what I looked like if I changed my appearance a little.”
Rod shifted, moving to stand and setting off his blinking shoes. In a fury, Bryce shoved him back down and ripped one shoe off his foot. He waved the shoe in front of his face. “They didn’t have to see your face, you dumb shit.” He ripped off the second shoe and tossed both. “What idiot adult wears blinking shoes?”
“They were a gift. Can I get up now?”
“I don’t care what the fuck you do. I’m out of here.”
Back on his feet, Rod brushed off his ass. “Thank you.”
Bryce’s eyes fixed on the patting and brushing Rod was doing to his ass and damned if he wasn’t getting hard. He shook himself, straddled the bike, and heeled up the kickstand. He was not going to let the little creep get to him. “Where’s my jacket?”
Finished with dusting off his ass, Rod brushed his hands together. “I don’t have it.”
“You lost it. That’s just great. Thanks.”
“I didn’t take it. It was on the bed the last time I saw it. It must have fallen off.”
“It’s probably gone by now.” The bike hummed to life between Bryce’s legs. “I ought to rip your head off just for the hell of it.”
He left Rod standing there in a dirty alley, barefoot, alone, probably scared half out of his mind—all things Bryce told himself were not his concern.