Three ~ Butch
I tossed back the rest of my scotch then waved my empty tumbler in the air. The bartender gave me one of those looks.
“If I wanted judgement, I’d have gone to visit the Sister’s over at Holy Mother of the Sepulture. Just pour me another drink.” He glanced at the clock on the wall. I rolled my eyes. Yeah, I knew it was twenty after ten in the morning. Did I look stupid? “Your point?”
The lanky man with a severe receding hairline shot me a glare but did pour me two more fingers of Johnnie Walker Blue. I lifted the glass to my lips just as Onyx laughed. I winced. Not because his laugh was grating, far from it. It was a deep, rich laugh that ran over my skin like warm honey. No, I’d winced because stupid Ralph had said something witty. How an ass clown like Raphael could say something that funny boggled the imagination. Obviously, Onyx was putting on because there was no fucking way being funny could also be an attribute of that mans. He already had smoldering good looks, fine clothes, and enough suave confidence to sink a cruise ship. No way could the jerk be funny as well. God generally wasn’t that generous.
I tried to sip my drink and nonchalantly watch Onyx and Ralph in the mirror behind the bar. Everyone here was dining on eggs and shit, sipping imported coffee, and wearing Sergio Valente or whatever big name was popular now. I stood out like a canker sore on the end of your dick. Maybe it was the suit with the shiny elbows or the dress shirt with the frayed sleeves.
Maybe it’s the tumblers of JW Blue for breakfast, you putz.
Yeah, could be that. Onyx laughed again. My hackles rose like a bantam rooster. Fucking Ralph. I dug my cell out and rummaged around in my contacts until I found the number I was looking for. She answered, which was a surprise all in and of itself. I toyed with a pack of matches that bore the Calypso Room logo of two palm trees.
“What do you want?”
Ouch. Okay, that cold as balls greeting was probably warranted. I had kind of pulled a “Welp, that was fun but gotta go!” on her about twenty years ago. We’d been cooperative nemesis’ ever since.
“I love that lusty purr in your voice, Lucy.”
“Fuck. You. Hurler.”
I blew out an exasperated breath. Did I need this shit from her at this time of day? Onyx’s bright tinkly laugh floated into my free ear hole. I shoved the matches into my coat pocket. I could feel the urge to light up flaring to life. Fucking Ralph.
“I’m an asshole, I know. Listen, Lucy, I need a favor.” The busty redhead on the other end called me numerous foul things then insulted the size of my dick. “Those are all totally legitimate comments, but this favor isn’t for me. I have a friend who’s dating this Casanova type and I don’t want to see them get hurt. Can you run this jerk’s face through your facial recognition software for me?”
“The data banks of the CPD are not here for your entertainment.”
“What’ll it cost me?”
“A case of Cuervo.”
Uh-huh. Okay. “And what else?”
“Someone to drink it with me.”
“That’s cool. Let me snap a picture.” I had no intention of getting shit-faced with Lieutenant Lucy Williams again. That’s how we’d ended up being lovers in the first place, way back when we were both snot-nosed newbs fresh out of the academy. She’d stayed. I’d left. I didn’t want to question what a case of tequila would get me. Although, since I was using her to do some dirty tech work, how was I any better than the crooked cops I railed against? Gray areas were the shits. Still, I snapped a photo of Ralph as he gazed on Onyx as if he were the most beautiful creature on the planet. I mean, he was, but did the guy have to be so fucking blatant.? “What’s the sentence for gouging out eyeballs with a stainless steel bar spoon? Asking for a friend.”
I eyed the bartender’s tools with appreciation.
“With your connections? A slap on the wrist.”
“Noted.” I zipped the image of Ralph to Lucy. “How long?”
“As long as it takes me to enter the image into the database. This shit is extremely fast. We used it at the last CPD Pensioners Ball and we were clocking registrants in at about ten seconds per attendee.”
“Christ,” I mumbled, then flipped my shot glass over. I did need to drive home after all.
“Yeah, Big Brother is watching. Wow, this guy is a fucking looker. Can he bring the case of Cuervo over instead of you?”
“That would hurt if I had a heart. Just skip the commentary and tell me what you can find out.”
“Oh, shit. Okay well, you’re going to want to give your friend a thumbs-up. Raphael Ortez is Senator Abraham Michelson’s Constituent Services Representative.”
“Fuck me,” I sighed, twisting in my seat to give Ralph a good once-over.
That threw a twist into things. A sour twist. Senator Michelson was our boy Diamond’s daddy. His twin brother had been a pedophile who met an unfortunate end in one of those dark, deep whirlpools in the Colchester River. Shame about that. Man so young. Thoughts and prayers. The funeral service for the child molester had just taken place two days ago. Diamond had not attended, but the rest of his family had, as well as the oh-so mournful widow, Carlotta Bianchi-Michelson. And now, here was Onyx, sipping cranberry-orange mimosas with the Senator’s Constituent Services Rep? Coincidence? I think not…
“Yeah, he’s hot and highly connected. Single, too. Newly divorced, irreconcilable differences. No kids…owns a yellow lab named Penny…drives a vintage Mustang. If she doesn’t set the hook and reel him in I’m going to cast my lure.”
Yeah, his lust for beautiful gay X-dressers probably being one huge motherfucking difference the former Mrs. Ortez couldn’t reconcile.
“I’m thinking you don’t have the right kind of spinnerbait,” I mumbled, then thanked her and ended the call. Eying my upside-down tumbler, I mulled over if I’d flipped the glass too soon as well as a few dozen other things. Like the fact that Onyx was tiddling away the morning with a man that I now had some grave misgivings about. I glanced up from the small circle of scotch my glass was sitting in and checked the mirror. The table that Onyx and Ralph had been seated at two minutes ago was now empty.
“Motherfucker,” I spat.
Some old bat at the table nearest to the bar gasped. I tossed a twenty on the bar, grabbed my cell, and ran out of the Calypso Room at full speed. Heart slamming in my chest, I pounded to the elevator then beat on the G button. The doors opened. I pushed an older, well-dressed couple out of the lift, then slapped the down button with the palm of my hand. Repeatedly. The trip down took forever. Four floors. Ten years. When the door opened in the lobby, I sprinted to the front door and out into the sweltering city heat. There, by the curb, stood Onyx clapping and cooing as Ralph opened up the passenger side door on his mint condition ’67 midnight blue Mustang convertible coupe.
I whistled and both men’s heads, and several passerby’s, swung my way. I watched Onyx’s mouth drop open as he lowered his round sunglasses to stab me visually.
“Nope, nope. Sorry, no way.” I shoved Ralph aside then slammed the car door shut. “This date is over.”
“Now listen here!” Ralph sputtered. I rounded on him like a junkyard dog who’d had his favorite bone stolen.
“If you have a complaint, call the Gems main office. They’ll gladly refund your money.”
Ralph looked at Onyx who, it seemed, was too angry to speak. “Onyx, this is not how our previous brunches have ended. Is there some new protocol that I’m not aware of?”
“Yep,” I replied before Onyx could speak. “It’s called keeping our employees safe. If you’d like to lodge a grievance, call the main office and ask to speak to go fuck yourself.”
I took Onyx by the elbow. He pulled away. We repeated that a few times then, my patience at an end, I got really close to the irate escort in white and tipped my chin upward.
“Remember Amber,” I growled. Onyx’s stern chin softened. He swallowed then nodded, just once, before turning to address Ralph.
“I must go. We’ve installed some new high security measures, which are all quite temporary, due to some unfortunate things taking place. I hope this won’t sully our relationship. I do so look forward to our brunches!”
Ralph opened his mouth to reply. I got myself wedged between him and Onyx, then gently placed a hand on Onyx’s lower back and steered him down the street and around the corner. My SUV sat parked alongside the curb. Even though it was close to ninety already the air wafting off Onyx felt arctic. I pushed the unlock button on my key fob, then hit the button to start the SUV so the AC would kick on, not that Onyx needed to cool down. He was chilly as fuck.
The concussive force of my Caddy blowing up hit like a sledgehammer to the gut. I dove at Onyx as flames blew skyward and windows shattered.