A.J. followed Patrick into the room and waved at one of the two available seats in front of the desk. Patrick took the one on the far left and A.J. leaned against the desk.
“You know,” said A.J. “I saw a beverage cart in the other room.”
“Adam’s given me a cup of coffee.”
“Of course, he did." Patrick picked up on his tone and ignore it. Tell me, what happened to your hand, Mr. Valdez?” He glanced at his cut palm that an EMT bandaged.
“It happened on the gate at the cemetery when I tried to climb out to get away from Gavin’s killer.”
“I see. How about your evening before the cemetery, Mr. Valdez?”
“My father is Mr. Valdez. I prefer Patrick. Where do you want me to start?”
“Start with you meeting up with Gavin Martin.”
“Well, when we made plans to go out, I was at his place.”
“Where was that?”
“So the apartment next door is Gavin’s?”
“Building. He owns—owned it.”
“What time did you arrive at his place?”
“I came over early; around eight in the morning.”
“So you were with him most of the day?”
“Did you both stayed in until this evening?”
“Yes,” said Patrick, looking at his bandaged hand.
“When did you both go out?”
“We left around six, Gavin wanted to--hang with his friends.” A.J. caught Parick's mood.
“And you didn’t?”
“Gavin behaves differently when he hung with his friends. They didn’t enjoy my company.”
“Why is that?”
“I don’t want to talk about it. Is this almost over? I’m tired.” Patrick scratched at his right thumb with his index finger tearing at his skin. A nervous act he did unconsciously whenever he’s under stress.
“What were your plans for the evening?”
“To go to The Cave, hang out, and later get something to eat.”
“The Cave, isn’t that a bar?”
“So at around six you both went to The Cave?”
“Between six and six-thirty.”
“Were his friends there when you arrived?”
“No, they came an hour after us.”
“Did any of your friends hang out there?”
“No. Gavin didn’t get along with my friends,”
“But you hung out with his?”
Patrick glanced around the room dragging his fingers through his hair, not responding.
“So Gavin’s friends showed up. Did they sit with you?”
“No, Gavin hung out with them at the bar. I stayed at the table.”
“Yes.” Patrick evaded the detective’s stare.
“What kind of things do you're hanging with your friends?”
“We Cosplay.” Patrick relaxed now that the subject shift to a topic he prefers.
“Is that role playing?”
“Yes, you can say that.”
“Did Gavin ever Cosplay?”
“He did, in the start of our relationship, but he lost interest.”
“That must have been a disappointment.”
“How long did you stay at The Cave?”
“Until nine. I got hungry and wanted to get something to eat.”
“Didn’t the bar sell food?”
“Yes, but only appetizers. I wanted a meal; I hadn’t eaten all day.”
“So you both left to find a restaurant?”
“No. Gavin wanted to stay and eat at the bar.” Patrick covered his face with his hands trying to rub away the thoughts of the passing day with Gavin.
“Go on Patrick, what happened when Gavin said he wanted to stay?”
“It got tense, and we argued, so I left.”
“When you say it got tense, how?”
“I don’t know. Why do you want to know?” Patrick rose and walked over to the window crossing his arms over his chest.
“Patrick, please answer the questions.”
“I need to make a phone call first.”
“Can’t it wait until after the questioning?” Patrick turned to A.J.
“My father taught me a Valdez never waits.”
A.J. noticed a change in Patrick’s manner that wasn’t of a shaken victim, but of a demanding prince.
“You sure can turn it off and on when you need to.”
“I take it I can make my phone call, Detective Chance?”
“I suppose. It’s late.”
“Someone will answer,” he said.
“Okay, I’ll give you privacy.”
“One other thing, detective. I don’t have my cell. Can I use the land line here?”
A.J. walked over to Adam’s cordless phone and checked if the line was connected. He heard a dial tone and handed the receiver to Patrick, who took it and waited for A.J. to leave the room, closing the door behind him. A.J. looked at the empty secretary’s desk and noticed another cordless phone on the floor beside it. He picked up the device and pressed the answer button and listened in on Patrick’s call.
“The Valdez residence,” said a male Hispanic voice.
“Carlos, it’s me.”
“I need someone to come get me—now.”
“Yes right away. Should I inform your parents?”
“No, let them sleep. Send a car for me, okay.”
“Take this address and tell the drive to call my cell when they arrives.”
A.J. listened as Patrick spoke Adam’s address.
“It will be an hour before the car reaches you, sir.”
The line went dead, and A.J. disconnected on his end.
“I’m ready, detective,” called Patrick. A.J. entered the office and took his place at the desk and picked up where he left off.
“You said it got tense.” Patrick looked at A.J. confused, remembering his own words.
“Gavin, drank to get drunk. Then he gets mad. Then he gets violent.”
“At first, he shoved me. But, two months ago slapping and punching were introduced.”
“Did he strike you at The Cave yesterday?”
“Yes. He slapped my face outside the bar. I nearly fell when he grabbed me.”
“Anyone witnesses that?”
“His friends came out and grabbed Gavin before he struck me again and pulled us back inside. They sat me back at the table and took Gavin into the bathroom.”
“Why the bathroom?”
“Gavin did designer drugs. Cocaine was his favorite, but impressing his friends was big on his list so he did other drugs.”
“So he got high?”
“Yes. But lucky for me, the drugs balanced out the liquor which calmed Gavin’s fury.”
“He never got mad at you when he got high on drugs?”
“Not as much as when he drank.” Patrick’s voice cracked from his statement.
“What happened after his friends calmed him?”
“I left the bar before they came out. I needed air.”
“Where did you go?”
“I went for a walk to clear my head.”
“Did you call one of your friends? To talk or come get you?”
“No. I wanted to be alone. I needed to think.”
“So when did you and Gavin meet up again?”
“Not long after that. Gavin caught up with me. He apologized and promised to make it up by taking me to dinner.”
Patrick fought back the tears as he flashed a somewhat convincing smile.
“Where did he take you to eat?”
Patrick shook his head and sighed.
“We didn’t go to dinner. Gavin never wanted to go to dinner. He got high and wanted sex.”
“So, did you go back to his place or yours?”
“We went to the upper-class cemetery.”
“Why the cemetery?”
“Gavin got off on them. He loved the Gothic theme and explored eccentric oddities. We went to the graveyard to have sex.”
“After he got drunk, hit you, and got high?”
“We had problems, but he never stayed mad long.”
“He never stayed mad? What about you? Weren’t you mad?” Patrick closed his eyes fighting the urge to cry. “Patrick, did you want to go to the graveyard?”
“It kept him calm, to let him have his way,” Patrick’s vocal a-matter-of-factly.
“Why should you need to do that? Was Gavin blackmailing you?”
“No.” His responded too quick for A.J. to believe.
“How often did he take you to the cemetery to have sex?”
“Every other weekend.”
"Where did you two do the act at?"
“We used an above ground grave towards the south end near a storage shed. There was surrounding thick trees and bushes that gave us cover. Gavin thought it best we keep using the same spot in case we got separated.”
“You told Officer Powell you got in through a gate, but he found it secured?”
“When Gavin and I used it, the chain was old and loss. We’ve pushed the gate open far enough to slip under it. We been doing it for months. Until last night.”
“Do you know if Gavin had any enemies?”
“Not that I’m aware of.”
“Why did you go back to Gavin’s place after the graveyard?”
“I wanted to be there when Gavin got home.”
“Why, what were you going to do when he arrived?”
“End our relationship!” Patrick regained his composure and felt embarrassed. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to shoot.
“Well, it’s ended now. Was that what you meant?”
“What, no. what are you driving at detective?”
“What happened when you went into Gavin’s bedroom? Was he alive?”
“No. A sheet covered his body as if he was sleeping.” Patrick’s heart thumped hard in his chest as he recalled the moment. “When the police couldn’t find his body from before they told me it must have been a prank being played on me. I didn’t believe it at first but when I saw him lying there.”
“Go on, Patrick.”
Patrick blinked away his tears and pictured Gavin’s under the sheets. “I went to him, and tried to wake him up, but his skin was cold. When I pulled the sheet away, I saw the knife wound in his back and his neck was laying wrong. I was re-living that moment again. That’s when that masked man called me on my cell.”
“The killer called you again?” A.J. flipping through his notebook and found the page he was looking for. “Officer Powell said you alleged the killer called you at the graveyard.”
“But didn’t you say you lost your cell at the graveyard?”
“I did. But it turned up under the sheet with Gavin.”
“Was there a caller ID?”
“The Harlequin was using Gavin’s cell phone.”
“How are you sure it was Gavin’s cell?”
“I saw his number and the caller ID picture was the one I picked for Gavin.”
“How did the voice sound?”
“It was grainy.”
“What did he say to you?” Patrick started to answer when his mind drew a blank.
“I don’t remember.”
“You can’t remember?” A.J. looked at his pad again. “Didn’t you tell Officer Powell and Officer Saxon at the graveyard, the killer said and I quote, ‘We can be together now that Gavin was dead’?”
“But now you say you can’t remember the most recent call from him?”
“So much has happened I’m running on fumes.” A.J. watched as Patrick ran his hand through his hair, rubbing the back of his neck.
“I need you to remember what he said to you.” Patrick ground the back of his teeth, trying to hold his temper when he responded.
“Look, he came out of the bathroom and tried to rape me. Rape me on Gavin’s bed, next to his body!” Patrick shook and felt dizzy. He placed his head in his hands. A.J. jumped up and went to the water cooler out in the reception and returned with a paper cup filled with water.
“Here, drink this.” Patrick took the water and swallowed every drop. “Do you need air? I can open a window?” Patrick shook his head.
“He died on top of me,” he continued, looking up at A.J. “I didn’t realize at first. He’d just finished cumming and dropped on top of me. I was yelling for him to get off me, but he wouldn’t answer. So I pushed him off. When I sat up, a knife was sticking out of his back.”
“Patrick, the knife handle what can you remember?”
“It was white with a swirl gold design.”
“Was it curved or straight?”
“Um—curved, I think.”
“I will need an address and phone number where we can reach you. Also the names of Gavin’s friends at The Cave.” A.J. handed him his notebook open to a clean page and a pen.
“I only know Gavin’s friends by their first names, but you can always find them at The Cave on the weekend. Will I be able to get my cell phone back?”
“Your cell will have to be kept as evidence.” Patrick returned to writing in the notebook as A.J. checked his cell for messages.
The door had the same open mechanism as Adam’s door to his apartment. Only this time the stairs led downward to darkness. There was no light switch, so Artie turned on the flashlight app on his cell and set the brightness level to maximum. They saw the footprints right away.
“So, this is how he got the body in,” said Adam. Artie turned off the light.
“We’ll take it from here, Potter. You can go.” Adam distinguished the footsteps came from the store below which meant that the killer had been in the apartment before.
“Gavin knew his killer.”
“Maybe, but that is a police matter.”
Adam caught the hint in Artie’s tone and wanted nothing more than to leave the man who he felt poisoned A.J. against him. He turned and walked out of the room, but Artie followed.
“This finding remains here, Potter. You still remember the rules?” Adam halted and turned to Artie, who stood at the doorway.
“I never forgot the rules, Artie. What about you?” Adam didn’t wait for a reply as he turned and left the apartment.
A.J received a text from Cutter asking him to join him at the crime scene next door. Patrick handed back the pen and notepad with his information.
“I’m needed next door, so this is goodbye, for now, Mr. Valdez. Please don’t leave town until this investigation is over.”
“Thank you, Detective Chance.”
“I can have a police cruiser take you home.”
“No need. I have a ride coming.” A.J. was relieved Patrick wasn’t spending the night with Adam. But he needed to be sure that Adam wasn’t more involved than he already was.
“One more question, Mr. Valdez.”
“But you said…”
“How does Adam Potter come into play in all of this? Just curious.”
“Just curious huh?” said Patrick, feeling territorial. “Mr. Potter saved my life twice tonight. If he hadn’t, that monster might have raped and killed me.”
“Like I said, just curious. Have a good evening, Mr. Valdez.”
“Wait, Gavin, what’s going to happen to his…?” He couldn’t bring himself to say the word body.
“We’ll get in touch with his family and from there it will be up to them to lay him to rest.”
“His mothers live on the west coast now. You can find their address in his…”
“His wallet but…his clothes were at the graveyard. I mean—that’s where I saw them last.”
“Is there anywhere else the address can be located?”
“They sent him a postcard two days ago saying hi. There was an address. You can find all his read mail on top of the soda machine in a wooden box with a lid.
“Thank you, Mr. Valdez. We’ll be in touch.”
A.J. left Patrick alone in Adam’s office, leaving the door open.
Even with exhaustion looming over him, Adam decided to take the stairs to his office. His head was dropping as he watched the steps under his feet. He turned every fourteen steps until he reached the third and final ascent.
A.J. saw Adam first and smiled, as his ex-lover didn’t see him because of his head being down.
“You look like a lost boy,” he said, immediately regretting his words. He didn’t mean to make fun of him. Adam forced his head up and stared at the lovely man at the top of the stairs.
“Your first words to me,” Adam said, recalling the first time they met. “It was at a crime scene. I was going up the stairs as you were coming down, much like now.”
“It was a drug bust if I remember,” said A.J.
“Yeah, if I remember I saved your life.”
“I don’t know where my head was.” A.J. shook his head slightly. “I should have seen that perp coming.”
“He was in your blind spot. I would have missed him.”
“Lier. We were up all night.”
“I treated you to breakfast.”
“Then we both did a double shift.”
“When we clocked out I asked you out.”
“I came over to your place.”
“And we both fell to sleep on my couch.”
“I woke up with my head on your lap and you sleeping very uncomfortable.”
“I didn’t mind. I slept in worst places.”
A.J. walked down the staircase, as Adam met him halfway their eyes were locked.
“What happened after that?” asked A.J.
“We fucked each other through the weekend in my apartment.”
“Which was over a pizza parlor.”
“They made good pizza.”
“You made a good partner.”
“Now we’re here.”
“How did something that seemed so perfect fall apart?”
“Because—and I quote, ‘You were the biggest mistake of my life’. Then you walked out on me to climb into bed with that son-of-a-bitch Artie Cutter.”
“You understood why I left, Adam.”
“Did I, A.J.—did I understand?”
“You were reckless, Adam like you were tonight. I didn’t know whether you were coming home or I was going to get a call saying you were dead.”
“We’ve been through this. You made your choice.” Adam walked passed him.
“Then go be with Artie and live your happy, safe life with him.” Adam turned to walk through the landing door when A.J. called to him.
“A word of advice, Adam. You’re playing with fire getting involved with Patrick Valdez. He comes from a different world.”
“Who said I was involved with anyone?” he shot back, casting a cold stare at his old lover.
“He’s not ruled out as a suspect. Not until we check his story out about the graveyard.”
“Then Detective Chance, I suggest you get to work. Now before you walk out the front door, turned the deadbolt to the left and it will lock when you leave.”
“Adam, we need...should talk.”
“I’m sore and tired, and I have a business to open in the morning,” he said, with his back to him. Before A.J. could say another word, Adam walked through the door.
Adam was never so happy to live where he worked as he shut the lights out in both offices, locked the doors, and headed up to his apartment.
Patrick, who was nowhere in sight, must have gotten a ride home. He scaled the steps slower now and noticed his lights were on.
Did A.J come up here snooping around? He wondered. Invasion of privacy wasn’t his style, he concluded. He heard the shower running. He grabbed his gun that was on his kitchen counter and walked cautiously towards the door. He listened first and heard water hitting and falling off of something or someone. There was somebody in his shower.
He grasped the door handle and turned it slowly until the latch gave. He pushed the door open and pointed his gun at the shower. Through the glass door, he saw Patrick wet from head to toe and covered in soap. Patrick froze, holding Adam’s loofah in front of his privates. The shower spray rinsed off the white, lotion, suds sending them sliding down Patrick’s now clean flesh.
Adam lowered his gun and stared at him in silence as his eyes followed the soap that moved down Patrick’s waist, legs and feet until it reached the drain. Patrick hung the loofa by its rope back on the wall his bandage gone from his hand and opened the shower door. He reached out for Adam’s hand, and Adam didn’t disappoint.
Patrick raised Adam’s hand to his lips and kissed the back of it with such profound meaning that Adam saw tears in his eyes. Releasing Adam’s hand, Patrick spoke first.
“I couldn’t leave without seeing you again. I didn’t want to be in the office alone so I came up here.”
“I was only going to use the bathroom for a minute but when I saw the shower I so wanted to be clean again.”
“Well, I can give you some privacy…”
“Take off your clothes and take a shower with me.” Adam considered it not being a good ideal when Patrick cuped his face with his wet hands and embraced Adam with a kiss on his mouth that melted any doubt from Adam’s mind. He discarded his clothes and boots on the bathroom floor and submerged himself under the warm water.
Patrick lathered up the loofah again as Adam stood under the rushing water soaking his hair and body.
Patrick was impressed with Adam’s physique and felt a tingling sensation between his legs when he saw Adam hard cock. He moved the loofah carefully over Adam’s bruised skin, not wanting to cause him any discomfort.
“You know I can do this myself.”
“You’ve been through so much tonight. Let me take care of you, please.” Adam nodded. Patrick ran the loofah over every inch of Adam’s body, washing under his arms and stooping down to do his strong legs and feet. When he stood back up he hesitated at Adam crouch. He looked up at him.
“You were the guy from earlier in the day, who was watching me?” said Patrick. I can see Gavin’s bathroom through your window.
“Yeah, sorry about that, I just moved in…”
“No, please don’t say sorry. To think, you’ve risked your life to save mine twice. No one’s ever done that for me.”
Before Adam could speak Patrick kissed him again, and Adam slid his hands over the damp, clean skin of his waist. Patrick pushed the loofah at Adam’s cock and balls and rubbed intensely causing Adam to sigh in Patrick’s mouth. The sponge was shifted to Adam’s ass which Patrick let drop from his fingers and gripped the detective’s firm cheek with one hand while his other grasped Adam’s cock fisting it. Their kiss broke for air as Adam sucked on Patrick’s neck. Patrick’s head floated as he recalled his first time seeing Adam.
“I saw you when you were moving in,” he said, trying to sound coherent as he spoke in Adam’s ear. “You were carrying boxes in here.”
“Oh did you?” Adam said moving his mouth to the other side of Patrick’s neck as his hands slid along Patrick's smooth skin.
“Yes. I-I wanted to come by and say hello.”
“That would have been nice.”
“That’s when I walked into the bathroom and caught you peeping at me.”
Adam lifted his head and embraced Patrick’s lips with his own before whispering in his ear.
“I want you in my bed.” Adam covered Patrick’s mouth again with a stronger kiss as he shut the water off.
Adam broke their kiss and grabbed two towels. They patted their damp skin dry and Adam picked the willing male up in his arms and carried him to his bed.
Laying him down, Adam kissed his mouth, traveling to his jaw, down his neck, and to his nipples that he clamped between his teeth and lips sucking and biting as he listened to Patrick’s moan his delight.
“Fuck me, Adam, and don’t hold back,” Patrick begged.
Adam raised his head and went for his nightstand and grabbed a condom and lube.
Patrick turned and knelt on the bed, pointing his ass out to Adam wanting him inside him.
Adam looked at the gift Patrick presented and popped open the lube and poured a generous amount at his entrance. He carefully entered one finger then two to relax Patrick’s muscle only Patrick was in a frenzy with Adam’s fingers that he could feel his climax was near.
“Enough Adam, please I want you inside me. I want to cum with you as a part of me.”
Adam slipped his fingers free as he grasped Patrick’s hips and entered slowly, but Patrick wanted more. His body yielded to Adam, taking his cock to the hilt. Heat raced through Adam as his need to thrust was taking over him as he slammed into the willing male.
“Yes, fuck me, use me, Adam. Please, harder.” Patrick wanted Gavin’s touch to vanish not only from his skin but from his soul. All the pain, forgiveness and threats. He wanted to be free from it all.
Adam didn’t disappoint as he increased his speed grasping Patrick’s shoulder as if he was holding on for life. Their lust overcame them when Adam turned Patrick onto his side and positioned one of his legs on his shoulder as he reentered him gaining a deeper depth. Patrick reached one hand back and held onto Adams’s thigh as he cried his approval throughout the apartment.
Adam bowed and kissed Patrick’s chin who in turn grasped the back of Adam’s head and kissed his mouth with profound purpose. Patrick was getting close to his climax as Adam grasped his cock and pumped it in time with his own. They released their seed nearly the same time. Patrick coating his stomach and the sheets and Adam filling the condom inside him. Adam kept pumping until his cock was satisfied and empty. He collapsed beside Patrick, who already seem to have fallen asleep. After discarding the condom, it wasn’t long before Adam joined him.
Patrick had awoken in the night needing to use the bathroom. He returned to Adam’s bed and eased in next to him so not to wake him. He studied the detective, observing the cuts and bruises from his gallant act of heroism.
He leaned over and kissed the few damaged parts on his face he saw visibly. Adam responded by wrapping his arm around him and bringing him close, aligning their faces. Patrick continued to stare. Adam slowly opened his eyes and stared back.
Patrick smiled at the detective. Adam rolled his tongue around in his dry mouth that began to water as he thought of the things he still wanted to do to the younger male. They seemed to think in the same way as they embraced.
Adam never wanted to stop tasting Patrick’s mouth, but his battered body was telling him to rest. So reluctantly, he broke their kiss and wrapped his arms around Patrick, who didn’t mind as he cuddled against Adam’s chest, closing his eyes as they both returned to sleep.
Earlier that evening before his shower, Patrick called Carlos and canceled his ride home.
“I’m sorry, sir, your father already knows.”
“Mr. Martin’s building is all over the news and your name was mentioned. There are three news vans at the gate already.”
“Listen, Carlos, tell my father that I’m safe and staying with a friend. He doesn’t need to come down here and I’ll be home by late afternoon.”
“He’s not going to like it.”
“Take care, Sir.”
“You too, Carlos. Thank you.”