The Sins of Homicide I: Lust
Written by Hayley
The wind whipped his blond hair. The wild strands got in his eyes and made it harder to steer his boat. Not that it mattered; crashing the boat did not seem like a bad idea at the moment. He had been through so much, why not die at sea. It even seemed sort of...romantic. Mike chuckled. Maybe his broken body would wash up in the harbor or perhaps it would just sink with the ship.
He did not particularly care how he died, or that he died at all. All that mattered was now, and what happened now. He sighed deeply; it was a pretty day. The sun was up, and sky was a clear blue. The wind was a bit chilly, but with it was the fresh scent of sea salt. Maybe tomorrow he would begin again, but today it was just he, his boat, and the never ending water.
Josh Blevan sat in a plush mahogany chair, in a dimly lit hotel room. Josh was a dark-haired, tall man with strong angular features. Handsome some would say, others would say that he was a bit tough looking, what with all the scars, to be gentile. He tapped his fingers on the wooden arms of the chair, growing more impatient by the passing second. He did not have the time for late clients, even though they called him and set the appointments, they were always late.
He rolled his neck and heard it pop, the pain overcame him and he smiled. He liked pain. It was what he was, pain. Rather, it was what he did, inflict pain upon people hated by his employers, whoever they might be. The door opened and Josh snapped to attention.
Another man walked into the room. Josh tilted his head to the side inquiringly. The man was Italian, he could tell from here. Josh had the talent of the telling origins and nationalities of most people he came in contact with. The man gave a smile before coming to sit across from him.
"Mr. Blevan?" He asked.
"And you are?"
"Ciavola, Steven Ciavola. I called you, about a job...err hit, as you might say." The name further suggested an Italian.
"Yes, a hit. I need all the details now, then I'll tell you the price." It was always strictly business with such matters.
"Yes, that is how it's done isn't it," Steven murmured, "Well, my nephew, Paul, he asked me to set this up. He wants you to take care of a problem."
"Hmm, a problem, what kind of problem...if you don't mind my asking?"
"Paul, has been on the Mahoney payroll for going on three years now. You do know the Mahoney's, yes?"
"Indeed, I have worked with Luther and Georgia on a number of occasions."
"Around the time the heat was on and Luther was killed, Georgia Rae injected Paul into the Homicide unit to get inside info on the drug wars and their progress with the cases, then it was to kick around Georgia's main suspect in the murder of her brother, Michael Kellerman. He killed Luther, she knew that much, Paul was needed to see how to get to him." Ciavola lit a cigarette, took a few puffs and blew out a long trail of smoke.
"So you want me to 'take care of' this Kellerman problem?" Asked Josh. His piercing eyes staring into Steven's, making the other man shift under the heavy gaze.
"You could say that. But I see fit that there needs to be more than death, perhaps pain and suffering."
"Who exactly is calling the shots here?"
"There is still one Mahoney left, Luther had a niece as well. She is upset at having lost her uncle, mom, and brother, quite a loss you see. So she asked Paul to take care of Kellerman once...and for all. Paul asked me to set it up with you; Ms. Mahoney found your name in many successful files and such. So now I shall represent them both." He said the last part in a particularly upsetting tone. Josh smiled, he could tell that the man did not particularly want to be here.
"Ah, as for the pain and suffering, backing up a bit and before I name my price, what do you suggest?" Steven also smiled, rolling the cigarette between two fingers. Time enough for that indeed. He handed the picture found by Paul.
"I trust you will use your imagination." Josh's eyes darted over the picture; they twinkled with delight. A smile teased at his lips, and he smiled at the representative before placing the framed object in his breast pocket.
Meldrick was neck deep in paperwork. Gee had found the scandal a great excuse for him to catch up on filing and typing final reports several months old. The red-balls and multiples in recent months had pushed the work to the end of the priority list, and it still needed to be done.
At first it had been easy, typing them up and filing them in their respected places. Then he had come to the bottom of the box, across cases that he and Mike had worked, some of the last. These brought memories that Meldrick would have rather forgotten.
Forgotten because he knew he did not do right by Mike, not because they were unpleasant. He knew deep down, that he had hurt him, but then again, he did not know if that was what he had been trying to do. It was almost too much for Meldrick to sit and read, for Mike had written several notes in the margins, mostly jokes about the suspects, which they had usually laughed over while typing them, or as they sat across from each other catching a breather.
Looking around the squad room, it just did not feel the same without Mike here. Though they had been on bad terms toward the end, he had gotten used to seeing the blond head, turned away, or reading the Sports Section, or a magazine.
Meldrick vowed to make right by him again, their friendship had been the greatest Meldrick could ever recall having, not to mention that Mike had been an overly loyal partner till the very end. Now that the Mahoney's were laid out and put to rest, maybe it was time to have words. Meldrick frowned and bit his lip, typing a few more words into the machine before the typing ribbon officially ran out of ink.
Josh sat in his cold, dark apartment, shades drawn against the light that offended him so. It was so pure that it physically sickened him, he only liked sunlight when it was hot and uncomfortable. When people got sunburns from the powerful rays the sun cast down.
This assignment was different, and he liked that. Variety was what kept the job alive and provocative. This time it called for some very devious things that he had never thought of doing before with the countless other targets, earlier it had been real cut and dry. Aim and pull the trigger. Now he wondered why he had not thought it up. If he had come up with the idea of violating someone in such a terrible way sooner, his jobs would have been a lot more gratifying. He chuckled.
The man did not look half-bad either; in fact he was quite beautiful. Josh himself was indifferent to genders, what was beautiful, simply was just that. The man was smiling in the picture, standing next to a light-skinned black man who, also, was smiling. He was told this was all Ciavola's nephew could find, and even then having to rescue it from Meldrick's angry hands as it was tossed across the squad room. Quite a story, he would have to get the rest later.
He had been told that the other man in the picture was Kellerman's first partner in homicide, Meldrick Lewis, which was a funny name, he thought. Kellerman looked handsome in the picture, the dimples appearing at each cheek, and Josh's body was betraying his normal instincts and feelings. Yes, he would have fun with this one, and, hopefully, not let it get too personal.
He leaned back into his hard couch and fantasized about all the terrible things he could do with this seemingly perfect being. He touched the face of the man through the glass frame and whispered, in a voice trembling with desire,
Falsone watched Meldrick chuckle over a report, soon he would be out of this hellhole. For now though, he would pretend to be a stupid rookie, which really was not all that hard, he had discovered later.
"What's so funny, Lewis?" He walked over to Meldrick's desk, giving in to his nagging curiosity. Meldrick smiled wistfully as he looked up at Paul.
"Oh, just typing, then filing, up some old reports."
"What could possibly be funny about that?" He asked with a smile.
"Just some of the things Mikey wrote, see here," he pointed to a scribbled note at the top of a Miranda waiver that needed to be copied, "He wrote, and listen to this, 'This boy's so green he offsets the walls in here'." Meldrick chuckled some more. Falsone frowned inwardly, but chuckled too.
"Yeah, that Kellerman, he could make out a good joke couldn't he?" There were a few beats of silence. Which was to be expected, for Falsone knew it was still a raw subject with Lewis.
"Yeah, well, I got to get back to work now." Meldrick said roughly. Falsone was surprised to see Meldrick's mood change from lighthearted to offensive. He seemed almost angry with him. Falsone shrugged and backed off, he could not wait to see Meldrick's face when they found Kellerman's body. A smile danced across his face.
"Falsone!" Gee boomed from his office door, having been there the entire time, " Get to work. There is still red on that board!"
"Yes sir." He said, then muttered _ass hole_ under his breath. Meldrick just went back to tapping away at the ancient typewriter, occasionally getting up to make a few copies.
Josh Blevan walked down the dock; it creaked with the weight of many storms and winters that had crossed over the sleek Inner Harbor. His curiosity had been too great; he had had to see where Mike lived.
Josh hated it when this happened. The excitement he felt when he was about to own someone, that tightening in his chest, it was all so new to him. He wanted to savor it for as long as possible; he had learned a new form of personal pain.
He would not take Mike tonight, oh no, he needed a plan, he needed to see a routine that Mike held. He looked down at the address he had received.
The Case Closed was a modest, yet definitely sea worthy boat. Josh considered taking the boat with Mike, disappearing over the horizon with the beautiful man that would soon be his alone.
Now Josh was really worried, this was beginning to cloud his sharp common sense. If he kidnapped Kellerman on his boat, it would be a matter of mere hours before they found them.
Plus, he had specific directions to stay in Baltimore, to dump the body in Baltimore and preferably in the harbor. This Falsone kid had it all thought out; the plan was to be strictly adhered to.
All of a sudden a blond man emerged through the door on one side of the boat. Josh smiled up at him when the man expressed a puzzled face as he just stood there on the dock.
"Can I help you?" The blond he identified as Mike Kellerman asked. The voice was slightly gruff with a low timbre. Josh shivered with delight.
He matched the picture except for little things. Such as the hair was shorter, his face was gaunt and a little of the light had disappeared from the stunningly blue eyes, but he was still perfect to Josh.
"I think so, Harvey Olshaker." A misnomer of his, one out of so many others.
"Mike Kellerman." Mike said suspiciously.
"I heard you chartered?" Josh had, in fact, just heard this from a friend who had gone on an outing with her husband. Claimed he rarely meddled with what you did as long as you stayed on deck.
"Yeah, I do." His voice was still suspicious.
"Are you, perhaps, right now? I'll be willing to pay extra if you're not." Josh was desperate to get nearer to this man. He was enticed by the strong arms that held out a hand to shake when he came down to the dock. He seemed to be seriously thinking this through, oh please...
"Sure, why not. Come aboard. I could use the extra cash right about now." Josh took the hand and shook it, firm.
"Why is that?"
"Where would you like to go?" Mike had changing the subject quickly. He obviously did not want to go there, a raw spot he could use against him later.
Josh decided the best approach to get this man talking was to relate to his problems. Maybe, just maybe, he could get some of the story from him. Not much of the whole story, he was sure.
"Anywhere away from here." A line that was unoriginal yet proved to be effective.
The approach paid off. Mike began with his own questions, as he steered the boat, offering sympathetic looks to Josh's made up stories about a cheating wife. Soon after his stories started, Mike offered him a beer. He graciously accepted pouring professionally tailored stories out while leaning over the bottle. Mike suspiciousness wore off as they cruised along the Chesapeake. He even told a few stories of his own while steering to nowhere.
Stories of a partner he was so loyal to, a partner that left him like so many others had in the end. Josh had patted him on the back, the first real physical touch. It sent waves of different emotions through his body and down his spine. This was a job he was going to remember forever.
They ended up just going back to the marina where Josh said his good-byes.
"Hey, how much do I owe ya?"
"Nothing, we didn't go anywhere."
"Not for the boat, for your ears." Mike seemed to think it over.
"I varies, it doesn't take long to get anywhere on the bay. I dunno, how about twenty bucks, for the gas and stuff." Josh put a fifty in Mike's hand, lingering for a few seconds, feeling the warmth of his palm. Luckily, Mike did not seem to notice, or if he did, care.
"Thank you so much, Mike, this meant a lot."
"No problem, maybe I'll see you around?"
"Maybe, where do you hang?"
"If I'm not here, I'm at Jimmy's or that bar on South." Josh smiled and waved as he walked away from the boat. He could not wait, simply could not wait.
When he got back into his car his cell phone rang. "Blevan."
"How did it go?" A female voice asked. He frowned; Josh could not place the voice.
"Who is this?"
"Oh, of course, Catalina Mahoney, your employer. I meant the boat ride with Kellerman." He looked around, trying to spot where she might be spying on him. There were a lot of boats, and she could be coming from any one of them.
"It went well if I do say so myself."
"He is a fine... specimen isn't he, Mr. Blevan?" Josh's mouth opened. How did she know? He thought he was a most self-keeping man.
"What do you mean?"
"I mean the way his hair catches the light just right. The way his smile is just a tad lopsided and carefree. Do you know what I mean Joshua?" Josh licked his lips as the words hit him in a delicate spot, then swallowed. No since in lying now.
"Yes, Ms. Mahoney, I do."
"Good, I believe you have a plan?" The teasing gone, her business tone coming out.
"Yes, ma'am, I have one that I am developing now."
"Very well, I shall say good-bye now, and thank you Mr. Blevan, your services mean a lot to me." She hung up; leaving Josh very disturbed about how good this woman was. He began to feel as if it were he being the one spied and surveilled upon.
Meldrick sat in his car, he could see the Case Closed just down the dock from where he watched. It was almost midnight, and he felt nervous about confronting Mike after the past year, plus it was late. He knew he had to do it now, else he would lose the nerve completely.
He got out of the car slowly, making his way to the boat. It bobbed and dipped in the constant current. Biting down on his lip he stood in front of the boat. He debated doing it at all. Mike would probably send him away. Taking a few needed deep breaths, he shoved the anxiety as far back as it would deign to go.
Afraid of rejection, but determined to do this Meldrick walked onto the deck of the Case Closed and knocked on the door.
Then the thought that maybe Mike had killed himself crossed his mind. That made Meldrick knock again, more urgently. He may be too late, and Meldrick had not the desire think that, he did not want to go down that road. He knew Mike was perfectly capable, and that he had enough weighing on him to do so.
To his relief the door opened to a haggard looking and annoyed Kellerman. Then the annoyance was overcome with surprise and mild puzzlement.
"Hey Mikey...how are you?" Meldrick said pathetically after Mike did not say a word to his credit.
"What are you doing here, Meldrick?" Mike asked, stepping aside to allow Meldrick to enter the boat, his wary eyes never leaving Meldrick's body.
"I came to see how you were, and..." His voice trailed off into nothing. Mike was looking at him with wide blue eyes, searching for proof of what Meldrick said was true. Lewis felt naked under that gaze, he knew that all the lies he had ever made were being read and catalogued. He obviously did not find lies in Meldrick's brown eyes, and nodded.
"I'm...doin' okay." Mike answered a little shakily. Running a loose hand through his hair.
"What's your definition of okay?" Meldrick asked, knowing that Mike was lying through his teeth. Why could Mike not be straight with him for once? Mike's face flushed with sudden anger.
"I fucking feel like hell right now, okay. I know you hate me Mel, what are you doing here? Gee put you up to it, or did you come to finish what Junior Bunk couldn't?" Meldrick looked up from the floor at the last comment.
"What the...what are you...you think I came here to kill you?" Meldrick asked incredulously.
"I don't know what to think, Mel. I just don't fucking know." Mike stood, his eyes piercing. Meldrick shook his head.
"No, Mike, I wanted to see if you were okay." This was definitely not going as planned and not well at all.
"Oh, I see, you wanted to make sure I hadn't killed myself yet," Mike turned in a small circle, "There you have it, I'm still here, good as ever, happy now?" Meldrick was getting angry with Mike. He came here to see how he was and Mike could not even see that he cared.
"Thas good, Mikey, that's real good. That is not the only reason, I care about us Mike." Mike's eyes narrowed a fraction, before softening a little.
"Us?" He said softly with a nervous laugh, he sat down and brought his knees to his chest. Meldrick walked to stand in front of Mike, who looked as lost as he did the night he had pulled the gun out of his mouth.
"Yeah, Kellermiester, us. I mean our friendship. Or what it was." Mike gave a thin smile at the old pet name, but his eyes were clouded with indecision.
"Tell me, Mikey, what are you thinking?" Meldrick had waited for several minutes, just standing. Now his feet hurt and he was tired of waiting.
"Right now I am reminded of that 'Tainted Love' song..."
"That one line you know, 'I love you baby, but you hurt me so'." Meldrick nodded, slightly confused. Mike just continued in an off key, low whisper.
"Once I ran to you, know I run from you, da da da da da da da ohhh, tainted love..." He smiled as if it were funny. Meldrick looked down.
"I just wanna make right with you." Meldrick was also little confused that Mike had not lashed out, or kicked him out, or even punched him out. God knew he probably wanted to, or that he deserved to.
Meldrick hated when he could not figure Mike out. Mike just looked up; his eyes were moist, which surprised him further. Mike had never cried, even when he had the gun to his head, then in his mouth.
"I just can't understand you, Mikey." Meldrick said softly, reaching down to pat Mike's knee. Mike jerked away.
"You...don't understand me? Meldrick, listen to this, you have been angry with me the whole year! Now you come back in here *after* I have been kicked out, to say your piece. Does that sound right?"
"Yes, and I'm sorry for doing that to you, and I'm sorry for not backing you up. Please, Mike, you were my best friend, my partner, I want that again."
"My life's over Meldrick, I was a cop, it was...is, what I am." Mike looked down, the first tears spilling over the bottom lids. Mike furiously tried to rub them away, to no avail.
Meldrick sat down next to Mike, on the edge of the couch. He reached over again, this time to take Mike's chin in hand, and guide it so that he could look into the depths of those eyes.
"It doesn't have to be."
"Yeah? What do you suggest?" Meldrick tried not to look away, and kept a hand on Mike's face.
"I don't know yet, we'll think of something, huh?" He looked back into Mike's eyes, without realizing it he closed in on him. He felt Mike's lips before he could think twice, Mike made a sound of protest and pulled back. Mike looked extremely afraid.
"Oh shit, I'm sorry, Mike." Meldrick felt his cheeks redden and burn. Mike stood, Meldrick's hand dropped to the couch. His eyes rose to meet Mike's. They were shocked, and Mike held a hand to his lips.
"Look, maybe I should leave." Meldrick stood, looking down, but felt Mike's strong arms push him back down to the couch.
"No," he whispered, "You're can't leave, not again," then in a lighter mood, trying to fight through the shock, "Do you usually go around kissing guys?"
"That's not funny, and no, I do not usually kiss men." Meldrick frowned.
"That's okay, and good, 'cause I don't either." Mike sat again; still looking at him a little shocked.
"I'm..." Meldrick began but Mike cut him off.
"Sorry? Don't be, it sure got the point across, I mean...you know." Mike gave a shrug.
"That it did. Still, it was a little uncalled for. I mean you being a...and I being a..."
"Man, right," he cleared his throat, " I needed it though to tell you the truth." Mike said, looking away before Meldrick could look at him. Meldrick put an arm around Mike and pulled him close.
"You ever need a hug, Mike, you just tell me. I wanna be here for you." Mike nodded into Meldrick's shoulder.
"I still don't get it though," he broke the gesture, pushing away, " Why did you change your mind all of a sudden?" Mike's eyes had that hurt look that made Meldrick's heart ache. He wanted to look away but stared, transfixed, at the face he had grown accustomed.
"You know all those little notes you wrote on reports and stuff. I guess they made me remember what a good friend you had been. Trying to make my paperwork load a little easier and all."
"I remember those, they were all true you know, felt good to just get it out of my system. I would write those, laugh and feel better about locking up a kid away for life."
"So we all right?" Disregarding that little speech.
"You mean, as friends?"
"Yeah, can you forgive me?"
"I should be the one asking that..." Mike said, his eyes clouded again.
"I forgive you, if you can forgive me." Meldrick teased his gaze serious in contrast to his tone.
"I never really hated you, there was really nothing for me to forgive."
"Yes, yes already, jeez, Meldrick." They both smiled. Mike shook his head, and Meldrick leaned back satisfied.
"You wanna beer, or something?" They were out on his deck. They had spent the entire night catching up on the year they had missed while avoiding each other. Now the sun was just showing itself over the Inner Harbor. Meldrick looked over at Mike who was leaning back in his chair, feet up on the railing.
"Are you crazy, I got work tom...today." Mike laughed.
"You, my pal, are going to be asleep on your feet."
"That ain't what I'm worried about." Meldrick said seriously gazing out to the water. Mike looked over.
"What are you really worried about?"
"Shit, Meldrick, go, leave, now!" Mike was standing and pulling Meldrick up by the sleeve.
"Mikey, we already been havin' problems." He protested. Mike stopped tugging and stood back, arms crossed.
"What kind?" He sat again, that was a common thing now, Meldrick noticed, standing and sitting.
"We jus' can't see eye to eye anymore. It's the job, it's always the job..." Mike nodded in agreement.
"Annie was cheating around on me while I was working cases...wait, not that I'm saying Barbara is, but, you know..." Mike pleaded for his understanding. Meldrick nodded and Mike looked relieved.
"I'm sorry 'bout that. I don know what I'd do if I caught Barb with another man."
"Oh, she won't, Barbara is a nice woman."
"If you can tell, why did you marry Annie?" Meldrick asked, eyebrow raised.
"I was so in love, couldn't see all the signs." Mike looked down and painfully swallowed the lump that always rose in his throat.
"That happens to you a lot, don't it?" Lewis asked. Mike nodded.
"I'm just too trusting, I guess. Don't learn from my mistakes." Mike looked up into Meldrick's eyes. Biting his lip, Meldrick put a hand on Mike's back.
"If I ever start to hurt you, stop me. I never want to do that. Sometimes I jus don't know what I'm doing. Habit and nature and all that bull."
"I know that...now." Mike smiled. Meldrick clapped him on the back and stood.
"You right, Mikey, better get home to the wife."
"You want to get together sometime?" Mike asked, resting back into the lounge chair.
"Sure, I'll come by after work tomorrow?"
"No, Meldrick, Barbara remember?" Mike asked, looking out to the water.
"Mikey, when did you get so wise?"
"Time away from you did me good, huh?"
"Ha, ha, funny. I'll come by whenever, you call me if anything comes up?" Mike nodded, then stood. He gave Meldrick a hug,
"Thank you." He whispered into his shoulder.
"Mikey...you gonna be okay?" Meldrick asked, worried lest Mike do something rash.
"I think so... I'll call you if...when I feel bad." Meldrick took Mike's shoulders in his and hands and shook them.
"You do that Mike! You understand me, you call me, and don't do anything till I get here, a'ight?" Mike nodded.
"You my friend now, Mike, no more of this. We can trust each other now." He said softer.
"Yeah, bye Mel." He was distant again, looking out to the bay; the one thing Meldrick knew would always be there for him.
"Bye, Mike, I'll catch you later." Mike nodded.
Barbara was indeed angry, but Meldrick told her the truth, and she seemed to understand. He climbed into bed and caught a couple hours sleep, finally more at ease with his situation.
Josh was angry. He had seen everything that had transpired between the two. Mike had betrayed him. He had kissed that Lewis guy. Josh bellowed in anger, today would be the day, he could not wait any longer, could not bare the pain of another betrayal; he picked up his cell-phone.
"Mahoney, Catalina." He spoke into the phone, it automatically speed dialed the number.
"Yes, Josh?" Came her bell like voice.
"Today, I want him today."
"Why? Your plan can't be fully developed yet?" She asked, he could not read the tone of voice.
"It is, I want...I need, him now. He and his partner just made up. They...he betrayed me."
"Oh...poor dear. Calm down, as long as your plan is set, I don't care when you have him."
"Good, today it is." He sounded like a boy who had just received a new toy. Then again, that was almost precisely what it was.
"Bye, Josh, and don't worry, Mike will make it up to you." She hung up again. Josh smiled. Mike would make it up, he would be sure of that. Josh was getting enticed just thinking about it.
He pulled up in front of his apartment building. It was time to prepare.
"Falsone, you have a call on line three." Naomi shouted over the bustle of the squad room.
"Thanks." Falsone picked up the phone and pushed the line three button.
"Paul, Joshua has decided he wants Kellerman today." Falsone could not help smiling and looking over at Lewis, who was happily pecking away at the typewriter. For god's sakes the man was even whistling.
"That's great, how long do you think he will keep him alive?" Falsone looked around the room, hoping that no one had heard him.
"He'll want to have a little fun, there is no telling. He's not ignorant though, it shall be no longer than four days, I assume, before he kills him."
"Good, I'll work it from my end."
"Bye, Paul." He hung up, smiling. Today just may turn out to be worth it after all. Kellerman had been a bastard. If he had been civil to him, maybe Paul would have made the death a little less degrading...nah.
He let out a laugh.
Josh pulled up to the harbor; he had a syringe hidden up his sleeve. It was full of a nameless substance he had designed himself out of egg proteins. There was just enough to put him under, but it was diluted with water to counter acted the egg so he would not go into anaphylactic shock. It was so simple a trick that it was funny. He was glad Paul had done his homework.
He walked up to the boat, and knocked on the door. Mike answered, Josh's breath caught when Mike smiled. He probably had not expected to ever see him again.
"Oh! Hey, come in. I got some coffee." He sounded happy, too happy for Josh's liking.
"Really, thanks." He replied.
Mike turned, and Josh came up behind him. He grabbed Mike under one arm and pulled one side of his head down, exposing part of the neck where he jammed the needle into an artery. Mike looked stunned as he sank to the floor. Josh smiled at the man and went to the back of the boat in search of some personal effects, trophies for later use.
Mike opened his eyes as Josh left his side. He tried to stand, but ended up crawling to the nearby phone. He punched in Meldrick's connection as fast as his hands and mind would allow and prayed he would be there. He huddled on his knees, over the phone he cradled in his hand.
"Detective Lewis." Came the voice.
"Meldrick..." Mike gasped.
"Mikey? You okay?"
"What a bad boy. Tut-tut." Came a voice from behind him.
"Mikey, who is that, what's going on?" But he was never answered, because Mike was hit in the head then, dropping the phone to the ground with a solid thud.
Meldrick stood suddenly. Falsone had heard the whole thing, and so had the rest of the squad room because Meldrick had practically screamed into the phone.
"Meldrick?" Bayliss asked, also standing.
"Mikey...I need to go to, damn it, c'mon." Meldrick ran out of the squad room with Bayliss in tow. Gee emerged from his office and Stivers exchanged a worried glance with Falsone.
Meldrick and Bayliss sped to the marina. Bayliss kept trying to ask Meldrick what was going on, but all he got for an answer was the gunning of an engine being pushed beyond it's limits. They almost slammed into a black Mercedes when taking a turn too wide.
Meldrick left the car running as he got out. Bayliss had to run to catch up with Meldrick who had run ahead.
The door to the Case Closed was wide open. The phone was off the hook and making an annoying beeping sound.
"Mikey?" Meldrick walked into the room. It was deathly still.
Bayliss was first to see the note.
"Meldrick, over there on the couch." Meldrick saw what he meant and walked over, putting on gloves that they all carried in their pockets. Meldrick paled as he read the letter. Bayliss took it out of his hands to read.
Mike is so beautiful. He hurt me though, last night,
I think it would be best to make him suffer for it. Suffer
then die. I ache for him every night, and now I finally
have him. Don't worry though, you will get him back,
though, not alive I'm afraid.
I will enjoy him fully,
Mike's Secret Admirer
P.S. My kisses will leave yours having a lot to be desired for, Meldrick.
Bayliss looked up at Meldrick who was looking around the room; he could save his questions for later.
There was an over turned chair in the living room, and the bedroom was in shambles. Clothes were strewn across the room; the clothes and drawers were shredded and broken.
Meldrick made a few deductions from the scene; it was most likely a man due to the violence and him being able to subdue Mike.
"Meldrick--?" Bayliss asked, worrying over the state that Meldrick might be in.
"I want this place dusted for prints. I'm goin' back to the squad room, I think there was someone's voice on the phone in the background. Maybe the phone lines were being recorded an' transcribed today. Do you think you can handle the boat, Tim?"
"Sure, Mel, but do you think that you are okay?"
"No, fuck, Bayliss, I had just made up with Mike. We were gonna get together next week, shoot some pool maybe. I need you to do this for me all right?"
"I already said yes, I'll put in a call." Bayliss turned to leave. Meldrick stayed to survey the scene a few minutes longer.
"Mikey, god, where are you?" Meldrick asked in a whisper, his chest tightened, and his eyes squeezed shut.
Josh popped open the trunk. Mike lay inside, asleep. Josh reached out to touch him. He let his hand roam through the soft, golden hair. Then he drifted down, tracing the masculine face. So soft...
He looked around the deserted street; no one was there. He picked Mike up and shut the trunk. A duffel bag on one shoulder he walked into the deserted building. It was dark inside, all the windows boarded from the inside. Only a single lamp burned in the corner. He carried Mike up the stairs to one of three bedrooms.
The only things inside the room besides another lamp, was a bed in the corner, and a single chair next to it. The bed, that had been laboriously erected, had restraints attached. Josh set Mike down on the mattress, putting his hands above his head, then tying them tight as he could manage around the wrists without causing a dangerous stop of blood flow to the wrists. The same went for the ankles.
Mike's eyes slowly opened. He had a large headache. Slowly it came back to him what had happened. He began to struggle against the curious bonds.
"Ah, so you are awake." Came a voice, it was dripping with a lust that made Mike shiver. He felt a hand caress his cheek, and he tried to jerk back, or at least protest. But there was a gag tied tightly, like everything else, around his mouth. The retraints were cutting deeply into his extremities, he winced as he felt blood seep from his wrist. The hand moved to the waistband of his jeans. Mike had an odd sense of what was coming.
Josh kept an eye on Mike's gorgeous baby blue ones. They were pleading, pleading for him to stop.
"You, Michael, are going to pay for kissing that man." He unfastened Mike's jeans and roughly pulled them down to his ankles. He shivered again as the cold air touched his bare legs. He tried to fight, but he only got pain from the bindings, he could tell that his wrists were bleeding from the constant tugs. A tear rolled down his cheek as the man he knew as Harvey Olshaker pulled his boxers off as well.
Josh smiled as Mike's cock came to view. The large member called out to be touched. Josh reached to oblige. Mike flinched at first contact; his eyes were tightly shut. Josh's hands tightened around it, and could feel it harden.
"Oh Mike, for a man struggling so, you are reacting quite liberally." He teased. Mike made a moaning sound. Josh stood, and bent over Mike, still trying to look into his eyes as he took him in his mouth. Mike arched up against his mouth, gasping into the rag tied around his head.
Josh sucked harder, bringing Mike fast over the edge. Mike was his now, his to do whatever he wanted. He licked semen from his lips.
Mike cried silent tears as the man performed all his hideous tasks on his lithe body. When he was finally let alone, a thin sheet covering him up, he had made up his mind, that if this man did not kill him, he would end the suffering himself, one way or another.
He gazed around the dark room; his rear had a stinging pain around his anus where the painful intrusion had come without preparation. He tried to shift against the pain, turn a little to the side, but could not move to accommodate it.
Mike looked down and saw strained to see the bruises and scratches he knew were there. The man snored on his pallet next to the bed, peaceful as if he just had not committed one of the worst crimes against any human.
Meldrick stood over Bryan Janson. He and Janson had headphones and were going through all of the incoming calls to Homicide. They started at line one, and worked their way through.
They were on line three when a woman asked for Falsone.
"Wait, I want some dirt on this kid." Meldrick said as a joke. Bryan stopped the tape, as he had done earlier for so many calls.
"Falsone. - Paul, Joshua has decided he wants Kellerman today." The smiles from their faces faded. "That's great, how long do you think he will keep him alive?" - He'll want to have fun, there is no telling. He is not ignorant though, it shall be no longer than five days before he kills him - Good, I'll work it from my end..."
Meldrick's face was drained of color.
"Uh, Bry, uh, print...that. Would ya?"
"Yes, Detective Lewis." He was all business. He highlighted the transcript automatically made, and selected print. At least Baltimore had decent technology. Meldrick was in a sweat. When the pages came out he read them over.
"Brian, keep searching until you hear me answer the phone, I only got two calls before Mikey did." Bryan nodded, replacing the headphones and starting the machine.
Meldrick raced up the stairs to the squad room. When he reached the doorway he paused to regain composure, then opened the large blue doors. He scanned the room, either Falsone was not here, or he was out on call. Meldrick needed to talk to Gee, and now.
The room seemed to stretch forever to his office. Past the Board, the Box, the observation room, the coffee room, the desks. Meldrick had never known it to be this big; it had always seemed claustrophobic during hectic cases.
He knocked on Lt. Giardello's door. He heard voices and Gee calling him in. Meldrick opened the door to find Falsone sitting opposite Gee.
"Yes, Detective Lewis?"
"May we speak in private, Gee?" His eyes traveling from Falsone, to Gee. Gee raised an eyebrow.
"As you wish, will you excuse me, Falsone." Gee stood and exited the room with Meldrick in tow. They walked into the observation room and Gee leaned against the wall, cocking his head to the side.
"Today I received a phone call," Meldrick began, "It was Kellerman, something was wrong."
"Ah, that is why you went storming out of the squad room like a wild animal with poor Bayliss. Where is he now anyway?"
"Never mind that now," Meldrick cut him off, "When I got to Mike's boat he was gone, the phone was off the hook, and there was a note. Plus his bedroom and bathroom were completely destroyed, Gee." Gee looked as shocked as he probably ever got.
"A note? Who has it?"
"Bayliss, I asked him to get a crime scene crew down to his boat."
"Have you called Missing Persons?"
"Yes, Gee, but it was Falsone..." Meldrick cut in. Another rare look of shock, Gee glanced at the paper Meldrick was holding.
"That is...quite an accusation...what have you got to support this?"
"'Cause he got a phone call, and he was saying some incriminating things regarding my former partner."
"Let me see the transcript." Meldrick handed it gratefully over.
Giardello's eyes blazed with an inner fire after his eyes roamed over it.
"That greasy-hair weasel knows what happened to Mike." Meldrick said.
"I...am going straight upstairs to talk to Barnfather. You keep him here, it will only take a minute, I hope."
"Yes, sir." Gee stalked passed him like a lion in the hunt.
"And Meldrick," Meldrick turned to look at Gee, " We will do everything to find him." Meldrick nodded, letting his eyes drop to the floor.
Mike woke again. The man did not seem to be here. He looked around; he heard a soft snoring. Mike began to pull at the restraints; it made several, loud creaking noises on the old springs.
The snoring stopped. The man came up from the floor. "How's my handsome?" The man reached across and quickly undid the gag. Mike coughed and shut his mouth. The man leaned down and placed a chaste kiss on his swollen lips. Mike pressed himself back into the pillows.
"Come, now, answer Josh." Josh cooed. He had a name now.
"Let me go...please..." Was all Mike could come up with at the moment. He would find better words later.
"I don't think so, anyway, you seemed to enjoy what I did." Mike blushed.
"As a matter of fact, Mikey-"
"Don't call me that." Mike said sternly.
"Why, Mikey, is that what that bastard calls you, is that what he screams at night?" Mike was getting angrier.
"What the fuck are you implying, you son of a bitch?"
"I'm saying, Mikey, does he like it...when you fuck him?" He said it loudly.
"Yeah, I do fuck...you." Mike violently pulled up, wanting to strike Josh. He could not get far enough, and was pulled back down, his dry throat caused another cough. The man pulled back, then laughed.
"Ah, but you see, I can do what Meldrick can't, I can make the world disappear." Josh was whispering into his ear now. So close that Mike could not help but try to stay back. No matter how strong he was, this man had hurt him, and Mike could not fight it if he tried again.
"Who? Who wants you to do this?" Mike asked, rather, he whispered. He had no beef with anyone named Josh. Hell, he did not recall knowing anyone named Josh.
The Mahoney's. Mike should have known. The Mahoney's just did not die. He started laughing maniacally.
"What's so funny?" Josh asked suspiciously.
"Nothing." Mike said. Josh was also growing angry.
"I'll show you nothing..." He threatened.
Mike's eyes went dark as Josh began his ritual that would continue until someone found him, or he died. Mike closed his eyes again, letting it filter through him. Maybe, after awhile, it would not hurt so badly.
Bayliss walked into the squad room. It was empty save for Meldrick who was in a deep conversation with Falsone over past womanly encounters, Munch talking animatedly on the phone, and Stivers sitting across from him, shaking her head. Bayliss shook his head.
"Hey Meldrick, we found something."
"Really... Falsone buddy, don't you go nowhere, we'll finish this later, if you know what I mean." Meldrick slapped Falsone on the back and walked over to the box. Bayliss frowned and followed, wondering what Meldrick was up to.
"Hey, what's going on?" Bayliss asked stepping into the ochre colored room. Meldrick looked passed Bayliss to see if Falsone was still in his chair.
"That weasel in there, knows what happened to Mike. I was going through the incoming calls that the university records for projects the students have, you know, and I came across a phone call for him. He was talking to this woman, they mentioned this guy named Josh, and how Josh wanted Kellerman today. Then Falsone asked when he would kill him," Meldrick looked back into the room, his face was unreadable. Bayliss' jaw was open. He had not thought Falsone capable of such a thing.
"Where is Gee, have you talked to him?" He asked, turning to look as well.
"Yep, Gee is upstairs talking to Barnfather and Gaffney. He should be down here soon, with cuffs, I hope. If Falsone knows anything, I want to get it out of him myself."
"You know, the crime scene was clean, except for a syringe in the waste bin in Mike's kitchen. Some kind of solution that included egg enzymes or proteins." Meldrick looked up in alarm.
"Mike was allergic to eggs..." Bayliss nodded remembering a morning in the Waterfront where he had offered some breakfast. All the bar carried at the moment, for breakfasts, were eggs for drinks, Mike had declined.
"Now that I think of it..." Bayliss did not finish his thought.
"Think of what?"
"One day at the bar I offered to fix Mike some eggs. He told me he was strictly allergic, I think Falsone was there that day."
"That explains where these people are getting all their information."
"Yeah, shit, this could be any of us, and we wouldn't know. It still could be any of us." Bayliss shuddered at the thought.
"So the syringe is all you found? No fingerprints at the scene?"
"No, sorry Mel, this was a clean and highly professional job."
"Well orchestrated, too. Why do you think that women called to tell Falsone the hit was today?"
"Maybe that Josh person wasn't planning on doing it for a while. Does it have to do with a kiss that you may have given Mike?" Bayliss asked the last part carefully. Meldrick frowned.
"That was a split-second thing. Meant nothin', we both just needed to focus."
"Hey, I understand, but whoever Josh is," Meldrick leaned against the wall to stare up at the ceiling, "He has something for Mike, and I don't think he liked whatever kind of kiss you had, innocent...or no."
"It was innocent, Bayliss don't go there. So this freak has feelings for Mikey. God only knows what he's going through."
"Mel, there is not much we can do right now. All we can do is bust Falsone for accessory to kidnapping and hope he'll let go of some information."
"I know that Tim, where the hell is Gee?" Meldrick was looking back to the squad room, Falsone was staring back. Meldrick sighed and mumbled something incoherent under his breath before walking back out to finish his conversation.
Gee strolled into the Homicide Unit with Gaffney, Barnfather, and two uniforms in back.
"Detective Paul Falsone, you are under arrest for suspicion of accessory to the kidnapping of Michael Kellerman, you have the right to remain silent..."
"What the...?" Falsone looked alarmed.
"What took you so long?" Meldrick asked. Falsone shot him an angry glance.
"Get him out of here, we'll deal with him later," Gee instructed the uniforms, "Barnfather wanted to hear the tapes so we took a trip down to Records." Gaffney and Barnfather nodded to their acknowledgements and walked out with the uniforms. Meldrick was surprised they did not have a few words to speak about this.
"You'll never find Mike in time, you won't get shit under your shoe from me." Falsone yelled as he was dragged out of the room.
"Fuck you, you son of a bitch!" Meldrick called. Falsone only laughed, even after the door slammed shut behind him, his laughter was still heard.
"So, what do we do know?"
"Nothing, we have to wait for Falsone to be processed. Then we talk." Gee said the last with a thin smile.
"I also want some more detectives on this, Mike was a part of my squad, no matter what he did, he was good police."
"Mike would be happy to hear that..." Meldrick whispered.
"Maybe, we'll be able to tell him. Bayliss, when Munch and Stivers come back from that call on Charles they just caught, get them involved somehow. I think we can use a little of Munch's humor, plus, he was Mike's partner, too."
"I don't think we really need his humor, Gee." Bayliss spoke up. Gee just chuckled.
"Just get him when he comes in. Meldrick, I think it's against my better judgement to let you work this but..."
"But...I think you should canvass the marina, maybe a boater saw something."
"Bayliss, you stay here, get Munch like I said. When he comes in, send him and Stivers into my office, this is more than a kidnapping, it's about corruption in my unit." Bayliss nodded. Gee walked with a brisk pace back into his office. Bayliss let out a whistled.
"I hope if I ever leave the department, and got kidnapped, that some one will care that much to bring me home safe."
"Safe..." Was all Meldrick said before turning to leave the room.
Catalina Mahoney was a perfect picture of her mother. Silky, long black hair, elegantly styled and draped along her shoulders. Her dark chocolate tone was deep and consistent. If you did not know the evil that lurked under the immaculate skin, you might have thought her gorgeous. One good look into her stone cold green eyes would tell you otherwise. Her smile was laced with cold as well, and her natural speaking tone was always a mocking laugh.
Now she sat in a lovely wine pants suit, sitting in a large corner office. The room was painted bright white and had a bright teal couch and several dark sky blue high back chairs. It was a comfortable office, uncluttered with furniture. She had never enjoyed the dark hunter greens, and burgundies. Her tastes were more modern.
She spoke into the slender black phone, a smile playing on her lips.
"How lovely he must look all tied up. I wish I could be there, I do so enjoy watching."
"Maybe I could take some pictures, Cat." Josh answered; he was looking at the naked form spread deliciously across the bed.
"Oh would you be so kind?"
"If the lady wishes pictures, who am I to deny her the pleasure?"
"Quite the gentlemen are we?"
"We try. I shall go out at once, would the little box cameras do?"
"Indeed, they do have a dark room here. It will be the top of my day."
"Very well, I can leave him for the few minutes it takes to get to your building, you will not be disappointed."
"No wonder my uncle liked you so, how could I be a fraction disappointed?"
"I aim to please, my lady, I shall fetch that camera now."
"Good-bye, Josh, have fun." She waited for the dial tone.
Pictures! What fun they would be to have. The top of her day, indeed. She leaned back in her plush executive chair, enjoying the sunlight streaming through the open window that warmed her face.
Josh put on a hat, letting his eyes go once over the pale body as he spread the sheet over him, and he exited through the door.
Mike looked around the room. He was sure there was no one near enough to this place to hear his screams. Helpless tears ran down his cheeks. Mike wasn't sure Meldrick even knew he was gone, maybe he did not understand the call. Pulling at the restraints he could feel the gashes reopen, letting the blood ooze down his fore arm.
His backside was still sore from earlier abuse; the pain of the thrusts had been mind numbing. All Mike could think about had been the pain, the horrible, never ending pain. It was not only the physical pain, but the pain of knowing he had been violated so. His body taken without his consent. The man's touches made him feel dirty, but maybe this was how it was supposed to end for a murderer. Even if the man he had murdered had murdered, himself, many times over.
He pulled at the rope some more, to no avail. It would end this way, he thought, with his cheeks still wet from another rape. Mike prayed it was not Meldrick who caught him.
Meldrick was beginning to think that his search in the marina was hopeless when he came to an old, black man who was tying up a small bass boat. "'S'cuse me sir?"
"Yeah?" The old man stopped his movement.
"See that boat over there," Meldrick pointed to Mike's boat, "Do you remember anything suspicious coming from it, in the way of a man or two men?"
"You mean before you and that white boy came?"
"Yes, sir." Meldrick held a breath.
"Sure did, some burly fellow. Big, white, and dressed all in black pulled up in a real fine 'spensive lookin' car. He walked straightto Mike's place, soon enough he come back out with that poor kid over his shoulders," The man shook his head, "Woulda done somthin' if I weren't so old. Damn shame, that boy was nice as you please."
"You get a good look at this man?"
"Yes, sir. He looked straight at me. Didn't seem to care one bit that I saw him. I may be old, but I ain't that old now."
"Do you think, sir, that you can sit down with a composite artist?" Meldrick pleaded with his eyes. The man looked him up and down.
"Well, I dunno, I am a busy man..."
"How much?" Meldrick asked digging out his wallet.
"How much you got there?"
"As much as I can give you now." Meldrick opened the bi-fold and pulled out all the bills he had. He held it out to the man, who smiled a toothless smile.
"That's all right son, I just wanted to see how serious you were about finding that lad. You can by me lunch though." Meldrick smiled back, putting the bills and wallet into his back pocket.
Bayliss stared at Mike's old desk. He remembered how Mike had always smiled at his jokes. He and Mike had not exactly been friends, though not enemies either. It had been an odd coexistence...there he went, talking in past tense already.
Tim had no idea how long it would take for Munch and Stivers to get back. It must have been a tough scene for it to take this long. That or they had stopped for lunch at Jimmy's or something. It would just figure that Bayliss would wait for another three hours before Munch decided to amble on in here.
Bayliss was idly staring at Mike's desk when he saw something strongly contrasting the greenish-brown. He cocked his head sideways, his brow knitting together. He got up, never taking his eyes of the object.
No one had sat in that since Mike had cleared it out. Bayliss had given him a hand when Mike's had started shaking uncontrollably. All that got him was a shamed stare and then Mike never meeting his eye again. Now that Bayliss thought about it, why had it taken two weeks for Mike to clear his stuff? Must have been all that paperwork, which seemed to be the majority of the job. There were different procedures for almost every situation these days.
The object was taped up side down on the under side of the pencil drawer. If Bayliss had not been so bored with his current situation he would have never noticed it. Bayliss snuck a look around the squad room. There was no one in the immediate vicinity, the room always had more than a few people in it, but today was a busy day for everyone.
Bayliss reached under the desk and felt the cloth cover of what felt like a book. He pulled at the tape, getting down on his knees to see better, he pulled the journal down.
It was an old dark green book, the spine was torn on the bottom and the cover was stained with various shades of brown and black. Curious, he opened the cover. He guessed the date was somewhere in the past few years. Flipping through the pages, he saw the name Annie a lot, then he saw Meldrick's name and stopped. Realizing he was still on his haunches on the floor he stood.
*It's definitely different here, then Arson. Everyone has partners, and mine is Meldrick Lewis. He's okay. Everyone says he bends the rules a lot, which is okay since I hate brown nosers any way.*
It went on like this for the next few pages, describing all the detectives that were on the squad then. Bayliss flipped through some more. Around the time of the Arson investigation, the entries got shorter. He stopped to read one that had extremely shaky script.
*They all think I'm dirty. They don't look this way, so I can write freely. Even Bayliss won't look me in the eye. Meldrick can't...he just won't. I have decided there is only one way out of this. To tell you the truth, I don't think this place will miss me much. Screw them all. *
Bayliss frowned at the implications of that particular one. He would ask Meldrick later. Shifting in the office chair he flipped through some more pages captivated by Mike's swirling handwriting and thoughts.
*Why? Why does he hate me so much? I want to ask him, but I know he won't answer. It hurts to see him frown at me. He doesn't know I can see the disappointment, but I do. I feel so separated from this place; I used to think it was a family...fuck. *
Bayliss knew what Mike was talking about. Meldrick had related some of his own feelings while closing up the bar one night. Meldrick had told Bayliss how hardened Mike had become, how he had missed his happy days. Bayliss had nodded, being the ever-sympathetic ear. He now wished that he asked some questions of his own. The book ended on the day of the shoot out.
*Three uniforms dead, Bayliss shot, me out of Homicide. My life is over, I will wait long enough to find out if Bayliss lives, then I will end the pain. This pain that I have felt for a year now. I no longer have a reason to wake up; I am no longer good police. I am a murderer, and I can't live with that anymore. *
Bayliss closed the book. He realized, just then, that Mike was always that happy kid. He just didn't have much to be happy about since...shit, since the Arson investigations. That was almost two...no two and a half years ago. Bayliss mentally kicked himself, he had not helped it along, but he also had not stopped it.
Munch walked in laughing, with a haggard looking Stivers.
"Hey Timmy, what you got there?" Munch asked as his gaze fell on Tim. Munch frowned when Tim held the book up.
"Kellerman's..." To his amazement, his voice broke. Stivers sensed something wrong.
"What's up Bayliss?"
"Want the long version, or the short?"
"Long." "Short." Stivers and Munch said at the same time.
"Long." Stivers said more firmly, while reaching out to seize the book. Bayliss had no choice but to comply. He told what he knew, and that Meldrick was on ends trying to find him. Munch was looking disbelieving. Stivers read over the book, her eyes glazing at some parts. "Jesus, I never knew. I just..." deep breath, "never knew we meant so much to him...like that."
"Le'me see that." Munch reached over and snatched the book. He got about as mournful as Munch got while reading through it all. Bayliss just took it out of his hands when he was done.
"I want to get one thing straight, during that Arson investigation thing, did he mean killing himself?"
"I dunno, John. That's what it sounded like to me."
"Personally," said Stivers, "I think we should ask Meldrick." Bayliss and Munch nodded.
"Ask me what?" They all turned.
"Ask you about Mike's state of mind during the Arson thing." Munch said. Bayliss stood and handed Meldrick the book. Meldrick looked up.
"Whose is this?"
"Mike's." Meldrick frowned. He opened it. Page after page, he read word for word. Meldrick had to sit down half way through.
"This is beyond terrible. How, how...?" Meldrick was breathing hard. The book waving violently in the air. Stivers and Munch had been called into Gee's office, and were getting briefed, so Bayliss, once again, played 'Tell All' boy. Not that he was not interested.
"How...?" Meldrick murmured.
"How did he know what I was feeling?"
"He was your partner, he knew you better than you probably knew yourself."
"Mike reminded me of that so often..." Meldrick buried his head in his hands.
"Reminded you of what?" Bayliss asked confused.
"That I was his partner, he said he did it all for me."
"Maybe he did. You never know. Just maybe he was trying to make up to you." Bayliss did not have the slightest idea why he was getting angry with Meldrick all of a sudden.
"I mean, you were so naive! You couldn't see that he was hurting, we all couldn't see that! Admit it," Bayliss lowered his voice, "It was because we didn't care..." Meldrick looked at him shocked, his eyes were expanses of water. He shook his head.
"No way, I cared, I did." It was as much of an effort to convince himself as it was Bayliss.
"No Meldrick, I watched you two. You avoided Mike like you would Munch, even more so. We all were too caught up in our own lives to see that he was lonely, hurting, and afraid." Bayliss was whispering now.
"I cared. I cared." He repeated in a furious whisper, his voice cracked.
"You were too afraid to get close," Bayliss said with sudden insight, "Why? Were you afraid that he would lash out?" Meldrick let a tear slide down.
"No, I was afraid he wouldn't."
Josh smiled through the lens, the camera rewound. Mike was looking as appealing as ever; Josh's lust was too great. He crossed the small distance to perch on the edge of the bed. Mike flinched, but did not try to move away.
"Don't fight it, Mike, enjoy it." Josh leaned over to kiss the tears of frustration and anger away. Mike let the words hang in the clammy air. Then settled into the mattress, his eyes shut tight, but he struggled no more.
"Close enough..." Whispered Josh in his ear.
"I have one of Mikey's neighbors having a composite made of the suspect."
"Falsone is almost through with Processing. We'll have him by tomorrow."
"Tomorrow?" Gee asked, sitting behind his large desk. Tomorrow was not good enough.
"They said the paper work has to go through, the guy who normally does it is out of town so they had to call another guy, who would come no earlier than tomorrow."
Giardello grunted. "You boys have the night off, get some rest, I expect you to do some real work tomorrow. Munch and Stivers still have some hours left in the shift, they will call you or beep you if anything comes up."
"Yes, sir." Meldrick answered. Bayliss nodded after seeing that Meldrick was okay with this.
Meldrick walked outside, it was dark and cold. Bayliss pulled the collar of his suit jacket up and shivered.
"You want a drink? I could open up the bar for a one-on-one."
"Nah, I'm gonna go down to the boat, maybe it'll clear up somma this mess in my head, huh?"
"Maybe. Goodnight Mel, really, try to get some rest." Bayliss walked to his jeep. Meldrick just stared after the taillights when Bayliss left. Then he walked, straight to Mike's boat.
He lay in Mike's bed. The rocking lulling him softly to sleep. Everything about the ocean was hypnotic to Meldrick. The creak of the ropes, the splash of the waves against the hull, even his breathing came out as a beat along with them. Trying to focus through his exhaustion, he thought.
He thought about the facts, which there were not a lot of. He also thought of what that psycho was doing to Mike. Meldrick still did not like the implications of that letter. He knew what Josh's intention's were, and he knew the longer Mike was kept, the less of a chance Meldrick had to see Mike happy again. Meldrick prayed that Mike hold on, just a little bit longer.
Meldrick closed his eyes and breathed in the scent of Mike's pillows. Everything about Mike was the sea, his clothes smelled of it, even his hair smelled of it. Meldrick shivered with the parade of emotions. Later, he told himself, later you'll have time to sort them out. Meldrick took a deep breath and relaxed, he needed to be in good mind if he hoped to ever be there for Mike. Sleep was soon to follow that decision.
But with sleep there came the dreams. These were more than mere dreams though; these fell under the category of visions. Visions of hopelessness in all forms. Screams, pain, suicide, they all tumbled together in a flashing nightmare. Meldrick struggled to wake from this hell, but his attempts were staggered by curiosity, curiosity to see the ending of all this suffering.
As he tumbled from picture to picture, the light flashed in the back of his head almost like that of a camera. Soon the pictures melded into the ultimate visage of pain, Mike's face as he had walked from the squad room. Meldrick moaned at the reality of it all. That somewhere out there, this man, who had suffered through almost everything from a cheating wife, to staring down the barrel of his gun deciding, 'is this really it?', was waiting to be saved.
Meldrick awoke in a loud gasp, sitting upright in Mike's bed. Meldrick ran a hand down his sweat-drenched face. He looked from side to side, searching for some reassurance that Mike would be okay. Lewis knew it was stupid, and after that dream...vision, he finally knew what real hopelessness was; not knowing how to go on after so much...everything.
Falsone would not be ready until later that afternoon, legal bullshit, Meldrick later said. Falsone had called his lawyer and would not be ready for questioning until he had consulted with him/her. Meldrick had acted indifferent, knowing that if Gee sensed overly strong emotions that he would be kicked off the investigative team.
So now he canvassed the area around Baltimore idly while waiting for Falsone to be brought to the Box. He walked down Fayette for a change in scenery. He held in one hand several copies of the composite that Mr. Doves, as he had later found out, had provided. In his other hand, he held a cheese steak. He felt sheepish conducting interviews with a cold sandwich in his hand.
All for not, he came up with nothing. No one had seen the man, and Meldrick had not expected them to since he was canvassing out of the way. He had just finished his sandwich when he walked into a Rite Aid, his usual saunter calmed by a depression that was growing with each shake of a head. Behind the counter in the front of the store, sat a middle-aged woman with wildly bright red hair. Her long fingernails reached up every few seconds to smooth the loose strands. "Can I help you?" She asked suddenly in a grating southern accent.
"Yes, have you, by chance, seen this person?" He had asked it a hundred times before.
"Oh that weirdo, sure I have. He came in here about an hour ago and bought about ten of those silly Kodak box cameras." She went back to smoothing her hair, then examined the lime green paint on the nails.
"Are you sure?"
"Why do ya say he was weird?" Meldrick asked, frowning as she reached up again to smooth the bright red hair.
"Listen, this person, has kidnapped a former Homicide detective, we have reason to believe he will kill this person as well." Meldrick whispered the words tightly, loosing patience. She looked stunned and shockingly brought her hand down.
"Well," she cleared her throat, "He was rude first of all, he hurried me along like nobody's business. Then I get one look at those cold eyes a his..." She shook her head and shivered. Meldrick nodded.
"I wouldn't s'pose you saw what car he was driving, maybe a license number...?" He asked tentatively.
"All I noticed was that the car was black, and expensive lookin', a Mercedes if I remember correctly." She reached up then pulled her hand down.
A black Mercedes, the one he had almost slammed into on the way to Mike's boat.
"How'wa bout a license number?"
"Nope, sorry, I just work the register, not used to havin' to scan plates." Meldrick chewed on his lip before nodding his thanks and heading out the door.
He took several deep breaths outside, and jumped when his beeper sounded. Sighing, he reached down and grabbed it.
Falsone is ready, hurry.
Meldrick took off in a run towards the Cavalier parked down the street.
Bayliss sat across from Falsone not knowing what to feel. Was he angry or hurt? This was a man he had worked with, someone he had entrusted his life. Betrayed...that was it.
As for Falsone, his face was unreadable. It was straight and glassy as ice. He stared just past Bayliss' head; occasionally tugging at the handcuffs bound to the table.
Bayliss knew the expression he, himself, wore was one of stony anger. A practiced box face that he had never thought of using on one of his own. His jaw was set and his expressionless eyes were slowly unnerving Falsone. Hands crossed in front he held back a smile.
Miranda long since explained and signed, Tim waited for Meldrick to show. Waiting, time, and simple silence were some of the things that could loosen the tongues of impatient people. Bayliss blinked, as slow and dramatic as he could manage.
The results were so immediate Tim almost snorted with laughter he was laboriously holding back. Falsone's forehead became speckled with beads of sweat and his eyes darted from side to side.
Tempted was he to speak, but Bayliss knew this was Meldrick's fight. Meldrick wanted Falsone to go down as hard as he could. Tim trusted him with this; after all, Meldrick had been Falsone's partner for a while.
Meldrick actually laughed when Falsone suddenly broke under Bayliss' steady gaze. What was more, the lawyer was fighting to protest that Bayliss was doing something against his civil rights, when in fact, Bayliss had simply blinked. Knowing Timmy would take this himself if so steadily inclined, he exited the windowed Observation Room and into the ocher colored walls of 'The Box'.
Glancing over Bayliss and Falsone he took a seat next to the other detective, adopting the same face. He was slightly amused and, in his brain, tossed around several approaches to this in his head. Any one of them, if played correctly, would send Falsone weeping into submission, or, in this case, confession.
"First, things first," He began so suddenly and loudly Falsone jumped, "What we, Bayliss an' I, wanna know, this bein' the inevitable question of..." He let the silence punctuate his sentence, "Why?" A smile teased at his lips. 'This is serious' he told himself and extinguished the smile.
Falsone swallowed, sweat dripped from his chin.
"Yeah, Paul, you've been in Homicide how long...a year?" Bayliss asked, his eyes never leaving Falsone's.
"Yep, 'bout a year. Ya know, Mike always did have a way a seein' through false guises, always thought he was being hard on your sorry ass, but now..."
"Hey!" The lawyer said, a fat, bald man who shook violently.
"Go." Falsone said, disgusted by the man. The lawyer actually looked relieved and scooped up his brief case. When the lawyer shut the door, Falsone smiled.
"You actually care enough about that pretty boy to do this huh?" Meldrick did not answer.
"He was such a murdering bastard. I knew it from the beginning that he would snap under pressure. But Jesus..."
"Shut the hell up," Snapped Meldrick, standing.
"We ain't here to listen to you unless you got some info. Now...right now you face accessory to kidnapping and obstruction of justice. If 'pretty boy' dies, you face accessory to murder and several other charges that I just don't feel like namin' right now." Falsone swallowed again.
Bayliss' thoughts drifted as Meldrick began to get into it. He knew any two cents he provided now would not be appreciated at all by Lewis. Bayliss had come to realize Meldrick Lewis was severely territorial. So much in fact, that the grudges he held in high school could probably be conjured up at a moment's notice. Maybe he thought Mike was part of his territory, he had been a little overly protective of him during the first days, making sure he was not pushed around as much. Not that Kellerman would have let himself be pushed around easily.
Meldrick walked casually to the corner behind Falsone and crossed his arms in front of his chest. Lewis had been here longer than he had. He knew the dance, and danced it well. So much about Meldrick's present mood now bothered Tim, was he usually this edgy during interrogation? Bayliss thought back on the couple times that he had been able to witness Meldrick's work first hand.
He could never recall Meldrick being this unstable on the motions of interrogation. Did he just hesitate? Bayliss was near disbelieving when Meldrick actually turned away at one of Falsone's remarks towards, as he put it just now, "That golden fuck, must have bribed his way in here, son-of-a-bitch did take that Arson money didn't he? You covered up for him, just like you did know, didn't you?"
"Shut the hell up! You don't come askin' the questions in here," He moved up closer to his ear, "Not anymore..." Falsone's stony face faltered even more. Bayliss knew he should step in about now.
But he did not.
"So...on a lighter note, who hired you ta scrape your way in here?"
"To tell you that would be my death, you know that." Falsone said, he knew that he was weighing that option in his head.
"What is it them psychiatrists say...uh...where he won't tell a soul what goes on inside there little session room...?
"Doctor-Patient Confidentiality?" Bayliss offer, noticing the gesture to speak.
"There ya go Bayliss, Doctor-Patient Confidentiality. How'wa 'bout it Paul, c'mon?" Falsone looked from man to man; there was no reason to believe a word Lewis had just said. For a few endless minutes they let silence hang in the air.
"She would kill me..." He said finally, "if she ever found out it was me. She...she has connections everywhere, you can see that right now, I wouldn't be surprised if she had the mayor on her large payroll."
"Falsone, uh, Paul...we would do everything in our power to insure your safety if you told us the identity of your employer." Bayliss said, shifting from the position he had held for what seemed like forever. Falsone was loosening up.
"That might not be enough..." He whispered, looking at the two-way mirror.
"As Timmy said, our best. We are the best."
"I got here didn't I. No, no way I won't give her up." Meldrick's hands flew up in the air.
"Wait a minute here, let him finish, Mel." Said Bayliss sizing up the expression on Paul's face.
"Right. I won't give her up, but I will give up some one who worked with me on this hit, that's what it was supposed to be, a hit. My uncle, he set it up, at my request though. I am willing to go down for that. My uncle told me later that he knew this man had something else in mind other than a bullet to the brain."
"Like rape?" Meldrick mumbled.
"Yeah, something like that."
"So, this uncle, he know where they keeping Mike?"
"I don't know, he may, he may not. He hasn't contacted me since the meeting with Josh."
"Josh, who is he?"
"He's the man we hired. Josh Blevan's, you won't find anything on him, it's probably not even his real name."
"Where is this uncle, Falsone?" Meldrick asked the final question.
"Remember, my name isn't mentioned, not to him, not ever." Falsone said to the table. Meldrick and Bayliss just nodded solemnly.
"Good...okay...his name, first, is Steven, Steven Ciavola," he was nearly stuttering, "I think that you can find him at the Bellvader Hotel, that's where he's staying while he is in town."
"That's great, Paul, really...thanks." Bayliss said, signaling the uniform. Meldrick scooted passed him with his coat.
"C'mon Bayliss, suit up the Kevlar, we're running out of time."
"Shouldn't we take along someone else."
"I'm going to Gee about a Warrant, I'll come back with the roster, go ahead to Weapons and Armor, meet you there." He called while crossing the room, then closing the door to Giardello's office. Bayliss shrugged, the man would not even stay long enough to listen to reason.
"We got another accessory Gee, Steven Ciavola, he set it up with the kidnapper." Meldrick held up the confession.
"Good, get the warrant and take another detective with you, just in case, although I doubt this Ciavola will get any more violent than a nice run through the fine back alleys of Baltimore."
"Right, Gee. I'll take Munch, he deserves a piece a' this guy too."
"Go, Meldrick, carpe diem, seize the day." With the wave of his hand, Meldrick left.
Ciavola sat curled up on the hotel bed, a bag of potato chips in one hand, and the remote to the television in the other. He laughed at the Saturday Night Live re-run, the Church Lady cracked him up until he was shaking with spasms of laughs.
Maybe, if the television were not so loud, he would have heard Meldrick call to him to let him, Bayliss, Munch and three uniforms in. And, perhaps, if he had not been laughing so hard, he would have heard the incessant pounding on the door.
But he did not, and what he did hear, was the sound of his door being broken down, several men storming in, and the Miranda rights yelled right in his ear as a young officer hand cuffed him.
"How...how did you find me?" He asked while being led downstairs.
"We're just really good detectives." Munch assured him.
"I still don't know how you found me." Ciavola said, tugging, just as Falsone had at the handcuffs attached to the table. Meldrick just snickered.
"That's 'cause you a stupid man, Mr. Ciavola. A very stupid, stupid, STUPID man. You helped set up the kidnapping of an ex-cop. Which...is a very stupid thing to do, you being a stupid man an' all, of course."
"Hey, isn't that...against my rights...yeah, my rights."
"You ain't got no rights, you waived your rights by signing that little sheet we call Miranda." Steven's eyes darted around the room in a frenzy, he knew he was trapped.
"You do know, Mr. Ciavola," Bayliss began the same line that had worked on Falsone, hey if it worked..., "That you are only under arrest for kidnapping. If Mr. Kellerman should die, you would be held, and eventually tried, for murder." Ciavola made a sound of profound denial.
"No...no way..." He said, his voice trembling.
"Yes, way, so why don't you tell me and Detective Bayliss here, where Kellerman is."
"It happened like this, okay, I want to...to get my side of the story in, okay?"
"Whatever. Make it quick, okay."
"Right, Paul Falsone, my nephew, he came to me one night down in Philadelphia right, he asked me to talk to this...uh...professional killer for him. So I did, I talked, he left, and he is somewhere still in Baltimore." Ciavola was sweating profusely now. His breathing was rapid, and his gaze darted from Meldrick to Bayliss repeatedly.
"Okay, that's noted, now where in Baltimore is he?"
"Uh, I can't, Miss Mahoney, she would kill me, I know it."
"He was arrested by Detectives Meldrick, Bayliss and Munch. I know he won't hold up much longer, Josh, you need to be done with it soon." Catalina's voice echoed in his head.
"Did you like the pictures?" Josh asked, skipping over the presented subject.
"Oh, Josh...yes, yes I liked them a lot. You were a bit rough on him, were you not?"
"Ah, yes, the bruising is that noticeable." Josh looked over to the bed, Mike was asleep now and, God, he was beautiful...
"I hold one in my hands now, they are very dark. He must be in terrible...pain." He could almost hear her smile. He had sent five dozen exposures to her, knowing that she would spread them out appealingly across her large desk.
"He is, I see the way he tears up, and afterwards, how he writhes about so. Terrible, terrible pain is what he must be suffering through now."
"I'm glad, yet that is quite beside the point, Josh, do you think I am kidding when I say hurry?"
"No ma'am, I do not, I just...need a little more time, yes?" He prayed.
"I...do not think it wise, but go ahead, twelve hours, no more." She slammed the phone down.
Josh placed his cell phone on the table. Walking over to the bed he smiled. There was a small stain of blood from the repeated rapes. The pale body was covered literally from head to toe with bruises and scratches; the collection had taken a long and pleasurable time getting to be so distributed across it.
He reached out with a gentle hand, tracing it down the smooth muscle of his Mikey's chest. Mike shivered under the touch, and the blue eyes fluttered open. They looked up in a cross between sleepiness and surrender.
"I have twelve hours Mikey, my Mikey. I promise I'll be gentle, my little Mikey. Please, let yourself enjoy it." Mike shook his head violently.
"Oh, that's okay," Josh cooed, "You don't have to like it for me to love it. You are so beautiful; it is an immense waste that you had to anger Catalina so. Such a waste..." taking of the gag once more, he stole himself a harsh kiss, before moving on to other, more enjoyable actions.
Only twelve more hours, only twelve more hours, I can do this; I can put up with this. It'll all be over soon, no more pain, only twelve more hours, only twelve...
"Mahoney!" Meldrick yelled. He stood, sat, stood again and paced. Bayliss was stunned himself, he had thought it all over, and then some.
"Yeah, Catalina Mahoney, she was Georgia Rae Mahoney's daughter. She hired Falsone, who hired me, and I hired Josh."
"Georgia-fucking-Mahoney, super woman, can kill even when dead, buried, and burning in Hell." Meldrick yelled to the walls.
"Yeah, okay. Well, Catalina, she was pretty pissed when her uncle died, again when her brother died, and almost killed Kellerman herself when her mother died. She had had plenty of chances, she knew Falsone was working Homicide that day along with the rest of you and Kellerman. He could have killed Kellerman anytime."
"So why the hell didn't she, huh?"
"She wanted a professional, Paul said. Someone she could trust to get the job done right."
"Just for the record, what job would that be?" Bayliss asked, motioning to the tape recorder sitting on the desk.
"She...well, wanted Josh Blevan to...rape, violate, and beat Kellerman before making him stand. Then he...was...sup-p-osed to shoot him in the heart once, or twice. Yeah, that was what, she said to Paul, who told me, then I-"
"We know! So you knew that they were gonna kill this guy Kellerman?"
"Yeah, I guess I did."
"Have you even seen him?"
"I saw the picture, yes. As a matter of fact, you were in it, too." Meldrick frowned. Bayliss knew he was talking about the photo that had used to sit on Mike's desk. Falsone must have taken it from the pile of stuff Mike had dumped in a box and left beside the door for trash pick up. The photograph had probably been taken at the Waterfront, thought Bayliss had never stopped to more than just glance at it.
"Wow, this...this just blows me away, Meldrick. I always thought that if you knew that a crime was about to be committed, then aided in it, rather than stopping it, is premeditated manslaughter at least." Bayliss started, stepping up to the plate.
"That's weird, you know, because I was just thinking the same thing."
"Murder in the second, that's what, uh...fifteen to twenty am I right?"
"Yes-sir-y Timmy. Fifteen to twenty years in the slammer."
"That's an almost certain twenty years Steve, can I call you Steve? Great. Now remember that's only second, first degree is twenty to life. That's twenty to fifty years, maybe without parole. Where would you be then?"
"An old nothing, loser, piece of scum with no one, and no where to turn to is where he would be, Bayliss."
"Okay, just wanted to clear that up, you see, I get so confused, there are so many people like you who come in here. Oh, don't get me wrong, every case is different and to tell you the truth, sometimes the Assistant State's Attorney can't build a sufficient case."
"But that's not what we're worried about is it?" Meldrick asked, getting close next to Ciavola.
"No, of course not, we're worried about you, Steve." Ciavola whipped his head around to see Bayliss, who was standing just behind him, whispering in his ear.
"Me?" He squeaked.
"Yeah, Steve, you pal." Meldrick said, sitting on the edge of the table to face him. Now Bayliss and him were on either side of him, close enough to intimidate, but distanced enough to not scare.
"You will remember, for the rest of your miserable life, that you, Steven Ciavola, helped a man to his wrongful death. Helped someone kill this young man, who might have been rebuilding his life after some already, life-wreaking circumstances.
"But you, you come in and you help Falsone set it up so another person can come, take the rest of Kellerman's dignity that he had painstakingly kept, then kill him in such a degrading way. Why, if I were you, I'd feel the least bit guilty, don't you Steven. Don't you feel it Steve, the guilt, Steve? It's pressing in from all sides, you know, Steve, that it's wrong. You killed this man Steve, not Blevan, but you, if you hadn't set it up, this Mike Kellerman would still live."
"No, I didn't kill him, he did, he'll pull the trigger."
"Damn it, Steve. He wouldn't be pulling the trigger, if you hadn't set it up."
"I...she...they, they would have killed me if I didn't." Ciavola argued. They were staring down at him so blankly.
"I don't believe him, do you Bayliss."
"Hell no, he got paid a nice little cut for this, didn't you, pal?" Bayliss spat the last word, and Ciavola jumped at the intensity of the voice.
"Make up your fool mind!" Yelled Meldrick, "Did you get paid, or not."
"Yes! Yes! Yes! I got paid, I got paid. Please..." He was in tears now.
"How much, Steve?" Meldrick asked, leaning closer to the man's face.
"Fifteen hundred up front, five thousand when he got taken, and I'll get fifteen grand when it's over."
"Twenty-one thousand, five hundred for setting it up, shit!" Bayliss said, doing the math in his head, "How much is Falsone getting paid for this?"
"He's a whore, he gets paid two thousand a day about, if he fulfills his contract, which, he won't." Ciavola sneered.
"So you took the fucking money, you, my friend, might as well have pulled the trigger."
"No! I...would never-"
"But you, in good conscience, can talk to a known killer, about killing, and not falter?" Bayliss asked incredulously.
"What do you want from me?" Ciavola asked, he tried to back away from the slow torture, but held fast by the cold metal.
"All we want, is to know where Kellerman is." Meldrick stated, staring deep into the frightened hazel eyes.
"I...he'll...Josh will be one of three places, I, read the file Catalina made up for me. He'll either be at a warehouse, not to far from here, a rented motel room at a cheap motel, or he'll be at an abandoned building's basement on Charles, or yeah. I place odds on the basement, he always liked that one, she said. No one ever suspected it."
Josh perched on the edge of the bed, his face covered in sweat. Mike was groaning through the newly tied gag and bleeding profusely from his buttocks. Josh had just gone through everything that he had ever known or thought of doing to another person. He felt like he had just run a marathon, but several degrees better.
He looked back down at Mike, who was tense with a pain dreadfully sharp. The beads of sweat that were gathering on his forehead called for kisses, so Josh leaned over Mike to lick the salty taste away.
He was just about to place his lips on the skin when Mike jolted forward, the forehead that had been so appealing connected with his teeth and lower jaw.
Josh instantly pulled back, tasting the coppery bite of blood. Mike's eyes were blazing with fury. Josh frowned and felt his jaw. A tooth was loose and it was very sore.
"You bloody bastard." He murmured while pulling his hand back, than slapping Mike hard across his face, hard enough to nearly split the skin across his cheek. He then took his longest fingernail and slowly dug it into one cheek, frowning in concentration as he worked to get the blood flowing.
With one final, painful drag along the skin, it broke under the torment, letting the blood pool, then leak down his face. Josh just stared down at the face, it was tight with pain, those perfect blue eyes pooled with water, letting some of it free to mix with the red.
Watching the blood flow was not enough for him any more. He needed to taste it, the richness of it, which was indeed what was called for. Not fearing another attempt at an attack he leaned down and dragged his tongue across the gash. He felt Mike press into the mattress, but he did not strike out. The sensuality of it was tremendous to Josh. He was kneeling above this lovely, absolutely beautiful person, having him all for himself.
Glancing at his watch, he knew twelve hours would leave him caught and stuck here with no where to go. He needed to get it over with soon, but for now; he focused on another spot on Mike's chest to work into bleeding. Just one more hour of this, one last good-bye kiss.
Mrs. Amanda Kellerman walked into the squad room in the middle of Gee's QRT briefing. She searched frantically about for the man who fit the description she had been given over the phone. Her eyed passed over the many men and a couple women in suits and uniforms gathered around a very large black man.
"We have a great reason to believe he is here," He pointed to a spot on a floor plan, "inside and to the immediate right of the door."
She spotted away from the crowd, but still listening. Mrs. Kellerman walked up to him.
"Detective Lewis, I am Mike's mom, Amanda." He looked puzzled for a second, then it registered.
"Oh...yes of course, right this way." He put a light hand on her back and led her into a room lined with white cushioned chairs arranged like a long couch.
"What's going on, you called, uh, is this about my son?"
"Yes, ma'am it is."
"Is he...oh, god, is he dead?" Her eyes filled with tears, and her hands began to shake.
"Honestly, Mrs. Kellerman, we don't know." He looked down, then away. She gasped, bringing her hands up to her face.
"He hasn't called in over a month, we heard from a close friend that he had left the force. We have been so worried, I couldn't contact him, but we, my husband and I, thought that he was too old to fuss about a little thing like not calling so often, he was old enough to take care of himself, right? We got so worried, but I was so sure he was fine, he would have called me if he were ever in trouble. I thought he could handle himself, he made us do proud." She cried freely know, and without warning put her head on Meldrick's shoulder, awkwardly he patted her back as she cried her eyes out upon his shirt.
Josh pulled on his clothes; he whistled a sad tune. Mike had several more open cuts along his body and he was shivering violently now. Josh just now realized that neither of them had eaten for an entire day, and his stomach was rebelling. Letting his eyes pass once more over the hard body that he had enjoyed over and over for the past day he wondered if maybe he could let him live.
He knew he could not. The evidence was right in front of him of what could happen to people who have crossed that delicate line with the Mahoney's. He ran a hand down the face; a familiar longing was smashed down into his gut. The broken and sickly face was hot with fever, and Josh wondered why he had not noticed before. Mike's eyes stared knowingly up at him. There was know hiding it from this kid, huh?
It was time for that good-bye kiss now...
Detective's and the QRT pulled up in front of the supposed house. Meldrick got out of the front seat, willing Mrs. Kellerman to please stay in the car. She stayed seated and watched anxiously through the car's windshield.
"Are we set?" Asked a tactical commander through a headset. Looks went up and down the line, followed by thumbs-up signal by all the QRT men.
"Good. You wait for my signal to bust through, he is armed, be ready to fire." Everyone nodded; the detectives would follow the QRT after everything was clear and more or less safe.
The men lined up in positions if front of the door to the boarded up building.
"On my count...3...2...-" The TAC COM was interrupted by a loud gun shot from inside the house.
"GO, GO, GO!" Meldrick knew what had happened, he preyed to God the man was a bad shot. He rushed inside directly behind the last flank of QRT men. They rushed into the house, men dropping off in twos and threes at every corner to inspect rooms.
"Clear." Three men yelled from there respective rooms.
"Let's go up then!" Was the TAC COM's response. The remaining men thudded heavily on the wooden stairs; the air was heavy with dust and grime.
It was a small house, and it was not long before they found him in a small bedroom, way toward the back of the house. Blood poured from a bullet hole in his chest, as he lay naked and tied to the dirty mattress.
"He's conscious, let's get him out of here." Bayliss called after feeling for a pulse in Mike's neck.
Meldrick watched in something akin to shock as Mike was carried down the steps and out into the front lawn, then into a stretcher, where his mom burst into tears and followed the paramedics into the ambulance.
He turned as soon as they pulled away from the curb, his chest tightening to a point of pain as he retreated to the house. Lewis walked straight through the searching QRT men to the back door, which swung in the breeze. He looked out into the pitch black outside and any hope of following the man was fading with the howl of the ambulance sirens. One thing did catch his eye though. It was another note, on the same paper he had found on Mike's boat.
Dear Detective Lewis, Bayliss, and others,
I assure you, he will live, it was a flesh wound, and I made sure of it. I can't help but want to come back repeatedly for Mike, he makes it so worthwhile. I know that my employer will not be happy, but it has been worth it a thousand times over. A million times over that as well. Protect him while you can, he is not worth losing.
See you later,
Meldrick just stared down at the note, and for one second of his life, he did not know just what to feel. He felt Bayliss come up behind him, and place a tentative hand on his shoulder that he had not realized was trembling.
"He'll be okay, Meldrick, let's go, they're taking him to Mercy, they have a certified Rape Clinic there. C'mon, I'll drive."
It was indeed a flesh wound; it had passed straight through, only going through a few major veins, and some muscle. Meldrick waited in the waiting room while they finished up in the OR.
Mrs. Kellerman was sitting next to him, Bayliss across, and Munch was somewhere in the huge hospital. The silence between all three of them was more awkward than the hug Meldrick had given Mike's mom.
"Did you, Detective Lewis, work with my son?" She asked finally, having meant to ever since the name rang a bell from so long ago.
"Um, yeah, we were partners before...everything."
"Oh." Was her only reply.
"He was a good kid, young, happy. Good Police, too."
"Was?" She asked, her eyes welling up again.
"Err...that was before he resigned, I mean, Mrs. Kellerman." He offered a weak smile. She nodded.
"Oh, then I know. He was so different from his brothers, so righteous; he always wanted to be a cop. I never knew why he resigned, like I said, he never called."
"What's wrong with his brothers?" Meldrick asked, knowing that he himself had a brother that he was not to proud of, he tried not to think about Anthony Lewis at the best he could.
"They were...always in trouble young. I guess it never wore off, the rebelliousness, I guess. Mike, he would always stick up for them though. My husband would let him, too, thinking that he would one day let them take the fall. He never did," she laughed, "He was loyal my Mike. Always loyal, even if they hurt him." She sniffled some more, and Meldrick patted her back.
"Go on, I can tell you wanna talk s'more, I'm all ears."
"No fooling a detective. A lot more people than his brothers took his loyalty for granted, used him," Meldrick winced as that statement hit more than just close to home, "Annie, for one. Oh how he loved her. Every phone call after the wedding was all about Annie. His sister, Lindsey, never liked her, and told her so, as well. I must admit, Ann did look a bit unnerved when Sarah said that. Mike was so hurt," her voice cracked, "I will never ever forget that look on his face when he pulled up in our drive...so lost, so...different."
Catalina had fire in her eyes as she stood near Josh. Her arms were crossed tightly in front of her, and her hair swung violently with every movement.
"I cannot, simply cannot, believe you let him live. I did so trust you Josh."
"I am truthfully sorry, my dear, but don't you think a repeat is on order?"
"A repeat of what? This obvious failure?" Her green eyes flashed. Josh laughed heartily.
"Oh no, Miss, the violence and pain. It is indeed worse than death itself. Do you not agree?"
"Prey I might, but I still do not approve of your blatant disobeying."
"Cat, Cat, Cat. I am sorry, do my words not heed your fine ears?"
"My mother, my uncle, and my brother have been lost to me by the doing of that white boy. I will not stand to see him happy, ever, ever again, do *my* words not heed *your* ears?"
"I comprehend indeed, Cat, I will look forward to the day when I shall rise again."
"So have we reached fair agreement, Josh?"
"Indeed so, my dear, indeed so."
Catalina smiled a bit. Maybe his words were truthful. More pictures would be delightful, and extended over a period of time, Kellerman would probably kill himself anyway. He was fairly able.
"That other detective is a problem."
"Lewis?" Josh spat the word; "It'll be my death to see any happiness derived from that man."
"Jealous?" Catalina asked, amused.
"Yes! Covet in the darkest form."
Mike was out of surgery and placed in a small ward for observation. His shoulder sewn up and the drugs effecting his system, they were not allowed to see him until the next day. Meldrick and Mrs. Kellerman argued until they were allowed to look through a glass window into the ICU.
Mike was looking dazed and upset. A woman was talking quietly to him, and they were told that she was the rape counselor. Mike's eyes glazed and he lapsed for a few moments. The rape counselor patted his arm, noting the flinch, then exited the room.
"Is he gonna be okay?" Meldrick asked the counselor before Amanda had the chance.
"You mean Mr. Kellerman, he was...severely abused, he will get better...in a lot of time and, I hope, therapy." She shifted through the notes.
"What are the extent of his injuries?" Mrs. Kellerman finally asked.
"Many bruises, scratches, and he has to go into surgery later for anal tearing." Meldrick looked away and Amanda expelled a breath.
"Amanda Kellerman, I'm Mike's mom."
"Mrs. Kellerman, the physical consequences aren't what concerns us right now, it's his mental state. He's, more or less, delirious. He keeps mumbling that...well I can't really understand him, something about being gone, lost, and dead." She shrugged, and looked into the room.
"Can you get us in to see him?"
"Well, if I think it's better for his condition, my psychological expertise can sway their medical advice."
"Is it better?" Meldrick asked.
"Yes, yes it is. C'mon, I'll let you in."
Mike was indeed mumbling incoherently, but when his eyes fell on his mom and Meldrick, they ceased. He then uttered one phrase.
"I'll be okay." His mom reached out and smoothed his hair.
"No, Mike, tell us the truth now."
"I...hurt...real bad." He said, closing his eyes tightly. Amanda bit her lip as tears came.
"Where honey, where does it hurt?"
"Everywhere, mom, it hurt's all over."
"You gonna be okay, Mikey, " Mike flinched, "I'm gonna be here."
"Don't...don't...please..." Mike had lapsed again, his eyes glazing again.
TWO DAYS LATER...
Mike stared at the ceiling, counting the tiles, again. There were three hundred, fifty-three, he had confirmed that four times already. The surgery on his anal tears had been successful, if not embarrassing, and Meldrick had indeed been there everyday.
Now, though, he had gone home to sleep, and should be back soon. Leaving Mike feeling terribly alone. Of course, he was not, nurses were constantly coming by, talking to him, and telling him reassuring things about his condition.
He still felt the same inside though. He could see Josh thrusting into him every time he closed his eyes for more than three seconds. Sleep was hard to come by. The rape followed, in more detail, into every dream. He could be out on the Case Closed, at the Waterfront, in the fucking squad room and he would be getting raped.
Mike grunted and tried to turn to his other side, but the needle in his arm gave a sharp protest to his movements, and he let out a gasp of pain. His forearm throbbed from the rough treatment and a trickle of blood flowed back into the IV tube, and then down his arm. Sighing, he pushed the nurse call button.
"Yes?" He looked up to see a black woman in her twenties standing in his doorway. She looked familiar to him, but Mike knew he had never seen this woman his entire life.
"Uh, I think I may have...messed up my IV." Her cat-like eyes danced over him and he fell uneasy under the gaze.
"Ah, yes of course, I trust you were told not to fuss with it?" She crossed to his curtained of section and touched his arm slightly. The touch sent him reeling, and he knocked the clipboard out of her hand.
"Oh, jeez, I'm sorry." Mike mumbled, sitting up father to see.
"Entirely my fault Mr. Kellerman, I should have known you would shy away from contact."
She set about to taking out the IV needle and situating it in the other arm.
"This one will need to heal before we can use it again, now, so don't rip this one or we'll run out of veins." She smiled, and Mike shivered. There was something terribly wrong with this whole picture, he may not be a city appointed detective, but the instincts would always be there.
But nothing came of it, thankfully, and she left after making sure he was all right. Mike stared at the door she had come and gone through trying to locate where he had seen that face before. Nothing came of this either, yet.
Meldrick whistled as he drove to Mercy. The sleep had done him a whole lot of good, Gee had given him some days to attend to Kellerman, and it looked like Mike was coming out of his delirium.
The note he had received at the abandoned building still haunted his thoughts. The guy was still out there and had blatantly confessed to wanting to return, Mike was in danger, that much he was sure of.
Mike's room was not shared with anyone due to his condition after the rape. He complained constantly that he was fine and did not need to be fussed over by so many nurses. Meldrick had laughed and told him they weren't staring because he was hurt. His exact words were, he thought, 'They just wanna see that pretty face a yours, now, Mikey.'
Mike had blushed and turned to look at the window a few feet away. The window gave him the lovely view of the brick face of a wall. Meldrick could not figure out his fascination with it, but just stared at Mike's profile until another conversation would strike up.
Today he strode in to a thoughtful Kellerman that was staring at the door.
"What's up, Mike?" Meldrick asked, taking his seat next to the bed.
"They say I'll be out at least by tomorrow," His gaze never left the doorway.
"Yesterday it was brick walls, today it's a doorway..." Meldrick said.
"What?" Mike asked looking his way for the first time.
"What's your obsession with architectural structures?" He motioned to the doorway. Mike just gave a lopsided smile and snorted.
"Maybe I don't want to look at your sorry mug, no, it was just that a nurse I think I recognized from somewhere just came in." Meldrick smiled himself.
"You never could remember everyone you took to bed could you?"
"Hey! No, I mean it, this is really bugging me." Mike was serious and Meldrick cocked his head to the side.
"Point her out to me," He said scooting closer to Mike. Mike stared out to the hallway and waited through the mass of people until the black lady walked by.
"You mean that sleek, fine young thing?" Mike nodded turning and almost hitting Meldrick who was leaning over his bed, craning for a better look.
"Don't you dare drool on me. So do you recognize her?" Mike grabbed Meldrick's tie that swung in his face and pulled. Meldrick just sat down, his mouth slightly open; a look of pure disbelief flooded his face.
"Mike..." He began to say something, but could not finish the sentence.
"Meldrick, who was she? You know her don't you?"
"Mikey, she looked just like Georgia Rae Mahoney, just a lot younger, and smaller." Meldrick shook his head. Mike looked to the doorway, then back to Meldrick.
"What's going on here? Why would she...oh god." Mike squirmed in the bed until he could sit and look into Meldrick's eyes.
"I. Want. Out. Of here now." He said as slowly and deliberately as he could, "And what the hell is she doing here?" Mike's eyes looked frantic.
"She, that woman, is she a Mahoney?"
"I dunno, I think so." Meldrick stared into the blue eyes, he was terrified now of Mike, and he had no idea why.
"Did she have anything to do with what happened to me?" Meldrick was silent. "Tell me Meldrick! Tell me, I have a right to know what happened to me!" His eyes blazed, and then the fires behind them were doused with moisture. "Please?"
"Mike, it's not too clear. Falsone was working for a woman named Catalina Mahoney; he got his uncle to set it up with Josh Blevan at her command. I'm sorry Mike, I should have been there." Meldrick looked back to the eyes he had turned from. They were shadowed with loss. He just stared at his hands as he had the wall. It was impossible to tell what he was thinking.
"I want out..." He finally said, his voice cracked. "I'm not safe here." Meldrick nodded, and left to get the papers.
Josh waited impatiently in the car. He tried to take his mind off of not being able to go in there himself. Catalina had been most certain that he would be cutting it too close if he were to show up in the same block as Kellerman after what he had done. It would have brought terrible consequences for the both of them.
Catalina entered the car with a bright smile. Josh looked at her earnestly, taking in what her expression meant. She was happy about something, and Josh was growing weary of waiting for her to tell him.
"So?" He asked.
"Drive, and I'll tell you," He turned the car into traffic and she began to speak, "It was the most wonderful thing! He was so broken; you could see it in his baby blue eyes. He flinched when I touched him; he mumbled rather than spoke. It was delightful, simply delightful." She calmed down, letting the smile widen.
"I did my job well then?"
"Oh yes, it was a great job. I want to see that look again and again and again...pictures. I believe I am going to start a scrapbook. "
"Then let us go to your office and plan another nibble at his defenses." Her laughter rang through the car like a clear bell.
Meldrick drove to his place. The boat did not quite seem like a fitting place to take him. Mike complained that Barbara would have a fit and they would be tossed out, having to go to his boat anyway.
Barbara did quite the opposite. She saw Meldrick pull up and rushed outside. "Oh, Mike! Oh Mel, honey, how is he?" Barbara had recalled Mike being the best man at Meldrick's and her wedding.
"They say he'll get better," Meldrick said, getting out of the car. Mike still sat inside; looking up at the small rowhouse that Meldrick lived in.
"What happened to him, he looks...bad, real bad." She asked, looking over Meldrick's shoulder as he pulled her into a hug.
"I'll tell you later, okay?" She looked into his eyes and nodded. Mike took that moment to step out of the car a little unsteadily.
"I've never seen your place before," was all he said.
"Hi, Mike, welcome! Let's go inside shall we, I'll whip something up after that dreadful hospital food." Mike looked a bit dazed by her abruptness and even smiled in the momentary confusion. She took his arm gently, and led him inside, leaving Meldrick laughing softly at the pair.
One thing Barbara Lewis could do was cook. She could cook everything flawlessly, that was one of the reasons Meldrick had gotten together with, and eventually fallen in love with, her. She opened the refrigerator to stacks and stacks of tasty leftovers. A determined look befell her face as she fought with the weight of several Tupperware containers to get to a beef stew.
Meldrick came over and helped her out after planting Mike in a cushioned, high back chair.
They fussed a bit more about the kitchen, and soon there was three bowls of steaming stew in front of them. Meldrick never took his eyes off Mike as he ate tentatively, poking at things he did not know the name of. Barbara watched him also; he ended up staring back, sweat beading as the faces contorted to one.
Josh Blevan. Two of him stared at him with evil expressions; Mike choked on the piece of beef he had in his mouth as he stared back. He tried to stand so he could to turn away, but suddenly he felt his knees give way beneath him, and he hit his head, hard on the table's edge.
He lay dazed on the floor as Meldrick appeared before him, then Barbara.
"I don't know...Mike...hear me?" Meldrick's words melded together in an undecipherable language. Maybe if he closed his eyes for a little while, he could understand...
Mike was up, then down again, before Meldrick knew what had happened. One second Mike had been blowing on a piece of meat, the next he was staring, crazed, back at them. Then he stood, falling and sending the table almost across the room when his head hit it, making a loud thud.
There was a gash where he had hit the corner, but that was not what worried Meldrick. It was the look of confusion on his face as he stared up at Barbara and him.
Meldrick put his arms under Mike's and hooked over his shoulders, then he proceeded to drag Mike to the couch. His head lolled back against his chest. The living room lay off to the left of the dining room, and the couch there was soft and delicate. Barbara patted Mike's gash with a washcloth as he propped Mike's head up with a pillow.
They watched anxiously for Mike to open his eyes, which did not happen for fifteen minutes. When he finally did, Meldrick expelled a long breath.
"Jeez-us Mikey, that was quite a spill."
"Are you okay?" Barbara asked, throwing an angry look towards Meldrick.
"I...want to go...home. Boat...water...these are good." Mike mumbled, trying to speak through a hazy mind. Meldrick nodded.
"Bar, hon, is it okay if I stay with Mike the next couple of days, until he feels at least a little better?"
"Oh, yes of course, let me get you some food and a few clothes for you to take with you, stay with Mike, I'll go and get it." She hopped up and went to go do the tasks called for.
"I swear, she been watchin' Martha Stewart way too much." Meldrick shook his head in disbelief. Mike gave a labored chuckle and put a hand to the gash on his forehead.
"I hurt myself too much, I need to go home to the water."
"Right Mikey, we'll go as soon as superwife gets done." Barbara came in laughing.
"Superwife, I like the sound of that." She put a suitcase and a grocery bag in Meldrick's hands, then helped Mike stand.
"I can make it, thanks Barb." Mike said, stumbling to a reasonable plod. Barbara watched with concern as they made it slowly to the car. She smiled as Meldrick dropped the suitcase to grab Mike as he stumbled.
She was no idiot, she knew what had gone on during work, and she deducted all she needed to know from Meldrick's miserable face the past months. He loved that white boy, perhaps more than he loved her. She sighed and turned away from the window as they drove off.
Meldrick looked over at Mike, who gazed at the window. He watched the movement of Mike's jaw as they bounced along to the marina that was not too far from his house. Meldrick looked away, kicking himself mentally. 'If Mike ever knew the feelings you had for him, the feelings that made you kiss him, he would punch you, then dump your ole' body overboard.' He thought to himself, shaking his head.
'Besides, you have a wife that loves you.' But he could not stop the thoughts that took over his mind and body at night, the thoughts that maybe Mike loved him, too. It was absurd though; Mike was straighter than they came. Meldrick could not help but wonder though...
"Hey! Watch out!" Mike yelled as Meldrick almost hit a cat in the narrow road. Meldrick had been staring again. Mike looked back at Meldrick, his eyes wide 'damn eyes' cursed Meldrick.
"I see your driving is still the same." Mike muttered after a second, feeling weird under Meldrick's gaze.
The boat was still the same as Meldrick had left it, and Mike just stared at the destruction of his room. Of course, Meldrick had moved the mattress back onto the ox springs, but the rest of the room seemed shoved into a corner. He took another step into the room; he felt the familiar rock of the boat and relaxed a bit more.
His dresser was toppled in the corner, and Mike righted it with some effort. 'What the hell could he be looking for in my room?' He let his gaze take inventory, checking off the ties and jeans he had. Then over it again for shirts, socks, and shoes. Nothing seemed to be out of place.
After he had thrown everything in its respective drawer he realized what was missing. It was the fire helmet he had taken as a going away gift from his friends in Arson. It was gone. For some reason this triggered something in him, it felt as if this was the worst thing in the world that could have happened to him. He found a wall and sunk down against it, using it for support.
Meldrick had just finished unloading his stuff into the boat when he noticed the silence coming from Mike's bedroom. Puzzled and worried he walked back there. At first he could not find Mike, looking just in the doorway, before turning to search the bathroom.
"I'm in here..." He heard after a second search. He entered the room and found him, shaking in against the wall. He looked pitiful staring straight ahead.
"What's wrong Mike?" Meldrick asked, stepping into the room and standing near the man.
"He took my fire helmet." Mike said softly, looking down. Meldrick sat down next to him. He knew this was just a cover for what Mike was really feeling.
"I'm sorry about that, but what's really wrong?"
Mike turned to look at him, his eyes blinking tears back rapidly.
"He hurt me. He took me. He ruined me." He answered, looking down at his hands that trembled.
"Mike, he's gone now, I won't let him near you. You're safe now. C'mon, you can trust me now, can't ya?" Mike put his head against the wall and closed his eyes. Flashbacks of the night Mike held a gun to his head exploded into Meldrick's head.
"You gotta believe that, Mikey. You gotta..."
"I don't want to believe in anything. I'm always screwed over." Mike said more sleepily than upset.
"Annie, Julie, you, the whole squad...fuck, fuck, fuck. Then finally this Josh guy, the king of all." Mike leaned forward again. He seemed almost drunk the way his head moved.
"You'll get better." Meldrick said.
"Says who? A psychiatrist. Even she could tell you every person is different. I wasn't in the best mood when he took me over and over, and I sure as hell aren't any better today." Meldrick just nodded, knowing what he said was true.
"You know what, Meldrick? Why can't the whole world...just-just leave me the fuck alone."
Mike stood and left the room, leaving Meldrick still staring at the spot he sat. Mike stalked outside to the deck, and took gulps of fresh air. The bay, the only thing that was ever always there for him. The water, it was peaceful, and always there.
He leaned over the railing, hand outstretched, trying to feel the water on his hand. It was close...a couple more inches. He could feel Meldrick behind him, watching him, making sure he was all right. Mike stopped reaching for the water and straightened his back. He felt Meldrick put a hand on his shoulder, and for the first time, he felt almost safe.