|Primary Characters:||Crockett, Tubbs|
|Warning:||m/m sex , non-consenting sex, violence, some strong language|
|Description:||Crockett goes under cover. The assignment goes terribly wrong, but at the last moment, someone comes to the rescue. It’s help he finds that would rather have done without.|
Lieutenant Castillo studied Detective Sonny Crockett dispassionately. He knew that the man was good. There was no question about his qualifications. He even filled the more specialized requirements this particular job demanded. At least Castillo had been told that women – and certain men – effeminate, anglo men, but still – men – found Crockett attractive.
It had come as a surprise to Castillo, in so far as he’d supposed anything along those lines. If anything, he would have assumed that women found Crockett’s partner Ricardo Tubbs, far more appealing, but there was no accounting for taste.
Regrettably, Castillo had realized that his personal dislike for the man colored his evaluation of him. He was more inclined to let another department lend him a man more suited for the job – except for one thing: the rather effeminate Anglo did seem to fill all the requirements.
“Hm. Well, did Gina fill you in about the – nature of the assignment?”
“I’d be going in as a drug dealer. Nothing I haven’t handled before, as you know.”
“Yes, yes, but did she tell you about the other aspect of the job?”
“She did say something about our man being gay, yes, and that it was suggested that it might smooth things along a little, if I went in as a gay man too. Was that what you were referring to, sir?”
“Well, as long as we’re not talking about anything more intimate than having a few drinks and making polite conversation, I don’t think it will be a problem. It won’t be the first time I’ve encountered gay suspects.”
Castillo made a disapproving noise, not sure if he was referring to those suspects or Crockett himself. It was stupid of him to let these personal opinions stand in the way of getting their work done. It seemed that they – the law enforcement agency – could do precious little to stem the tide of crime.
“Well, then. I suppose you have the necessary instructions? All the relevant facts?”
“Yes, sir. I’ve been prepped and I think I’m ready.”
“Go on, then. Get to work.”
Crockett almost grinned at his boss’ obvious disapproval of him. There were times when he was inclined to take it personally, but if you thought about it, it was more amusing than irritating. Strangely enough, none of his colleagues seemed to detect any hostility from the man.
He went outside, to get his jacket and a few personal belongings he’d rather not leave in his desk. There was no telling exactly how long he’d be gone. Normally, these under cover operations didn’t last for more than a couple of weeks. Deep cover demanded more, but there had been no indication that would be the case this time.
He looked around the room, and found most of his colleagues gone already. By the time he’d returned after trying to unearth a hostile witness, it had been later than usual. As he turned to leave, he saw the door open and his partner and friend, Ricardo Tubbs walked in, slowly and confidently.
His slightly slanted, green eyes lit up and the corners of his mouth lifted a little. That was how far a man like Tubbs was willing to go to acknowledge a friend.
“Hey. I thought you’d left already.”
“Nah. I was wondering if you wanted to come out for a drink. The girls might be there too and I think Switek will be in later.”
“Why not? But I’d better get back soon.”
“To feed that little pet of yours?”
“For example, yeah.”
Crockett had a hunch that his friend was actually a little bit scared of his gator. Personally, he couldn’t see why. As long as you knew what you were doing, it was perfectly safe.
They got into their respective cars and drove separately to the bar they currently liked to hang out at. Tubbs ordered a margerita. Crockett settled for a nice cool beer. For a while, they sat in silence.
After a couple of minutes, Crocket became aware of his friend studying him out of the corner of his eyes. Eventually, Tubbs decided to speak up.
“I heard you were given a solo assignment.”
“Yeah. Did Gina tell you?”
Tubbs shrugged. He had something he wanted to say and making small talk wasn’t part of his plan.
“Who’s going to provide backup?”
“You are. Didn’t Gina tell you that? You and her, with Switek and Trudy taking turns. Why? What’s the problem?”
“We usually go in together. If not you and me, then one of us and someone else.”
It was Crockett’s turn to shrug. He wasn’t going to tell Tubbs the real reason it had been decided he wasn’t going to be included in the assignment. Everyone knew that with the exception of Castillo, Tubbs was probably the most homophobic member of their department. He hid it behind a thin veneer of dry humor, which covered a cold disdain.
Crockett wasn’t nearly so adamant. Sure, he found the idea of working closely together with a gay man possibly a little intimidating. If the guy was supposed to be your partner and watch your back, figuratively speaking. On the other hand, he’d worked with women and with all kinds of people. Ultimately, he didn’t think one’s partner’s sexual preference mattered as much as his or her reliability.
“Well, not this time, apparently. I think I can handle it. Just keep an eye on me and if I smell a rat, you get me out. As simple as that.”
“Simple? Yeah, I guess so. Fine. You know what? I’m too tired for this. Let’s go. I don’t think the girls are going to show up.”
“Ok. No problem. I should probably put a couple of things together. An outfit. Stuff I’m going to need for tomorrow.”
Tubbs got up, rather abruptly and stalked out. Crockett regarded his friend thoughtfully. Something seemed to be on his mind, but that would have to wait. If he didn’t get into the proper mindset for the job, he’d be risking his life. Backup or no backup.
He’d already determined that the cover – a gay drug dealer – was going to cut it. It wouldn’t be too hard to fake. In this business you got very little of feminine interior decorator types or florists and other gay cliches. A drug dealer had fit the general image of the profession. With that in mind, he’d put together an outfit that wasn’t too much out the ordinary for him.
A little more elegant and color coordinated, that was more or less the extent of his transformation. Plus an aftershave that was a little more overwhelming. He briefly considered some type of jewelry but dismissed the idea. Jewelry didn’t necessarily signal gay. Pimps wore it too, if not the same kind. It was important not to overdo it.
On his way back to the yacht, Crockett reviewed the information about the target and studied the photo. The man was in his early to mid-forties. Toned. Well-dressed. His looks didn’t interest Crockett. What was far more relevant to the case was the guy’s personality. He had a reputation of someone who liked to style himself as a gentleman. Suave, confident not to mention slick.
His secret – his sexual orientation – was an open secret in the business, but his own people never joked about it. There were rumors about gruesome punishments inflicted on those who offended him in any way. Of course – in every way but one – the guy appeared to be hard to offend. He seemed to have a sense of humor and a taste for the finer pleasures in life – food, wines, cigars, fashion, cars – as well as handsome men.
Crockett had been told that the guy had lost his mother some ten years earlier and portraits of her occupied much space in his mansion. That was a story in itself. It was enormous, luxurious, if just a little over the top, modeled on some fancy imitated medieval castle in Europe. To Crockett it sounded more than a little bit like Disney World.
Guests were expected to take part in the host’s parties that seemed to last until dawn, on several nights of the week. Trips in speedboats and private planes were considered part of the experience.
For weeks Switek and some of the others had worked the other end of the distribution chain and were confident they had a way in for one of them. Crockett was hoping they were right.
Once he’d made sure his outfit was ready and whatever else he might need too, he decided he’d better get an early night. A good night’s sleep would at least be a start.
In the morning, he dropped in at the precinct to check up on any last minute intel. Nothing of siginficance had come in.
It seemed to Crockett that Tubbs was acting a bit out of the ordinary. As if he was upset about something. But he didn’t say anything and when the others left to do their part, he went with them.
Castillo didn’t have any last minute instructions, but he came out of his office, stared intensely at Crockett, then nodded. That was all. Crockett considered his operation officially under way.
They’d agreed that he’d use another car, even more fancy than his own. Red – that was more or less a given. He didn’t think a guy like he was supposed to be, would drive anything too flamboyant.
The first couple of days, possibly weeks, would be spent establishing himself, working towards possibly being seen, noticed and – hopefully – singled out. To achieve that, Crockett had decided to risk drawing attention to himself. They wouldn’t have much use for the evidence if they had to wait a year or two for it. There were others who worked more long-term.
His audacity paid off. He almost felt it had been too easy. The tapping of the suspect’s phone lines hadn’t given anything, and Crockett was inclined to believe he was in the clear. Ernesto – Ernest – Sanchez didn’t suspect anything. So far, so good.
Crockett’s handle was reflective of his own Anglo background – no use trying to seem more ethnic than he had the looks for. Someone – he suspected Castillo – had settled on the name Francis Calvin. Francis? Personally, Crockett thought that a man by the name of Francis, who had opted to sell drugs for a living, would have changed his name early on. Something like Frank or Frankie maybe. No, it just didn’t sit right. There had to be a middle name, one that he went by. Jeremy. Jerry.
Using another name than the one that had been decided might be risky and even if the target bought it, he’d still be provoking Castillo. On the other hand, he was the one who had to go in and do the actual job, one that he didn’t think Castillo would have been able to do or Tubbs, for that matter. He’d use Jerry if Ernesto asked. Ernest? Maybe Francis wouldn’t be a too far-fetched name, after all.
To begin with, the job started out just as any other. He was surrounded by Sanchez’ muscle and once again had to fight down the impulse to throw himself into cover, rather than facing all that firepower. Two huge guys in identical clothes searched him, then backed off again.
He would be allowed to show them his merchandise. So far, so good.
“Gentlemen, if you’ll back off just a little, I’ll let you see the merchandise. Would you just lower those – thank you.”
He slowly opened his attache case and let Sanchez take a look. Sanchez moved closer and studied the contents of the case thorooughly.
Crockett nodded encouragingly. Sanchez picked up the nearest plastic bag, held it and its content up to the light – quite a strong light, actually, in that warehouse – and cut the bag, then tasted some of the white powder. He nodded approvingly.
“Excellent. How much can you deliver in say – the next three months?”
“More or less any quantity. I have connections in – let’s just say overseas.”
“I see. Well, let’s say fifty k’s?”
Ernesto laughed, but Crockett noted that the expression in his eyes never changed. There was only the slightest hint of an accent in his voice. On the whole, he didn’t look quite as Hispanic as his name indicated.
“You did say you had more or less unlimited resources.”
“I did say that, yes. But three months would be rather a short time to transport such a quantity.”
“How about seven for the first couple of weeks? Fifteen over the next three months?”
“And the price -?”
Sanchez quickly began to haggle. Crockett had a feeling for just how far you could go in your bargaining, to keep your customer interested, but not suspicious. In the end, Crockett let Sanchez ‘win’. Not too easily. He didn’t want him to get the impression he was dealing with a pushover. Just enough to show he was eager to break into this market.
Sanchez held out his hand and sealed the deal with a handshake, which lasted just a little too long for comfort. Crockett was prepared for this moment and he caught and held Sanchez’ gaze for just a little too long, as well. If he wasn’t mistaken, his reaction had been noted. Again, he felt the operation was proceeding according to plan.
“Now – I hope you’ll do me the honor of joining me and a few friends at my home for a few drinks.”
Crockett let just enough time pass to make it seem as if he was considering the offer, then allowed himself to smile.
“The pleasure will be all mine, I can assure you.”
“Excellent. If you’ll just follow my car -“
That first night had been his ticket into Sanchez’ confidence. It didn’t take more than a week, for Sanchez to begin to include his new associate in his invitations. Each time they were left alone together for more than a minute at a time, Crockett took care to smile and stare, but not do anything that could be interpreted as a direct come-on. He thought he’d been able to pull it off.
Like he’d been told, Sanchez liked to include his entourage and his other associates when he was entertaining, and that he did a lot. Many legit, and almost legit members of the community were often seen guests at Sanchez’ many parties. Crockett recognized one senior judge, several attorneys including a few who worked for the DA’s office. Others worked for the Mayor’s office and he could hardly count the number of local business men who seemed to be standing in line for an invitation.
Added to that were a large number of young, good-looking people, models, singers, actors – none of the major names, but several young hopefuls, as well as others, who were just hangers-on. Among those attending were Sanchez’ closest associates, as well as a few ‘cousins’ – allegedly relatives of Sanchez’.
On most nights, the bodyguards were rarely seen. Once you were past the main gates, security became more or less invisible.
Crockett made his observations, and when he was able to slip away, without being followed, he reported to one of his colleagues. Tubbs kept his distance. It seemed Castillo had given him another assignment.
It might have been Crockett’s imagination, but despite all the young, hot men coming and going, Sanchez seemed to single his newest associate out for special attention. For a while, Crockett feared that somehow he might have blown his cover, but he knew he’d taken all possible care to avoid giving himself away and as time went by, his suspicions were laid to rest.
Since the assignment turned out to yield so much more than expected, Crockett found himself meeting with Castillo again, this time at the apartment they were disposing for their surveillance. Switek and Gina retired to the kitchen to give them some privacy.
Crockett delivered his latest report, answered a few questions, then waited until Castillo produced his judgment.
“I’ve reviewed your reports and – for now I want you to stay on the job. Learn as much as you can without placing yourself at risk and if at any time you feel your cover might be blown, just get out. You’ll have backup round the clock, and we can have reinforcements out here within fifteen minutes.”
Castillo studied Crockett under lidded eyes, looking as if he might be about to ask another question, but he didn’t say anything else and after a while, he merely nodded dismissal. Crockett slipped out through the back door, made his way back to his own place – careful to drop in on a few bars on his way back. If anyone was following, he was hoping they’d interpret his actions as part of his natural behavior Friday night bar round.
He kept a close eye out, for any followers, but couldn’t detect anything out of the ordinary. No one tried to stop him and no one seemed to be following him. He let himself into his apartment and after making a visual inspection of the place, including a discreet glance out the window, he determined that nothing had been disturbed.
The following night, Sanchez had another big do at his beach house. This usually involved fewer guests, and tonight was no exception. Earlier in the evening, the usual sprinkling of young talent and good looks paraded past the older guests, but towards midnight, only Sanchez’ inner circle remained. The cousins, Sanchez’ closest friends and Calvin.
Sanchez was sitting comfortably in a deckchair on the patio, a drink in one hand and a cigar in the other. He was smiling broadly, studying his newest associate closely.
“Jerry, you look like a man who appreciates a thing of beauty. Am I right?”
Crockett returned the smile, taking care to look like a man with no major concerns on his mind.
“You don’t miss anything, do you?”
“No. Not much. Come on. Let me show you my latest acqusition. I know you’ll appreciate it. Unlike most of my people here.”
He made an idle, contemptuous gesture around the room. Crockett had a feeling he knew what Sanchez was referring to. Out of all his people, including the cousins, no one seemed to be like their host.
“Oh. Sure. I’d love to.”
Sanchez dismissed most of his associates and sent the cousins home. They were all much younger than he was, and if Crockett wasn’t mistaken home was not where any of them were heading. He was thinking more along the lines of clubs and bars and he was betting they were too.
Crockett followed his host upstairs, wondering what he would be shown. There had been talk about an art collection, but so far, he’d seen very little of that. Sanchez’ houses were decorated in a highly contemporary style, all pastels, steel and abstract art.
He was curious, but didn’t think whatever it was, would be very important from a professional point of view.
Sanchez took him into what looked his personal suite. Through an open door, Crockett could see a double bed and a wall filled with closets. The room they were standing in looked like a private living room.
His host gestured for him to take a seat on a smaller sofa which was standing along one wall, facing another, which was dedicated solely to a painting. It wasn’t very large, but the light and the colors drew his gaze from the start. The play of light and shadow brought back almost forgotten memories from his college days. A European artist. An impressionist. Or was this guy earlier than the impressionists? In any case, it was obvious that it was a nice work of art, even to an amateur’s eye.
Sanchez nodded to himself as if Calvin’s reaction confirmed something he’d suspected all along.
“I knew you’d like it. Let me get you another drink.”
Sanchez pointed towards a small bar on the left of the door they’d come in through, on the wall facing the door to the bedroom.
Crockett decided to do his part to cement their professional relationship.
“No, let me.”
Sanchez smiled and nodded.
A few minutes later they were sitting side by side, admiring the painting, sipping their drinks.
Sanchez didn’t comment on the painting again, but it was obvious that he was pleased both with the acquisition and the reaction it evoked in his guest.
Crockett was just congratulating himself on how well he’d played his cards on this assignment, when he suddenly realized he might have been just a little too clever for his own good. Sanchez was leaning closer and placed a hand on Calvin’s thigh. Crockett could feel the older man’s hot breath on his cheek and tried to inch away, in a way that might be interpreted as natural.
After all, his job was to gain this man’s trust, but on the other hand, very soon he’d be getting dangerously close to a line, he’d never intended to cross while on the job. Certainly not with another man.
If Sanchez noticed his reaction, he gave no indication of it. Instead, he followed and began to press into Crockett in a way that was decidedly unnerving. It was time to make his excuses and go, hoping that he hadn’t blown his standing with the crime lord, but not really caring as much as he’d thought he would.
Next shock followed instantly. Sanchez not so much didn’t notice his guest’s reluctance to stay close, he simply didn’t care. Crockett had to fight down the first traces of panic.
He decided to try and reason with Sanchez.
“Whoa. I’m sorry, but I think I should probably go. Thanks. It’s been – fantastic – as always, but it’s time to go.”
A stunning blow to his face interrupted him before he’d quite finished the last word. He felt his teeth chatter and something warm splattered his lips.
“You’re not going anywhere. You dirty tease. You played with the wrong guy. We both know what you were offering, now you’re going to deliver.”
He made another attempt to break free, but found, to his shock and surprise, that Sanchez was quite a bit stronger than he’d suspected.
Since carrying a concealed weapon went with the territory for a drug dealer, he’d had a gun, but Sanchez had insisted that everyone leave their weapons at the gate. A guy with a metal detector and the usual muscled guards had made sure the rule was enforced.
Crockett had never missed the gun’s reassuring weight more than at this particular moment. The lack of it made him feel naked. As he struggled with his host, he received another stunning blow, this time to his abdomen. It made him lose his wind and almost made him black out.
Too late to be subtle. All he cared about at the moment was tearing himself free of the hands which were alternately prying underneath his t-shirt or inside the waistband of his pants – or – distributing sharp, numbing blows to his face and abdomen.
He felt Sanchez’ lips press into his mouth and the guy’s tongue prying his lips apart. This was one thing he hadn’t seen coming. Sanchez pushed him down onto the sofa, which wasn’t quite large enough to fully accommodate two grown men. It creaked ominously and Crockett suspected Sanchez wanted to beat him into submission, then drag him into the bedroom. That might have been his plan all along, not showing off his painting.
Suddenly, the sound of breaking glass made Sanchez pull back. At last, Crockett could breathe again. He tried to get up, but before he’d had time to move, he saw a familiar figure throw himself at Sanchez. The fury of the attack made Sanchez fall back. Crockett could see the crime lord fumble inside his jacket, but his attacker didn’t give him any time for that.
Blow after blow rained on Sanchez and once he was down, he stayed down. Despite that, the intruder kept kicking his body, long after the last movements and sounds had ceased.
Crockett’s mind was working sluggishly at best. The shock made him still feel numb. How had Tubbs managed to get inside a house so well guarded? And why? But why could wait. Even though it had been a relief to feel Sanchez move away, Crockett didn’t necessarily want to see the guy dead. From the looks of things, Tubbs did.
“Hey. He’s down. Stop it. You’re killing him.”
To Crockett’s astonishment, it was as if his partner and friend hadn’t heard him. He went on kicking the unmoving figure on the floor, even in the head, for a while longer. It was as if the whole thing was a strange, confused dream.
Tubbs pulled his gun out and aimed it at Sanchez’ head.
Crockett yelled something, which it was obvious Tubbs couldn’t hear, but even so, he lowered his gun. He walked up to the sofa and stood there staring at his partner, a fierce look on his face. The eyes were mere slits and he was breathing so heavily, he sounded like a wild animal. It was almost as if he was growling.
He didn’t put his gun away, but he grabbed Crockett with his other hand and began to drag him down the stairs. Crockett didn’t see anyone in the house, but he was wondering what had happened to the guards and the dogs. He didn’t see any of them on the way outside either. Not that he was in any shape to take much notice of his surroundings.
Tubbs seemed to have undergone a startling transformation. Crockett didn’t know what to make of his friend’s unexpected behavior. The gun, which was never far away, made Crockett feel uneasy, though he didn’t see any reason why Tubbs should be inclined to use it against him.
Tubbs more or less threw his partner into his car and drove off, before all doors were fully open.
Hoping that having an ordinary conversation might help restore some sort of normality to the situation, Crockett struggled to find words that might reach his friend and snap him out of this savage mood.
“Where did you come from?”
“I didn’t expect you to show up like that.”
Again, it was as if Tubbs hadn’t heard him. Uneasily, Crockett noticed that the gun was lying on the instrument panel, bouncing as the car cut corners and the gears screeched ominously. He almost put a hand on Tubbs’ arm, but somehow, couldn’t bring himself to do it. It was as if his mind had only partly taken in what had happened in the past half hour or so.
Crockett hadn’t been paying attention to their surroundings, but now he realized they were right outside Tubbs’ place. Sure enough, Tubbs stepped on the breaks and the car squealed to a stop. He grabbed his gun again and jumped out, ran around the car, opened the door to the passenger seat and again seized his friend and began to drag him upstairs.
“Rico – I’d rather go home. Rico, please -“
By now, he’d stopped expecting his friend to pay attention to him. They were up the stairs and in front of Tubbs’ door in less than a minute. Tubbs let go of Crockett and unlocked the door, then slammed it shut behind him, before Crockett even had time to consider making a run for it. But why should he feel that way? His friend had come to his rescue tonight. Without his help – who knew how the incident would have ended.
In any case, Tubbs reached for him again and began to pull him along through the apartment. He didn’t stop until they were in his bedroom. The gun still hadn’t left Tubbs’ hand, since he’d picked it up again in the car.
To Crockett’s alarm, Tubbs raised the gun to his friend’s face, then began to rub it against his cheeks and lips. The barrel slid across his mouth, once, twice, three times, then began to move further down, by way of his neck.
Tubbs’ face was still unreadable as a mask and he was breathing so harshly, Crockett had trouble recognizing his friend.
Without warning, Tubbs pushed Crockett down onto the bed and, without letting go of the gun, began to tear off the t-shirt. It shredded in his hands, leaving Crockett’s chest bare, making him feel more naked than ever. If he’d believed it would do any good, at this point he wouldn’t have been too proud to beg, but by now, he didn’t think anything he might do would help, and besides, he knew his voice wouldn’t carry. His throat was dry and despite the warmth of the Florida night, he felt chilled.
Tubbs fumbled with the waistband of Crockett’s pants for a moment, then finally getting them unzipped, he managed to pull them down, to the knees. He did the same with the shorts.
Again, he began to stroke Crockett’s white skin with the barrel of the gun. Moving slowly upwards again, he suddenly pushed the gun into his partner’s mouth, holding it there.
Afterwards, Crockett was suprised he didn’t lose control over his bladder at that point, but it was as if he’d lost the ability to feel fear or stopped registering any emotions after the initial shock.
Tubbs began to move the barrel of the gun in and out in a rhythmic way, until he got tired of that and began to trace a pattern across Crockett’s chest, then moving all the way down to his crotch. After a few more minutes of that, his mood changed again. With an impatient gesture, he flipped his partner over, face down and started over again. From the nape of his neck, following the spine, down to the buttocks and inside the crack. Again, he moved it inside and out, until finally he got tired of the game and put away the gun.
Tubbs grabbed his friend’s shoulders and flipped him over again, leaving him lying flat on his back. After impatiently tearing at his own clothes and finally tossing them aside, he got up and straddled Crockett’s face. At this point, Crockett knew better than trying to protest, and resigned himself to his fate.
When Tubbs stretched out on top of him and began to move again, Crockett had already retreated far into his own mind and very little sensation from the outside penetrated his outer defences. Lying like that, he must have passed out. Some time later that morning, he came to. Tubbs was still lying on top of him, pressing into him in a way that again made the panic grow inside him.
Eventually, the sounds of his partner’s calm breathing reassured him a little. He managed to wriggle out from underneath the muscular body pinning him down. Though Tubbs made all kinds of noises, he didn’t wake up and Crockett was able to pull up his shorts and pants. He began to walk as silently as he could, but the shock was making him move clumsily and the short distance to the door seemed to take forever to cross.
He never knew how he made his way downstairs and even more, how he found his way back home – not to Calvin’s apartment, but his own yacht. The presence of the gator made him feel at least marginally safer.
He couldn’t bring himself to undress and in the end, he just stretched out on his bunk, pulling the covers up as high as they would come. Curling up like that, hugging himself, he must have passed out again. The rest of that Sunday passed in a blur. He didn’t recall getting into the shower and though it didn’t help much, at least it made him feel a little better. From the shower he must have returned to bed, because his memories of the next few days were sketchy at best.
The insistent sound of a phone ringing made Crockett open his eyes. For a second, a sense of disorientation left him feeling unsure of where he was. When the familiar surroundings registered, he tried to sit up. The movement caused a rush of memories to flood his mind. He grabbed the phone, more to stop it ringing than to answer, but the sound of a familiar voice on the other end of the line, forced him to reconsider.
“Sonny? Is that you? Where did you go? What happened Saturday night?”
“Gina? I -“
“Were you there when Sanchez was attacked?”
What was he going to say to her? That he’d been there, but managed to escape? For some reason, he hadn’t been there, but he’d had some sort of warning that something was wrong?
“Sonny? Are you ok?”
“Yeah, I’m fine. I wasn’t there. So it was Saturday night? I heard something had gone down, but since I wasn’t invited -“
He broke off, as he recalled that there might have been witnesses who could place him on the scene. All he could do was hope that no one would be able to recall or that no one had survived. Which was a terrible thing to hope for. Many of Sanchez’ guests were criminals, but not all. Another memory that resurfaced was of Calvin’s gun. That still had to be in Sanchez’ guardhouse by the front gates.
He heard the relief in Gina’s voice.
“I’ve been lying low, waiting to call it in. But since I wasn’t sure what was going on, I thought it best to wait. If I’m supposed to go back in-“
“No. Your assignment has been called off. How much of what happened that night do you know about?”
“Nothing. Just that there was some sort of trouble.”
Silence. Did Gina find that hard to believe? Was she considering how much to tell him? Another thought, which kept intruding, was where Tubbs was, what he was saying and how much of his involvement, if any, was known.
He was hoping he could keep his voice even and – normal. Somehow, it felt vitally important to act as if nothing was out of the ordinary. He had to be his usual carefree self. If anyone were to guess –
“Sanchez was attacked on Saturday night. He’s in a coma.”
“Oh. Do you know who’s behind it yet?”
“No. So far no informers have had anything of value to report.”
“The boss is waiting to hear from you.”
“Right. I’ll be in right away. Thanks.”
Again, there was silence, until Gina said bye and hung up.
He wished he knew where Tubbs was. The thought of running into his partner again was intimidating. While he’d shut the memories out by sleeping, he hadn’t dealt with what had happened. Now he knew he’d be forced to face it.
His partner and friend had – attempted to kill a suspect. He’d beaten and kicked a man almost to death. Then he’d abducted his partner and friend, at gunpoint and – Crockett couldn’t finish the sentence even inside his mind.
He was filled with mixed emotions. The predominant one was terror, pure and simple. Terror and dread. Deep down, he sensed another reaction, one that he recoiled violently from every time he even touched on it. There was a part of him that had enjoyed, not the excessive violence and certainly not the sex, but some other aspect of the incident.
This realization was enough to force his mind away from it all, and focus on getting ready for work. Ever since he’d first become a cop, he’d loved almost every second if his work. Law enforcement was his life, more or less. Not even once, had he seriously felt tempted to cross the line and accept bribes or simply turning and becoming one of the others.
Now, for the first time in his life, since school, he realized he didn’t want to go. He didn’t want to get dressed, shower, shave or anything else. All he wanted was to return to bed and stay there until he felt more like himself, if that ever happened.
But he knew calling in sick wasn’t an option, especially now that Gina had talked to him. Even if she hadn’t, staying at home would have been a termporary measure at best. He might as well face the boss, his colleagues and – Tubbs.
In any case, he needn’t have worried, at least not when it came to Tubbs. The girls were in and Castillo, and Switek too, as well as some of the others, but not Tubbs.
He found that Castillo was expecting a report first thing.
Crockett forced himself to quickly scan his memories, not of the actual night, but anything before that. Since he’d reported to Castillo only the night before that, he couldn’t think of anything else to add, but he knew Castillo wouldn’t settle for that. He’d be forced to go over the old facts again and again. At the moment, he didn’t feel up to it, but if he didn’t want his boss to suspect anything, he’d need to pull himself together and do his best anyway.
Before he went in, he was startled by Gina, who suddenly pulled him into her arms and hugged him. For a second, he tensed up, but forced himself to return the hug and act normally.
“Hey, I’m fine.”
Gina held him at arm’s length, looking as if she was about to dispute his statement, then appeared to change her mind again.
“I’m just glad you’re back and safe.”
To his surprise, he caught Trudy studying him intently, before she too, pulled him close and hugged him hard.
“Thanks. What a welcome, girls. I guess you missed me. Great to be back, but I had the situation under control. There was nothing for you to worry about.”
“If you’d been there when this happened -“
“Yeah, I know, but I wasn’t. Never mind. I’d better go and report to the boss. He’ll never let me hear the end of it if I don’t try to produce some new facts, even if I don’t have any.”
He missed the girls exchanging glances behind his back. They looked far from convinced by his false bravado.
Just like he’d expected, Castillo put him through the third degree. He had to repeat all the facts he’d reported earlier, and go over them again and again. In the end, Castillo let him go, looking as disapproving as ever. At least it was over, for now.
To his relief, he was given a new assignment, this time with Switek. It looked relatively uncomplicated. He knew he’d be able to pull his weight on that case. Hopefully, no one would notice anything out of the ordinary.
The day, which at first had seemed endless, finally came to an end. He drove home again, avoiding invitations to dinner with Gina and a bar round with Switek. All he wanted was to be left alone.
When he walked across the dock, to get to his yacht, he caught himself glancing worriedly over his shoulder. He knew he ought to have asked about Tubbs, but he hadn’t been able to bring himself to do it. If anyone had noticed his reaction, they were bound to suspect something. Maybe they’d assume he’d been in touch with his partner on the phone, so he already knew where he was. No one had mentioned him, oddly enough, but most likely Tubbs would be supposed to be working his own case.
He didn’t notice anything alarming, so he jumped up onto the deck, then went below, shutting the door behind him with relief.
Again, he couldn’t quite stop himself from recalling the events of Saturday night, or rather Sunday morning. He didn’t want to, but he found that his thoughts were circling around the fact that a part of him had been turned on by what had happened. What that was, was hard to decipher.
He knew it wasn’t the gay sex. Any feelings he’d ever had for Tubbs were entirely platonic. He’d never felt attracted to another guy, even if he’d sometimes faked appreciation for the compliments some men paid him. If they’d known his real reaction, they might not have liked it as much. To him, it had been more or less a joke.
It wasn’t the excessive violence either, at least not the explosion of aggression against a helpless man, lying on the floor. Witnessing that had only made him sick.
He forced his mind away from the unwelcome thoughts, but they kept returning, like you’d probe a sore tooth or a barely healed wound, scratching at the scab so it would come off, even if you knew it would bleed again.
In the end, just as he was about to drift off to sleep, totally exhausted, towards dawn, it hit him. He’d enjoyed being fought for and – this was even harder to stomach – being forced into submission. The gun had made it impossible to refuse and if Tubbs had been inclined to use real force to subdue him, he never had to.
Crockett caught himself wondering how he’d felt if a hot woman had subjected him to the same treatment. Despite the shock and emotional trauma, the thought excited him. If someone like Gina – but that was impossible to imagine. Not Gina. She was sassy and elegant – a real looker – and he knew from experience that she could be totally uninhibited in bed, but somehow, he couldn’t see her doing the dominance thing.
In any case, this was something completely new. He’d never felt the slightest inclination towards this sort of thing. Just like his colleagues, he’d laughed at the use of handcuffs as sex toys and even boasted that he’d dated a girl who insisted he use the cuffs on her in bed – true – even if it only happened once. But he hadn’t really gotten off on it before.
Once he’d solved that riddle, he felt a little better. He drifted off to sleep and mercifully, there were no dreams. The following morning, there was less pain and the initial raw edge of the trauma began to recede.
After a few days, he was beginning to think he might be able to if not get over what had happened, then at least act as if he had. There was still no sense of well-being associated with going to work, like in the past, but he no longer felt the same cold dread every morning.
Now and then, he caught himself glancing speculatively at Gina, but his first impression of her held. She would never be capable of dominating a man. He thought she might be able to fake enthusiasm over being dominated herself, but he didn’t think she’d truly enjoy that and in any case, they both knew that their feelings for each other had never been enough. They were just good friends. Friends who had slept together on occasion, but still just friends.
Before he’d even noticed what he was doing, his eyes began to follow Trudy around. Once or twice, he noticed that she, too, was studying him, as intently as on the first day, but she was usually more subtle about it. For some reason he’d never seriously considered Trudy as a potential date. He didn’t know why. She was just as hot as Gina, except in a different way. It struck him that unlike her friend, she seemed perfectly capable of dominating a man, and enjoying it too. At least he thought so. It was a little hard to tell.
Besides, at the moment, he was far from ready to enter any new relationship. He’d settle for getting his life back. For feeling like the old Sonny Crockett, before –
And he still hadn’t faced Tubbs again. He’d never had any sort of explanation or hint that Tubbs might act this way. Trying to imagine why his friend had done what he had, was just too painful and he kept shying away from thoughts of Tubbs’ motivation. In fact, he suspected that whatever it was, he wouldn’t want to know.
He took some comfort in the fact that at least he could still do his job. So he struggled on, facing each new day as a challenge to get through, clinging to the conviction that he had to keep doing his job and keep his friends and colleagues from suspecting anything. At least that was something.