PART 2: DEACON
I wandered back to the old recliner and flopped down. I poured myself another drink and downed it in three quick gulps. Cheyne was gone, as I knew he would be, there was no real reason for him to stay. Things had gotten out of hand, his temper had flared and he said some stuff I didn’t know how to process. What went through that kid’s head sometimes, I had no idea. Even so, he had been gone for only two days and I was miserable. I couldn’t deny I missed having him around. It had been nice, having someone around to talk to, spend time with, even enjoy sex with again. Checking my device confirmed that he hadn’t tried to contact me and I stuffed it back in my jeans pocket. He finally figured out what a stubborn, loveless bastard I had become. I tried to warn him, he hadn’t listened.
Monday morning as it turned out, two days after the incident with Cheyne when he stormed out, proved to be too much of a hangover for even me to handle. I was actually forced to use a sick day, something I almost never did. So when Tuesday rolled around I forced myself out the door and dragged myself into work. I had hit the bottle early, or maybe, hadn’t really slowed down from the previous night. My goal wasn’t to stay drunk all the time, I just, wanted to keep myself comfortably numb. When Eilie passed, my life had crumbled down around my ears. Drinking was easier than nightmares. In spite of the walls I kept up, that damn kid had gotten close to me, much closer than I had intended. In his absence I could feel myself slipping back into bad habits. He was handsome, youthful and full of questions, the kind of person you just didn’t find on Ganymede. Who could help but be a little smitten? Sure he was a little naive, and maybe too impetuous for his own good but there was a certain way about him that made him stand out in my mind. My intentions over the last few months hadn’t been to get serious, I wasn’t looking for a relationship, I just, didn’t want to be alone anymore.
Reynolds looked up from the front desk as I stumbled in through the door. He wrinkled his nose up and scowled.
“Dammit Deacon, I know Chief Holden has spoken to you about showing up to work drunk before. I can smell it from here.”
“I don’t want to hear it from you.” I glared down at the little man.
“You were doing better I thought.” He commented with a frown.
It took me by surprise, though as I thought it over, I realized I had been drinking less while Cheyne was around. “I’m doing fine, don’t worry about it.” I grumbled as I moved toward the small kitchen.
“You’re over an hour late, again. So Cheyne’s still sick? Tell him I hope he feels better soon, you live together right?” The desk sergeant called from behind me.
“Still sick? He wasn’t in yesterday?” I asked, turning my head to regard the man.
“No, he wasn’t, I assumed you would know that?” Reynolds replied, raising an eyebrow.
“Hell if I know.” I said, and then giving the desk sergeant a sour expression added. “And stop trying to snoop around in my personal life. You’re not a detective for a reason.”
He scowled again but said nothing more.
I wondered if the kid was skipping work on my account, I hoped that wasn’t the case. I already felt badly about causing Cheyne so much trouble, I didn’t want him to think he had to start missing work to avoid me. I decided I could at least send him a message later, maybe even check in on him downstairs at his apartment, see if he was adjusting back to his old place. In truth I just wanted to see him, make sure he was going to be okay.
Coffee machine was empty, this really was shaping up to be a spectacular morning. I added the instant mix and started the hot water over the ground coffee-flavored powder. I leaned against the counter in the small kitchen and let out a sigh. I thought about work for the day, there had been a rash of human smuggling over the last half a year or better. I had been working with other station marshalls, swapping intelligence and trying to help narrow down any leads but so far there hadn’t been much to follow. Occasionally we might find a piece of suspicious cargo or make an arrest that yielded a criminal wanting to make a deal, providing us information in exchange for a reduced punishment or maybe avoid arrest altogether. Even then the information rarely panned out, the galaxy is a big place, too many spots to run and hide. If anything else came up that needed my attention today, I would shift my focus.
Within a few minutes the coffee was ready and I anxiously poured myself a cup. I had just finished adding a little whisky and had tucked the flask back into my jacket pocket when I heard Abby behind me in the doorway.
“In my office, Deacon.” She said with a tone I knew to mean trouble, although she controlled her true emotions well.
“Uh, sure thing.” I said, although as I headed toward the open kitchen door, she had already left and marched down much casino şirketleri of the hall to her office. I had a leisurely sip of my coffee as I took my time following her. If I was going to get an earful, she could damn well wait a minute.
I didn’t bother to knock when I reached the chief’s office, instead I breezed in and pulled a chair out for myself. I set my coffee mug on the edge of the large desk nearest to me, then sat down heavily and leaned back in the uncomfortable office chair.
“Let’s have it.” I said, folding my arms over my chest and giving her an unhappy look.
Abigail Holden regarded me carefully, her lips pursed. “I want to talk to you, not as the Ganymede police chief but as your friend, Deacon. Does that sound agreeable to you?
She caught me off-guard, I had expected a lecture. “Yeah, of course Abby.” I answered.
I watched as she visibly relaxed. “Good, then let’s speak candidly. You haven’t taken a sick day in over five years, and now you come back, drunk like you used to get after Eilie.”
“That little shit.” I mumbled.
“Yes, Reynolds told me after you got in, I think he’s worried about you, almost as much as I am.” She commented.
I bit my tongue, I was pretty sure Reynolds only wanted to stir up drama for me, not because he actually gave a damn.
“Did something happen recently?” She asked, concern edging her question. “Does it have anything to do with Cheyne being out today and yesterday?”
I felt like I was slowly deflating, she wasn’t trying to berate me, only extend her concern out of friendship.
“I don’t know, I mean, I guess so.” I admitted sullenly.
“Talk to me, how are the two of you doing?” She asked.
I rolled my head around on my shoulders. “Not, great. I want you to know, we were never really a couple or anything.” I shot her a glance.
“Deacon, do you honestly think I would think less of you for being with another man?” Abby asked.
I shifted uncomfortably in the small chair. I had nearly forgotten how direct she could be in her questioning, part of what made her a great cop.
“No, I don’t think that, probably. Look, we had something going for a while but I wasn’t gonna let it go too far. Dammit, it’s not like I meant to hurt the kid.” I tried to explain.
“Hurt how?” She considered me carefully.
“Christ, Abby, I didn’t hit him or anything.” I looked at her reproachfully.
“I didn’t think you had.” She assured me. “And he’s twenty-five, hardly a kid anymore.”
I lifted my cap off and gave my scalp a scratch. “He told me had feelings for me, you know what I mean?”
“Well, I didn’t feel the same way, so he packed up his stuff and moved out. He was crying… Fuck, it was kind of a mess.” I said shaking my head.
Abby leaned back in her chair and took a sip from her own coffee mug. “It was plain to me that you did care about the man.” She said presently, looking into her cup as she swirled the dark liquid slowly.
“I care, I’m not saying I don’t. We spent all that time together, went to movies, had meals together. We were intimate.”
Abby flashed me a look and I actually felt my cheeks redden. Maybe I shouldn’t have added that last bit. Surprisingly, it felt good to talk to someone about Cheyne.
“And yet you don’t love him?” She asked.
“Give me a break, I’m not doing that to myself again, or anyone else. Cheyne is much better off without me, even if he doesn’t know it.” I said dismissively.
Abby gave a sad sigh. “And you, Deacon? Can you honestly tell me you’re better off without him in your life?”
My face felt hot, I couldn’t be sure if it was the drink or frustration but I rose to my feet. “Maybe, maybe not. It was never going to work anyway.” I said defensively.
“Sounds like you’ve made your mind up then. Too bad Cheyne was willing to take a chance. Look where it got him, completely shut out of your life.” Her eyes were full of pity.
I slammed my hand down on her desk, I didn’t want her sympathy or offhanded remarks. My coffee mug jumped and spilled across her desk.
“That’s not for you to say, Abigail! I’ve made mistakes, lord knows I have, but I’m not dragging that kid down with me. Keep your damn nose out of my business.” I snarled through gritted teeth.
The chief stood and began fishing some paper towels out of her desk to clean up the encroaching spill.
“I know you don’t let anyone get close to you anymore, Deacon, and I’ve tried to be understanding.” Abby said softly as she started mopping up the coffee and whisky. “But she’s been gone nearly seven years. You allowed that ‘kid’ in for a reason, maybe it’s time to let yourself be happy again.”
If I hadn’t been angry there was a chance I could have seen the wisdom of her words. “What would you know about it, huh? You’ve never been married, never been with anyone for very long, and I’ve been married twice and it’s gotten fucked up twice.” I muttered.
“Deacon,” casino firmaları She began.
“We’re done here.” I finished, and stormed out of the office.
The rest of the day passed in mostly a blur. Yes I was still drinking for most of it, but I felt constantly distracted. Abby’s words struck me in a startling way that I couldn’t shake. Abigail had been my friend for the last decade, no, even longer than that, since I had first come to Ganymede and started my life as a marshall with my young wife by my side. We had become fast friends, neither of us cared much for bullshit and never had any issues speaking our minds. Three years later, after Eilie had died, I became isolated, shutting everyone out around me. Abby was the one exception. She should have fired me when the drinking started. I’d show up to work completely smashed, emotional at times, if I even showed up at all. Instead she took on the role of friend and started trying to help me manage my alcoholism. It wasn’t an easy transition to make and I won’t say that I didn’t still drink in excess after work was over and on my days off, but, with her support I could at least function during the day. For the most part I’ve been able to keep on track.
The grief was another story altogether. They say time heals all wounds and yet, seven years later I still had trouble coping. It’s shameful, but I didn’t know how to move forward when everything reminded me of my past and what I had lost that day. My eye, a lung, chunks of shoulder and chest, so much more than just the physical was ripped from me during the accident. I lost my life that day when she died and everything since has just been, going through the motions in a shell of metal and skin. Ever since then I was trying to kill off the sorrow I felt everyday and drinking was the easiest, although not the fastest way. When I was at my lowest points, I considered more direct means.
And then, my neighbor had woken me out of a drunken slumber on the floor outside my apartment one night, and something changed. He looked familiar, reminded me instantly of my lost love, though even in my stupor I knew it wasn’t her. Regardless, I woke up the next day thinking about the kid, and also that he had done something nice for me without any provocation. In my book, that means something. I happened to be on my way to the precinct the next morning when I saw him leave the apartment and head downtown. He was obviously in a hurry so I tailed him to the Rose Thorn, figuring I would catch him again as he was leaving. It hadn’t gone very well. I learned he was a prostitute, which didn’t bother me any, but it did freak me out a little when he came on to me, grabbing on my dick through my jeans.
I figured I had made a mistake, trying to get to know him, and my reasons were pretty selfish so I decided to leave him alone. Of course fate intervened again when he was attacked in his place and drew us back together. Suddenly I felt like maybe we were meant to know one another.
There was something about Cheyne though. The more time I spent with him, the more interested I became. It might have been easy to write him off as just another tragic tale so common on Ganymede, but there was much more to him than that. Instead of burying himself in the bottle, or drugs or even bad reality shows, he watched programs about the history of planets he had never seen, drew amazing pictures of animals, trees, and even me. With the crappy hand he had been dealt he somehow looked to the future with optimism. I liked spending my time with him and even more than that, he was teaching me things, like maybe the world doesn’t have to be so bleak all the time. There were times I forgot my own pain, forgot to have another drink. He was good for me.
When we started getting physical I became excited, felt like a damn kid again. I never would have initiated it of course, I didn’t want to take advantage of him, even though I was painfully aware of how attractive he was. Something about scabarethen has always struck me as beautiful and Cheyne was no exception. I’ll admit it was something of a surprise to find that I fantasized about him at times, often in fact. I don’t remember ever entertaining those ideas about another man before. It was foolish, letting myself get pulled into a sexual relationship with him, but damned if I didn’t want it to happen. To his credit he was a fantastic partner, sensual and giving, it actually made me want to try harder to make him feel good too. When we were tangled up together at night, my cock buried deep inside him and his arms gripping me so tightly, there was nothing else that mattered. I hadn’t seen it coming and I didn’t know if I was doing right by him. I could see the way he started looking at me, and I knew what it might mean. It had been a long time since anyone looked at me like that, like they cared about me deeply. I knew it wouldn’t be fair to let it continue, and was becoming certain that it was already too late to end güvenilir casino it without hurting him. When he received word about his apartment finally being fixed up, it seemed like the best opportunity to let him go. My heart was being torn apart seeing him cry, hearing his confession but knowing there was nothing I could say to him. It was time to go our separate ways. He would eventually come to understand, I was sure of it.
I stopped by Jim’s Place, the local watering hole near the apartment on my way home after work and an hour in the gym. There weren’t any pretenses here, just a bunch of sad sacks getting fucked up to deal with their own personal demons. I felt right at home.
The bartender, an older fellow by the name of Grayson greeted me as I ambled up to the bar. He gave a small nod as he saw me stroll up to the bar.
“Deacon, it’s been awhile. Some of the boys were saying that you must have kicked off, but I knew better.” He gave me a wry smile.
“Not yet anyway. Whisky, neat.” I ordered.
“You got it buddy.” Said the man as he poured a perfect two fingers from a bottle behind the bar. “So what was the story? You go off station for a bit? Marshall stuff?” He asked curiously as he set my drink on the counter in front of me.
I gave him a long look, trying to determine if I felt like talking or not. This was actually the most the man had ever spoken to me in all the years I had been coming here.
“Nah it wasn’t work related. I met someone, just wanted to spend more time with them I suppose.” I answered with a sad smile.
“Oh, well, good for you then, eh? This first one’s on the house.” He gave me a friendly wink and shuffled off to help another patron further down the bar.
I took a drink and looked around the dimly lit pub. While I was with Cheyne I hadn’t made it in more than a couple times in the beginning and I hadn’t missed the place at all. At the end of each day I had just wanted to come home to the kid and find out about his day, hear him laugh, or shed our clothes and have a different kind of fun. As I stared into the bottom of my glass I shook my head at the realization, that I was seriously missing him. Could I have made a mistake letting him leave? If I wanted him back in my life, I would have to admit that I loved him but I wasn’t sure if that was the truth. My heart had been broken for so long I didn’t think it was capable of those feelings anymore.
Grayson was back in front of me as I finished the drink with the bottle handy. He moved to pour another but I placed my hand over the glass. His eyebrow raised, but only a touch.
“I’m good.” I said.
“No problem. Don’t want to be too messed up going to see that special someone, am I right?” He asked.
“Something like that.” I replied as I thanked the old man for the drink, clambered off the bar stool and walked out of the musty tavern into the night lights of Ganymede.
I reached the Andromeda Arms in much better shape than was usual for me at this time of night. I actually felt pretty good about things, and I wanted to see Cheyne. I stopped at the second floor and steeled myself. Maybe he wasn’t ready to see me again, he might not even let me inside, but I was prepared for that. I just wanted to talk with him, to explain what I was thinking, the things I should have said two nights ago but wasn’t sure how. It may not get me anywhere but I’d feel better just knowing how he was faring. Even though I couldn’t echo his sentiments, I wouldn’t abandon our friendship.
In front of his door I hesitated. My hands were sweating, it was making me nervous standing in the hall like this, unsure of how the kid might react.
“Get a grip!” I said quietly to myself.
I pushed the small intercom button next to the metal door frame and could hear it buzz inside the small apartment. I stepped back and waited, staring at the heavy door, willing it to open. It shouldn’t be taking this long, I buzzed again. When there was still no answer I knocked loudly on the door.
“Come on Cheyne, I just want to talk, please open the door!” I shouted.
I placed my ear to the door. The metal was thick but I should have been able to hear his wallscreen if it had been turned on or maybe the shower. I heard nothing, not a single sound, not even the soft hum of the lights. If he wasn’t home at this time of night, I wondered where else he could have gone. Would he have gone back to hooking up with strange men? I seriously doubted it, he had been so happy after he started working at the precinct. I decided to check again tomorrow if I didn’t see him at work. I padded back down the narrow corridor and headed upstairs.
When I got to my apartment I couldn’t help but look around the place and scowl unhappily. Without the kid living here I was already letting dishes accumulate and bottles were piling up too. I didn’t mean to be a slob, I just, didn’t think about the conditions I was living in all that much. Cheyne did, he was a neat and tidy guy, he’d give me the business over letting the place get like this, and he’d be in the right. No, I decided I wasn’t going to spend my night thinking and worrying about him. He was a grown man, Abby was right on that front, probably more mature than I was.