Chapter Fifty-one: What Jamie Needs

Having Jack come rampaging back into my arms, into my life, having him say he wanted me, was the most breathtaking experience ever. And that kiss! Holding me close, crushing me in his arms, he made me feel that I was meant to be his, forever.

The only trouble was having to follow orders, and stay at Kirby's. Great big manly Jack wanted me to be safe while he hunted down the man who'd stolen from him, and from his church. Fat little Sid didn't seem like such a dangerous threat, not to me anyway. But Sid had been Kirby's partner for years and years. And now I was staying with Kirby. So that was awkward! Worse, when no-good Sid had been robbing Jack he'd also gotten me into bed a few times, taking advantage of how conflicted I was about loving a married man (Jack) and trying to be a good little Christian at the same time.

Did Kirby know about Sid getting me into bed all those times? Did Jack know, and was he secretly jealous? How could Kirby and I be sure that Jack wouldn't lose his temper and hurt Sid when he finally caught up with him?

"I want to go with you," I said to Jack, still breathless from that kiss. "If I could just talk to Sid . . ."

"No, I'll talk to Sid." Jack kissed me again, and this time his kiss was like a command. "You stay here with Kirby. Stay here and rest."

So that was what I did, obeying Jack's orders and trying to keep sweet, gentle Kirby company as best I could for the next few days. It was easy to see that classy old Kirby was worried about Sid, and sad about how he'd behaved, even when he was fussing over me and trying to be the perfect host. The two of them had been together for so many years it was like they were married. Kind, affectionate, soft-spoken Kirby would always welcome weak and foolish Sid back with open arms, no matter what he did.

"Don't you ever think about teaching Sid a lesson?" I asked, stretching and yawning in one of the cushioned deck chairs as we were finishing up breakfast by the pool. It was only about 10 AM, but the sun was high and already quite hot. The day was going to be a scorcher, so I was glad I was only wearing my bathing suit.

"Well, sometimes I wish Sid would be more sensitive to my needs," Kirby said softly, sighing as he looked at the shimmering waves. The outdoor pool was warm and crystal clear, and the waves made a soft, rippling noise that was very soothing. "All these years, we've had an understanding that he doesn't like to be tied down. Sid needs variety, and excitement. But sometimes . . . sometimes I feel as if I'd like some excitement too!"

"It would serve Sid right if you went out and found yourself some hot young guy!" I was only joking, and I felt really funny about the way Kirby's kind old eyes went big and wide and then sort of narrowed, like he was seeing me in a different way all of a sudden.

"That's not the way adults behave," he said, in a prim sort of voice. "You and Jack have something really special, Jamie. Don't blow it by falling for a dried up old fossil like me . . . or like Sid."

"Maybe Jack and Sid . . ." I was going to say something about the two of them killing each other, but that would only have made Kirby feel worse. So instead I just shut up in a hurry and lay back in the great big deck chair under the cool shade of the flowering trees.

"Jack and Sid will work everything out," Kirby said, sort of groaning as he stood up and collected all the dirty breakfast dishes.

"I can help with that," I called out, closing my eyes just for a second. There was no answer, of course. Kirby was already gone, back in the kitchen where he did all of the cooking and cleaning. I would have helped him, really. I swear to God. Still, I suppose having something to do made it easier for him to keep his mind off Sid.

What a rat Sid was, running around with young guys while Kirby sat at home and waited up patiently for his return! Just thinking about it got me steaming mad. And so often I was the younger guy. Making love to Sid was so disgusting, I hated myself for even thinking about it. There was no way I could see myself doing that again, not one more time, not ever. Not ever in a million years . . .

"So there you are!" Sheila's cracked and gritty voice sounded really loud in the quiet garden. "Keeping busy as usual, I see."

"Huh?" I didn't realize I'd fallen asleep, but I guess I'd been out of it for quite some time. Everything looked different. The sun had passed noon and was already sinking towards late afternoon.

"It's my fault," Kirby said, rubbing his hands together nervously. While I was sleeping he'd showered and put on fresh clothes, light slacks and a flowered shirt. Kirby always tried to look his best. Now he was standing there looking guilty, like Sheila had caught us screwing or something. "Last night Jamie and I were up until the wee, wee hours listening to my collection of opera CD's. Sid never has time to listen to the music I like!"

"Jack just called me from San Francisco," Sheila announced. She was wearing a string of pearls and a severe gray suit, like she was on her way to a business meeting or maybe to church. "He got in late last night, but apparently, Sid's given him the slip. Now he needs you and me to do some digging here in Hawaii!"

"Do some digging?" My voice felt rough and scratchy.

"I can come with you," Kirby said, sounding a little breathless. I couldn't tell if he was scared or excited by the idea of digging into Sid's business. "Jamie's been through a lot. He needs to rest."

"That's a lot of baloney," I said, frowning. I was tired of being babied and bossed around. "Right now, I need a drink."