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.“I worked Vice, remember? There’s a lot of vice in places like that.The family knows he was a member?”“I don’t know.He was found there, overdosed on a handful of pills.They didn’t get much when they pumped out his stomach.” He drained the rest of his beer, wincing at its warmth.“His father insists that Hyun-Shik wouldn’t kill himself but won’t talk about his son being gay.”“A lot of fathers refuse to believe their sons are gay.Look at ours.” Mike shifted uncomfortably, and his face took on a very familiar twisted look.“Yeah, about Dad,” he said, rubbing at the back of his neck.“He and Mom are coming for a visit in a couple of weeks.Maddy wants to know if you’d like to come to dinner.Maybe bring a guest.”“Come on, Mike, don’t pull that kind of shit on me.” The beer was tasteless in my mouth, but I drank it anyway, anything to wash out the sawdust clogging my throat.“The old man doesn’t want to see me.”“It’s been, what… twelve years, Cole?” His eyes were dark, almost moist in the lamplight.“When are the two of you going to stop being stubborn and at least meet halfway?”Mike hated the schism in our family, hated being the bridge between me and my father.Our Irish Catholic upbringing was good at feeding the guilt that plagued both of us.Mike blamed himself for not being there that night when I told my dad about loving men, and I blamed myself for not being what my family wanted.I’d gotten over mine, but Mike was still working on his.“Halfway to what?”I could still hear the slam of the door behind me.The last face I’d seen before it shut was Barbara’s, my father’s second wife and the woman I’d called Mom all of my life.She still wore the look of horror she’d had on since I’d told them my biggest secret, hoping that no matter what, they loved me enough to still call me son.I’d been wrong.“You want me to hide who I am because Dad’s got a problem with it?”“This isn’t about Dad.This is about you,” Mike said softly.“Tasha’s coming with them.She’s a sophomore now.She wants to see you.”Our youngest sister had been three when I’d left the family.Other than pictures, I’d not seen her or our other two sisters in years.Mike was a master at playing me.No one else could coax me into doing things I didn’t want to do like he could.“I’ll think about it.” I eyed my brother, looking for any sign of triumph in his face.“You smile and I’ll punch you.”“I’m not smiling,” he said, fighting a shit-eating grin.“I’d bring her here if I thought Dad would go for it.Just come over for dinner and be pleasant.Maddy was serious about bringing someone.She thinks it’s about time you date.”“Tell Mad Dog McGinnis that I’m fine being single.” Mike’s wife meant well, but she’d been on the outskirts of my spiral downward.Mike knew better.Other than not-so-subtle hints that I should get laid, he wasn’t going to push me into anything.“Besides, you think I’d want to inflict Dad on anyone I was interested in? Look how much shit he gave Maddy, and you’re the favorite son.”“I’ve got to get going.” Glancing at his watch, he winced at the late hour.“Do yourself a favor and take a shower before you go to bed.You smell like one of those pine tree air fresheners you hang in the car.”“Yeah, right.” I was tired all of a sudden, too many ghosts and relationships flying through my head.“I’ll lock the door behind you.”“You going to take the job?” Mike gathered up his paperwork, shuffling the pages into their proper order.“I like the guy, Cole.He doesn’t expect you to find anything, really, but he’s got to do something.The kid was his only son.”“Yeah, I’ll take a look around.I kind of knew one of the performers at the club there.She might be able to give me something.” I snagged the bottles and stood, stretching my body up until I felt my spine crack.A throb started along my ribcage, working outward in a steady, numbing circle.Dropping the glass into the recycling bin, I leaned against the archway and rubbed at the spot.“Does it hurt?” Mike spotted me working at the spot with the tips of my fingers, worry creasing his heavy eyebrows.“When was the last time you saw the doctor?”“It’s scar tissue, dude [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]