I know, I know...I'm a day late. My muse just wasn't working until today. So, no more delay...
Ryan stared at the closed door and felt as if he’d just lost his best friend. What the hell was that? He didn’t even know Zack. He was his brother’s boyfriend…ex-boyfriend. His victim. And why in the hell would Zack want anything to do with him? Looking like Rob was a big deterrent.
“We need to talk,” Charlie interrupted Ryan’s inner thoughts.
Ryan slowly turned his gaze to his ‘partner’. His mind felt sluggish from the drugs. It seemed only Zack freed it, but the moment he left, so did the clarity. Meeting Charlie’s gaze, Ryan saw the irritation in the man’s eyes.
“I’m fine, Charlie. Go home with your wife,” his voice still gruff. His head fell further into the soft pillow. He had a feeling this discussion was going where his brain had just come from. Not something he wanted to talk about with Charlie.
Charlie sat in the chair Zack had vacated, still next to the bed.
“I don’t want to talk about tonight,” Ryan sighed when he saw that Charlie wasn’t leaving.
“We have to.” Charlie ran his hands over his face.
“No, we don’t.” He closed his eyes and wished Charlie would go away, leaving him to his morphine and the funky dreams he was sure to have.
“We need to talk about Zack.”
Ryan ground his teeth, cursing, but still didn’t open his eyes. “I’m staying away from him. It was you who left him in here. Hell, I wouldn’t have ever called him.”
“Fuck you, Hayes.”
Ryan hoped that he’d pissed Charlie off enough to make him leave. He just wanted to be alone. What was so wrong with that? Only deep down, Ryan didn’t want to be alone. He missed having someone close to talk to. Someone to share his worries and doubts. And the way it was starting here in Alameda, he wasn’t going to find someone like that.
Had to give Charlie credit. He didn’t leave. “He’s been through hell.”
Inhaling a deep breath, Ryan finally opened his eyes. “You don’t think I know that? Christ, Mulligan. I found him covered in blood and a daisy from death.” He was pissed now. He didn’t want to relive that night. “I held a fucking gun to my own brother’s head,” he ground out. “Hell, I lived under Rob’s torture for 18 years.”
“And you never thought to warn anyone? You knew what he was capable of, but you moved away without a thought to anyone who crossed his path.” Charlie jumped up from the chair and started pacing the length of the bed.
Ryan shifted his body and winced, biting his lip as sharp pain coursed through every nerve ending. “Rob is cruel and possessive. I knew that, but I swear to you, I didn’t know he was seeing anyone. Let alone living with someone. He and I hadn’t talked in nearly two years.”
“Then why did you show up at Rob’s house? Why that night? Damn it, Hayes, why did you even come back?”
Ryan’s good hand balled into a fist, the nails biting into his skin. Anger burned his veins speeding up his pulse. If he could, he would have gotten out of the bed and punched Charlie.
“It’s none of your business.”
Charlie stopped at the foot of the bed and stared at Ryan, who met his gaze without wavering. He refused to let this small town boy intimidate him.
“Go back to New York, Ryan. You’re nothing but a distraction.” Charlie’s voice was low and held a calm, growling tone. Like a mother protecting her young.
“A distraction? How the hell am I a distraction? If it weren’t for me both Zack and you would be dead.” He hated pulling the hero card, but from where he was standing…okay, lying, it was true. And this is his thanks? Ordered to leave?
“You are interfering with Zack’s recovery.”
“I didn’t ask him to be here!” Ryan screamed, sitting up, no longer feeling the pain, only anger. And it felt good. Too good. “And what? Do I distract you, Charlie? Has one night with me distracted you so much that it messed with your ability to do your job?” Charlie’s eyes widened and he took a step back surprised. Ryan knew he should stop there, but the anger was driving now and it wanted to lash out at everything it could. “If it’s infatuation or lust, I think you should talk to your wife about it. Not blame me. Or maybe I distract you because you are partners with a gay man? Is that it? Oh, let’s just blame it on looking just like my fucking psycho twin brother! Hell, while we are at it, blame it on our parents since they birthed us.”
Charlie was slowly backing away from the bed toward the door. His right hand fell to his waist, but he didn’t have his gun belt on so it just hit air instead of the holster. Ryan could see the fear in his eyes. Glittering bright like a beacon in those hazel eyes. That look sobered Ryan quickly.
He fell back into the bed, body trembling, the adrenaline still looking for an outlet to be used. But Ryan was exhausted both mentally and physically. He was tired of fighting because of his past and for his present. Just plain tired of it all. He suddenly wished he’d moved a second sooner so the bullet would have went into his heart instead of his shoulder.
He closed his eyes still feeling no pain but he knew when all those chemicals settled, it would come crashing down on him like a Mac truck.
“Just go, Mulligan. I’m out of commission for awhile. I’m not going anywhere near Zack. Just leave me alone.”
The silence was thick and suffocating. A couple of minutes went by before he heard the door open and slide shut. He was finally alone.