Read Second Chances Online

Authors: A.B. Gayle,Andrea Speed,Jessie Blackwood,Katisha Moreish,J.J. Levesque

Second Chances (3 page)

Gil watched the exchange thoughtfully. He hoped Miles was simply pushing to see how far he could go to get Pierce to react. He hoped. He actually hadn’t thought about any one of them refusing. It worried him more than he was comfortable with that Miles might actually be serious.

Miles snorted. “Since when could three or even four people make that much of a difference? You need a team of people for disaster relief: equipment, money, facilities to treat the injured, materials for rebuilding. The whole thing sounds like a lot of hoo-ha to me.” He shortened Roofie’s lead; the dog’s hackles had risen at his tone of voice. Seemed his mutt was the only other intelligent person in the room. “Plus, given the way you referred to Flynn, why should I have anything to do with you? You certainly don’t come across as a bunch of bleeding hearts. Why would you care what happens to us?”

“You’re that afraid of failure again, Doctor Sutherland?”

“Failure? If you’re referring to the fact I was thrown out of Somalia, that had nothing to do with failure.”

Pierce made a small noise in her throat, which almost sounded amused. “We have money; we simply need medical personnel who are familiar with disaster relief. If you feel you can’t do it, so be it. “

“I’m not ‘medical personnel’, “ Lyle chipped in, “I just bury their mistakes—no offence intended to present company. And I’m not even qualified to do that yet. What the hell use would I be, even if I did believe your fairy tales?” Lyle’s interjection was low and quiet, his eyes fixed directly on the woman.

Pierce and Breslaw exchanged a brief glance and then Breslaw addressed Lyle quietly. “We can discuss your options later, Mr Tate. I’ve already spoken to Ms Pierce concerning your skills.” Lyle glared at Breslaw, his stare openly challenging. He was angry enough to snap the big marshall’s neck, but retreated into silence again. He’d said what he felt the others needed to know, for now anyway.

“As for helping you,” Pierce continued, “we were asked to. Petrov was part of a federal sting that now has to be refocused because of his untimely, rather gruesome death. Now, they’d be happy to reset the sting and watch the mobsters pick each of you off, but they’d have to intervene at some point. They’d rather take down the big bosses, not the street thugs who would be sent after you.”

Miles had had enough of this bullshit. “All this talk of ‘they’ and ‘we’ – people who are too shit scared or too full of themselves to actually say who
they
are. There is no way you’ve come anywhere near convincing me that they, whoever they are, give a shit about what happens to one simple Aussie doctor. If the mafia want my butt, they’d steamroll me before I was even aware of it, and, quite frankly, Ma’am, I wouldn’t give a damn.”


They
honestly don’t give a damn, also. But we’re doing this as a favor. Perhaps you’d like to ask your friend Mr. Tate about that?”

Fucking Lyle? He was the last person Miles would ever want to ask for anything.

“Miles?” Gil’s voice was quiet, tentative. He glanced back at Lyle but the man was almost lost inside himself. He doubted that what he was about to say would do their budding relationship any good, but Gil couldn’t in all conscience let this be.

“Yes, Gil. Whadda you want?” Miles stopped at the doorway and turned back. Gil’s face had gone white. The young paramedic seemed to be struggling to find something to say. Before Lyle fucking Tate had arrived on the scene, the thought of not seeing Gil again might have actually hurt, which was strange as Miles hadn’t felt anything at all since Darren’s death, but now the thought of being stuck on an island with the two lots of lovebirds made him feel sick inside. Darren was here in the States, even if he was dead and buried. There was no way Miles wanted to go any further away from him.

Gil glanced once more at Lyle and, getting no reaction there, he threw caution to the winds. Crossing the room, he pushed Miles into the corridor and turned him right, guiding him into the kitchen. “Miles, what the fuck was that all about? You can’t…” Gil dug his fingers into Miles’ arm. “How can you think like this? They might not give a damn… but I do!”

Miles swallowed as Gil shoved him back against the wall and stepped right into him. Now their bodies were touching in so many places he lost count. God, the young man was gorgeous; there was some clean smell about him that got every one of Miles’ senses working overtime.

Gil’s heart was thumping too fast, coherent thought had evaporated. He did the only thing he could think of, something he had wanted to do for so damn long, and leaned in, his mouth closing over Miles’, his tongue demanding entry.

The touch of soft lips against his made Miles moan and his knees buckle. Part of him was responding to the kiss, the part that sent blood coursing through his body straight to his groin, the other part was vaguely registering that no-one had kissed him since the last simple chaste one he’d given his late husband shortly before he succumbed to AIDS. Then thought disappeared and he gave into the demanding tongue and let his body melt into the exchange. A soft whimper sounded, was it him or Roofie?

Pierce cleared her throat as she pushed past Gil and Miles. “Well, that’s settled then,” she observed in passing. She hefted up her briefcase, clicked it open, pulled something out and handed pieces of paper to both of them: glossy but seemingly amateurish printed brochures. “We’ll pick you all up at eight a.m. sharp. Dress for warm weather.”

2: A Word or Two Before Bedtime

Lyle Ashley Tate, Carter (Gil) Gillespie and US Marshall, Adam Breslaw

___________________________________________________

 

A little before midnight, Saturday 22nd January, Lyle Ashley Tate’s home

 

“Your Guardian is ready to escort you home as soon as you want to go, Mr. Gillespie.” Adam Breslaw did his best to wear a smile. It was easier now than it had been whilst Sandra Pierce was in the house. That cheerful facade of hers was so obviously fake it had a dampening effect on everyone. It grated on his own integrity. He liked what he’d seen of the four men who’d been here tonight. Flynn, he couldn’t give an opinion on as he hadn’t met him, but judging by the loyalty they’d just displayed, he was probably an okay kid too.

“Lyle, can we talk…?”

Breslaw swore under his breath.
Damn. The English paramedic would want to hang around.
The others had already left, presumably to go get their packing done, but he needed Gil to leave so he could talk to Lyle Tate privately; staying here for a couple of days and nights had allowed him to gain a sense of Lyle’s changing moods, and right now he was worried about his charge. Gillespie was currently in the way, regardless of the feelings Lyle seemed to have for the man.

“I was going to make some supper actually,” Lyle said, smiling at Gil, “Do you want a cuppa and something to eat?”

Gil looked at Breslaw. “Could my ride wait a while?”

Breslaw sighed, shrugged and walked to the door. “I’ll tell your driver to go get some chow, he can come back in half an hour or so.”

Gil waited until the broad back of the burly man was completely out the front door and then followed Lyle into the kitchen. His mind was churning through the events of the evening. He found Lyle going through the contents of his fridge, putting together the makings of a cold supper.

“Might as well use up what we can,” said Lyle, placing the food on the bench. “It’ll just be going in the rubbish tomorrow morning otherwise, I guess.”

“God, this is really happening isn’t it?”

“Well it is for me. I don’t get much choice. Vale threatened me with exposure, with telling…” Lyle stopped, suddenly realising Gil had no real idea about his true history. The man had taken him at face value, willing to trust him without needing to know the ins and outs.

“How did Vale know about you? Did you know him?”

“I never met him until I arrived here, which, from what I can gather, was just the day before you. I spotted the vacancy in a professional journal and went through most of the usual stuff to get the job. He did some digging after I got here, I think.”

“Why would he though? What could you mean to him? I wouldn’t have thought exposing the fact that you were trans would get you in trouble with anyone. After all, he was your boss. Look, I’ve never asked you anything about your past, I don’t have the right to know, but…” Gil was unsure how far he could go. Well, he could ask anything, but Lyle wouldn’t give him an answer to 90% of it, most likely.

Lyle took his time preparing the snacks, trying to work out what was safe to tell Gil and what wasn’t. Vale exposing him as a transman would have been difficult, but Vale ratting him out to his contacts in the US Mafia was a whole lot worse. He’d already been running from them for over eight years, fighting tooth and nail to get Tyler to relocate him again, getting her to help him make his appearance match what he had always felt he was inside, providing him with a masculine identity.

Gil lowered his voice, he could sense the tension in Lyle. “Sorry things have come to this.”
Well, that was a bit lame.
Yet Gil was genuinely sorry things had come down to having to leave the town. The agents milling around the house were all armed to the teeth.
Was it def con one then? Not def con two or three?
Gil let out a breath and shivered. He hoped he had persuaded Miles to take it seriously and stay with them. He had no idea what was going to happen now and seeing Lyle’s face; he wasn’t sure he ought to spill out what he had done with the doctor in Lyle’s kitchen.

“I’m sorry, too. If I’d stayed away from here…” Lyle paused, wondering whether things would have been different for the others without him in the mix. “Well, I suppose your lives might still be intact.” He dropped his gaze to the floor.

“Hey, Vale started this, then Flynn sucked us all into his business when those hands showed up. None of it was down to you”.

“Tyler…Breslaw…Pierce. They’re here because of me.”

“Good job, too, or we’d be in a hell of a mess.”

“You think we’re not now? I’ve been through this before, Gil. You’re all about to lose your history, your loved ones, your identities…”

“Like hell, nobody said anything about that…” Gil glared at Lyle.
There hadn’t been any mention of changing identities. Why would Lyle think that?
“I reckon that agency of yours is just putting us somewhere safe until they know whether the Bratva really is gunning for us, or if it’s a false alarm. After all, no real need to spend money on changing our identities if it isn’t necessary, eh?”

“Pierce isn’t ‘my agency’. I don’t know what she is.” Lyle took a bite of his sandwich and sipped his tea.

“She’s what you’ve got, Mr.Tate.” Breslaw stood in the doorway. Lyle had no idea how long he had been there. “Tomorrow is going to be a long day for everyone, I suggest you get off home now and do your packing, Mr. Gillespie.”

That’s me told then.
“Fine!” Gil snapped, the word coming out somewhat savagely in Breslaw’s direction before turning back to Lyle and adding more gently, “I’ll see you tomorrow, Lyle.”

“Night, Gil.” Lyle didn’t mention that he’d made Gil food too, since his friend now seemed eager to get going. “Stay safe. Make sure you pack the things that matter to you.”

In truth Gil knew he had hardly anything to take; his clothes and a few photos, his laptop and bike and that was pretty much it. He nodded and headed for the door, spying a man in a dark suit waiting for him.

“Agent Alessi, sir,” the man said, holding out his hand. “If you’d like to get in, I’ll take you home.” The agent shut the door behind them, closing off Gil’s view of Lyle standing there in his hallway looking lost.

@—}–—}——

 

“Mr. Tate, Lyle, I really need to talk to you.”

Marshall Adam Breslaw was taking up too much room in Lyle’s living room. Ever since Vale’s death, Breslaw had been following Lyle closer than his own shadow. The big man was wearing to be around, and intimidating as hell. That was his job of course, to be intimidating, to keep the bogey men away from his charges—Lyle included—but he was an uninvited presence in Lyle’s home and not a particularly welcome one. Lyle valued the privacy and serenity his home afforded him, both of which were being compromised by having to accommodate his protector.

“Then sit down while you do it. I’m sick of getting a crick in my neck where you’re concerned.” Lyle gazed up blearily at the Marshall from his favourite chair. He was exhausted by recent events and a late night chat with the spawn of Godzilla was not something he felt he could handle right now. He was relieved when Agent Breslaw sat down, overwhelming his couch in the process.

“Mr. Tate, you remember I told you Ms. Pierce and Eidolon have plans for you…”

“Glad someone does. Right now I don’t give a shit about my future, if I have one at all.” Lyle was too tired to put any expression into his words. They were flat, matching how he was feeling.

“Lyle, they’re trying to help. I wouldn’t have involved them if I thought all this could be handled in house.”

“So this is bigger than what started all this for me? Great.”

“You are especially at risk, you know that, don’t you?”

Breslaw was speaking slowly, softly, as if to a child. It was annoying Lyle enormously. He wasn’t a child. He wasn’t unused to this cloak and dagger bollocks. He knew it had come time to run again. “Yeah, thanks for reminding me. And now my new-found friends are in danger too. Whoop-de-fucking-doo!”

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