Santa Monica Chief of Police Billy Sharpe left his brand new police cruiser in the secure parking lot. The hot wind blew litter and leaves across the cement. Billy adjusted his heavy duty belt and reached for the secure door which led to the back of the administrative offices of the court house.
An officer was leaving at the same time. The Los Angeles Police officer snapped out of his daydream at seeing Billy there, and held the door open for him.
“Thanks.” Billy entered the A/C-cooled building.
“No problem, Chief.” The cop kept walking into the July sunshine.
Billy cleared his throat and shut off his police radio, one he had clipped to his epilate. Using the elevator, avoiding eye-contact with civilians riding up with him, Billy pocketed his sunglasses and left the elevator, his black combat boots tapping the linoleum floor as he went.
Standing outside an office, Billy inhaled for strength and rapped the door with a knuckle.
He turned the knob and peered into the District Attorney’s office.
“Chief.” Dan D’Amico stood from his desk and reached out his hand.
Billy closed the door behind him and clasped Dan’s hand in a firm but quick handshake.
“Have a seat.” Dan gestured to the chair opposite him.
Billy took a seat and rested his elbows on the arms of the chair.
Dan fussed with files on his desk, then pressed an intercom button and said, “No calls, Patrice.”
Billy sunk in the chair and interlaced his fingers on his lap.
Dan met his gaze and shook his head. “It’s not good, Chief.”
Billy knew this was coming. He knew it.
Mark Antonious Richfield knotted his light blue silk tie in the full-length mirror in his mansion in Paradise, California.
He tightened the knot to his shirt collar and inspected his hair and face. Another modeling shoot was approaching and Mark had to be in Los Angeles next weekend. Which meant, he had to get to his plastic surgeon for a shot of Botox soon.
“Bollocks.” Mark dropped his arms to his sides and gazed at himself. He’d been so busy the past month; getting married in New York, moving here to his family’s estate in Northern California, continuing to get his father’s corporation up to speed, traveling to London and Paris to meet with the employees there, dealing with his son, worrying about his new husband, learning the surrogate was pregnant…
What he needed was a bloody haircut.
He brushed his mop of hair back from his forehead and exhaled in frustration. Mark stood near his dresser and opened a carved wooden box, removing gold cufflinks. He shook his shirt sleeve down and tried to push one through the slots.
When it dropped to the floor, Mark tried not to become exasperated. He stepped back and looked around the soft, beige pile carpet for it.
“In here, love.” Mark picked up the second cufflink and managed to get it into his sleeve.
Steven Jay Miller, Mark’s partner and ex-husband peered into Mark’s bedroom. “Almost ready?”
Mark kept looking for the cufflink he’d dropped, dragging his hair back from his face in irritation.
“What’s wrong?” Steve, wearing his business suit, his jacket over his arm, entered the bedroom.
“I dropped my bleedin’ cufflink.”
Steve tossed his jacket on Mark’s bed and helped him search. He found it quickly, under the dresser. Steve held it and gestured for Mark to give him his hand so he could fasten it for him.
Mark tried to breathe deeply since he was getting stressed out.
Steve placed the gold cufflink on for him, and the touched the knot in Mark’s necktie. “Fuck, you’re gorgeous.”
Mark took his suit jacket off the hanger and closed his eyes for a moment.
“Mark? What going on?” Steve rubbed Mark’s upper back.
Mark dropped to sit on the bed and lay his suit jacket with Steve’s. “I can’t catch up. I need a bleedin’ haircut, I need to see Dr Love, and I need bloody glasses!”
Knowing how hectic the last few months have been, Steve sat with Mark on the bed, shifting their jackets over. “Take time off. Go to LA and get things done.” Steve interlaced his fingers with Mark’s.
“Bloody hell.” Mark yawned and rubbed his face. “I just want to get on with it. I feel as if I have tentacles dragging me south.”
Steve rubbed Mark’s hand in his lovingly. “Babe? I’ve got Sac covered. Why don’t you stay in Bel Air for a few days? Get the loose ends tied up. Meanwhile, I can locate a good plastic surgeon up here, and I can also find an ophthalmologist.”
Mark raised Steve’s hand to his mouth to kiss.
“Have you talked to Arnold Newhouse about the Dangereux contract yet?” Steve stared at Mark’s profile, his long, dark eyelashes and full lips.
“No. Not yet.” Mark toyed with Steve’s fingers.
“Do you want me to?”
Mark turned to look at him.
Steve melted at the sight of his catlike green eyes.
“No. I can do it. Thank you, love.” Mark tilted his head and offered a kiss.
Steve didn’t hesitate.
After the sweet kiss, Steve noticed his husband, Tadzio, standing in the doorway.