Brutus always used his .38 revolver in bed. At least he did with me. I don’t know about other women; don’t care. If I had to think about it, I would guess not. The badge bunnies who sniff around just want to bag a cop, and a big man like Brutus, a barrel on legs with gym-built arms, and a detective after all, is just like bitchnip for them. But they want the cop and not the baggage.
His revolver was short-nosed and nickel-plated, bright, smooth, and still warm from where he had been carrying it all morning, close to his body in the summer heat. He put it to my mouth and pushed it in, wanting to watch my tongue on the barrel. I try not to disappoint—cops love their games—but I was bored with it. Bored with him. As much as anything, I was bored with wallowing in the deep end of the human cesspool, pretending to be a lifeguard. I was bored with pretending at life.
“Come on, Silver, you like that, don’t you?”
I didn’t like it, and I didn’t like the fact that even in bed he used my last name. In or out of bed, I don’t think he’d ever once called me Eleanor. It’s part of the way cops are, nicknames or last names, like boys on the playground.
“Come on, baby,” he said, “don’t fight it. Suck it.”
Twisting my face away, I grabbed his wrist and urged his hand to set aside the revolver, at the same time shushing him gently.
“Just touch me,” I said. “Just let me touch you. No more playacting today, okay?”
He grinned in a way that said he hadn’t paid any attention to my words, then slipped his left hand under my head and gripped my hair hard. As soon as I opened my mouth, he shoved the gun barrel back in.
“Look at me. I want to watch your eyes as you suck it.”
There had been other times when he’d gotten rough, but he was a dish-it-out kind of guy and couldn’t take it when I pushed back. He wanted compliance, and we’d both been learning more and more that’s not who I am.
Pushing the gun deeper into my mouth, he expected me to gag. Instead, I reached up and wrapped my fingers around his. Until then, I wasn’t afraid at all. There was no reason to be. It was all standard play, even if he was being more of a jerk about it than usual. But when I put my hand on his, I could feel his finger within the trigger guard rather than outside. That was stupid and dangerous.
Gently, I pulled his hand away. When the barrel had cleared my lips, I twisted his wrist outward and sank my teeth into his hand. Maybe I bit harder than I needed to, but it wasn’t hard enough to leave a real mark. Pain, and a bit of anger, flashed in his eyes as he jerked his hand away. I knew what he wanted—apologies, cast-down eyes; a little begging for forgiveness would have made him purr. Not today.
“That’s never happening again,” I told him.
“Why do you have to be such a ballbuster?”
The first response that came to mind was to ask why he didn’t grow some balls to bust. Instead, I said, “Why can’t you play nice?”
Smiling a shark’s smile, he snaked the barrel down my neck and chest before he dragged the front sight across my nipples. The old revolver had been dropped too many times to count, and the sight was rough with burrs. It got a reaction, all right. I used my forearm to sweep the gun upward. That knocked the ragged sight right into Brutus’s lip. After a shocked second, he dropped the gun, and me, to the mattress. Then he pushed himself inside me. It was as gentle and thoughtful as it sounds.
For several minutes he thrust away like a jackhammer, neither classy nor skilled, but eventually effective. Well, it would have been, if he had stuck it out a little longer. As soon as I got close, he pulled out, rubbed the wetness of his erection in his hand, then rubbed that wet hand on my pubis and belly. Brutus was the kind of guy who still thought a woman with no pubic hair was exotic. I spread my thighs wider and tried to pull him back in, but he wasn’t having it. With no more effort or concern than a bear turning a dead branch to look for grubs, he twisted my leg, put a hand under my hip, and flipped me over. At least I finally got what I needed after a few minutes more, but then he spoiled what was barely tolerable to begin with by pulling off the rubber and ejaculating on my back. Leaving the limp sheath discarded on my backside was a nice touch.
His name wasn’t really Brutus. In his younger days he’d had a thick black beard to go with his thick frame, and someone at the police academy had noted the resemblance to the bully from the old Popeye
cartoons. Since then only his mother called him Merin. Cops called him Brutus. Mr. and Mrs. Public called him Detective Pierce. The nickname fit more than his appearance. He wasn’t really a bad guy. It’s just that it took me a while to find out he wasn’t really a very good guy either. He was a cop, and police work attracts a lot of big guys who like to get their way. And the freaky-sex thing? That was another tweak that went with being a cop. We’re all a little twisted in that department.
I showered and dressed in a silk-blend suit, dark but summer weight, getting my kit situated under my jacket, 9mm and cuffs, tac light, and telescoping baton, before making sure my badge and credentials were at hand.
Brutus was still naked and wadded up in the sheet. It was his house.
“We need to talk,” I said, but I didn’t sit down.
“Crap.” Brutus rubbed his face hard, then sat up.
He was steeling himself, but at the same time he let a little cocky upward tick slip into his lips. Here it comes
, he’s thinking. She’s going to tell me she loves me
. I couldn’t have read the thought any easier if he had set it to a tune, and I could see him already working the let-her-down-easy story. Men speak so much more honestly with faces than with words. Not that I was any less guilty of working the truth. I had never actually said that the time we spent together was just time, nothing more.
It’s funny. You look at someone and wonder, How did I ever let myself fall in bed with a man like this?
What’s the answer? Sometimes you get bored or just horny, or sometimes you feel so lonely in your bones and your skin you reach out. You reach out with your eyes closed. You reach out for that little bit of life that reminds you of the spark you lost someplace.
I think it would be better for us all if we could reach further. We all tend to stay in comfort zones in relationships. Doctors and nurses are almost a given. Pilots and flight attendants. Cops aren’t any different; it’s just that there aren’t that many women on the job. You’d be surprised how many cops fall in with hookers. They won’t marry them, but they’ll cry to them and screw them and whisper their shameful secrets.
“This is the last time,” I said. “Us. Here. Anywhere. It’s over.”
“It was fun for a while, but now, well, now it’s not, and…” And I ran out of steam. I didn’t really have any more to say anyway.
However, he had his mind working around a situation that didn’t nestle neatly into his expectations. I could see his confusion, and he was the kind of man angered by confusion. Ambiguity was hard for him. That was who he was as a cop too. “Why” never got in the way. He only asked who did what, and could you take them in for it. I could see the little light of anger start to brighten his eyes.
“But I thought—” he started.
I interrupted, “You thought what? Exactly?”
His eyes took on that inward glaze of someone looking for words that weren’t there to express something he didn’t really feel. He didn’t want me; he simply didn’t want to be the person left behind. No one likes rejection. That’s the funny thing about our relationship: every moment with him felt like a rejection to me, but even rejection is some kind of connection to another person. I needed a warm body close to me so badly I neglected the cold heart. Now it felt like an infection. I had to get away from Brutus, or I’d end up like him.
“It’s okay,” I told him. “Some things are not meant to be more than they are.”
“What does that mean?”
Behind those eyes you could see the glaze churning into a curdled anger.
“Nothing, I guess, but this isn’t about you. It’s about me. I need something better.” Then I shrugged. “More.” Poor choice of words. I knew it as soon as I said it. I could already see the wound settling on his face. You can’t tell an alpha guy that you need something better after having sex with him without his testosterone dyslexia reading, I need better sex
. Problem was I’m kind of alpha myself and didn’t feel like explaining myself anymore.
“Whatever,” he said, surly and pouting.
That made it easier.
“Look, I’ve got to go, but you can call me if you want to talk later.”
He wouldn’t, but that was fine. Over is over, and I was only then realizing how over I was. If Brutus had had any real feelings to hold on to, or even a personality, it might have gone more than those couple of months. But that was me placating my inner relationship demon. We were an experiment. When I learned, after he made a few overtures, that Brutus had a thing for bondage and the rougher stuff, I was curious. It was all very professional at first. I had a case that involved some things I knew nothing about. He said he could teach me, but he wasn’t much of a teacher. Then it wasn’t very professional.
Parts of the experiment were interesting. One thing I did learn is that I’ll never be the damsel in distress. Not that that was any surprise. Forget damsel; I wanted to be the same kind of woman in bed I was on the job. I just didn’t see it happening.
Heading out the door, I was blinded for a moment, first by the relentless brightness of the day, then by the blast of heat. Not yet July and Kansas City was already hitting 100. Summer was shaping up to be a nightmare. Brutus had kept the house so cold that when I walked out, the humidity condensed on my skin like I was an iced bottle of beer. I was very glad that the departmental Crown Vic had great AC.
Thinking of beer reminded me of just how much I wanted a drink. Not beer. Not after that. I wanted—I needed—something different. More. Just like with Brutus. Just like with my life.
His house was one of many that look just like it, on a street that looks just like many others in Overland Park. According to a lot of the magazines and news channels that keep track of that sort of thing, OP is one of the best places to live in America. That is to say, it has money and jobs and low taxes and always votes for the guy who promises things will stay that way. It’s on the Kansas side of the Kansas City metro and where Brutus is a detective. I’m a homicide detective on the other side of the state line, in Missouri. No magazine calls it the best place to live, let alone be a cop. But it’s home.
I decided I wouldn’t miss coming down here for my morning liaison meetings and lunchtime wrestling matches. I knew I wouldn’t miss him bucking into me from behind and yelling, “Hi ho, Silver.” He thought that was funny because of my name.
Over, I reminded myself.
I fired up the Ford and threaded it through the suburban maze into the real America, a business loop of colorful fast-food places, banks, and car dealerships. I wasn’t thinking about any of that; I was thinking about a drink. An old-fashioned would be good, the perfect kicking-the-ass complement to a son of a bitch of a day. Morning, I reminded myself. It wasn’t yet noon, and I was already playing the game of choose the day’s drink.