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Sex Lies And Videotape

Chapter 1

 

“Oh say you’ll always be my baby
We can make it shine, we can take forever
Just a minute at a time.

More than a woman, more than a woman to me
More than a woman, more than a woman to me
More than a woman”.

 

The sounds of Barry Gibb echoed around the dark disco as the handsome sable haired man and his woman danced together in the middle of the floor. The man was a whisker shy of six feet tall and was of a slim muscular build. His dark, curly hair was worn longer at the back than the sides, the riot of chocolate curls brushing the collar of his white jacket at the back while a single errant curl fell forward onto his brow to lie above unruly dark eyebrows. Beneath those eyebrows cerulean blue eyes sparkled with life and vigor and intelligence out of a ruggedly handsome face which wore a light tan and which lit up when a genuine smile flitted across his features. His body moved with a feral grace to the music. He was 35 years old, in the prime of a life which had been almost snuffed out and now approached living with a zeal which left his friends breathless.

 

David Starsky had lain in a hospital bed for three months after James Gunther had given orders for hired hitmen to gun him down. Five bullets had ploughed into his body that day in the police garage and as a result several things had happened to him. Perhaps the most significant was that he had died for three minutes. After that he’d fought his way back to life for four months and then fought again to get out of the wheelchair he’d been confined to for a further five weeks. After that he’d surprised everyone by enduring months of agonizing physiotherapy to return to the streets as a cop thirteen months after the original hit. And his zeal for life, which had always bubbled under the surface, had risen to new heights. His return to the side of his partner, Hutch, out on the central streets of Bay City had been like a second birth to the curly haired man and from then on, he started to live every minute of his life as if it were his last.

 

Flippancy, which had once been one of his downfalls, was now relegated to the dimmest recesses of his mind. The new Starsky was erudite, sensitive as always, more fun loving than ever, and now, two years on from his miraculous recovery, more determined than ever to enjoy life to the full, settle down and start a family. The navy blue shirt he wore beneath his white jacket hid the scars of the bullets and multiple surgeries and he’d come to terms with what he thought of as defects on his body. Never vain, he had however been shy of showing himself to women, somehow ashamed of the tramlines, puckers and divots decorating his chest and back. But as the months passed, once again he became comfortable in his skin, not least because Hutch, his constant companion through the pain of the attack and recovery had encouraged him - sometimes bullied him into going out and getting on with living.

 

Now, slim hips once more filled his tight jeans although the customary blue Adidas had, for tonight at least, been replaced by comfortable loafers. Those hips now shimmied and danced to the tunes from the DJ’s record deck as he held on to his woman, head resting on the top of hers as he breathed in the perfume of her shampoo and the citrus aroma of Eau de Lancôme which she habitually wore.

 

Across the room, Hutch was dancing with his fiancée Sarah and the blond glanced sideways at his partner, admiring how he looked with his girl and thinking for the hundredth time how well matched they were and how good she was for Starsky. The shooting had proved to have been a long hard slog for the blond too. Hutch would have preferred it if he’d been shot instead of his partner. For the blond to have to witness Starsky’s battle back to fitness had been almost as painful as Starsky’s physical pains, and added to that, he’d provided the emotional crutch the brunet had needed when things got tough or just too painful to carry on. During those first long dark months, the flaxen haired cop had put his own life on hold while he cared for his buddy and it was only once Starsky was back on his feet physically as well as metaphorically that he’d started to allow himself to live again. And then his long time friend Sarah had been there for him and their friendship had blossomed into something bigger and stronger and the previous month, after a heart to heart with Starsky, Hutch had finally got down on one (slightly arthritic) knee and handed a solitaire emerald cut diamond ring to his girl and asked her to marry him. Now, as the blond watched Starsky and his own woman dancing, he wondered if maybe there may be more proposals in sight.

 

Gina Bianchi was ten years the brunet’s junior. At 25 years old, she was 5’ 2” tall and slim but not skinny. Moss green eyes shone from a sweet face which was not pretty so much as classically beautiful and her eyes were fringed with lashes thick and dark enough to rival Starsky’s own. Her hair was the darkest brown and shone black in most lights. She wore it long and it reached in a straight silky curtain down her back almost to her waist. Her clothes were simple, understated and inherently reflected the culture from which she had come. She was originally from Florence Italy, but came over to California when she was only 8 years old. From a land of beautiful people, she had the knack of making a sugar sack look like Dior or Channel and tonight she wore a simple black shift dress which skimmed her knee and accentuated her slim figure. Plain black court shoes completed her outfit which was set off by a single gold chain around her neck. Her voice was naturally low and husky and still retained some traces of an Italian accent, and it was that voice that had first drawn Starsky to the woman almost four months ago.

 

The two cops had been called to a robbery at a large lawyers’ office in the centre of the city at 8:00am in the morning. It had been the end of a long and boring shift and Hutch had been tempted to tell dispatch to get someone else to cover it, but Starsky had turned his newly renovated Torino round in a broad U turn and headed uptown, while the blond had mildly protested. When they got to the office, they’d found the place to be a large firm of some twelve associates on the top floor of one of the city’s newly built office blocks. All stainless steel and shining glass, the two cops dressed in jeans and tee shirts had looked and felt out of place amongst the fancy suited lawyers, the huge mahogany desks and the deep pile close carpeted offices.

 

They had been met by the man who owned and ran “Ramsey, Ramsey and Mahoney, Attorneys at Law” and had been bowled over by the man’s attitude. Ian Ramsey was not only a successful lawyer specializing in defending big conglomerates sued for personal injuries by staff and customers, he was also a hard nosed businessman. He was a tall, floridly handsome man, standing over 6’4” tall and was muscular, his hours at his private gym and spa telling on the large chest and flat abdomen. His face was long and tanned and he had a sharp, square chin and strong jaw-line although his eyes were hooded and slightly cruel and were dark, dark brown. The only think not to like about him was that he had a limp, damp handshake that left Starsky wanting to dry his hand down the sides of his jeans.

 

They’d taken the details of the robbery efficiently while Ramsey had continued a tirade about the low lives of Bay City, the inadequacies of the police force and the complete lack of understanding the general public had for success in the town. By the end of the meeting, Hutch’s face had turned from golden blond to turkey cock red and the blond was having difficulty biting back his comments. Starsky being Starsky however, had no such problems and as Ramsey assured them that if he, Ramsey didn’t know who’d robbed him, and then he didn’t think two uneducated and rough around the edges jobbing cops would have the first clue that’d done it, the brunet’s patience had snapped. In no uncertain terms, the curly haired cop had told Ramsey that he’d rather be poking red hot skewers into his eyes than trying to catch the flake that had robbed an already obscenely rich man of some of the money he’d earned at the expense of ordinary people. But, Starsky had pointed out, he was a professional and had something a lawyer would know nothing about – that being integrity. And that only the integrity would ensure that both he and Hutch would do a thorough and professional job at solving the crime.

 

As the brunet had pushed his angry partner out of the room, he’d literally tripped over the girl on her way into work. She’d dropped a sheaf of papers onto the floor and they’d both bent down at the same time to pick them up, banging their heads in the process. As they’d stood up, Starsky had apologized and asked if she was ok, and Gina had asked him if he was hurt. Their eyes had met and if anyone soapy enough had asked, the brunet would have said it was love at first sight. They stood for a couple of seconds saying nothing before Ian Ramsey stood at the door of his office and barked for his PA to come in and stop acting like a teenage fool. She looked apologetically at the cop and mouthed sorry to him and on the spur of the moment, Starsky had taken her hand and asked if she’d have dinner with him that night.

 

To his surprise she’d agreed and over the course of the next week or so they saw each other almost daily and as they got to know each other, it became clear to Starsky that this might be the woman he could fall in love with. Gina seemed to think that she too could settle down with a curly haired exuberant puppy of a man and their relationship blossomed although it had not been without problems.

 

After their first date that night, Gina had gone into work the next day to face a man with a face like thunder.

 

‘Where the hell were you last night? I needed the depositions for the Hilliard case typing up for today and I tried to ring you’ he shouted.

 

‘I…I was out. I had a date’ she had said uncertainly. She’d come to Ramsey, Ramsey and Mahoney after being headhunted from their main competitors across the city and Ian Ramsey himself had come to see her to offer her a thousand dollars per year more salary, a company car, health benefits and use of a private health spa. The lawyer had fallen for her youthful good looks and the air of the exotic which her Italian accent could bring to his office and had seemed pleased with her performance, although she admitted to herself, he was a control freak and was also slightly creepy. He behaved as though he owned her both at work and out of it – as though she had no life to call her own and although she resented it, the benefits of working for him meant that she kept her mouth firmly shut.

 

‘Out with who?’ he had demanded.

 

‘A man……my boyfriend.’ She’d smiled to herself at the thought. She’d enjoyed her first encounter with the cop. He had an easy way with him and the ability to make her feel special just by being in the same room.

 

‘I didn’t know you had a boyfriend’ Ramsey had said. ‘Anyone I know?’

 

‘Um…..no, not really.’

 

Ramsey had crossed the room to her, putting his finger under her chin as he drew her up to look into her eyes. ‘And what sort of answer is “not really”?’

 

‘Well, you don’t know him, but you have met him’ she’d explained reluctantly. That was the big thing about Ramsey; the secret to his success. He had an uncanny ability to wheedle information out of even the most tight lipped of individuals.

 

‘And this mystery man is……?’

 

‘He’s called Dave Starsky. The cop that’s investigating the robbery.’

 

‘Oh Gina, darling! Why him? Why a low life like him? Trust me, my dear, policemen are almost as bad as the men they chase down and arrest. I know these things. You could do so much better for yourself. Take Philip in accounts. He’s had the hots for you for some time. I could set you up if you like……’

 

‘No, its fine…..honestly’ she had hedged and had sat down to start typing the depositions, although from that moment on, Ian seemed to spearhead a vendetta against Starsky’s name and all the men in the office offered her advice on how to dump the cop. He wasn’t good enough; he’d never earn enough; she’d find someone who’d be able to keep her in the manner to which she’d like to become accustomed. And through its all she smiled politely and carried on with her dates.

 

Now Starsky nuzzled her neck as the music drew to a close. The new disco was right on the beach and as the final strains of “More Than A Woman” died away, they set off hand in hand down to the waters edge and stood watching the stars spread like a diamante throw across the velvety warm night sky.

 

‘Do you want to come back for coffee?’ Gina asked as Starsky put his arm round her shoulders.

 

‘Sure, but don’t ya have to be up for work tomorrow? Wouldn’t want to piss King Ramsey off any more would we?’ The brunet nuzzled her neck and kissed her lightly. The previous week had seemed to be filled with dates that had to be cancelled at short notice or with dates cut short because of Ramsey’s requests.

 

‘It will be fine’ she assured him and followed hand in hand as he led her back to the car. They drove through the late night streets, Gina’s head resting on Starsky’s shoulder she tried not to think of the things they said about him at work. Oaf, cretin, lay about. All names that sprang to their lips, but she knew different and as she pushed open the door to her penthouse apartment, he pushed her back against the wall and kissed her fiercely.

 

‘I think I love you, beautiful Italian lady’ he breathed into her hair.

 

Her skin tingled at his touch and her hand reached for the buckle of his belt just as the telephone rang and ruined the mood.

 

‘Don’t answer it’ he pleaded holding her close. She struggled to get free.

 

‘I have to. We have an important case tomorrow.’ She picked up the phone and the brunet saw the look of frustration flash across her face, knowing their date was at an end.

 

‘I um….. I have to go. He wants me’ she tried to explain.

 

‘Just who are ya goin’ out with here? Him or me?’ Starsky snapped.

 

‘You. I’m going out with you, but you know what he’s like. I’m sorry Dave. I can see you tomorrow?’

 

‘Yeah, sure, till ratfink calls again’ Starsky replied angrily.

 

‘It’s not like that. You don’t understand. He’s good at his job and….’

 

‘Oh my God! You really like him? You’re prepared to go and work with him all night when we could….. What is it with you Gina? I thought what we had was something good?’

 

‘It is Dave, it is’ the girl whispered, tears coming to her eyes.

 

‘Well if it is so good, tell him to piss off. Tell him he don’t own you.’

 

‘Don’t do this to me Dave, please, don’t make me choose. The job means a lot but you mean more to me.’

 

‘Prove it Gina. Prove it by telling him you’re having a night off.’

 

Gina looked at him in despair. ‘I can’t’ she said softly.

 

‘If you go back to work tonight, don’t think I’ll be waiting honey. I can’t share you with someone else. If ya go now, I’ll know it’s not as serious as I thought’ the brunet yelled angrily. She shook her head at him and reached for her coat. As she walked to the door Starsky picked his keys up and stalked out of the door in front of her.

 

Gina tried to run after him and as she watched his departing back she called after him.

 

‘Dave….I love you…..’

 

Chapter 2

 

Gina made her way out of the apartment, determined not to look back. She couldn’t handle the accusation and hurt that she knew would be harboured in her man’s beautiful indigo eyes. She closed the door behind her, knowing Starsky would let herself out and took the steps down to her car quickly. She hated running out on the brunet and she hated that Ramsey had such a hold over her. Although she found her boss attractive, he certainly wasn’t her sort. She preferred rugged, honest men without a trace a deceit, just like Starsky, while Ian Ramsey was good looking, but slippery as an eel and too smooth. The man was good looking and knew it. He flaunted his power and wore it like a token on his sleeve, wining and dining his favoured, powerful clients and their wives, instinctively knowing when to buy a discrete gift or when to praise. All in all, Ramsey was a well connected hyena, feeding his own addiction for power and money at the expense of everyone else.

 

The woman got into her car and drove carefully over to her office block. As she got there she looked up at the ten story building and saw with a sigh that the lights on the tenth floor were on, electric eyes looking out over the darkened city. Only Ramsey would be working at that time of night. Well Ramsey, and his PA who didn’t seem to have a life of her own any more.

 

She got out of her car and let herself into the back door of the block, taking the executive lift up to the top floor and as the lift doors sighed apart, she saw her boss sitting in his oak panelled office, feet up on the desk top as he watched flickering images on his television. As he heard the lift stop, he hurriedly switched off the TV and looked up.

 

‘Gina. I’m sorry to bother you honey? Were you out?’

 

‘No, I’d just got back, but….’

 

‘Did I disturb you?’ he asked, his face blank and unassuming.

 

‘Well I um…..no, no it’s fine’ she finished lamely.

 

‘Oh Gina honey. I did, didn’t I? I interrupted. Was it your boyfriend? What’s his name? Dennis? Donald?’

 

‘Dave. Dave Starsky. It’s ok. He was just going’ she lied as she sat down across the desk from her boss. She crossed her legs, her plain black shift dress riding up her thighs and self consciously she pulled the hem down. Ramsey leaned forward as though to reach for his pen and took a long look at her slim stockinged legs.

 

‘What did you want me to do?’ she asked, her pad and pencil at the ready for his dictation.

 

He snorted. ‘You should know better than to ask me questions like that’ he grinned. ‘Especially when you’re dressed so elegantly. Gina blushed and looked away as Ramsey got up from behind his desk. ‘Where were you tonight?’

 

‘Out.’

 

‘Well yes honey. But where?’

 

‘The new disco on the beach.’

 

‘Well that’s a coincidence. The witness I need to interview? He’s there now. That’s where we need to see him. I need you to take the dictation. After that maybe we can combine business with a little pleasure?’

 

Gina stood, distancing herself from the big man. She hated that he invaded her space like that and although he was attractive she wasn’t the sort who wanted to mix up her work and private lives. She thought it odd that she should be taking dictation at a disco at almost 1:30 in the morning, but Ramsey had always prided himself on seeing clients at times and places to suit them so maybe this was just once of those occasions. She tucked her pad and pencil into her purse and followed Ramsey back down to the parking lot.

 

‘We can take my car’ he said. ‘I can drop you back at your place after and send the limo for you in the morning.’ She hesitated, but then got into the huge Jaguar through the door he held open for her and sat back as he drove her back to the beach.

 

oOoOoOoOoOoOo

 

Starsky threw the keys down onto his table as he flopped down onto his sofa and sighed. He hated sharing his girl with anyone else, even if the “anyone” was the most influential lawyer in Bay City. And he also hated himself for yelling at her. She’d looked so hurt on the way out that he could have bitten his tongue right off. He leaned his head back against the coloured throw on the sofa and closed his eyes. Gina was the closest thing he’d come to the perfect girl since he’d met Terry. Then, the girl with the twinkling eyes had been his dream girl – understanding, witty, self assured and loving and he’d known right from the start that he’d want to marry her. When Crazy George Prudholm had ordered his men to put a bullet through her head, she’d been so brave at the hospital, more concerned for her pupils, especially Sally than for herself. Brave enough that she wouldn’t burden him with the task of helping her make her life or death decision, although he so desperately wanted to hold her and ease her and take away her pain and fear.

 

And then he’d done it. He’d really done it. He’d presented her with red roses and asked her to marry him and she’d smiled, asked for a wheelchair to get her out of there and asked him to take her on a giant slide. Days later, she was dead and with her, a piece of David Starsky died too.

 

There and then he promised he’d never again get close enough to a girl for them to be used to get to him. But time heals, and Terry’s voice sounded less and less in his head until all that was left was a distant echo now and again when he really needed to hear her. And then there were other girls although none were as special as Terry. He tried not to compare them because that just wasn’t fair, but as time went on his comparisons stopped too. Terry was a beautiful piece of his past and a memory to be treasured, but Starsky was still very much alive, even more so since Gunther had tried to kill him. And maybe now was the time when he should settle down. With Gina. She too was witty, self assured and understanding. She was good for him, calming him when his famous temper threatened to get the better of him, laughing with him at joked that even he knew were pathetic and inflaming his passion like no-one had since Terry. She was too special to him to spoil their relationship with a stupid argument. So she had to work again. She was a PA for Gods sake, and already earned almost twice his cop’s salary. Good pay was the reward for hard work and if he as to continue this partnership, he’d have to get used to it.

 

Tiredly, Starsky stood to make his way into the bathroom and as he started to brush his teeth, the telephone rang. The brunet spat out the toothpaste and dropped the brush into the sink, rushing into the living room to grab the phone.

 

‘Gina?’

 

‘You should be so lucky. It’s me buddy.’

 

‘Hutch….great. What’s up?’

 

‘Well I’m glad to hear you too Starsky old man. Did I disturb something?’

 

‘Changing the subject rapidly, why the late night call? D’ya miss me so much?’

 

‘Don’t kid yourself! No, my car’s broken down and um….I wondered, could you come back to the disco and pick us up? Sarah’s tired and we wanted to…..’

 

‘I don’t wanna know about your secrets, ‘specially when I aint gone none myself. I’ll be there in 20 minutes’ the brunet grunted. Hutch and his damned cars. Why couldn’t he just get a decent set of wheels? Grumbling under his breath, Starsky pulled his loafers back on and trotted out to his car, following the coast road back to the disco.

 

The lights were still on and the music was still playing as he got back and as he parked up he could see Sarah waiting at the bar with another girl. Hutch was nowhere in sight and he cursed again as he walked over to his partner’s fiancé.

 

‘Where’s Blondie?’ he asked.

 

‘Oh hi Dave. Thanks so much for coming to get us. I keep telling him to get anew car, but he won’t. Just keeps going back to the same old second hand car lot. They sucker him every time!’ She reached up and pecked the brunet on the cheek.

 

‘S’ok honey. I’ve been telling him the same thing for years, but will he listen? It’s like the older and rustier they are, the better he likes ‘em. I think its inverted snobbery. But I thought he might have changed when you came along.’

 

‘I think hell will freeze over before he buys something half way decent’ Sarah grinned.

 

Starsky looked around ‘Where is he?’

 

‘He went to the bathroom. He’s been gone ages. I’ll go look for him.’

 

It was Starsky’s turn to grin. ‘It’s his age. It starts to go after a while. From now on, he’ll never be out of there, you’ll see.’

 

Sarah slapped him gently ‘Dave, you’re awful. Let me go get him. Oh, by the way this is my cousin Helena. Be right back.’

 

The cop watched as Hutch’s girl walked off across the dance floor as he leaned casually against the door lintel, hands in his pocket. He chatted to Helena for a while and as Hutch and Sarah came back, he kissed the girl on his cheek before going back outside the disco and getting all three passengers into his car.

 

Back inside, at the far side of the smoky dark room a girl in a black shift dress stood waiting for her boss. Gina had been uncomfortable about coming back into the disco with Ramsey, and she clung to the wall as her boss disappeared. It never occurred to her that she should be taking notes of the witness statement. All her attention was on a certain curly haired brunet cop who was stood with a pretty girl at the door.

 

How could he? How could her boyfriend come back here after their argument and pick up with the next girl who came along? And she wasn’t even very pretty! Gina was torn between going across to him to challenge him and stowing her anger away for later. And yet……he didn’t look like he was hooking up with the girl. He didn’t have his arm round her and the kiss he gave her was perfunctory. A friendly peck, nothing more. She sighed confused, but at the same time more than a little hurt that instead of moping at home waiting for her, he was out once more on the town. She thought there was more to their relationship than that.

 

As Starsky met Hutch and Sarah, he and the girl headed for the door just as Ramsey came back. The lawyer looked in the direction of the door and saw Starsky’s back and he smiled to himself. Perfect. Just what he needed.

 

‘Gina honey, I’m sorry I left you all alone here. And you didn’t even know anyone’ he said smoothly and waited for her to tell him whether she’d seen her boyfriend or not. She remained quiet, but Ramsey could see she was upset and he leaped at his chance. ‘Do you want a drink?’ he asked. ‘You look a little pale.’

 

‘Uh? Oh, no….thank you. I’d like to get out of here’ she said shakily.

 

‘Just a little one darling. I won’t take no for an answer’ Ramsey said smoothly and disappeared to the bar. Gina had no option but to wait as Ian had the car. She sighed, wanting the night to be over. Why did she have to come here? Why did Ramsey have to need her to work? And why was Starsky suddenly with another woman?

 

Ramsey walked back across the dance floor with a flute of champagne in his hand and handed it to her. As she tasted it, she realised there was brandy in there too. A lethal combination by anyone’s standards and she was already feeling light headed from lack of sleep. But her anger at her seeming betrayal by her man urged her on and she took a deep draught of the drink, feeling its welcome warming fire trailing down her throat. Ramsey smiled and watched as she drained the glass.

 

‘Better?’ he asked.

 

‘Yes, thank you.’

 

‘And now I should get you to bed huh? Your place or mine?’ he asked and smiled again at the confusion in her eyes. ‘Sorry. My joke in bad taste. Come on, let’s get you out to the car.’

 

Gina wobbled a little on her high heels, the drink having gone straight to her head. Ramsey caught her round the waist and supported her out to the car where he solicitously helped her in and closed the door. Getting into the drivers side he looked sideways at the girl who had rested her head back on the seat, eyes closed. He started the engine, turned up the heat and drove wordlessly back to his penthouse. As he stopped the car, Gina woke up and looked around in confusion.

 

‘What are we doing here?’ she asked

 

‘You looked a little sick. I was feeling mad at myself for dragging you out so late at night and I thought the least I could do would be to make sure you’re ok. Come up and I’ll fix us a drink before I take you home.’

 

‘I really should be getting back’ she protested hesitantly, but then found herself getting out of the car and following Ramsey to the elevator to the top floor.

 

Once inside, she sat down on the edge of the white sofa while the man fixed drinks. He handed her another large brandy in a warmed bubble and sat beside her. He smiled, amused as she took the drink and downed it quickly and he hurried to refill her glass. Gina was feeling warm and relaxed and contented. The brandy had warmed her through and suddenly her boss didn’t seem quite so bad, while in her mind Starsky had turned into some sort of two timing ogre.

 

As Ramsey watched her eyes lose their focus he knew he had her. Quietly he took her glass away and moved a little closer. She's shuffled away and he left her for a moment before getting closer to her again. Ramsey put his arm around her and this time, the closeness of the man and the smell of his aftershave soothed her senses. This time she didn't resist as he put his arm around her and leaned close. He took a handful of her long silky hair, his fingers entwined in it as he pulled her towards him, their lips barely grazing in that first tentative kiss and as his moth claimed hers and she felt the first tingle of erotic excitement, she felt his hands at her back as he started to unzip the back of her dress. Gina pulled away from him trying to stop him but his hands were insistent and he whispered in her ear sending tingles down her spine.

 

‘Relax darling. You know you want this and God knows I do.  Just relax and let me do this for you. I can make you so happy. You’d want for nothing.’

 

Gina tried to think straight. This wasn’t right. She was Starsky’s girl and she’d never two timed a man before. But she’d seen him in the disco with that other woman. He obviously didn’t care about her. And what if she did this? Ramsey was attractive, rich, powerful…… She leaned into him and nuzzled his neck as he directed her hand to his crotch. She felt his need and her hand worked at unbuttoning his waistband.

 

Gently Ramsey pulled her to her feet and guided her into his bedroom. An enormous bed stood in the centre of the room, mirrors lining the wall behind it and Gina didn’t pull back as he led her to the bed and pushed her down gently onto it. She watched as he deftly unzipped his pants and stepped out of them, flinging his shirt to join them on the floor and as she lay on the bed he blew a kiss to her.

 

‘Won’t be a moment’ he whispered and disappeared into the living room again. Swiftly he opened a panel on one of the walls and a door opened revealing a bank of video recorders. He ripped the cellophane off a brand new video and inserted it into the recorder and as he checked on the monitor that the bed was in clear view, he pressed Play and headed back to the bedroom. The girl was still waiting, looking wanton and desirable on the bed and he grinned to himself.

 

‘I’m sorry darling. Just had to take care of some business he said, coming to sit by her on the bed. She looked up at him, her eyes soft and unfocused.

 

‘S’ok’ she murmured as he started to kiss up her neck. Within minutes Ramsey had peeled off her dress bra and panties so they her olive toned slim body was spread out for him to enjoy.

 

Ramsey looked at in appreciation and nuzzled the side of her neck. ’You look lovely for me’ he said as his kissed played over her lips before his tongue forced its way into her mouth and claimed every part of it as his own. As his mouth continued to excite her, his hands worked on her body, his fingers circling her breasts and reaching for each pink nipple in turn. She moaned into his mouth and his hands dipped lower until she could feel him parting her and dipping gently inside. She moaned again as one finger was joined by the next and then another as he started to dip in and out of her.

 

Suddenly there was a tiny mechanical whirring noise close to her and a moment later something small and rubbery being pushed against her. The vibrator fit snugly against the centre of her body and she felt the thrill of the vibrations on her clit sending sparkles though her belly. She shrieked and clawed at the sheets at the powerful stimulus.

 

‘Oh yeah….oh God yeah’ she moaned as Ramsey played her like a harp. She ground her hips against him, her hands carded into his hair and felt his erection hard between them. Suddenly she felt pressure on the back of her head, forcing her down as Ramsey flipped over onto his back. She was faced with his hard cock inches from her mouth and greedily she sucked him in as he writhed beneath her.

 

Mmmmnnn oh yeah, oh yeah baby, that’s good, soooo good’ he moaned, pushing her head more firmly. He filled her mouth almost cutting off her airway as he ground himself into her but finally the pressure slackened and she lifted her head, slightly breathless. Ramsey took a hold of her hips and in one deft movement he turned her and set her on her hands and knees as he positioned himself behind her. She felt his cock pushing at her body and as he thrust himself into her, he took a handful of her hair and pulled it so that her neck stretched back and she could see the two of them locked together in the mirrors.

 

Together they rode to a climax which shook them to the core, but almost as soon as he’d finished and had rolled off her to catch his breath, he looked at her coldly.

 

‘Wow, Good fuck huh? We should do that again some time. Get your clothes together darling. Take one of the fleet cars to get home and um…..close the door behind you, there’s a good girl.’

 

Chapter 3

 

Gina gathered up her clothes, tears in her eyes. She couldn’t believe that he’d done that to her, although she realised belatedly that she should have known better. Ramsey was cold, calculating – a natural bastard and with all his usual powerful, moneyed connections he really had no need to have someone like her. To Ramsey, she was little more than a personal servant paid to do his work and now apparently his own personal whore.

 

She took a final look at the man on the bed and rushed from the bedroom, closing the door behind her so that she could dress in privacy. As Ramsey heard the doors to the penthouse elevator swish closed, he got up and still naked he padded into the living room, took the video from the recorder and returned to the bedroom. He re-inserted it into the player on the dresser and turned on the television set as he lounged back on the bed. As the recording of his sexual encounter with his secretary unfolded before his eyes, his hand went down to his stiffening cock and he massaged himself with a practiced hand, timing his climax to the one recorded on the screen. As he lay gasping with a smile on his face, he realised that this was just the start.

 

Gina stood in the small car of the elevator, tears streaming down her face. She could never remember feeling so dirty or cheap and she longed to bathe and brush her teeth to rid herself of the memory of her boss on her body and in her mouth. Dave would never have treated her that way she knew and she found herself longing for his gentle caring touch and his soft New York brogue whispering in her ear. As she reached the pool car parked by the small garage door Gina’s tears were flowing unchecked. Dave would never have hurt her. There must have been some innocent explanation for him talking to that girl and leaving with her. There must have been. This night couldn’t get any worse and she heaped blame upon blame on herself as she got into the car and drove herself back to her apartment,

 

She slept that night although it was a restless and dream filled sleep where Ramsey morphed into Starsky who turned into a complete stranger and she slept with each of them in turn. By the morning she felt physically ill and toyed with the idea of ringing in sick to work. She could hardly bear to think of being in the same room as Ramsey and the memory of him forcing her down onto his waiting shaft left her shivering in despair.

 

As she got into the shower for the second time in four hours, she tried to scrub that dirty memory from her body, her mind jumping through mental hoops as she tried to decide what to do. She’d never cheated on a boyfriend before and certainly not one as special as Dave Starsky and she wondered if there was any way to salvage the situation. She was pretty sure that he hadn’t seen her at the disco otherwise she was sure he would have come over to her to see why she was back.

 

So maybe she should just say nothing. If Starsky didn’t meet Ramsey, then maybe nothing else would ever come of that horrible mistake of a night. And she was sure that she’d never make that same mistake again. Ramsey’s betrayal of her was almost more than she could bear and his treatment of her made her feel cheap. As she stepped out of the shower and reached for the towel, the telephone rang.

 

Starsky spent the night berating himself for arguing with his girl. She was such a sweet, honest and uncomplicated woman that for the first time in a long time he felt he could relax with her and maybe even settle down with her for good. So why did he feel so uncertain and jealous about her having to work odd hours? It wasn’t as though he had a regular nine to five job himself, so why did he expect Gina to be there every time he needed her? No. he’d convinced himself that he was being completely unfair to the girl and so as soon as he thought it was civilised to do so, he picked up the phone and dialled her number, waiting as the phone rang with some trepidation. It picked up on the fourth ring and before she could say anything he leaped right in.

 

‘Gina, honey. It’s me. I’m real sorry. I was an idiot. I should never have yelled at ya.’

 

The woman’s heart leapt and then plummeted. She wasn’t ready for an encounter with her man. The night was too raw and new and she needed to get her head in order before she could talk to him properly. But there again she was eternally grateful to him for phoning her and a loving warmth ran through her body as she thought of her tender man.

 

‘It doesn’t matter. It was a silly argument. It should be me apologising to you’ she said quietly, realising that it wasn’t just the argument she needed to apologise for. She willed herself to be careful and keep it neutral. What he didn’t know couldn’t possibly hurt him.

 

Starsky heard the control in her voice and misinterpreted it, thinking she was still angry at him. And who could blame her, he thought. He’d been a possessive asshole and she had every right to be mad at him. He swallowed. ‘Will you forgive me?’ he asked.

 

Gina felt a tear prickle in the corner of her eye and she wiped it away. ‘S’ok. Don’t talk about it any more. What’s done is done.’

 

‘Can I see you? Tonight?’ Starsky asked a little too eagerly and felt as though he’d been punched in the stomach when there was a slight hesitation on the other end of the phone.

 

‘Um….sure. of course.’

 

The brunet smiled to himself. Wonderful girl. ‘I’ll come over and pick you up at yours at about 8? If you aint workin’?’

 

‘No. No I’m not working’ she told him. ‘8 will be fine. Where are we going?’

 

‘A nice little Chinese restaurant I found. You’ll love it. I just wanted to make it up to ya.’

 

She sighed, feeling guiltier by the minute. ‘You have nothing to make up to me Dave. Don’t do anything special. Maybe we could do Italian?’

 

Starsky snorted. ‘No Chinese is fine. I have an allergy to Italian restaurants. I’ll tell you about it some time. See you tonight honey.’ He put the telephone down and grinned to himself. The call had gone better than he thought and he felt happy and relieved that he hadn’t lost her through his hot temper.

 

Across town, Gina too put down the telephone and tried to calm herself. She felt awful for being dishonest with Dave, but more than anything else, she promised herself she’d keep what had gone on between her and her boss from Starsky for ever. If she was careful, he need never know and she would be more careful and more caring in future. If nothing else, this stupid incident had proved to her that she loved David Starsky above all others.

 

oOoOoOoOoOoOo

 

Starsky put down the telephone and sighed. What a fantastic girl she was and what an asshole he’d been to be jealous of her working. She was smart and intelligent and so not the sort of girl he usually dated. And yet she made him feel confident and comfortable and he loved every second he was with her. And the sex? Oh my God the sex was fantastic – earth shattering even. In that department he knew he’d never had anyone like her. He didn’t know whether it was because she from a different background, or whether they taught eclectic subjects at the Swiss finishing school she told him she’d attended, but she was absolutely amazing.

 

He finished getting himself dressed. He dressed carefully since his near death experience at the hands of James Gunther. Partly that care came from the fact that he was stiffer than he cared to let on first thing in a morning. The fifth bullet, the one that had ripped through his upper left chest and nicked his heart had taken out muscle as well as flesh and some bone and it had been that single shot more than all the others that had caused him the most problems. His left arm had remained almost lifeless for some time after the shooting and he’d sweated blood and tears in getting his dominant hand and arm to work again. Not even Hutch saw how painful it was on occasions, but the brunet knew that so long as he could hold his Smith and Wesson unwaveringly steady and shoot four golds out of five on the range, he was still in shape to watch his blond partner’s back.

 

The other reason he dressed carefully these days was because of Gina’s influence. Although he still favoured his jeans and tee shirts, she’d steered him towards fitted, designer jeans that skimmed his hips and hugged his butt to perfection and encouraged him to top them with polo shirts or Ben Sherman button down shirts open at the collar. Today he chose a pair of black Levis and a white cotton shirt, the sleeves folded up neatly to just below his elbow. With dark blue trainers, his holster and his jacket, he looked at his reflection in the mirror. Gone was the old, scraped and worn leather bomber jacket. It had been consigned to the trash can after Gunther’s trial. It held too many painful memories of the police garage and Hutch’s terrified entreaties to hang in here and in any event who’d want a jacket with 5 holes in it anyway?

 

It had been replaced some time ago by a soft, fitted black leather jacket that matched well enough with most pairs of his jeans and now he settled it in place, snagged the keys to his car and skipped down the stairs from his apartment. Ten minutes later he was outside Hutch’s place, honking on the horn impatiently while he waited for the flaxen haired cop to put in an appearance. Hutch emerged a minute later, his fingers to his lips and as he got into the car he shushed his buddy.

 

‘Keep it down will ya? Sarah’s still sleepin’ and I don’t want to wake her.’

 

‘Late night?’ Starsky asked, turning the car and heading down town. He wiggled his eyebrows suggestively

 

‘Yeah, but not how you think’ the blond muttered grumpily.

 

‘No? No hot sex after the beach?’

 

‘No, more like hot temper. We had one doozy of an argument and she kicked me out of my own bed. I slept on the sofa all night. And when I say slept I mean that in the loosest sense of the word. I just hope she sleeps it off this mornin.’

 

‘Well at least you had company.’

 

Hutch looked sideways at his partner. ‘Gina didn’t come back huh?’

 

‘Nope. That Ramsey guy has her wrapped round his little finger an’ we were kinda into an argument last night ourselves. But then I got to seein’ reason and I um…..called her an’ apologised first thing this mornin’.’

 

‘Wow, you did? Starsk I have to tell ya. I’m impressed. It’s not like you to admit you’re wrong.’

 

‘What’s that s’posed to mean?’ the brunet snapped.

 

‘Nothin’ Hutch smiled innocently and lapsed into silence for a few minutes.

 

‘What was it about? Your argument?’ Starsky broke the stillness in the car and shook Hutch from his thoughts.

 

‘Uh? Oh, it wasn’t…..it was.’ The blond sighed. ‘Sex.’

 

‘What, lack of it?’

 

Hutch snorted. ‘Oh my God no. It’s just she likes um….well she’s real good at…..I never had anyone who did it like she did. Starsk she gives the best blow job this side of the Pacific, but….’

 

It was Starsky’s turn to snort. ‘Don’t sound like there’s much of a “but” to it, ya lucky dog.’

 

‘You mean Gina doesn’t?’

 

Starsky indicated left and ran the car up the “on” ramp to the freeway, edging his way into the traffic. ‘Well yeah, she does, and she’s one of the best…..well the straight sex is awesome. But she….. Hutch can I ask ya sumthin?’

 

‘Yeah, what?’

 

‘Um, well. When Sarah um…… goes down on you, does she um….does she finish?’

 

Hutch V’d his eyebrows. ‘What?’

 

‘Does she finish? Does she um….spit or swallow?’ Starsky ended in a rush.

 

‘Starsk!’

 

‘Well ya said I could ask.’

 

‘Uh huh.’

 

‘So?’ Starsky prodded his buddy. ‘What does she do?’

 

Hutch’s face took on a beatific look ‘She takes the whole lot an’ she swallows. And where the hell would she pit anyway? Why?’

 

Starsky grunted and sighed ‘Nuthin.’

 

‘Uh uh. Not fair. I told ya my bedroom secrets bud. Ya can’t just leave me danglin.’ Ya gotta spill now.’

 

‘She’s good enough’ the brunet muttered quietly and concentrated on the road.

 

‘Wow, sounds it. What’s up Gordo? Not getting’ enough? She got you on short ration or somethin’?’

 

‘No! Well…. No, I’m not goin’ short exactly. Its just…..’

 

‘Just what? C’mon buddy, don’t be bashful. What’s she done to get ya all tongue tied?’

 

‘Well that’s just it aint it? She’s supposed to get tongue tied, or tired tongue or sumthin. But she don’t. She’s like……she’s real good at straight stuff and I’ve never had a girl who’s so passionate, but there’s just two thinks spoilin’ it an’ I just wondered if I was kinda…… different.’

 

Hutch looked at his partner’s discomfort and smiled. It was so like Starsky to be so full on with things that didn’t matter to him. But the minute he got serious with a girl he came over all shy and sensitive. He tried not to make fun and started again.

 

‘Just tell me. It’s probably nothin.’

 

‘Ok well…… She gives great oral until I get to that point where…..’

 

‘Where ya get that real goofy look on your face and your eyes cross?’ Hutch couldn’t resist butting in.

 

‘Shudup. My eyes don’t cross an.’ Well anyway. We get to that point an’ she’s been busy with the tongue an’ the whole scene an’ I’m getting’ to the point of no return an’ she just gets off me an’ finishes with her hand. An’ I don’t know what’s up but she’s the only girl I’ve had that does that an’ I just….wondered’ the brunet finished lamely. He looked at his partner expecting a joke, but Hutch’s face was composed.

 

‘Not all girls like to swallow buddy. Yours just doesn’t an’ you’ll have to get used to it. What’s your other problem?’

 

Starsky sighed again. ‘Don’t matter’ he pulled up outside the metro and slammed the selector into park. ‘I got a date with her tonight anyway. Things’ll work out.’

 

Chapter 4

 

Throughout the morning the guys cruised the streets. There had been a resurgence of sex crimes in the city and Starsky and Hutch had been on the trail of Janos Martini for weeks. The flake who had originally reinvented himself as “Sexational Films” and been illusive to sat the least, but they had finally got a lead on him through a girl who ran with the same stable as Sweet Alice. Marta had been unwilling to give the detectives too much information but she did say that Martini was getting in way over his head and his videos had gone from X rated to “banned” almost over night. The duo were keen to find out just what that meant, but for the moment they were keeping a low profile. Janos Martini knew them of old and they didn’t want to scare him away before they could nail him.

 

By 11:30 they were both hot, thirsty, and in Starsky’s case, ravenous and they stopped at Mario’s hamburger stand on the bridge for a dog and a coke while they regrouped.

 

‘You said you’re seein’ Gina tonight?’ Hutch said as he sipped his Cola and looked on in disgust as his partner demolished the burger in record time. ‘If you eat like that buddy, you’re gonna give yourself heartburn.’

 

‘M’fine’ the brunet mumbled indistinctly through his final mouthful.  He swallowed the last of it down, flicked the crumbs from the front of his jacket and threw the paper wrapper into the trash can by the side of the cart. ‘Yeah I’m seein’ her. You seein’ Sarah?’

 

A shadow fell over the blond’s face. ‘Dunno. I love her to bits an’ all that, an’ I’m sure she’s the one, but she said some pretty damming things last night. I just feel like I need a bit of space.’

 

‘What did she say?’

 

Hutch blew out his cheeks. ‘That I didn’t need a wife coz I was married to the job. That she didn’t want to be alone so much and…. Doesn’t matter.’

 

‘Must do if it’s got ya so riled up. Tell me’ the smaller man urged as they both got back into the car.

 

Hutch looked uncomfortable. ‘She said she didn’t want to be in a marriage with three people in it’ he said in a rush.

 

Starsky wiggled his eyebrows. ‘Is there sumthin you aint tellin’ me buddy? Ya got a secret stash of hot sex goddesses somewhere?’

 

The flaxen haired man looked at him with pain in his eyes. ‘Shudup will ya. I’m tryin’ to be serious an’ I think she has a point.’

 

‘Huh?’

 

‘She meant I’m always with you; always on the job. We spend so much time together that she feels pushed out……an’ maybe she’s right’ he finished quietly. There was silence in the car so thick it could be cut with a knife.

 

‘You want a new partner? Is that what you’re tellin’ me?’ Starsky’s voice was so lost, so scared that Hutch wanted to gather him up and hug him.

 

‘No. Oh God no Starsk. I couldn’t do this job with anyone else but you. You need to ask me that after all we’ve been through? Besides, who else’d have me? It’s just…… it’s hard to explain, but this job takes over. It was fine when we were footloose and fancy free. But now? With me havin’ Sarah, an’ with you meeting Gina….. Maybe its time to step down a gear huh? We aren’t getting’ any younger.’

 

Starsky snorted. ‘Hutch, we’re 35, not 85. Prime of our lives!’

 

‘Yeah, an’ how many times have those lives come near to bein’ snuffed out huh? When you were shot I thought I’d die right along with ya, an’ I consider myself a strong type of guy. An’ I got to thinkin’. Would I want to put Sarah through that?’

 

‘Well Gunther’s behind bars’ the brunet protested, but he was beginning to see the force of Hutch’s argument. He’d accused Gina of being married to her job and yet there was he, riding the streets with his partner, working long hours, cancelling more than enough of his own dates with his girl. Maybe Hutch was right. But he doubted either of them would be able to give it up completely.

 

‘Gunther might be in jail. But there are always other Gunthers hidin’ round dark corners an’ somehow, having a girl makes me want to avoid ‘em at all costs. Even if those costs involve…… Well. I know it hasn’t come to that yet, an’ I’m ramblin’. Just call us in as rollin’ and ignore me huh?’ Hutch said as lightly as he could. Starsky grabbed the mic. and called them in, but as he gunned the big engine of his car he thought hard on what Hutch had said. Was it time to quiet? Was it time to start thinking seriously about how much he gave to the job?

 

The brunet’s Dad had always told him that a safe cop was one who was into the job one hundred and ten percent. Anything less meant certain early death, and so he’d always given at least that amount if not more. Just like Gina seemed to give to her job. His girl had never complained when he cancelled. She’d never pulled her face when he’d come in tired and angry and had talked of flakes and whippos rather than love and romance. She was one in a million and yet he’d accused her of thinking more about her job and her boss than him. Damn he was stupid! She was special, and he needed to make it up to her.

 

As they turned the corner of the street, up ahead he saw a flower stand on the corner of the street and he slowed and pulled up by the side of it. Ignoring the questioning look from his partner, on impulse he got out and returned a moment later with a dozen red roses wrapped in cellophane and tied with an enormous red ribbon. He put them gently on the back seat and set the car motion without a word and it wasn’t until they had gone a couple of blocks that Hutch finally questioned him.

 

‘Where are we goin’ buddy. This aint the way to Martini’s hideout.’

 

‘Nope’

 

‘So ya got another lead?’

 

‘Nope.’

 

‘Jeez buddy! We gonna play 20 questions for the rest of the day?’

 

‘I need to go over to Gina’s office. What ya said – about Sarah. It kinda struck a chord. I balled her out last night coz I was mad at her boss makin’ her work again an’ when you were sayin’ what Sarah had said, it made sense. I phoned Gina this mornin’, but I want her to know she’s special’ he grinned shyly. ‘Ya think it’s too soapy?’

 

Hutch grinned back. ‘Comin’ from you? No. Just be quick Casanova. We still have Martini to find.’

 

Starsky pulled up outside the office block and took the flowers from the back seat. He was a sensitive guy who at heart was a big romantic. While on the outside he seemed quite prickly and superficial, deep down Starsky was a one woman guy who loved nothing more than to wine and dine her and then spend hours making slow passionate love in front of an open fire on a pale sheepskin rug as candlelight flickered round the room.

 

‘Won’t be too long’ he said as he closed the door. ‘Just gonna deliver these…. an’ take that smile off your face. Ya know you’d do the same thing.’

 

Hutch snickered. ‘Sure thing buddy’ he muttered and watched as those impossibly tightly swathed hips strutted across the parking lot and into the building.

 

The blond examined his feelings. He hated arguing with Sarah. She was a good girl. He’d met her while he’d been in the hospital recovering from a kidnapping by Diana Harmon. The flaky nurse had taken a liking to him and despite being committed to a mental hospital for her problems, she’d escaped and had made it back to Bay City, where she’d kidnapped him and had let her Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy affliction play out painfully and devastatingly (See Truly Madly Deeply, by this author). Sarah had been his nurse in the hospital and her caring and compassionate nature had finally penetrated the blond’s pain and despair and their relationship had grown from there. Based on caring and what he thought all along was love, now Hutch was having second thoughts. He’d been convinced Sarah was the one for him. She was plain, but not ugly. She had a caring way with her and she loved nothing better than to cook for him and be the perfect little housewife.

 

The blond, however, was beginning to feel claustrophobic around her. The relationship that had been based on her care for him in hospital had grown into a physical relationship too, but he still felt as though she tried to mother him. And for the big flaxen haired man, that just wasn’t right. He needed to be in charge in a relationship. He was the protector, not the other was around. And when she clucked over him and fussed and told him he looked tired and he needed to rest, he felt suddenly emasculated and powerless. The final straw had been her accusations that he thought more of his partner than he did of her. It had brought Hutch up short and had made him consider and reassess his position. And the more he thought about it, the more he realised that there may be something in what she said.

 

In all the times after the Gunther shooting when he’d sat by the side of Starsky’s bed, or watched as the brunet pushed himself to his limit and beyond during his gruelling physiotherapy sessions, his admiration for his partner’s fortitude had escalated. His feelings of admiration for the curly haired man had changed subtly, the dynamics of their partnership shifting so that what had once been care to watch his partner’s back now morphed into watching out for signs of strain, tiredness or pain. His physical care of the smaller man during his recovery had awakened a knowledge of Starsky’s body that would take a woman a lifetime to learn. Hutch had taken over the massage and exercise regime from the physios and he knew each muscle, each bone and ligament intimately. He knew what would make Starsky groan in pain or purr with satisfaction. His hands could elicit whimpers of pleasure or yelps of discomfort and as the months of recovery had gone on, he ensured he kept up that knowledge. He’d never admitted to himself until now that maybe he’d done that for some other reason than to simply aid his buddy. Maybe he had other feelings to?

 

Hutch snickered to himself at his tomfoolery. He wasn’t gay! He’d never had any feelings for another man – ever. He was as red blooded a heterosexual as anyone. And yet, as he’d watched those hips strut away to deliver flowers to someone who could become equally important to the brunet as he was, he felt a surge of something uncannily like jealousy.

 

Inside the building, Starsky took the elevator up to the top floor and walked along the carpeted corridor to the main office. Ramsey had his own oak panelled office in the corner of the bigger office and Gina worked at a desk right outside it, tucked around the corner from the rest of the PAs and clerks. As he pushed open the big glass doors to Ramsey, Ramsey and Mahoney, he spied his girl before she had chance to look up. He crossed the space to her in half a dozen steps and by the time she raised her head, Starsky was standing in front of her desk, the bouquet of roses outstretched.

 

‘Dave? What are you doing here?’ she asked quietly. She’d never expected to see him in her office and she could see a couple of the other partners looking their way. The same men who’d told her she could do better than a cop. They looked down their noses at the man dressed in jeans and trainers and she wanted the ground to open up and swallow her not because she didn’t want to be seen with the brunet but because she didn’t want Starsky to be hurt by their words and actions.

 

Starsky smiled at her. ‘I couldn’t wait till tonight. I needed to apologize in person and give you these.’

 

She took the flowers and buried her head in their fragrance. ‘They’re lovely. Thank you’ she murmured. From inside his office she could see Ramsey looking at them. He had a scowl on his face and Gina hated that he saw the two of them together. She had kept her boss at bay for the whole of the morning, ashamed and uncomfortable at what had gone on the previous night although Ramsey had said nothing. It was as though to her boss, the escapades of the previous night had never taken place, although she could feel his eyes boring into her when he thought she wasn’t looking.

 

‘It’s a lovely thought but……’ she looked around at the man in the office and Starsky followed her gaze.

 

‘But I shouldn’t have come. Sorry honey. I goofed again. I just….’

 

She smiled. ‘It’s fine. Just go and I’ll see you tonight’ she said as he pecked her on the cheek. What was it with him all of a sudden? The telephone call this morning and now the flowers? Guilt? It must be. He felt guilty for seeing that girl at the disco. Although she carried a fair amount of guilt herself for….. Damn, life could be complicated!

 

As the brunet cop turned and left the office, Ramsey looked out at his PA with the bunch of flowers on her desk and he snickered to himself, his mind going back to forcing the girl to give head the previous night. She hadn’t wanted to, he could feel that in her. But the power he felt at forcing her was intoxicating and Ramsey was a man who lived for power. He nodded. Oh yeah. This was perfect. With the cop in the picture, he could win over the both of them.

 

Chapter 5

 

Starsky prepared himself carefully for his night. He’d taken extra trouble to make sure his small apartment was even more clean and tidy than was usual and now he turned his attention to himself.

 

A hot shower was the first order of the day and as he stood waiting for the water to heat up, he idly looked at himself in the mirror and snorted softly. It aint the age Davey, it’s the mileage. He traced the tram-lined scars from upper chest to below his ribs, the divots of puckered flesh where the bullets had hit, the empty little spots that had once housed drainage tubes and the tiny scars giving testament to the central lines he’d endured to feed the drugs and fluids into his system. All of them leaving their mark and all of them eclipsing the scars he’d carried from previous jobs gone wrong. But that was the irony. He wasn’t even working when he’d been gunned down. He sighed. Just one more pissed off business man out for revenge. How he hated the powerful suited types with their big flashy cars, sumptuous offices and fly attitudes to other people’s lives.

 

Putting his dark thoughts behind him and with the steam from the shower blurring his reflection in the mirror into soft focus, he stripped off his boxers and got into the shower, working his stiff muscles under the hot water until he was once more supple and the residual aches of the day had departed. He wanted to be on top form for Gina tonight. The evening was all about showing her just how much he loved her, and then maybe a night of incredible sex, if he played his cards right – and disconnected his phone so that Ramsey couldn’t contact her!

 

Starsky scrubbed his hair with a new sandalwood scented shampoo that complimented his favourite soap and aftershave and ducked his head back under the water to rinse off, staying there for another few minutes as he luxuriated in the heat and the force of the shower on his body. That was the one thing he’d missed in his recovery – not being able to shower. And no-one would ever tell him that bed baths were erotic – especially when delivered enthusiastically but slightly clumsily by his blond partner.

 

The brunet dried off and walked naked into his bedroom where he stood for a moment in front of the wardrobe deciding what would look best. Eventually he plumped for the comfortable and predictable and pulled on his butter soft, almost white jeans and a navy blue polo shirt which he thought matched his eyes. Leaving his feet bare and finger combing his curls into some sort of order, he appraised his reflection in the mirror. Not exactly a film star, but he’d do. As he closed the drawer to his bedside cabinet, the doorbell rang and a glance at his watch told him Gina was right on time.

 

Padding into his living room he opened the door and smiled at her. She looked ravishing in a pale blue gypsy skirt and a white lace top that fell off one shoulder provocatively. She smiled back a little nervously and handed him a bottle of red wine. He kissed her and let her in, taking the bottle from her. For some reason he too felt nervous and as she made herself at home in the living room he frantically searched his kitchen for a corkscrew. After rummaging in his drawers and looking in the back of his cupboards he cursed under his breath. How the hell could he tell her that her bottle of vintage wine would have to remain unopened because he didn’t have a corkscrew? Desperately he looked round, then took a hold of the bottle and cracked the neck on the edge of his counter. It broke clean off, spilling some of the deep purple contents on the floor, but at least he’d gained access and to disguise his fumbling, he poured the rest of the bottle into a jug and snagged two wine glasses.

 

Walking into the living room, he sat down beside Gina and held a glass out while he poured her a drink. She took it and sipped it appreciatively and looked back at him.

 

‘I’m sorry honey. I should never have yelled at you last night. I felt so bad afterwards, I could have kicked myself’ he said, putting his hand round her shoulders.

 

‘You could have called last night’ she said, still thinking about the sight of him at the disco with the other girl. How could he be so casual about that?

 

‘I was going to’ Starsky explained. ‘I was gonna pick up the phone and then Hutch phoned and said his damned car had broken down and could I come back to the disco to taxi him an’ Sarah, an’ Sarah’s cousin back to her house. So I got there, ferried them back an’ got back here too late to phone ya. Like I said, I’m sorry.’

 

Gina listened to the explanation carefully. It was said with neither deceit nor artifice. That was one thing about her man, she could always tell if he was hiding something from her, and she knew instinctively that he was telling her the truth. She smiled to herself. How could she have doubted him?

 

‘I shouldn’t have flounced out on you like that. I know it isn’t fair that I have to work late, and believe me, I won’t be doing it again. Enough is enough’ she said forcefully.

 

‘Hey, don’t change just coz of me. I don’t want ya losin’ a chance of promotion or sumthin just coz I was an asshole.’

 

‘It’s not because of you. Trust me, I’m not working late for him any more, I promise.’

 

Starsky leaned forward and kissed her, his tongue seeking entrance to her mouth and as her lips parted and she carded her fingers into his hair at the back of his head, he explored her, renewing his acquaintance with every part of her mouth and tongue until she moaned into him and pressed her body against his.

 

They parted slightly breathlessly and the brunet changed direction, nuzzling down the line of her neck as his left hand slipped beneath the lace top. She wore no bra and her nipples sprang up pert and firm beneath his gentle touch. He stroked down her side and circled her nipple with his finger, pinching gently between his finger and thumb as she mewed in pleasure next to him.

 

Starsky felt her hand on his groin, checking out the bulge in his pants and he shifted slightly giving her more access and deftly she unzipped his pants and inserted her slim hand inside. He sighed as she stroked his cock and whispered into her ear

 

‘We can be more comfortable than this. Ya stayin’ the night?’

 

She giggled. ‘You say the most romantic things Dave Starsky. If that’s an invitation the answer’s yes.’

 

‘Good’ he growled and pulled her up from the sofa as he led her to the bedroom. ‘Supper is casserole an’ you know why I like casserole?’

 

‘No’ she said quietly

 

‘He grinned ‘Coz it has to be done slowly for at least four hours. Just like me.’

 

Gently the brunet pushed the girl back onto the bed and she shuffled around until she was lying on her back looking up at his expectantly. He lay down beside her, propped up on his elbow as he tenderly ran his hand down her body to her waist, pulling the blouse out from her waistband so that he could run his hand over her warm flesh. She purred and sat up so that she could pull the blouse over her head. It fit her body perfectly, outlining her breasts and as she pulled it up, they sprang free and he bent and kissed the pink nipples as he pushed his hand up her skirt.

 

Gina lay back and allowed him to explore her body. This was so different than her disastrous night with Ian Ramsey and yet she couldn’t ignore the memory of those other hands on her and the slimy voice whispering dirty things into her ear. She tried to close her mind to it, her body tensed as Starsky ran his hand up the inside of her thigh. He stopped uncertainly.

 

‘Did I hurt ya?’ he asked, his handsome face showing nothing but concern.

 

She shook her head. ‘It’s nothing. Here, let me reciprocate.’ Her hands moved to his shirt and she deftly pulled it off over his head and pushed him back until he was lying besides her. No-one besides Hutch had seen his body like she had and the brunet was at ease with her scrutiny of the scars, tramlines and dimples decorating his chest and back. She bent and kissed the long scar that lead up the front of his chest, the one that was still so sensitive that he shivered at her touch. She smiled and moved higher, taking tiny bites of his flesh and worrying them between her teeth before letting go and moving on to new pastures. She left tiny red passion marks behind her, her fingers massaging them lightly so that Starsky moaned and arched his body towards her asking for more.

 

Finally needing to take the lead himself, and with his jeans now in a puddle on the floor, he sat up and flipped the girl onto her back. She looked up at him with dazed, passion clouded eyes as he started his own exploration of her body and as his lips worked wonders on her breasts and neck, his hand wandered southwards, trying again to gain access to her secret places.

 

Gina tried to relax, reminding herself time and again that this was her man - the man who loved her and as the brunet’s fingers dipped inside her she tried to relax tensed muscles and accept him. But she was still sore from Ramsey’s invasion the previous evening and however she tried, it hurt her. Desperate not to spoil the mood, she turned the tables and took a hold of his hand, clutching it to her.

 

‘What can I do for you?’ she whispered. ‘Tell me. This is your night.’

 

Starsky stopped his exploration. Oh my God, all his dreams come true. What could she do for him? Where did he start?

 

‘Just love me’ he said carefully. ‘Love me for who I am.’

 

She kissed his nose. ‘Of course I love you, silly man.’ Her kisses followed a path south, until she was once again exploring the forested acres of his chest, the lower still until she was at the margin of the black wiry hairs at his groin. Taking a deep breath to calm herself, and telling herself she had to do this to prove to herself that she could, she slipped lower still and Starsky felt her breath hot and humid on his cock.

 

The brunet groaned as he felt wet lips circle him and draw him inside. The suction was powerful, the pull on his cock hard and firm. He moved his hips experimentally. She’d never gone down on him so early before and he wanted this to last, but the way she was attacking him, her tongue and talented lips working so hard on his he could already feel the heat in his balls and the tension as his climax appeared on the horizon.

 

‘Oh God’ he moaned. ‘No, slower, make it last honey mmmmnnnn, shit that’s so good’ he crooned softly. And still she continued, working her way up and down his shaft as he hovered over the precipice of a thunderous climax. When she wasn’t sucking him into her mouth, she was licking down his length slowly and blowing cool air gently onto his tip. He groaned again and couldn’t help but thrust upwards into her mouth although he remembered that she’d said he was too big for her to take in whole.

 

‘Gina’ he mumbled ‘Oh God honey, I can’t hold on, I’m nearly there. Just gimme ……mmmmnnnn oh my God that’s so good. I’m gonna….can’t hold on honey, I’m comin’ he whispered, delighted that for once he was going to get to finish in the way he wanted. But instead, as Gina felt his cock turn to the consistency of granite, she lost her composure, snapped her head away and took him in her hand finishing him in two soft strokes so that he spilled his essence over his own belly.

 

She sagged back against him, hearing his pained gasps as he tried to get his breath under control and without thinking she got up off the bed and headed for the bathroom, her memories of Ramsey too fresh for her to handle.

 

In the bedroom, Starsky sat up and grabbed for his tee shirt wiping his belly as he wondered what had made her stop so suddenly. Had he done something wrong? Had he said something he shouldn’t? Why were relationships so fuckin’ complicated? He heard her in his bathroom and swung his legs over the side of the bed, padding out into the living room and was startled to see that she was once again dressed. He looked at her, confused.

 

‘Gina? What’s the matter honey? Are you ok?’

 

She looked at him tearfully. How could she tell him about Ramsey? She’d vowed to keep that to herself and besides, after such a tender show, how could she possibly tell the truth now? She wiped her eyes angrily.

 

‘I’m sorry Dave. I shouldn’t have come tonight. I um…. I have a headache and….’

 

‘Headache? Are you sure that’s all it is?’ Starsky hadn’t been a cop all those years without learning how to read body language. And she was uncomfortable, angry or upset about something. ‘Have I done sumthin? Did I hurt ya?’

 

‘Oh God no. You’re….. you’re wonderful. It’s me, it’s my fault’ she mumbled.

 

‘Can I get ya sumthin for your head? I got aspirin’ he offered.

 

‘No, it’s going away now’ she lied. The look of compassion and hurt in his eyes was more than she could bear. How could she contemplate leaving him? But there again, How could she have two timed him with that snake earlier?

 

‘You sure you’re ok?’

 

Gina smiled wanly. ‘Yeah, I’m sure.’

 

‘Then come back to bed and we can finish off’ he smiled gently. ‘We only got to second base and I need to make sure we get a home run.’ Gently he took her hand and led her back to the bedroom.

 

For half an hour or so they lay next to each other, comfortable and undemanding, each cuddling the other without making any demands, but as the night wore on, Starsky couldn’t help but allow his hands to start petting her again, his fingers roving over her body gently at first and then more insistently. And this time, Gina responded to him, echoing his movements with strokes of her own until once again Starsky’s cock rose up proud and ready between them.

 

‘Are ya ready honey?’ he whispered into her hair a he leaned over her, positioned and ready. She nodded a little hesitantly.

 

‘Uh huh.’

 

‘You ok? he said as he eased himself in until he was sheathed part way inside her warm body. She closed her eyes, acclimatising herself to his bulk inside her.

 

‘So big’ she sighed as she felt him start to move gently in and out. She’d told him once before that either he was too big or she was too small to take him completely and now she could feel him holding himself back. But pretty soon, he’d picked up the momentum and she tried to open herself to him more fully. He didn’t hurt her on purpose but as he finally came with a rough shout, she yelped once at the huge invasion and he kissed her, apology in his eyes as he toppled sideways and held her close.

 

‘I love you Gina Bianchi. Don’t ever let anyone come between us huh?’

 

Chapter 6

 

The next morning, early, Starsky dropped Gina back at her apartment so that she could shower and get ready for work. They’d had a wonderful night during which they’d made love two or three more times and each time the brunet claimed her body as his own, he’d erased a little bit more of Ramsey’s hold over her so that by the time she’d fallen asleep in his arms, head cushioned on his chest, she’d resolved to hand in her notice and look for somewhere else to work. She had the skills and the qualifications and she knew she could do without the money and the fancy car. Nothing was worth jeopardising her happiness with the tall dark handsome cop.

 

Starsky was feeling mellow. Despite his complaints to his partner that his girl didn’t let him finish down her throat, Gina made up for it in other ways. She was one of the most caring women he’d ever met and she could please his body in many other ways than the typical blow job. Although he missed that, he was more than happy with their night and he sang as he drove along, his voice melodious if not quite as smooth as Hutch’s.

 

Gina laughed out loud as he started the refrain of the comic song “Does your chewing gun loose its flavour on the bedpost overnight?” and gently punched him on the arm.

 

‘What am I gonna do with you? Most men would be singing love songs to their girl after a night like we’ve just had. But you……?’

 

Starsky grinned widely. ‘I aint most men honey.’

 

‘I know that’ she replied happily and rested her head on his shoulder as they drove. Five minutes later, the brunet kissed her tenderly and said goodbye as he watched her perfectly formed ass shimmy up the steps to her apartment. Happily, he turned the car and drove off to collect Hutch, secure in the knowledge that his girl loved him as much as he loved her.

 

Gina showered quickly and pulled on her Channel suit, its pinstripe black fabric hugging her figure perfectly. She topped it with a sugar pink blouse and a pair of plain black court shoes, pulled her hair up into an elegant chignon and rushed down to her car. She wanted to be in before Ramsey so that she could write her letter and have it on his desk first thing.

 

Pulling up in her parking space in the company parking lot, she got out of the car, straightened her skirt and took the elevator up to the top floor, stepping out into the hushed office and over to her desk. As she passed Ramsey’s office she was brought up short to see her boss already in his chair, although it was turned so that his back was to the door. He was looking at flickering images on his private television, but the screen was angled in such a way that she couldn’t see the images. She did however hear the low guttural moan which sounded suspiciously like her name. She froze, watching curiously.

 

Ramsey was lost in his own world, the scenes that were hidden from his PA being highlighted by his slow rhythmic stroking of his right hand against his groin. He replayed the video tape of his night with Gina again and again, his erection getting harder and more insistent by the moment and as the women watched unnoticed he grabbed for a handful of tissues, flung his head back and released himself into the soft paper handkerchiefs groaning her name aloud.

 

Gina ducked back out of the office and rushed to the ladies bathroom where she closed the door and rested her back against it breathing heavily. Oh my God! What had she just witnessed? He had called her name, she could hear him and she was left in no doubt as to what he was doing while he moaned it. She shivered, left now in no doubt at all as to what she should do.

 

Opening the bathroom door, she ducked out and headed for another desk belonging to another PA at the other end of the open plan office. There, she sat down at the typewriter and hurriedly typed out her letter, sealing it into a plain white envelope and writing his name in a confident round hand on the front. Standing, she took a deep breath and marched into his office as he spun round in his chair, his eyes wide.

 

‘Gina! I didn’t expect you so early darling.’

 

‘I wanted to get in early’ she said quietly

 

‘You did? Were you out last night?’

 

She didn’t answer for a moment and he nodded. ‘That’d be a yes. Seeing that no good cop again? How many times do I need to tell you that you could do so much better? He’s no good for you. What the hell can he give you that one of our lawyers couldn’t?’

 

‘Love’ she answered before she could stop herself.

 

‘Aww, aint that sweet? Love won’t buy the next Mercedes darling. It won’t buy the next Cannel suit or the next holiday in Hawaii.’

 

‘I don’t want any of those things. I have Dave. And I have something for you too’ she said and slapped the envelope down on his desk. Ramsey took it and looked at the handwritten name on the front.

 

‘”Mr Ramsey”. Very formal Gina. What’s this all about?’ he ran his thumb nail under the flap of the envelope and pulled the single sheet of paper from within. Flattening it out he read it swiftly and looked up. ‘Resign? Why?’

 

She stared at him incredulously. ‘After what happened the other night? How can you ask me that? How can you behave like nothing happened? I was…… ‘

 

‘A damned good distraction. And if I recall, you didn’t put up a fight. You were as willing a participant as I was. Don’t come the wounded party with me Miss Bianchi, now take this away and don’t be such a silly little girl.’

 

‘I’m not being silly and my resignation still stands. I’ll draft an advertisement out for a new PA for you today. I leave at the end of the week.’ She turned to go.

 

‘Gina, darling. Don’t be stupid. What we did was fun and you were so good in the sack. But it was just that – fun. You didn’t…. ‘He smiled a slow smile ‘Oh my God darling. You didn’t think there was anything in it did you? You’re an even sillier little girl than I took you for. Now run along and get back to your desk. We’ll pretend this never happened.’

 

She glared at him. ‘But it did happen, and I can’t forget. I feel cheap and dirty and used. And I can’t work for you any more when I don’t have respect for you.’

 

‘Respect? Well maybe you won’t have respect for me. That’s neither here nor there. But how about fear? Try that on for size Gina darling. Fear can make us do a lot of things we’d prefer not to.’

 

‘Are you threatening me?’

 

Ramsey grinned. ‘Threats? No my dear. Not threats. The fear is a promise. Now get back to work.’

 

Gina walked out of his office in a daze, unsure what Ramsey meant by fear. Fear of what? She sat at her desk and stared at her typewriter for a long time without actually seeing it, her head in a whirl and her heart easing down from its staccato rhythm. Eventually she managed to pull herself together and told herself that she was just being silly. Ramsey was a high flying lawyer. He wouldn’t throw away his reputation and his career by doing anything as stupid as holding a vendetta against her. They’d had one night together and although she had been silly enough to think that her boss might have cared for her, she now realised he’d wanted nothing more then relief from her. OK. So be it. But she didn’t have to be in the same room, office or even building as him. And so at lunchtime, she went out and bought a newspaper and spent her lunchtime circling likely adverts in the “positions vacant” column.

 

Starsky meanwhile was almost half way to his partner’s house when he got a call on the car mic. He picked it up, full of bonhomie and pressed the button.

 

‘Goooood mornin’ Mildred. An’ how are you this wonderful fine day? The sun’s shinin’ the birds are coughin’ an’ it’s good to be alive.’

 

There was a chuckle form the other end of the call. ‘Take it you had a good night sweetie’ she sounded down the line.

 

‘Oh yeah. The love machine was workin’ overtime.’

 

‘Well get the detective machine warmed up honey. Dobey’s asked for you an’ Hutch to get down to a factory on the east side. Reports of a fight and an injured girl.’

 

Starsky’s grin faded as he heard the address Mildred gave him. ‘Can’t someone else take it honey? I haven’t even picked Cotton Top up yet. We aren’t logged as rollin.’

 

‘Sorry Starsky. The Captain asked for you two. Control out.’

 

The brunet sighed and slammed the mars light on top of his car, pressing the gas pedal until he was threading through the early morning traffic neatly and quickly. He came to a shuddering stop outside Venice Place to see Hutch prowling his sidewalk. Obviously Mildred had taken the precaution of calling ahead and making sure Hutch knew to be ready too. He got in and Starsky set the car going again in a squeal of tires.

 

‘Mornin’ the blond said laconically.

 

‘Wow. Mornin’ to you too. What’s with the long face? Lost a dollar and found a dime? The smaller man asked.

 

Hutch propped his head up on his hand as the car swerved round anther corner, heading for the factory. ‘Something like that. We were goin’ really well, me an’ Sarah. We’d made up for the argument an’ she was bein’ all…… well you know. Said she was sorry she’d flown off the handle an’ all that an’ we were just about to go for the encore when Mildred rang and told me about this shout.’

 

‘An’ I take it the future Mr Hutchinson didn’t take too kindly?’

 

The blond snorted. That’s an understatement. She bounded off the bed an’ she was dressed before I could say anythin.’ Then she told me I needed an attitude adjustment and that it was either her or the job.’

 

Starsky’s face fell. ‘Shit!’

 

‘Yeah. Shit is right. God I hate this!’

 

‘An’ so what did you tell her?’ Starsky asked.

 

‘Didn’t. But I’m here aren’t I? I guess she got the message.’

 

‘She’ll be fine buddy. You’ll see. I guess it’s always tough to know you’re sharin’ your marriage with BCPD but she’ll come around, you’ll see.’

 

Hutch sighed. ‘I dunno. An’ maybe….. Oh forget it.’

 

‘You don’t think she’s getting’ cold feet do ya?’

 

The blond braced himself as the Torino came to a sudden halt outside the factory and as both detectives got out Hutch muttered ‘No, but maybe I am.’

 

The detectives drew their guns, checked their ammunition and then headed up the small staircase at the back of the building. They holstered their weapons as they got to the top of the steps and saw the usual circus of uniformed patrol men, forensics and police photographers at the scene and they flashed their badges at the man on point and ducked under the black and yellow police tape into the small room.

 

It was set up as a small film studio with a central raise stage affair in one corner surrounded by reflective aluminium umbrellas and cameras on stands. The equipment was of good quality but it was the stuff hung on the walls around the room that leant it a seedy air. Line upon line of whips, chains, leather restraints and items Starsky preferred not to think about hung in serried ranks along the wall.

 

On the stage itself was a bed with a wrought iron frame hung about with handcuffs and ropes and on the bed a battered and bloody naked figure lay, surrounded by three officers all trying to preserve its dignity while not disturbing the crime scene. The bed was draped in blood stained sheets and there was a smell of burned hair and flesh in the air. Starsky stepped up and took quick instructions from the uniform in control of the incident.

 

‘Seems this studio was set up some time ago. They specialised in the kinkier stuff until recently but now it appears they’ve made a change in policy. Ever heard of snuff movies?’

 

The brunet nodded. ‘Yeah, but I thought that was just an urban myth. No-one would really want to have sex with a girl while they’re killin’ ‘em……would they?’

 

The flatfoot swallowed hard. ‘That’s what I would have thought too. But if they aren’t doin’ that, then someone got mighty pissed at her’ he stood to one side as Hutch approached the bed slowly and as he got there, Starsky heard his pained voice as he knelt by the bed.

 

‘Oh my God……Sweet Alice.’

 

Chapter 7

 

Starsky rushed to Hutch’s side as the blond knelt by the side of the girl on the bed. Alice’s once sweetly pretty face was a welter of blue and black bruises, her lips cut and swollen and her eyes almost closed. Around her neck there was a chain of finger shaped bruises and across her body a scattering of burns that looked like they’d come from a cigarette. Intertwined with those burns were other livid red wheals criss crossed across her back, front and thighs, testament to the sever whipping she’d suffered. In all, neither detective could find a single area of her body that wasn’t cut or bruised or otherwise marred by an injury.

 

Softly the blond put his hand up to cup her face, trying to ignore her once beautiful hair which seemed to have been burned off in parts. Now it lay against the bed sheets in a soot laden mass.

 

Alice?’ Hutch said softly. ‘Alice honey it’s me, Hutch.’

 

With difficulty, her blue eyes struggled to open and she looked up at him. ‘Hey….handsome Hutch’ she managed to rasp through her swollen throat. Her hands fluttered down to her naked body, trying unsuccessfully to cover it and the blond detective looked around.

 

‘Have ya taken the photos you need? Can we get her a cover someone?’

 

A uniformed cop handed him a bathrobe and tenderly Hutch laid it over Alice’s injured body. ‘Thank you’ she whispered and closed her eyes again as a tear trickled its lonely path down her face. ‘I didn’t want you……to see me like this’ she sobbed quietly

 

‘Who did it honey? Why? Was it Janos?

 

‘No…..it….’ her body stiffened and she gave a little cry ‘Hutch it hurts….. I hurt, make it stop.’

 

‘I will. I will honey. Try not to move that pretty little head huh?’ Just hold on a while longer. We’ll fix it. We’ll make it all better.’ Hutch’s soft tones seemed to ease her and she relaxed a little, her eyes focused on her Handsome Hutch as he stayed by her side. In the background, Starsky prowled like a caged tiger, unsure how he could also comfort the woman. In the end, he settled for directing proceedings and making sure the forensics guys were as thorough as they could be. He winced each time Alice stiffened or whimpered and more than once he went to the door of the room to look out for the ambulance.

 

Hutch was still talking to Alice, keeping her distracted with his voice as he had done on so many occasions with his partner when Starsky had been hurt. But the woman was getting tired, her injuries hurting her too much, and pretty soon she was shaking with shock and pain. Hutch wondered how much longer they’d have to wait and gently he took her in his arms and cradled her against his body where she sighed and rested her head against his chest. Hutch was trying to decide whether he could ask her some simple questions but at that moment, they heard the sound of sirens and minutes later a paramedic came in bearing a fold away stretcher and a bag of equipment. The medic barged through the crowd and shouldered Hutch out of the way to get to his patient. Alice let out a whimper and opened her eyes again.

 

‘Don’t leave me’ she whispered frantically looked around for the blond. ‘I’m scared Hutch, don’t leave me’ and Hutch came back to her side immediately, kneeling by the side of her as he took one blood stained hand and held it. The medic continued to work, talking softly and gently to the frightened women as the blond let his other hand rest against her cheek. She snuggled into it with a sigh. ‘Don’t go’ she said again.

 

‘I’m not leaving you honey. And Starsky’s right here too. We’re here. We aren’t goin’ anywhere. We’ll look after you. We won’t let them hurt you again.’

 

The paramedic looked up. ‘Are you a relative?’

 

‘No, just a friend. How is she?’

 

‘We’ll know more when we get her to the hospital. The most worrying thing is the damage to her throat. The rest I think maybe looks worse than it is. The cuts and bruises will fade and her hair will grow again. We need to get her over to County General.’

 

‘Can we come?’

 

The medic looked doubtful but Alice settled the discussion. She refused to let go of Hutch’s hand and so with the brunet bringing up the rear, the two detectives made their way out of the studio. As Hutch got into the back of the ambulance, Starsky drove his car and in that way they made their way back to the hospital.

 

In the relative quiet of his car on the way Starsky was brimming over with questions. Alice had said it wasn’t Janos Martini who’d done this, although after “Sexational Films” the brunet wouldn’t have been surprised. Martini had always been into the kinky stuff and the brunet had busted him for it before. In fact Alice had been his victim in the past, although nothin as severe as this. And then she’d been only too willing to spill the beans on her ex boyfriend. But this time Alice had been given adamant that Janos wasn’t the perpetrator of the terrible crimes against her. He drew up in the parking lot and walked into the Emergency room entrance looking for the patient. Hutch was sitting on a small plastic chair with his head in his hands and Starsky dropped two quarters into the drinks machine and handed his partner a scalding cup of black coffee.

 

‘How is she?’

 

Hutch looked up and took the cup. ‘About like you’d think. Some of her hair has been burned clean away, she was strangled almost to death and from the look of the wheals on her body they obviously enjoyed themselves first. Shit Starsk, that’s torture – out an’ out torture.’

 

‘I know buddy. An’ we’ll get the sickos that did it for sure. Did she manage to say anythin’ else?’

 

‘No. She was pretty well whacked up on pain meds by the time we got here. The only thing she was clear about was that she didn’t want me to leave. She was insistent about that’ Hutch snickered softly while Starsky grinned at him.

 

‘She always did have a soft spot for ya Blondie. Ever since that night at the Pits. The first night ya met her, remember?’

 

Hutch snorted. ‘How could I forget? You set me up good an’ proper. And there as me tryin’ to be a good friend to my new partner.’ Hutch let his mind wander back over the years.

‘……..He said your name was Alice?’ Hutch asked, his voice slightly unsteady as she regarded him with her cerulean blue eyes.

Uh huh. Around here folks know me as Sweet Alice.’

Coz you’re a lovely girl?’

That…..an’ they say I taste nice!’ she giggled as she nuzzled his neck.

Hutch choked on the mouthful of beer he’d taken, the fine spray cascading across the bar. ‘T taste?’ he stammered, his cheeks colouring.

Uh huh. You could maybe come ‘n’ find out?’ she asked in a sultry voice.

Maybe another time Sweet Alice. We’re on duty….An’ I don’t think he could afford ya!’ Starsky said, leaning over to peck the woman on her cheek. She smiled at him, and then looked sadly at the blond. ‘Maybe I could give you a free trial some day Suga?’

She kissed him softly then shimmied away. Hutch looked confused. ‘She’s a….?’

Yeah, an’ a good one, I’ve heard’ the brunet smirked. ‘Haven’t tried her myself.’

Tried her…..Starsk! She’s a hooker!...A cute one, but she’s a….and you……with……?’

Don’t tell me you never have, Blondie. Oh wait, you had the wonderful Van to keep you happy, but that’s been…what? Two, three years now?’

‘I’ll never know why she took a shine to me, but it’s never faded, has it?’

‘She’s attracted to your animal magnetism’ the brunet grinned and straightened as the doctor came out of the cubicle and headed for them.

‘Are you friend or relatives of Alice Sawyer?’

‘Friends. We’re cccops, but we’re…. we’re friends too’ Hutch said quickly, his stammer apparent in his eagerness to get news of the woman. ‘How’s she doin’?’

‘Not too good, I’m afraid. The damage to her throat is quite extensive and is usually the case in these kinds of crush injuries, they are continuing to swell. I’m afraid we need to put her to sleep and put her on a respirator in order to preserve her airways. I need someone’s consent to do that and as she doesn’t have any relatives here, I wondered if you would….’

‘Can I see her Doc.? She ought to know what’s goin’ on’ Hutch asked.

‘Of course. She’s very sleepy, but I think she could appreciate a friend at the moment. Just try not to tire her huh?’

The two detectives brushed aside the white curtain and entered the small cubicle. Alice looked very fragile lying on the white sheeted gurney draped in a white hospital gown. A lot of her injuries had been covered, but nothing could cover the dreadful damage done to her crowning glory of silky wheaten hair. One whole patch of it at the side of her head looked as though it has been burned away and the scalp showed through dark and bloody. Starsky winced, but Hutch went straight to the bed and took a hold of Alice’s hand, smiling down at her reassuringly. Her eyes fluttered open and rested on her knight in shining armor.

‘Hey’ she whispered.

‘I said I wouldn’t leave. How’re ya doin’?’

‘I’m not so scared when you’re here’ she said shyly, ‘but I hate these places an’ sometimes, coz of what I do, they don’t treat me too nice.’

Starsky came around the other side of the gurney and held her other hand in his. ‘Hey honey. I hate ‘em too. But they’re gonna take real good care of ya. Me an’ Hutch’ll see to that huh?’

‘Uh huh. You just tell us if you don’t get the best of everything’ Hutch added. ‘Only the best for our pretty lady.’

Alice’s face crumpled and she tried to turn away. ‘I aint no oil paintin’ now. They burned ma hair. I’m ugly. I feel so ugly. Why’d you fellas stay around me huh?’ she sobbed.

The blond closed his eyes, trying to compose himself. He knew Alice wasn’t vain, but lying there at her most vulnerable, she needed all her pride and her hair was a large part of that. He tried to speak, but nothing came out, and instead he heard his partner.

‘You’re beautiful to us no matter what honey. An’ I promise when you’re feelin’ a bit better we’re gonna get the best hairdresser to come in an’ make ya even prettier all over again.’

Alice looked up at him. ‘Ya are? Why?’

‘Coz we love ya!’

Hutch took up the conversation. ‘Alice, how do you feel honey? Is it getting’ tough to breathe?’

‘Yeah’ she said in a small voice. ‘It scares me some.’

‘I know, I know’ the blond’s voice was gentle, not wanting to upset the woman any more than he had to. ‘The Doc says you have some damage to your throat and it could make breathin’ a little hard for a while, so he wants to fix it.’

Alice’s eyes flew wide ‘How?’

‘He wants to put a tube in your throat and have a machine help you to breathe. Don’t worry honey, you’d be asleep the whole time. You wouldn’t know anythin’ about it, honest.’

She gripped his hand all the harder. ‘I’m scared’ she rasped and set off a bout of coughing. By the end of it, she was limp and drained and Hutch was soothing her forehead.

‘Sssh. Don’t try to talk, you’ll make it worse. Do you want me to sign the form to let him do it?’

She nodded. ‘Stay with me. At least for a little while, till I’m asleep?’

‘Sure thing honey. No problem. Starsky can tell the doc an’ I’ll stay right here. I won’t leave ya, I promise.’

The brunet looked at his watch. ‘Its gone 4 o’clock Hutch. If you stay here with Alice, I’ll head back an’ start the paperwork huh? I’ll let Dobey know what’s goin’ on and I’ll let Sarah know too.’

Hutch smiled ‘Sure, thanks Starsk.’

The curly haired cop leaned over Alice’s bed. ‘Be good now, ya hear? Hutch is gonna stay with ya an’ I’m gonna start catchin’ the bad guys. See ya later honey’ he kissed the blond woman on her cheek and trailed his thumb down her bruised face, turning away before she could see the anger in his eyes. God he hated violence against women. But when it was a woman he knew well….. he’d nail the bastards if it was the last thing he did.’

 

Chapter 8

 

Starsky received a cold reception from Sarah when he rang her to let her know that Hutch would once again be late home from work. He avoided telling his partner’ fiancé exactly where her man was. It was bad enough he was late. It would add fuel to her flames if she found out he’d been sitting with a hooker in the hospital and holding the woman’s hand as though he were her lover. Instead he plumped for being general in the extreme. Yes, he‘d been working with Hutch. No, he didn’t know what time he’d be home. And no, he didn’t think it was a good idea for her to phone and complain to Dobey. By the time he’d come off the phone he was angry at Sarah and almost sorry for Hutch who had always though of the girl as angelic. How things change!

 

His next phone call was to Gina. He’d been thinking about his own girl all day and he’d wanted to take her more flowers, but things had got out of hand with Alice and he’d not had the time. Now, after seeing the abuse meted out to the blond woman, he wanted to make his own girl feel extra special and after phoning to make a reservation, he phoned Gina’s office number and heard her answer.

 

‘Hey honey it’s me’ he started.

 

‘Dave! How lovely. You rang me!’

 

From the interior office Ramsey heard the name and quietly picked up his extension phone, covering the mouthpiece so that he wouldn’t be heard. He listened intently.

 

‘I was wonderin’ if my wonderful girl would like to come out to dinner tonight?’ Starsky said.

 

‘Of course. I have something to celebrate.’

 

‘Ya have?’ the brunet asked

 

‘Yes. I handed in my resignation today. I’m a free agent as of the end of the week.’

 

‘Wow! That’s givin’ up a lot honey. What brought that on?’

 

She paused for a split second and in the inner office Ramsey too wondered what she was going to say. ‘Ohh, I didn’t like how they treated you. And I’m sick of the um…. office politics. So I decided to get out. I gave Ramsey my letter this morning.’

 

‘Then it’s a celebration! I’ll pick you up at 7:30 tonight huh?’

 

‘Lovely. Where are we going?’

 

‘The new restaurant that’s opened in the centre of town. The Gauguin. Its Polynesian food’ the brunet said proudly.

 

She smiled at his tone. It was just like Dave to be so excited about anything new. Just like a little boy, especially when the new entailed food. ‘That’s wonderful. I’ll be ready at 7:30. Love you.’

 

‘I love you too honey’ Starsky sighed as he put down the telephone. The meal would probably cost him half a month’s salary, but he didn’t care. He had Gina and that was all that counted.

 

Back at the office of Ramsey, Ramsey and Mahoney, two phones went down simultaneously. But while Gina smiled to herself and set about thinking of what she would wear that evening to impress her man, Ramsey picked up the phone again and made a reservation of his own.

 

At 7:30 sharp, Starsky got out of his car and bounded up the steps to Gina’s apartment. Dressed in black pants and a pale blue shirt, dark blue tie and a cream jacket, he’d dressed to impress and as the woman opened the door she looked suitably shocked to see her usually jeans wearing man looking every inch the debonair man about town. She looked over his shoulder in mock surprise.

 

‘Um, have you seen Dave Starsky? He was due to pick me up at 7:30. You must know him. Always wears jeans and tee shirts.’

 

‘Well not tonight honey’ the brunet growled. ‘Tonight is a special night.’

 

‘It is? Why?’

 

‘Coz tonight I want to show you how special you are to me’ he said softly and took her hand to escort her down the steps. Gina had dressed carefully too and wore a long black lace skirt and a pale blue halter top. Unintentionally she matched her man perfectly and as he got into the car, gathering her skirt around her, she couldn’t help admiring the strut of his hips as he trotted around to get into the driver’s seat.

 

The night was warm and they drove with the windows down letting the cool evening breeze ruffle their hair. The stars were out and as they got to the restaurant a girl in a grass skirt and very little else welcomed them while a parking attendant held his hand out for Starsky’s car keys. Gina smiled to herself as she saw the hesitation on the brunet’s face before he handed them over. Starsky hated anyone driving his baby.

 

They went into the restaurant which was decorated with cope Gauguin paintings on the walls and floral displays of exotic flowers on all the shelves around the booths. The waitresses all wore the same grass skirts while the waiter, incongruously wore black dinner suits. It gave the place an eclectic, unconventional feeling which went well with the almost surreal paintings.

 

The couple were show to a small booth above which hung a picture entitled “Men on the Beach”. Starsky appreciated the vibrant colours of the piece but secretly believed he could have drawn them better himself. They sat down and he ordered two Pina Coladas as they waited for the menu.

 

As the drinks arrived, served in half pineapples and with umbrellas and straws and tiny dancing girls on sticks, Gina snuggled up to her man and put her head on his shoulder.

 

‘This is perfect’ she murmured, her eyes closed as she soaked up the ambience. But instead of hearing Starsky reply, an annoying, chillingly familiar voice sounded instead.

 

‘Gina, darling!’

 

She opened her eyes and look directly into Ramsey’s pale blue ones and immediately her nerves were on edge. ‘Isn’t this a divine place?  I come here every chance I get. I have a table permanently reserved. Is this your first time here? I don’t suppose cops can afford to eat here very often’ he said ingratiatingly.

 

‘Yeah, but we get by at the hamburger stand for the rest of the time’ Starsky grunted good humouredly. Nothing tonight would spoil his enjoyment.

 

‘Oh I say. I’d be honoured if you’d come over and join me at my table. I have one or two friends here, but I’m sure they wouldn’t mind’ Ramsey said with an oily smile.

 

‘Oh no, please Ian, we wouldn’t want to intrude’ Gina jumped in immediately. She couldn’t bear the thought of having to spend a whole evening with the man who’d threatened her that morning.

 

‘But I insist’ Ramsey said expansively and without further ado called over the waiter and had the man gather up the drinks on the table and follow him over. Gina mouthed “sorry” to Starsky and the two trailed behind like lambs to the slaughter. They wound their way between the booths and tables to a table for eight in the prime position in the restaurant. There were already four people sat there – two lawyers from the office with their well dressed and slightly snooty looking women. Ramsey indicated Gina and Starsky should sit down and did the introductions, making sure everyone knew that Starsky was a cop from the inner city, as if that made him somehow a second class citizen.

 

Moments later, the waiter brought over the menu and handed them around. Starsky stared at the rows and rows of French names and his second grade teacher’s voice rang in his head. ‘You’re hopeless at languages David. Stick to working in America huh?’ he snickered to himself as the words swam before his eyes. Spanish he could cope with. His partner had taught him a little German over the years, but French? He’d never have to use it, so he’d never bothered to try to understand it. Now he was at a complete loss. Ramsey saw the brief flash of bewilderment in the indigo blue eyes and swooped.

 

‘Perhaps Mr Starsky would care to order for us all?’ he asked expansively.

 

The brunet looked up sharply and saw the others looking at him expectantly. He swallowed and went back to the menu.

 

L’entrée Francais                                       L’entrée Polynesia

Pate de foie gras                                  Ahi Poke

La piperade                                         Lomi Lomi

Pissaladière                                        

La salade (de) chèvre

La salade niçoise 

La soupe à l'oignon 

What the hell was he supposed to choose? It could all be stewed car parts with a side of tree for all he knew. Shit!

Gina looked venomously at Ramsey, understanding now why he’d put on the display of friendship. He didn’t want their company. He was using this as a chance to get back at her for handing in her notice! He wanted to belittle Starsky and he was doing it in the most public way he could. She knew at that moment she’d made the right choice in getting out and she took a breath.

‘It would be very bad manners indeed for two new guests to dictate what everyone should eat. We don’t want to impose.’

‘Oh it’s no imposition Gina. Mr. Starsky will make a superb selection for us all’ Ramsey said with a wolf-like grin.

Starsky looked at the menu and then summoned over the waiter. ‘What does the chef recommend today?’ he asked as calmly as he could.

The waiter puffed up his chest importantly. ‘Ichiban Ahi as a starter and for the main course Lau Lau.’

‘Great’ the brunet sighed. ‘We’ll have that all round.’ He breathed a sigh of relief and was just putting down his menu when the waiter handed him another fat tome.

‘The wine, Sir?’

Ramsey grinned. ‘Oh yes, the wine Mr. Starsky. Would you care to order that too?’

The cop looked at the wine list and cringed. ‘Sure’ he said with a confidence he didn’t feel.

St Veran  Louis Latour   

St Francis Chardonnay 

Laurensford Sauvignon Blanc   

Salena Estate Shiraz 

Terrazas Alto Malbec   

Chateau Canada 

Starsky was at a loss until his mind went back to the night in the Italian Restaurant all those years ago. What had his partner told him then? Vino de Casa – house wine. That was it. With a flourish, he put the wine list down and ordered four bottles of the house wine, two white, two red as the waiter nodded in approval and Gina squeezed his hand encouragingly. Across the table, Ramsey glared, his sport at an end for the time being.

As the night went on, the slimy lawyer made as much as he could of the cop’s inadequacies and Starsky tried for Gina’s sake to be calm and not rise to the bait. It helped that his girl sat close to him, her hand always on his knee and he head for the most part resting on his shoulder. Throughout the uncomfortable meal, Ramsey constantly singled the cop out for questions about the law, always technical and always difficult and always Starsky answered in the same way. He wasn’t a lawyer, but this was his opinion.

By the time the desert course arrived, he’d had enough. His blood was at boiling point and if Gina hadn’t been there he’d have let his temper go and ripped into the smarmy man. But he knew he couldn’t and so when things got too much, he excused himself and made for the gent’s bathrooms, hiding in there until his temper had cooled some.

Meanwhile, out in the restaurant, Gina sidled over to her boss and glared at him.

‘There was no need for any of that. He’s done nothing to you and yet you treat him like some kind of moron.’

‘But that’s what he is Gina darling. A moron. All cops are. I swear they have a frontal lobotomy before they join up. I’m just making you see how much better you could do. I’m trying to show you the error of your ways darling.’

The woman ripped her arm away from Ramsey’s damp hand. ‘I’m happy to be getting out of it’ she snapped.

‘Are you? Are you really sure you should get out?’ Ramsey put his hand into his inside pocket and pulled out an envelope. He pushed it towards Gina and she took it uncertainly.

‘What’s this?’ she asked

‘Just a little reminder that you should stay. Take a look.’

With shaking hands, the woman opened the envelope and gasped at the photographs inside. All were glossy Polaroid’s of her and Ramsey in the throes of having sex, all timed and dated and leaving nothing to the imagination. She was stunned. How had he got them? What had she done? She stared at him, lost for words.

‘And don’t think you can destroy them darling. I have the negatives of course. Oh, and also the full colour video from which I took the stills. Stay with the firm, otherwise your dirty cop boyfriend and all his friends at the Bay City Police Department will have a free showing.’

‘You wouldn’t’ she gasped.

‘Not if you stay. But set one foot out of line….. make one false move, or try to tell anyone and…. Well let’s just say your man isn’t going to respect you very much. And you two seem so much in love.’

‘We are’ Starsky’s voice sounded behind her. Gina dropped the photos and scrabbled under the table to pick them up, stuffing them back into the envelope before she got up. ‘What’s up honey?’ the brunet asked.

‘Nothing’ she muttered. ‘I um… I have a headache. Will you take me home?’

 

Chapter 9

The couple drove home quietly. Starsky worried that he’d completely shown his girl up at the restaurant with his lack of knowledge of the finer aspects of Polynesian cuisine although he felt absurdly proud of himself that he’d managed to keep his notorious temper in check. But still. Ramsey had made him feel like a country bumpkin come up to the big city as a treat when what he’d really wanted was a quiet romantic meal with his girl. He had a suspicion that the lawyer had known all along that he and Gina would be at Le Gauguin that night, but he couldn’t figure out how. Although he did promise himself that he’d find out sooner or later.

Gina on the other hand was quiet for a very different reason. Her dalliance with Ramsey two nights ago had left her feeling raw and vulnerable but as time passed she had almost convinced herself that Starsky would never get to find out what had gone on. Now, with the surprise arrival of the photographs she was once again antsy and on edge, her mind going over the facts. She felt sick to her stomach that once again her boss had some kind of hold over her when all she’d wanted to do was get out of his life and out of his sight. Now she was trapped. Trapped into doing whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted it, all because of one lousy slip of her judgment.

The car drew to a stop in front of her apartment and Starsky turned off the engine. He turned to her and put his arm around her shoulders drawing her to him.

‘How’s your head honey? Feeling any better? I’m sorry. I wanted tonight to be so special for us.’

She smiled weakly. ‘And it was for a while. I guess the only saving grace is we left Ramsey to pay the bill.’

‘Hey we did!’ The brunet’s face lit up for a moment at the thought. When he’d seen the prices on the menu he’d gotten a sudden pain in his wallet and although he was by no means a cheapskate, he suddenly felt vindicated for the misery the lawyer had put him through.

‘Shall I come up an’ tuck you in?’ he asked with a slight wiggle of his eyebrows.

‘No! No, I’m fine. I just need to take some aspirin and lie down. A night’s sleep will see me right’ Gina lied, hating herself for doing it. The brunet looked so crestfallen, but she hardened her heart.

‘I’ll phone you tomorrow’ he assured her as she got out of the car and walked up the steps to her house

 ‘Um, no, don’t do that’ she said quickly, not wanting Ramsey to have any more contact with her man. ‘I’ll um…. I’ll phone you.’

‘Oh, ok…. Fine’ he said softly, unsure whether that was a brush off or a definite headache. Starsky watched her go, still unsure whether the headache was genuine or whether she felt ashamed to have been out with him. He sighed. As long as he lived he didn’t think he’d ever figure women out properly. He needed male company, and specifically he needed one male’s company - the only guy who he could sit down with a bare his soul to. Hutch. Turning the car in the direction of Venice Place, he motored slowly through town, letting his Torino haven sooth away the stresses of the evening. He always felt cocooned in his car, like it was a sanctuary of sorts and for a little while he enjoyed just cruising quietly, by himself. But eventually he pulled up outside his friend’s apartment and got out. Looking up at the front window, he saw the light on and bounded up the steps two at a time.

Starsky paused, wondering whether to knock or not. Of late Sarah had almost moved in and he didn’t want to spoil any special moments the two of them might be having. He rapped once on the door and throwing caution to the wind, he pushed it open and poked his head around it, but instead of seeing the couple, he saw only Sarah. She looked up, Hutch’s name on her lips and a stormy look in her eyes and for a moment, the brunet wondered whether to back out and disappear down the steps again. One uncomfortable encounter in an evening was enough and from what his partner had been telling him, he didn’t think he wanted to get on Sarah’s bad side. He smiled at her and looked around cautiously.

‘Is Hutch home yet?’

‘Does it look like he is?’ the girl snapped.

‘Um….no. I’ll um….I’ll just go’ the cop muttered seeing the set of her back and the frosty look on her face.

‘Why don’t you? If it wasn’t for you he’d be home by now.’

Starsky paused on his ay through the door and turned. ‘How d’ya figure that one out?’ he asked as calmly as he could.

‘Because where you go he follows. And frankly Dave, I’m sick of it!’ she said with barely suppressed rage.

‘Oh now hang on a minute Sarah. His bein’ late has nuthin to do with me. I rang an’ told ya where he was. He’s at the hospital with Al….a witness. His choice to stay, I didn’t force him. I’ve been out tonight. I didn’t know he hadn’t come home.’

‘But you came looking for him at…’ she looked at her wristwatch ‘…. just past midnight. And you tell me you and he aren’t seeing too much of each other? This isn’t an engagement. This is a crowd. This marriage, if it ever happens is  gonna be like you being a third member of our relationship, and let me tell you Dave two’s company and three is most definitely too many.’

‘What the hell? What’s your problem honey? If ya have sumthin to say, ya should be sayin’ it to Hutch, not me.’

‘I’m saying I think he sees too much of you. It’s not natural for two men to see as much of each other as you do. You work together all day then you see each other almost every night and most weekends. It’s you two that should be getting married, not me and Hutch.’

The brunet stood open mouthed. ‘Where the hell do you get off talkin’ to me like this?’ he asked, his temper rising in line with hers. ‘You aint much of a friend to him if ya can’t let him outa your sight. You know your trouble honey? You’re jealous. You’re jealous of the friendship me an’ Hutch have got coz ya know you’ll never have anythin’ like it. It’s special. It’s not a marriage thing, it’s closer than that an’ you can’t hack that you can’t have him all to yourself. You got no business sticking your beak into police business or into Hutch’s friendship.’

‘I have every business! It’s you that’s no good for him. Don’t you realise you’re holding him back? Don’t you realise it’s you that’s no good for him Dave?’

The comment was like a pail of cold water poured over him and Starsky stopped in his tracks. ‘What? What’re ya talkin’ about?’

‘Aww don’t come the innocent with me. You trying to tell me you have no idea?’

‘Of what?’ the brunet asked.

‘Of what he gave up to look after you when you were recovering after the shooting.’

‘What did he give up?’ Starsky asked quietly. That part of his life was still raw for him. The time in his life when he felt fragile; emasculated; when only Hutch could get him through the pain and the boredom and the misery. His voice was small as he asked, his mind dreading the answer.

But Sarah was relentless in her pursuit of telling the man exactly what she thought of him. ‘He gave up everything for you. You know they asked him twice to go for his lieutenant’s exams. And he refused. Because of you. You hold him back Dave. You’re holding his career back and it’s time to let go. The best thing you could do for your partner is to let go so that you can continue your cozy little existence as a detective and my Hutch can make something of his life.’ She stood panting slightly from her outburst as Starsky’s heart rose into his mouth.

Shit. Hutch had given all that up for him and he never knew. It was so like the blond to keep that to himself but that wasn’t an excuse.  That was wrong. Sarah was right. He was holding his partner back. Starsky staggered backwards as though he’d been physically hit, right into the body of the man they’d been arguing about.

Hutch looked grey with exhaustion and stood in the doorway looking at the two people in his apartment.

‘What’s goin’ on?’ the blond asked softly.

‘Nothing’ Sarah said quickly and turned away. ‘Dave was just leaving.’

‘Yeah….um I’ll um…. I’ll see ya tomorrow buddy. I’m sorry I crowded ya both. I should be on my way.’

‘That’s the first sensible things I’ve ever heard you say’ Sarah said in a barely audible voice as Hutch looked at her oddly.

Starsky stifled a moan and backed out, running down the steps as fast as he could. He got into his car and drove as fast as he could away from the apartment as Hutch turned on Sarah

‘What just happened?’ he asked calmly.

‘It’s ok, we had a bit of a fight. Nothing much. He wanted to come round for some conversation, and he had it. He was just going anyway.’

‘He looked upset. What did ya say to him?’ Hutch asked, genuinely worried for his partner. ‘It didn’t look like nothing much. It looked like you’d had a real doozy of a blow. Spill it Sarah. What did you say?’

The girl turned and faced the blond straight on. ‘Nothing. I just told him to back off. You needed space, that’s all. And you do. So do I Hutch. Just some time for us, huh? Please?’

‘We get time to ourselves. All the time we need.’

‘No we don’t. I just want you for myself for a while Hutch. Just some time to sit and cuddle and make love whenever we want. But instead you always have to go places, usually with him.’

‘He’s my partner honey. An’ as a cop I don’t have much say in when we work an’ when we don’t.’

She put her hand up to his face and smoothed down his cheek. ‘Make love to me Hutch. Make love to me now’ she whispered and nuzzled at his throat where she knew he was the most sensitive. The blond sighed against her, enjoying for a moment the ministrations of her talented mouth against his tired skin. Her hands pulled on his tee shirt, pulling it up so that she could stroke the smooth flesh beneath and he almost purred as she ran her hands down his flanks, settling back onto his sofa so that he could put his arm around her and draw her to him.

For long minutes they lay together, Sarah soothing her man and Hutch enjoying the moment. But the emotions of the day, the late hour and the warmth of the room all took their effects on him and despite his best efforts his eyes closed and he started to drift into a sleep he so desperately needed. Sarah felt his body relax and gently she shook his shoulder.

‘Hutch?’

‘Mmm, not now Starsk’ the blond murmured and tried to turn away.

It was completely the wrong thing to say of course and the temper that had been quietly subsiding in the woman’s chest suddenly flared to life again.

‘What did you just call me?’ she yelled and hit out at Hutch’s arm.

The blond lurched awake. ‘What? Dunno. I’m sorry honey I was so tired.’

‘You called his name. You’re sick, you know that. This just confirms what I thought. You don’t love me and you certainly don’t need me. You need him. You should marry him and be done with it.’ Sarah got up of the sofa and glared down at her man.

‘Sarah you’re tired. Don’t let’s do this tonight huh? Just put it down to exhaust…’

‘No, I won’t be pacified like a little girl! I told him he was no good for you. I told him he held you back; he stopped you reaching your full potential.’

‘You did what?’ Hutch’s temper also flared and he bounced of the sofa and grabbed Sarah’s shoulders. ‘You told him what?’ he yelled.

‘I told him you spend too much time together’ she shouted defiantly.

Hutch threw her down onto the chair, his chest heaving as he tried to get himself under control. ‘You little vixen. You selfish little bitch! You had no right, no right at all to tell him that. He’s more of a friend to me than you’ll ever be an’ yes, if I could I would marry the man. At least he’s not jealous of every word I utter to someone else.’

Sarah looked at the flaxen haired man with fear in her eyes. She’d never seen Hutch quite like this and it took her completely off guard. ‘I only wanted what was best for you’ she said in a small voice. ‘I only wanted you to ….’

‘You wanted me to be your sole property. Is that it? Well it won’t work that way honey. Me an’ Starsk have been through more shit than I ever though humanly possible an’ that makes us tight, got it? There’s no way I’d ever let our friendship go, for you or anyone else. And if you can’t hack it, then you should probably leave now.’

‘Don’t worry I will’ she spat back at him. ‘I don’t want to be in a three way relationship. But mark my words Hutch. He’ll drag you down to his level an’ I won’t be there to pick up the pieces.’

Hutch glared at her ‘The only think I want you to pick up is your bag. An’ be outa here when I get back’ he snarled as he headed for the door.

The woman got to her feet. ‘Where are you going?’

‘To see the man whose gonna drag me down to his level. From what you’ve told me, he’s gonna be hurtin’ and he’ll need a friend. Somethin’ I don’t think you have the first notion about. Goodbye Sarah’ he said as he closed his front door behind him.’

Chapter 10

Starsky drove like the wind through the quiet city, the woman’s vitriolic words echoing round and around in his head and mixing with Ramsey’s snide comments and supercilious expression earlier in the evening. And the more he thought about it, the more he convinced himself that he was holding Hutch back.

Ever since the shooting their friendship, which had always been close, had expanded to fill their lives. Sarah was right. The were never out of each other’s pockets, either at work or off duty when they shared drinks at the Pits, double dated, and even slept at each other’s places to make working easier.

In the early days, when Starsky had been recovering, Hutch had moved into the brunet’s place to make it easier to look after him and now the curly haired cop winced at what Hutch had had to do. Too weak to walk properly after his discharge from hospital, it was his partner who had washed him and fed him and dressed him. And then had taken him to the john and stood by while he performed. And Hutch had never said a word. He’d allowed the brunet as much dignity as the circumstances allowed; even when it came to the infections and fevers that marred his recuperation when Starsky had been so out of it that he’d had little or no control over his body. And even then, in the midst of changing sheets on the bed and fighting with the fever torn brunet, Hutch had never once complained. He’d been there. He’d put his life on hold. And he’d never once told Starsky about the missed opportunities.

The sable haired cop slammed his fists against the wheel of his car. How could he have been so dumb? How could he have missed that? And how could he have been so wrapped up in his own recovery that he’d never given a thought to what it was doing to Hutch? Sarah was right. He needed to take a step back and allow Hutch some space. Maybe his partner had been longing for that and yet had never had the chance to say it. That would be so like Hutch; putting Starsky’s needs before his own. Damn! He was so fuckin’ selfish.

By the time he’d got to his apartment, Starsky had convinced himself that everything that had happened, from Hutch not taking his exams to the blond not being married and having kids to the absence of world peace was all his fault and he stumbled out of his car and up the steps to his apartment. Why did Gina stay with him? He was a worthless piece of shit and she’d do so much better with someone else like one of those fancy lawyer types at her office. He was holding her back too and she’d be the laughing stock after his miserable performance at Le Gauguin.

Going inside, the brunet made straight for his kitchen and rummaged round in the back of his cupboard. He pulled out a brand new bottle of Jose Cuerva Tequila that ironically Hutch had bought him for his birthday. Without bothering to get a glass he cracked open the seal to the bottle and took a deep chug from the neck. The fiery liquid burned a flaming path down to his stomach and made him cough over the fumes, but the liquor felt good and he took another chug as he made his way into the bathroom. Getting undressed while he worked his way down the bottle he turned on the water as he continued taking big mouthfuls. The more he drank, the worse he felt. But at the same time, the worse he felt, they more he felt it was doing him good and that this was punishment for his inadequacies.

Starsky stood naked and slightly wobbly under the shower and stared at the white tiled wall now pebbled with water, his mind now a pleasant blank. He didn’t want to think any more. All he wanted was to blank out the past 24 hours, shrivel up and die. But instead, once he’d stayed in there for five or so minutes he managed to get himself out of the water and made a grab for the bottle again. He missed, squinted at the fuzzy object and aimed again. This time he caught it and put it to his lips as he sank back against the wall and slipped down to the floor. With the bottle in his hand, it didn’t seem important to move anywhere else. He and Jose Cuerva could have a party in the bathroom and so he took another mouthful and closed his eyes.

The brunet didn’t hear the door to his apartment opening, but Hutch could hear the shower still running in the bathroom and he smiled to himself. That was his partner. Whatever had happened, he’d always take a shower before going to bed. He sat down on the sofa waiting for Starsky to finish and come out, but as the time progressed and the brunet didn’t appear, he got more jumpy and finally he got up and pushed at the bathroom door.

‘Starsk?’ he said quietly. There was no answer and he tried again, poking his head round the door as he did so. The sight brought a lump to his throat and he pushed the door open and walked in. Starsky was sitting slumped against the wall, naked, still damp and with water pearling in his curls. His eyes were closed and his fist was still clenched around the neck of the tequila bottle which now registered only a third full. Softly Hutch hunkered down by the side of his partner and put his hand on the bare shoulder.

‘Starsk, what’re ya doin’ here buddy. You’ll catch your death.’

Blurry indigo eyes opened and stared at him, unfocused and unsure. ‘Hutsssh, what’re ya doin’ here?’ Starsky slurred.

‘Come to find you. And it looks like its good I did. What’re ya doin’ in here Gordo?’

‘You should go. Go an’ find Sarah. She shaid….said…. Hutsssh’ Starsky’s big blue eyes looked up at him with so much pain in them that Hutch wanted to do nothing more than hold his partner and sooth away the hurt.

‘I know what she said buddy an’ she had no right. C’mon, let’s get ya up and dried huh?’

‘No, don’t wanna…….wanna shhhtay ‘ere’ the brunet mumbled petulantly.

‘No you don’t. You’ll get cramp. Let me help you up’ the blond said calmly although he hated seeing his friend in such a state, especially when he thought he knew the reason.

But Starsky had other ideas. Clumsily he raised his hand and pushed the big blond away. ‘Jus’ go….. leave me ‘ere. ‘M no good fer ya.’

‘What? Is that what you really think Starsk?’ Hutch asked softly.

‘S’what she said. ‘N Gina’s boss….. he thinks I’m no good. They’re right. Little Dave Shtarssssky from Brooklyn. He’s only good fer bullet fodder.’

Hutch’s temper flared again, more at Sarah than at his partner. He put his arm round the brunet’s waist and pulled him unsteadily to his feet. ‘Shudup Starsk. You’re drunk’ he muttered as he dragged the smaller man out of the bathroom.

‘Nooo. Leave me ‘lone. You should go. Don’t want to ssstand in your way no more. I don’t wanna…’

Hutch grabbed the bottle from Starsky’s hand and put it down on the countertop as they passed it. ‘You don’t want any more of that Gordo. You need to lie down and sleep. C’mon lets get ya to bed.’

Starsky snickered. ‘Bet’cha say that to all the girls.’

‘Yeah, that’s me. The big Romeo’ Hutch grunted as he managed to get his partner into the bedroom. As they stood by the bed, Starsky looked up into Hutch’s eyes, his own suddenly clearer and his face serious.

‘Hutch…. D’ya love me?’ he asked without any hint of artifice.

Hutch’s heart bled for the curly haired man. He could feel his partner’s pain keenly. He’d not come away from Gunther’s shooting unscathed either. But while the evidence of the bullets was clearly written all over the brunet’s body, Hutch’s scars were all on the inside. The scars caused by witnessing the brunet’s titanic struggle for survival. Only Hutch knew how hard Starsky had battled and what it had cost the smaller man both in physical and also mental terms. They’d often spoken late into the night about their future. In the early days when Starsky’s future as a cop was in question, they’d talked about their future together and what they would do if he couldn’t return to the streets. And then Hutch had been there again to witness his partner’s pain on that first date after the shooting when Starsky came home hating himself all over again because the girl had recoiled in horror from the sight of his newly healed and still livid red scars.

And Hutch had wanted then to take the smaller man and sooth him. In the countless times when Starsky was hurting during his recovery he’d looked at that naked body and wanted to caress it as a lover and not as  a nurse or carer. He’d thought his feelings were confusion over their situation and he’d stowed them down deep inside him. He was the one who Starsky could tell all his troubles to, the brunet’s rock. But while the smaller man confided in the big blond, Hutch carried the pain for both of them, having no-one else to talk to.

He sighed. Did he love Starsky? Of course he did. Did he love him as a lover? That was another question completely and not one he was ready to contemplate, although he had no idea what sort of love Starsky was asking him about.

‘Course I love ya, dummy’ he said it lightly, to cover his own confusion. ‘C’mon get down on the bed huh?’

‘I love you Hutsssh. Love ya man. M’sorry’ the brunet sighed as he slipped onto the bed. With Hutch’s arm still around his waist, he pulled the blond down onto the bed with him and even before his curly head had hit the pillow he was asleep.

Hutch lay on the bed, his hand wedged under his partner’s body as Starsky snuggled up to him. He lay stiff, unmoving. Not trusting himself to move because he didn’t trust his feelings.

While Starsky cuddled up to him, Hutch wanted so much to run his hands through those still damp curls. He could almost imagine what it would be like to run his hands sensually down the lithe, muscular body feeling the play of the muscles beneath the lightly tanned skin, tracing the tramlines of the scars he knew so well. He could almost imagine Starsky turning his face to him and the taste of the man on his lips. And yet he didn’t allow himself to move for if he was to allow his hands to wander and he’d read Starsky’s drunken question wrongly it would ruin a relationship so special that he thought he’d die of it was ever cut off.

And so Hutch kept his hands to himself even when the brunet turned over and put his bent knee over the blond’s body, Starsky’s sack resting comfortably on Hutch’s cramped hand. The crêpey skin felt warm and flushed and Hutch almost lost control right there and then. And yet he maintained his steely resolve although he did allow himself the one luxury of running his free hand through those riotous sable curls and softly he whispered ‘I love you more than I can possibly say’ into their silky depths before he too drifted into a troubled sleep.

Chapter 11

Hutch woke slowly to the small domestic sounds coming from the kitchen. A tap turned on and then there was a low curse and it switched off again. A glass or cup placed quietly down onto the countertop. Another muffled curse as a cupboard door opened.

The blond lay quietly going over in his mind what had happened last night half hoping that the feelings he’d had then were just some sort of fevered imaginings. But the warm imprint of the centre of Starsky’s body on the palm of his outstretched hand was still there, the memory like some kind of tattoo on his skin, reminding him of their closeness. Starsky too seemed to have enjoyed the touch as a couple of times during the night he’d shuffled his body closer to Hutch’s, unconsciously thrusting his erection into the blond’s hand as though seeking some form of release. It had taken all Hutch’s iron will to stop himself closing his fingers over it and pumping the rod of hard flesh but finally, and almost unconsciously he’d felt his fist close and he’d stroked the silky smooth flesh along it’s length, surprised that the brunet had shuddered violently and moaned into his shoulder. Keeping up the gentle stimulus against his better judgment he felt the satin rod harden imperceptibly and Starsky whispered Gina’s name into his ear as his seed spilt over the blond’s wrist. Hutch closed his eyes imagining for a moment that it was his name and not the woman’s that his partner had moaned before he shook himself back to reality. Almost sadly and more than a little ashamed of himself, he edged his way from the bed and padded to the bathroom. Leaning heavily on the wall he took care of his own jutting problem then flushed the pan and bent to wash his hands in the basin and collect himself.

He strangled down a moan. What was this all about? He wasn’t gay. He’d never had any sort of feelings like this about men before. Only this one man. This one very precious, very close man could elicit such a response from him and he found it both exciting and at the same time terrifying. The one thing he knew for absolute certainty was that Starsky would never know his true feelings. Their relationship was far too special to him to have that jeopardize it for he was certain Starsky would never fell the same way. The blond sighed deeply and swung his legs out of the bed. He was still fully dressed save for his shoes and he padded bare foot out into the living room.

Starsky had donned a pair of jeans but nothing else and was leaning on his elbows on his countertop, head in hands as he waited for the seltzers in his glass to finish fizzing. The muscles played in his taut back as he leaned and the scars stood out silvery white against his tanned skin. Hutch hitched a breath at the sight, a sudden almost uncontrollable longing to run his hands once more over that body surging up. He balled his fists, calming himself and berating himself for his feelings. Unnatural Hutchy. Stop that. Starsky didn’t look up as Hutch walked in, but he mumbled a greeting from the cubby hole formed by arms and head.

‘Hangover?’ Hutch asked innocently as he made for the coffee percolator.

‘Hm….can’t hear ya over the marchin’ band playin’ Colonel Bogey’s March in my head.’

‘That was a bucketful of tequila you downed buddy. I’m surprised your liver didn’t up an’ resign.’

‘Don’t. Don’t talk to me about food or drink ever again’ Starsky muttered darkly. He picked up the recovery drink and downed it in one, grimacing at the taste and wiping the back of his hand over his mouth.

‘Wanna talk about last night?’ Hutch asked softly.

‘Nope.’

‘Well somethin’s got to be said. Sarah was bang out of order.’

Starsky raised his head and stared balefully at his buddy. ‘No she wasn’t. She told the truth. She just wasn’t too gentle about it.’

‘She was jealous and she was angry buddy. Nothing more’n that. She had no right to say those things.’

‘She had every right Hutch. Coz you wouldn’t have.’

The blond sighed. ‘Starsk come over here an’ sit down. I can’t talk to ya with the kitchen separatin’ us. C’mon pal, this is too important’ he patted the sofa next to him and reluctantly Starsky padded over, taking the chair rather then the seat next to the blond. Hutch let it pass.

‘What did she tell you?’ Hutch asked tensely.

‘Nuthin. Don’t matter.’

‘Aww don’t gimme that Starsk. Tell me. I need to know.’

‘K. She said that I was holdin’ ya back. That I was the reason you didn’t make lieutenant yet’ the brunet spat defiantly, as though challenging his partner to repudiate the statement. Why didn’t ya tell me they’d asked ya to sit the exams twice?’

‘It wasn’t important’ Hutch explained simply

‘How can ya say that? This is your life!’

‘And everyone seems to be hell bent in livin’ it for me. Sure they asked me to sit the exams. Thing is, no-one asked me if that’s what I wanted. And it wasn’t. It still isn’t.’

‘But you’d make a good lieutenant’ the brunet persisted.

‘Maybe. But if I was a lieutenant I wouldn’t need a partner, would I?’

‘And?’ Starsky demanded.

‘And dummy, if I didn’t need a partner, I wouldn’t get to work with you.’

‘Maybe you shouldn’t. I’m a loser. A washup. You could do better.’

Hutch threw up his hands in desperation. ‘Yeah, you know what? Sure I could. In fact where’s the phone? I’ll ring Dobey right now and ask if he’ll partner me with that bright young thing that’s just joined. That’d be so much better. Is that what you really think Starsk? You really think you’re a loser?’

‘Yeah’ there was such sorrow and pain in that one whispered response that Hutch for a moment couldn’t speak. Instead he dropped from the sofa onto his knees and grabbed his partner, pulling the brunet to him in a bear hug of an embrace. They stayed together for a moment longer before Hutch pulled away.

‘You’re right Gordo. You are a loser – or at least you are if you think I’d partner anyone else. Don’t you see? Even after everything we’ve been through I’m still here. It’s still Me and Thee and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I couldn’t trust anyone else like I trust you. Dammit I trust you with my life every single day. Don’t that mean something?’

‘Does to me, yeah’ the smaller man muttered.

‘And to me too. If I’d thought any different I’d have gone years ago. But you asked me last night if I loved ya, and the answer is a resounding yes. Course I do.’

Starsky stared fondly at his partner, and then winced at the memory of the previous evening. ‘Thanks for last night.’

The blond looked away, suddenly uncomfortable and the feel of Starsky’s body on his hand jumping to life. Stop it. For Gods sake stop it. Stow it away for Gods sake. ‘No problem Starsk. What’re friends for?’

‘Yeah, but I was wasted.’

‘That’s an understatement.’

‘Ok, don’t labor the point’ Starsky said with feeling. ’An’ I don’t even like tequila much. Leastways I don’t now.’

Hutch snickered. ‘That’s called aversion therapy.’

‘I just needed sumthin.’

‘Ya could’ve just talked. Hell Starsk, you know I’m always there if ya need it.’

Starsky turned the full force of his indigo eyes on his partner. ‘Well that’s the problem aint it? You’re always there, an’ I take it for granted that ya don’t have another life apart from me. She had a point.’

‘She had a vicious, jealous point, yeah, but this aint you Starsk. You wouldn’t normally let someone like Sarah twist you up this bad. There must be something else an’ I’m not lettin’ ya go till I find out.’

The brunet hung his head and rested it in his hands. ‘Don’t push Hutch.’

‘Uh uh. No no no. You’re not doin’ that. Tell me.’

‘Gina…… Ramsey…… my girl. Oh hell I dunno.’

‘What’s she done? Have you two split up?’ Hutch asked, seeing the pain written all over the brunet’s face and body.

‘Have you and Sarah?’ Starsky shot back.

‘You first buddy.’

‘Gina n’ me? Yeah…. Well no. It’s complicated.’

‘Try me.’

‘We went out last night. I wanted it to be sumthin special so I took her to that fancy Polynesian restaurant that’s just opened.’

Hutch gave a low whistle. ‘Jeez! Did ya get a raise or somethin’ buddy? That’s a seriously expensive place.’

‘I know. I wanted to impress her. Turns out I just ended up lookin’ like a fuckin’ moron.’

‘Why?’

Starsky sighed. ‘Coz her boss and some of his fancy cronies were there. An’ surprise, surprise he asked us over to join him at his table. Next thing I know he’s handed me this menu that’s either in French or South Seas mumbo jumbo an’ asked me to order for the lot of ‘em.’

The blond’s face turned to thunder. Always protective of Starsky, and knowing how his partner’s lack of higher education always left the brunet feeling vulnerable, his anger at the smart assed lawyer soared.

‘Bastard’ he spat out.

Starsky looked up and grinned. ‘I guess I got the last laugh. I asked the waiter to recommend the food an’ of course the guy says the most expensive thing on the sheet. But then half way through the meal Gina said she was sick an’ could I take her home.’

‘And?’

‘And we went, but I left Ramsey with the bill’ the curly haired man grinned briefly at the memory and then his face fell again. ‘So I took her home. She said she had a headache. Well ya know what it means when a girl says she’s got a headache…..?’

Hutch nodded. ‘It generally means she’s got a headache Gordo. She was probably as sick of Ramsey as you were and that was a helluva a good get out.’

‘But I asked her if I should come up an’ kinda…… ya know? And she said no, she was fine. She don’t want to see me no more’ Starsky finished mournfully.

‘She means she had a headache an’ she didn’t want you poundin’ away at her Starsk. Sometimes a headache is exactly that.’

‘Not this time. I know. She’s come to the same conclusion Sarah has. I’m a loser.’

Hutch’s patience snapped. ‘Will ya stop that? For fucks sake Starsk! You’re as good as the next man; better in most cases. So her boss fucked you up royally. So what? If she really is fazed by that then she doesn’t deserve ya. But you’ll see. She’ll be fine. She’ll ring, no problem’ Hutch said with finality. ‘Want a coffee?’

‘Sure.’

‘Anythin’ else?’

‘Why d’ya look after me?’ Starsky asked.

Cos if I didn’t…… ‘

The brunet looked up sharply. ‘This mornin’ when I woke up I was um….. Well I don’t usually sleep in the buff. Did you um…..?’

‘No, you took a shower an’ I found ya in the bathroom. You’d got naked all on your own, like a big boy.’

‘But you put me to bed’ Starsky persisted.

‘Uh huh.’

‘And then you got in with me? You were asleep in my bed this mornin’ when I woke up.’

It was Hutch’s turn to look up sharply. What was Starsky trying to say? That he knew what had gone on? That he was going to challenge him? That he was going to tell Hutch that he’d overstepped the boundaries of friendship? For God’s sake he’d violated his best friend! ‘You were drunk as a skunk buddy. When I got ya into the bedroom you fell onto the bed and you were asleep before ya hit the pillow with my arm wedged underneath ya. I didn’t have a whole lot of choice in the matter’ the blond said defensively.

‘M’sorry. I know but I um….. I remember dreamin.’ An’ it was a hot dream an’ Gina was… she had her hand and she was…. And when I woke up there was a …… on the bed. I guess what I’m tryin’ to say is there some things even closest friends should have to put up with. ‘M real sorry Blintz. I was bang outa line if I….ya know.’

Hutch’s heart hammered in his chest. Fuck! He remembered, even if the memory was slightly different to reality. He blushed and turned away, busying himself with the coffee pot, the satiny feel of Starsky’s body still imprinted on his hand, the semen still burning on his wrist as though it would leave the most precious scar. ‘S’ok buddy. You were well out of it. An’ if ya didn’t get Gina for real, ya got her in your dreams. Not a problem.’

Starsky rested his hand on his friend’s shoulder. ‘Thanks’ he said simply. ‘But what about you and Sarah? What happened after I’d gone?’

‘She tried to explain that she’d just told you to back off, like that was really what I wanted to hear’ Hutch said shortly.

‘And?’

‘And you don’t need to buy the penguin suit for the weddin’ buddy. Think on it as a savin.’

‘Aww shit Hutch. I’m sorry. You’ll work it out, it was just an argument. I could talk to her if ya want?’ the brunet offered, feeling even worse for his friend.

Hutch sighed and turned, smiling sadly. ‘No, don’t do that. I got to thinkin. Things change and maybe me an’ Sarah were never mean to be. She doesn’t want to share me an’ I can’t give up my life for her.’

‘You mean your job? You love your job, I know. Hey, hold the coffee while I get dressed huh? Starsky said plodding towards the bathroom as Hutch watched the slim hips walk away from him.

‘Yeah, I love the job’ he murmured. ‘Amongst other things.’

Chapter 12

Despite one or two uncomfortable silences, the brunet managed to ignore his raging hangover and pretty soon was washed and dressed and ready to roll. He snagged his keys from the stand by the door and was just about to step outside when Hutch caught him.

‘Uh uh buddy. No drivin’ today. You still got most of the tequila distillery in your blood. Save it huh? You can chance an early death with me at the wheel instead.’

Starsky grimaced ‘An’ I thought my luck was changin’ OK hot shot. Where first?’

‘Back to the hospital to see Alice’ Hutch said as they got into the car and set off.  Starsky picked up the mic. And logged them in as rolling and then leaned his head against the headrest as he closed his eyes and battled to keep his stomach under control. ‘Shit. With everythin’ that happened I forgot to ask. How is she - Alice?’

‘I stayed with her till late. She’s messed up, but the Doc thinks she’ll be ok. They did a real number on her though. Those wounds – there were burns, whip marks. You name it and they’d done it to her.’

‘Who’s they? Does she know? Is it that flake Martini again, cos if it is, I want to be the first one to get to him’ the brunet growled. Although Alice had always made a point of preferring blonds to brunets, he still had a soft spot for the proud, beautiful woman. Alice always had a calmness to her and a down home sense of pride in the fact that despite the business she was in, she could at least support herself without handouts from the state to help her. She was witty, caring and had, on occasions consoled Starsky when no-one else had been able to in the only way she knew how. And she’d used her body tenderly, like a lover on those occasions, soothing him and making him feel like the most special man in the world. She seemed to understand completely the synergy that the two men shared and she admired the love and friendship they had for each other. Starsky cared for her like he’d care for a little sister – never on a romantic level, but he’d watch out for her out in the big wide world and deal with the bullies in the playground.

‘I didn’t get much chance to speak to her’ Hutch said thoughtfully. ‘They took her to the OR shortly after we got there and cleaned up most of her wounds under a general anaesthetic. Her face is a mess and they….’ The blond paused, getting his anger under control before he continued. ‘How can anyone get off on burning her hair? That’s not sex. It aint even enjoyment, its just plain cruel….sadistic’ he slammed his hands against the steering wheel in rage, his golden face red with anger.

‘Hey, s’ok buddy. We’ll fine ‘em. She’s special to me too’ Starsky said softly.

Hutch tried to relax. I know, its just she’s….. It’s like someone did this to my…’

‘Kid sister, I know. Did she say anythin’?’ Starsky finished.

‘Not a lot. She was driftin’ in and out for the most part. They had her on pain meds and they um….’  Hutch ran his fingers through his own hair at the memory of Alice’s golden locks. ‘They cut most of her hair away Starsk. It’s so short now. They said it was so that the wounds didn’t get infected. She just looked so…. dunno, lost. I asked ‘em to put her in a private room. She needs some privacy.’

‘It’ll grow back. It’s just hair. At least they didn’t kill her’ Starsky said thoughtfully. ‘Did she say anythin’?’

‘Only that Martini owned the studio, but didn’t have anythin’ to do with the film she was in. She was tired and hurtin’ and I didn’t want to push’ Hutch drew in to the hospital parking lot and pulled up in a space close to the entrance. He waited for a moment, running his fingers over his bottom lip. ‘You think these snuff movies are for real?’

‘Looks that way. But where do they get the girls? An’ more to the point, if they do kill ‘em what are they doin’ with the bodies?’

The blond got out of the car. ‘Dunno. But I’m sure as hell gonna find out.’

The two men walked along the quiet corridor to the room Alice occupied and Hutch knocked on the door before walking in.

Alice was led on her side facing away from the door, the uninjured side of her face cradled on her arm. Her once long luxuriant golden hair had been cut short, but earlier that morning one of the nurses, seeing her distress had helped her to wash it and had styled it so that now it was cut into an elfin shape which framed her face and made her look incredibly young. She looked around as the two men walked in and her face cracked into a watery smile. She turned over and propped herself up on the pillows.

‘Hi handsome Hutch’ she whispered in her southern drawl. Her hand went instinctively to her face, covering the bruising and cuts and her eyes refused to meet either Starsky’s or his partners.’

‘Hey Alice. How’s it goin’?’ the blond asked as he walked over and planted a kiss on the top of her head. His fingers trailed gently down the uninjured side of her face before he sat down on the side of the bed.

‘Hey don’t I get a share in the action?’ Starsky asked.

Alice held out her arms to him and enfolded him in a hug. ‘Hey Starsky’ she said and kissed him on the side of his face. Pulling away she caught Hutch looking at the two of them. The blond looked away.

‘How’re you feelin’ honey?’ the brunet asked. ‘Up to tellin’ us what happened?’

‘Not really, but I guess I don’t have too much of a choice huh?’

The brunet smiled warmly. ‘Uh uh. We need to nail this sucker so that he don’t hurt any more pretty girls huh?’

Alice put her hands up to her new shorn hair. ‘I don’t feel too pretty’ she murmured sadly, her eyes downcast.

‘You’re still beautiful’ Hutch said softly and rested his hand on hers. She smiled at him.

‘You always were my knight on a white horse.’

Hutch snorted. ‘Ok honey. So, tell us from the top huh?’ he sat back and waited as the woman settled herself back on the bed, her face taking on a serious, pained expression.

‘I had a new client. He was like most of the others. Ya know – don’t tell my wife…. My friends should never know. I’m used to it. It’s just one of those things that comes with the territory – the secrecy. An’ I pride myself on bein’ discrete. So, he saw me a couple of times an’ then he said he knew of a place that was lookin’ for models an’ the money was good. He could make me famous an’ I’d never have to work again. Well what’s a girl to do? I was careful. After Janos beat me that time, I said I didn’t want no kinky stuff an’ the guy said there’s kinky an’ then there’s kinky. He said it was a high class outfit an’ if anyone did get hurt they’d pay the medical.’

‘Well how gentlemanly can ya get?’ Starsky grunted.

Alice smiled at him, loving the fact that these two men were prepared to watch out for her. ‘So I told him yes. I was shocked when we got to the studio an’ it was “Sexational Films”, but Martini wasn’t there. He still owned it, but the guy who was there said he leased it for the night. So we went to work an’, well.’ She looked away, embarrassed despite her usual line of work. Starsky took her hand and squeezed it encouragingly.

‘I’m sorry hon. We need to know. What did he do?’

She studied the sheet covering her. ‘There was another guy there. He was big – tall and muscular. He was the “star”. So they um…. They had the chains and um… I told them I didn’t do the kinky stuff no more but they ignored me. They were bigger than me an’ they used the chains an’ I was cryin’ and tellin’ them to leave me alone. But they kept sayin’ I was doin’ good, like that’s how they wanted me to behave. They hung me from the ceilin’ and the guy had a whip and he…..’ she looked directly at Hutch, her eyes imploring him to let her stop, but instead the flaxen haired cop sat by the side of her on the bed and put his arm round her shoulder.

‘You’re doin’ great honey. Keep goin’ huh? We’re here, me an’ Starsk. We’’ look after ya.’

Alice leaned against the big blond and sighed shakily. ‘It hurt Hutch. And I was cryin’ so bad, but they kept goin’ and then they took a cigarette from the camera man and they put it out on me. I screamed an’ they laughed an’ did it again.’ She put her hands up to her face as though trying to blot out the memory and snuggled against Hutch’s body as Starsky sat at the other side of her and stroked her hair gently.

‘Sssh. S’ok’ the brunet crooned softly. ‘You’re so brave. It’s nearly done Alice. Just tell us the rest an’ then ya can sleep huh?’

The woman hitched a sobbing breath and nodded gently. ‘I must have passed out coz when I woke up again, I was on a bed and my hands an’ feet were tied to it. And the huge guy was over me. He had a candle and he kept burning my hair. I could hear it sizzle and then he put it down and started to….. He started having sex with me and then he put his hands round my neck and started to squeeze.’ Alice looked up into Starsky’s face wildly.

‘He was tryin’ to kill me. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t do anythin’ to stop him but I felt like I’d die and he wouldn’t stop. He wouldn’t stop doin’ that’ her voice rose and tears flowed down her cheeks as Starsky reached up and tenderly wiped them away.

‘Sssh, s’ok honey. You did so well. You told us everythin.’ Can you remember any names? Anythin’ else?’

She shook her head from behind her hands. ‘No. There were no names. They never said anythin’. I’m sorry. Help me? Make them go away?’ she pleaded.

‘We will. We’ll get ’em’ Starsky said, kissing the woman lightly on her cheek. By his side, Hutch looked away. They stayed a while longer with the injured woman. She had no living relatives and her friends didn’t tend to come out during daylight hours and so she was lonely and relished the company of men who liked her for who and not what she was, But soon they had to go and they both kissed her and promised to come back soon and also come get her when the hospital discharged her.

The two men got up and as they headed for the door but as Hutch was about to walk out, she called him back. He flicked a wave at Starsky and told him to go right on – he’d catch up and he headed back to the bed.

Alice appraised him silently. ‘Something’s happened’ she said, making it a statement and not a question.

Hutch refused to meet her eyes. ‘Huh?’

She smiled. ‘You don’t spend a life in my job without bein’ able to read a man’s body. Somethin’ is different between you and Starsky.’

The blond blushed furiously. ‘I don’t know what you mean’ he mumbled.

Alice reached up and took his hand. ‘I think you do. And ya know handsome Hutch? You could do a lot worse. Take it from me. True love is worth its weight in gold. Don’t matter who gives it ya know?’

The blond nodded, wondering what signs had told her the secret he was carrying. ‘I um….. I gotta go honey. I’ll um….. I’ll be back to see ya soon’ he muttered as he headed for the door.

‘Yeah, you go an’ be with your partner. Starsky’ll be wonderin’ where you are. Hutch?’

‘Yeah?’

‘He doesn’t know, does he?’

The cop shook his head. ‘An’ it’ll stay that way.’

Chapter 13

 

Gina walked into the quiet office and sat down at her desk. From her purse she produced the envelope Ramsey had given to her the previous night and, looking round to check there was no-one else around, she took the glossy pictures from their white envelope and stared at them. He hand trembled as she looked at the grainy, but still clearly recognisable images of her and her boss having sex. Ramsey had been careful to avoid showing his face on the video, but hers was clear for all to see, her head either thrown back in excitement, or wedged against the man’s groin as she gave head.

 

Gina stared at each of the seven images in turn, growing more restless with each one which showed their bedroom antics in ever increasing degrees of clarity until the final one, where Ramsey had released her head and she was sitting up between his legs, a white string of viscous fluid stringing from her moth. At that point the woman gave a low moan, stuffed the photographs into her desk drawer and locked it and made a made dash for the bathroom.

 

Locking herself into a cubicle, she held back her hair and lost her cup of coffee down the pan. The images swam before her eyes, all of them nauseating; all of them showing her in some lewd position; all of them damning and all of them photographs she wouldn’t want her man to ever see. She knew it would destroy Dave if he ever found out she’s had the one night stand with Ramsey. It would crucify him if he also found out that the sordid little affair had been taped for posterity.

 

Wiping her mouth with some tissue, Gina staggered out of the cubicle and washed her face, the cool water like balm against her flushed skin. What a mess! How had she gotten herself into this mess? And what could she do to get out of it? One thing she knew for certain. She could never again see David Starsky, for his own protection as much as hers. What would happen if Ramsey were to release the tape to the Metro as well as to Starsky himself. Not only would Dave be the laughing stock of the squad room, but the pain it would cause the brunet would be more than she could possibly bear. No, she knew she couldn’t see him any more and she thanked her lucky stars that she’d had the foresight the previous evening to tell him she’d call him, rather than him calling her. Maybe if she didn’t phone him he’d get the message after a week or so. She knew it was the coward’s way out, but she loved him so much that if she saw him, face to face, she’d never have the courage to tell him that she wasn’t going to see him again. The pain in those incredibly deep blue eyes would be unbearable. No, better to take the coward’s way out and remain silent.

 

She checked her hair in the mirror and pinched her cheeks to get a little colour into the pale complexion of the face staring back at her. Her eyes looked big as soup plates, dark and haunted and there were dark rings beneath them. She took a deep sigh, straightened her blouse and headed back out into the office. She still had to work for Ramsey, he’d seen to that, but she wouldn’t play his nasty little games any more.

 

She’d no sooner sat down at her desk when the man himself walked out of his own office and stood by her desk looking down at her.

 

‘Enjoy the evening darling?’ he asked as if he’d wined and dined her himself.

 

She ignored him and placed a clean sheet of paper into her typewriter, commencing to banging away at the keys as she hammered out the first letter of the day. Ramsey grinned and tried again.

 

‘Come into my office Gina. We have things to discuss.’

 

With a sense of foreboding, the woman picked up her shorthand pad and a pencil and followed the tall man into his inner sanctum. She sat demurely on the chair in front o his desk as he walked round and sat down behind it. He sat back, steepled his fingers and put his feet up on their desk top as he smiled wolfishly at her.

 

‘When are you seeing him again?’ Ramsey asked.

 

‘Who?’

 

‘Don’t play the innocent darling. That handsome hunk of a cop you were with last night.’

 

‘I’m not seeing Dave again. We broke up.’

 

Ramsey narrowed his eyes. ‘Nothing to do with what happened last night, I hope. That would be so….. unfortunate.’

 

‘No, nothing to do with that’ she lied. ‘We just decided not to see each other again.’

 

‘Well undecide. I want you to do a little job for me, tonight’ the tall man sat, swinging his legs from the desk and sitting forward. He pierced the girl with a gaze so intense she physically flinched.

 

‘No.’ Gina said the word before she’d had chance to consider and Ramsey’s face turned to thunder.

 

‘I don’t think you have an option darling. That video is so entertaining you know. I’m sure Dave would love to see the whole thing. How you called my name. That cute little gagging sound when your mouth is too full. Shall I send it to him now? And maybe a copy for his colleagues too?’

 

‘What? No. You wouldn’t’ she spluttered.

 

‘Oh but I would. Only you can stop me darling. And it’s so simple. Just that one little date with your honeybun and then this will all be over.’

 

‘That’s blackmail’ she spluttered, her face even paler. She swayed on the chair, almost toppling off it in shock. With her heart hammering a staccato rhythm and her mouth dry as the Mojave she stared at him, a rabbit caught in a car’s headlights.

 

‘That’s such a harsh word. Let’s call it persuasion, shall we. And after all, what could be simpler that me asking you to have another date with him. You love him don’t you? I mean, what’s not to love? He has it all. Tall, good looking in a rough and ready sort of way. Bet he has a good body too. I know cops are supposed to work out. He looks fit.’ Beneath the table Ramsey’s own body rose up in interest at his explanation and he surreptitiously brushed his hand over his groin, sending electric shocks through his lower body.

 

‘Why? Why are you doing this?’ Gina asked fighting to keep the tears of frustration out of her eyes.

 

‘Because I can darling. And because if you won’t fuck me any more, I’m gonna watch while you fuck him. Good enough? Tonight I’m gonna watch while you bring him to my apartment and make love to him. And just to be fair, let’s put a time limit on. I wouldn’t want you to short change me. Let’s say two hours. You can make love to him for two hours and I want to see him release himself twice. I’ll give you specific instructions later.’

 

Gina felt the bile rising in her throat again. ‘You’re a monster’ she whispered, knowing she was trapped. What was the expression? Between a rock and a hard place? Well she was the bit in the middle and she hated the feeling. But she had no way out.

 

Ramsey enjoyed her discomfort for a moment longer then sat up straight. ‘Good. I’m glad we got that cleared up. Now, the Atkins case. Take a letter to Farley and Farley Attorneys huh?’

 

She stared at him in disbelief. He’d turned from telling her that he wanted to watch her making love to her boyfriend to telling her to take dictation in one easy, slimy move! For a moment her hands refused to move and Ramsey rapped his pen on his desk impatiently.

 

‘Today darling, today’ he said. ‘And afterwards I want you to remain in here while you make that call to Dave. And Gina darling….. don’t take no for an answer huh?’

 

oOoOoOoOoOoOo

 

Starsky Sat the driver’s seat of the car and watched as Hutch plodded his way across the parking lot. The blond glowed in the early morning sunshine, his hair forming a golden halo round his head, although his face seemed troubled. As he got into the car the brunet cast a glance sideways.

 

‘You ok Blondie?’

 

‘Huh?’

 

‘I said, are you ok? You look troubled. Wanna share?’

 

Alice’s words were still ringing in Hutch’s head and for a moment he was back in the hospital room. He doesn’t know, does he? ……. No, an’ It’s gonna stay that way. If Alice could tell that his feelings for his partner had changed, would anyone else notice? The imprint of the smaller man’s body on his hand still burned, but the thoughts and feelings he experienced were confused and troubled him. He needed peace and quiet and meditation to try to sort them out. But peace and quiet in a cop’s life were in short supply and it’d have to wait. He looked up.

 

‘No’ he said tiredly and Starsky mistook it for concern over the blond woman’s condition.

 

‘Hey, s’ok. Alice is fine. She’s tough an’ she’s in the right place. They’ll look after her.’

 

Hutch smiled. ‘Yeah, I know. I hate that this happened to her though.’

 

‘I know. Ya got a real soft spot for her don’t ya?’

 

‘Yeah. She might be a hooker, but she’s witty an’ bright an’ beautiful’ Hutch snorted softly. ‘Maybe I should’ve been a pimp. I seem to have a thing for hookers. It just don’t turn out real well for them.’ He said sadly.

 

Starsky sighed. Gillian’s death, although well over four years ago still plagued his partner and the gap left by the beautiful woman’s death was still raw. ‘She’ll be fine. We can’t do nuthin about that, but we can find the flake behind this an’ nail ‘em. Besides, you’d never make a pimp.’

 

‘No?’

 

‘Nah. Couldn’t see you with a stable of workers. You’re a one woman guy. That, an’ the poor girls’d be tired out from servicin’ their boss’ Starsky ended with a grin. ‘C’mon get it together.’

 

Hutch hitched a breath. ‘So, where first?’

 

‘The studio. Janos might not have been involved in this film, but he rented out his place. He must know sumthin.’

 

‘Fine, lead the way Sherlock’ Hutch grunted and sat back with his thoughts as Starsky drove. They were quiet for a while, so quiet that when the radio mike clicked on, both men jumped at the unexpected noise. Hutch reached out and grabbed it as the familiar voice sounded over the air.

 

‘Zebra three, zebra three, come in please.’

 

‘This is zebra three.’

 

‘Hutch, is that you? There’s a patch through from a landline for Starsky. Sounds like his hot date wants a repeat performance’ Mildred’s voice sounded amused.

 

The brunet grabbed the mic. ‘Does everyone know about my love life?’ he growled into it, not really in the mood for jokes.

 

‘I’m just jealous honey. Ya never ask me out on a hot date’ she replied smoothly and there was a click on the line and another voice.

 

‘Dave? Is that you?’

 

Although her voice sounded a little tense, a flood of relief rushed through the brunet’s body and he smiled.

 

‘Hey hon. You um……you aint supposed to call me at work but um….. it’s good to hear ya.’

 

‘Dave can we meet tonight? It’s important. I’m um…… I want to apologise.’ There was something slightly odd about her voice, some quality Starsky couldn’t define, but he let it slide, happy instead that she wanted to see him again despite his earlier reservations.

 

‘Sure. Shall I meet ya at your around eight?’

 

‘Um no. Um….. I’m having the decorators in. But I’ve been loaned the office apartment for a while. We can meet there. It’s at…. ‘She gave the address which was in a plush tower block in the city centre.

 

Starsky gave a low appreciative whistle. ‘Wow, talk about fringe benefits! Sure, I’ll see ya then’ he said and put down the mic. ‘She wants to see me again’ he said happily.

 

‘See. Told ya buddy’ Hutch said lightly although his heart had given a little lurch which once again he stowed deep down. In some unfathomable way he envied Gina being able to gain access to that lithe body whenever she wanted. It didn’t seem fair. But then again, his feelings didn’t seem fair either and he snorted angrily to himself. Get a life Hutchinson. And get a woman. Well ya had a woman – but this time get one that can share huh?

 

At the other end of the line Gina heard the line go dead although she still held on to the telephone. Delicately Ramsey removed it from her hand and replaced the receiver.

 

‘Well done darling. So, here’s what I want to see…… ‘

 

Chapter 14

 

Their meeting with Janos Martini at the “Sexational Films” studio (little more than a warehouse with a sound stage) came to very little. The weasley man had always been cautious of the two detectives, especially after the last time he’d met them when they’d played catchers with his brother in law’s thousand dollar lens.

 

As they’d interviewed him, he’d been less than comfortable, his eyes slipping sideways and refusing to meets either cop’s blue eyes directly. He answered their questions monosyllabically – yes he rented out his studio. No, he didn’t have a name. No, he hadn’t got a telephone number either. By the end of the twenty minute grilling, Martini was as limp as a week old lettuce, sweating and dithering in his seat while Hutch and his brunet partner were convinced that despite his wriggling, the studio owner really didn’t have the information they needed. Leaving empty handed, Hutch got back into the Torino and cursed long and hard.

 

‘How the fuck can ya run a business like that? Not knowin’ who you’re rentin’ out to. He was happy enough to take the envelope full of bills when it got pushed under his door.’

 

‘Well lets face it, he aint exactly Metro Goldwyn Mayer’ the brunet agreed. ‘But I’m with you. I can’t believe he’d be crazy enough to rent out without checkin’ the guy’s credentials.’

 

‘I don’t think he was interested in those kind of credentials Starsk. So long as the assets were 36, 24 36 and under 30 years old he really don’t care.’

 

‘Guess not.’

 

‘An' he wasn’t the only one checkin’ out assets’ Hutch continued. ‘Ya caused quite a stir in there buddy.’

 

The brunet glanced up from the steering wheel sharply. ‘Huh?’

 

Hutch tried to compose his face into a serious expression, but failed miserably. ‘Seems the cameraman had the hots for brunets. He um….. asked me if you were available an’ how much I’d charge to rent you out.’

 

‘Me?’ the curly haired man squeaked. ‘Fuck! And um…… what did ya tell him? Just curious ya know.’

 

‘I told him you were all mine. All mine babe’ Hutch grinned and looked at his watch. ‘Four forty. Wanna call it a night. We were rollin’ kinda early an’ you have to get yourself tarted up for your hot date.’

 

Starsky nodded. ‘Sure, we can call it a night. What’s happenin’ with you an’ Sarah? Are ya gonna make it up, now you’ve both had some coolin’ off time?’

 

Hutch rested his head on his hand propped up against the window of the car. ‘I dunno Starsk. She’s just so damned full on all the time. An’ I doubt she’ll ever truly get a handle on the whole cop thing. There were too many things said last night. An’…. Well, lets say I don’t want to see her any time soon, an’ then not to apologise. An’ I guess she thinks she’s in the right, so she’ll apologise when hell freezes over.’

 

‘You’ll mend it Blondie. You an’ her were made to be together’

 

The blond snickered. ‘Yeah right. Ya know Starsk, I’m beginnin’ to think I’d be better without women.’

 

The brunet looked sideways ‘Oh my God1 Well I’ll take ya home buddy but no sex on a first date – you’d never respect me in the mornin’ he joked. Hutch looked away, his cock twitching briefly at the thought and once again he cursed silently.

 

oOoOoOoOoOoOo

 

That night Starsky dressed carefully in his best black jeans and a black button up shirt which he left carefully unbuttoned for three buttons at the neck. Just enough to show the gold Star of David on the gold chain that Hutch had bought him as a late Christmas present. It nestled in the hairs at the top of his chest near the base of his throat. Stopping for a moment he regarded himself in the mirror. He looked ok he thought. But would he be tempting enough for Gina?

 

Without thinking too much further, Starsky collected his wallet and car keys and made his way out to the car and drove downtown to the apartment block she’d directed him to.

 

Inside, Ramsey was giving Gina last minute instructions.

 

‘Just this once darling, then it’ll all be over. Remember. Make it last a good couple of hours. If he has difficulty keeping it up, use this’ he handed her a black leather strap with press studs on it. Gina took the cock ring with distaste and hid it in the drawer by the bed as Ramsey continued.

 

‘And don’t forget, I want him begging for you to finish him. Give me some oral and then let him fuck you. Make it a good show darling and I’ll give you a raise’ he grinned.

 

‘I can’t do this’ she whispered feeling sick to her stomach. ‘Please don’t make me.’

 

‘You can’ Ramsey’s face hardened ‘and you will if you want to keep your sordid little secret. Now off you go, I can hear him at the door’

 

Gina opened the door slowly and smiled weakly at the brunet. Starsky walked in and kissed her lightly on the cheek. Opting for the straight approach he stood back. ‘I didn’t know if you’d want to see me after last night’ he said. ‘I’m sorry I was a klutz.’

 

‘Don’t say that Dave. It would have been a lovely evening if it hadn’t been for…. Well. Of course I wanted to see you again’

 

But still the cop heard something in her voice that belied her words. He looked around at the plush pad. ‘Nice place’ he said walking into what was essentially a one roomed apartment, although that room was huge, containing at it’s very centre the large bed with mirror behind it.

 

Gina drew him to the couch in front of the bed and sat by his side.

 

‘Drink?’ she asked nervously.

 

The brunet thought back to the huge dose of tequila and his liver gave a small shiver of fear. ‘No thanks honey. I’m just happy to see you again.’

 

‘Me too. Dave…..’ her voice lowered as she leaned into him, needing to keep at least something private from Ramsey ‘I love you so much. Always remember that’ she breathed into his ear.

 

His body responded in like and he kissed her deeply until she was moaning into his mouth. ‘I love you too honey.’

 

Starsky’s hand, as if controlled by an outside force, caressed Gina’s stocking leg and moved from the inside of her knee up her inner thigh. The woman’s expression changed as she watched his hand moving northward. It wasn't long until the brunet had reached that four inch strip of lace at the top of the stocking where warm flesh meets cool fabric and he stopped to admire and caress her coffee colored skin just above the stocking top, as though he’d never seen it before. Still, without seeming to control them, the cop’s finger tips roamed beyond the lace and touched that pure, velvety skin above. The smoothness of her sheer nylons couldn't hold a candle to the buttery softness of the skin of her secret place and Gina mewed in appreciation as his slim but strong hand continued its expert examination, his ministrations taking her mind completely from the bastard in the next room, filming them.

 

Neither lover said a word as they both watched his hand slowly and steadily moved farther and farther up towards its target. She squirmed once, which startled the brunet some causing his hand to stop for a moment, unsure whether this was what she wanted. But Gina made no effort to stop him or move away and in fact, the movement fully exposed the dark V at the top of her panties allowing the curly haired man a brief peek at what lay beyond.

 

After pausing for the moment, they both took in a breath, savoring the moment and then his hand continued on its journey. Up, up it went until there was no more leg left to negotiate. It had reached that deep dark V and one finger reached out and touched her sending electric shocks through her body. She moaned in her throat and wriggled, moving the lacy fabric of her panties down her legs and delicately stepping out of them and unzipping her skirt. It too puddled to the floor and she stepped delicately out of it. Sitting back down beside him Starsky breathed in her perfume.

 

‘What about the rest? Wouldn’t want any distractions later’ he said softly amazed that he was getting so far so fast as his hand unbuttoned her blouse gently. She allowed him to slip it down her arms and it fell to join the puddle formed from her skirt and underwear. Gina kissed her man as he deftly unfastened the clip of her bra allowing it to fall forward. The brunet sighed, taking in her beautiful body and lightly tanned skin and his cock leapt to attention.

 

Resuming his exploration, Gina pushed him back until he was led on his back while she kneeled at his side. As she started to kiss down the side of his neck his finger found its way back to its target and was soon joined by a second and then another and another until his hand was cupping her pussy and they were both looking at each other

 

"I want to kiss you again." Starsky said with a pleading look in my eyes, pulling at her. His voice was husky with desire and his eyes clouded with lust. Gina lowered her lips to his and they kissed. The force of the kiss pushed him back on the bed and she was half on top of him as his hands roughly ran over her body, claiming it as his own.

 

Pulling away for a moment he looked up at her heaving breasts and cupped one, feeling its softness. They stared into each other's eyes and Gina realised they were entering dangerous waters – the time when Ramsey would be rubbing his hands together in sick delight. She pushed down the thoughts of her boss next door and arched her back as Starsky fondled her breasts, feeling the hardness of her nipples. He moved his hand from one to the other and raised his head to kiss her again and again, his tongue lapping at her soft flesh as he sucked and nibbled delicately at her rosy areoles. He cupped them, massaged them, placed the palm of his hand over them and let the hard nipple tickle him as I moved the palm around with just the nipple touching it.

 

Gina watched in rapt fascination and murmured ‘take your shirt off.’

 

Starsky forced himself to stop for a moment and pulled it off over his head, wriggling out of his jeans too as she watched the taut play of muscles under his olive toned skin and without waiting they leaned in to each other and kissed with their naked bodies pushing against one another.

 

Starsky could see her eyes widen at the sight of his proud cock jutting forward. She reached out and roamed the length of his shaft with her finger tip. The brunet moaned his body so hard now it was aching, weeping drops of pre-cum from its tip. Gina reached out and started caressing him and he reached for her, his hand half way to hers, pulling it towards his erection.

 

Gina realised that if she didn’t take control of the situation, very soon her lover would be tipping over the edge and Ramsey would make her do this all over again. Thinking hard, she slipped deftly from the bed and scooped up one of her stockings.

 

‘I love you so much’ she said again as she started her exploration of his chest with her lips. Starsky arched his body upwards to her, pressing his nipples to her mouth so that took them in one at a time and playfully nipped at the hard nubbins of flesh. The cop yelped and she pulled away and lost herself for a moment in indigo pools. Starsky reached for her again and she pulled her hand away gently, pulling him up until he was sitting in front of her.

 

‘Do you trust me?’ she asked softly.

 

‘Sure’ he breathed. ‘Why?’

 

‘Coz I want to do this for you. I want to take away all your cares’ she responded breathlessly.

 

‘You do that already honey.’

 

‘Just let me do this for you’ she said and grasped his left wrist, pushing it behind his back. The man stiffened, then relaxed, a sly grin playing over his handsome face as he willingly put his right hand next to it, feeling her circle his wrists with her stocking and tying them into place.

 

‘Takin’ charge huh?’ Starsky said huskily.

 

‘Ssh, lie back’ she said and pushed him so that his hands were trapped between his body and the bed. He rested there, his eyes full of trust and desire as her hands started to work over his body. Taking massage oils from the nightstand Gina shuffled to the end of the bed and started by pouring the perfumed lubricant onto her hands, warming it with her body heat and massaging Starsky’s feet, pushing his toes as far back as possible and running her thumb up the bottom of his feet. He hands went higher and higher, working their magic up the brunet’s legs bypassing his cock and balls and moving further up his chest until she was circling his nipples. Heading south again, she paid special attention to his inner thighs and the area just above his line of dark wiry hair while Starsky thrust himself at her, desperate for her to touch him.

 

He gritted his teeth and moaned. ‘Oh my God, Gina, honey, please, just…. Just touch me, do sumthin… anythin, that’s sooo good honey. Please just mmmnnnn’ he stopped as she leaned over him and a moment later he felt her lips close around the tip of his dick. He shuddered in relief at the hint of a touch. But Gina wasn’t about to start anything big.

 

She teased him mercilessly, flicking her tongue gently over his tip, before taking him into her mouth and sucking hard. She licked up and down his length until she could feel his body thrumming beneath her and his words were coming in strangled sentences.

 

‘Gina…. No…yea, more, oh God please just….oh my God, I’m gonna cum honey, I can’t hold on’ he gasped, knowing she didn’t swallow and waiting for her to take him and finish him in her hand. But instead the woman took a deep breath and pushed her head down as far as she could. Starsky was huge, so much bigger than Ramsey had been and she felt him hit the back of her throat. And yet still she continued, determined that this would be the last time her boss would ever blackmail her in this way. She gagged as the first load of cool salty fluid hit the back of her throat and she swallowed convulsively, easing up until Starsky’s body had stopped twitching and he was lying limp and wasted beneath her.

 

‘Sooo good’ he murmured, wriggling to try to free his hands to caress her. Above him, Gina fought down the urge to run to the bathroom and clean her teeth. Instead she lay down by the side of her man and nuzzled against his neck.

 

‘That’s just for starters’ she whispered. ‘How long till you’re ready again?’

 

‘Too long! Untie me, I wanna hold ya’ the brunet gasped. ‘Please?’

 

‘Uh uh. You’re my prisoner now, I can do what I like with you and what I wanna do now is this.’

 

Gina reached for the black strap and as Starsky watched in fascination she gently held his cock and balls free of his body and looped the leather around them, snapping the stud closed so that the strap snugged up against him, holding his entire assemblage in a tight embrace. He hissed and wriggled slightly, but the tension and the added weight felt oddly erotic.

 

‘You’re a bad girl Gina Bianchi’ he smiled up at her. You’re right. I’m your prisoner. All yours. Wanna pat me down some?’ he asked, wiggling his hips at her. She giggled and started once again to stroke down the length of his body.

 

With the ring securely fastened round his cock, it wasn’t long before he had the hardest erection he’d ever experienced. His cock throbbed alarmingly, taking on a deep plum colour as Gina continued to stroke and pet it, sometimes rubbing it directly, sometimes bypassing it for minutes at a time until Starsky was whimpering with the need for release. He’d endured her foreplay for almost an hour before his resolve finally gave in and as her oiled fingers snaked past Little Davey for the hundredth time he thrust up at her.

 

‘Please honey, please let me. I need to cum. Need it bad, so bad. Please?’ he begged her, pain registering now on his face as his need consumed him. Surreptitiously Gina looked at the clock. It was almost 2 hours since her lover had arrived. That was as long as Ramsey had said.

 

Deftly, she straddled the muscular body beneath her and Starsky held his breath as she slowly lowered herself onto his phallus. He tried to keep himself still, remembering that she’d always had trouble taking his whole length into her, but as she gently impaled herself on him and he felt himself unfolded in her warm body, he lost all control and within moment was thrusting wildly into her as she bucked above him. In one movement, she unfastened the ring from round his body and he howled at the sudden flow of blood, the added sensation throwing him completely over the edge. He yelled her name roughly and ground his hips up against her and as he shot the second load of the night into her she screamed once in pain and called his name.

 

Coming down almost immediately from his high, he saw a single tear snake its way down her beautiful face and berated himself for losing control and hurting her.

 

‘Gina honey I’m sorry he gasped as she collapsed onto the bed next to him. Untie me honey, let me hold ya’ he said softly.

 

She reached behind him with trembling hands and with difficulty untied his bonds and as he felt his wrists part, he took her in his arms and ran his fingers through her hair crooning her name as she snuggled against him.

 

And in the back room, Ramsey’s hand worked himself to a crescendo and he spilt his own seed into his paper hankies.

 

Chapter 15

 

Starsky stood outside the front door of the apartment and wondered just what he’d done wrong. So far as he was concerned, he hadn’t coerced Gina into their few hours of passion. He was more than prepared to sit, talk, play Monopoly – whatever. And yet she’d come on to him, hadn’t she? In fact she’d come on to him so strong that for a while he wondered if this was the same girl who had shied away from everything but just the straightest of sex. But that night she’d done everything. It was like she’d been reading the Karma Sutra, the Perfumed Garden and every Black Lace novel ever written. He was both stunned and at the same time thrown completely off balance.

 

He rubbed absently at his wrists, now raw and smarting from their tight confinement and he thought back. She’d collapsed against him after his earth shattering climax and had flung her arms over his chest, burying her head into his shoulder as though she was trying to hide away.

 

The brunet was the sort of guy who liked to kiss and cuddle after sex. He enjoyed making his women feel special, as though they were the most important people in the world. So to have his girlfriend suddenly get up off the bed, gather up his clothes and tell him she’d see him in the morning was, to say the least, disconcerting. As he’d started to pull on his jeans, she been almost waiting at the door and she gave him no time to shoulder into his shirt or kiss her goodnight. Instead, she stood by the open doorway with his car keys in her hand, gave him a perfunctory kiss on the cheek and closed the door behind him, leaving him open mouthed and nonplussed in the corridor.

 

For a moment he thought about banging on the door again and asking for an explanation, but when he thought about it, what was there to explain? He’d hurt her, he knew that. Lost as he was in his frenzy, he had forgotten just how big he was and how delicate she was and he hadn’t taken care of her. He’d hurt her and he cursed himself, knowing there and then that he’d probably blown any chance of seeing her again. The thought left him saddened and, angry at himself, and he walked slowly back towards the elevator and out to his car with a frown on his face and a heavy heart.

 

Inside the apartment, Gina stood with her back to the door and sobbed as she pulled her negligee around her. She’d hated the evening. Well wait. She didn’t hate what she’d done with the man who could turn her on just by looking at her with those deepest indigo eyes. That wasn’t it at all. No, it was why she’d done it. How she’d been forced to do it, and what the outcome would be. As she wiped her hand angrily over her face, Ramsey stalked out into the bedroom with a smirk on his face and patted the sofa as he sat down.

 

‘Marvelous darling. Absolutely marvelous. I had no idea that you could be quite so creative!’

 

She turned away from him as he tried to kiss her, feeling more than dirty enough as it was. ‘Can I go now?’ she asked angrily.

 

‘Why would you want to go? Don’t you want to see what a lovely couple you made? Wouldn’t you like to hear him begging you again? I like the way he cares for you darling. It’s so intense. Makes for a good show.’

 

‘You said I could go once I’d done that. And you promised he’d never know anything. Are you going to keep your word? She asked him, her eyes flashing as her temper rose.

 

He grinned at her. ‘Probably. Maybe. I don’t know. The two of your together were…. Well. I’d love to see you do that again darling. And like I say, he’d never have to know anything about it. It’d be just our secret.’

 

She stared at him. ‘You’re sick, you know that don’t you? I’ll never do that again. Never! Apart from anything else, he’ll probably think I’m so much of a whore that he’ll never want to come near me again anyway.’

 

‘Oh I don’t know’ Ramsey snickered. ‘What man could resist being tied up by the woman he so obviously loves. That was so inventive darling. And you say you aren’t talented? Could have fooled me!’

 

Gina bounced up from the sofa and started gathering her clothes. She headed for the sumptuously appointed bathroom and closed the door behind her, drawing the small bolt across to give her some measure of privacy. Hastily she got herself dressed again. The longer she spent in this apartment, the more she felt as though she’d lose the contents of her stomach down the pan. Just the thought of Ramsey watching, let alone videoing her and Starsky left her feeling little more than a harlot and she wanted to shower and scrub away the memory. And yet she wouldn’t do that here. Even the water was dirty and tainted at that apartment.

 

Ensuring she had everything with her, Gina unbolted the door and made her way outside and into the living/bedroom. As she passed the television she was horrified to see that Ramsey was already playing the tape of her and her lover and she could hear Starsky’s rough shout as he came the first time. She wanted to stuff her finger in her ears, but instead she bolted for the door as Ramsey’s slimy voice rung in her ears.

 

‘See you at work tomorrow darling. Parson me if I don’t see you out. I um… I have my hands full’ he snickered as she slammed the door behind her.

 

OOoOoOoOoOoOoOo

 

Next morning Starsky dragged himself from his bed and showered quickly. He still felt like a complete bastard about the previous night and as he heard his partner’s impatient honking of the car horn outside his door he hoped that Hutch would for once be sensitive and not make fun of his failed love life. Taking his cuffs, badge, holster and finally his gun from the hook behind the door, he closed his door and headed down his steps to Hutch’s battered car. As he got in he cast a sideways glance at his partner.

 

‘Had a good night?’ Hutch asked smoothly.

 

‘What’s that s’posed to mean?’ Starsky growled.

 

‘Just what I said. Did ya have a good night? Nothin’ complicated.’

 

The brunet sighed. ‘Sorry. Yeah, to a point it was incredible.’

 

‘Wow. Up to which point?’

 

‘To the point where we had an earth shattering climax and then she threw my clothes at me an’ shoehorned me outa the apartment.’

 

‘Did you argue or somethin’?’ Hutch asked, seeing that his partner was in obvious pain.

 

‘No. I could understand it if we had. But she was ok till we… till I…’ he sighed again, the breath coming up almost from his toes.

 

‘Well don’t leave me in suspense buddy’ Hutch urged as he turned on the engine and pulled away from the sidewalk.

 

‘Well ya know I was sayin’ about whether girls come in different sizes? I’ve always been real careful with her. But we were… well what we did was kinda….. I guess what I’m sayin’ is I got carried away an’ I hurt her an’ I think that’s why she got shut of me so quick’ the brunet said sadly. ‘I didn’t mean to, but ya know what it’s like when sumthin’ is just so good ya can’t hold back?’

 

‘Aww buddy. I’m sure she’ll be fine. You’ll see.’

 

Starsky scowled, still angry at himself. ‘Dunno. Hey, where’re we goin’?’ he asked as he looked out at the passing traffic.

 

‘Back to the film studio. I got a feelin’ that there’s somethin’ there we need to check out. An’ before you ask, no I don’t know what. It’s just a hunch.’

 

‘Sounds fine by me. We got zip so far. Go for it.’

 

‘Oh an’ I got a call from the hospital’ Hutch said. ‘Alice can come home this afternoon.’

 

‘Yeah? That’s great’ Starsky muttered. ‘She’ll be able to rest better at home. Ya can never get any sleep in those places. If they aren’t stickin’ ya with needles they’re wakin’ ya up to ask if ya want a sleepin’ pill. She’ll be much better off in her own bed.’

 

‘Well um. She…. She aint goin’ home to her own bed’ Hutch murmured slowly, looking distinctly uncomfortable.

 

‘Where’s she goin’ then? I didn’t think she had any relatives. An’ I know most of her girlfriends aren’t around durin’ the night’ Starsky snorted at his own humour.

 

‘She’s um, comin’ home to mine. I said I’d look after her for a while.’

 

‘What?’

 

Hutch cast a sideways glance. ‘Well it’s not like I haven’t had practice. How many times have I had to do the Florence Nightingale trick with you buddy?’

 

‘That’s’ not what I mean Blondie an’ you know it! Ya can’t take her home Hutch. She’s a material witness. It’d be wrong on so many levels. As I seem to recall I did the same thing once. Remember Sharman? I thought you’d knock my head off! This is just the same thing buddy. You could lose your job!’

 

‘No-one needs to know. The thing with Sharman an’ you went down fine. No-one got hurt an’ she was all the better for it. Alice is on her own Starsk. She needs someone to look out for her.’

 

‘And this has nothing to do with what happened between you and Sarah?’

 

‘No!’

 

‘Hutch, be careful buddy. This is only gonna lead to trouble. You should leave well alone.’

 

‘And this from the guy who can’t even fuck his girl without worryin.’ Hutch winced at his own words. ‘I’m sorry buddy. That was way outa line.’

 

‘Nah, you’re right. I just don’t want ya getting’ hurt’ Starsky said sadly.

 

‘I know. An’ I won’t. It aint like that with me an’ Alice. She just brings out the Mama in me’ Hutch chuckled as he pulled up outside the film studio again.

 

At the front of the building there was a small store with blacked out windows and a door covered by flaked paint. The got out of the car and approached the front door just as one of the customers came out carrying a rectangular parcel in a plain brown wrapper. He looked up as the two men approached and ducked down the alleyway at the side of the building leaving the two detectives to walk into the shop. As they opened the door they were faced with posters hung from the ceiling proclaiming XXXX videos in various categories and Starsky elbowed his partner.

 

‘Would ya look at that? Everythin’ a dirty old man needs for a night in alone huh?’

 

‘And then some’ Hutch agreed. ‘An’ speakin’ of dirty old men, isn’t that…..’ the blond pointed at a figure over in the corner of the store over by the back door.

 

‘Ramsey. Ian Ramsey’ Starsky finished for him. ‘What the hell is he doin’ here?’ He walked over to the smart suited lawyer who was in deep conversation with the store owner. He glanced up as he felt the cop draw close and snickered as he recognised the brunet. Without any sign of embarrassment he pasted a grin on his face.

 

‘Why Detective Starsk! I seem to be seeing so much of you recently!’

 

‘It aint by choice’ Starsky growled.

 

‘Oh, I don’t know’ Ramsey replied cryptically. ‘What can I do for you two gentlemen? Have you caught the man who robbed by office yet? Or is that beyond your capabilities?’

 

Hutch put a restraining hand on his partner’s arm, holding the brunet back. ‘We’re working on it’ he said smoothly. ‘More to the point, what are you doin’ here?’

 

Ramsey smiled easily, but his eyes never left Starsky as he replied ‘We all have urges Detective. There’s nothing wrong in a little innocent diversion, I’m sure you’ll agree.’

 

‘Whatever turns you on. ‘Specially if ya can’t get the chicks’ the brunet grunted and turned away.

 

‘Maybe I’ll see you later’ Ramsey said easily.

 

‘Not if I have a choice’

 

‘No, maybe not’ the lawyer mumbled and turned back to the store keeper. As the two detectives waited the owner took Ramsey quietly to one side.

 

‘You were saying you were looking for an investment a while ago’ the man said quietly.

 

‘Uh huh’ Ramsey agreed softly. ‘What have you got for me?’

 

The storekeeper pushed a crumpled piece of paper into his hand and the lawyer took it and looked at the penciled telephone number scrawled on it. ‘What’s this?’ he asked.

 

‘The number of a guy in Reno. He’s been doin’ a little business in the back studio and he’s lookin’ for investors. Somethin’ ya might be interested in. it’s kinkier than the stuff you’ve got there.’

 

‘Yeah? How?’ Ramsey asked.

 

‘Take something from the bondage section and tell me what you think – complimentary of course. Try this for size’ the man thrust a lurid covered video at Ramsey. ‘And if you like what ya see then phone him. It’ll be worth your while’ the storekeeper said as Ramsey surreptitiously slipped out of the back door.

 

Hutch watched him depart as his partner continued poking around the videos and as soon as the coast was clear, the blond moved to the front door and slid the bolt home, locking it. The storekeeper looked up.

 

‘Hey, what the hell d’ya think…. Oh shit’ he said as Starsky flashed his badge at him. ‘I don’t know nothin’ about anythin’ the man said, waving his arms around vaguely.

 

‘We didn’t ask ya yet’ Starsky responded smoothly. He picked up one of the videos on the small Formica counter. ‘The Trap’ he read out loud. ‘Oh for Pete’s sake! Where do people get off on this sorta junk? “As Jake is tempted by Erika’s talents, she soon whips him into shape”’ The front cover showed a man strung up by his wrists, naked, with a woman dressed in a black leather corset wielding a whip at his back. Starsky threw it down in disgust. He turned his attention to the shopkeeper again.

 

‘Who uses the studio at the back, Jeff?’

 

‘You know who uses it. Janos Martini.’

 

‘Uh uh. He owns it, we know. But a little birdie told us he aint the only one who uses it. Wanna join that little birdie an’ sing some more for us?’

 

‘I don’t know nothin.’ I told ya’ Jeff hedged. ‘I wanna see my lawyer.’

 

Starsky snorted. ‘Hear that Hutch? He wants to see his lawyer!’

 

Hutch nodded. ‘Now ya see Jeff, I find that hard to believe. An’ I think my partner does to, don’t ya Starsk?’

 

‘I do. For two reasons Jeff. First, what’s a nice law abidin’ storekeeper like you want so see his lawyer for? And two, what lawyer would want to protect scum like you?’ And then the light dawned. ‘Oh wait! Hutch. Who did we just see in here? An’ what does he do for a livin’? Well aint that convenient?’

 

Hutch grinned. ‘S’ok Jeff. Ramsey is a personal friend of ours. What he knows, we know. So why don’t ya just tell us who’s usin’ the studio out back huh?’

 

Jeff looked dubiously at the two detectives. ‘I don’t know fellas. I mean I…. ‘

 

‘C’mon, don’t be coy’ Hutch said quietly. ‘We wouldn’t want to have to bust your high class boutique for tradin’ without a license maybe?’

 

The storekeeper swallowed, a tiny trickle of sweat making its way down the side of his face.

 

‘Ok, ok. I don’t know his name, honest I don’t. But he has a place out in Reno and he’s been rentin’ the studio. Here. I got his telephone number. Just don’t…. don’t tell him I told ya huh?’ The man scribbled down a number on a piece of paper and handed it over. Starsky took it with a grin.

 

‘See? Wasn’t that easy? Have a nice day Jeff’ he said as they two detectives let themselves out of the back door.

 

Chapter 16

Gina walked into her office late the next morning feeling dirty, used and more than a little sore. She was trapped, she knew that, but she’d done what Ramsey had ordered and he’d promised that she wouldn’t need to do anything else. She’d convinced herself that this nightmare was now at an end and that Ramsey would let her alone and in a few days she could leave, get out of Bay City, out of California and even out of the country.

She slid into her place behind her desk, smiling weakly at some of the other PAs who were already at work. They couldn’t help but stare at the woman who was habitually in first and always impeccably groomed. Today she looked pale, almost grey. Her usually beautifully tailored suit seemed to hang from her frame and she had black circles under her eyes. Always one to greet others on the way in, this morning Gina barely managed to meet their gaze and instead set to work immediately, feeding her sheet of paper into the typewriter and beginning to type. She hit the wrong key and cursed, dabbing at the error with an eraser and started again. A moment later she hit another wrong key and this time she gave a small cry, leaned her head on her arms on the computer and sobbed.

As one of the other women got up to come to comfort her, Ramsey got up from behind his desk and rushed outside, the picture of avuncular concern. He put his arms around her and guided her into his office, closing the door behind him. And as he made sure they weren’t being watched he turned to her and held out a tissue.

‘Just what the hell are you playing at darling?’ he asked sharply.

She looked up at him with open disbelief in her eyes. ‘As if you didn’t know!’

‘Don’t tell me you didn’t enjoy last night as much as I did. And as for Davey boy. Well….. “Gina…. No…yea, more, oh God please just….oh my God, I’m gonna cum honey, I can’t hold on” Ramsey made a passable impersonation of the mild Brooklyn accent as he clawed dramatically at his chest. ‘David certainly wasn’t complaining.’

 

‘You’re evil’ Gina exclaimed. You have no idea how much you’re hurting me, and ultimately David. Please, just stop this now. I’ll go away. I promise I’ll never contact you. Your sordid little secrets are safe with me, but for Gods sake, this has to stop now’ she sobbed uncontrollably.

 

Ramsey put his arm around her and drew her to him as a lover might pet their partner. He shushed her and stroked her hair and for a moment she really thought that he might relent and let her go. She tried to dry her eyes and heaved a deep unsteady breath and as she pushed herself away from him he smiled at her.

 

‘See? That’s so much better! You’ve made all your pretty eye make up run. Take a minute and get yourself cleaned up in the washroom huh? And then get back out there and do some work. You can take tonight off.’

 

She looked at him sharply. ‘Tonight? What do you mean I can take tonight off?’

 

‘Well you don’t need to do anything tonight. Go out. Enjoy yourself. Have a nice easy time with your date.’

 

‘I’m not seeing him again’ she said forcefully.

 

Ramsey grabbed her by the arm and dragged her across the office. He slammed her against the wall and held her there, all pretenses at friendliness gone as he fixed her with a stare. ‘You are going to see him again. And for that little show of defiance, you’ll be seeing him again tonight.’

 

‘No. I don’t want to. He hasn’t telephoned me. He doesn’t want to see me.’

 

‘Then he’s a crazy man. Phone him. Now’ Ramsey pulled her over to the desk and put the phone in her hand.

 

‘I can’t. He’s at work’ she blustered.

 

‘That didn’t stop you the other day. Just tell him you want a nice quiet night with him, ok? Maybe at the disco? And afterwards….. Well lets see what happens afterwards’ Ramsey said as he punched in the numbers to the BCPD. He waited till Gina had been put through and held her as she made the arrangements and as the call finished, he took the receiver from her and replaced it.

 

‘Good girl. Now run along and get me the depositions for the big fraud case huh? And I don’t want to be disturbed for the next hour. I have um…. personal things to deal with.’

 

Gina walked to the office door but was stopped as she put her hand on the handle. ‘And darling? Remember our arrangement. If the police or Dave finds out what’s happening, the whole of BCPD will suddenly find themselves watching two videos now. And just imagine how little Davey will feel with his butt plastered all over their televisions.’

 

As the woman walked out of the office and closed the door behind her, Ramsey took the video he’d been leant from his desk drawer. It showed a woman bound to a pillory on the front and the blurb at the back read like a third rate porn novel. “4 convicts of a small country where short prison sentences may be changed to corporal punishments. Though this form of Corporal Punishment is optional, once the process has begun, it can only be interrupted if the doctor thinks it is necessary”. The lawyer licked his lips in anticipation and loaded the cassette into the player. For the next hour he and his right hand remained busy while the outside world continued to work. At the end of it, he first, dialed the number that Jeff the store keeper had given him and made a lucrative deal and second he formulated what he knew he wanted to happen with his own private little whore next.

 

oOoOoOoOoOoOo

 

Hutch picked up Alice from the hospital just after Starsky received an unexpected call from Gina to say that she would like to meet him and maybe they could go to the disco that night? The brunet had stared at the mic in disbelief after the way she’d almost thrown him out of the apartment. Haltingly he accepted the date and as he put the mic down slowly he stared at it, as though he might have misheard.

 

‘That’s one special girl ya got there buddy’ Hutch said wistfully. He hadn’t heard from Sarah in two days and the newness of being single again was still raw and abrasive. He didn’t think he had the energy any more to go out and start looking for another woman. First Van, then Gillian, then that flake Diana who had led him to Sarah. And at first she’d been everything he hoped a girl could be. In the hospital when she’d cared for him she’d been kind and warm and gentle. When he’d met her afterwards, she continued those traits, but once she’d moved in it was as though someone had flicked a switch and she’d changed from happy caring Sarah to jealous possessive Sarah almost overnight. He sighed, but was happy that at least his partner seemed to have found someone he could be happy with. In a small measure, that made him feel a little better.

 

‘I know she’s lovely, but I can’t get a handle on her’ Starsky said, his voice holding more than a little concern. What is it with women Hutch? So help me, if I live to be a hundred I’ll never understand ‘em. Why can’t we just marry each other huh? At least I understand ya. It’d be so much easier.’

 

Hutch turned away so hide the pain on his face. Since Sarah had left his apartment he’d done nothing but have dreams of him and his partner together, that stolen night in Starsky’s bed being the foundation for most of them. And the more he dreamed, the more the thoughts impacted on his reality, leaving him feeling thin and on edge around his best friend. He told himself again and again that he wasn’t gay. He even found himself looking at other guys in the street and trying to force himself to have the same feelings for them that he had for the brunet to check out his theory. But all he saw when he looked at them was a big body, bulging muscles and a five o’clock shadow. Not the greatest basis for forming a romantic relationship and once again he was left in no doubt. It was Starsky or nothing. He made no reply to the brunet’s comments and Starsky didn’t say anything more.

 

They’d been working all morning but they’d come up with very little on the Reno telephone number. It was an answer machine and they’d not thought it particularly prudent to leave a message. ‘Please Mr. Kink. Could you get in touch with the two cops who want to arrest you?’ somehow didn’t cut it. So they made a quick call to the Reno police and sat back to wait.

 

So now, as Hutch pulled into the parking lot, he told Starsky to stay put while he went in to collect his new patient. A quarter of an hour later, and laden with medications and flowers, Hutch and Alice made their way across the hot tarmac to the car. As the blond opened the door for her, Starsky scooted into the back seat and smiled warmly at her. The nurses had done a pretty good job with her hair and now it was cut in a short elfin style which framed her face and made her look years younger. She was ordinarily a beautiful woman, but now she seemed to stand out further from the crowd and Starsky could almost understand why Hutch had had a soft spot from her right from the time they’d met.

 

‘Hey honey, how’re ya feelin’?’ he asked as she got carefully into the car. It was only as she sat forward to check on something that Starsky saw the raised welts still across her back through the silky material of her negligee and he winced sympathetically.

 

‘I’m ok Suga’ she said softly, her southern drawl making her seem even more childlike. ‘Handsome Hutch is gonna make sure I’m ok’ she said almost shyly. Starsky glanced at Hutch as he got into the car, but made no comment.

 

‘An’ he’ll do a great job. Just don’t let him smother you in kindness’ the brunet replied. ‘Believe me, when he gets the Florence McNightlight look, he’s the very devil to get shut of.’

 

Alice giggled. ‘Oh my. Him an’ me are gonna be just fine’ she murmured and Starsky caught a look of something that looked suspiciously like love in her eyes.

 

Chapter 17

 

Hutch dropped Starsky off at his house first with an agreement that he would meet him at the disco later that night. The brunet had been worried about the blond. Hutch seemed somehow distant and he was concerned that with everything that had gone on with Gina, he wasn’t giving enough attention to his partner. He knew Hutch was hurting about splitting up with Sarah, but he didn’t seem quite as upset as Starsky would have thought. And there was something else there. Something indefinable, that the brunet couldn’t put his finger on. Something that was bothering his partner but that Hutch wasn’t yet ready to talk to him about. He surmised it must be his feelings for Alice and he vowed that once the night was over, he’d make time for some man time with the tall blond and they could thrash out the issue.

 

In the meantime, he flipped a wave at Hutch and Alice and made his way up his steps to get ready for his night out. The two people left in the car watched him go and Alice turned to the blond.

 

‘Don’t he know yet?’ she asked in her forthright manner.

 

‘No, and he isn’t going to any time soon. Hell honey, I don’t even know for sure myself. My head fucked up an’ I can’t think straight. Right now, I just wanna get you home and into a nice quiet bed so you can get some rest.’

 

The woman reached out and placed her hand on the flaxen haired cop’s knee. ‘You’re a good man Hutch. Whoever catches ya is gonna be mighty happy.’

 

He smiled at her and turned the car in the direction of home, arriving 10 minutes later. He helped Alice from the car and up the steps to his apartment, nudged open the door and helped her in. She stopped and looked around at the chaos that was Hutch’s world. Clothes were strewn across the room, dirty dishes filled the sink and newspapers littered the floor. The only things that were neat and orderly were the plants in their pots and hangers. He saw her face and chuckled.

 

‘Some of it’s me. I’m not a neat freak like Starsk. Some of it is Sarah’s way of lettin’ me know she’s gone. She kinda trashed the place before she left. I just haven’t really got around to cleanin’ it yet.’

 

‘Mind if I tidy up a little?’ Alice asked. There was no accusation in her voice, just a willingness to help out and he nodded.

 

‘Sure. But not tonight huh? You’re tired an’ ya need your rest. I think you’re the same size as Sarah, she’s bound to have left some clothes around here. Feel free. You sure you don’t mind me leavin’ ya tonight?’

 

‘Hey Suga. In my line of work, I love to have a night in all to myself’ she smiled. ‘Just go an’ be with Starsky huh? He sounded like he could use a friend.

 

‘Yeah, this girl – Gina. She has him pretty screwed up. She isn’t as straight forward as you honey’ Hutch leaned over and pecked her on the cheek as she reached up and cupped his cheek.

 

‘You’ll make someone a good husband Hutch.’

 

‘Sure’ he agreed, blushing

 

‘Just not me huh?’ she asked sadly.

 

As the blond walked away he sighed. ‘Maybe some time Alice. But not now.’

 

oOoOoOoOoOoOo

 

Starsky picked Gina up at precisely 8:00pm and they drove down to the disco on the beach. There were awkward pauses in their conversation, neither of them wanting to discuss the previous night or the manner in which she’d shooed him out of the apartment. And yet she was once again attentive, sitting sideways on the Torino’s bench seat so that she could look at her man as he drove. It seemed to her that it was the one and only time that the brunet truly relaxed and she loved to watch the wheel play through his hands and the endearing look of rapt attention on his face as he drove.

 

Beside her, Starsky tried not to think about the previous night. Each time she did something like that he’d vow that enough was enough and he’d finish with her. And each time he saw her again, his heart would skip beats and he’d feel that rush of warmth and attraction all over again. Confusion was an understatement

 

As they drew close to the disco, Starsky could see Hutch’s beaten up old car already on the parking lot and the blond was standing leaning against it enjoying the sea breeze. Starsky took a moment to take in the sight. Since his recovery, which had taken its toll on Hutch too, the blond had restarted his exercise regime and now, as he stood silhouetted by the moonlight with the stars dancing in his white blond hair, he was once more the trim figure he used to be.

 

Dressed in almost white jeans that hugged his hips almost as keenly as Starsky’s own and with a deep blue short sleeves shirt tucked into his jean and cinched by a black leather belt, he looked good enough to eat, and for the umpteenth time he thought how crazy Sarah had been to up and walk out. He pulled up next to his partner’s car and got out as Gina got out the other side. Hutch pecked Gina on the cheek and stood back.

 

‘How’s Alice?’ the brunet asked.

 

‘Pretty much as you’d think. She’s tired. I left her with “The Six Million Dollar Man” and some scrambled eggs.

 

‘Wow, what a combination! Lee Majors and your cookin.’ She’ll be lucky if she lasts the night’ the brunet joked as they went inside.

 

The disco was fairly quiet at that time of night, but as they sat at a table with a bottle of wine and watched the passing crowd, it started to fill up and between the two men, Gina danced virtually every dance. After an hour or so, she excused herself and made her way to the ladies bathroom and was just about to push open the door when a man’s hand took a hold of her and pushed her further up the corridor. She hissed in pain at the strong grip and turned to see her boss’ face leering at her.

 

‘Ian! What are you doing here?’ she asked shakily.

 

‘You told David about me’ the lawyer hissed angrily

 

‘No! No, honestly Ian, I never said a word. What makes you think…..?’

 

‘They were in the same store as me today. They’re on to me. They’re following me.’

 

‘No, they aren’t. I never said a word. I wouldn’t. I don’t want him to know, you know that.’

 

Ramsey looked hard at the woman and let go of one of her arms. Gina tried to massage her wrist.

 

‘Why are you here?’ she asked.

 

‘You didn’t think I’d want to miss any more of your antics with the lovely Dave did you? I can’t have my staff having fun while I’m not darling!’

 

‘Why can’t you just leave me alone?’ she cried, trying to wrest her other arm from his grip. They paused in their struggles as a group of four women squeezed past them to head for the bathroom and continued once the door was closed.

 

‘Because you’re mine. You’re mine until I decide you aren’t mine, and until that time you’ll do exactly as I say’ he hissed at her.

 

She wriggled again, trying to pull herself free. ‘You’re hurting me’ she said quietly.

 

Ramsey let go and looked at her. ‘We can have double the fun tonight darling. Looks like Davey brought reinforcements. Let’s include Detective Hutchinson shall we?’

 

‘How?’ she asked dazedly

 

‘Well, I think they should both sample what you have to offer darling. I want you to go out there and during the next slow dance I want you to get up close and personal with our blond detective. Very personal. In fact I want you to feel him up. Get him all hot under the collar. Kiss him, make a show of it. Let’s see how much little Davey can take before the two of them are at each other’s throats.’

 

‘You can’t’ Gina said in hushed tones. ‘That’s just…. No, I can’t’

 

‘You can darling. Just think about those two videos huh? Think about those and then think about how your man will feel when he’s sees that his woman is no more than a common whore. Now off you go, the music is about to change. Remember, make it a good show.’

 

Gina cast a last look at him in despair before heading back into the disco. The music had changed to a slow Stylistics number and as she headed back to the small booth they’d been occupying all night, she ignored her man and instead leaned into Hutch

 

‘Dance with me?’ she asked

 

‘Sure thing honey. The old man over there is too exhausted to keep up. D’ya mind?’

 

Starsky snorted ‘No, go right ahead. Being seven months older’n you is such a drag!’ He watched as the blond led Gina onto the dance floor, and then looked around the room.

 

As they started to dance, Gina could see Ramsey at the side of the room, his eyes never leaving her. Her heart fell as she thought about how much this would hurt her man, but she had no choice. The video would hurt him more.

 

The scared woman got closer to Hutch and snaked her hands round his neck, pulling him in to her body. She danced so that his leg was almost between hers and ground her crotch against his thigh. The blond stiffened imperceptibly but gave a brief yelp as he felt her hands graze across the front of his jeans. Gina almost fell to the ground as she felt the huge erection contained in those tightly zippered jeans. Starsky was large – far larger than she was used to. But Hutch? This man must have been crossed with an elephant! He felt enormous….. and he was also looking down at her. In desperation, she pulled his head down to hers, looking for all the world like she was kissing him, and breathed into his ear.

 

‘I love Dave, but I’m in trouble. Please don’t make a move. Just follow me on this. I’m being watched’ she snuggled her head into the blond’s shoulder and he bent his head to hers.

 

‘What sort of trouble? What can I do? Does Starsk know?’

 

‘Its nothing I can’t handle. I just….. Hutch I know you love Dave, almost as much as I do. Just be there for him huh? Keep close tonight, and don’t let him out of your sight.’

 

‘Is he in danger? Are you in danger’ Hutch started to look around the room and instinctively Gina pulled his head back down to hers, taking a more forcible hold on the front of his pants until she was sure she had his attention.

 

‘Not danger, no. I just….. Hutch please. Just do this for me and him huh? He doesn’t know and I want to keep it that way. I can handle this but I need you to watch his back. All the time.’

Hutch remained where she’s positioned him, but his senses were alert. ‘I don’t understand. We’re cops. We should be able to do that for you. If you’re in trouble, you should tell us. Let me help.’

 

The music was coming to an end and Gina lifted her head. ‘Please, just watch him huh?’ she said simple and saw the brief nod in return. The music finished and at the side of the room she saw Ramsey grin at her and clap his hands in mock applause. As she led the blond back to the booth, she was more than happy that Starsky was deep in conversation with the guy in the next booth about the White Sox last game.

 

Chapter 18

 

The more Hutch looked at Starsky and Gina for the rest of the night, the more he wanted to find out exactly what was going on. It was quite obvious that Starsky was blissfully unaware of anything being wrong, even though Gina was tense and on edge. One or twice, as Gina left to go to the bathroom the blond thought about confronting his partner with it, but what could he say? “Hey buddy, your girl says you’re in trouble but I don’t know what it’s about”? It seemed so…. lame. And apart from that, what might be trouble in Gina’s eyes might not be a big deal in reality. But somehow Hutch doubted that. There had been fear in the woman’s eyes and whatever was happening, she was fearful of it. So as Gina came back from the bathroom again, he smiled at her, poked Starsky on the shoulder to grab his attention, and told them both he was going home to check on Alice. Starsky looked up and nodded.

 

‘See ya in the mornin.’ Bright an’ early huh? I’m gonna take Gina home to her fixer up apartment after this an’ then get some shut eye. I have a feelin’ we’re gonna get lucky with Alice’s case tomorrow’ he grinned.

 

‘Sure thing Starsk. I’ll pick you up at 6:30 an’ we can swing by Mo’s for breakfast first – my treat. What’s her address?’

 

Gina rhymed off the address to Ramsey’s apartment without thinking and Hutch made a note on a scrap of paper in his pocket before saying his final goodbyes

 

‘Hey if you’re buyin’ I could almost make it 6 o’clock’ Starsky agreed happily. His face turned serious. ‘Hope things are ok with Alice.’

 

Hutch gave him a thumbs up and turned to Gina. ‘Look after him, pretty lady’ he said as she shook her head imperceptibly. She pulled him down towards her as though to kiss him. ‘Please, don’t go too far’ she breathed into his ear.

 

‘I won’t. You know where I am if you need me. It’s almost 1 now. An’ I’ll pick him up at 6:30. Don’t worry.’ He squeezed her shoulder and with a final wave of his hand set off home.

 

The drive was quiet and the roads empty and as he drove Hutch mulled over the odd behavior and the please Gina had given him. And yet Starsky was fine. He’d not even hinted that anything was the matter and he’d let Hutch go without any sign that he was worried. Just to be on the safe side, Hutch resolved to weather the brunet’s anger and ring him about 4:00 just to check. With that plan in his head, he was surprised to find the lights on in his house when he arrived outside Venice Place. He’s suspected that Alice was just too tired to stay up and he wondered if she was unwell. He turned off the engine and bounced up the steps, pushing open the front door to see Alice sitting on his sofa with a hanky to her face. She got ready for bed and in the absence of a nightie she’d obviously rooted through Hutch’s wardrobe and was wearing one of his favorite shirts. It was pale blue, almost white and had an embroidered guitar on the back. She looked up sharply as he walked in and he saw that she’d been crying, her eyes red rimmed and watery. He rushed over.

 

Alice, honey. What’s wrong?’ he asked as he sat by her side.

 

She leaned into him and started to weep again. ‘I’m so sorry Hutch. I’ve made things worse for you an’ your girl’ she sobbed, wiping her eyes with the large white hanky.

 

‘My girl? Oh, you mean Sarah? Was she here?’

 

Alice nodded. ‘She came round just after you left. You told me to make myself at home an’ I was tryin’ to get ready for bed. I didn’t want to sleep in that thing I came home from the hospital in, so I didn’t think you’d mind f I used one of your shirts. I’ll wash it, promise’ she said earnestly.

 

The blond smiled. ‘You don’t have to. It’s fine. Go on.’

 

‘Well I’d just showered an’ got changed when there was a knock at the door. At first I thought Janos had maybe found me, but I looked through the peephole an’ it was her – Sarah.’

 

‘Shit!’ Hutch spat.

 

‘Well yeah. Shit is right. I opened the door an’…. Well she saw I was wearin’ your shirt an’ she got the wrong end of the stick. I tried to explain. Tell her it wasn’t what she thought, but she pushed her way in. An’ she was tellin’ me that…. Well she wasn’t exactly complimentary’ Alice blew her nose and sighed.

 

‘She said I was a whore an’ that you weren’t much better. So I told her she was right about me but that you were the sweetest man alive and that she should reconsider her views.’

 

Hutch snorted. ‘Bet that went down a bomb.’

 

‘She has a temper! She told me she’d just come back to collect some things and that I was to tell you that you’re worse than she ever thought. Oh Hutch. I’m so sorry. If I hadn’t been here maybe she’d….’

 

Hutch stroked the woman’s hair and kissed her lightly ‘If you hadn’t been here, it would have turned out just the same. She’s vindictive. I seem to attract ‘em – vindictive women’ he sighed. ‘You didn’t do any harm honey. Maybe you just saved me some time.’

 

But Alice was beside herself with grief and sobbed all the harder. Hutch found her inconsolable and they spent five minutes while the woman cried out the hurt and Hutch held onto her and cuddled her. As the sobbing abated he drew her up so that he could look into her eyes. ‘Better?’ he asked

 

‘Some.’

 

‘Gimme a smile.’

 

‘She said…. Don’t matter’ Alice mumbled

 

‘What? What did she say?’

 

‘The blond woman put her hand up to her newly shorn and still burned in places hair. ‘She said she thought you’d have gone for someone who was at least pretty’ she whispered.

 

The lump in Hutch’s throat solidified and for a moment he couldn’t speak. Instead, he lifted Alice’s chin with his finger and kissed her tenderly on the lips. ‘To me you’re the most beautiful woman in the world honey’ he whispered as they drew apart.

 

Alice smiled sadly. ‘I don’t feel it. I feel so ugly, and dirty and used.’

 

The blond cupped her face in his hands and kissed her again. This time Alice responded and Hutch’s tongue pushed against her lips so that they parted and he explored her mouth delicately. Alice moaned into him and he pulled away, questioning her with his eyes.

 

‘You don’t have to’ she said softly.

 

‘I know’ he responded. ‘But I want to.’ Hutch took Alice by the hand and led her into the bedroom. Suddenly shy after all these years of being naked around men, she stood inside the doorway and grasped Hutch’s shirt to her. Gently the man led her to the bed and she sat on the edge of the mattress, suddenly a teenager again, unsure of what to do.

 

Hutch reached up to cradle her head as he leaned her back onto the bed and she looked up at him trustingly.

 

‘I feel so shy’ she said softly. ‘You make me feel so special.’

 

‘Ssh. Don’t talk. Let me do this for you. Just to show you what a beautiful lady you really are’ the blond murmured as she started to unbutton the shirt. Deftly, he undid it and pushed it from her shoulders as she lay still beneath him.

 

Alice sighed as he trailed his fingers delicately up her flanks and circled her breasts softly. His hands were gentle as he left a trail of fire down between her breasts and kissed down to her navel. She sighed and reached for him to pull him into a kiss. He responded, tasting her again and exploring every inch of her mouth, his hands still caressing her softly. He stroked down the inside of her arms, circling round the inside of her elbows where the skin was satiny soft. She purred beneath him as he moved to her breasts, stroking and kissing every inch of her skin.

 

Gently his hands dipped lower and she opened her legs a little so that he cold explore her secret places, running his fingers over her opening gently so that she mewed and pushed herself up against his questing hand. Finding her sweet spot, he dipped his head and licked delicately as the electric shocks coursed through her body. He replaced lips with teeth and gently nibbled as she moaned above him and as he dipped first one and then a second finger inside her, he could feel her muscles contract around him, drawing him in.

 

Alice I want to make love to you’ he told her, his eyes seeking permission. She nodded briefly.

 

‘I want it too’ she murmured, her eyes closed. She felt the mattress dip as Hutch got off the bed and a moment later he returned having taken off his jeans and shirt. He could feel the heat from her body as he lay close to her, his hand soothing and stroking her as she moaned against him and as he got to his knees, she parted her legs to make room for him, opening her eyes to look up into his crystal blues.

 

‘I’ve wanted you for so long’ she whispered. ‘But it was always so wrong. Now it feels right….. if you’re sure.’

 

Hutch smiled at her. ‘I want to do this for you honey. To prove to you that you’re still beautiful.’ He dipped his body to hers and she sighed as he pushed his way inside her.

 

For Hutch it was a wonderful experience. Even more than his partner, he’d always had to be careful with his girls in case he hurt them. He was a standing joke in the police locker room, comments like “tripod” and “elephant man” being standard. But Alice was different. She seemed to draw him in and as he pushed she took him whole and sighed with pleasure as he started to thrust into her, slowly at first but then with stronger and more rapid strokes until he was carried away on his own rhythm which she followed effortlessly.

 

Their dance went on and on, each of them seeking solace from the other. Taking without being greedy, accepting without artifice. They were suited to each other, both enjoying the pleasure the other’s body could offer and eventually, as Hutch felt his balls pull up in spasm, he climaxed at the same time as the woman and he felt her muscles milk him for his last drop until he could continue no more.

 

He gasped as he lay, still inside her, balanced on his elbows looking down at her flushed face. Gently he kissed her lips and smiled.

 

‘You’re a wonderful woman Alice.’

 

She smiled back happily. ‘And you’re a wonderful ma Ken Hutchinson. But I know you don’t love me.’

 

‘Is that enough?’ he asked, suddenly worried that he’d hurt her.

 

‘For me, yes. For you? It’ll never be enough until you get the right partner. The one who’ll love you unconditionally, no matter what. And that’s’ fine. You have to make your own decisions’ she said softly as she toyed with his hair.

 

And gently, Hutch rolled onto his side by the side of her and they lay together in each other’s arms, exhausted by their passion.

 

 

 

 

Chapter 19

 

‘Are you ready to go?’ Starsky asked at about a quarter past midnight. The disco was still pounding out the music and there were still plenty of couples on the dance floor and although Gina looked tired, she shook her head.

 

‘No, I’m fine. I want to stay a while’ she said, with an odd look in her eyes.

 

Starsky shrugged his shoulders. ‘You’re the boss’ he grinned. ‘But I ought to warn ya, I should’ve turned into a pumpkin 15 minutes ago.’

 

Gina giggled briefly. ‘….and instead you seem to have acquired a parsnip’ she said gazing at the bulge in the brunet’s pants.

 

He snorted. ‘You fault. One look at the most beautiful woman in the world and I turn to stone. What’s a guy to do huh? Wanna go back to my place and take care of it honey?’

 

The woman froze. On her last visit to the ladies bathroom, Ramsey had once again been waiting for her. He’d grabbed her once more and had hissed that he wanted her to bring the cop back to the apartment – he felt in the need for a diversion. Gina had tried to refuse, but the lawyer calmly took out a roll of negatives and waved them at her, reminding her of what was at stake if she didn’t comply and meekly, she’d nodded. So now, this was it and she heard herself say ‘Let’s go back to mine. It’s a bigger bed.’

 

Starsky nodded appreciatively. ‘Ok, your place it is. Wait there while I get your coat.’ As the brunet threaded his way across the dance floor Gina looked around desperately for her boss, but Ramsey was nowhere to be seen. With a sigh, she smiled at her man as Starsky returned, put her jacket around her shoulders and followed as the brunet led the way outside. She got into the car with a mixture of dread and self loathing that she wasn’t strong enough to just tell Ramsey where to drop off, so that he’d leave her, and Starsky alone. But she was weak, and weakness, in Ramsey’s eyes, equated to sport. But tonight, Gina vowed to herself, would be the very last time he ever did this. She’d hire a private detective, or…. or….

 

The drive back to her apartment was quiet. Starsky seemed happy to be invited back and as he pulled into the parking lot and switched off the engine, he took a hold of Gina’s hand and kissed it.

 

‘I love you Gina Bianchi’ he whispered as his lips grazed the back of her hand. She smiled back at him, but the smile didn’t light up her eyes.

 

‘I love you too Dave. We should get inside. I feel a little chilly.’

 

The two walked through the deserted lot and got into the elevator up to the penthouse suite and as the door whooshed open with a whisper, Gina walked out of the small car, followed by the curly haired cop. As she put the key in the lock and pushed the door open, she thought she saw a movement from inside and as Starsky walked into the apartment and closed the door behind him, the light came on and swift as a flash, Ian Ramsey came out of the shadows and grabbed Gina by the arm, pulling her to him and wedging a Colt pistol into the crook of her neck.

 

Gina screamed as Starsky reached reflexively for his gun, coming up empty handed a second later. Who in their right mind would wear his piece to a night out at the disco with his girl? Even Hutch, who he’d once famously said wouldn’t visit his mother without his gun had been without it that evening. Gina screamed again and the brunet glared angrily at Ramsey

 

‘What the fuck are you doin’ man?’

 

‘Protecting my interests, and maybe having a little fun along the way.’

 

‘Just let her go. We can talk about this. Just put the gun down and let her go huh?’ Starsky said slowly and softly.

 

‘That’s right cop. All the right moves from “hostage taking 101” huh? Talk nicely to the gun wielding maniac and try to make him see sense? The thing is, that only works when the gun wielding maniac is a maniac. I’m not. I’m perfectly sane an’ I know just what I’m doin’.’

 

‘Hey, you got the gun buddy. You’re callin’ the shots. I just wanted to find out why’ Starsky muttered, his hands now at shoulder height showing that he wasn’t armed.

 

‘You’re dead right there. I do call all the shots. As for why? You were getting too close.’

 

Starsky’s eyebrows arched in question. ‘Too close? To you? What the…. The studio? It was you behind those films?’

 

Ramsey’s eyes showed confusion but his hand didn’t waiver from Gina’s neck. ‘Films? What the hell are you talking about?’ He shook the woman in his arms ‘You little tramp. You said you wouldn’t tell him.’

 

Gina screamed again, tears streaming down her face. ‘I didn’t. I swear I didn’t. Ian, please believe me, I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t want Dave to know.’

 

‘Know about what?’ the brunet asked, confused. He was looking for the guy who made the snuff films, but obviously Ramsey was talking about something else completely.

 

‘Maybe we should let the detective see what we’re talking about huh? Shall we give him a private showing darling?’ Ramsey asked. He motioned Starsky further into the apartment with a nod of his head and indicated a hard, wooden, ladder backed chair, sitting on its own and obviously placed carefully in the middle of the room.

 

‘Sit down David, make yourself comfortable.’ Ramsey walked Gina into the living room behind Starsky and as the cop sat down carefully on the chair, Ramsey took out a length of thin rope from his pocket and handed it to the woman.

 

‘Tie his hands to the chair and make it good. I’ll be testing the knots.’

 

Gina lurched forward and fell to her knees by the chair, fumbling with the rope. ‘I’m sorry’ she whispered as she took a hold of Starsky’s right wrist and started to tie it to the back of the chair. ‘He made me. He’s been blackmailing me. I didn’t want to…. I just…. Oh God!’ she turned from her task ‘Ian, please don’t do this…. Don’t make me do this.’

 

Ramsey grinned at her. ‘Too late for that now darling. Carry on with your job and we can give Detective Starsky a show.’ He stood back as reluctantly Gina bound her boyfriend’s other wrist to the chair, shuffling to one side as Ramsey tested the bonds. All were tight and Starsky could already feel pins and needles in his hands.

 

‘Dave, listen to me. I never meant to hurt you, honest I didn’t. Ian made me. Before you watch…. he made me and I’m so sorry. I love you Dave, I love you so much! It was….. I was angry at you and he took advantage, it’s no excuse but…..’

 

The lawyer grabbed hold of Gina’s hair and hauled her to her feet where she stood sobbing.

 

‘Save your breath you silly little girl’ Ramsey snapped. ‘He has no idea what you’re talking about, have you cop? You weren’t to know that your little slut of s girlfriend turns out to be a real hot little porn star.’

 

A moment later, the gun was back in place at the side of her neck and he pulled her over so that he could reach the button on the VCR. As the woman gave a strangled cry, the images on the blank, white wall opposite jumped to life and Starsky watched in open mouthed horror as he saw himself and his girl on the big bed in the apartment.

 

‘You sick bastard’ the brunet yelled, struggling in his chair as Ramsey crossed the room slowly and whipped the pistol across the cop’s temple. Blood started to seep from the cut and the breath whistled through Starsky’s teeth. He forced his ringing head up to stare Ramsey in the eyes.

 

‘Shudup cop. Watch and enjoy huh?’ Ramsey snarled as he held Gina by the throat.

 

oOoOoOoOoOoOoOo

 

‘Its nothing I can’t handle. I just….. Hutch I know you love Dave, almost as much as I do. Just be there for him huh? Keep close tonight, and don’t let him out of your sight……don’t let him out of your sight……don’t let him out of your sight.’ Gina’s words echoed round and round Hutch’s dream until finally he shook himself awake and sat bolt upright in his bed. “Don’t let him out of your sight”, and what had he done? He’d gone home to sweet Alice and her comfort and left the brunet alone. Something in Gina’s voice came back to haunt him now and Hutch flung back the sheet and swung his legs to the floor, grabbing for the telephone. Almost automatically the blond dialed Starsky’s telephone number and waited, the receiver jammed to his ear as he counted the rings…. Three….four……five. Shit. Starsky always picked up by now!

 

With his heart in his mouth, Hutch fumbled through the bits of paper he kept in some loose kind of order in his address book and found the number for Gina’s apartment. Sending up a silent prayer, he dialed that number and closed his eyes willing someone to pick up, but once again, his prayers went unanswered and the ring tone continued for some time before automatically disconnecting itself.

 

Now officially worried, the blond got himself out of bed and dressed quickly, tiptoeing from the room so as not to disturb Alice. The woman slumbered on regardless and a moment later, Hutch was outside and in the cool night air and getting into his car. He had a fair idea where he’d find Starsky and his girl, but as to what condition he’d find them in? Hutch cursed long and hard as he drove. Why hadn’t he just listened more carefully to what Gina had said? Why hadn’t he just offered to wait and go home with his partner? Why had he allowed his feelings of jealousy towards Gina and her ready access to Starsky’s body to interfere with his gut feelings? Shit! Now those feelings were kicking in. and they weren’t good feeling either. They were the feelings the blond always got when his partner was in trouble.

 

In his rush to get to Starsky, Hutch took a wrong turn, cursed again long and hard and reversed out of the narrow side street back onto the main highway speeding up to make up for lost time until he pulled up outside the apartment block. Getting out, Hutch checked his gun as he ran for the elevator and punched the button for the top floor. He leaned against the wall, hands braced against the cool, shiny metal as he waited for the car to take him up to the top floor. It seemed to take an age – too long, too long. Hutch could almost feel the anxiety rising like a damp, suffocating blanket up his chest and into his throat until he felt he could breathe no more.

 

The car stopped and the doors opened into the tiny landing with a door opposite. Gently, his gun at the ready, Hutch pushed the door open and walked in. the room was brightly lit and he stopped as he saw the living room door ajar, his partner tied to a chair and Ian Ramsey standing with a gun drilling into Gina’s neck.

 

Chapter 20

 

Ramsey looked up sharply as Hutch burst into the room and grinned wolfishly. ‘Well isn’t this cozy? Now I have all three of you, the games can begin in earnest.’

 

‘Drop the gun Ramsey’ Hutch ordered, his own Colt Python aimed unwaveringly at the lawyer’s head.

 

‘Uh uh. You drop yours, unless you think you can take me out before I blow her brains out. It’s your choice, but I don’t personally like the odds’ Ramsey sneered.

 

Hutch glared at the tall man and then looked at his partner. Starsky was bleeding from a wound on his head, but otherwise seemed to be unhurt. ‘You ok buddy?’ Hutch asked, ignoring Ramsey.

 

‘Been better’ Starsky grunted.

 

‘Are ya hurt?’

 

‘Oh for God’s sake. Enough with the “Hearts and Flowers”! Put the dammed gun down before I decide to finish all of ya’ Ramsey yelled, pushing the muzzle of his pistol further into Gina’s neck so that she yelped.

 

Hutch nodded quickly and bent down. ‘OK, ok, the gun’s goin’ down’ he said slowly and dropped the colt onto the carpet. Standing straight, he put his hands in the air at shoulder height. ‘It’s down. Just don’t hurt her any more huh? We can talk about this Ramsey. We can…’

 

‘I don’t think so. What’s the point of talking when a picture can replace a thousand words? Wanna watch the movie? Your partner is having a helluva show. Isn’t that right David? I think you should sit down there, opposite your partner, just so that you can enjoy the expression on his face. It’s priceless! He never thought he’d make it into the movies.’

 

‘You’re a sick bastard Ramsey’ Starsky snarled.

 

‘And I’m also the one with the gun. I told you to shudup. You seemed to enjoy the night. Why don’t we have a repeat performance? Only this time, I’d really like to see some man on man action. Wouldn’t you? Tell me. Have you ever wondered what it’d be like with another man? Maybe with Blondie over there?’

 

‘Oh my God, you are sick’ Starsky grunted. ‘Not only sick you’re crazy. What the fuck are ya…NOOO don’t hurt her!’ the brunet yelled as Ramsey took the pistol and hit Gina on the head with it. She cried out, her hands going to the site of the blow and coming away a moment later spotted with blood.

 

‘Ok, ya made your point. Just don’t hurt her no more’ Starsky said softly. ‘Just don’t hurt her, ok?’

 

‘It’s your choice David. I won’t hurt her so long as you do what I ask.’

 

‘And that would be?’

 

Ramsey grinned. ‘You saw me in the video store and you saw what sort of videos they were. The store owner leant me one just to see if I liked it…. and I did. It wasn’t the sort I usually like, but there again; I’m only an amateur film maker, as you can see. Still, I think it’s time for me to branch out a little. I want to watch you and Blondie over there get it on.’

 

‘You want me an’ Hutch to….. No!’

 

Ramsey took the gun from Gina’s neck and aimed at the floor. He loosed one round from the silenced weapon into the carpet and then brought the hot metal of the muzzle back to the woman’s neck. There was a sizzle of burning flesh and Gina screamed, jerking in Ramsey’s arms. ‘That was just to let you know that I’m not joking.’

 

‘And once you’ve video’d it, what’re ya gonna do then? Hutch asked. ‘We’ll hunt you down. The prisons are full of guys who’d have so much fun with a flake like you.’

 

‘You won’t have the opportunity Hutchinson. Once your little show is over, the cops will find the three of you dead in this apartment, obviously you died after Starsky found you with his girl. A crime of passion. Meanwhile, I have my house in order and the offer of a new start elsewhere. It’s foolproof.’

 

‘You have it all planned then?’

 

‘I do. And the plan starts now with the video tape rolling. Hutchinson, I want you to walk over to your partner, kneel in front of him and give him the best blow job he’s ever had. Oh…. and just in case you think you can fool me….. if he doesn’t cum, she’s toast.’

 

Hutch glared at Ramsey who continued to drill into Gina’s neck with the pistol. Slowly he got up from his chair and approached his bound partner kneeling between Starsky’s knees as he reached for the zip on the brunet’s jeans. He withdrew his hand.

 

‘I…I can’t’ he said softly, looking up into troubled indigo eyes. Starsky looked back levelly, piercing into Hutch’s soul

 

‘Hutch, he’s gonna kill Gina if ya don’t. Just….. Just do it buddy, huh?’ Beneath the bravado, Starsky swallowed down the bile he felt rising in his stomach. How bad could this be? He knew Hutch, right? He knew him better than any other person in the world, so how bad could this feel? They’d been forced to do things before – things they’d sooner forget, and yet….. this wasn’t any other time; this time his partner was being forced to perform a sex act on him while a flake with a gun held his girl hostage. Starsky closed his eyes and waited, determined he’d get through this and live to find Ramsey and make him pay.

 

Again Hutch reached for the zip fastener and with shaking fingers, he lowered it, allowing access to the brunet’s body. Although flaccid, Starsky’s penis was still sizable and very slowly Hutch reached for it, hearing a tiny hiss from his buddy as he touched it for the second time. How often in these last few days had he wished he could do this again? And yet now, when the opportunity was finally here, he was wishing with all his heart that he didn’t have to. If only the circumstances were different….. He hesitated and heard his partner’s voice, low and intense.

 

‘Hutch…. C’mon Pal. S’fine….just…..’

 

The blond took a deep breath, breathing in the unique musky scent that was pure Starsky. He closed his eyes and hoped for calm. What had Sarah done for him? Could he reproduce it now, when the chips were down? On the one hand, he wanted this over with as quickly as possible, on the other, a small part (such a tiny part) of him wanted to pleasure the brunet and to hell with the audience. Opening his eyes, he took the cock gently in his hand, feeling the soft, silky skin of the shaft. Lovingly, he caressed it, the memory of it on the palm of his hand now coming to life as he felt it again for real. God, what he wouldn’t give for a quiet bedroom, wine, music, soft lights! Almost hesitantly he lowered his head until he could take a first lick of the shaft. Above him, he felt Starsky tense. This wasn’t natural; this was so difficult. Maybe if they’d been in the privacy of a small room…..or even here, but without threats hanging over them. With a gun pointing at them and the woman, however, any kind of sexual activity was almost impossible.

 

Starsky braced himself for the inevitable. He’d had scores of girls blow him and he knew what to expect, but somehow, this was so different. With Hutch between his legs, the situation was at once intolerable and yet somehow so right and the brunet felt confused, dirty and hurt. Why should he have feelings like this for Hutch? The blond was his partner and yes, he loved the man, but as a brother, not as a lover. Slowly memories his recovery and of Hutch massaging his aching body resurfaced and he replayed the strong, slightly rough hands working over his body. Starsky gave a strangled moan, angry at himself for feeling as he did. He wasn’t gay… he wasn’t. This was wrong; he was wrong; Ramsey was so wrong and yet so right!

 

Ramsey seemed to think so too, for a moment later, and with Gina still in tow, he moved over to Starsky’s side, broke the top off a tiny glass ampoule and thrust it under the brunet’s nose.

 

‘Having trouble getting it up cop? Need some encouragement?’ he asked, his hand on the back of Starsky’s head so that he couldn’t look away.

 

The curly haired man breathed in the amyl nitrate and immediately felt a tightening in his balls. Starsky’s cock sprung to life and Hutch hesitated one second longer before closing his eyes and enveloping as much of the length as he could in his mouth.

 

Above him, Starsky bucked once on the chair, the chemical intoxicant taking over his responses for a moment as he thrust up into Hutch’s mouth his reactions now running purely on reflex and chemicals. He had no choice, the popper having taken over his body and with his eyes closed and head flung back, the brunet gave an animalistic moan.

 

‘Oh shiiiiit’ he gasped as the sensations threatened to overwhelm him. He’d never used that particular recreational drug before and the effects took him completely by surprise.

 

By the side of them, Ramsey grinned.

 

‘That’s’ better, isn’t it? C’mon Hutchinson, lets have some more enthusiasm. He likes it wet and hard, don’t’cha David?’ as he asked, the images still playing on the wall showed Starsky thrusting into Gina, his head back and his hands balled into fists as he climaxed into his girlfriend’s mouth.

 

Hutch continued. He knew he had no choice but to complete his task, getting himself into a rhythm as he licked up and down the solid, heavy shaft. The skin was so much softer, silkier, like satin on his tongue and Hutch’s mouth stretched wide to accommodate most of the length and girth. Starsky was big, there ws no doubt about that, and the circumcised end of his penis was delightfully sensitive. Hutch played it, I tongue lightly circling the cut tip and then flicking more powerfully over it. In some perverse way, Hutch wanted to make this good for his partner. It wasn’t the best place to be doing this for sure, and the blond didn’t appreciate the audience, but still, if it had to be done, Hutch wanted to do it well. Especially as the bestter he performed, the faster Starsky would cum, so that the embarrassing show would be over.

 

As he continued to suck, above him Starsky bucked again and again on the chair, fighting with himself and his body’s reactions, disgusted at himself that he could be turned on in such circumstances, but yet losing the fight nonetheless. He felt his balls tighten and he flung his head back, ready to ride the crest of pleasure when suddenly Ramsey took a handful of flaxen hair and pulled Hutch away.

 

‘Not too fast boys. You were enjoying that far too much.’

 

Starsky grunted, his breath whistling in his throat as he fought for composure as his cock twitched, seeking out more pleasure from someone. Ramsey swapped the gun from Gina’s neck to Hutch’s, pulling the blond cop away by his hair and stretching the golden neck back as he lodged the gun against Hutch’s throat.

 

‘Gina, he looks like he’s in trouble. Care to finish the job?’ Ramsey told her as reluctantly the woman took Hutch’s place between Starsky legs. The brunet glared at the lawyer and was about to protest when he felt the woman’s lips on him. With the amyl nitrate still in his system, the brunet had little control over his body. His hormones took over and as Gina lapped and sucked at his cock, he gave a final rough shout and shot his load into her mouth. Gina coughed and gurgled as she tried to swallow it down and finally, as Starsky started to come down from his high, she released him and shuffled away, wiping the back of her hand over her mouth. Ramsey seemed delighted as Starsky slumped against his bonds on the chair endorphins flooding his body.

 

‘Did you enjoy that?’ he asked

 

The brunet raised his head. ‘Go to hell’ he managed to gasp softly. He looked at his girlfriend on the ground next to him. ‘Gina honey. Are you ok? Gina?’

 

The woman looked away so that he wouldn’t see the tears in her eyes as Ramsey continued.

 

‘And now for the finale. Gina, untie your boyfriend, good girl.’

 

Gina looked up hopefully. Was this the end? Was Ramsey letting them go? She scrambled round to the back of the chair and started to untie the ropes round Starsky’s wrists. They were tight and slick with sweat and some blood but she managed to work at the knots and slowly they came undone. With a hiss, Starsky’s arms fell forwards and he sat rubbing at the grazes as the life returned to them. He contemplated jumping the lawyer there and then, but the gun was still firmly fixed on Hutch’s throat and he couldn’t take the chance with his partner’s life. Instead he glared at the tall man.

 

Ramsey smiled back. ‘I want you to walk over to the bed and kneel on the floor by the foot of the bed. And then Gina, I want you to tie his hands to the posts there. Quickly, we don’t have all night.’

 

Starsky stood on shaky legs. He fixed his eyes on Hutch’s in silent communication. What now buddy?

 

Hutch returned the look, his neck still stretched painfully back. Go with it an’ we’ll find some way out huh?

 

As Ramsey dug the gun into Hutch’s neck and the blond stifled his hiss of pain, Starsky reluctantly took up the required position at the foot of the bed as Gina once more tied his wrists. The girl said nothing, obviously traumatized into silence by the sequence of events and as she took hold of Starsky’s right hand, to secure it to the bed, he managed to stroke down the side of her face.

 

‘S’ok honey. It’ll be fine’ he lied with a smile on his face. ‘We still have time to get out.’

 

Gina smiled wanly back, her heart stopping as she tethered her man’s bleeding right wrist to the bedpost. Unable to witness any more, she looked away as Ramsey and Hutch approached.

 

This time, Starsky’s arms were forced wide and he had to stand, bending over the bed to accommodate the position. He waited, knowing what was coming next and bracing himself. Starsky didn’t have to wait long as Ramsey hauled Hutch to his feet and steered the flaxen haired cop towards the bed. As he got there, he let Hutch go and once again took a hold of Gina, the gun this time to her temple. Hutch stood by his bound partner, uncertain and unable to look the brunet in the eye. The brunet’s legs were trembling and there was tension in his arms as he half hung from his bonds and as Hutch appeared by his side, Starsky managed to turn his head sideways and lock eyes with the flaxen haired cop. Hutch looked back, unable to think of anything reassuring to say.

 

‘I think you know what’s coming next, don’t you?’ Ramsey asked.

 

‘Why don’t ya explain it to me?’ Hutch said, playing for time

 

‘I want you to fuck your partner. Simple as that. And make it good, otherwise….’ He ground the gun into Gina’s head and she gave a frightened cry.

 

The blond looked at his trembling, bound partner. Starsky was looking over his shoulder at him, fear and loathing in his eyes.

 

‘No, I….’

 

‘You want me to kill her? I will you know. Maybe if you do as I say, I’ll just kill the two of you and take her with me.’

 

‘I can’t….’

 

‘Oh but you can, and you will. You’re a cop. You’re meant to try to save lives. I know your kind Hutchinson. You’d never live with yourself if you didn’t do everything in your power to keep her alive. And right now, everything in your power means ass fucking him. Now get to it. We don’t have all night.’ As if to emphasise the point, Ramsey put his hand round Gina’s neck and started to squeeze. She let out a terrified gurgle as her breath was cut off and Hutch put his hands up in defeat.

 

‘Ok ok, just don’t hurt her. I’ll….’

 

He turned back to his partner. ‘Starsk, I….’

 

‘Don’t. Please God don’t’ the brunet mumbled. This was worse than anything he’d had to endure before and his mind was closing down, focusing only on images from his past. Images of the POW camp in ‘Nam and of the VC soldiers taking American men, tethering them over barrels in the muddy square f the camp and raping the over and over again until their pitiful pleas rent the night air and the blood and other fluids spilled down their legs. He let out a low moan as he tore himself back to th present. This is Hutch….not ‘Nam. Hutch would be careful….Hutch wouldn’t intentionally hurt him. And yet it did nothing to calm his fears and as Hutch put his hand on Starsky’s back, the brunet flinched and looked away.

 

‘He’s gonna kill her buddy.’

 

‘I know. I just don’t…. can’t. Fuck Hutch, just….do it’

 

‘Just close your eyes Starsk. I’ll make it quick. I’ll…’ Hutch unzipped himself, but the trauma of the situation had got to him too and there was no way he’d be able to do anything with the state of his own dick. Ramsey grinned and broke another phial of amyl.

 

‘Be my guest’ he said mirthlessly.

 

Hutch took it and inhaled, feeling the warmth of the drug run though his body, making a beeline for Little Kenny. A moment later Little Kenny wasn’t little any more and Hutch took a calming breath as he reached round his partner’s waist and lowered Starsky’s jeans. As he positioned himself behind the brunet, his hands on Starsky’s hips, he could feel the shudders running through his friend’s body and, wanting to make this as quick as possible. There was no way he could prepare Starsky. Ordinarily, he would have used his fingers to prepare his lover to accept him, easing and teasing until tight muscles were warm and pliant, but now all he could do was hope he wouldn’t hurt his partner too much in his haste to et this over with and without and warning, he pushed himself forcefully inside Starsky’s virgin ass.

 

‘Nooo…..Jesus Christ….nooooo’ the brunet hissed as he felt his body cleaved in two by the huge intruder. The pain ripping through his muscles was so intense that for a moment he thought he’d pass out. And then that pain passed and he felt the enormous bulk of Hutch’s cock wedged deep inside him, filling him as he’d never been filled before and his mind closed down completely. Starsky was no longer a cop, hell bent on retribution; he was a virgin riding out the terrors of his first encounter. ‘Please God, no…..Hutch…..hurts….’ he whispered pulling desperately at his bound hands as Hutch slowly pulled himself out part way, then thrust back in again, blocking his ears against the brunet’s pitiful pleas.

 

As Hutch allowed himself to give way to the effects of the chemical in his body, he slammed into Starsky again and again, lasting no more than a minute before he shot his own seed deep into his partner’s bowels. Beneath him, he felt the brunet shake and heard another low moaning “Nooooooo” before he eased himself out of the tight warm tunnel and cursed at the trickle of blood that followed. He’d never meant to hurt the brunet and now that he’d performed the rape on his partner, Hutch felt sick to his stomach and fought the urge to throw up right there in the bedroom.

 

Starsky collapsed onto his knees, his shoulders pulled savagely back by his bonds and seemed insensate as Hutch turned away angrily. He’d done it. He’d fucked his best friend and put an end to the dreams of wooing and romancing his buddy. This was no loving act. He’d brutally and uncaringly raped his partner and even with the gun at Gina’s throat, there was no excuse for what he’d done.

 

Ramsey was in awe. He’d seen Starsky’s body on the video and had been a little jealous of the size of the brunet. But he seemed small in comparison to Hutch. The blond was huge and Ramsey stared slack jawed at the gaping hole that had only seconds ago housed that enormous phallus. No wonder the brunet was shaking uncontrollably!

 

For a moment all thoughts of his three hostages were eradicated from his mind by the images he’d just encountered. He was amazed and at the same time awed, his gun forgotten in his hand as he breathed heavily, his hand twitching against the bulge in his own pants.

 

The hiatus was just the moment Gina needed. With amazing speed, she stooped, picked Hutch’s abandoned gun up from the ground, reversed it, and brought it down hard on the back of the lawyer’s head. Poleaxed and surprised by the turn of events, Ramsey’s eyes showed a moment’s surprise before rolling up into his head as his body crumpled onto the carpet.

 

Hutch took his cue and with shaking hands reached for the bonds that held Starsky upright. As he released the second rope, the brunet pushed himself up from the bed and headed immediately for the bathroom without a backwards glance.

 

‘Starsk, you’re hurt. Let me check you out buddy’ Hutch started after him.

 

‘M’fine. Just leave me be’ the brunet grunted as he shut the door behind him.

 

Chapter 21

 

There was silence for a moment in the living room. Gina knelt on the floor, the gun still held loosely in her hand as Hutch collected his wits around him. Shaking himself out of his shock, he swiftly tied Ramsey’s hands behind his back and left the lawyer still unconscious on the floor.

 

Next, he checked on Gina. The woman was terrified and shaking, her face grey as she slowly descended into shock. Hutch pulled her to her feet and guided her over to one of the easy chairs in the living room. He fumbled about in Ramsey’s drinks cabinet and returned a moment later with a brandy bubble containing an inch of amber liquid.

 

‘Here, drink this’ he said softly. ‘It’ll steady your nerves.’

 

‘Where are you going?’ she asked as she took the glass.

 

‘To check on Starsk. Hold on. I’ll be right back.’

 

Hutch went to the bathroom door and knocked quietly. ‘Starsk? Are you ok buddy?’

 

‘I said I was fine’ the curt reply came from the interior of the room. Starsky had managed to get himself into the bathroom, had been quietly sick and was now using Ramsey’s wash cloths to clean away the blood that trickled down the inside of his leg. His mind was numb, unable to take in what had just occurred. He didn’t blame Hutch for doing what he had to do. Gina would be dead now if he hadn’t. But the violation; the assault on him by his best friend was more than he could bear and he wanted to lock himself away and never have to face those crystal blue eyes ever again.

 

Hutch wasn’t for giving up that easily though and he rapped on the door harder this time.

 

‘Starsk, please buddy. I need to come in. We need to talk. Please? Open the door huh?’

 

Slowly the sound of the bolt being withdrawn led to the door opening a crack and Hutch walked into the bathroom as Starsky stood with his back to him. Hutch reached out to touch his partner, but Starsky flinched away.

 

‘Don’t touch me.’

 

‘What?’ the words were like a bullet through the heart to the blond. ‘Starsk, I did what I had to do. I’m sorry buddy, truly I am.’

 

‘I know. I know why ya did it, an’ I’m grateful it was you an’ not someone else. But…’

 

‘But what?’

 

‘Nuthin.’

 

‘Uh huh. Not nuthin. Tell me’ Hutch persisted.

 

The curly haired man whirled, anger in his eyes – anger, and hurt. ‘Tell ya what? That it’s fine? That everythin’ is ok an’ we can just get back into the Torino an’ drive away as though nuthin happened? Well I can’t Hutch, I can’t. Call me shallow or crazy or a coward if ya want, but I can’t just ignore this. I can’t sweep it under the carpet like it never happened. Coz it did. You were forced to fuck me. And not only that, but to make it extra special, my girl had to watch!’ Starsky’s body shook so violently, that he fell back against the wall, clawing at the pale blue tiles for support.

 

Hutch closed his eyes in pain. No, it would never be the same again. All those months of yearning to touch his partner, hoping against hope that Starsky might just feel the same way about him were gone, like so much smoke, and in their place was a ragged, raw wound that he doubted even eternity would heal.

 

There was nothing more to say. Apologies seemed hollow and empty. What was the use of wasting the words? And apart from that, what was he apologizing for? He’d done what he was forced to do; forced, so that he could save their lives. The blond swallowed down the lump in his throat.

 

‘So what do you wanna do now? Ramsey’s out cold in the other room. Ya gonna take him in? Throw the book at him?’

 

Pained indigo eyes looked up sharply. ‘No. I can’t’ Starsky said with an edge of panic in his voice. He couldn’t bear the thought of having to write a statement about what had happened. Knowing Ramsey and his connections, the lawyer would never plead guilty. There would be some fancy get out and the very idea of a trial….. ‘No’ the brunet said again.

 

Hutch read his partner’s mind perfectly, the same thoughts having run through his own head. ‘Then what?’ he asked.

 

‘Dunno.’

 

‘Starsk, we have to do something. And if we aren’t takin’ him in, then what?’

 

‘Lose him’ the brunet grunted. ‘Take him to the state limits an’ lose him, with a threat never to let him set foot in California again.’

 

‘You mean that? You’d really just let him go?’

 

‘I don’t know what else to do Hutch. I can’t face writin’ down what’s happened to me… to us. Hell, I can’t even bear to think about it right now. An’ we can’t just leave him here. What else is there?’

 

Hutch nodded. ‘Ok. I see your point, an’ I agree. But you aren’t in any fit state to drive anyone anywhere. You’re hurt. Can ya get yourself back home? I’ll deal with Ramsey.’

 

The brunet nodded wearily. ‘Sure, but what about Gina?’

 

‘Let me go see to her. She’s as badly shaken up as we are. I left her with some brandy.’

 

‘She’s been to hell an’ back coz of Ramsey’ Starsky said softly. ‘An’ I though she acted like that coz she didn’t love me.’

 

Hutch padded out into the living room, coming back a moment later with a thunderstruck look on his face

 

‘She’s gone.’

 

‘What?’

 

‘Gina. She’s gone.’

 

‘She can’t be’ Starsky snapped, heading out into the living room. ‘We were only a few minutes. What the…..’

 

‘We were gone long enough for her to have written this buddy. I’m so sorry’ Hutch handed a note to his partner with a frown. Starsky took it and read it under his breath.

 

Dave, I have to leave, I can’t face anyone after tonight.

Don’t try to look for me, you won’t find me.

I’m leaving the country.

I love you

 

He looked up. ‘No….she’s…..Noooooo?’

 

‘Starsk, you’re in shock babe. You should get yourself home. Can you drive? I’ll take Ramsey and deal with him an’ maybe look for her along the way. She can’t have gone too far.’

 

‘She’s….I um….yeah, ‘k. Just get that fuckin’ bastard outa here huh? I just….’

 

Hutch watched his partner’s face crumple, the hours of strain finally taking their toll. Instinctively, he reached for Starsky’s arm to hold him and offer some support and was once more rejected as the brunet pulled himself sharply away. Hutch closed his eyes in despair.

 

‘Starsk, please….. I’m sorry buddy, for….’

 

The curly haired cop turned away, the palms of his hands grinding into his hot, tired eyes. ‘Just go. I’ll be fine.’

 

‘You’re not fine buddy, you’re hurtin’. Let me…..’

 

Starsky whirled, an angry scowl creasing his featured into deep creases. ‘I said I’m fine!’ He yelled, his voice loud in the confines of the living room. ‘I’m fine. Just go.’

 

‘Um….ok. I’ll take Ramsey and um….. Are you sure you’re…’ Hutch stopped as he saw Starsky’s shoulder muscles bunch together ‘….ok, I’m going. I’ll check in with ya later, ok?’

 

The brunet watched as Hutch pulled the now semi conscious Ramsey to his feet. Was he doing the right thing in letting the lawyer go? Was he taking the coward’s way out in not testifying? As Hutch pulled Ramsey up, Starsky crossed the room.

 

‘Wait’ he snarled, taking a handful of Ramsey’s hair in his hand and jerking the lawyer’s head up. Pale eyes forced themselves open and Ramsey stared at Starsky with fear and loathing. The sentiment was echoed in the brunet’s pained indigo eyes.

 

‘My friend here wanted to take you in. I wanted to shoot ya, right here an’ now. My friend wouldn’t let me’ Starsky snarled, shaking Ramsey’s head for extra effect. ‘My friend says we should let the goons in Folsom have their way with ya. Ya like rough sex? Believe me, if you were in there, you’d get more kink than you could ever imagine. They did an autopsy once, on a guy like you who was an inmate. Found a pint of semen in his stomach. Is that rough enough for ya Ramsey? Is that sick enough for ya?’

 

The lawyer nodded his head, his eyes still fixed on the crazed brunet in front of him. Starsky’s eyes still held the threat of retribution in them and even with Hutch’s strong arms around him, Ramsey knew there would be no escape if Starsky was to let fly. Suddenly the hunter and become the hunted and all the pain and suffering he’d put the curly haired cop through in the past weeks was coming back to haunt him. The law man’s mind was calculating odds, wondering how he could back himself out of this situation with his life and his limbs in tact, because just then he doubted Starsky would care about losing his badge over killing him. He licked his lips.

 

‘What do you want?’

 

‘What do I want? I want this never to have happened, that’s what I want. I want my old life back, when my partner was my partner and not my rapist…’

 

Hutch’s heart gave a lurch as he heard the brunet’s words and yet they were true. He was a rapist, although there were mitigating circumstances. Those circumstances did not, however, alter the fact that Starsky was a victim in all of this. He held on to Ramsey all the tighter as Starsky continued.

 

‘….I want a life where I’d never even heard of Ian Ramsey, an’ ordinarily, I’d want a world where you got to suffer as much as I’m sufferin’ now. But ya see Ramsey, that’s where you an’ me differ. I said right back at the beginning that I have scruples. I have feelin’s and thats somethin’ you’ll never have. It aint no point in us takin’ you in, coz all your fancy lawyer friends would just gather around an’ come up with some fancy get out clause. So that aint gonna cut it. We gotta think of sumthin else, an’ I’m bettin’ that all your fancy customers wouldn’t take kindly to knowin’ that the Almighty Ian Ramsey makes filthy videos in his spare time. I bet we aint the first subjects huh? How many other customers have ya videoed when they didn’t know?’

 

Ramsey blanched and struggled ineffectually in Hutch’s grasp.

 

‘Uh huh? I thought so. So here’s the deal, sucker. You get out of here without a scratch on that freakin’ face of yours an’ my partner takes you to the state border an’ you hot foot it across the line an’ never come back into California. And in the meantime, Hutch ‘n me, we take your stash of videos an’ we keep ‘em somewhere real safe, just in case you get any funny ideas. How does that cut it with ya?’

 

‘I don’t have a choice do I?’ the lawyer said softly. His business head told him that this was the best he could hope for. He’d be alive and able to start up again elsewhere. ‘What about my business and my partners?’

 

‘You’re gonna leave ‘em a note. Things got too much for ya, the pressure too great. You went nuts an’ you’ve decided to skip the country. Oh, an’ if you even think about makin’ contact with any of ‘em, or stagin’ a comeback, me an’ Blondie here will be waitin’ got that punk?’

 

Ramsey nodded weakly and Starsky let go of his hair, balling his hands into fists to stop himself from causing more damage to that smarmy face. ‘Get him outa here an’ I’ll see to the evidence’ the brunet sighed wearily. ‘Just get him the hell outa here.’

 

Chapter 22 – eight days later

 

Hutch drove over to Starskys’ apartment with foreboding. Each day since he’d taken Ramsey from his penthouse suite and to the Nevada border, he’d come by for his partner to find the brunet morose and uncommunicative. Starsky was hurting, he knew that, and not just in a physical way. Hell, Hutch was hurting too and what the blond really wanted to do was to have a long, quiet and uninterrupted heart to heart talk with his buddy. Each time he proposed it though, he was met by a blank stare, a shrug of tightly clenched shoulders or a curt shake of a curly head.

 

For Hutch, the nights were the worst. That was the time he missed his partner the most, when they’d finished work and, once upon a time, would have driven to the Pits for a beer and to catch up on the local gossip with Huggy. Or maybe call for a pizza and take it back to their apartments, talking about the happenings of the day. Companionship was the cornerstone of their relationship and right now, companionship was the last thing Starsky seemed to want.

 

While the blond tried to keep his mind occupied with work, however, his partner had other, less wholesome ploys for distracting himself and now, as Hutch drew his car to a stop outside Starsky’s house, he saw that once again, the curtains were still closed and Starsky wasn’t ready for work. ‘Aww Starsk. What’re ya doin’ to yourself buddy?’ he muttered as he got out and walked tiredly up the steps to knock on the front door. Time there was, and not too long ago, when knocking would have been undreamed of, but with the way Starsky had been since…… Hutch sighed and hammered once again on the dumb wood before cracking the door open and walked inside the darkened apartment.

 

As he stepped inside, the blond saw the bedroom door standing ajar and he was just about to call out to his partner to get a wriggle on when he brought himself up short, listening.

 

‘Oh baby, yeah….Oh my god! Ohmygod, ohmygod, yeah, do that again honey. Harder, do it harder.’ Starsky’s sex husky voice echoed around the abandoned living room and a moment later he heard a feminine giggle and a rough shout as his buddy’s climax became obvious.

 

Moments later, a naked girl slunk from the bedroom, winked at Hutch and unhurriedly walked to the bathroom. A second later the shower started and as Hutch sat down on the sofa and waited, a rumple faced and disheveled brunet appeared at the door of his bedroom, scratching at his chest and stretching luxuriously.

 

Starsky scowled at the flaxen haired cop and then checked out the clock on his kitchen wall. ‘You’re early’ he grunted.

 

‘Oh, I dunno. I was just in time to catch the final act’ Hutch replied quietly.

 

‘Ya can get three to five for that kinda thing.’

 

‘Well here’s the thing Starsk old man. Either shut your bedroom door, or make sure your fuck-of-the-night is gone before it’s time to get ready for work.’

 

‘Or we could just meet up at the Metro. That way ya wouldn’t need to get all embarrassed would ya?’ Starsky snapped, heading for the kitchen. He opened his fridge and removed a can of Cola and a donut.

 

The sounds from the bathroom ceased and a moment later, the girl re-emerged, now scrubbed and dressed, with her hair slicked back from her face. She shimmied over to the brunet, planted a kiss on his forehead and smiled at Hutch.

 

‘I’ve left the number pinned to your bathroom mirror’ she said in a sultry voice. ‘Call anytime honeybun.’ Picking up her purse, she tottered on impossibly high heels to the door, turned, blew a kiss across the room and stepped outside, leaving an atmosphere inside the apartment so thick it could be cut with a knife. Starsky grinned after her and took another mouthful of donut. ‘You’re just grouchy ‘coz you’re jealous’ he mumbled through the crumbs.

 

‘Jealous? Of that? Oh c’mon Starsk! She’s the….what? Third, fourth this week. I bet ya don’t even know her name.’

 

I do too know her name. That was… was… what the hell does it matter what her name was anyway?’

 

‘Well maybe she left that pinned to your bathroom mirror too’ Hutch grunted angrily. He sighed and looked down at his hands. ‘I’m sorry Starsk. I’m just….just worried for ya.’

 

‘No, you aint Hutch. You want to control me. You want everythin’ to be right in “Hutchworld” just to make it easier for ya.’

 

‘I want to help ya buddy’ the blond said quietly.

 

‘Sure. You can help me. By shuttin’ the fuck up about it. If I want a girl I’ll have a girl’ Starsky yelled angrily.

 

‘What? A different one every night?’

 

‘Yeah, and three of ‘em on Sundays. What’s your point Hutch? Are ya jealous or sumthin? Why does it matter to ya?’

 

‘It matters coz I can see you’re hurtin’ and I want to help. I need to talk about what went on. We need to talk..can’t you see that? We haven’t said a word about it since… since that night. Please Starsk, ya gotta see that’ Hutch pleaded.

 

‘No I can’t. As I see it, what’s done is done, and there aint no goin’ back. Now, you can either make yourself a coffee an’ wait for me, or get your ass downtown, an’ I’ll see ya there.’

 

‘Listen to yourself Starsk. That isn’t you. I just…’

 

‘I know. Ya just want to make sure I’m ok. Well ask yourself this Hutch. Do you want to make sure I’m ok for me, or for you?’ Starsky said tiredly.

 

‘Huh?’

 

‘Do you want to make sure I’m ok so that you’re sure I’m ok? Or do you want to make sure I’m ok so that you can feel better about yourself?’ the brunet said slowly.

 

‘To make me feel better?’ What the hell is that supposed to mean?’ Hutch asked, genuine confusion on his face.

 

‘Yeah, that’s just as I thought. I’m gonna take a shower. If you’re gone when I get out, I’ll see you at work. And Hutchinson, if I’m late, it’s my concern ok?’ Starsky stalked stiff backed into his bathroom and slammed the door shut with such a resounding crash that the pots on the draining board in the kitchen rattled in sympathy.

 

The blond lowered his head to his hands and took a deep breath. What was he supposed to do now? Simply walk out of the apartment and hope that this was forgotten? Well that was as likely as a pork pie being eaten at a Jewish wedding. What had been brewing for days was never gonna just go away, he knew that. But there again, if he stayed and waited for Starsky to finish getting ready, did he really want to be trapped in the car with the furious brunet for nay longer than was absolutely necessary?

 

Maybe there was some sense to the convoluted statement Starsky had made. Did he want Starsky to tell him that he was ok just so that he, Hutch would feel better? Or did he genuinely have a concern for the curly haired cop’s welfare? Things were so muddled in his mind that right there and then he didn’t know what to think, or how t act. All Hutch knew was that he wanted someone – some fairy with a magic wand – to come along and make everything better. To somehow wind back the clock to before Gina Bianchi, before Ian Ramsey and before videos had ever been invented.

 

With a troubled mind, Hutch got to his feet, and started to walk to the bathroom door to knock on it and tell Starsky he was going. But as he put his hand up he suddenly realised it was futile. What was he bothering for? Starsky didn’t want him round and it crossed his mind that he ought to get in there early and speak to Dobey. After over ten years, during which time he though he’d found a partner for life, Hutch had come to the pressured conclusion that maybe he should start to work with someone else.

 

With a heavy heart, the blond set off for town, driving automatically as his mind went over the conversation he wanted to have with his Captain. Pulling into the parking lot, he got out, walked into the familiar stone clad building and walked wearily up the steps, walking along the corridor to Dobey’s office. He knocked on the door and snickered at himself. It seemed like it was a day for knocking. He heard the gruff “come in” and pushed the door open. The black man looked up.

 

‘Hutchinson? Where’s Starsky? Is he sick?’

 

‘No, he’s fine Cap’n. I um…. I just wanted to um….. well, while he…Starsk…he isn’t here I um…’

 

Dobey put his pen down, sat back in his chair and observed the uncomfortable blond quietly. It was rare that Hutch’s stammer was quite so pronounced as today and the Captain knew there must be something important bothering his man. He waited patiently as Hutch looked down at his hands and played with a loose thread on the button on his jacket.

 

‘I needed to t ttalk to you. Tttto…. Before…um.’

 

‘Are you ok Hutch? Has something happened?’

 

‘What? Like what?’ Hutch asked a little too loudly.

 

‘I dunno. I was just wondering. You seem…..anxious’ Dobey offered.

 

‘Anxious? Um….no…yeah….well um. No I’m not anxious I just wanted to come an’ talk about me an’ Sta….’

 

‘Starsky’ Dobey said over Hutch’s head. Behind him, the blond could hear the door to the squad room open.

 

‘Cap’n’ the brunet said carefully ‘Hutch.’

 

‘Hutchinson was just…. What did you want Hutch?’ Dobey asked, turning his attention back to the blond.

 

At this side, Starsky sat down quietly, not on the arm of the chair as he usually did, but on the other chair in the room. ‘Yeah, Hutch. What did ya want to talk to the Captain about huh?’ there was a challenge in the voice and defiance shining in the indigo eyes as his partner fixed him with a stare. With no warmth in those eyes, Hutch flinched inwardly.

 

‘I was just um… I was um….dunno. Doesn’t matter now. It’s fine, it’s fine’ Hutch finished lamely, looking pleadingly at his captain.

 

‘Ok, well, while you’re both here, I need your paperwork bringing up to date. I want your expenses forms in order, added up and on my desk by four o’clock and I need the files on the Suzuki and the Walker cases too. I don’t what up with you both, but you’re way behind. Clear? On my desk by four o’clock?’ Dobey sat back and waited for the explosion and the endless list of excuses from the brunet and his partner. Instead, however, both cops nodded meekly, got up from their seats and headed out. The captain sighed. He knew something was wrong, but what, and how to put it right, he was struggling with. The two cops had worked together so long that he could only trust in their closeness to see them through. With a troubled shake of his head, Dobey picked up his pen and went back to his file as outside two cops, one flaxen blond and one chocolate dark sat opposite each other and wordlessly started their own work.

 

Chapter 23

 

Hutch escaped from the electric atmosphere of the office as soon as possible after the four o’clock deadline had passed. Throughout the day, the two partners had worked mostly silently on their files, exchanging the odd comment, or pausing to clarify a point or two on their files. Lunch came and went and was marked by a cup of coffee and a solitary green salad as Starsky got his jacket and stalked out to buy his customary burrito without even asking if Hutch wanted to walk with him. Hutch sighed and tried to ignore the raised eyebrows of the other guys in the squad room. For the most part, the two were inseparable, and the joke went that if you kicked one of them, the other would limp. To see the two cops so patently at odds provoked dark looks and it was only a matter of time before awkward questions started to be asked.

 

The blond rubbed absently at the nagging pain over his right temple as he drove. The headache had come on more or less the minute he’d gotten into work and had grown steadily more persistent all day. Now it chewed at his nerves, worrying them like a terrier dog worried a bone and Hutch longed for a cool drink and a lie down in his darkened bedroom.

 

With a sigh, he pulled up outside Venice Place, switched off his engine and staggered up the steps to his apartment. He opened the door and was immediately greeted by the smell of cooking coming from his kitchen. Alice was still in residence and she was paying for her keep by cooking and cleaning and generally making herself indispensable. She looked up and smiled as the flaxen haired cop walked in.

 

‘Hiya Suga. How’s your day been?’ she asked as she got a beer from the fridge, expertly took off the crown cap and brought it through to Hutch. The cop threw his jacket onto a chair, pulled off his holster and flopped down on his sofa. Head back and eyes closed.

 

‘Oh my! Has it been such a bad day?’ Alice asked quietly.

 

‘I’ve had better’ Hutch mumbled, wishing he could just go to sleep and skip the next year or so completely. He jumped as he felt a hand on his shoulder and then shuffled round so that the woman had access to the top of his back, rotating his neck luxuriously as Alice dug her talented thumbs into the knots in his muscles.

 

‘Handsome Hutch you are tense, with a capital T Suga. C’mere, let me get you led down an’ I can take care of that for ya’ she said softly and tugged at his hand.

 

‘No, s’ok honey. You don’t need to….’

 

‘Aww c’mon Hutch. I’m not gonna bite ya know’ she wheedled and smiled happily as Hutch struggled to stand up and followed obediently as she led him into the bedroom. Silently, she unbuttoned his shirt and slipped it off his shoulders pushing him down until the cop was led face down on his bed. Hutch felt the mattress dip at the side of him and then a weight grinding his hips into the bed as Alice straddled his body and sat on his butt. The woman leant forward and a moment later, her hands were back on his shoulders, rubbing, kneading and pushing at the tense muscles and the knotted ligaments

 

For a while Hutch allowed himself the luxury of not thinking. Instead he concentrated on the wonderful feelings Alice was eliciting from him. Feelings of being special; of being cared for; of being cosseted. Hutch was usually the care giver. The blond was generally the one who ran round, usually after his partner, trying to make sure that everything was ok. Right now, he relinquished that responsibility for a while and allowed Alice to look after him as she silently worked her magic on his body.

 

‘How’s that feel Suga?’ the blond woman asked softly as he felt some of the tension leave the cop’s shoulders. ‘Better?’

 

‘Yeah, much.’

 

‘Ya wanna talk honey? I’m good at keepin’ secrets an’ I think you look like a man that needs to spill some, right now.’

 

Tension started to return to bunched muscles in Hutch’s back and Alice redoubled her efforts. ‘Is it about Starsky?’ she asked quietly.

 

‘Kinda.’

 

‘Has he upset ya, or made ya mad some way?’ she asked again.

 

‘No…yeah…no, he….’

 

‘Has something happened between the two of ya? Did he find out how ya felt?’

 

‘No, I don’t think he has any idea, but yeah, something did happen’ Hutch heard himself say. It was as though the dam of his emotions finally broke and the blond had found someone in whom he could confide. Alice wouldn’t judge him, or use his story against him. Instead she’d be the listening ear he needed, and who could keep secrets better than a call girl?

 

Above him, Alice waited, knowing Hutch had a story he needed to tell and preparing herself to listen, and comfort where necessary.

 

Without moving, the flaxen haired cop started to explain. He told Alice about Gina Bianchi and Ian Ramsey. He mentioned how Ramsey had treated Starsky like shit and how somehow, the investigation into Alice’s attackers had morphed into chasing Ramsey down. For good measure he added in his hurt that Sarah had gone, feeling the need to unburden himself of everything that had been building up inside of him in these past couple of months. He culminated the story with the shocking events that had taken place during that night eight days ago and as he finished the explanation of how he’d been forced to violate his partner, he felt his face wet with tears, although he had no recollection of the starting to flow.

 

He felt Alice slip off his body and she led at the side of him, running her hand through his hair gently and wiping away his tears with her thumb as she smiled at him.

 

‘Such a lot of hurt for one man to deal with’ she murmured. ‘Why didn’t ya tell me before instead of keeping it all bottled up inside ya?’

 

‘Coz I’ve never been used to havin’ anyone to tell before’ he whispered shyly. ‘You’re good for me Alice, but I feel like I’m usin’ ya, an’ that’s not right.’

 

‘Well you aint the first man honey, an’ you won’t be the last. But you’re different. You don’t use me Hutch, you allow me to be part of your world an’ that kinda makes me feel special, like I’m a real human bein’ instead of some commodity that’s been bought for an hour or so. I’m glad ya feel ya can talk to me.’

 

Hutch snorted. ‘Talk, yeah. Talk is simple enough. But it doesn’t cure anythin’ does it? I still have the problem with Starsk, an’ I still don’t know what to do.’

 

‘You say he still has no idea how you really feel about him?’

 

‘Well I haven’t told him, an’ he doesn’t act like he’s found out on his own. You know what Starsky’s like. It’s women all the way with him. Hell, he once found out a guy who helped bring him up was gay an’ he freaked. Not the “tearing hair, yellin’ and screamin” type freaked, but he had a real hard time dealin’ with it. So if he found out how I….. Well let’s just say I’d know about it.’

 

‘But you say he’s distant and he won’t talk to ya about what went on?’

 

Hutch sighed. ‘That’s about the size of it.’

 

‘And that’s not freakin’ out in a quiet way?’ Alice asked quietly. ‘Seems to me like maybe Starsky has his own figurin’ to do. Maybe he’s done the figurin’ already an’ now he’s tryin’ to come to terms with the answers.’

 

The blond looked up sharply. ‘Alice honey, I was forced to fuck my partner. What sort of answers does he need?’

 

‘That’s for him to decide honey. In the meantime, all you can do is hang in there and ride with him. Sooner or later, something’s gonna give.'

 

oOoOoOoOoOoOoOo

 

Sooner or later, something did give and in a dramatic, nerve shattering way. Hutch slept easily that night, feeling boneless and limp after Alice’s ministrations. The woman soothed away some of his fears, and as they talked, he drifted into a deep and restful sleep, waking up the next morning feeling that he was once again ready to face the world in general and Starsky in particular.

 

They’d no sooner logged on as rolling, however, when they had a call to a robbery in progress at a gas station only four blocks from the brunet’s house and so, with mars light flashing and the two tones blaring, Starsky turned his Torino in that direction and drove hell for leather over to the scene.

 

Quelling the lights and sirens, the curly haired cop pulled to a stop half a block away from the gas station. He and Hutch could both see the gunman clearly from where they sat. He was dressed in black, with a black hood over his head and he wielded a Lee Enfield type rifle in one hand and a cotton bag of money in the other. On the forecourt of the garage, Ocean Five was currently pinned down by gunfire and as Hutch looked through his binoculars, he could see Mike Jones was down and bleeding.

 

‘What d’ya wanna do Starsk? Jones is down and Chun is hemmed in by that flake. We should take it sof…. Starsk?.....STARSKY’ Hutch yelled as his partner got calmly out of the car and trotted towards the garage, calmly secreting his Smith and Wessen down the back of his jeans and covering it with his jacket. With a muttered curse, Hutch got out of the car and followed cautiously.

 

Starsky walked towards the man wielding the gun, as though he hadn’t seen the weapon, and as the brunet started to make for the store front, the perp yelled at him.

 

‘Hey, Bozo. Get the fuck down.’

 

Starsky turned slowly, feigning surprise and looked the gunman in the eye.

 

‘Hey man, I just wanted a packet of smokes. Won’t be a ….oh my god, is that a rifle?’

 

‘You better fuckin’ believe it. I said get down.’

 

‘Why?’ Starsky asked calmly. ‘Ya gonna shoot me?’

 

Confronted by the curly haired man who seemed either extraordinarily brave or just plain nuts, the robber’s rifle wavered slightly.

 

‘Who the hell d’ya think you are, man? Ya think you’re so special that I aint gonna shoot ya?’

 

‘I think you’d be crazy to try.’ The brunet said smoothly, taking a couple of steps closer to the gunman. From his distance, Hutch felt his knees go weak. What the hell was his partner playing at? It was as though he was asking to be shot!

 

‘Crazy huh?’ the robber muttered ‘How’d’ya figure that?’

 

Starsky reached very slowly into his pocket and pulled out his shield. ‘BCPD. That’s how I figure it. Shootin’ a cop will buy you life punk. Now drop the gun.’ He took another step forward and the gunman raised his weapon, cocked it and put a slug into the dirt a foot from Starsky’s left sneaker. The bullet kicked up dust and chippings that stung at the brunet’s legs, and yet still he continued as though the shot had never happened, taking one quiet step at a time towards the robber.

 

The man was now dithering with indecision. He could handle screaming and shouting. Guns he could deal with. But this slow, calm, advancing cop was not something he’d included in his game plans.

 

Starsky was close enough now for the man to see the colour of his piercing blue eyes and yet the brunet still didn’t slow. Across the street, Hutch closed his eyes, feeling powerless to do anything, and instead bracing himself for the shot that would surely take his partner out.

 

The gunman was getting desperate now and had his gun leveled at the advancing cop, aiming right between Starsky’s eyes.

 

‘You don’t wanna do this’ Starsky said softly.

 

‘You don’t know what the hell I want pig!’ the gunman responded, his rifle waving threateningly.

 

‘I know you’re hurtin’ about sumthin, an’ I know I can get people to help.’

 

‘You don’t know shit! Stay back…. Just back of man’ the robber yelled desperately.

 

One more step.

 

The curly haired cop held out his hand. ‘Gimme the gun.’

 

‘Fuck off.’

 

‘Just gimme the gun an’ we can talk about this’ Starsky persisted, taking another step so that the muzzle of the rifle was now resting squarely in the middle of his chest. He could feel its hollow barrel and he leaned into it, almost as though he were taunting the guy to pull the trigger.

 

‘No…I….You have no idea.’

 

‘Yeah, I do. Everyone hurts, ya just need to have the courage to talk about it. I can help ya. Just gimme the gun huh?’

 

Starsky stared into the holes of the mask, challenging the fearful eyes that glared back at him. There was one more second of indecision and then, with a yell of fury, the gunman thrust the gun into Starsky’s chest, let go and dropped to his knees.

 

Quick as a flash, the brunet grabbed the robber’s wrists, twisting them backwards and pinning them behind the gunman’s back with his cuffs. He looked up as Hutch sprinted across the street and Chun came out from behind the car he used as a shelter. Handing the flake over to Chun, the brunet seemed stunned when Hutch grabbed him by the shoulder and pushed him around the corner to where there were no people.

 

‘Just what the hell was all that about?’ Hutch yelled into Starsky’s face.

 

‘What? I got the job done. What’s your problem?’

 

‘Got the…. Starsk he could’ve killed ya. That’s the problem. What the fuck were you thinkin’ of?’

 

‘Nuthin. He didn’t kill me, so everythin’s cool’ the brunet said with infuriating calmness.

 

‘No, Starsky. Everythin’ is not cool. I almost lost ya once, I don’t wanna do that again. I can’t do that again, so I don’t take kindly to you playin’ fast an’ loose with your life’ Hutch snapped, his face red with anger.

 

Starsky snorted. ‘That’s your problem aint it Hutch? It’s all you. You almost lost me. You can’t bear that again. You don’t like me doin’ what I do. You fucked me…..’

 

The words were out of his mouth before he could stop them, and Starsky could hardly look at the hurt and pain that washed over his partner’s face as Hutch dropped his hands from Starsky’s shoulders.

 

‘Say that again, coz I hope I misheard ya.’

 

The apology hovered on the tip of the brunet’s tongue. It would be the work of a second to let it out, and to gather up the hurting blond into his arms and comfort him. Starsky’s fingers twitched at his side, longing to run through Hutch’s flaxen bangs, and yet still he resisted. Hardening his heart, the curly haired cop turned away. They both deserved this hurt – Hutch for doing what he had, and Starsky for…. The sable haired cop bunched his shoulders and turned away, walking quickly to the sanctuary of his Torino, leaving Hutch to watch him go.

 

The blond’s heart broke.

 

So that was it. He’d heard it properly now. Starsky was behaving like this because he hated Hutch for what had happened that night, and yet still his partner refused to talk to him about it.

 

Chapter 24

 

Walking back to the Torino with a heavy heart, Hutch got in and the moment he shut the door, Starsky drove off with his customary tire screeching start. He drove fast away from the garage, as though he had the devil on his tail, dodging shoppers, flashing through intersections and running red lights as the blond braced himself against the door and hung on. Finally, as Hutch hit his head against the window for a second time, the blond’s nerves broke.

 

‘Starsk, will a stop this?’ he yelled above the noise of the engine.

 

‘No.’

 

‘Starsky, for Gods sake pull over. You might have a death wish, Pal, but I wanna live to make 148, remember?’

 

By now, the car had reached the city limits and was pulling up the hill of the Canyon Road, the brunet’s hands till gripping the steering wheel tightly.

 

‘Starsky, for Gods sake, pull over….please?’

 

Silently, the brunet found a safe place and brought his car to a stop abruptly. He stared out of the window of the car as Hutch got out and stood on shaky legs looking out over the city spread below them. A moment later, his partner joined him reluctantly.

 

‘I know what this is all about, and I have to talk. We need to talk buddy. This is tearing us both apart’ Hutch started, trying to find the right words.

 

‘And what if I don’t want to? What if there’s nuthin to say?’ Starsky asked, staring out into the distance to the ocean.

 

‘There’s plenty to say.’

 

‘No Hutch, there isn’t. There’s nuthin to talk about. What’s done is done an’ we move on.’

 

‘Not like this buddy. We can’t carry on like two strangers sharin’ the same car.’

 

Angrily Starsky glared at him. ‘How could we possibly be strangers after what happened? You know me better now than ya ever did.’

 

‘And you think I wanted that?’

 

‘Ya didn’t put up much of a fight.’

 

Now it was Hutch’s turn to feel the anger welling inside him. ‘What’s that supposed to mean?’

 

‘Whatever ya want it to Blondie….whatever.’ Starsky said as he started to turn away.

 

‘Oh no you don’t buddy boy. Ya don’t lay sumthin like that on me an’ walk away from it’ Hutch snarled as his hand shot out to catch at Starsky’s shoulder.

 

Like a rattler striking, the brunet whirled, the simple touch being all the excuse he needed. Without thinking, his left hand curled into a fist and he ploughed it solidly into Hutch’s jaw, felling his blond partner with a single punch. Hutch fell to the ground, stunned at the ferocity of the attack, and he remained lying in the dirt as he rubbed at his face and watched as Starsky ran back to his car, started the engine and drove off, leaving the blond marooned two miles from the city.

 

‘Well that went well’ Hutch muttered to himself as he got to his feet, dusted the grime off his jeans and started the long walk back down the hill.

 

oOoOoOoOoOoOoOo

 

‘I’ve tried everythin’ believe me’ Hutch said as Alice placed the ice pack against his jaw.

 

‘Well you tried the direct approach, that’s for sure’ she smiled as she checked the burgeoning blue bruise spreading across the handsome golden face.

 

‘I don’t know what else to do. He won’t talk to me about it. Hell, he won’t talk to me, period. It’s like we’re strangers all of a sudden, an’ yet I get the feelin’ he wants to talk. It’s just that stubborn pride that stops him.’

 

‘Can’t you make him?’ Alice asked.

 

Hutch removed the ice pack and grinned painfully. ‘How’d ya think I got this?’

 

‘Well maybe you need to force him some.’

 

‘And what did ya have in mind honey? Tie him to a chair an’ shine a bright light in his eyes?’

 

Alice snickered. ‘Kinky huh? No, I mean….. well, yeah. If it comes down to it, you need to get him somewhere with no distractions and force him to confront you. Seems to me it’s the only way you’re gonna get him to talk to ya. Unless you want to risk the other side of that pretty face.’

 

The blond cop snorted. ‘That wouldn’t be my first choice, no. But maybe you’ve given me an idea. If he wants a fight to clear the air, maybe I ought to give him one.

 

oOoOoOoOoOoOo

 

The dark shadow blended with the other dark shadows in the apartment and hugged the wall as it heard the handle of the door turn.

 

Starsky walked wearily into his house and threw his car keys down onto the table. Without putting on the light, the brunet shouldered out of his jacket, shrugged off his holster and hung them tidily in his closet. With a sigh, he padded into his kitchen and was about to reach for the fridge door when he jumped as the lights came on, illuminating his living room. His head jerked up suddenly.

 

‘What the….?’

 

Hutch stood by the light switch, bracing himself for the tirade that would surely follow.

 

‘Starsky, we need to talk an’ I’m not takin “no” for an answer this time.’

 

The brunet scowled. He’d spent the day coming down from the adrenaline rush of the garage incident. It wasn’t that he wanted to die, or even play with his life. But he wanted something…. anything to make him think about something else other than that night in Ramsey’s apartment. The memories filled his head, taking a strangle hold on his mind and refusing to leave him when he was awake or asleep. All his thoughts, his dreams and his memories were of Hutch’s hands on his hips and his partner’s body pressed tightly against him. And the feeling of that huge rod of flesh pushing in and out of his ass, reaming him open and laying him bare.

 

Right now Hutch was not the person he wanted to see. Dammit, he didn’t want to see, or talk to anyone, but he’d seen that look on his partner’s face before. It was a look that told him that Hutchinson was pissed and wouldn’t be an easy brush off this time. Unconsciously, Starsky massaged the bruised knuckles of his left hand, feeling again the fist on Hutch’s face.

 

‘Not now’ he grunted. ‘I’m tired Hutch. Not now.’

 

The blond walked calmly across the living room and into the kitchen. He stood a foot away from Starsky, feet about a foot apart, hands held loosely by his sides…. Ready.

 

‘I don’t care if your eyes need matchsticks to keep ‘em open. One way or the other Starsk, we’re gonna talk.’

 

‘One way or the other huh? Do I have a choice?’

 

‘Yeah’ Hutch smiled. ‘You have a choice. We can do this the hard way or the easy way.’

 

A slow, predatory smile spread across Starsky’s face. ‘When did you ever know me do things the easy way?’

 

Hutch surprised himself with his cool. Never before had he decked his partner in cold blood and the blow he delivered to the brunet’s chin was hard and fast, sending shock waves up to Hutch’s elbow. Starsky never saw it coming and dropped, poleaxed to the floor as Hutch grabbed his own fist and hissed in pain. He looked sorrowfully down at the crumpled detective and snorted.

 

‘That’s for the bruised jaw buddy. Now we’re even.’

 

oOoOoOoOoOoOoOo

 

There were the sounds of waves crashing on the beach and a cool, salty breeze wafted the light gauze curtains at the windows. Starsky focused his eyes on the window now, for a moment wondering why he could hear seagulls in his apartment. But there again, his apartment didn’t have white gauze curtains, or a pale blue boarded wall.

 

The brunet licked his lips, the tang of salt testing his tongue. Salt…gulls. The seaside. He was….

 

Cautiously, he raised his head and looked around. He was led on a large metal framed bed, the head and foot of which were made of wrought ironwork, incorporating flowers and scrolls. The bed was prettily dressed in pale blue and white sheets and a matching comforter along with a stack of fluffy pillows. Also in the room was a nightstand with a glass of water on it, ice cubes floating on its surface, and there was a chintz covered easy chair in the corner. Now that he’d had time to take in his surroundings, Starsky realised he’d been here before. It was the same beach house that he and Hutch and Christine and Terry had once rented and something clicked in his head.

 

‘Hutch?’ Starsky yelled, levering himself up and trying to get himself off the bed. He managed to stand up, but could move no further as he felt the metal bracelet of the police issue handcuff holding him down to the bed. Now angry beyond belief, he yelled again at the closed door.

 

‘HUTCHINSON, GET YOUR FUCKIN’ ASS IN HERE NOW!’

 

A moment later the door opened and Hutch walked in, a sheepish look on his face.

 

‘What the hell are you doin’ to me? What’s this all about? Why the handcuffs? Shit, you got some explainin’ to do!’

 

Hutch raised his hand, keeping out of range of anything Starsky could hit him with. ‘Just calm down buddy. Take a drink. Take a deep breath.’

 

‘I don’t need a drink, I need to knock your fuckin’ head off. Explain to me….quick.’

 

‘I will, but I need you to calm down buddy. I can explain, but ya have to just sit down huh? Please?’

 

‘You’re no better then Ramsey, handcuffing me here. What’s your game huh?’

 

‘No game Starsk. I need us to talk and this is the only way I could think of to make ya stop still long enough for that to happen. Are ya gonna calm down? Or do ya want to hit me again?’

 

Starsky glared at him from under his eyebrows. ‘Don’t tempt me. Right now I could knock ya for six. Just get me outa these things huh? Or are ya so scared of me suddenly? Scared I might flatten you again?’

 

Hutch tried not to listen to the taunts. His buddy was hurting just as Hutch himself was, he knew that and he was determined to help, one way or the other.

 

‘I know what your doing Starsk. You wanna get me so mad that I'll let you just walk out of here. Well I'm not gonna do that buddy so if you have anything more to say about how I'm like Ramsey bring it on. Get it out of your system now. Coz pretty soon, we need to get down an’ dirty an’ do some real serious talkin’.’

 

‘I don’t want to talk Hutch. I want you to unlock these cuffs and let me get outa here, now.’

 

‘Starsk, please, just shudup an’ listen. Just let’s talk huh? We need to talk….please?’

 

The brunet, however, refused to be drawn. He’d created a wall around his heart; a wall so high and impenetrable, he didn’t know if he could tear it down even if he wanted to. He ducked his head, eyes staring at the floor as the anger bled out of his body to be replaced by a fear that sooner or later he’d have to break down.

 

‘Get out Hutch. Just get out an’ leave me alone.’

 

 

 

Chapter 25

 

Hutch sat in the small living room, his head in his hands. What the hell was he playing at? Kidnapping his own partner was quite probably the craziest thing he’d ever thought of, and yet Alice had been right. This was the only way he could think of to get Starsky on his own to confront him about their problems. He snickered. Problems! It sounded like they needed marriage counselors more than to discuss his violation of his partner’s body. The term problem didn’t even go half way to describing what they had to discuss. Weariness enveloped him and he thought about the last time he’d had to secure Starsky to a bed. That time, the brunet had been coming down from a forced heroin high. That time, Hutch was the curly haired cop’s salvation. This time, he was his tormentor. The blond sighed. Things were so damned complicated. He’d expected Starsky to be yelling and shouting and kicking out at the door by now. An angry, vociferous brunet he could handle, but this quietness, this unnatural calm was something else completely. It worried him that his partner wouldn’t talk about what happened. Hell, he wouldn’t even admit anything was wrong. And yet…..

 

Hutch put his ed back, resting it on the back of the chair and looking out to see as he allowed himself to be hypnotized by the soothing waves crashing against the sandy shore. Slowly his eyes closed and Hutch slept.

 

Inside the bedroom, Starsky was far from sleep. The brunet understood what Hutch had done, and when he allowed himself to think about it logically, he acknowledged that he would probably have done much the same thing. But there again, Starsky himself knew he wasn’t being logical.

 

The brunet was terrified. Of what had happened; of what he might be; of his feelings. His mind refused to allow himself to think much about what Hutch had been forced to do to him. The physical hurts had been minor compared to a lot of the stuff he’d suffered in the past. The tear had healed well enough although going to the john had been more than a metaphorical pain in the ass for a couple of days and did nothing to help him in his mission to forget about Ramsey and the rape.