Ten minutes later Ezra Standish walked into the break room where Buck was still fuming. “I understand that you had a rather heated exchange with Blair Sandburg.”
“Little weasel probably told you I threatened him or some such, huh?”
“Yes, he repeated your rather crude threats to me. What were you thinking? Blair is a friend of mine and you’ve grievously insulted him. And you’ve insulted me.”
“Did he tell you why I threatened him?”
“Didn’t think so. There ain’t no easy way to say this and maybe it ain’t any of my business, but… You’re my friend, Pard. I don’t want to see you get hurt. And that’s just what this guy’s gonna do to you.”
“Blair would never do anything to hurt me.”
Buck shook his head. He had to tell him. He had to. “Is that why he’s two-timing you?”
“He’s got something going on with that butch friend of his.”
“Are you suggesting..?”
“I know you were trying to keep it secret, Ez. Just JD and me know about you being interested in guys and your secret’s safe with us. But you can do better. This guy’s no good! The minute your back was turned he was fawning all over this Jim. You need to find yourself somebody who wants to be with just you, not get stuck in some kind of relationship where your partner plays around on you. You’re too good for this punk.”
“Mr. Wilmington, I…”
“Now, Ez. I know this is hard for you. You’re a private kind of person and you like to keep things to yourself, but if you need to talk to somebody, your ol’ buddy, Buck, is here. Whatever you need.”
Ezra was struggling to keep from laughing in Buck’s face. His associate had really outdone himself this time. “Mr. Wilmington, you are quite right. This is extremely difficult for me. I care for Blair a great deal, more than anyone else I have ever met. I always hoped that he…” Ezra hung his head. “That would’ve been too much to ask for. It seems my feelings have blinded me from seeing his duplicitous nature. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.”
Buck breathed a sigh of relief. That wasn’t so bad. Ezra was taking it a lot better than he thought he would. He clapped Ezra on the shoulder as they headed out the door. Blair and Jim were talking and joking with the members of Team Seven. The two of them were sitting next to each other.
Ezra glared at Blair, his eyes turning cold. Buck saw it and frowned. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all.
If it were possible, Ezra’s voice was even colder than his eyes. “So, you didn’t think I’d find out did you, Blair? I’m sitting here in Denver pining over you and you’re reposing in the arms of this…” He waved an angry hand at Jim.
Blair got up from his chair. “Well, what was I supposed to do? Wait for you to drop into town whenever you felt like it and take off again at a moment’s notice? You never seem to notice me until you need me. I have needs, too.”
Ezra pulled his gun from his waistband and pointed it at Blair. “I gave you everything and this is how you repay me? I told you what would happen if you ever betrayed me again!”
Blair put his hands up in a calming gesture. “WHOA! Ezra, come on! He doesn’t mean anything to me!”
“Oh, just like that ski instructor in Vale? I saw how cozy the two of you were. Or that waiter in Baton Rouge? I’m sure whatever he was serving wasn’t on the menu. Do you take me for a fool? I won’t stand for it! You’ve trampled my feeling for the last time, Blair Sandburg!”
Buck finally regained his ability to speak after the initial shock of Ezra’s actions wore off. He was gonna kill Blair! Why were the others just standing around? “Ez! Pard. Come on. You can’t do this! You gonna ruin your whole life over him. If you shoot him, you’re not gonna make things better for yourself. Your life won’t be for crap if you do this!”
“I don’t care. Not anymore. I…I just want to thank you, Buck. If you hadn’t told me about Blair, I would never have found out he was cheating on me. I have you to thank for making me see the truth.”
Buck mentally kicked himself. This was all his fault! If he’d just minded his own business… “You can’t do this, Ezra. Please don’t.” He could see in his friend’s eyes that he was going to fire. Buck jumped him just as Ezra pulled the trigger. Nothing. Buck and Ezra were on the floor, Buck grasping Ezra’s gun hand.
“I suggest you remove yourself from my person, Mr. Wilmington, or people will really start to put credence to your erroneous assumptions about my sexual preferences.”
“Huh? The gun… It didn’t…”
“Of course not. It’s not loaded.” Ezra couldn’t help it. The look on Buck’s face was priceless. He burst into laughter. The sound was quickly joined by the raucous guffaws of everyone else in the room but Buck.
Buck started to get hot. “It was a joke? You were all in on it?!”
Chris gripped Buck’s arm and pulled him up. “Serves you right. I’ve always told you you were too nosy for your own good. Maybe this will teach you a lesson.”
Blair slapped Ezra on the back, still laughing. “Oh, man! That was great! Better than that time we rigged the commune’s outhouse to…”
Ezra coughed in embarrassment. “Yes, well. That’s a story for another time. Needless to say, I’m sure you’ve learned that your insatiable curiosity can cause a great deal of trouble. I’d like to introduce you to my cousin, Blair, and his good friend, Detective James Ellison. That’s ‘friend’, Mr. Wilmington. Not significant other. Blair is definitely interested in the female of the species. In fact, he could probably give you a run for your money in that regard.”
“But…but I saw you and him. At the restaurant. You were…you and him...”
“Yes. Mr. Dunne has already told us of your late-night surveillance at Santini’s. What you saw were two cousins and good friends catching up on several years of separation. Nothing more than that. Your vivid imagination did the rest.”
Josiah chuckled. “I think Brother Buck just has a preoccupation with things of a sexual nature.”
Nathan tried to keep a straight face. “Maybe there’s something Buck wants to tell us about his own sexuality?”
Buck’s face turned from puzzled to irritated. “Now see here…”
Everyone was laughing at him again. Buck just glared at them.
Ezra looked at his watch. “Gentlemen. It appears the noon hour is upon us. I suggest we head to Inez’s for some sustenance. We can continue our harassment of Mr. Wilmington there. I’m sure Miss Recillos will find the whole story highly amusing.”
The guys threw on their jackets and started heading out. Buck’s face was red with embarrassment. He felt like such an idiot! A vice-like grip clenched his shoulder. Chris. He turned to see Larabee giving him that “I’m-your-pissed-off-boss-at-the-moment-not-your-old-buddy glare.
Buck swallowed the hard lump in his throat. “Yeah, Chris?”
“We need to have us a talk later about what you do in your spare time with government resources.”
Buck let out a breath as Chris walked out of the room. A small reprieve for now.
“Hey, Buck.” Vin slapped him on the back as he walked by. “Don’t fret too much. He can only kill ya once.”
“Real funny, Junior. That makes me feel a whole lot better.” Buck scowled at the departing sharpshooter.
Buck looked around and noticed that he and Ezra were the last to leave. He felt like gum on the bottom of a shoe, but he needed to swallow his pride and talk to the man. Buck stopped Ezra at the doorway. “Look, I’m really sorry. I kinda got carried away there. I was just worried about ya, Pard. I didn’t mean to…”
Ezra held up a hand to silence him. “It’s alright. Apology accepted. And…thank you, Buck.” He put an arm around Buck’s shoulder. “By the way, just because I am not interested in someone like Blair, doesn’t mean I don’t find certain men attractive. Blair isn’t my type. Too young and clean-shaven. Rugged men with mustaches are extremely intriguing, don’t you think?”
“Um, yeah, uh. Gotta go.” Buck jerked away from Ezra and hurried off down the hallway. JD saw him heading the opposite direction.
“Hey, Buck! Where are you going?”
JD shook his head and went to catch up with the others at the elevator.
Ezra stepped out of the Team Seven office area. Blair was leaning against the wall, blending into his surroundings. “Rugged men with mustaches?”
Ezra merely grinned widely, a twinkle in his eye. Blair knew perfectly well he was not interested in men in any way.
“Ezra, you are truly evil.”
“Yes, well. We all must have our little hobbies.”
1) Man! I don’t know what happened with this story. I started it the night after I finished my last one and it still seemed to take me forever to complete it. It’s the Internet’s fault! I go surfing some nights and just don’t get any work done. Oh, you sneaky, hypnotic Internet!
2) I’m thinking of redoing my M7 site. I made it look all western and then I go and write an ATF story. I’ve also been toying with the idea of having one central page that links to the main pages of all my sites. I’ll have to think about how I’d like to do that. I like the challenges of HTML, but maybe I could try frames or style sheets.
3) I kind of like the idea of assumptions making for humorous misunderstandings. I hadn’t planned on making a series or anything, but I’ve got the hint of an idea forming for another “assumptions” story starring Ezra, Nathan, and Josiah. Let’s see how long that takes me to write!
4) Non-fanfiction related, but I’m certainly enjoying this unseasonable warm weather! 60 degrees F in the Midwest in February/March. We might as well enjoy it, because we’re going to get punished for it in March and April with blizzards like we have been before. Oh, well. At least I’ve had a taste of spring so now I’m cheered again.