Sweetcheeks VI: Memory

Debra Fran Baker

dfbaker@panix.com

"Jim! Phone for you!"

Blair watched as his partner sashayed across the room and took the receiver from Henri. "Thank you, darling. Ellison."

His face went white. "Funeral? Wake? Timothy, honey, we didn't know. Not...oh, my God! Who's handling the case? It's been *how* long? Darling, that is *not* acceptable. Of *course* we'll be there. We were on stakeout, hon. No one told us a *thing*. I *will* find out. We'll be there."

Jim hung up the phone and sat down heavily in the chair next to the desk. Blair walked over and put his hand on the padded shoulder of his partner's elegant window pane plaid jacket.

"Jim? What was that about?"

Jim's eyes were wet. "Miss Freddie. Some *bastard* killed her. Funeral's tomorrow."

"Oh, damn! Who did it?" Blair could feel the tears welling in his own eyes.

"We don't know. An incompetent *boob* named Atkins has been investigating for a *week*. I'm going to call him *now* and find out just *exactly* what's been going on." Jim's eyes were flashing. Blair understood perfectly.

"Why didn't anyone tell us? If it's been a week...Miss Freddie's Catholic, right? Wouldn't there be wakes or something?"

"We've been on stake out, Chief. And I know we haven't listened to our messages. We'll probably have a *dozen* waiting for us at home."

"Oh, man. I'll call Miss Melly now. Poor guy...he must be falling apart about now. How long were they together?"

"For*EVER*. Homicide? This is Jim Ellison. Do you have a...person by the name of 'Atkins' there? No, sweetcheeks, I will *not* hold. You just get him now, or tell me *where* I can find him, or I'll just *drop* by. Thank you."

Blair grinned. Atkins was not going to know what hit him. If anything, Jim was more intimidating *now* than he had been before he came out. He walked back to their desk and picked up the phone.

"Hello?"

"Miss Melly?"

"*Blair*! Blair, they killed Freddie!"

"I know. We just found out. I'm *so* sorry, Melly."

"You and Jimmy *will* be there tomorrow? She would have wanted you there. She loved *both* of you *so* much."

"We loved him, too. He was so happy the last time we all got together."

****

Zacky Glass and TJ Martin had been playing in the Glasses' back yard under Freddie's supervision.

"Look, Aunt Freddie! No hands!"

Zacky balanced on his swing precariously.

Freddie had come running up, arms outstretched. "I'll catch you, honey! Auntie Freddie's here!"

Zacky giggled as only a child of that age could and timed his jump perfectly, landing gracefully in Freddie's arms.

Blair, who was carrying out a tray full of burgers from two different kingdoms and three phyla - beef, salmon and veggie - put it down on the picnic table to applaud. "Bravo, Zacky!"

Zacky grinned, slipped down from Freddie's arms and bowed the way Maestro had taught him.

"Catch me, Auntie Freddie! Catch me!" TJ stood up in his own swing. However, he didn't have Zacky's years of ballet training behind him. He missed.

However, Miriam Glass, who was at present under Blair's car with Timothy and Jim, had built the playset herself and designe