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.He relaxed back into his seat for the rest of the ride, just letting everything sink in, but he never relinquished his tight grip on Riley's hand.*~*~*Josh had, of course, been at the police station before with clients, but walking in with Riley while he had such a personal intention was an entirely different experience.He worried about Riley's state of mind, his psyche fragile from all he'd been dealing with.Not that Josh knew what it all was, but it was still taking its toll.Riley's admissions in the car had embedded themselves deep inside Josh, and he hoped his continuous questions hadn't added to Riley's strife.He stood back while Riley spoke to the officer at the desk, his tone even and cool—his professional voice.Josh was proud of him, loved him more than he thought possible.Abusive.Alcoholic.Egotistical.Bigoted asshole.The words Riley used to describe his father were ones neither one of them had ever used to describe a client, at least not all together.There had been so much hatred and contempt in his voice, his manner, his body language.More than Josh had ever experienced even after so many years with him.Josh's protective nature—or was it his possessive one?—wanted to take Riley home and squirrel him away, not let anything or anyone hurt him again.He knew it wasn't logical or practical, but fuck it, he'd do whatever it took to keep him from harm.All his doubt and insecurity had turned to overwhelming love and respect for Riley's fortitude to deal with so much by himself.Josh still didn't like the secrecy or Riley's need to keep it to himself, but at least he understood it a little more.*~*~*His father was just down the hall.After all their years apart, all the space between them, and despite Riley's having grown from boy to man, he still felt fear and anxiety when he walked toward the room his father was in.Riley had cashed in a few favors to get to see Robert Callahan, but despite its being on his terms, Riley was still nervous as hell.He'd told Josh to wait in the lobby, some all-consuming desire to take care of things himself overwhelming his need to have Josh close.He made it halfway down the hall, trailing behind the officer in charge, before he suddenly turned back.Josh's gaze was immediately on him when he reappeared, as if he'd been waiting and hoping Riley would change his mind.Had Riley not already made the decision, that look would have definitely swayed him in that direction.He held out his hand and Josh was by his side in a second, fingers twisting around Riley's shaking ones."Thank you," he whispered, gaze shifting to his shoes."I don't know what I'd do without—""You'll never have to know.""Is there a problem, Mr.Callahan?" They both turned to the voice behind them, the waiting officer's face clearly displaying his impatience."Is your friend coming too?"Riley went from grateful to angry in a matter of seconds."My lover is coming too, yes.Do you have a problem with that?""Ri …" Josh's fingers tightened around Riley's, forcing him away from the red hot rage that threatened to swallow him whole and back to the present.He swiped a hand over his face, drawing in a shaky breath before turning back to the officer."I'm sorry.We're ready now."The man nodded, gave Riley and Josh one last once-over, and then turned away.He led them to a room at the end of the hallway, opened the door, and stepped aside so they could slip past him.Riley's breath caught in his throat at the first glimpse of his father.He struggled to exhale, the hand wrapped around his silently reminding him to breathe.His father hadn't aged well.He was thin; beyond thin, actually, his body a mere shell of the big, booming man Riley remembered.His cheeks were hollow, and more than a few days' stubble covered his jaw and neck in gray, bristly patches.His skin was sallow, almost yellow in the light of the room, the dark circles and wrinkles around his eyes well beyond something a good night's sleep would cure."Doesn't … shouldn't he have a lawyer present?" Riley managed to stutter.The officer shrugged [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]