Murder Has Blue Eyes
This job, Heero realized after going over the details, had come to him for a reason. It was going to be more difficult than some, and he suspected the organization felt that his experience was needed to get it done. Not that it was ever difficult to kill anyone. It was more along the reasoning that there were explicit instructions with this order. Instructions on when, and how, and what the investigators had to find once the hit had been completed. If he could not make it that way, then Heero was to delay the hit until he could make it the way it needed to be.
There were to be no mistakes. As confident as Heero was, the length at which he had to go for this job initially struck him as... different, to say the least. But it was not his business to wonder why, even if he did sometimes. He had to keep it to himself. His job was to follow orders, and not ask questions.
The instructions that he'd been given were odd, for sure. The hit had already been paid for by an undisclosed client, as they usually were, but yet the client didn't want it done right away. There was a specific time frame in which the hit was to be carried out - between April 16th and April 30th - which was still a full three weeks away. That and, the method was to be by either drug overdose of something readily available on the streets, or by gunshot to the side of the head, the offending weapon left with the body, to enable the scene to look as though a suicide had taken place. Whoever it was that had arranged this death apparently greatly depended on the hit looking like the victim had taken himself. The Freedom agents were always careful, and usually attempted to make all the hits look like accident or suicide, but in the cases where that was not feasible, there was always a planned cover-up. In this case, there could be no cover up. It had to be perfect.
What this meant was that Heero was going to have to get close to this victim - closer than he normally got to his victims - in order to accurately orchestrate the hit. He would have to follow him for a little while to see where he went and what he did throughout his day, and decide when and where his best vantage point would be to get close enough to correctly carry out the deed, all the while staying inconspicuous. No, this was not going to be any run of the mill hit, Heero felt. He could get it done, rather, he would get it done, since he had a prefect record to that day, but it would be one of his more trying jobs. However, it was a challenge, and challenges were good - they kept one in tune and on the ball. Heero was always up for a challenge. Challenges also offered an extra five thousand in bonus.
Duo Maxwell woke to the morning sound of birds chirping outside his second-story balcony window. They were probably sitting on the railing of the small patio, which is what they liked to do at that hour. Sit on the railing until they noticed movement inside the room, and then flutter off to grace some tree branch or fence post. It was still early, as the light that cascaded in through the open curtains was muted and gray, casting a washed-out splash of lightness on the pale, cream-colored carpet.
Rolling his head over on the pillow, Duo turned to look at the alarm clock on his bed stand, the alarm clock that he had no reason to turn on anymore. It was only three minutes after six. His body was still trained to wake in time for work, and these days he barely needed the alarm clock to get himself out of bed on time. However, now he didn't have anything that he needed to be on time for, so he just laid in bed thinking, staring straight up at the ceiling, as the sun grew higher in the sky, lighting the room a little more. The birds stayed, taking advantage of their opportunity for more time at their favorite perch.
Duo sighed. His life was falling apart. Jake's death had been heartbreaking for the family to endure - he missed his father so much. All that time that they'd spent together as he grew up - the Boy Scouting, the fishing and camping, the go-kart racing in the summertime at the beach. Duo chuckled quietly. The Boy Scouts should see me now. Wouldn't THAT put a hole in their tent. Jake had been instrumental in Duo becoming the person he was today. The person that, no matter how much money resided inside the walls of the Maxwell estate, he was still most comfortable with ripped jeans, a T-shirt and a beer instead of a suit and champagne. Jake had taught him that just because a person has money and good fortune doesn't mean that they are any better, or any different, than anyone else. Duo had taken that to heart, and still lived it daily. Jake Maxwell was a good person, and a good businessman, and the world was surely a sadder place without him.
Then to have lost Victoria so tragically, and under such suspicious circumstances (which still hadn't been proven suspicious by anyone but Duo himself), that was a hard hit that left Duo teetering on the edge of a depression that he was fighting to keep from consuming him. His mother had been his best friend for years, since he hadn't had that many friends growing up. He'd usually received the "snobby rich kid" treatment, although he couldn't have been further from that stereotype. The kids he grew up with always either wanted to befriend him because he had money and they thought he could get anything he wanted, or they avoided him because they assumed that he was spoiled. For those reasons, he didn't associate with many of the kids from school at all - because he was neither snobby nor a show off, but what he was, was self-conscious and unsure of himself. That is, until he came out to himself and his parents, enabling him to find and become his true self.
When Jake passed away, the bond between Duo and Victoria had strengthened, since now, all they had was each other. And of course, Jonathan was there to take care of them both, but things were never the same, naturally. A great void existed in both of them, so they filled it by staying closer than every before, in a unique working relationship and best-friendship that left people envious. To see mother and son so casually close, yet able to work together was truly a sight, and it suited them both very well, that is, until William had entered the picture and things began to change.
Now that he was the only one left, and he didn't even have his job, his company, Duo was at a loss of what to do. Yes, he thought, I will eventually get to the bottom of this and expose you, William, and I will resume my position at work, but right now, it was something that he didn't have the energy to tackle. These days, all of his energy went into trying to stay upbeat, or at least trying not to fall apart, and in coming up with smart-assed comments and wisecracks to purposely tick William off. Being angry at someone used a great deal of energy - more than Duo would ever have guessed. Jonathan, God bless his soul, was a huge help, but these problems were not going to go away by themselves, and were not correctable by anyone beside Duo, himself. What would he do about it all? Who should he talk to first? Who were his allies and who were his enemies at this point? They were all questions that had been swimming in Duo's head for the past few days now, ever since things had taken turn for the worst, with William assuming complete control over Maxwell Financial.
"When this all gets resolved," Duo muttered to himself, "I oughta sell that company and just go live in a cabin in the woods somewhere, where nobody knows me." He knew, of course, that he was kidding himself, but today, lying in bed without a hope in the world, and everything crumbling in his path, it was definitely how he felt.
There was a light rap at the bedroom door. "Mister Maxwell? Are you awake yet?"
Yawning and stretching in his bed of fluffy quilts and soft cotton sheets, Duo responded, "I'm up, Jonathan. What's up?"
"Will you be taking your breakfast in your room today?" Jonathan continued to speak through the door.
"Have you eaten yet, Jon?"
"I've just seen to Mr. Banes' breakfast."
That meant that Jonathan hadn't had his own meal yet - he always served everyone else before himself, because he liked to eat while reading the morning paper, dunking his toast in his tea, after everyone had left for the day.
"I'll eat with you, if that's alright. I'm just going to take a shower first, OK?" Duo spoke loudly in the direction of the door.
"Very well then, I'll wait for you in the kitchen," Jonathan concluded, then left Duo to his thoughts once more.
Duo slowly rose from his bed and padded his way to the adjoining bath suite, hesitating briefly to lay his eyes on a picture of Jake, Victoria and himself that was sitting, framed, on his low dresser. There was a time when there had been other framed pictures there as well, romantic relations, friends and whatnot, but William had seen to end all of that, at least for a while. Duo had hidden away all his pictures of the past except for the one, because they all brought him too much in the way of sad memories. Relationships that he wound up ending, because of his living situation. It made him sick, and increasingly angry every time he thought about it. That a 24 year old person such as himself should have to answer to the likes of William, and at times, he felt like a complete idiot for letting the other man dictate what he did in his own house. But he'd always ended his relationships to spare his partner any unneeded turmoil, at the risk of creating his own. Why should other people have to deal with William, too? The future, Duo frequently told himself. Once he had William dealt with, then he would pursue something or someone. He needed to. His pent up emotional pain was going to get the best of him if he didn't. He needed someone.
Standing in front of the large picture mirror against the bathroom wall, Duo looked at himself dejectedly. His hair was a mess, copper-colored hairs sticking out of his long braid in every direction, his bangs mussed and sticking up. Despite his long hours of sleep there were dark circles under his eyes, no doubt brought on by stress and worry. As the young man looked himself over carefully, noting every individual trait about his upper body, his eyes made their way back up to his face, and then they looked into themselves in the reflection, his violet looking back on violet. We're royalty, you know, Duo. Know how I know? Just look at the three of us, and our jewel-colored eyes. Emerald, Sapphire and Amethyst. Duo sighed and turned away from the mirror to start his shower.
Turning on the water so it would warm up, Duo slipped out of his pajama bottoms, then untethered the band at the end of his braid, unraveling his long hair until it flowed like a river down his back. He stuck a hand into the stream of the water to test for temperature, adjusting it once, then stepped into the shower. For many minutes he just stood, eyes closed, facing the water that splashed in his face and on his body, wetting him and saturating his hair, turning his shiny copper into a ruddy brown. The hot water felt good on his tired body, and before long his tension was beginning to dissipate, along with his grogginess.
When he'd finished washing and conditioning his hair and scrubbing his body, Duo turned off the water. He wrung out his hair tightly, then stepped out of the shower and dried himself quickly. Duo towel-dried his tresses with a fresh towel, carefully padding and dabbing at it, rather than rubbing it back and forth, until it was dry enough to carefully run a vented brush through. He watched himself work in the mirror's reflection, his mind elsewhere as his hands performed automatically, gently brushing out knots and snags without snapping a single strand. Once done, he fluffed his bangs with a blow dryer and re-braided the length damp, replacing the band at the bottom, and left the bathroom, leaving his wet towels on the floor to pick up later. He wasn't in a very fastidious mood today, so wet towels on the bathroom floor were the least of his worries.
Duo appeared in the kitchen dressed in one of his favorite pairs of jeans, a polo shirt and bare feet just in time to sit at the center island for breakfast. There was already coffee poured, and he added his cream while the Jonathan finished frying some eggs. A few minutes later a plate with eggs, bacon and toast was placed before him and the other man sat across from him, with his own plate.
"Thanks," Duo said as he began to dip a buttered toast triangle into the soft yolk of the sunny side up eggs.
Jonathan nodded, taking a bite of his own toast, then flipped out the morning newspaper beside him to read. A funny thing about Jonathan, that was. Always so concerned for politeness and being proper, he never had a problem whipping out a newspaper in front of someone else when it was breakfast on his time, but then again, he also knew that Duo didn't mind. He'd probably soon steal a section of paper for himself and start reading off the opposite corner of the island as well.
"Plans today, Mister Maxwell?" Jonathan asked from behind the World section, only half paying attention as to whether he got a reply or not.
Duo swallowed the food in his mouth. "Not really. A few errands this afternoon, and I may go out this evening, since I don't have to worry about getting up for work in the morning," the sarcasm in his voice was strong. "That's it." Duo sipped his coffee.
For a few minutes neither man said anything, and the only sounds were those of silverware on plates, and an occasional ruffle of a newspaper page being turned. Then Duo pulled the stock section out of the paper and began to peruse it. Luckily Maxwell Financial, MFC on the exchange, hadn't wavered much after the upheaval that William had caused by embarrassing him the way he did. It seemed as though the turmoil had, for now, remained internal, but it wouldn't be long before it was in the business reviews - that the two heads of the company were at odds with each other over the interpretation of Victoria's will. That wouldn't be good, when it finally happened. The only way Duo could really prevent it was to keep any information from leaking that there was trouble at the top of the company, and it was very unlikely he would be able to do that. Otherwise, the only option was to deal with William swiftly and reinstate himself, putting a stop to any rumors before they got out of hand. Trouble was, Duo still hadn't figured out what he was going to do to accomplish all that.
"Have you thought about..." Jonathan began, but was abruptly cut off by Duo.
"No, I haven't, Jon. Quite frankly, I don't know where to turn right now, and I'm just so..." he didn't finish his statement, sighing his discontent instead.
Jonathan dropped his paper down to look at the young man, and he smiled at him weakly, his pale blue eyes sympathetic. "Take a few days to gather yourself, Duo. This is a big problem for such a young person. Unfortunately, it will still be a problem in a few days, so you wont miss anything, but I do sense your frustration."
"You are aware that William leaves tomorrow evening for his vacation with Miss Kathryn, aren't you?" Jonathan had always called the woman "Miss Kathryn," a habit which Duo had adopted as well, because neither of them knew the woman's last name. William just always introduced her - to everyone - as just... Kathryn.
Munching on a strip of bacon which he held with his fingers, Duo nodded. "Yes, and I can't wait! Two whole weeks of no Bill around."
"I had considered going on a trip myself, since quite honestly he is the only one of the two of you who can't manage without me here, but I decided against it."
"Oh... why?" Duo asked. "You should go on a vacation too, if that's what you want."
Jonathan sighed. "I don't feel that now is the time to leave here, not with the task you have at hand right now. I can go on a trip later, and actually, I just may do that. Cecilia has invited me on a cruise, but that wouldn't be until Fall." Cecelia was Jonathan's "lady friend."
"OK then. Suit yourself." Duo shrugged and went back to his paper. "You know I'm more than happy for the two of us to have the house to ourselves for two weeks."
On the evening of April fifteenth, after having put away for another year the daunting issue of income tax and paperwork for a major corporation, William left with Kathryn for the airport, en route to two weeks of sunny bliss in Aruba. These little details were unknown to Heero Yuy, of course, who was merely counting down the days until his target was fair game - hunting season, if you will. He had a span of two weeks in which to perform his task, and he suspected that the dates fell around a conveniently scheduled vacation or "disappearance" by someone, but he was not interested in that in the slightest. His only interest was in the impending death of Duo Maxwell.
He'd been occasionally following the other young man now for the three weeks between getting the job instructions, and today, the day that his waiting period was up, and he could get to work. In that amount of time, the assassin had learned a lot about his target. What time he went to sleep and what time he woke up; where and when he usually took his meals; when he left the house and where he usually went. What kind of car he drove.
To start, Duo didn't work, which was good. Workplace hits were always very shaky since the possibility of being seen and identified later was so much greater. Instead, Mr. Maxwell spent his time running the typical errands that people run - post office, mall, and quite frequently the local pet shop, to check out the latest arrivals in aquarium fish, of which Duo had a beautiful large tank set up in the study of the large mansion. He also liked to frequent places like video game stores, known on a first name basis at a couple of places where he would strike up a conversation with the employees about the newest games, and stay talking, sometimes for an hour or more.
In the evenings, Duo stayed home half the time, but the other nights, mostly Fridays and weekends, Heero had followed him to a certain nightclub in the city. It was a gay club. So apparently this Duo Maxwell was into his own type. Maybe that was why there was a hit on him? In all his following the young man all over town and back and forth, Heero began to realize that he was doing much to much thinking about "what" and "why," and found himself very intrigued to find out that the chestnut-haired man that he followed was gay. Too intrigued, actually. It got Heero thinking about himself, and that wasn't something he liked to do, and especially not in the middle of a job.
This was a premise, being gay, that while Heero had always lived in and amongst people of every race and persuasion, he'd never really considered it, being attracted to others that were like you. He recalled all to readily being in high school or in college, and finding no interest at all in what the girls were doing or who they were dating. Much to his dismay, that sometimes caused for him to stand out from the rest of the hormone-induced boys who were out chasing anything that moved and was female. They had even called him gay, since he apparently had no interest in girls, but the thing was, back then, he hadn't had an interest in boys, either. He just didn't care.
Heero hadn't ever considered whether he could be gay before - really, he never considered anything. Only that he went about his business without regard for forming a romantic relationship with...anyone. His desire to be alone, he was sure, was partly the cause of that, but he supposed that even hermits liked to look at pictures or video of the opposite sex for visual pleasure. Again, it was never that he didn't like looking at women, or necessarily that he liked looking at men - he just never really paid any attention to what his personal preference was. As involved in his work as Heero was, it just went largely without notice, and when he did notice, he was in the habit of "unnoticing" it. He'd never really made time for himself, and his job certainly didn't afford that to him now, so Heero wasn't quite understanding of this keen interest that he'd developed in the other young man, whom he'd just discovered was gay.
And even if he did begin to realize that he was that way as well, it was something entirely new to him. What did Duo Maxwell being gay have to do with it? The other man was going to be dead inside of two weeks time, so it really didn't matter what Heero was thinking or feeling. He would be glad to get the job done, and get back to LA, where he could get away from the confusing thoughts that were going through his head and the feelings that were creeping up on him, causing an unwelcome hesitation in him. That only spelled trouble, and he had no use for trouble. In two weeks time, or preferably shorter than that, it would be sayonara to Duo Maxwell, then back home, and away from this job. Heero cursed the organization for putting him on this particular detail now.
Heero had been surveying the Maxwell home for over a week now, inspecting its boundaries and all entrances and windows. It was a bonus to him that there were balconies outside every bedroom on the top floor of the expansive home, and he'd already been up on them, noting whether the occupants tended to keep them locked or not. William's sliding glass door on the main balcony, naturally, was always locked. Duo's, on the other hand, was not, the couple of nights that Heero checked it. That would be easy - sliding the door open and shooting the young man as he slept. However, it was questionable as to whether there would be enough time to set up the body to look like a suicide and not make a worse mess in the amount of time that it took other people in the house to be roused from their sleep and come running. A less experienced agent might suggest using a silencer on the gun, making the sound extremely less obvious, but as Heero knew better, how many people who commit suicide try to do so quietly? If a person has gotten to the point of taking their own life, they frequently do it as loudly and as bloody as they can, almost as if to taunt those who have been left behind. That and, forensic science is able to distinguish the difference between a bullet that was fired out of a gun that had a silencer and one that didn't, so he couldn't shoot him with one gun and plant him with another, already fired one.
Additional to Duo, Heero noted two other people in the home - an older, fifty-something looking gentleman with whom the younger man seemed to have a poor relationship, and another gentleman. Also seeming to be in his fifties, Heero guessed the second man to be a servant by the fact that he'd seen the man repeatedly tending to the home. He was frequently seen with Duo, so Heero alluded that they must be friends as well. Once the sixteenth of April rolled around, the first man was not to be seen anywhere in the house, and that further confirmed Heero's suspicion that he was away somewhere, or gone, potentially one of the people that could have placed the hit on Duo. Then again, maybe not. Heero wasn't about to assume anything, since the back stories behind some of the jobs that he'd done over the past three years, stories that he sometimes found out about after the fact, could be pretty crazy and twisted indeed. For all he knew, it was the butler that did it, for reason of nothing more than being tired of answering to a spoiled, arrogant rich man with no gratitude.
Duo primped himself before the bathroom mirror, making sure that every strand of hair was in place, then went to the full length mirror inside his closet door, to view the total picture. Although he looked quite appealing, even if he did say so himself, he couldn't have felt further from that, still carrying the mental burden that weighed on him earlier. He was going out again, as Jonathan had suggested, even if only for a few hours, to take his mind off his troubles, because he needed to clear his head. He needed to clear his head so that in another day or so he could start getting down to business while William was away. There he went again. He just couldn't let the worry go, and he so desperately needed to.
Admiring himself in the mirror briefly, Duo smirked. He didn't know why, but he'd put on one of his "serious" clubbing outfits. Fitted black leather-look pants, the ones with the ever-so-subtle silver snakeskin pattern that accentuated his round, athletic derriere, and a shimmering metallic blue shirt, over which he wore his leather bike jacket. On his feet, naturally, black Doc Martens. He looked as enticing as ever, but his heart really wasn't in it this night, and he didn't know what he would do if he managed to attract the attentions of someone while out. Duo looked at himself for a few more seconds, satisfied with his appearance, and then left without giving much more thought to his clothes, to where he was going or what he intended to do there, or even to William. He just closed away those thoughts as he closed his bedroom door, and head downstairs to say goodbye to Jonathan before he left.
That night, Friday night, the club was jumping. The weather was good and people were out enjoying themselves, making the city bars and clubs very busy, and very happy. After having to look for nearly a half hour to find a parking space on the street, Duo finally managed to park, and then he walked to his favorite nighttime haunt, The Warehouse, so originally named because it was just that. It was an "anything goes" type place - gay, lesbian, trans or straight, but it was generally known for the alternative crowd that it drew, since there weren't a lot of places like it - places where, in numbers, people were safe. He paid his cover charge and stepped inside to be devoured by the loud thumping music and the flashing strobes. After checking his jacket and pocketing the ticket, Duo eventually made his way over to a corner of the bar to get himself a beer.
"Hey Duo," the bartender commented loudly above the noise, recognizing the young man's familiar face.
"Hey Sheila, how's it hangin'?" Duo yelled back, taking the mug of lager the woman pushed across the bar surface toward him and slipped her a five-dollar bill. She made change, handing him back two-fifty, and he slid her a dollar tip. Sheila smiled as she leaned over the bar to speak closer.
"Oh, not too bad. Full house tonight," Sheila answered as she poured another beer from the tap beside her. She over-enunciated her words, trying to be understood over the merriment that was going on around them. "Lots of pickin's today, huh?" The pretty woman with dirty-blonde hair and hazel eyes winked at Duo, and he blushed, shaking his head. Sheila was well aware that Duo hadn't "had any" in quite a while - not since he started to appear at the club on the weekends considerably less jovial than he normally was, so she was always trying to hook him up.
"Not looking. Just needed to get out," Duo replied loudly, but she didn't hear him.
She cupped her hand behind her ear, trying to understand him in all the chaos. "WHAT?"
Duo just smiled, shaking his head, then mingled off to see if he could find a place to sit.
He finally managed to get himself a seat at the other side of the bar, after waiting for a few people to get up, and settled down with his now nearly empty beer. Sheila brought him another one without him having to ask, and Duo put another bill on the bar, repeating the previous transaction. On a typical night out, he would spend exactly fourteen dollars - four lagers on tap, and four one-dollar tips for Sheila - and that was plenty to get him feeling just buzzed enough to be happy and not so buzzed that he couldn't make it home.
For quite a while Duo sat, sideways on his stool, leaning sideways against the back, simply watching the crowd before him. People sat at booths and around little cafe tables, enjoying pitchers of the house brew, or whatever else wet their whistle. Other people stood in groups along the outer edges of the crowd, talking loudly to each other, above the music, and other people yet were dancing on the numerous dance floors throughout the massive clear-spanned building. The air was electric with light, sound and energy, as well as stale with the aromas of smoke and musty sweat, and finally, after his second beer, Duo began to loosen up enough to begin enjoying the scene in front of him. After sitting a while more, and then draining the last sip from his mug, Duo raised his finger to get Sheila's attention from across the other side of the bar - she eventually saw him and nodded.
About five minutes later another beer appeared on the bar before him, and as Duo pulled out his next bill, suddenly a fresh, crisp five-spot was laid on the bar in front of him.
"I'll get that," a deep, gravely voice said as Sheila looked up at the other man and took his money. She glanced over to Duo, trying to hide a little grin, and winked at him again as he turned around.
"Why, ah... thanks," the longhaired man fumbled, not really having given much thought to the fact that even though he wasn't necessarily looking for companionship that night, other people certainly were. Duo looked up to face the one who had paid for his beer, meeting beautiful deep blue eyes the color of his glimmering shirt. Here he was, face to face with a very handsome, very exotic looking man, and this other man was buying him a beer. Duo's stomach fluttered slightly, but he pushed the feeling away. For what seemed like an eternity they just stared at each other, neither really knowing what to say, until Duo shook his head amusingly and smiled. "I'm sorry. Duo Maxwell." Duo offered his hand, which the other man shook a little hesitantly, and with a nervous, sweaty hand.
"Heero Yuy." Heero slid himself into the barstool next to Duo. He had been waiting all night for it to be vacant, so he could sit next to the other man and buy him a beer to get a conversation going. Heero raised a finger toward Sheila to get himself a refill as well.
Duo smiled shyly. "Thanks very much, Heero. For the lager."
"My pleasure," Heero replied. The two young men both seemed entranced by each other, and they were utterly embarrassed that they were. Sheila showed up with Heero's beer, breaking the awkward moment much to their relief, and a collective sigh went out, along with a few chuckles.
"My God!" Sheila joked loudly. "What is this, a morgue? Go dance! Have some fun!" The bubbly blonde teased Duo, looking at Heero. "Take him out there and make him dance, will you? He's been a lump on this barstool all night, and that's not the Duo Maxwell that I know!"
"Sheila!" Duo scolded the woman, his face reddening more by the second.
She merely looked at him with a shit-eating grin, and shooed the two men away from the bar. "Go!"
Heero smiled slightly, genuinely, which was a completely foreign experience to him. "Want to?" He nodded toward the other man, extremely interested, and at the same time asking himself if he had gone completely mad, and his heart began to race when Duo finally accepted. Between the adrenaline rushing through him and the foreboding feeling of taboo about what he was doing, he felt as though he would collapse into a heap of quivering nerves right there, in the middle of all the people. Somehow, though, Heero managed to find the composure to escort Duo Maxwell to the dance floor, leaving their beers at the bar, where Sheila was kind enough to put them underneath, something that she did for her regulars out of safety and courtesy.
Heero knew, at this point, that he was completely out of his mind insane to be doing what he was doing. Tracking his target and gathering information was one thing, but what he was doing was completely against the rules of the organization, endangering not only himself, but also the job and the entire company. If he screwed up now, there was a possibility that someone, like Sheila, or anyone else in the huge building, would remember seeing him with Duo Maxwell and be able to identify him, and that would bring him nothing but trouble. But for some reason, as the appealing-looking longhaired man before him swayed and moved to the loud, loud music, none of that mattered very much.