“What the crap, Dom!” Mia is already giving him shit as she pushes open his bedroom door. “You just disappear into thin air and all I get is a text saying, 'Almost getting arrested is turning into fucking this cop on his ex's lawn. See you tomorrow.' Do you know how fucking worried I've been? And I had finals today! You couldn't save your adventure for a night a little less vital to whether or not I graduate on time?” she rants as she yanks the curtains open.
She turns around from the window and shrieks, “Who the hell is that?!”
Brian groans, rolls onto his stomach and pulls a pillow over his head. Dom sheepishly pulls up the sheet enough that it covers Brian's bare ass and the purpling fingertip bruises, although it does nothing to hide the hickeys on his neck, or the ones all over Dom's chest, and says to his baby sister, “So. Long story short, I met the friendliest cop last night....”
Mia looks at the tangle of clothing at the side of the bed, nudges it with her toe, then leans over and picks up a navy blue uniform shirt with all the buttons missing and a pair of broken handcuffs. Very dryly, she says, “I see that.”
14 Hours Earlier
They're celebrating an incredible test drive for the Supra – she's going to dominate at Race Wars this year – with a couple beers at the garage because Mia is at home cramming for finals. And a couple turns into a few, and yeah, they have the stereo on, just low.
But it's no call for Mrs. Destin, or as they call her, The Old Bat Across The Road, to call the cops. As she has clearly done, because a patrol car has just pulled up in front of the garage.
Only the dude who gets out – are police uniforms supposed to be that tight? He's, well.
“Damn, dawg,” Leon says. “Did somebody send us a cop stripper?”
The cop's smile gets very tight. Kind of like his uniform. Dom thinks to himself that if he didn't want to hear shit like that, he shouldn't have become a cop when he is so very, very pretty. “Can I see some ID please, gentlemen?”
The cop looks at all their driver's licenses, but he doesn't take them back to his patrol car to run them, and at first Dom thinks he was just checking for underage drinking and they're home free.
Until the cop smiles at them politely and says, “I'll be right back,” and goes back to the car. Great, Dom thinks. A cop with a photographic memory. I'm boned.
He sits, does something on a laptop, casts a very long-suffering look in the direction of the Old Bat's House, then reaches for his radio on his hip, not bothering to close the car door. They can all hear him clearly from across the lot.
“Patrol 34762 to Dispatch, 4255 Echo Park Road, other reports at or from this address, K?”
His shoulders slump after a moment as he listens, and he actually pinches the bridge of his nose and looks to be mouthing curses to himself. “Thanks, Dispatch, situation resolved, 34762 on meal break, K?” Then he moseys back over from the car, rests his hands on his belt, and sighs a deep sigh that seems to come all the way up from his (very shiny) shoes.
"Look. Mrs. Destin is...a frequent caller at the station. You're all of age, you're not being disorderly and you don't even seem that drunk, so I have no reason to take any of you in, but if I report it back to Dispatch as unsubstantiated and she calls in again, the next officer they send might take a look at your record, Mr. Toretto, and...”
“Decide to be an asshole just for the hell of it?” Dom offers, when the guy can't seem to come up with a polite euphemism.
“Of course I would never suggest that my fellow officers would be anything less than objective and diligent in the performance of their duties....but yeah, pretty much. You haven't even had an overnighter since you got paroled, and I'd rather not see your streak broken over a couple of beers. So how about instead, I save you cab fare home - because you've all definitely had too much to be driving - and then we just call it a night?" The cop smiles at him. It's blindingly pretty. Like looking into the sun.
Dom blinks at him. "I don't mean to seem disrespectful, officer. But goddamn. I want like three of you."
He laughs. "All right, you might be slightly more drunk than I thought. Get in the car."
“You know,” Dom says contemplatively as they're on their way back to the house. “I've never sat in the front of one of these, before.”
“Yeah, maybe don't let that get around. Front's not really supposed to be for private citizens, but...seatbelts. I'm a big fan.”
It's barely a ten minute drive, even with the cop doing the speed limit all the way. Nobody throws up in the back, and when the guys pile out and thank the cop in varying levels of actual appreciation ranging from Vince (grudging) to Jesse (wildly enthusiastic), Dom opens the passenger door and reluctantly gets out, before leaning back in and asking, “Since you used your meal break to keep us from getting arrested, or at least severely hassled, how about I treat you to a very early breakfast?”
“I'd really like that, but-” the radio squawks. “One sec. Patrol 34762, go ahead, K?”
“Go ahead and clock out, O'Conner, I pulled Lemansky to come in early, he needs the OT.”
“He really, really does. Thanks Sarge, you're the best.” He clips the radio back at his hip with a grin and says to Dom, “As I was saying, I would love to have a very early breakfast with you. I just need to swing by the station to clock out and switch cars.” He gestures grandly to the passenger seat. “Shall we?”
“Sure.” Why the hell not.
“What were you celebrating?” the cop asks when Dom gets back in.
“Ah, we finished a car.”
“That sweet '94 Supra parked in the front bay? She's gorgeous.”
“You like cars?” Dom asks, surprised.
“I love cars,” he corrects. “A little too much; me and my best friend did two years in juvie for boosting 'em.”
“Why Officer O'Conner, how scandalous,” Dom drawls with a grin.
“Brian,” the cop corrects him, firmly.
“Brian. You really did two years?”
“GTA, reckless endangerment, driving without a license, trespassing and destruction of property. Juvie scared the shit outta me. When I got out, I promised myself I'd never go back.”
“Yeah. I hear that,” Dom admits. “I gotta say, when you offered me a ride home instead of a pair of cuffs, that was not at all the reaction I was expecting. Makes a little more sense, now.”
They pull up in front of the precinct, and Dom gets out. “I'll be five minutes,” the co-Brian promises.
“Should I time you?”
“I dunno, is there a penalty if I'm late?” he asks with a smirk, then pulls away before Dom can answer.
Dom's not exactly timing the guy, but he does glance at his phone, and thinks it's right on time when Brian pulls to a stop in a sleek blue and silver Skyline that would make Leon drool.
“Is this an aftermarket-altered high-performance automobile you're driving, Officer?”
“I told you, it's Brian,” he insists, still with that matinee-idol grin. “And my baby is street legal. Barely, but she is. Get in, I want waffles.”
Dom directs him to an all-night diner in East LA that does fantastic breakfast platters. When they've placed their orders, and Dom goes ahead and gives in and orders coffee (even though it'll most likely be an uneasy truce between that and the better part of a six pack currently swimming in his gut), Brian leans back in the booth and says, “Tell me about the Supra?”
He talks about Jesse bringing her in from some junkyard out in Sun Valley, all scorch marks and twisted metal, but the frame was solid and it had a 2JZ engine hiding under the sun-faded hood. He talks all through their second cups of coffee and a waffle and a half into their breakfasts, Brian urging him on with bright interested eyes and intelligent questions.
And finally Dom has to ask, “How does a total gearhead like you end up a cop?”
“Like I said, juvie scared the shit outta me. And I wasn't the only one. Lots of scared kids in there. I wanted to help kids like them see that they have other options, before it gets to that point. My best friend, Rome? Not so much. Juvie just made him want to do it all over again, faster. He ended up doing three years in Chino for GTA.”
“Shit. Bet that cured him if anything was gonna.” Because Chino may not be Lompoc, but it's definitely no summer camp.
“That's exactly what happened, thank fuck. I thought he was gonna break his Nana's heart. Rome got out a couple months ago with some very unstylish ankle jewelry and a stiff-necked ex-Army P.O. who doesn't hardly let him take a piss without checking first, even though he's living with a damn cop. So my initial reaction when I ran your license was less 'big scary dude has a record' and more 'I would be so goddamn torqued off if Rome ended up getting pulled in over an asshole neighbour with nothing better to do than waste the PD's time and budget with bullshit complaints, after he finally got his shit straightened out. I'm not gonna turn around and risk doing that to this guy.'”
“Are you sure you're a cop?” Because he doesn't sound like any cop Dom's ever encountered. Or heard of. Or suspected existed.
“I'm normally Community Liaison Division,” he replies with a grin. “I go around to elementary schools with puppets and coloring books and give talks on road safety and how and when to call 911, run the basketball league at the rec center, try to keep teenagers off drugs and out of handcuffs. Prevention, like I said. I'm doing this beat as a favor for my old Sergeant. He's got two officers out on medical leave, one just retired, and one more had her baby four weeks early, so swing shift is stretched a little thin right now.”
“But somebody got pulled in early?”
“Lemansky's wife had quadruplets about six months ago. They're spending a Micronesian island nation's GNP on diapers every month, he needs all the overtime the Sarge'll let him have. Not to mention, I think Lemansky likes coming to work just for the quiet.”
Dom winces. “Ouch.”
“Right? Reason #425 why I'm glad to be gay.”
Dom takes a sip of his coffee so he doesn't have to come up to an immediate reply to that, because he has just realized that treating the one nice cop in LA to midnight waffles is actually a date. Finally he just goes with, “You have four hundred and twenty-five, really?”
“Well, I haven't actually numbered them all, but it's up there, yeah.” Brian grins again.
Dom weighs the fact that Brian is really, really stupefyingly pretty, against the fact that he is a cop, and a guy. Dom hasn't fucked a guy since prison.
But he's so pretty. He looks airbrushed, only this is real life and not a magazine cover.
“Dom? You okay?”
“Sorry....did you know your eyelashes are gold? I just...you have a photographic memory, you're kind, you're gorgeous, you love cars, I'm really looking for some sort of flaw and not finding any and it's making me a little nervous.”
“I can fix that.” He takes out his cell phone, dials a number, and when someone picks up on the other end, says, “Rome, I need your help. I'm on a date with a hot guy and he thinks I'm too perfect and it's making him nervous that I might be a serial killer or something. So when I needed someone to reel off a list of my flaws, naturally I thought of you.” He holds out the phone. “Here, talk to Rome.”
Dubious, Dom takes the phone, holds it to his ear. “Hello?”
“Man, what you wanna be going out with that crazy white boy for? Did you know he drives backwards on the freeway for fun? He snores, he loves tuna sandwiches, he feeds his dog from the table, he drinks too many of them stupid energy drinks and then bounces around like Tigger on crack, an' he STOLE MY GIRLFRIEND at senior prom even though he's gayer than a Barbara Streisand concert, just to get back at me.”
Brian grins like he knows exactly what his friend is saying. “Remind him that Tonya was way too good for his raggedy ass anyway.”
A squawk of outrage from the phone. “And he's a smartass! He so far from perfect, he can't even see it from where he's standing! Not to mention, he got terrible taste in boyfriends. No offense, bruh, I don't know you, but Bri's history kinda speaks for itself.”
There's an impatient beep-beep! in his ear. “And Bri's got a call waiting! Twenty bucks says it's his ex. Have fun with that!” There's a click as Rome presumably hangs up, and then a smarmy voice in his ear. “Bri, honey, babycakes-”
“Who is this?” Dom asks in his best pissed-off growl.
There's dead silence for almost thirty seconds, and then, cautiously, “Who is this?”
Brian facepalms. “Give me the phone.”
Dom grins and shakes his head. “This is Brian's date,” he says into the phone. “Who is this, again?”
“This is Troy. Brian's boyfriend.”
“Aw, honey, it's Troy. Your boyfriend.” He and Brian have a brief war of wills over the phone that ends with Dom leaning halfway out of the booth to escape Brian's reach. “You wanna try that again, Troy? Who are you?”
“Well, we're....sort of on a temporary break. Right now.”
“What I thought. You know something, Troy? Clingy ain't sexy, it's one step up from stalking.” Brian, apparently resigned to having lost all control of the conversation, holds up two fingers as he digs back into his waffles. “I stand corrected. Bri says it's two steps up from stalking. And I guess he would know.”
“No, you look, asshole. I am hanging up on your wannabe-stalker ass now. Don't call back.” Dom hangs up, pushes the cell phone back across the table toward Brian. “What did you see in him?”
“I really don't know anymore,” he admits, sheepish. He opens his mouth to say something more, is interrupted by the ring of his cell phone. “Oh for fuck's sake,” he mutters as he flips the phone open. “Troy, what the hell, man? What part of, 'we're done' do you not get, because I really don't think it's possible for me to use smaller words.”
“Don't you fucking interrupt me, asshole,” Brian snarls in a tone that's probably meant to be all policeman-commanding but mostly makes Dom's dick twitch. He can feel himself getting hard watching Brian get more and more pissed off, practically crackling with energy, all golden skin and golden curls and eyes the bright, searing blue of an acetylene torch.
“Listen to my words, because this is the last time we're going to have this conversation – in fact, we're not even having it now. We're not 'on a break,' we're not 'going through a rough patch,' and we're not 're-evaluating our relationship.' We are broken up, and that's not going to change. Stop calling me, stop sending me flowers, stop coming by my house. You cheated on me, Troy, if you were the last man on Earth, I would either give heterosexuality a shot or move to Mars. My next step is going to be a restraining order.” A pause. “I damn well will do it, fucking try me, asshole.”
He hangs up the phone and smiles that bright, plastic smile that Dom remembers from earlier when Leon called him a stripper. “First you thought I might be a serial killer or a bunny boiler, and then you had to deal with my crazy ex. This date is going fantastic.”
Dom nudges his foot against Brian's under the table. “If it makes you feel any better, my crazy ex is my sister's best friend, and we work together.”
“Nah, man, the fact that we both apparently have terrible judgment doesn't really make me feel any better,” he says, but the smile turns less plastic and more genuine and wry, so Dom's still gonna call that a win.
“I don't have terrible judgment,” Dom corrects him as he picks at the last of his food. “I got tired of her calling every girl I spoke to for longer than two minutes a skank and constantly accusing me of cheating on her, so I broke up with her.”
At least half the problem was Jennie Tran shoving Dom's ill-advised two-week relationship with her in Letty's face all the time. It'd been right after Lompoc. He'd told Letty not to wait for him and she hadn't, in fact had a thing going with Shawn Vega when he got out. He'd missed women and Jennie was gorgeous, willing and available. Letty had a meltdown over it, so after they hurled accusations back and forth for nearly an hour, they'd agreed that Letty would drop Shawn and Dom would drop Jennie. They'd promised to be exclusive and faithful, but Letty had never believed that he was.
Two years of accusations and jealous tantrums? He'd been at the point of going out and earning those accusations. Might as well do the crime if he was already getting the punishment. In the end, it was only the fact that he didn't want to give her the satisfaction of being right that caused him to break up with her instead. It turned out to be a good choice – they get along a helluva lot better now that they're not dating.
“I had sort of the opposite problem. I had a couple of....friendly acquaintances tell me that Troy was stepping out on me with his ex, but I didn't believe it. Not until I walked in on them fucking. That was about a week before Rome got paroled, and he's been hounding me ever since.”
“If he's been hassling you for two months, why didn't you already take out a restraining order?”
“Troy knows I'm not out at work. He wouldn't have the balls to harass me like this if he really thought I would do something about it.”
“You don't really strike me as the closeted type.” Because for someone who's not 'out at work,' he seems pretty damn comfortable being on a date with Dom while in his uniform.
“You kind of caught me at a point where I'm out of fucks to give when it comes to other people's opinions. At first, when I was working patrol, I didn't want to have that what-if in the back of my head, if I need to call for backup are they actually gonna show? Then I got accepted to CLD, and my supervisor turned out to be this total prick who really has no business interacting with humans. I've never met anyone so humorless and narrow-minded in my life. But someone upstairs must have caught a clue that Stasiak is the last person who should be liaising with the community, and he's getting transferred to Robbery. He'll be out of my hair in two weeks, and I'll probably spend most of that on swing shift for Sgt. Tanner. So I am more than willing to file a TRO and put up with any resultant teasing or homophobic freak-outs if Troy keeps pulling this crap.”
The phone rings again, and Brian glances at the Caller ID, gives his phone the finger, making Dom nearly snort his coffee, and then opens it only long enough to turn it off. “I think that's enough interruptions for one night. Any chance I could interest you in helping me demonstrate to my ex what we are never ever getting back together means?”
“What did you have in mind?”
“I think you fucking me over the hood of the Skyline on Troy's front lawn would probably do it.”
Dom laughs, not sure if Brian's being a smartass or he's dead serious. He thinks he's game either way.
Just then, he gets a text from Vince. Wher the fcuk R U?
He sends a group text in reply. Almost getting arrested is turning into fucking this cop on his ex's lawn. C U tmrw. Whether it actually happens or not, that text will make Vince's head spin around and explode, which is the fun part.
Then he turns off his phone too. Because Brian's right – that's definitely enough interruptions.