Jericho came out of our room holding a gift wrapped box in his hands. "Sammy, I bought you a new shirt for the party. I hope you like it."
"It's a present from you. How can I help but love it?" Well, that's what I said before I opened it. As I started to pull the shirt from the box, I knew that saying I love it was a definite exaggeration. But Jericho was looking so happy and pleased with himself that I went ahead and put it on to wear to the policeman's ball.
Naturally enough, the entire police force, what we have of one, was there. After all, we were required to be there.
If the point of this event is to make sure that police socialise with other citizens, I think we fail. Cops like to grab a drink and head for a quiet corner. Both Jared and Felipe were hanging around the bars and not talking to anyone.
The other surprising thing to me was how few people were turning up, outside of my fellow cops. Either everyone else in town loves to get to parties late so they can make a grand entrance or what we'd heard about the event wasn't really true. Probably some combination of both. I didn't see Chuck around either, at least not early in the evening.
It did take him a good five minutes to get himself oriented to the various parts of the control panel. But he had a blast doing it. And for his first try at it, he was doing well.
Howie was just dancing solo with the music. He might have been lucky that not many were upstairs yet, geek boy doesn't dance well. I'm sure that if someone had started giggling at him, he would have been out of there so fast that he would have been a blur.
"Hey, Sam, why the hell don't we do this more often?"
"Life keeps getting in our way, Love. Work, babies, just stuff," I replied.
"We definitely need more 'us' time. What's the point of being attached to the best looking guy in town if I don't show him off more often," Jericho teased.
"Sounds like a plan, Jer." Right about then, I thought I saw Chuck turning to face the room at the top of the stairs. Jericho distracted me with a couple of pretty fancy steps, plus some wild hip action. When I next looked, Chuck had disappeared again.
It was far too late to worry about how the pictures might come out so I grinned and danced my best. Pink shirt and all, if you are going to do a thing, do it well.
Eventually, I wandered downstairs to see what might be happening there. That's when I finally actually saw Chuck.
He saw me at about the same time and came stalking over. "Grant, I want a word with you." I gave him a bit of a look, he doesn't usually do the last name thing.
"All right, I'll be there." I looked around. "Party still seems a bit dead."
"Well, go home. No one is keeping you here," was the rather scathing reply.
So Monday morning, just before patrol was due to begin, I entered Chuck's office.
I went into instant attack mode. My eyes narrowed and I could hear my voice drop to a growl. "What do you mean? Blue thing? That's Jericho, my spouse. You said to bring our partners."
Steady Sammy, steady. Don't try and shake some sense into him, that would be assault.
"When I said bring your partner, I meant your girlfriend or wife. Someone normal. Not that thing," Chuck shouted.
"He is not a thing." I bellowed back. "He's the only person I'd want to take to that godforsaken party of yours. You didn't give me a chance to avoid going or avoid taking a second person, did you?"
Chuck stood stone still for a moment. When he next spoke it was quieter but still angry. "Well, that's not going to be a problem from here on out. You are fired. Don't bother turning in the uniform, I'd just have to burn it."
"I am the senior officer here. I can fire who I want, and I have fired you. You are out. I don't want to see you or that blue thing anywhere near this station." Chuck was still talking at a normal volume but each word was dripping with hatred and contempt.
"This is discrimination. I'll sue. I'll sue this station, this town and you!"
He took a step closer to me. "Don't even think about it. Get out of my sight and never cross my path again."
I gave up the argument and stormed out of the office slamming the doors behind me. I walked, still seething with anger, into the centre of town. Was it going to be worth my while to try and sue for my job back? Should I just give in and look for something different?
Apologies for the 'party' pics. My game utterly refused to cooperate and crashed a couple of times trying to make it work so the guests never quite make it to the right place.
My dear grumpy boy does pull the best grouchy faces.