Street Rules

Street Rules by Baxter Clare Read Free Book Online

Book: Street Rules by Baxter Clare Read Free Book Online
Authors: Baxter Clare
Tags: Hard-Boiled, Noir, Lesbian, Detective and Mystery Fiction
Man, he was pissed.”
    Frank nodded, verifying Bobby’s story, and Gail laughed from the back of her throat.
    “God, I can hear him now. Worse than a damned .22’,” she rasped in imitation of the old ME.
    Noah caught Frank’s eye and he cocked his head at her, wondering. She winked and he tapped his mug to her cup.
    “To Fridays.”
    “Here, here,” Gail joined in, raising her glass to Noah, then Frank. This precipitated a whole series of toasts around the table, in Spanish, Polish, Chinese, Japanese, and Czechoslovakian. Then the conversation turned to the NBA playoffs and Gail edged toward Frank.
    “You follow basketball?”
    “Nope. I’m pretty much a football fan. How about you?”
    “I like to watch the Niners and Giants. Those are my dad’s teams and I kind of grew up with them.”
    “You’re from Berkeley, right?”
    “Good memory,” Gail nodded. “How about you?”
    “Back east.”
    “Where back east?”
    “New York City.”
    “Really?” Gail said, surprised, pushing her dark bob away from her face. “I’d have never guessed.”
    “Good,” Frank said, watching Noah’s face crack into a big grin. She looked over her shoulder just as she heard Kennedy’s wicked drawl.
    “Yes sirree, I reckoned this was where I’d find you bar rats along a Friday night.”
    Johnnie and Noah greeted the young detective, imitating her accent, and telling her, “Make yerself to home.”
    There weren’t many seats available and noting her predicament, Bobby gallantly offered his. She protested but he said, “Hey, I got to be getting home. It’s late as it is. Leslie’s gonna bust a move on me.”
    Kennedy took his seat and Nancy came over with bright interest.
    “Darlin’,” Kennedy drawled, eyeing the waitress up and down, making her blush.
    “Hi,” she answered shyly, avoiding Kennedy’s eye by wiping rings off the table. “Coke?”
    “Por favor,” the detective said in horrible Spanish.
    When the waitress left, Kennedy turned her full attention to the ME.
    “How ya doin’, doc?”
    “Fine,” Gail replied, with a slight edge. The young narc held the doc’s cool gaze a beat longer than necessary, then turned to Frank.
    “How you been?” she asked.
    Conversation drifted back to the DA’s office and below the rest of the table talk Frank answered, “Good. S’up with you?”
    “Nothin’,” Kennedy shrugged, “Just thought I’d drop by and see what ya’ll were up to.”
    Frank shrugged, “Working hard, hardly working.”
    “You taking care of yourself?” the younger woman asked, with no trace of an accent.
    “You bet. And you?”
    “Stayin’ fit as a fiddle.”
    “You look it.”
    Kennedy leaned closer, dropping her voice even more.
    “Ain’t too late to change your mind, you know.”
    A thin smile reflected off Frank’s coffee.
    “Thanks, but no thanks.”
    “Suit yourself,” Kennedy dismissed, scanning the crowded room. Spotting Nancy, she said, ” ‘Scuse me.”
    Frank watched the two women talking, joking, Kennedy’s hand on Nancy’s arm. Frank would have shaken her head if she were alone; the girl had moxie, and then some. Frank had ended their affair when she saw the situation with Nancy, but Kennedy had been unrepentant. She’d insisted her relationship with Frank wasn’t monogamous, so what was the big deal? She still didn’t understand why Frank had ended it.
    Kennedy made her way back to the Nine-three table, winked at Frank, and said goodbye to the detectives. Knowing Noah was watching her, Frank refused to look at him. She finished her coffee and stayed for another round of one-upping, then dropping some bills on the table, she said, “Make sure Johnnie doesn’t take this for alimony.”
    “Johnnie, hell,” Diego answered. “Make sure Ike doesn’t take it for the ponies.”
    “Hey, where you goin’?” Noah asked.
    “Going home. Been a long week baby-sitting you guys. Doc, good to see you again,” Frank said amiably. “Always nice to have

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