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Bar Louie was not a favorite hangout of Bill’s but it was conveniently located near the Montgomery County Circuit Court building and he had found himself spending more time with lawyers in the last four and a half years than he had in the preceding fifty nine. Besides, who could resist the effervescent charm of Bar Louie’s Duvan Diaz, aka Double Dee?

Bar Louie was boring but today Bill was shocked to his core. In the two plus years he had known Gabrielle the only chance encounter he had ever had with her had been when she introduced herself by bowling him over at METRO Center. Watching her push her husband’s wheelchair into the unexceptional lounge that is Bar Louie had been a bit surreal.

Until now Gabrielle’s husband had been a phantasm. Bill snorted a bit as he realized that he more than half expected Adriel to look like Patrick Stewart portraying Professor Xavier of X-Men fame. The tattered man that he saw made his heart ache. Adriel was half his age and ending his life’s journey as a failing shell; the last thing he wanted to feel was empathy and sympathy for the husband of his love interest but there he was looking noble and carrying on under the hardest of circumstances. “Damn you, Adriel Gibeon. How can I compete with Thor plunging headlong to Earth?”

The phrase ‘love interest’ made him smirk and shake his head: Pretty one sided love affair. The time they spent together was rare and the physical expression of desire rarer. Thoughts of their first mating came to him and his shoulders drooped. Describing their first encounter as pity sex would be as accurate as it was misleading. He had no doubt that she had made love to him because she felt a need to comfort him in his time of sorrow and apprehension and he had longingly and willingly succumbed to her soothing sexual ministrations.

She had been with him when he’d received the news that his son was missing. The best the detectives could report was that he’d been last seen on his way to Syria. They could not state definitively whether Sean was alive or dead. The devastation that was telegraphed by his facial expression and the uncontrollable sobbing that erupted from him had led to love making and that had led to complications.