What is your name and occupation?
My name’s Jeremy Brodie, Jamie for short. When I was born my oldest brother was two, and he couldn’t say Jeremy. It came out sounding sort of like Jamie, and the nickname stuck. I’m a librarian with a subject specialty in history at the Young Research Library at UCLA.
How old are you? 33.
How did you come by your current occupation?
I had originally planned to teach history at the college level. When my boyfriend at the time left me, near the end of my doctoral program, I decided to take a different path. I enjoyed doing research, so I went to library school and became an academic librarian. I teach a class in history research for the library school every spring.
Do you like your job?
I love my job! UCLA is one of the top universities in the country. Our patrons are mostly graduate students and faculty, so the research questions we get are always interesting. I learn something new every day.
Who is the person you dislike the most?
I have never met her, but I despise my boyfriend’s mother. Pete was sexually abused by the parish priest when he was fourteen, and his mother didn’t believe him – or his older brother, who’d actually caught the priest with Pete. She chose the priest’s reputation over her own sons. I don’t think I can forgive that.
Who is the person you respect the most?
My dad. He raised three boys as a single dad and served our country for 35 years as a Marine. He’s the most awesome person I know.
Is there anyone special in your life?
My boyfriend, Pete Ferguson. We’ve been together for a while now. We dated once before and couldn’t make it work – this time we’re both committed to building a relationship.
What’s your favorite meal? Do you fix it yourself or have someone fix it for you?
Shrimp and grits! I can’t cook it very well myself. My dad makes it the best, and he’s taught Pete to do it too.
Blue. The color of sky and water.
Football or baseball?
Baseball. I played when I was a kid, and both my boyfriend Pete and my brother Kevin played baseball at UCLA on scholarship. Kevin still plays for the LAPD team, the Centurions. We go to Dodgers games pretty often. Having said that – my favorite sport is rugby. I started playing youth rugby when I was in grade school, and I kept it up all the way through college and graduate school. I won two national collegiate championships playing with the rugby team at UC-Berkeley.
Swimming. I love being alone in the water. It really clears my head.
I hear you’re planning a vacation. Where are you going? Is anyone going along?
I’d like to take Pete to England with me next year, to show him Oxford and introduce him to my friends there.
Thanksgiving. No presents, no unrealistic expectations, just food and family.
I listen to a lot of classical music to relax. My ex, Scott, is a cellist in the LA Philharmonic and he got me hooked on it. I love the Bach cello suites.
If you had one wish, what would it be?
That I could go back in time and erase Pete’s abuse. I’d do anything if I could change that for him.
A phone call in the middle of the night is never good news. When Pete Ferguson’s phone rings, he learns that one of his childhood friends, Mark Jones, has committed suicide. Mark’s family is shocked, and wonders if Mark was abused by the same priest at whose hands Pete suffered. Pete and Mark’s family want answers, and they ask Jamie to find them. Pete is convinced the priest is connected to his friend’s suicide. Jamie isn’t so sure. When the evidence starts pulling them in different directions, will it tear them apart?
We spotted Mark and Marcia’s mother near the driveway. She turned as we walked toward her, saw Pete, and came to him with her arms open. “Pete Ferguson! It’s so good to see you!”
Pete hugged her for a minute then introduced me. “This is my boyfriend, Jamie Brodie. This is – um, Mark’s mom.”
She smiled and took my hand. “Elaine Smith. It’s lovely to meet you.” She turned back to Pete. “I went from Jones to Smith. Isn’t that silly?”
Pete smiled. He said to me, “All the cookie recipes I have are ones that I got from Mark’s mom.”
“Oh, wow.” I smiled at Mrs. Smith. “I have a lot to be grateful to you for, then.”
She laughed a little. She and Pete went through the “how is everyone and where are they now” questions again, and she took Pete’s hand in both of hers. “I’m so glad you’re doing well.” She didn’t say anything else, but I knew what she meant.
“Thank you.” Pete didn’t elaborate either. I knew he was over talking about it.
She nodded at the driveway, where we saw Mark’s father departing. “He’s handling this very poorly. He didn’t react well when Mark came out. I think the wife is partly to blame. She’s very concerned with appearances.”
“Is that the same woman? She looks different.”
Mrs. Smith made a sound of disgust. “Oh, no. That’s wife number four. The other two and I meet for coffee sometimes. They were at least decent human beings. Wife number two is here, as a matter of fact. She loved Mark. This one, I don’t even want my granddaughters in her home.”
“So Mr. Jones feels bad now that he rejected Mark.”
“Bad doesn’t begin to cover it.” She made a dismissive motion with her hand. “But forget them.” She turned to me. “You seem like a lovely young man. Where are you from and what do you do?”
“Thank you, ma’am. I’m from Oceanside. and I’m a librarian at UCLA.”
“Oceanside. Did you grow up in a military household?”
She nodded. “Good.” She put her arm around Pete’s waist and gave him a squeeze. “You take good care of this boy.”
“Yes, ma’am. I will.”
Her smile faded. “I have to go see to Mark’s boyfriend. He’s having a terrible time. I’m trying to convince him to stay with us for a few days. He doesn’t have any contact with his own parents.” Her eyes teared up. “How can anyone turn their own child away? How can anyone do what your mother did?”
Pete said softly, “I’ve wondered that myself.”
Mrs. Smith hugged Pete fiercely then stepped back. “I’m so glad to see you. We’re in the same house. I’d love to have you visit some time.” She smiled mischievously. “I’ll make cookies.”
Pete laughed. “I’d like that.”
Mrs. Smith moved away and Pete turned to me. He looked tired. “Ready to go?”
“Yeah.” I’d been hoping to talk to the boyfriend, but he didn’t look like he was in any shape to talk. Right now he was sobbing on Mark’s mother’s shoulder.
“Let’s go find Dan’s grave.”
I’d brought flowers. I knew Ben Goldstein, Dan’s boyfriend at the time of his death, had made arrangements with Forest Lawn to keep flowers on Dan’s grave, but I wanted to make my contribution. We walked along the drive away from the subdued hubbub of Mark’s family. Dan’s grave was in the next section over. I was glad to see it was well tended. I laid my flowers at the base of the headstone and we stood for a minute. It was peaceful. There were birds singing.
Finally Pete sighed deeply and took my hand. “Okay. Let’s go home.”
We drove home without saying much. When we got there, Pete dumped his jacket on the loveseat and headed straight for the kitchen. He took down the bottle of Glenmorangie that Kevin and Abby had given us for Christmas, poured two fingers into a glass, knocked it back and poured two more. He gestured at me with the bottle. “Want any?”
“No.” I took a beer out of the fridge and took a long drink. “This’ll work for me.”
Pete went back down into the living room and dropped onto the sofa. He pulled off his tie and tossed it in the direction of his jacket; it fell to the floor. I picked it up, straightened his jacket over the arm of the loveseat and laid his tie over it, then draped my own jacket and tie over his. He waved his glass in the general direction of me and the jackets. “Thanks.”
“You’re welcome.” I sat down beside him, but not touching. I didn’t know if he’d want to be touched. “Tough day.”
“I didn’t know that anyone else knew about what happened to you.”
“Like Marcia said, word got around.”
“Yeah.” Pete had his closed face on.
“Is there anything I can do?”
“Yeah.” He took another drink. “You can find out if the same thing happened to Mark as happened to me.”
“Do you really want me to do that?”
“Yeah. I do. I want to know what happened to him. I want to know why he did this. And I want to know if that son of a bitch Terry Moynihan did this to anyone else. And I want to know where he is.” He glared at me, his expression fierce. “Will you do that?”
I swallowed hard. “I will.”
“Good.” He turned his face back to the window.
I had my orders.
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