Sometimes It's Fate
Jason McCarthy is gay. He’s also a police officer living in a small-minded northern New Brunswick town where being gay could spell the end of his career. When an impending snowstorm threatens to strand his best friend and policing partner, David, Jason offers up his spare room for the night--a move that reveals Jason’s secret, and changes their friendship and lives forever.
David Richard isn’t gay--at least he doesn’t think he is. He knows he loves his best friend, and he admits to feelings that had started after a tragic accident almost a year before. When David acts on these feelings, it doesn’t go well, leaving both men alone and hurt. Jason, however, doesn’t think twice about stepping in and rescuing David’s children when their mother abandons them. The move brings David and Jason back together, but Jason’s past rears its ugly head and they both have to make difficult decisions that are sometimes best left up to fate.
The Oncoming Storm
“Jason.” The door to the bedroom rattled. “Jason, if you don’t hurry up I’m going to drag you to work naked,” David shouted through the door at his best friend
“I’m coming,” Jason shouted back. He finished buttoning up his uniform shirt and opened the door to find David with his fist raised about to knock again. “I told you I was coming.”
“You said that fifteen minutes ago. We’re going to be late for work.” David glanced over his shoulder as he sauntered into the kitchen. “Why did I agree to pick you up again?”
“Because my car is in the shop,” Jason replied. He ducked into the bathroom and quickly added gel to his hair, before he slid into the kitchen on his sock covered feet.
“Why do I put up with you?” David handed Jason his uniform boots.
Jason shrugged and pulled his boots on. “You’re the only one in the office who will,” he replied.
David laughed and opened the front door. “Come on. We’re late.”
“We’re not late,” Jason said as he grabbed his jacket and followed David out of his apartment, locking the door behind them.
It was cold and it would be another hour before the sun appeared but David’s car was running in an effort to keep it at least semi-warm. Snow had yet to fall on the small northern New Brunswick community, but it was only a matter of time before the area was covered. Last year the snow banks had lasted until late April.
Jason gratefully slid into the passenger seat of David’s warm car, picking a kid’s toy up off the floor board and tossing it into the backseat.
“Hey I had to take that away from the boys; they were fighting over it yesterday,” David said as he pulled out of the apartment parking lot. “I think it was an excuse not to go back to their Mom’s. They don’t like her new boyfriend.”
“Do you like him?”
“He seems okay. He has a job and isn’t into drugs. That’s all I can ask for around here.”
“Did you run a check on him?” Jason dug his cell phone out and turned the ringer off.
David glanced at him. “Of course I didn’t.” He paused. “I got June to do it.”
Jason laughed. June was their office assistant.
A short drive later and David pulled into the parking lot of their detachment. They both zipped up their jackets and pulled their gloves on insulating themselves against the cold before exiting the car.
Jason followed David as he let them in through the back entrance. Their first stop was the locker room to drop off their civilian jackets and to pick up their vests, police issue winter coats and to retrieve their guns from the safe. They were headed out of the locker room when their sergeant, Monica Dubois, barked at them, “You’re late boys.”
Monica ran the detachment with a tough but fair disposition and outside of work they all considered Monica a close friend.
“A cop is never late. Everyone else is just early,” David replied with a snicker. The two men joined Monica and three other officers in the assignment room. The daily assignments were handed out, and a run-through of warnings and alerts for the day given. As Jason predicted, he and David were assigned together and headed down shore to cover parts of the peninsula. In the past three years there had only been a handful of times when they were not assigned together. It was only a short time ago that David would have been doing this assignment on his own. After two Mounties were killed in the north, with no back up to speak of, the rules changed. Now when working in isolated areas—like the Acadia-Bathurst Peninsula—Mounties worked in pairs.
David picked up the keys to their assigned cruiser, while Jason grabbed up some paperwork to do while he was in the car. He wasn’t allowed to drive. David pulled the ‘I’m much older and much wiser than you, therefore I drive’ excuse every time. Jason grumbled. Because of the gun rack behind the seat, he was unable to move the passenger seat as far back as it would usually go in a regular car so it meant that his 6’3” frame was squished. David was only 6’ and he easily fit into the passenger seat. Was it unfair? Sure it was but David had more years on the force so he usually made the ‘important’ decisions, like who drove, what music was on in the car and where they had lunch.
The day dawned cold and clear. David started the police cruiser to help thaw it out; the windows were frosted over and the interior freezing. Having such a small detachment meant that there was no garage, and often they had to shovel out or scrape off the cruisers, especially if they had been sitting over night. The back part of the detachment housed the forensic ident and traffic units. However the patrol officers didn’t have anything to do with them unless they were assisting or first on scene when they were called in. There were only a total of twelve officers in their detachment. Sometimes Jason felt as though it wasn’t enough, other times it felt as though there was too many for the area that they worked.
Their detachment covered from Belledune to Caraquet, half way out to Saint-Quentin, and down to Miramichi including the native reserve in the area. The area wasn’t as large as it seemed. Bathurst, where the detachment was located, had its own city police force, as did Miramichi, Beresford and the adjoining towns. Most of their work came in covering the Peninsula, the Road de Resources that lead to Saint-Quentin, and the highway leading south to Miramichi. The biggest challenge for them however, was that every officer had to be fully bilingual. Bathurst was about eighty percent French and other communities, particularly along the peninsula, were one hundred percent. The dialect was a unique mixture of English and French, therefore bilingual officers were a necessity to effectively police the area.
As David finished clearing off the cruiser, he gathered up the frost into a small ball and lobbed it to the other side, hitting Jason in the shoulder. “Hey!” Jason replied but David opened the door and ducked inside. Jason cursed in annoyance at missing his chance to retaliate as he didn’t dare start throwing remnants of frost inside the cruiser; they would both be strung up if the expensive electronics inside were damaged in any way.
Jason joined David inside of the now mostly warm cruiser, with his nose red from the cold
“I could do with a coffee,” David said. He reversed out of the parking spot.
“Me too,” Jason replied.
David pulled out of the parking lot and made the short trip to the Tim Horton’s located a stone’s throw from the detachment. A Bathurst city police cruiser was already in the drive-thru.
“This is making all the jokes about cops and donut shops ring a little too true,” Jason said.
David snorted in agreement and ordered their coffees large, black for him and two milk three sugars with a shot of hazelnut for Jason. The younger man said that coffee was a necessity but hated the taste of it. David didn’t see the point of Jason drinking it if he was just going to fill it with sugar and artificial flavorings and teased Jason about it once they got their coffees and were making their way to the peninsula.
The day was uneventful: a few traffic stops, a report of a stolen ATV, and a minor car accident. They pulled into the office with an hour left in their shift determined to do overdue paperwork. Sometimes Jason felt that their job was more paperwork than it was actual policing. He filed away the reports he had taken with him that morning and started on new ones. June had the radio on in the background and his ears perked when he heard the forecast. “Snow expected to start falling around midnight tonight, with twenty to thirty centimeters expected before tomorrow afternoon. Expect blizzard-like conditions throughout most of the area lasting until tomorrow evening.”
Jason groaned. The first major snowfall was always a bad one. Just to make things that much more fun, he was scheduled to work tomorrow. This translated into a long snowy day dealing mostly with accidents caused by people going too fast for the conditions. Everyone seemed to forget how to drive in the snow over the summer and the first big snow was always the worst. It also meant that his plans for heading to Moncton to meet up with Craig were probably off of the table as well.
David looked up from his paperwork. “Going to be a fun day tomorrow,” he said his voice dripping with sarcasm.
“Yeah,” Jason replied. He didn’t care about the snow, or the extra work he knew it was going to entail. He was more upset that his plans to go and see Craig would most likely be derailed. It was difficult to meet anyone in the small northern town. The saying about small towns and small minds was impossibly true. Not that anyone in the small town knew that Jason was gay. He had very carefully kept that under his hat. He knew that that bit of information would not be well received if it were to be made public knowledge. So, whenever their schedule synched up, Jason headed down to Moncton to meet up with Craig, his long-time friend and occasional fuck buddy. Those trips had become less and less frequent lately. Missing this one because of a snow storm upset Jason more than he cared to admit.
“Earth to Jason,” David said. He waved his hands in front of his partner’s face.
“Sorry what did you say?” Jason asked shaking his head.
“I asked you if your car is going to be ready for tomorrow,” David replied. Jason’s SUV was at the dealership having its brakes re-done.
“I dunno. They were going to call me,” Jason replied. He glanced at his cell phone. No one had called. “I hope so. Your car sucks in the snow.”
David nodded. He lived about twenty minutes outside of town. Without Jason’s SUV to get him into town it would be impossible to make it into work tomorrow with the amount of snow expected.
They finished their paper work and checked to make sure that there was nothing holding in the system and that nothing else needed to be done before the night shift came on. Both men securely locked their guns in the detachment gun safe before they headed out to David’s car. He had used his automatic starter so at least it was warm when they climbed in.
Jason pulled out his cell phone and called the dealership. “Hello this is Jason McCarthy. I’m wondering if my car is ready,” he said then paused and groaned. “Uh-huh, well when?” Jason sighed. “Can you get him to call me tomorrow? Okay thanks, bye.”
“Car not ready yet?” David asked as he pulled onto the street.
“No, waiting on a part that was delayed from Montreal because of the storm. Why they couldn’t just get the part from Halifax,” Jason said running his fingers through his short, sandy blonde hair. The gel he had put in that morning was mostly gone, leaving his hair to stand on end similar to a hedgehog.
David laughed. “Just to make you ask that question,” he said then sighed as well. “Any ideas how I’m going to get to the office tomorrow?”
“You can always stay in my spare room,” Jason replied. His apartment was a five minute drive to the detachment and if worst came to worst they could have one of the officers working overnight pick them up.
“Yeah I didn’t think of that. I can drop you at home then run back to my place and pick up some clothes and call the kids. I’ll be back in an hour or so,” David said, running the details aloud.
“Sure. How about I order us pizza?” Jason asked as David pulled into the parking lot behind his apartment building.
David smiled. “That’d be great.”