Some days Tommy could kill his brothers. Between Kevin's gambling problem and Jimmy being unable to stay out of trouble, it was a right mess. He should've ignored it, but they were family, and you got family out of trouble when they needed it.
He was just getting really really tired of running away from people who were angry at his family - and thus by extension him.
Jimmy, Kevin, and Sean were running just ahead of him, the stolen clothes flapping in the wind behind them. Tommy didn't have any stolen goods on him, but the shop owner was gaining on him, and he could feel his leg starting to cramp. He knew he should've drank water earlier today, he knew he should have.
They turned a corner, and the cramp in Tommy's leg hurt like a bitch. He had to slow down, and that cost him the distance he had between him and the shop owner. The shop owner grabbed him, turned him around, and threw him up against the wall of the building to their left.
"You fucking Donnellys always giving people in this town trouble!"
He knew the pain in his leg would go away and he'd be perfectly fine once it did, but it was really cramping and the pain was radiating from the spot in his calf, and it made it difficult to focus on anything the shop owner was actually saying to him.
The pain had started to ease up when he heard him.
The shop owner and Tommy turned to look at who was approaching them. Shit. A cop - couldn't be any older than Tommy, though maybe younger - was approaching them on foot. The shop owner let go of Tommy.
"What seems to be the problem here?" the cop asked.
"Donnelly boys stole from me."
"This is one of them."
The cop looked from the shop owner to Tommy, then back at the owner.
"What were the stolen items?"
"A bunch of shirts and pants, still on the hangars."
The cop furrowed his eyebrows. "I don't see any of them items on him."
"The other three took them!"
The cop frowned.
"Sir, I'm going to need you to write a report on what the items were, what they looked like, and file it with me, but after you step away from him."
Tommy was astounded. Usually the cops just assumed the shop owners were telling the truth. Sure, telling them to let him go was a usual thing because beating someone up was still illegal, but this cop really didn't look like he believed the owner.
The shop owner let go of Tommy, and the cop went over with him what form he had to fill out and how it would be processed and that they'd work on getting him his stolen items back.
Tommy stood there, watching them, assuming that the cop was going to want to talk to him. And he was also curious about this cop too.
And sure enough, the cop approached Tommy when he was done with the shop owner.
"Are you okay?" he asked, which was not what he really expected the first question to be.
"Uh, yeah. Thanks."
The cop smiled at him.
"I'm Officer Will Graham."
"You steal any shirts or pants?"
Will smiled a little. "Know where your brothers are?"
"Well, they went running that way, but beyond that, haven't a clue."
"Mind if I have an address so I can drop by and ask them some questions?"
Will got out a pen and paper, and Tommy wrote down his address. He handed it back to Will, and Will took it, and Tommy found it very strange how his cheeks heated up when his fingers brushed Will's hand.
"Thank you very much. Stay out of trouble," Will said, heading back to his cop car.
"Sure thing, Officer," Tommy called after him, watching him drive off before starting to head back home.
Tommy couldn't explain what was going on with him when Will arrived at the apartment. All the man did was smile.
"Good afternoon, ma'am. This is the Donnelly residence?"
"May I talk to the three other Donnelly brothers? I've already talked to Tommy, and I just need to ask them a few questions about where they were at the time some clothes were stolen. Then I'll be off and out of the way."
Tommy spotted Will from just above his mother's head in the crack of the door, and Will looked up just in time to do the same with him. Will gave him a little smile.
His mother let Will inside, and they were gathered around the table. It was only then when Tommy noticed that Will didn't quite make eye contact with anyone and asked his questions in rather peculiar ways.
"The shirts you were running off with - were they of a particularly heavy fabric or light-weight?"
"Man, we weren't running with no - "
The look Will gave Jimmy made Jimmy stop, and Tommy was rather impressed. It was a piercing look that clearly communicated that he didn't buy that for a second, and the contrast between that look and his face from before showed Tommy that he really could tell it was a lie and not just believing it to be one and happening to be right.
Something was special about Will Graham, and Tommy suddenly wanted to know what it was.
The line of questioning really coaxed information out of Kevin, which was weird, because for once Kevin wasn't nervous around a cop. The way Will was questioning them, it put Kevin at ease, and it got Will to smile.
"I don't have a warrant, so I can't go searching around here for the stolen goods. But I also don't really think there's a need for that, if you return them."
"Uh. We can't," Kevin admitted. "We sold them."
That seemed to genuinely stump Will, as though he could relate to the concept that they couldn't just demand the shirts back.
"I guess I'll just leave you with a warning that next time I catch you stealing, I'll have to take you in. Okay?"
Jimmy started laughing, and Will furrowed his eyebrows. Kevin smacked Jimmy in the arm with the back of his hand.
When Will left, Jimmy shook his head. "What a weirdo."
Kevin crossed his arms and kept to himself for the rest of the evening. And Tommy found it difficult to stop thinking about him.
Time went by, and Tommy eventually spotted him again, just walking down the street, holding a cup of coffee. Will smiled at him when Tommy approached him.
"Hey," Tommy greeted, swallowing a little. "You working right now?"
"Just got off my shift, actually."
"Oh, cool. Had any plans?"
Will shook his head. "Not really. Go home. Take the dogs for a walk."
"I, uh, don't have anything I'm doing right now. Mind if I come with?"
Will seemed to think about it for a moment, then decided, "Okay, sure."
And that's how Tommy found himself in Will Graham's apartment, meeting his seven dogs (Tommy didn't even know if it was legal to have that many dogs in an apartment, but Will was a cop....) and learning quite a bit about him.
Tommy quickly learned that Will didn't have many friends, and that led him to inviting the man to the bar to meet people.
It wasn't until Will was in the bar that Tommy realized that the man didn't really socialize well, but he couldn't say he minded.
It wasn't until Sean cracked a joke that Tommy should be careful how long he stares at Will or he might think he's gay and into him that Tommy frowned and thought:
Am I gay for Will? A cop? A cop I just met?
No, couldn't be. No way. Tommy wasn't even gay.
A gay pride event at college would later inform him that there was such a thing as bisexuality.