Collective Obsessions Saga: Meet the Characters

 

Andy Gilyard

 

Andy GilyardAndrew "Andy" Gilyard is the local weatherman at KXLC-TV in Larkin City. With his African-American, Native-American, Jewish, French, Irish and Scottish ancestry, he is a striking figure with black hair, blue eyes and light chocolate-colored skin.

 

His mother Sandra Durand was French-born. His father Greg Gilyard was a supervisor at Larkin Lumber & Hardware. Andy has one older sister (Cassie) and one younger brother (Beau). Andy went to school with twins Derek Larkin and Diana Larkin, becoming close friends with Derek. Andy studied meteorology at Larkin City University (LCU), which landed him a job at KXLC-TV. He falls in love with Diana Larkin when she becomes the news anchor at KXLC-TV, although she is insistent they keep their romance under wraps as public figures to avoid local gossip mongering.


From Megan's Legacy:

A few minutes later, a voice boomed from the doorway of her office: "Knock knock." Diana looked up and smiled, beaming as she regarded Andrew Gilyard, KXLC's resident meteorologist.


He used the office next to hers, where he researched and prepared local weather forecasts for six and eleven, which was also when Diana read the news on air. They often left the building the same time every night, when he walked her to her car in the parking lot.


Andy was tall and exotically handsome, his lanky frame well-suited for snug trousers and rib-clinging shirts. Diana knew he received large amounts of "fan" mail from the local female populace every week, most of whom seemed enthralled by his dark features and light blue eyes. His mother, the former Sandra Durand, could trace her French ancestors to the founding of Larkin City. His father, Greg Gilyard, was of African-American descent and a yard supervisor at Larkin Lumber. The diverse gene pool gave Andy's skin a creamy caramel complexion, made even more striking by his typically Caucasian blue eyes.


Those light blue eyes drank her in as she sat behind the desk. "Would you like to catch an early dinner at Bruno's before we go on air?" he asked her, his voice deep and inexorably spine-tingling.


"I'd love to," she replied. "I missed lunch again, so I'm starving."


He clucked his tongue. "You need to take better care of yourself, Diana. I wouldn't want my little ladybug fainting on camera from lack of sustenance."


While his words sent a wave of pleasure through the pit of her stomach, Diana's eyes narrowed in warning. "Andy, someone might hear you . . ."


He stepped further into the room, pushing the door half-closed behind him. "And what if they do?" he challenged her. "There's no company rule forbidding employees from fraternizing, so what does it matter if I make eyes at my woman?"


She laughed, pleased by his remark. "Half the station thinks we're carrying on anyway," she noted. "But you know how I feel about . . ."


He sighed loudly. "Yes, yes. You don't want anything to interfere with your career right now, especially the bother of a real relationship." He shook his head, smiling at her. "This is definitely weird, the one and only time in my life when the shoe is on the other foot. I'm mad for you, Diana. Not just in my bed every few days, but all the time."


She held up her hand. "No strings, remember?"


They had the same discussion several times before, so it was old ground for them. While she wanted to keep their relationship casual for the time being, he was intent on making it permanent. They were able to make light of their differences, which allowed Diana to enjoy his arousing company and yet avoid final commitment.


He winked at her. "Dinner at four o'clock, then?"


"I'll be ready," she promised.


Andy blew her a kiss and left the room. With a small smile on her face, she returned her focus to the work in front of her.

When Andy is hauled in for questioning by Detective Lyle Gould after the murder of Amber Whale maid Janey Colby, Diana's obsessive desire for secrecy somewhat falls away when she comes to Andy's defense at the Larkin City police station.

Because Andrew Gilyard didn't have much of an alibi for the night Janey Colby was murdered, Lyle Gould interviewed him extensively. The television weatherman was cooperative, coming to LCPD headquarters when Lyle requested his presence. Andy seemed surprised when Lyle led him to an interrogation room, shutting the door firmly behind them. The starkness of the room, with its gray walls and metal table, was rather intimidating.


Lyle motioned Andy to sit down, taking the seat across from him. He set a tape recorder on the table and opened a spiraled notebook, which rested atop a manila file folder. "Do you mind if I record our conversation?" the detective asked casually.


"Of course not, but I don't see why . . ."


"It's just standard procedure," Lyle assured him.


"Standard procedure for what?" Andy wanted to know.


Lyle cleared his throat. "I'm trying to eliminate suspects in the murder of Janey Colby. It's no secret we have a serial killer on our hands, so I'm sure Janey's death is connected to the other women who have been killed in Larkin City the last few years."


"And you suspect me?" Andy was horrified. "Why? I already talked to one of your officers last week. Curtis Day is it? I don't know how much more I can tell you, except I didn't kill anyone."


"That's what we're trying to establish," Lyle told him in a calm tone. "It's been called to my attention you don't have an alibi for the night Janey was killed, which was on Tuesday the 13th of February. Can you explain that in a bit more detail for me?"


Andy regarded Lyle for a moment, his light blue eyes apprehensive. "I was alone in my apartment on Harbor Hill, detective. Before that, I read the weather forecast on air at KXLC around six-twenty. Then I went straight home."


"Don't you normally do the weather forecast during the eleven o'clock news, too?"


"Yes, but not that night," Andy admitted. "I didn't feel well, so I went home after the six o'clock broadcast."


"Cold or flu?"


"Pardon me?"


"You said you didn't feel well," Lyle said slowly. "Did you have a cold, or flu? Or both?"


"I had a cold," Andy replied, his tone becoming defensive. "Why?"


"Janey had a bad cold when she died," Lyle said. "Right sick, she was."


"What does that have to do with me?" Andy demanded.


"That's what I'm asking myself. You tell me."


Andy lost his patience. "Oh come on, detective. Play word games all day if you want, but I'm telling you I didn't kill Janey Colby, or any of the others."


"Who did the weather the night you went home, the night Janey was killed?"


Andy sighed. "Diana Larkin read a summary of the weather, but didn't do the satellite mapping on air. I'm sure our viewers got the gist."


There was a knock on the door of the interrogation room. It was Lyle's turn to sigh. "Enter," he said loudly.


Curtis Day peeked in. "Diana Larkin is here to see you."


"Tell her I'm busy," Lyle snapped.


"She says it's urgent," Curtis replied, hesitating. "She says it's to do with Andy here."


Lyle rolled his eyes. "For the love of God . . . oh, all right. Tell her I'll be out in a minute." Curtis shut the door. Lyle closed his notebook and turned off the tape recorder. He gathered the items in his arms with the file folder. "I'll be back."


"Don't worry, I won't run out on you," Andy said sarcastically.


"I'm not worried," Lyle said smoothly. "Curtis is guarding the door."


Before Andy could respond, Lyle left the room. Diana was waiting for him in his office, pacing the floor. She was dressed casually in blue jeans and a navy jacket, her face unadorned with make-up. Still, she managed to look lovely Lyle thought, even in her obvious agitation. When she saw the detective, she exploded. "On what grounds are you keeping Andy here?" she demanded shrilly, stepping toward him, fists clenched at her sides.


"Are you here in your capacity as a reporter or as Andy's friend?" he asked coldly.


"Both."


"Either way, it's none of your business."


"You incompetent bastard," she snarled.


"Watch your step, Diana." His voice was stern. "I won't tolerate your high-handed foolishness in the middle of my investigation."


"You call this farce an investigation?" she cried furiously. "What planet are you living on? Andy could no more kill a human being than he could a fly."


"That's what they all say," he said tiredly.


"That's what they all say?" she repeated scornfully. "What in hell are you talking about? Who's they? Jesus, Lyle, it's not like you're some hard-bitten detective from the Bronx. Frankly, you and your credentials stink."


"Look, Diana, I don't have to put up with . . ."


"Oh yes you do. I'm a tax-paying citizen just like everyone else. We all pay your salary, and I have a right to know what's going on."


"I can't give daily pressers about the investigation," he responded hotly, angered by her remarks. "Revealing too many details will compromise my strategy."


"Strategy?" Diana asked, incredulous. "What strategy? Picking suspects willy-nilly just because you can't find the killer?" She shook her head, exasperated. "Whoever promoted you to lead detective must've had his head up his ass . . ."


"Is there a purpose for your visit?" Lyle cut in abruptly.


"Yes," she said strongly. "I'm here to alibi Andy for the night of Janey Colby's murder."


Lyle snorted. "I don't think so. He already told me he was alone the night Janey was killed."


"No he wasn't," Diana insisted. "I was with him. He's lying to protect me."


"You read the news on air that night," Lyle pointed out. "Even you can't be two places at once."


She forced herself to use a patient tone, speaking slowly. "We did the six o'clock news together, and then Andy went home. I followed him later, around eight o'clock, and stayed until ten-thirty. I made it back to the studio just in time to read the eleven o'clock news. If you don't believe me, go to KXLC and ask around. The whole crew saw me rush back in at ten-forty-nine."


Lyle was uncertain. "Why would Andy lie to me, then, and say he was alone?"


Diana lost her patience again. "To protect me, you dunce! We've been seeing one another for the last three years. We're both public figures, but we want our personal lives to remain low key. Is that too hard to understand, even for you?"


Lyle was stunned. It never occurred to him that the edgy and intractable Diana Larkin would be involved with the rather easy-going and friendly Andy Gilyard. What kind of man could tolerate the abrasive, acid-tongued Diana on a daily basis?


"Come with me," Lyle said on impulse. "Andy is in the interrogation room. If he admits to me he was lying about being alone the night Janey was killed, I'll take him off my list of suspects." He paused. "I understand your concern about being a public figure and keeping your private life to yourself, but why hide your relationship with Andy? It's not as if he's a married man, so there isn't likely to be some great scandal if people know you're dating."


"Borrowing one of your phrases, it's frankly none of your business."


Some of Lyle's humor was restored. "I think the two of you make a cute couple," he said, knowing his comment would irritate Diana further.


She glared at him. "Let's just get this over with, shall we?"


Andy appeared startled when he saw Diana come into the interrogation room. He looked from her to Lyle, apprehension written on his face.


"It's okay Andy," she told him gently. "The cat is out of the bag about us, so to speak."


He looked relieved, then apologetic as he turned his attention to Lyle. "Sorry, detective. Diana and I didn't want anyone to know about us . . .and still don't . . ."


"But why?" Lyle wanted to know. He gestured to Diana. "She tried to explain it to me, but her reasons don't make much sense."


"That's ripe, coming from you," Diana said sourly. "Not that it's any of your business, yet again, but Andy and I aren't ready to get married or settle down, so . . ."


"Speak for yourself, ladybug," Andy interjected, standing from the table.


She shot him a warning look, and then turned to Lyle. She pasted a contrite expression on her face. "Can you please keep our relationship under wraps? It certainly has no bearing on your investigation."


"Consider it done," Lyle replied. He gazed at Andy. "And consider yourself free and clear. You are no longer a person of interest in the Janey Colby homicide."


"Who else have you classified as a person of interest?" Diana asked suspiciously.


"Nothing to concern yourself with," Lyle said dismissively.


She stood her ground. "I'll make it my business to get concerned if you target someone else close to me."


"Diana, let's end on a good note, shall we?" Andy said, taking her arm. "Time to go, if you don't mind."


With one last scowl at Lyle, Diana followed Andy from the room.


After they left, Lyle sat at the table. He opened his file folder, taking out the suspect list. With a heavy marker, he crossed through Andy Gilyard's name.

Andy Gilyard's only appearance in the Collective Obsessions Saga occurs in Megan's Legacy.

Deidre Dalton


Excerpts from Megan's Legacy ęDeidre Dalton. All rights reserved. Books in the Collective Obsessions Saga by Deidre Dalton may not be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from the author. All eight books in the saga are works of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is purely coincidental.


*Author's Note: The physical appearance of Andy Gilyard is based on American actor Gary Dourdan. The image is not meant to be indicative of true personality traits of a real person, but rather a general idea of what I envisioned as the "outer shell" of a fictional character.


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