Ben finished his beer and strolled back out onto the street. He thought for a moment about his washing but decided to walk down and pay Bobby a visit after all. He wouldn’t try to press for information about the missing girl. He would just call in to see how the home gym was going, and it occurred to him he might be fortunate enough to spend a few minutes with the lovely Kate again.
He could see Bobby was still in the garage as he approached the house. There was a silver Range Rover with the number plate ‘RISSMAN’, in addition to the car he had seen the day before. The front door was open, and he heard Kate squeal and laugh. There was a man’s voice too. Ben knocked and stepped back.
Kate approached the door giggling and looking back over her shoulder. She turned, and Ben greeted her with a smile.
“Ben… Ben will be fine, ma’am. I was out and about and thought I’d call by and say hello to Bobby. Am I intruding?”
“No… God, no! Um… Ben this is, um, a friend of mine, Paul… Paul, Ben’s the local cop.”
A tall, weak-chinned man had appeared behind Kate. His hands were upon her shoulders. Ben nodded.
“May I go around the side? I can see Bobby’s there in the garage.”
Kate squirmed from between her friend and the screen door. She opened it and shuffled Paul back a bit. “Can you check on dinner for me, please? I’ll just be a few minutes.”
“What do I do?” Paul asked.
“Oh, it doesn’t matter. Just… I’ll be there in a minute.” Kate slipped through the door and closed it. She was blushing and avoiding Ben’s eyes.
“Is everything okay? I really didn’t mean to intrude.”
“No, it doesn’t matter. He’s just… I don’t know… It’s fine. And I wanted to ask you a favour.”
Kate had stepped close. Her blush had faded, and her warm, brown eyes were enticing.
Ben wondered in that instant if any man had ever denied her anything.
“I was wondering if I could help with your investigation.”
“Help in what way?” Ben sat back on the porch rail. It gave him a little more room to breathe.
She smiled coyly and shrugged. “I don’t know. In any way I can. I might be able to check the newspapers from when the girl went missing. I saw there’s a library near your house. Maybe they have something there. Or you could let me see the police report.”
Ben met her smile and wondered how she knew where his house was. “Ma’am—”
“Kate! Not ma’am… Kate. You were saying?”
“Kate, I really don’t have the authority to invite civilians into the station to look into missing persons.”
“So, take that one little file home and invite me to dinner. I’ll sneak a look while you’re busy cooking.”
“I can’t cook.”
Ben hadn’t stopped smiling. “You’re pushy!”
“What about?” Ben motioned to the door.
“He’s nothing. He’s just my boss. I’m sending him home after dinner.”
“Okay. Around six, and it’ll be fresh pizza, not frozen. And white wine?”
Kate stepped to the door and smiled back over her shoulder. “Or beer.”
She stayed at the door while Ben walked back to the front gate. “What about Bobby?” she called after him.
“Next time… I got what I wanted,” he called back.
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