"And that's pretty much how she ended our meeting," I told Ricky. I was filling him in on my day while we drove to the restaurant he'd chosen for dinner. A dinner I owed him for what I'd put him through during the theft case.
That's when the green-eyed monster appeared. "She was coming on to you," he said tightly.
"You think? Come on babe, you know I wouldn't respond to that, no matter what. She's"—I grinned and reached over to squeeze his thigh—"not my type."
"I know," he admitted. "But still it frosts me she'd even try."
"I suspect, from what little she told me about herself, that it's her usual modus operandi. Her words were, and I quote, 'I happen to like men. A lot.'."
"Good lord." He relaxed. "Am I going to have to be there every time she comes to your office to act as a barrier between the two of you?" Then he frowned. "Why didn't you just tell her you're gay?"
"I wanted her to be herself, if that makes sense. The more she told me because she thought I was straight and would understand what she meant, the better."
"I guess." He actually pulled a pout on me when he said, "You'd better remember who's moving in with you in a couple of days."
"You are, babe, and I wouldn't have it any other way."
We put off talking any more about Ms Engel and the case until we were halfway though dinner. Then Ricky asked, "How are you going to find this Benjamin person?"
"I'll start with the birth certificate, to see if what Ms Engel told me was the truth."
"Do you even know where he was born?"
"I have the hospital name."
"That's a start. And his name and his mother's and father's?"
"His and his mother's, since she's the one who hired me. And—again presuming she told the truth—his father's first name."
He nodded. "But not the name of the adoption agency, you said. You're going to have a hard time without that bit of information."
"I know. And the chances are a hundred to one that whoever adopted Benjamin changed his name. Hell, at this point he might not even know what his birth name was."
"Exactly. Why is she looking for him after all this time?" Ricky asked.
"According to her, to find out if she did the right thing."
Ricky snorted. "Twenty years too late to be worrying about that. So…" He took a bite of his steak and chewed slowly—a habit of his when he wanted time to think. "So why is she really looking for him? Inheritance? His father contacted her wanting to find him? She's dying and wants to make amends?"
"Scratch the last one. I think she'd have said so if that's the case. Besides which, this lady looks as healthy as a horse, which isn't surprising since she's a personal trainer."
He chuckled. "Appearances can be deceiving but yeah, that was a bit of a stretch."
"I suspect when I do find him, if I can, I'll have a better idea what's behind her wanting him found."
"Among other things, I'll know who his father is."
"You mean because he'd have to have signed off on the adoption?"
"Actually, he might not have. He was out of the picture by then."
"But he knew she was pregnant, from what you said. Maybe he is behind her looking for Benjamin." Ricky grinned. "With a name like Carmine…"
"Carlo," I corrected.
"Right. With a name like that he's connected. He wants to bring his son into the business. Isn't that what all Mafia dons dream of? Having their kids follow in their footsteps?"
"You're asking me? I'm pure Irish."
"Well hardly pure," Ricky replied, waggling his eyebrows.
I just shook my head. No sense in encouraging him. We'd only end up going back to his place and… What the hell am I thinking? I grinned, muttered, "I'll show you 'pure' as soon as we finish dinner." That definitely put an end to our speculating about Ms Engel and the case. We didn't rush to finish dinner. It was too good to do that. But we didn't tarry either, and soon enough we were in his bed doing very impure things together.