"This may sound crazy," Carlo said once he'd taken a seat in my office, "but I want you to find out about what's gone on with Coleen the past few years."
"Is there a reason behind you're needing to know?" I asked.
"A very illogical one. She was, to put it bluntly, a gold-digger when she met me. A nascent one at that point, but still… Anyway, I'd like to know if I'm the only one she's gone after."
"Ammunition if she decides to cut to the chase and try to get back into my life."
"She doesn't want to, at least to hear her tell it. As a matter of fact, she said rather blatantly that she had no desire to have anything to do with you. Still"—I remembered what she'd hinted at yesterday—"she did say something about how, between the two of you, you might be able to convince the adoption agency to tell her where Ben ended up."
Carlo snorted. "The one she claims she used, which I know for a fact she didn't?"
"Yeah, that one." I drummed a finger on my desk. "If she did want to do that, she wouldn't need me to find you for her, which was what she hinted at. You're not exactly invisible."
"True, but I'd sure as hell tell her to get lost."
"Something I never asked, or checked on when I was searching for you. Are you married?"
"Nope. I've contemplated it a couple of times but when it came down to it I figured if I had to weigh the pros and cons I probably didn't love the woman enough to commit to her permanently."
"Are you speaking from personal experience?"
I chuckled. "Not the way you mean it. I am in a committed relationship. Enough so that I finally decided I wanted him to move in with me, despite the inherent dangers. Dangers that—he pointed out quite often—exist whether we live together or not, since we're open about being a couple."
"Well I'll be damned. I wouldn't have figured that from looking at you. Sorry, that wasn't quite…politically correct."
I shrugged. "I've heard it before."
"Still…sorry for saying it," he said ruefully. Then he laughed. "Does Coleen know?"
"I…umm, sort of neglected to tell her. I figured she might be more willing to talk openly if she didn't know."
"Smart man," he said, echoing my words from a moment ago, before getting back on topic. "Can I hire you to do what I guess you'd call a background check on Coleen?"
"Yes, because I'm rather interested in finding out about her myself."
After that, we did the cost and contract necessities, he wrote out a retainer check and I was hired.