Dean hesitated at the door to the restaurant, checking the time. He was late—again. Not by much, but it had taken him longer than expected to find a parking place, which considering it was a Sunday had surprised him. As if that weren’t enough he’d gotten a creepy feeling as he left his car. It made him wonder just how much Kirby’s words about Richard Jones were affecting him.
Imagination, pure and simple.
He hurried down the crowded sidewalk and across the intersection. Seeing the restaurant brought a flood of relief, and then a flash of anticipation as he pictured Kirby waiting inside for him to arrive.
Pulling the door open, Dean walked in, smiling when he saw Kirby a few feet away.
Kirby glanced at him then pointedly at his watch before grinning. “Do you ever arrive anywhere on time?”
“I’ve been known to, back in my youth and childhood.” Dean paused for a moment, wondering if Kirby would get the reference, certain he wouldn’t.
Kirby chuckled. “’Sound of Music’, and don’t look so surprised. I have nieces and nephews who insist on watching it every Christmas season so I’ve seen it a few times.”
“You have a large family?”
Kirby started to reply just before the hostess arrived to tell them their table was ready. “I do,” he said as they followed her back. “Three brothers and a sister,” he added once they were seated.
“And they all know?”
“The adults, yes, and a couple of my nephews who are old enough.”
“It must be nice,” Dean said wistfully. “Well, if they all accept it that is. Then it would be great.”
“On the whole they do.”
“Lucky you. And enough of my feeling sorry for myself. This discussion is officially shelved.” Dean rested his elbows on the table. “So why did you decide to become a cop.” He waggled a finger at Kirby. “Do not say ‘because everyone else in the family is’. That is so stereotypical.”
Kirby laughed. “Nope, I’m the odd man out on that, too. Most of the males in my family are businessmen, although one uncle’s a farmer, believe it or not.”
“With that sort of background, why choose law enforcement?”
“For truth, justice and… all that jazz,” Kirby replied, slapping his hand to his chest. “No, seriously, I guess I never grew out of the kid thing of wanting to be a cop or a fireman. I settled on cop.”
“I think you made a wise choice.” When Kirby cocked an eyebrow in question, Dean told him, “You’re smart, strong, you care about people, all the things cops should be.”
“Just what do you base that assessment on?”
Dean was about to answer when their waitress came over. They both knew what they wanted, having been there before, and quickly placed their orders.
“So?” Kirby asked when she was gone.