"Guardian angel, my ass." Dave scowled as he watched Kip and Cass drive away.
Hal laughed. "Jealous?"
"No. But she has no right to call herself that. That's our title, our job."
"Then go. You can't watch him standing here. I'll see you tonight at Kip's place. Meanwhile, I have a dog I have to worry about."
"Because dogs can sense us sometimes, same as with kids who can sometimes see their guardian angel—or so Samuel warned me."
"Nope. I hope Jamie is not one of those. It could prove interesting if he is. I'm just going to hang back well out of sight for now, to keep an eye on him."
"And test the theory tonight?"
"No choice in that matter. From what Kip said about only having two bedrooms, I suspect his apartment isn't all that big."
"This should prove interesting. Good thing we don't take up any real space unless we want to. Okay, I'm off to…class." Dave bent to give Hal a kiss. "Have fun with the dog."
"Thanks, I think."
* * * *
"What am I in for?" Cass asked, walking beside Kip toward the classroom building after they'd parked in one of the campus lots.
"A lecture hall. So you won't stand out like a sore thumb."
"I meant what kind of class."
"I knew that." Kip shrugged. "Advanced fire analysis."
"Sure, if you say so. Why? What the hell are you going for with that?"
"My Masters in fire investigation."
"Seriously?" She looked up at him in surprise.
"Yep. My father was a fireman so I was sort of indoctrinated into that…culture, I guess you could call it. I became fascinated with how to prove whether a fire was arson or not and decided to learn a bit about that when I was in high school. From there, my interest grew and here I am."
"I'm impressed. Detective Howe said you also have a part-time job. Is it related to this?"
"I wish. Okay, I shouldn't be that dismissive sounding. I'm a tutor at the local high school."
"Mr Townsend, you're really beginning to impress me and that's hard to do."
He held the door for her as they entered the building. "What? You thought I was just some schmuck trying to make ends meet to support me and my son?"
"I honestly had no idea what you were. Detective Howe just told me you needed protection for a week or so." She grimaced. "He wasn't big on the details, other than that you were in school and held down a job on the side."
"I guess that figures," he replied, "given how short the notice was. And we're here," he added, opening the door to the lecture hall.
Cass looked around, frowning. "It's pretty empty."
"Yeah. Not that many of us in the class, but I guess it was the only room available and the lectures mainly consist of pictures and films from a site, while the professor tells us what to look for in the specific situation, or asks us to tell him what we see."
"This could actually be interesting," she said thoughtfully, as they found seats in the third row. "Now, if the professor doesn't wonder why I'm here…"
Kip chuckled. "He won't. He's so into what he's teaching that he barely pays attention to who's listening—and learning."
"What about your other classes?"
"I'll probably have to explain why you're tagging along, but given what they're about, I don't think you'll get hassled. It is a branch of forensics science, ergo, law enforcement, if you want to stretch the definition."
"We should stop talking," Cass said quietly, as the professor took his stand at the front of the room.
"Yep," Kip agreed, taking out a notebook and pen. She's not as bad as I expected. At least she seems to get this is important to me. Maybe I'll survive having her hanging around for the next week or so.