Dave spent the day trailing behind Kip, questioning if he'd really be of any use if the man who had killed Kip's parents actually showed his face.
How would I know it was him until it was too late? According to what Hal taught me, it's instinctual. I'll sense the danger and act accordingly. But what if he's wrong?
He watched Cass, who appeared to be relaxed while they were in one of Kip's classes, and on high alert when they were moving between them. When they got back to Kip's car after his last class, she made him wait while she checked it out.
She needs a FIDO. He remembered the time his boss, Billy, who owned the bar he'd worked at, had lent him one so he could search his car for explosives. Now, he moved quickly to the car, wondering if he'd somehow sense it if someone had wired it to blow up.
Obviously no one had, since Kip and Cass drove away without incident.
So far, so good. Dave studied the couple from his seat in the back of the car. He smiled when he caught Kip glancing at Cass when he thought she wouldn't notice. I think he's a bit infatuated with her. Of course, under the circumstances, it's probably not too surprising. Transference, I think the shrinks call it. When this is over, they'll go back to their separate lives without another thought to what might have been. Hmm. I wonder if guardian angels are allowed to meddle in affairs of the heart, because they'd make a cute couple. It wouldn't hurt for Jamie to have a mother either. No, keep my nose out of it. It's none of my affair. I'm here to protect him if necessary, not play matchmaker. I'm not sure how I would, even if I wanted to.
He chuckled softly. Leave roses in her car, so she'll think they're from him? If anything, she'd probably think someone was stalking her. Naw, I'll leave well enough alone. But he couldn't get it out of his mind that they looked good together and seemed to enjoy each other's company, as forced at that was at the moment.
* * * *
Kip had just set dinner—hamburgers and coleslaw—on the table, all while listening to Jamie tell him and Mack about his day, when Mack's phone rang. Kip was amused when he realized Mack's ringtone was the first few notes from "Dragnet".
Mack walked into the living room, frowning as he listened to whoever was calling. A few moments later, he came back into the kitchen.
"We know who the man was who kidnapped the boy and probably killed your folks," he said to Kip.
Kip's first feeling was one of relief, followed quickly by worry, because the look on Jamie's face was a mix of interest and fear. The fear deepened when Kip asked Mack, "Have they caught him?"
"Not so far. It seems the boy's father finally decided to do the right thing and talk to the police."
"So he hired the man. Does he have a name?"
"Ben Stewart. The boy's father, Mr Wyden, didn't hire him. But he admitted he knew Mr Stewart and had—only once, according to him—joked with him about how he was considering taking his son out of state if his wife didn't stop fighting him about shared custody."
"Why the hell didn't he say something the minute the boy went missing?"
"His excuse is, he was afraid the police would blame him for the abduction, which would screw up his custody fight, even though he was innocent."
"Right," Kip said angrily. "So he tried to save his hide, and my parents died as a result."
"Dad," Jamie whispered, "is Mr Stewart going to be arrested?"
Kip sat down in the chair beside his son, lifting him into his lap. "You bet. They just have to find him but since they know who he is now, that should be easy." Kip looked up at Mack, seeking confirmation.
"Very easy," Mack agreed, but Kip could tell from the tone of his voice and the expression of concern on his face that the man didn't believe what he'd said. He knew Mack's reply had more to do with easing Jamie's fears than anything else.
"But what if they don't find him before…?"
Mack took Jamie's just vacated chair. "We know who he is and what he looks like now, so Cass, Officer Smith, and I will be watching for him, just in case. But I'd bet he's long gone. He doesn't know that, until just a couple of hours ago, we didn't know who he was."
Jamie took a deep breath then relaxed against Kip's chest. "And my angel is watching too," he barely whispered.
"Yes, he is," Kip replied, holding him tight. "I think you could call all the police your guardian angels."
The expression on Jamie's face when he looked at Mack said he knew that, but he also knew a real angel was protecting him as well.