Much later that evening, with Jamie safely tucked into bed, Kip sat down opposite Mack. By tacit—if silent—agreement, they had refrained from talking any more about Ben Stewart while Jamie was still awake. As far as Kip was concerned, Jamie seemed to have finally understood what was happening and was dealing with his fears outwardly now, since he was asking questions.
"Will you guys catch Stewart?" Kip asked.
Mack nodded. He'd had another call from Detective Howe. "There's a BOLO out for him, saying he's armed and dangerous. Every police department in the country now has his picture and details."
"But you're not going to leave us unprotected until he's caught?" Kip tried to hide his fear, knowing he probably wasn't too successful.
"Nope. He's a kidnapper, no matter what his reasoning was for doing that, and a murderer. Both crimes seem to have been planned out, at least to some degree. So we still have to figure he might be looking to wipe out any further links to him and his crimes. Links meaning you and Emily, if he really thinks your dad might have said something to you."
"I feel like I should go find a nice, safe cave to hide in." Kip shook his head. "Don't worry; I'm not going to go hunting for one. I understand you need me, us, to be bait to capture him, if he's stupid enough to try anything."
"With luck, now that we know who he is, we'll find him before he does."
"I hope so. Jamie's not the only one around here who's afraid."
"I know, but you have me at night and Cass during the day. We're well trained in protection. Cass is one of the best on the force, actually. That woman gives no quarter."
"I still find that hard to believe. She looks so… normal. I'd be willing to bet all the guys in my classes are jealous she's hanging with me."
"Yeah, she's fooled a lot of perps with the innocent look, until she draws on them. Then they see the tiger she hides inside."
Kip chuckled. "I'll have to remember not to piss her off."
"You know," Mack said casually, "she's single."
"And obviously likes being that way, just like me. The last thing I need in my life—if that's what you're hinting at—is a woman."
"Not into women?"
Kip almost smiled. "I think Jamie's proof that I am. I just don't trust them—not since his mother walked away without a second thought, right after he was born ."
"Does he know that?"
"Yes. Not the details specifically. When he's asked—and he has a couple of times—I told him she cared about him but decided she wasn't cut out to be a mother. I didn't say she was going to put him up for adoption. He thinks she turned him over to me, since I wanted him more than anything I ever had in my life, which is the truth. I don't know what I'd do if anything ever happened to him."
"I understand exactly how you feel, so teach him what to be careful about, from crossing streets, to not talking to strangers, to all the other crap a kid might run into growing up."
"Oh I have, believe me." Kip chewed his lip pensively. "I wonder if I've done that too much. If that's why he's made up this angel to keep him safe."
"Could be. As long as it doesn't make him reckless, I don't see any harm in it though."
"True enough, I guess."