Kip was on his feet seconds later. He got to the door just in time to hear Jamie tell Cass, "My dad wants to go out with you but he's afraid to ask."
There was dead silence in the room. Then Cass looked over Jamie's head and saw Kip standing there. "Maybe you should tell him not to be afraid," she said quietly to Jamie.
Jamie nodded, turned and ran back to Kip. "She said not to be afraid."
"I heard." Kip stared at Cass, ignoring the fact he had an audience. "Would you like to—I don't know—go out to dinner some evening? With me?"
"Maybe. If I'm not working. When?"
Kip shrugged, trying to act more casual than he felt. "Whenever is convenient for you?"
"I'm off at five tomorrow, barring another shoot-out," she replied with a small grin.
"Then I'll pick you up at six?"
"That would work."
"Yay!" Jamie cheered. Everyone else let out their collective breaths and laughed.
"On that note," Mack said, "I think we should all get back to what we do best, serving and protecting. Well, except for Emily."
Emily huffed. "I serve and protect my family—especially the serve part." She smiled up at Rob when he hugged her. "Right?"
"Right. I'll take you home and then meet Cass and Mack at the station house. They have reports to fill out and I expect them on my desk before they leave."
Mack groaned. Cass ignored Rob, going over to Kip to ask quietly, "Do you really want to go out to dinner. I think you were sort of forced into asking."
Kip nodded. "I really do. So… I'll see you tomorrow at six?"
Cass grinned widely. "You will, but it might help if you knew where I lived."
"Well, yeah." Kip waited while she wrote down her address and handed it to him. "Tomorrow night then."
"It's a date." Cass smiled at him then at Jamie, who had been standing there listening. After that, she and the Howes left.
"You pulled a fast one on me, young man," Kip told Jamie, trying to look stern and parental.
"I just wanted to help," Jamie whispered, looking down at the floor.
"I know." Kip chuckled. "It worked too. And who knows, maybe something will come of it, and maybe it won't, but I guess I'm willing to find out. Now, shall we make lunch? I'm suddenly starving."
* * * *
"Apparently," Dave said, when he and Hal had left Kip's apartment, "I don't have to stick around and play matchmaker after all."
Hal laughed. "Nope. Jamie beat you to it and was a lot less subtle than you would have been."
"I never did figure out quite how I really would have managed it," Dave admitted, "so it's just as well Jamie stepped in."
"Now we can pick up Paddy and go home."
"I'm right here," Paddy said, appearing beside them. "If I never have to see another kid again, I'll die happy."
Dave grinned. "I hate to point this out to you, but you're already dead."
"Technicality," Paddy grumbled before disappearing again, calling out as he did, "You coming?"
"Maybe in a while," Hal called back. "But first"—he wrapped one arm around Dave's waist—"I vote we find a nice, empty hotel room somewhere and have some real fun, of the carnal kind."
"If you mean screw our brains out, I'm all for that." The words were hardly out of Dave's mouth when the two guardian angels vanished, trailing laughter behind them.