As soon as Vic and Evan were in the car and driving away with their invisible passengers in the backseat, Vic asked, "You're sure that mechanic is the same guy you interrogated, Paddy?"
"Definitely. The question is, why was Peake's phone stolen?"
"For the phone numbers. He said he had ones on it for his mechanics. The description Mrs Peake gave us of the guy? If he'd been there before but without the glasses, the mustache, and the graying hair…"
"He cased the place," Paddy said. "Maybe did the same thing then, posed as a potential customer, talked to the mechanics, and figured one of them might be up for some fast cash. He sees the guy's name on his coveralls but has no logical reason to ask for his phone number so… Yeah, he figures Peake would have the guy's number on his phone, comes back in disguise, hoping he can get his hands on the phone, and gets lucky."
Dom laughed. "You're getting a kick out of this detective work, aren't you Paddy?"
"Yeah, I am. I finally got put with someone who leads an interesting life. The last assignment I had with Hal and Dave, all I got to do was hang around guarding a woman with two kids. Bo-oring."
"It's usually not this interesting," Vic said. "Mostly leg-work and computer searches."
Evan arched an eyebrow. "You implied at one point this wasn't the first time you've been beaten up."
"Yeah, but the couple of other times it happened, it was someone who resented my digging into their less than legit business. I told you that—a punch thrown when I caught them, or a couple. Never did anything more than leave me with a sore jaw or bruised ribs, if they got lucky."
"Why the hell did Samuel wait until now to put me with him?" Paddy asked Dom mind to mind, so that the other two couldn't hear.
"Because until now, his life wasn't in danger?"
"Yeah, probably. Would have been fun, though, following him around, learning the business from the inside out."
Dom just shook his head.
"We need a plan of action," Evan told the others.
"Using the mechanic who tried to break into your house?" Paddy said.
"You're certain it was him?" Evan used the rearview mirror to look back at where Paddy's voice had come from. "And can you two materialize? It's disconcerting talking to thin air."
"Yes, Evan, I'm certain," Paddy replied with a bit of asperity, becoming visible again.
Evan tapped his fingers on the steering wheel. "What if we followed him when he left work? Find out where he lives…"
"What if we follow him." Paddy pointed to himself and Dom. "He won't know we're there, since we'll be invisible."
"Just one of us," Dom said. "We can't leave these two unprotected, even if we can sense if they're in danger from a distance. It's not worth taking the chance that we wouldn't get to them in time.""No," Vic said after a moment's thought. "That won't lead us to whoever hired him because the only contact they have is by phone." He rapped a knuckle on his lips. "There's one way to find our man, because he's not going to stop until he gets his hands on me."