Sam had just hung up the phone when Jenny came up from the basement. Her lips were pressed together in that all-too-familiar, thin, angry line.
“Those files are a disaster, Sam! You should hire a part-timer to get that mess organized. I think I might have found the right crate but I’ll have to dig through it when I get back.”
Biting his tongue, Sam refrained from pointing out that she was the part-time employee and subtly asked where she was headed instead.
“I’ve got to stop by my place first, I forgot my wallet. Then I have to pick up my dry cleaning and, since it’s just next door, I’ll pop into Starbucks. You’re running low on coffee and I know how cranky you get without ten cups of coffee every day. I’ve got to stop at the bank and the post office. Then I figured I’d pick us up some lunch. You in the mood for Chinese or would you rather have…”
The rest of Jenny’s ramblings went unnoticed. It was so subtly slipped into her long “to do” list, Sam was glad he hadn’t missed it but there it was… “Stop at the bank and the post office”. Even if she didn’t know what she was about to do, Sam certainly did. He wasn’t going to see her flush five hundred dollars down the drain. He stuffed a mailing label into his pocket and was at her side in a flash.
“Ya know, I was thinking. There’s not much going on today. How ‘bout if I come with you and, when your errands are done, I’ll take you out for a nice lunch? You like that new little bistro off Main Street, right? Afterwards, we’ll head back to my place. You were stuck in that dusty basement all morning so I’ll draw you a bubble bath and maybe give you a little foot massage.”
“I thought you said that place was pretentious and overpriced,” she retorted playfully. “And since when do you play hooky from work? What are you up to, Sam Cane?”
“Okay, okay, you caught me. I’ll fess up.” Laughing, Sam threw his hands in the air as if she’d been a police officer catching a criminal red handed. “I haven’t met your family yet and I wanted you to be on cloud nine when you see them. You know, so they’ll approve of me.”
Jenny flung her arms around him and kissed him passionately. She knew Sam could be a touch rough around the edges but Jenny’s suspicions were confirmed. He was just a diamond in the rough. Her heart melted and, for the first time, she suspected he didn’t just care for her; he truly loved her. Sam realized that there was more than a hint of truth to his words; he did want her family to approve of him. He suspected that, when his case was finally over, Jenny’s family might have mixed feelings about him.
Though highly out of character, Sam let Jenny drive. His 1968 Shelby Cobra GT 500KR was his pride and joy. He and his father had rebuilt it together and when his dad passed away, the car went to Sam. He rarely handed over his keys and, to date, Jenny was the only female he’d ever allowed behind the wheel- though usually it was after he’d had a few too many drinks. Today, he needed Jenny behind the wheel if his plan was going to work. He glanced in the back and noticed a small box with a typed mailing label attached and a roll of packing tape next to it. It seemed probable that she was going to mail Maven his money but Sam planned to intercept it. He said nothing when Jenny exited the bank, put several envelopes into the box and sealed it up. It wasn’t until they pulled up to the post office that he made his move.
“Parking is always such a hassle here. Tell you what, I’ll take your package inside and mail it. You just stay here with the flashers on. If you see a police cruiser just go ahead and circle the block. I’ll catch ya when you swing back around. Cool?”
Jenny agreed and thanked him profusely as he hopped out of the car. As soon as he got inside the post office he veered over to the side counter and set the package down. He snapped a picture of the label with his phone and sent it to his pal, Todd, before affixing a new label with his home address on the package. Moments after paying the postage, his phone signaled a message. Todd replied that he would look into the address and maybe he’d run it past an FBI buddy of his. “Thanks!” Sam typed back and breathed a sigh of relief. Next he picked up his phone and dialed a number stored under “recent contacts”. The cheerful female voice that answered had a professional tone that suggested she didn’t recognize his voice or phone number.
“Tina? Hey, it’s Sam”.
“Oh, hello.” She stammered. “Um, I’m at work. I can’t really talk right now.”
“Good! I’ll talk. You listen.” Sam replied. “I’m back on the case. Jenny and I are headed to Philadelphia this weekend. I have a buddy of mine from the local police department checking out the P.O. Box where Maven’s victims are sending their cash and I’ll be enlisting the help of the police in Philly too. It won’t make me a popular guy but Jenny’s uncle and a couple of her cousins are cops. I’ll tell them everything and get their departments involved too. Look, you guys don’t have to pay me. I tried to walk away but I just can’t let this go. Maven needs to be stopped and I won’t rest until he’s behind bars!”