Seth pinched himself to make sure he was really awake before he checked his phone again. Kim’s message to meet him was still there. Now what, he asked himself. What if she’s the killer? What if she’s in cahoots with someone else and they’re both the killer? Or, what if she needs help because she suspects she’s next on the killer’s list? Maybe she found a clue and she needs help freeing Angela.
“Maybe,” Seth announced out loud in a booming voice. “Maybe I should stop being such a sissy and go find out. She asked to meet in a public place and in broad daylight, for crying out loud!”
Malachi looked up at him with his head cocked to the side, in puzzlement. Seth was rewarded with a sloppy kiss when he knelt down to pet his pup.
“You always know how to make me feel better, Kai. Who’s my good boy?”
Seth responded to the text message, agreeing to meet her in an hour. Then he marched to the shower, bound and determined to ‘man up’ and, if nothing else, to prove he wasn’t too afraid to go. He dressed quickly but spent a few extra minutes playing with Malachi before departing. If something does happen, at least Malachi will know how much I love him … the big lug. Just thinking about his dog strengthened Seth’s will to survive whatever was waiting for him at the coffee shop.
He arrived twenty minutes early and was pleased to see he had gotten there before Kim. Two seconds later, she walked in behind him.
“You’re early,” she stated matter-of-factly.
“Yes, and so are you.”
Awkward smiles were exchanged in silence. They each placed separate orders at the counter, closely watching what was being poured into their cups before taking a seat near the back corner. Seth took a sip as he waited for Kim to speak.
“I really hope I haven’t made a mistake by asking you here. The thing is, while I’m not entirely positive, I might have a lead as to where Angela might be and if I don’t try I’ll never forgive myself. And before you say it, yes, I realize Angela might already be dead but she would have gone after me. I just … I can’t do it alone.”
“Oh man, Mel is going to be so pissed at me! You do realize, I might have to crash on your couch for a few weeks but, okay, I’m in. What’s the plan?”
Seth had been focused so intently on Kim’s face that he hadn’t noticed someone stirring behind them. Just as Kim leaned in to divulge her plan, a male frame sporting a black leather jacket stepped up to their table.
“The plan is to let the police handle it,” Bill barked. “How did I know? Are you two crazy? Please, leave this to trained professionals, okay? I mean, really, what were you going to do, march up to the suspect’s home, bang on the door, and demand to search for your friend? I know how much Angela means to you but you’re not thinking this through. Every day I dread the thought of finding Angela chopped to bits but what you two are planning is just foolish. Promise me you’ll stay out of it. Go back to your daily routines and forget whatever scheme you have rattling around in your thick heads. If I have to, I’ll slap you both with an obstruction of justice charge and you’ll be sitting in jail until we catch the bastard who took Angela. Got it?”
With all the enthusiasm of a child opening tube-socks on Christmas morning, both Kim and Seth agreed. Nodding, Bill turned and left the two to enjoy their beverages. Once they were sure he’d gone and no one else was watching them, Seth looked Kim directly in the eyes and spoke.
“You’re not going to listen, are you?”