Joe was deep in dirty thoughts about blondes he might know, so he completely missed the unmarked car.
He stopped, stared upwards for a moment, pleading for this day of reunions to end, then turned around. “Constable Wood.”
“Detective Constable now, actually.”
“Congratulations.” With practice he could have made the good wishes sound flatter.
“Your friend is back in Manchester.”
“Tommy Hill. We’ve been hearing all sorts of rumours.”
“Oh, that friend. I really don’t want to know.”
“We’re contacting everyone who knew him. Call us if you see him.”
“He stole a lot of money from me. He’s not going to be getting in touch.” Why he lied he didn’t know. Some stupidly optimistic part of him thought he might get his money back if Hill stayed out of jail long enough. “Have you been waiting for me to turn up just to tell me that?”
“You update your website every day when you get back from your workshop. It’s consistently around six o’clock.”
“You read my blog?” Joe thought he spotted some red in the police officer’s cheeks.
“You’re a bit later than normal.”
“I may have a new client. Got a bit wrapped up in that.”
“Good for you. I’m glad you’re back on your feet after all the trouble Hill put you through. It would be a shame if he brought you down again.”
“No. I wouldn’t want that.”
“I’m serious Joe. You know how bad things were last time.” Some years earlier Kay Wood, then still a constable in uniform, had taken Joe’s side against detectives who would have Gitmo’d a confession out of him if they’d been allowed. Given his innocence she had probably saved their jobs, if not their careers, though it was unlikely they saw it that way. “Two of the guns he bought with your money have been used in shootings.”
“You always have to go and spoil things don’t you.
“He was here this morning, saying he could get my money back if I’d just hold something for him while a deal went down.”
“You didn’t believe him?”
“I didn’t believe him last time. That’s why he had to steal the money from me.”
“He didn’t say what he had planned?”
“No. But I’m sure that now you’re a detective you’ll catch him this time.”
“Was that sarcasm or an attempt at a chat up line.”
“I think it was a chat up line.”
They both looked at their shoes, up and down the street, slightly to one side of the other. “Do you want to get a drink some time?” Joe asked eventually, “I mean, if you’re not…..”
“I’m not seeing anyone, no. But no, I can’t go for a drink with you, not whilst you’re part of an investigation.”
“After?” Joe tried his best cheeky grin.
“No. I don’t think so.”
“Oh well. Had to ask.”
“If he gets in touch, call me.” Wood produced a card from an inside pocket. “Get a gallery show. I’ll come and see it.”
Joe examined the card as she walked away.
This had been a very interesting day.
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