I instantly regretted my offer of kindness as soon as I was in the car. I had invited the FBI agent trying to catch me to dinner with the Savior’s mentor and one of the Savior’s first children. I was almost handing myself over to him. My heart raced as I drove the short 10 block distance to Sam’s front door. I tried calling to warn him, but he didn’t answer his phone. He was going to slaughter me. I knew it.
Pulling up in front of Sam’s cottage, I saw a little brown-haired girl standing in the doorway. “ABBY!” she screamed, throwing open the screen door. I climbed out of the car and was attacked in a large hug from the girl.
“Hey, Ash.” I said, standing up. “Where’s Uncle Sammy?” She looked up at me.
“Coming out right now. Where have you been?” She asked, putting her hands on her hips.
“I was starting to think you got lost.” Sam called from the porch. The older man stepped down, wring out a dish towel in his hand. Cory’s jeep pulled up as Sam stepped onto the sidewalk. Cory climbed out, smiling at me and holding a bottle of wine in his hand. Sam looked at him then at me.
“Sam, this is Cory. He is the FBI agent that I’ve been working with.” I said, smiling at Sam with a Don’t-Look-At-Me-Like-That look. He smiled, shaking Cory’s out stretched hand.
“Good to meet you Cory. Working on the Savior case?” Sam asked. Cory nodded.
“I take it you watch the news.” Sam nodded, taking the wine.
“Yep. Saw you on there this morning. Well, come on in. I’ve got beer if you’re interested.”
“Sure.” We followed Sam into the house, Ash clinging to my back. I plopped her on the couch as soon as we entered the house. Sam lives in a small cottage that he got from his sister when she was admitted into the mental ward from my poisoning. He figured that for Ash’s sake, he’d stay here for a while. That way she wouldn’t have to lose her mom and her home in the same shot. It was a cute little place. I walked into the bathroom and changed from my blue skirt and shirt and into a pair of jeans and a tank top. The men were on the back patio, looking at Sam’s grill when I came out. Cory took a sip from his beer as he watched Sam flip a steak.
“How do you like it here in sunny LA?” Sam asked. I grabbed a beer for myself from the cooler and sat next to Ash on the steps. She was blowing bubbles. Cory shrugged.
“Warm. I had to buy a completely different wardrobe when I got here. A lot different than New York.” Sam laughed.
“I bet they still have snow out there. I lived upstate for a decade when I was younger. Snow was not uncommon in May.” Cory nodded.
“Still is.” Ash looked at Cory then me.
“Is he your boyfriend?” she whispered. I smiled, shaking my head.
“Then why did you bring him here?” she asked.
“Cause he’s my friend and he wanted to meet Uncle Sam. How has school been?”
“Great!” She exclaimed. “I have so many new friends! And we even have a class pet rabbit named Humpy.”
“Wow!” I said as she continued to talk. I caught Cory looking at me in the corner of my eye. It was quick though. Sam put the steaks on a plate and set them with the rest of the food on the patio table across from him.
“Dinner!” He called. I picked up Ash as I stood, setting her on a chair next to me. Cory slid in on my other side and Sam was across from me. We ate steak, potato salad and the rest of the food Sam had prepared and talked about the weather, Ashley’s school and other innocent things. Waiting for the conversation about the Savior to pop up was killing me. I knew it was going to happen. I just wish it would, so we could get the hell over it already.
I washed dishes as Sam got Ashley ready for bed. Cory appeared next to me, dry towel in hand. “Need some help?” he asked. I grinned, nodding. He grabbed a couple plates I had washed already and dried them. “Thanks for inviting me.”
“No problem. I couldn’t just let you go back to the hotel when you could be here with us. Besides, you make pretty good company.” He smiled.
“Thanks. You too.” Sam came down the stairs and scolded us for cleaning his house. He gently pushed us back out onto the patio where we sat in the patio chairs again.
“So, Cory how goes the search for the Savior?” Sam asked, sipping his beer. Cory sighed, looking at his. He had lost his jacket a while ago and now his sleeves were unbuttoned and rolled up to his elbows.
“Slowly sadly. But hopefully with Abby’s help, we’ll be able to track her down. Do you follow the case?” Sam nodded.
“Avidly. Any suspects?” Cory shook his head again.
“No. I am positive that this person in going to be caught in the act, not turned in. I am just hoping we can catch her before she takes another life.” Sam and I shared a glance quickly.
“How are you gonna do that?”
“Well, we will be camping outside of all the potential victim’s houses. Any one that looks odd or tries to break in will be taken into custody. Were you a police officer, Sam?” He shook his head.
“Prison for a long time. You pick up a lot in there.”
“So, I hear.” Cory looked at his watch. “It’s getting late. Got an early day in store for tomorrow.” He stood, finishing his beer. “What time are you gonna be in tomorrow, Abz?” I did a double take as he called me by a name I haven’t heard in a long time.
“Uh probably eight. You?” I stood, Sam following suit.
“Same. Thanks for dinner, Sam.” They shook hands.
“It was good as always.” I said, hugging Sam. “I gotta take off too. Sleep is calling my name.” Sam followed us as we walked towards the front door. I knew he was still watching even after he shut the door behind us. Stopping next to my car, I looked at Cory.
“I had fun. Like I said before, I’m glad you invited me.”
“Me too. Make sure you don’t beat yourself up over this case. We don’t need a dead FBI agent on top of it all.” He laughed.
“Right? I’ll try not to. I was thinking that maybe we should exchange cell numbers. Just in case something happens after office hours.” I nodded.
“Alright.” Grabbing a pen from his pocket, he wrote down his number on a card in his pocket. He handed it to me. I took his pen and jotted my number down quickly on a piece of paper. He took it and smiled at me.
“Great. I promise you won’t get any stupid forwards or anything. I am against texting entirely.” I giggled.
“You and me both. I’ll see you tomorrow, okay?” He nodded, turning. I climbed into my car as he climbed into his truck.