Only a man knows his true self.
For the next few days Defoe avoided Kate. She was a prickly little thing under her calm exterior and he had no desire to raise her ire. He had achieved his goal getting her home safely. She had been more cognisant of the dangers than he had thought, ordering a cab in advance of drinking over the limit. She had pushed him away, demonstrating her independence when he became over-protective and had jumped in with his sized thirteen boots telling her what she should do.
He had underestimated her, been over protective. What did that say about him? He answered his question himself. This little blond was getting under his skin. The lady was drawing out his tender feelings for her without even trying. He now questioned his judgement around her when her safety was questioned.
He hoped being overbearing hadn’t destroyed his chances with her. Usually he treated professional women with great respect. He had expected his women to respect his space and his freedom and did the same for them. This woman was making him change his mind. He wanted to guard her from any harm and needed to restrain himself or drive her away.
He watched her leave the precinct every night wondering when the best time was to approach her and find out if she had forgiven him. For years, he had watched her closely, pretending he wasn’t interested in her and she had not given him an iota of encouragement. Recently, he thought she was thawing and was perhaps as lonely as him. For once he was prepared to break his no fraternising rule for her.
A week after the bar party he saw her trying to carry some boxes to the car. It was dark, and she would have no opportunity to run or defend herself if some perv attacked her.
‘’Can I help you with these?’’ he asked, taking a box which was threatening to topple over from her arms. She handed it to him gratefully. It would be churlish to refuse as he was going that way anyway.
‘‘Thanks, I overestimated my capability I think. One of my worse faults,’’ she admitted ruefully, piling him up until the boxes covered his nose.
‘‘What the devil have you got in these?’’
‘‘Boxes of files and papers that need sorting and throwing. My working life over the last six years. I hoarded them and now have decided to chuck them.’’
‘‘The Military cured my untidiness. I was a typical young man but had to keep all my possessions in a few cases and moved about a lot. Barrack room inspections also made me throw unnecessary possessions out.’’
‘‘It is only papers and books I keep. I hate clutter.’’
‘’You’‘re unique then. Most women I know hoard and like fripperies.’’ She rolled her eyes at his blatant sexism.
‘‘It is true. My home was full of them when I lived with my mother. My girlfriends were tidy but crammed their rooms with clothes and other worldly possessions.’’
‘‘Not all women are materialistic Doctor Defoe.’’
‘‘I have yet to meet the ones who aren’t,’’ replied a sceptical Defoe.
‘‘You should see my house then?’’ she said without thinking.
‘‘Is that an invitation?’’ asked Defoe cheekily.
‘‘No Doctor. It was just a statement.’’
He shrugged. ‘’I’‘m sure it is as neat as your office.’’
‘’Not quite. A home should look lived in and I have a cat that destroys my furniture.
‘‘Me also. I have a lovable vandal, a Birman. A furry bundle of mischief.’’
‘‘Mine is a tabby, a mongrel but beautiful and gentle.’’ She offered nothing more about herself, but he now knew she was an animal lover, something they both shared. A woman who disliked cats was someone he couldn’’t abide. He had lost several girlfriends because his cat demanded his attention, covered their clothes with fur and had driven them away. ‘‘Love me love my cat,’’ was his motto.
He waited for her to open the trunk. ‘‘Any time you want someone to walk you to your car ask me if I am in my office. It is no trouble.’’
‘‘Thanks, I will if I feel unsafe or am carrying something heavy.’’
He waited for her to get in. ‘‘Get in and drive off. I’ll make sure no-one follows you. My car is over there.’’ She gave him a ‘that is not necessary look,’ but he stubbornly remained there, and she thought, oh humour him Kate, his intentions are good, and locked the door and sped off leaving him.
He decided not to push his luck and only met her once more that week on her way to her car but kept an eye on her from his office window which had a good view of the road and the car park. To his consternation, she still took risks parking there, walking at nine o’clock in the dark.