Once again, I expected the worst. I thought he would confess to a horrible crime and then ask for my help in getting him cleared. I also believed that he could have used this chance to blackmail me into doing some illicit deed, and if that had been the case, I felt fully prepared to confess my technically illegal surveillance. I hadn’t considered him figuring out my plot before, but now that I had, it seemed like exactly the type of thing a sociopath would do! I was already going over how I’d word my admission to my department in my head as he began to explain what he wanted, “My sister’s father in law went to the hospital, so she asked me to watch the kids while they went to visit him. I can’t handle them all by myself right now, so would you mind coming with me when I take them out to dinner tonight? I know an arcade with five kids isn’t a great second date, but…”
My body flooded with relief upon hearing this! I prepared myself for much darker demand, and with all of the precarious scenarios that ran through my head, doing this seemed like a piece of cake! “That’s not a problem! I’ll do it!”
“You’re a saint!” I could tell he wanted to kiss me, but he stopped himself as he glanced at the two-way mirror behind my back. Instead, he gave me a little tap on my hand and told me, “I’ll text you the address. Meet me there around six?”
“Sure!” I grinned at him, and when he smiled back, I could have swooned! As I watched him leave, I pushed my suspicions about his criminal nature aside as I savored the affection I just received from him and imagined all I had coming to me later!
With a smirk, Sandra joked, “And Chief Mazarine worried about me acting like a school girl!”
As I pulled out my wand to turn the surveillance equipment back on, I gently chided her, “You shouldn’t have done that!”
“What? He was a friend of Jasmine, he had a right to know how she died!” she justified as the listening devices turned back on. I gave her a hard stare, and she awkwardly shrugged, “Alright, so maybe I just wanted to-.”
“Detective Nason! In my office, maintenant!” Chief Mazarine pointed out the door, and Sandra sheepishly left the room. I figured that he would chew her out for going off the record like that, and I almost felt bad for her. She tried to do something nice for me, and her stunt did score me another date with Aidan, but she could have gone about it in a different way. I walked back to my cubicle and came to the conclusion that her desire to get a confirmation of our relationship oversaw her sound judgment, and I hoped her curiosity on the matter would subside a little after this!
After I read an email from forensics saying that they didn’t recover anything from the cellphone but would continue searching as they repaired it, I decided to type up my report on the new evidence before I headed out. As I gazed at my notes about the killer in my serial murder case, I got reminded of how much his profile matched Aidan. Suddenly, it seemed foolish to go on another date with him! Once again, he picked the location too! I did feel a bit better knowing a bunch of kids would surround us, so he couldn’t do much with so many witnesses around. Plus, I’d get to drive myself this time, so I thought this rendez-vous offered less dangerous potential consequences. I really needed to find out the information he kept hidden from me, so I settled on the notion of continuing with the evening as planned but added the firm resolution of snagging what I needed to know from him!
Sandra came out of Chief Mazarine’s office pretty shortly after she went in. Apparently, he got the impression she went off the record so she could hit on him, which gave us both a good laugh. Before she could attempt to gather more details from me though, I had her look over my report so I could dash out. I did feel a little guilty for keeping a secret from a friend, but I assured myself she’d understand why once I uncovered the truth from him.
I drove to the address he texted me, and before I went in, I brought out my wand to doll myself up a bit. I know it may have appeared a little silly to dress my finest to go to some kiddie place, and he did already see me not that long ago, but I needed to do everything I could to get what I wanted from him! And yes, I realize that has a double entendre to it. A part of me wanted more than just kisses from him, and I had no idea how I’d accomplish that in front of his nieces and nephews, but as I saw him waiting for me at an empty table, it was all I could think about! I tried to keep my investigation at the forefront of my mind, but as I walked in, I didn’t know which side of myself would become the victor here!
I thought the expression on his face displayed an impatience for waiting, but as I got closer to Aidan, I could tell he had gotten irritated by all of the children running around. Based on his previous description of his sister’s kids, I could pick them out from the crowd pretty easily! I previously assumed he exaggerated on their behavior, but as I watched their rambunctious antics, I saw that I stood corrected! I totally understood why he wanted some help for the night now! As soon as he noticed my arrival, he beamed and then joyfully greeted, “Hey! You didn’t run away the moment you saw the reality of the situation!”
“A promise is a promise!” I giggled at his quip as I sat next to him, and he gratefully gave me a kiss.
“Ew!” the two youngest reacted in repulsion.
Aidan directed them, “Go play!” After they ran off, he turned his attention back to me. “How did the rest of your day go?”
I shrugged. “It was pretty uneventful. Do they serve food here? I’m starving!”
“They just have pizza I think.” He handed a small menus over to me, and then he amended his statement, “Oh, they have a salad bar too.” He spotted one of his nephews playing with the food in that area, so he scolded him, “Hey, get out of there! That’s not a toy!”
“I’ll probably skip the salad bar.” I made a face just thinking about all of the other kids that dipped their hands in there!
He said with a grin, “I don’t blame you!” We shared a laugh, and then he began searching around the restaurant slash arcade area. “Is there a waitress or-.” One of the workers came over to our table, and he pleasantly regarded her, “Oh, hi! Can we get a large pizza for the table?” He asked me, “what kind do you like?”
I answered, “Pepperoni is my favorite, but whatever you guys want is fine.”
“One large pepperoni, please,” he politely requested.
“Um, okay, I can do that, but I actually came over to ask if that was your kid over there…” She pointed to a child that had climbed on top of the skeet ball games and was currently trying to go inside the air vent.
Aidan groaned and then yelled, “Harper! Get down from there!” The little girl pretended like she couldn’t hear him, so he took out his wand and used his magic to float her down. He apologized to the employee, “Sorry about that.” She sort of half smiled before she ran off to the kitchen. Aidan gave me an appreciative look and then commented, “I can’t believe you agreed to this date! Then again, I’m still in shock you wanted to go out with a guy like me in the first place!”
I shook my head in exasperation as he played the humble card again! I’m a decent catch, maybe a bombshell to a loser like Ben, but I couldn’t accept a man this handsome, fit, charming, and rich wanting to act like he wasn’t good enough for someone like me! “Why do you keep saying that? I’m a plus sized woman who’s about to get divorced, and I live in a crime-ridden trailer park with my mom and crazy stepdad, that’s a lot of baggage! I haven’t even had the chance to dress my finest, and you keep saying I’m so pretty! I got so stressed that you had to teach me how to have fun again! Why do you wanna take all that on? You’re funny, talented, you make decent money, and you’re one of the most gorgeous men I’ve ever seen in my life, so why do you want me? Why do you want me when you could have the most beautiful woman in the world?”
“Oh, I can have you?” He gave me an amorous smile as he spoke.
“I was serious!” I thought the gesture was cute, but I truly wanted some honesty here. If he wanted to manipulate my feelings in order to pull the wool over my eyes to his potential crimes, then this operation of me going out with him to gather evidence against him would have been pointless. I pondered what story he would come up with, and if I detected any hint of deception, I readied myself to walk out and let him deal with these wild kids on his own!
With an intensely serious face, he looked me right in the eye and insisted, “So I was!” I hadn’t expected any authenticity, and the concept stunned me in the best kind of way! He went on, “When I first saw you, I had to look twice ’cause I thought an angel just walked in! I swear! You’re smart, and you seem curiously adventurous, but what really drew me to you is a strong sense of decency that’s very rare and very attractive! You’re a better person than me, and I’m lucky you even gave me a chance! I know you almost didn’t.”
After blushing furiously for all of the sweet ways he described me, I felt a little guilty for my initial hesitation of dating him. “Well, you gotta understand, I just left my husband, like, a week ago…”
“Oh, that makes sense.” He nodded in comprehension.
“I didn’t expect to date again for a while, and then you came along, and it just felt so fast…” I almost spilled my guts out about how attracted I grew to him, but then it occurred to me that a window of opportunity to discover the secret that I needed to uncover for my case just opened up, and as much as every fiber of my body wanted to elongate this romantic occasion, I couldn’t let my community down by not seizing this chance! If he did play a part in the murders, I needed to know right away! If I acted too selfishly, I could put innocent lives in danger, and I refused to let that haunt my conscious! So, I came up with, “I like you a lot, and I’m ready to be yours, but only on one condition… You have to tell me what’s in those missing files at your work!” His face soured a little, but I pressed on, “I need to be able to trust you, and I can’t date someone who doesn’t tell me what they really do at work!”
He contemplated my offer for a few seconds, and then he concluded, “Okay, I’ll tell you. I just hope you don’t hate me too much when I do!” He mentally prepared himself to expose his secret, and I waited with bated breath…