The Girlfriend Chapter Two

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The Girlfriend Chapter TwoThe GirlfriendChapter TwoThe next few weeks were difficult for me. I was working long hours on a d**gs case and whilst the overtime was welcome it meant Sophie was having to spend a lot of time on her own.One night I made an effort and came home on time with a bottle of good wine, not our usual cheap stuff. Sophie had ordered a takeaway from our favourite Chinese restaurant and I was looking forward to a date night, something we had neglected due to my work.I was, therefore, surprised when I got home to see Sam sitting on our couch. I hadn’t seen him since that night, but I knew he and Sophie had seen a bit of each other. As he smiled nervously up at me, I had a sudden image of the last night we had met, and how vulnerable he had seemed. My cheeks flushed as I remembered how pretty he had looked.Sophie looked from me to Sam. “Babe, you don’t mind if Sam eats with us, do you? He’s had a bad day.”She asked in the way women do when they have already decided something for you. Not “do you mind?” but, “you don’t mind, do you?” which makes it a statement and not a question. God help you if you say no.“Oh, OK. No problem, what’s the matter, Sam?”“He’s been burgled.”“That’s awful, Sam. When was this?”“Now, don’t be getting all coppery with him,” Sophie said.“Sorry, didn’t mean to, Sam.”“It’s all right,” he said, before Sophie could say anything more. “I went out this morning to do some shopping, and when I came back a couple of hours later, the door was open and the flat was in a mess.”I took a sip of the wine. “And you hadn’t left the door open yourself?”He blushed, “No, I made sure I double locked it.”“Probably k**s, trying to nick stuff to sell for d**gs.” Sophie was annoying me a little with her interruptions. I shot her a glare, but she paid no attention. “Sam says nothing was taken.”“That’s the strange thing, nothing seemed to be missing. Even my laptops were still there. I don’t have much else.”“How did they get in?”“Must have been through the door, all the windows were locked from the inside. I guess they picked the door lock.”“Did you report it?”Sam looked at the floor as he answered, “No, nothing was taken and what could your guys do, anyway?”The doorbell rang. “It’ll be the takeaway. Joe, Open the wine and we can eat, I’m starving.”I think Sam wanted to be away as quickly as possible, and as soon as we had finished eating he thanked us both and got up to leave. After he kissed Sophie on the cheek, I walked him to the door, “We need to talk, Sam. I’ll call you tomorrow.”He shrugged güvenilir bahis his shoulders, “OK, if you want.”After he left, I poured the last of the red wine into our glasses.“Sophie, how much do you know about Sam?”“There, I knew it, you’re going all coppery about him, aren’t you? He’s a nice guy, that’s all.”“What about the girlfriend?” I had my own theory about who Sophie had seen.“Oh, I asked him. He said it must have been his sister, she was visiting for a few days. Don’t forget I’m off to stay with my mum for a week from tomorrow. Now, shut up and take me to bed, I want to get laid on a date night.”Like any good public servant, I fulfilled my duties to the utmost.***Women’s intuition may be BS, but a policeman has instincts born from training and experience. There was something off about Sam’s story, and I suspected there was more to this than he was letting on. It didn’t add up; k**s after d**gs money don’t pick locks, and they don’t leave a laptop behind. Come to think of it, he had said laptops. How many did he have I wondered?At work the next day I ran a records check on him. There was nothing. I tried different spellings of his name, but there was no criminal record, not even a speeding ticket or a parking fine. Strangely, there was no record of him at all. According to official records, he didn’t exist. It added to my uneasiness about Sam and I wanted to do more digging, but my DCI chewed me out for wasting time, so I put it on hold and told myself my interest in Sam was professional.I had forgotten Sophie was going up to her mother’s house in a small village in the Scottish Highlands. Her dad had died a few years ago, and her mother was still having a bad time. Sophie worked as a commercial translator, so she could work from anywhere with a broadband connection. She liked to spend time with her mother when she could, and with me being tied up on the case, it was a good time for her to go.As it was the stake-out we planned for that night blew out, so I could head home early. I found a parking space closer than usual and walked to Sam’s flat. I wanted to ask him a few questions. Before ringing the bell, I bent down and using the torch on my phone had a good look at the lock. There didn’t seem to be any of the scratches you might expect if someone had tried to pick the lock, but it would take Forensics to confirm it. There was also a security spy hole in his door. We didn’t have one on our door, so someone must have added it, maybe Sam? I heard the clunk of the door lock and the rattle türkçe bahis of a chain. The door opened and Sam appeared.“Hi Sam, fancy a drink?”He looked surprised as he had been expecting someone else. He glanced at his watch.“Oh, um, yes, I guess so. Let me get my coat.” It was late January, and a cold front had come down from the Arctic bringing days of sub-zero temperatures. I stepped into the small hallway and had a better look than I could last time. It was the same layout as our flat, built in the early Fifties on a site which the Luftwaffe had conveniently levelled for the developers. They were solid and dull, but much larger than the hamster cage sized flats they throw up now.Sam pulled on his coat and closed the door, double locking the door a little ostentatiously, I thought.“Pub or wine bar? Your call.” I said.“Oh, wine bar, all right?”The G****s of Wrath was a pretentious little wine bar, but it was only a few streets away and we walked quickly to keep warm. It was warm inside with only a sprinkling of people who had braved the cold. We settled on a bottle of Malbec. “My treat,” said Sam, and we took the bottle over to a quiet corner table. We clinked glasses and Sam said, “Is Sophie in Scotland yet?”“Yes, she’s in Glasgow seeing a friend from Uni, and then going up to her mother’s in the morning. It’s a train ride and then a local bus. Back of beyond.”He took a sip of the wine and licked his lips, “Not bad, I guess.” He looked down at the glass and then back up. “So, I suppose this is about the break-in?”I sipped my wine and said nothing. Silence disturbs people, and they rush to fill it, sometimes saying more than they intended to.“It’s not what it looks like.” Sam broke the silence, and still I said nothing. He was nervous, his eyes scanning the bar. “You see, I can’t tell you about it.”“About what?”“Anything, I just can’t.”I let him stew a moment. “Why not?”“I’ve said too much already. I should go.” He stood up, and I grabbed his arm to stop him leaving.“Sam, OK, I get it, you don’t want to talk about it…”He sat down again and took a big gulp of his wine. A waitress came over to ask if we wanted anything else, and it gave me the chance to study his face. In the soft light of the bar his delicate features and blond hair held back in a ponytail gave him an androgynous look. He smiled as he spoke to the girl and something flipped in my chest. God, what was going on with me?The girl left and as Sam turned back I said, “When did you start dressing?”“Whaaat?”“When did you start cross-dressing?”He güvenilir bahis siteleri went pale and glanced behind him, but nobody was close enough to overhear.“What the fuck are you asking me that for?” He hissed. The truth was I didn’t know myself where the question had come from.“It’s none of your business Joe.”“Sam, I’m worried about you, that’s all.”His eyes narrowed. “You’re worried? About me?”I shrugged. “Yes.”“Why?”“Well, you seem scared about something. Sam, if I can help, I will.”“Is this the good cop, bad cop routine?”“No, and that’s a load of crap, anyway. A good smack with a truncheon works much better.”Sam’s eyes widened.“I’m joking. I’m concerned, especially after finding you dressed—”“OK, enough, you don’t have to say it so loudly.”“When did you start?”“What the fuck do you want to know for?”“Like I said, I—”“Am worried about me. I heard you, but I won’t talk about this in here. If you want to know so badly, you’ll have to come back to my flat.”“OK.”He stared at me as if thinking he might have said the wrong thing, then shrugged and stood up. “Get a bottle of something. I need another drink.”I bought another bottle of the Malbec and we walked back to the flats. It was getting colder and snow was in the air. I shivered, whether from the cold or something else I couldn’t tell. Once inside Sam’s flat I opened the wine while Sam produced two glasses. He sat on the sofa, his legs tucked up beneath him, and I dragged a chair over to face him. He pulled his hair out of the ponytail and shook it loose, fluffing it out with his fingers the way I had seen Sophie do a thousand times. My mouth was suddenly dry, and I told myself to stay calm and professional, but the wine on an empty stomach was making me feel weird. At least, that’s what I told myself. Sam looked at me over the top of his glass.“Joe, why does this matter so much to you? And for God’s sake don’t say you’re worried about me.”“I’m a policeman, Sam. We see things differently from other people. If we come across something that looks or feels odd, we can’t simply walk by and ignore it. It’s part of who we are.”He sipped his wine and I couldn’t help watch as he licked his lips. Get a grip, I told myself. I didn’t understand what was happening. It must be the drink, I should leave now and forget this, before it gets any weirder.“I still don’t see why you can’t let this go if I ask you to.”I shrugged. He was right. If he wasn’t concerned about it then it was none of my business.Sam looked at me, his eyes wide with surprise. “Unless there’s something personal in this.” He paused and smiled, “Christ, Joe. Did I turn you on that night?”My heart hammered in my chest and my cheeks burnt. “Fuck you, Sam” I stood up and walked out of the flat, slamming the door behind me.

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