Home > City of the Lost (Casey Duncan #1)(10)

City of the Lost (Casey Duncan #1)(10)
Author: Kelley Armstrong

Six

Everything goes fine the next day. Ricci stops by and takes me up on that offer of coffee, and he’s all business. I don’t mention the parking garage. If it was him, he must have just been trying to work up the nerve to ask for a drink again and changed his mind.

As for Graham, all is silent. I insist on Diana spending another night at my place, but I don’t see the need to stay with her.

When I walk into the bar that night, Kurt’s washing glasses. He squints against the dim lighting to be sure it’s me. Then he smiles, puts down the glass, and has a shot of tequila poured before I reach the bar.

He doesn’t say anything. I down the shot and let him pour another. Someone hails him across the room, and he slings the dish towel over his shoulder and walks off, leaving me to take my second shot, slower now, as the burn takes hold.

We barely exchange a dozen words over the next hour. Usually, if I’m here without Diana, we talk. How’s work? How’s life? Did you see the forecast calls for rain all week? Yep, deep conversation. That’s no reflection on Kurt. He’s joked that we only have one thing in common: I arrest people and he’s been arrested.

Tonight he can tell I’m not in the mood for chatter, and he takes no offence at that, letting me sip my tequila in silence.

The bar should close at two. Kurt shuts it down at one. The only remaining patrons are too drunk to check their watches. I doubt they even own one. He scoots them out the door with a cardboard cup of coffee and a good night. He doesn’t bother telling them not to drive. There’s little danger of them owning vehicles, either.

By the time he comes back, I have the tables cleared and I’m washing glasses. He nods his thanks and finishes cashing out. He’s supposed to make the deposit tonight. He’ll get it later. No one’s going to break into his apartment for a few hundred bucks. Not when the last guy who jumped him spent a week recuperating in hospital.

He’s done first and takes the dishrag from me to finish up. I wait. He tosses the rag in the sink, and I follow him into the back, where stairs lead up to his apartment.

It’s a tiny place, half the size of mine. Kurt has two jobs and an ex-girlfriend with a five-year-old son. His son. His responsibility. Not that he plays any role in his child’s life. He’s just the ATM. His ex has decided her new husband is “daddy.” Kurt still insists on paying child support, even if it means working two shitty jobs. He’s also saving money. Saving it for what? No fucking idea, he said when I asked. I guess we have that in common, too.

He’s locking the door as I walk into the living room. I hear him follow me, but he doesn’t say a word, just stands behind me as I stare out the window.

“Casey?”

I turn. He doesn’t move. He’s trying to gauge my mood, if I’ve changed my mind about staying. I unbutton my shirt, and he smiles, staying where he is, watching. I left my bra off when I changed to come over, and as my shirt falls open, he sucks in breath. I start toward him.

“You are fucking gorgeous, you know that?” he says.

“Considering what I’m here for, I do believe you’re obligated to say that.”

“Nope. You’re gorgeous, Detective Duncan. Also? Shit at taking compliments.”

I laugh, and he crosses the floor to scoop me up in a kiss.

We’re in his bed, entwined in the sheets—or what remains of them, most pushed onto the floor.

He leans over to kiss me. “Any chance you’re staying?”

“Planning to.”

“Good.” He squeezes my hip as he slides from bed. “I need to make that bank deposit. You know the drill.” As an ex-con, he doesn’t dare keep it in his apartment overnight. “But I’ll be quick. You want me to stop at the diner?”

I smile up at him, and he says, “Dumb question. Burger and rings and a Diet Coke. Though I don’t quite get the point of the diet pop.”

“Balance.”

He laughs, kisses me again, and heads for the other room, where we left our clothes. I watch him go. It’s a helluva view. Broad, tattooed shoulders. Muscled arms. Great ass. He notices and turns, his gaze moving slowly over me.

“You keep looking at me like that,” he says, “I’m not going to make it to the bank.”

I pull my knees up in invitation. He starts toward me. I shut my legs and tug the sheet over them.

“Tease,” he growls.

“Drop off the money. Bring me onion rings. I’ll show my sincere appreciation.”

“Sincere appreciation? I like the sounds of that.”

He dresses and then leaves. When the door closes, I’m on my phone, zipping through work-related messages before I check in on Diana. I go to hit Speed Dial. Then my gaze shoots to the door.

Phone. Kurt.

Shit, I never asked if he’d had any more weird calls. And now he’s taken off on a 2:30 a.m. bank run.

I’m still doing up my shirt as I fly down the stairs. I know I’m overreacting. But it’s my way of admitting he’s important to me, that I’m not going to get distracted with my own problems when he has his own.

I’m on the street now. Even in the daytime, it’s not one of the city’s safest neighbourhoods. At this hour, it’s unnaturally quiet, as if a predator lurks around every corner, waiting for some foolish prey to break the silence. It’s a wet September night, rainwater still dripping from eaves, that plinking the only sound I hear until I catch the slow thump of Kurt’s footsteps. Unhurried, deliberate footsteps, ones that tell the world he’s here and doesn’t give a shit if they know it.

   
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