Chapter 14

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Barlow hadn't realized how much of a weight it had been carrying his secret. Telling his story to Pet left him feeling unburdened. She was so easy to talk to, just like back then. She was also so easy to look at, just like back then.

Pet motioned Anson over to order a second round of drinks. She sat up straight in her chair. His story had obviously gotten her attention and interest.

"Let me get this straight," she said. "For the past decade you suspected your father might be a murderer?"

"At the time, what else could I think? What other possible explanation could there be?"

"My god, Barlow, that's insane! Your dad was a hard ass, but I never believed him to be capable of murder."

"I wasn't hallucinating that night, and you and I weren't exactly partying. We were stone cold sober when we broke up. It happened exactly like I told you."

"Just to clarify. We  didn't break up. You  broke up with me."

"There you go, busting my balls again."

She waved him off. "Anyway, you wrote your father out of your life over what might be a misunderstanding. That is so profoundly sad and tragic."

No...letting Pet go had been sad and tragic. Now, it was too late.

She leaned forward across the table. "Why didn't you tell me all of this back then?"

"I didn't know how desperate Dad might be. If you talked, and he found out about it, I didn't know what he might do. If he killed that man, he might..." Barlow didn't finish.

"Your father isn't a killer, and now you're jumping to conclusions over a possible unrelated newspaper story."

"I reviewed my father's books from his business and interviewed his foreman. I'm realizing now that Dad came into a lot of money legitimately around that time."

Pet said nothing for a few moments while staring at her beer mug. "How do you think I can help you?"

"You have access to police reports. Can you look at both incidents, the car crash and the robbery? Knowing what I told you, maybe you can find a connection."

She went silent while considering his request. "Obviously, that case happened way before my joining the PSP. I suppose I could talk my supervisor into letting me look into it on my own time as a hobby case."

Barlow sipped his beer. "A hobby case?"

"That's what we call it. Working on old cases after hours, you know, like a hobby." She grew pensive. "If something comes of this, you would be expected to make an official statement." She looked directly at him. "Are you willing to commit to that eventuality?"

"If it becomes necessary, I'll go on the record. In the meantime, why don't you find some way to take a quick look. See if you can find anything substantial."

Pet took another swallow from her beer and set down her mug.

Barlow couldn't help himself. His eyes wandered to the vee of her sweater. Pleasant memories of her breasts pressed against his bare chest invaded his thoughts.

She caught him looking but didn't say anything. Did she still carry the same pleasant memories of their time together?

"I have to know the truth about my father. You can understand that, right?"

Pet nodded. "I'll see what I can do, but no promises that I'll be able to find anything. There may be nothing to connect the two incidents."

"That's all I can ask. How long will it take you?"

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