Page 9 of The District

“There.” He ended the drawing with a flourish. “I’m going to track this down.”

“I hope it does mean something.”


Someone tapped on the door and they scooted their chairs apart as if they’d been cheating on an exam.

Officer Griego waved through the window and held up a white bag.

“Come in, Rita.”

She pushed into the room carrying the bag in one hand and a drink in the other. “Here you go. The other drink’s on the table outside.”

Eric jumped from his chair and took the bag and soda from her and put them on the desk. “Thanks.”

She handed him the other drink and a fistful of money. “Here’s your change.”

“That’s okay.” He waved a hand. “Put it in the lunch kitty.”

“Will do. Enjoy your lunch. Let me know if you need anything.”

Eric tapped his black bag on the floor with the toe of his shoe. “Wi-Fi for my laptop?”

“Absolutely.”

“Thanks, Rita.”

Christina peeked into the bag that already had a spot of grease forming on it. “I hope they got my sandwich right.”

“Hand it over, Sandoval. I’m starving.”

She dug his sandwich and a cone of fries from the bag and held them up. “Where do you want them?”

He took the bag from her, pulled her sandwich out and then ripped the bag open and spread it out on the desk. “Right here.”

She placed his food on the bag and snatched a French fry. “Now I know where all that grease came from.”

“Greasy fries, just the way I like them. Nothing beats those fish and chips at Scolino’s on the Wharf, though.”

She bit into her sandwich and nodded while Eric reached into his bag on the floor and pulled out his laptop.

“I’m going to fire this up and do what I couldn’t twenty years ago.”

“What? Online dating?” She chuckled at her own joke and peeked under her bread to make sure the extra pickles were in place.

“Why? Have you given it a try?” He tapped the power button on his laptop and then reached across it to grab his sandwich.

She almost choked on a pickle. She hadn’t even given old-fashioned dating a try since having Kendall, let alone the online kind. “No. Have you?”

She swallowed and held her breath.

“I don’t think the Bureau would look too kindly on one of its agents trolling online dating sites while working in a foreign country.”

He hadn’t tried it because of his job, not because he didn’t want to. She sipped her soda to avoid blurting the first jealous thing out of her mouth. She had no right to be jealous or to care who or how he was dating.

Their engagement was over. He’d ended it when he found her notes on his father’s case and chose to believe Ray Lopez, a reporter, over her about what she planned to do with them. But she had to be honest with herself. That discovery may have spurred him on, that and the disastrous ending to the kidnapping case he’d been working, but they’d been having fundamental differences about where to take their relationship.

Kids—that had been the fundamental difference. And now they had one and he didn’t know a thing about her.

“Where should I start looking?” Eric flattened his drawing on the desk next to the computer. “Symbols? Signs? Demonic symbols?”

“Try all three.” She pilfered another French fry from his pile and then dusted the salt off her fingertips.

He held a hand over his food. “If you wanted fries, why didn’t you order them?”

“Because there are so many more calories in a full order that you can eat all by yourself than a few stolen fries.” She hunched forward as he scrolled down the page containing websites about satanic symbols.

“Right. When did you ever worry about counting calories?” His gaze darted to his right and then returned and wandered down her body. “Although...”

Prickles of heat danced across her flesh in the wake of his inventory as her body called out for his in every way.

She grabbed another fry and waved it in his face to distract him from the subtle responses shifting through every cell of her being. “Are you trying to say I’ve gained weight?”

He blinked and turned back to the screen. “A little, but it suits you.”

“Just great.” She patted her stomach. “That’s exactly what you want to hear from someone after two years apart.”

He snorted and tapped the keyboard. “Don’t pretend to be the insulted party, Christina. You were skinny before and now you’re not so skinny. You’ve filled out in all the right places and you look great. There—I said it. You can stop fishing for compliments now.”

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