Leaning against the open door with my hand on the knob, I asked, “How did you know I lived here?”
“I live in the next building. When I was closing my blinds, I saw you get out of your car.”
Trepidation replaced the cheerfulness. That didn’t explain how he showed up at my doorstep. My heart slammed against my chest as I thought about Matt’s warning and remembered my research on the K-Hole Killer. Swallowing hard, I found my voice again. “S-so you followed me?”
“Don’t freak out. I would have said something, but I didn’t want to startle you.”
I was so caught up in my thoughts when I came home that if Leo had called out, he might have given me a heart attack. I took a calming breath and laughed nervously. “You’re probably right. I have this dinner tonight—”
“And that’s why I’m here.” Disappointment settled into Leo’s tone. “I wanted to ask you out, but you seem to have plans.”
I felt bad. Honestly, I hadn’t given the man a fair chance. I wasn’t in a committed relationship, so why couldn’t I go out with Leo?
I forced a smile. “Tell you what. Let’s make plans for next week.”
A grin of pure surprise spread over Leo’s face. “I’m available tomorrow night.”
Normally, I had Sunday dinner with Dad, but I guessed missing it one time wouldn’t hurt. We could do breakfast after mass instead. “Sure. I’d love that.”
Before Leo could respond, I noticed a shadow approaching. Unfortunately, his voice made its presence known before he came into view.
“What the fuck are you doing here?” Matt barked.
Leo ignored him and said to me, “Forgive the intrusion again. Until tomorrow…”
As he turned to leave, Matt shoved him against the wall. “I asked you a goddamned question.”
A flash of temper lit Leo’s eyes. His jaw tightened along with his fist. It shocked me when he didn’t retaliate. Seconds passed, and the building anger dissipated. In a remarkably calm voice, Leo said, “Last time I checked, this is a free country. I can come and go as I please.”
Matt leaned in close, his head moving up and down over Leo. “The rules are different when you’re harassing women.”
I’d heard enough. “Leo wasn’t harassing me. Leave him alone, Matt.”
Leo gave me a curt nod and edged past my rude date. As soon as Leo left, I moved farther into my apartment. Matt followed me, slamming the door behind him.
“Are you okay?”
It took every ounce of patience I possessed not to go off on the man. Instead, I walked into the kitchen and grabbed the bottle of red wine from the counter. Reaching for a glass, I said, “Matt, I think our going out is a mistake.”
“No, it’s not. I apologize, Rachel. It’s just that I’m concerned about your safety.” Matt leaned against the laminated surface. “Anyone who follows a woman can’t be trusted.”
“Wait, why do you think Leo followed me?”
Matt quirked an eyebrow. “How else would he know where you live?”
A valid assessment but not my point. “Leo lives in the next building.”
Matt folded his hands and looked up. “That may be true, but it doesn’t explain how he knew which apartment was yours.”
“Let me guess. He was closing his curtains or blinds and saw you. Instead of adhering to common patterns of decency, he followed you. I bet he used the excuse that he would have spoken but didn’t want to scare you.”
Okay, that was just plain creepy. How the hell did Matt figure it out?
A vagrant smile touched his lips and then faded just as quickly as it appeared. “It’s textbook stalker behavior, Rachel. I’d be remiss in my duties if I didn’t know those things.”
Deep down, I was relieved. Matt stated what was obvious to him based on police training, nothing more. Still…
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