The Cavalry Arrived
While we removed the last of the bags from my car, a late model SUV pulled up to the curb. A broad-shouldered man exited the vehicle and ambled over to us. I wasn’t short by any means, but I had to lean back to see his face—intense blue eyes, blond crew cut, and ruddy complexion.
“Richard!” Dad said as he dropped the load and walked up to his friend.
The two men exchanged a warm embrace before acknowledging me.
“Rachel, this is my friend. Richard Gaspe, meet my daughter.” The corners of my father’s mouth curled upwards into a wide smile. “I’ll finish up out here. You two go inside. Rachel can fill you in.”
I escorted the man into the house and to the kitchen. He sat across from me at the table.
“Do I call you Mr. Gaspe?”
“Richard is fine.”
The response was firm—the kind that should have had a salute and a ma’am attached to it. I guess the fifty-something-year-old was just another man who couldn’t forget the formality of the military.
Either I made him uncomfortable or he expected something to happen. Every few minutes, he checked over his shoulder. The more he did it, the more I worried. Was the man a ticking time bomb waiting to implode?
Running a hand over his hair, Richard said, “I checked the surrounding neighborhood before I got here. I saw nothing out of the ordinary, so tell me more about your encounter with Leo Kilpatrick?”
My head rocked up at the mention of Leo’s name. “There’s not much to tell. I met him at Duggan’s over on Woodward. We went out once. He came by my apartment twice for dinner.”
“Harris said the man is stalking you.”
Leave it to my father to jump to conclusions. “I don’t know if he is or not. Leo came by my apartment yesterday, saw me with someone else, and had a fit.”
“Did he threaten you?”
I recalled the incident in the hallway. “Leo told me he didn’t give up easily.”
“A possible threat. Anything else?”
I detailed what happened the prior evening. “I thought it was just a bad dream, but then my gun was missing.”
“I keep it in a safe. When I checked it, the gun wasn’t there.”
“I found it beneath my pillow.” Lifting my palm, I added, “Before you ask, I don’t remember putting it there. With everything that happened, I thought it best to move back home.”
“Okay. Harris gave me those same facts. He also mentioned there was an intimate relationship between you and this man.”
My cheeks heated, but I kept quiet.
“So, I made some phone calls and started my own investigation.” Richard pulled his phone from his flight jacket—undoubtedly a relic from his days as a soldier—and scrolled through the screens. “You’re not the first one Kilpatrick has stalked. About two years ago, he pulled the same crap with another woman.”
“She went missing. Authorities brought Kilpatrick in for questioning, but all the evidence was circumstantial.”
Fear gripped my insides and breathing hurt. “Was she ever found?”
“Yeah. Bottom of a ravine,” he said flatly and set his phone down. “The police have classified it as a cold case. My money’s on Kilpatrick though. There are too many similarities between that case and what’s going on with you.”
Wrapping my hands around the mug in front of me, I tried to find a sense of calm. Sadly, it was as fleeting as the warmth leaking out of the ceramic. “In what ways?”
“For starters, Kilpatrick met Suzanne Miller at a local bar. According to her friends, they wasted no time becoming a couple. Miller dumped Kilpatrick, and that’s when the trouble began. He showed up at her job and her house. He harassed people she knew. Miller filed a restraining order, which Kilpatrick ignored.” Richard glanced up at me while rubbing his chin.
“Is there a problem?”
“Yeah. A huge one. I have contacts within the Detroit Police Department. When I reached out to them, they told me a lot of the info in Kilpatrick’s file had been redacted.”
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