I did call, although not right away. I could hardly call him up and invite him to buy me dinner again, and it wasn't like Cold Haven had any free parks or similar venues for a cheap date, so that meant scraping together enough money to invite him for a beer, or at least a cup of coffee.
Since it was the first of the month, I got my bogus pseudephrine prescription filled and handed it over to Mouse for a profit so he could cook it into meth. Arlo had a few deliveries for me to make, and sent a trick my way. Crazy Eddie turned out to be my best source of money, though. I did some temporary home care for his shut-in aunt, whose dementia made her sweet-tempered and befuddled one day and a screeching maniac the next. I sat lookout while Eddie and a friend stole some cash and home brew from a guy who was an even bigger thief than they were. And, most troubling, I got asked to scrub down an apartment where a friend of a friend had blown his brains out after one heartbreak too many and more gin than any human had any business drinking. That last job left me disturbed for days, never quite certain that the stench of blood was gone from my clothes and hands. Nevertheless, the pay was excellent and I could now call Cade and invite him for a beer and maybe even a pizza.
I chose a quiet afternoon, sat down on my lumpy sofa, fought back a sudden wave of shyness, and punched in his number, willing myself to take deep breaths. Cade was a nice guy, totally harmless, and I wasn't hung up on him or anything, so there was no reason in the world for my heart to be racing as his phone rang and rang. Then I heard a click, and a voice.
"Hi, this is Cade Dermott. Please leave a message."
I turned off my phone and threw it away from me in disgust. Didn't it just figure that I would finally work up the courage and the money to call him, only to get his voice mail? I went to the window, leaned against the sill and sighed. As a fisherman, Cade could be anywhere. Stupid of me to forget that. He might be halfway around the world, chasing herring, and who knew when he would return?
On the sidewalk below, the ginger cat I had been feeding strolled by. Craving a little companionship, no matter what its form, I grabbed the bag of Friskies and my coat, and hurried downstairs.
It took a bit of coaxing, since the cat was still aloof, but I made a kibble trail and soon had the cat lounging uneasily near my feet while I sat on the steps and gazed at the cars and people going by. I didn't have anything planned for the evening, but after building up my hopes for a possible date with Cade, the thought of being alone or having to scare up some work depressed me. Clearly I had been looking forward to seeing Cade again more than I was willing to admit.
That would never do. I had bigger issues to deal with if I was to ever get out of Cold Harbor. Forming an attachment here would only be a distraction. And since no way would Cade want anything to do with me once he learned what I really was, maybe it was for the best that he hadn't answered my call. We would only waste each others' time.
I rubbed the cat's ears, which he didn't seem to appreciate, and got to my feet. I was just heading back inside when I ran into Father Cash heading out. We both paused in the doorway staring at each other, and then Father Cash put on his best benevolent priest's face and wished me a good day. Before I could do more than stammer a "Same to you," he was gone.
Wholly out of sorts now, I stomped up the stairs to my flat. On the floor by the sofa, my message light was blinking. Arlo? Crazy Eddie? Mouse, with a meth delivery for me to make?
I picked up the phone. It was Cade, returning my call.