"We should go," Jan said after a few moments, but Vicki shook her head.
"Claudia and I need to talk," she said, and Ray stood up, stubbing out his cigarette.
As we left, Doc leaned over and whispered something into Vicki's ear.
Nobody said much as we all trooped downstairs, and Jason ended up bidding us good night, since Erika had gone down to the basement without saying anything.
Outside, Ray and Jack indicated that they were going back to Duffy's, so we said good night, and Doc, Jan, and I headed home.
We walked in silence for a few blocks. My employer took a cigarette from her case, and I lit it for her.
Doc zipped up her jacket and said, "I hope there's coffee. I should have worn a sweater."
Jan turned to me and asked, "Did you know?"
I nodded. "Yes."
"Really? I'll have to work on my poker face."
I kissed her cheek. "Your poker face is impenetrable, as you know. No, it was because you were so interested in involving me. You never do that, so you had a reason.
"It certainly wasn't to get my help, and the only thing I could think of was that the person was somebody you'd want to protect, and you wanted me involved so I'd figure it out and keep you honest."
"And who else would I want to protect that badly, other than you?"