daily – 70

Just below the top of the stair, I wave Patrick into his room with a short nod and then turn around, my eyes narrowed.

Directly behind me, Reynolds stops, annoyed. “Please keep mo-“

“I told you,” I say slowly. “My son had nothing to do with this. I was the one who opened the wrong file. He was at a friend’s house all evening, until just before you arrived. He has nothing to do with this!” My voice has risen embarrassingly before I realize it.

“Sir,” Reynolds starts, his hard voice getting harder, but they’re threatening my son.

I glare over Reynolds’ shoulder, past Hampton’s still bored face, and down at Gerent. “Patrick has nothing to do with this!”

Gerent glances away. “Well, uh, if you prefer, sir, I believe Officer Hampton can stay with Patrick until we need him.” Half the statement is actually a question as he looks back up, first at Hampton, who nods vaguely, then at me, a small hopeful smile on his face. “If that, ah, suits you better.”