He felt sick. He was hungry before; fancied an Indian take away after the gig, now he didn’t; just an empty feeling in the pit of his stomach. He felt rejected, worthless, and lonely.
Did she really have that effect on him?
Several couples, laughing and cuddling, pushed past him. There was no one for him. He wasn’t interested in the barmaid, nor the waitress.
God, he was a sad head-case.
He followed the couples out to the pub car park, turned on the Land Cruiser’s ignition and pulled slowly out into the lane. He knew where Jackie lived; decided to make sure she arrived home safely. She would take the joggers’ short cut; over the railway bridge, down past the all-night Dairy Creamery factory, back across the level crossing, past the Co-op and up to the block of flats at the edge of town. Nowhere near Harmony estate, and a safe enough route about ten minutes walk to the police station.
He went the other way; cruised a few miles along the by-pass to the roundabout, third exit back up past the police station to where she lived. It was a longer route, but quicker by car. He parked where he could see the entrance to the block of flats, turned the interior light off, and waited. He thought about what had happened; she didn’t just cut him off this time; sounded a bit down, almost apologetic. She had been deep in thought and very unlike her. Maybe his timing had been wrong. If he’d spotted her earlier, maybe ... maybe.
Another thought struck him. What was she doing there anyway? She wasn’t dressed for the gig; looked like a charity case with that coat around her.
He breathed out. Jackie was jogging slowly up to the flats and still pulling at her skirt. So she hadn’t changed clothes, she must have gone to the pub straight from the honey-trap? Didn’t make much sense, did she meet someone?
Too many questions; no answers.
This wasn’t about him; he was sure of that now. Okay, he’d pissed her off the other night; but that was history. Jackie wasn’t the sort to hold a grudge for long. Sure she’d bury him; teach him not to mess with her, but she was able to forgive and forget. That’s what he liked most about her. A warm woman inside the police officer shell. He brightened up. Tomorrow, or the next day, he’d try again; if he could get her alone for ten minutes.
He stopped off at the Light of India on the way back.