“Of course, we can,” Stacie said, pulling her laptop from her briefcase. “Let me boot this up and I’ll show you the video of our mystery Caleb; maybe he’s not even your husband and we’re all on edge over nothing.”
“Maybe,” Karla replied, “but outside of Gadsden, Heald seems to be a pretty uncommon name. Mighty big coincidence.”
“Okay,” Stacie said, “but if he’s looking for you and he’s using a fake name why would he use one that’s so transparent? To send a message? Wouldn’t that just warn you?”
Karla raised her hands in frustration. “I don’t know. Maybe to send a message? More likely to scare me. That’s why Skylar’n me keep moving, to stay away from him.”
“If he’s so much trouble why haven’t you gotten a restraining order?” Suzann asked. “They help. I have a friend here that I’ve known since coming to this country. Ex-cop named Manny Taisto. A real hard-boiled Brooklyn flat-foot back in the day, but he’s very helpful underneath his gruff exterior. I know he’d send us in the right direction.” Suzann added, “Anybody else hungry, or just me?”
“I’m fine,” Karla answered. “I’ll just have water. No. No cops. I can’t.”
“Not cop, ex-cop. He retired back when I was working at Lake Myrtle Elementary. I’ve known him for over twenty years,” Suzann finished, shaking her head slightly and scanning the menu. “I’m telling you, he’s stand-up.”
“I can’t. Please.” Karla insisted.
Loren returned with the drinks and a smile. “Steph decided you needed a pint of Other West Coast,” she said, placing the pint glass in front of Stacie. “Here’s a Moscow Mule and a water. Ready to order?”
The women looked at one another. When no one spoke, Suzann raised and lowered her eyebrows before turning her gaze to Loren and declaring, “Yes, please. I’d like the Buffalo cauliflower. Do you think there’s enough for three or should we get two?”
“I’d get two, if I were you,” Loren replied. “Anything else?” she asked, drawing out the s in else.
“Anyone?” Suzann asked the table.
“No, that sounds great,” Stacie declared. “Thanks, Loren!”
“Water’s fine,” Karla replied, eyes downcast.
“Okay! I’ll put the order in and be right back.”
“Oh! Loren?” Stacie called to the retreating server. “Is Sean working? If he is will you tell him hi for me.”
Loren twisted her lips to the side, then smiled, nodded and said, “Sure. Be right back.”
“Okay,” Stacie said, turning her lap-top toward Karla and Suzann, “this is the footage the Interlachen security cameras caught. That’s Caleb down in the corner, see?”
“Damn, damn, damn, damn, damn, damn! Just. Damn!” Karla said quietly but vehemently.
“And that,” Suzann said, patting the young mother’s hand, “seems like a positive identification.”