Sam was sitting at the laptop at the kitchen table.
"Hey," I said, walking in from the living room. "Where's Amy?"
"She's reading a book in my room," she answered. "Did you get your car?"
"Yes, finally." I walked over across from her, "Hey, uh..." I said inquisitively.
"What?" She could hear the petition in my voice and it made her a little anxious. She lowered the laptop screen with a click and focused her full dread at me.
"I need to ask a little favor..." I started, but then I paused, waiting to gauge her response.
"I have a friend outside, a colleague. I ran into him unexpectedly at the station. He wants to discuss something with me but he wanted to go somewhere private."
"Oh," she said. "Uh..."
"Plus I thought I could get his opinion on this Amy situation," I said.
"Well, I uh... I mean, you know him, right. He's a good guy?"
"I know of him, but I've never met him before," I said honestly. "He is a good guy, though. You can trust him."
"Okay," she said. "And how do you know that if you've never met him."
"Because," I assured her, "he's one of us."
"One of whom?"
"He's a member of my, uh... profession."
"He's a detective, repair man, guy?" She looked extremely doubtful. "Are you guys like a lodge or something?"
"No," I said. "I can't explain it. He's okay, though. I trust him."
"Simon," she sighed. "Can't you go to your place?"
"Well, I didn't want to run into anyone unexpected or unknown," I answered. "He said he wanted to come somewhere safe. I just... I mean... I don't think it's safe over there right now."
"Amy is pretty upset," she said then. "She got really sad after you left, wishing she had gone with you. She's very worried."
"I bet." I shook my head. "Let me let Joseph in and then I'll go check on Amy. She can sit with Joseph and me while we talk."
"Simon..." She still didn't like the idea. "I mean, I'm already asking myself why I got involved in this. I don't want to get more involved. Now you're bringing strangers over here? I mean, I was terrified last night, Simon. That was, like, the most scared I've ever been in my life."
"Well, I wouldn't have known it," I said. "You were great."
"I don't care, Simon!" She was exasperated. "I don't want to be brave, okay? I don't want to have to be brave? You can do what you want and run around and play these games and shit, but that's not how I want to live, Simon!"
"Hey, I'm sorry," I said, and I was. "I had no idea, when I called you, that any of these things were going to happen. I just thought you'd take us to my place and that would be that."
"Okay," she said, "I believe you. I really do. But now you're bringing this other dude here? I don't like it, Simon. I don't."
I sighed and stared at her in silence, blinking. "Well," I said, "okay. Just let me talk to Joseph and then I'll take Amy and we'll get out of here."
"You don't have to get out of here," she said, calming down a little. "Not if you have nowhere to go."
"Well," I said.
"Just, no more. You can talk to this guy, if you swear that you trust him. You can stay here. But no more. I'm already feeling like a nervous wreck here, dude. Nothing else. Okay?"
"Thank you, Sam," I said. "I promise I'll repay you somehow for this."
"Just...," she opened the laptop and shooed me away with a flick of her wrist. As I turned to go, I saw her wipe her eyes on the long sleeves of her T-shirt. I felt like such an ass for getting her mixed up in this thing, but I was glad Amy had Sam to spend time with.
I walked over to the front door and motioned over to Joseph were he stood leaning against my car. He waved acknowledgement and started walking this way.