Esther gave a small nod and a tight smile to Konan. He gave her the same in return. There was no love lost between Konan and his family. Paddy had done right by him, so, Konan had no issue with him. Mad Michael and Esther, he avoided like they had the plague.
“Freaking kid,” Esther muttered as Konan and Lilly walked by.
Konan and Lilly sat at their booth in the back away from the regular customers. Paddy, the consummate salesman that he was, stopped by booths and tables and made small talk to everyone. People loved him. If Konan didn’t know any better, he would have sworn Paddy loved them back.
“Steak and potatoes for you, kid? Or you want something different,” Paddy asked.
“Sounds good,” Konan responded. Lilly nodded.
“Me too,” she said.
Paddy went into the back with their orders. While they waited, Konan and Lilly caught up with what had transpired during Konan’s suspension. Lilly loved her partner, and she suspected that he loved her in return.
“I hated to see that kid in that sack. What a horrible way to meet your end,” Lilly said. Konan nodded.
“Yeah. Pretty awful way to start your week.”
“The media followed her story for a while. Then, it was old hat so they dropped it. No one wanted to handle the case. Rankin, nor Manson, would touch it. Tia decided that paying lip service to it was the right choice, but…”
“Figures,” Konan responded. His eyes followed Paddy. With a plate in each hand, Paddy made his way back to them. He placed their plates down in front of them and smiled.
“Yum,” Lilly said as she ate her plate with her eyes.
“Yep,” Konan said. “It looks great, Paddy.”
“Thanks, kiddo. Move over.”
Konan slid next to the wall, Paddy sat on the edge of the bench. He waited for Paddy to speak, clearly there was something he wanted to say judging by his words, but he said nothing. Konan cut into his steak and put a piece in his mouth.
Paddy nodded. He looked at Konan and said, “thanks. I heard you guys caught the case about the little girl that went missing.”
“That’s right,” Lilly said. “You know anything that could help us?”
“Normal people don’t hurt kids, darling.”
Konan scoffed and shook his head. He met Paddy’s eyes and grinned. “You’re right, Paddy. Normal people don’t hurt anyone. Especially children.”
“There’s a guy around the neighborhood that has a reputation concerning kiddies. Name is Norm Wicker. He did time at Parchman. Mad Michael said he might know something. Check him out if you wanna.”
“Thanks, Paddy. We appreciate the heads-up,” Lilly said. Konan shoved more steak in his mouth. He wasn’t keen on getting tips from a murderer. Still, if there was something to be learned from Mr. Wicker, they had an obligation to follow up.
Paddy nodded and stood to his feet. He gave them a smile and walked back toward the front of the pub. Konan gave him a nod.
“Sounds like we’ve got a lead, partner. We should check out Mr. Norm tomorrow morning.”
“Norm Wicker is dead, Lilly.”
“He was a pedophile. They don’t last long in prison. He died about six months ago.”
“Paddy made it sound like he was out wandering the streets.”
“He was. Then, he wrote several bad checks and got sent back. Some guys don’t do well when they are released. They got used to life on the inside and can’t handle the stress of life outside.”
“Did you kill him?”
Konan looked up from his steak and met Lilly’s eyes. ‘Wow’, he muttered. Lilly shook her head and went to say something but Konan stopped her.
“No, I did not kill him, Lilly.”
“I’m sorry, Konan.”
“It’s whatever, man.” He shoved his phone across the table to Lilly. While Paddy had told them of Norm Wicker, Konan ran a search through the police database. The screen showed the record of the dead pedophile.
“Jesus,” Lilly said.
“They found him hung in the cell. His roommate, Davi Simmons is suspected of carrying out the deed.”