"I hope you don't mind macaroni..." called Helen from the kitchen.
"Macaroni will be great thanks" replied James coming to the door. "I'll set the table if you like."
"Thanks. The cutlery is in the right hand drawer, the placemats and coasters in the left hand drawer, and the plates and glasses in the cupboard above."
James set the table with two red placemats and coasters, two blue glasses of water and two glass plates. Helen brought the saucepan to the table and put it on one of the centre placemats.
"Thanks for inviting me to dinner."
"Shall we forget about work for a while? Talk about something else?"
"Sure". Helen helped herself to macaroni.
"So, do you have any brothers or sisters?"
"One sister, Harriet, she's older than me. She teaches English at university."
James nodded because his mouth was full.
"Do you have any brothers or sisters?" Helen asked him.
James swallowed. "One brother, older. He took a degree in engineering, though he now runs his own buisiness."
"So, in both our families only we chose to go into law enforcement?"
"Yeah." James drank some water.
Silence ensued for a few minutes.
"I love your hair" James suddenly said.
Helen laughed. "You sound like Eadric."
"Nah I meant it."
"He did too probably. You know, both Harriet and me seem to recieve that same comment at one point or another from almost every single guy that sees us."
James put his hand at the side of his neck, his elbow on the table looking at her. "Really?" He put his fork back on his plate, capturing another piece of macaroni.
"Yes. Harriet told me that was the first thing her boyfriend said to her on their first date."
"Where is Harriet?"
"Peter took her out tonight."
"Well I hope she has a nice time".
A few more minutes passed in silence. Then Helen asked "When's your birthday?"
"November 6th. When's yours?"
He skulked outside the window, watching a little jealously as Helen and James had dinner. Helen looked so beautiful with her hair let down. It really suited her and he was unable to take his eyes off her hair. Her deep brown eyes were lit up as she engaged James in conversation.
He sighed. She was a police officer, of much higher status than he, far outside his league. To her, he was merely an acquaintance, someone she had just met, but once she found out the truth, she would hate him anyway. He would to her be simply a common criminal. He might have problems, at least the world would say he had problems, but falling in love with a police officer who though she didn't know it was investigating his crimes - that had never been part of the plan. Still, he never hurt anyone he loved or anyone those he loved seemed to like. He turned on his heel and left.