"That's right -- you and Hope were sweethearts in high school. I forgot about that. Well." Tiffany turned to glance over her shoulder at Hope's yard. "Near as I can tell, she hasn't got home yet. Good thing, too."
"Why do you say that?" Seth felt his heart kick into double-time. "Is something wrong?"
"You heard about that no-good ex of hers, didn't you?" She slapped her forehead, making him wince and then grin. "Well, duh, of course you would, being an officer and all. That great, greasy, lazy lump was here this morning, banging on her doors, yelling for her to come out. Got nasty with Hank Winslow -- of course, Hank was nasty with him, too. But Hank works third shift and he had just got home and got to sleep and that idiot woke him up. Anyway, Hank told him Hope had taken the children to school. Big idiot got lippy with him, wanted to know when Hope would be home. Like a big factory worker like Hank would know that sweet little girl's schedule?"
Tiffany rolled her eyes and shook her head, helping Seth lose about ten degrees of the tension filling him.
"The minute Hank disappeared inside, that big idiot started banging on the doors again. Like I always say, the biggest liars think everybody else is lying. So I stepped up to the fence and told him Hope was at work, wouldn't be home until she picked up the kiddies at school. Oh, he didn't like that, did he? Well, at least he stopped banging on the doors." She glanced at the house again, then leaned down to look Seth in the eyes. "Should have thought -- when it gets quiet, that means the nasty ones are coming up with something to do, and that ain't good for anybody."