The first stalker?

I'll wait a little longer, the man thought as he sat at the back of the room, watching people coming in and out of the small diner. If Barratt doesn't show in the next ten minutes I'm off he added to himself, glad to have made a decision.

His phone rang, it was Barratt. He answered it quickly and almost as fast the call was over.

Fifteen minutes.

He had fifteen minutes to wait until his talk with Barratt could begin. He hoped he'd get the information he needed. He hated this town and the weather that came with it. He wanted out of Dodge and Barratt was his sat nav.

He turned back to the beer he was nursing, rolling it slowly round in the bottle then he took a quick pull, tipping his head backwards to allow the cool liquid to slide down his throat.

His thoughts turned to the life that he had. A divorcee with one kid who he barely knew and ex-wife he'd never really understood. She'd remarried and they now had a kid of their own and another on the way. At least one of them had moved on.

His thoughts turned to what was his idea of the perfect woman? Hmm, tall, brunette, blue eyes, long legs, oh yes he was a leg man. Personality? Easy. She had to be hard on the nerves – independent and determined. Not a push over, his last wife had been that and ... well... they should never have gotten married but with a kid on the way...

He let the conversation slide as he took another swig of his beer.

He slid his ass slightly forward so that he could lie back against the back of his chair. He draped one arm over the chair next to him and closed his eyes momentarily as his musings turned darker.

He thought about what he did in his 'spare time'. Running around the countryside playing war games with a bunch of eager new cadets. Toy weapons for toy soldiers. He mentally snorted, if only they knew what war was really like, they'd be less inclined to want to go.

He rubbed his hand over his waistline, feeling the scar that lurked under his clothes.

His mind wandered again, this time to his place of work. So sterile and boring. Black and white and boring. Mainly paperwork, paperwork and more boring paperwork with only the odd bit of fairly routine field work. Sure his business was growing but at what cost?

He had no contact with women, his dark demeanour put them off. Admittedly he used to be a player, but that was before marriage, before he had grown up a little and accepted the responsibility that his job and being a new parent had brought. Responsibility had put him off big time and he scored less and less as his contact with the outside world diminished.

He needed to change direction but didn't know where to start. He took another swig of his drink and looked at his watch. Five minutes, he had five minutes until Barratt arrived.

The door of the diner opened and two women walked in. One was a bit like his ex, but the other one. Now she had a figure. Small pert breasts that never moved against her white tank top and long, long legs encased in jeans that moulded to her perfect ass. Yum he thought. Then his eyes travelled up her body. She had long curly hair and it was deep brown. He decided to add curls to his mental wish list. Double yum. Please say she's got blue eyes, he thought. She seemed to notice that someone was staring at her but before her eyes settled on his table the door opened and Barratt walked in. Barratt distracted him and the woman seemed to relax as his focus moved to the new entrant. Moments later she left with her girlfriend and the pizza they'd ordered.

He never did see what colour her eyes were.


Two days later and he was sitting in a different diner, this time at the behest of one of his contacts to whom he owed a favour. Nursing a glass of water his thoughts returning to the woman he'd seen a few days before.

I'll wait a little longer, the thought as he sat at the back of the room, watching people coming in and out of the small diner, and if she doesn't show in the next ten minutes I'm off he added to himself, glad to have made a decision.

The door opened and a woman walked in.

It was the woman from the other day.

This time she was wearing a red silk shirt that was slightly too tight - the fabric straining against her perfect breasts – plus a heels and skirt combination which made her long legs look even longer. She was looking slightly nervous, obviously looking for someone, her eyes briefly hesitated at his table. He reasoned that she'd obviously recognised him from the other diner, he just hoped the woman he was here to meet looked as tempting. The woman carried on looking round the room before her eyes settled back on him. She had the most striking blue eyes. Yes! He thought, doing a mental happy dance but showing nothing on his blank face.

She moved away from the door and in his direction before stopping at his table. He looked up at her, perhaps...

"Are you Ricardo Manoso?" she asked, sticking her hand out forcefully. He reached out and shook it, more out of shock than anything else. "Stephanie Plum. Hello. I think Connie might have called you about me." she said as she sat down opposite him. She looked terrified but determined as she accepted a coffee that the waitress quickly handed her.

Wow, what a package, the man thought as he waived a waitress over. Perhaps he didn't need his road map after all...

The end

Did you guess it was Ranger? Did ya, did ya?