Vincent frowned, his mind already working on its double take. The woman was Claire, sure enough. His partner. But who the little girl was, he had no possible idea. Did his partner have a daughter? he wondered briefly, noticing, as though for the first time, the smile on Claire's face. She looked different... happier, he thought, pushing aside the idea that he liked this new, happier Claire. Happy Claire was also quite pretty, he thought, and suddenly had the very overwhelming urge to slap himself, or run out of the store and not look back.

She's your partner, he reminded himself sternly. For goodness sakes, man!

Returning his attention to the woman and child, he heard the little girl call her Tante Claire. Ah, the little girl was her niece! Mystery solved.

Just go now, he told himself, before they look up and catch you spying on them. Deciding that that was probably best, he turned away and started to leave, but not before catching the child's name: Katrin.

Hearing Claire speak her niece's name, he realised how different she sounded in her personal life to her professional one; around people that she knew and loved, she sounded... well, loving in return. Oh, stop! he told himself. Don't even get started on that path, Vincent! But he couldn't help it; he couldn't help from wondering how caring Claire's voice might sound with someone that she cared for and dearly loved, with her own children, for instance. Or him... one day, when they were friends, he quickly rushed to fill in. Just friends, nothing romantic, of course.

Why not romantic friends? a small part of him questioned, and his attention suddenly evaporated, causing him to nearly walk straight into the side door which he had been heading for which was not automatic.

Stopping suddenly so that he didn't walk into the door, he reached for the handle and yanked it open, silently reprimanding himself for his stupidity. We're partners! Why do you think why not? Because it's against the rules! And because... who's to say that Claire would ever see me in that way? Oh, yes, I'll bet she has me pegged as the romantic type, alright!

Stepping outside, he shook his head to himself, and headed for his car, making sure not to walk under anyone else's cars whilst he was about it.


Disclaimer I don't own Paris enquêtes criminelles or any of its characters.