Waving Lyn and her family off from the doorstep, Robbie Lewis grinned. He always loved it when they came down, even though it took it right out of him these days. Lyn's grandson was nine now, growing up big and strong. Lewis realised that soon, they'd have to stop their play fights, the boy was in serious danger of causing him some sort of injury. He wanted to be a policeman too. Must run in the family. Then again, every nine year old boy wanted to be a policeman.
Of course, being seventy years old might have something to do with the fact that the youngster would be getting better at fighting him. Robbie had to admit, however much he didn't want to, that he was getting old. Getting old? Got old more likely Robbie. He also has to admit, that those years of microwave meals are making themselves known to him. He's still pretty trim, not much worse than he was when he was an inspector, but he knows his insides could be a damn sight healthier than they are.
Blimey, seventy! That means he retired eight years ago. What has he done with those eight years?
He wonders how James is doing. He's not heard from him for a long while. He became an inspector when Lewis retired. Robbie had been so proud of him. Hathaway has to be nearing forty-three now. Robbie grins, he can't imagine the younger man being over forty. James was always so youthful. He really hasn't heard from James in a long time. Last time he saw the younger man, would have been a few weeks after his wedding. That had to be all of 7 years ago. James had married Chrissy, a lovely surgeon from the John Radcliffe. Lewis had been their best man. It'd been a beautiful wedding. Of course, Lewis had made the customary jokes about James punching above his weight, but he was really made up for the lad. It felt like watching a son growing up. It felt like it had when Ken had phoned to tell him that he was coming home. Robbie Lewis had long since accepted that while he had only one daughter, he pretty much had two sons.
Or did have. He didn't know where Hathaway was living now, he didn't even know if James still lived in Oxford. He didn't have a phone number for him either. Well he did, but the bloody thing was never on. It had worried him a little at the time, it wasn't like James to just disappear. But soon, the demands of helping to bring up a grandson took over and he let the worry dissipate.
He made a mental note to try and find Hathaway sometime soon. He missed the lad and he wanted to know how him and Chrissy were doing. He looked around for a pen so he could write a reminder down on the pad he kept by the phone. His memory wasn't what it used to be these days. He was still sharp as a tack though. He constantly thanked whoever was answerable, that he still had his mental faculties, it was just his body that was gradually letting his down, as was its custom in old age.
Just then his thoughts were interrupted by a ring at the door. His whirlwind of a grandson barrelled across the threshold and into the hallway, talking ten to the dozen and breathing heavily. Eventually Robbie grasped that the kid had forgotten his Nintendo something-or-other and that his Mum was waiting in the car up the road so he had to be quick. After they successfully scouted out the missing games console, Robbie walked the lad back up the road, with a hand on his back. He let the boy's chatter wash over him. He was a great believer that kids made you young again. He stood watching as the car disappeared around the corner and slowly made his way back to his home and his bed, all thoughts of James Hathaway forgotten.
Lewis didn't think about Hathaway for another week. He probably would have, had it not been for his grandson interrupting his note taking. But as it was, Call J, was written in small letters at the top of the pad and he didn't give it a second thought.
Ironically, this didn't matter, because a day later, James Hathaway would come crashing back into his life.