When I finally limped into William's driveway, I was greeted by an attractively dressed woman with a little book in her hand.
She walked right up to me and smiled.
"Can I help you?"
I searched my mind for the right approach. A couple of waiters came around the side of the house, and passed us on their way to get something out of the van. I noticed absently that it had "Seaside Bar and Grill" painted on the side.
So it was Kels'.
The woman smiled some more.
"Are you on the guest list, perhaps?"
She flipped her little book open.
"If I could have your name?"
I smiled back, a little sheepishly.
"To tell the truth, Ma'am, I'm probably not on that list. I'm an old friend of William's, and I was in town and thought I'd just sort of drop in and surprise him."
I gestured vaguely at all of the activity around us.
"I didn't know there was going to be a big party going on."
She smiled reassuringly.
"No problem. I'll send someone to check. Who shall I say…?"
I could feel that this approach was not going to work with her.
"Well," I said, "that would kind of ruin the surprise. Maybe if I just…"
But then something caught my eye.
William's house had a bay window in the front, and from where I was standing I could see the street I had just walked down, reflected in the side panes of the window.
There was an ambulance coming slowly down the street.
I recognized the ambulance. I even knew the names of the two guys in it, and who they were looking for.
I gave the lady my most convincing shrug.
"Maybe if I came back another time. Thanks, anyway."
I turned to leave, and ran smack into a waiter. We sort of bounced off each other, and I started to apologize.
"Excuse me, I should watch better where I'm—Well, what do you know?"
It was the homeless kid. The one I sent to Kels.
He recognized me, too.
"Aren't you the guy who…"
But I didn't let him finish. That ambulance was getting closer.
I grabbed his arm, and pulled him toward the catering van.
"Could I have a moment of your time?"