A Different Blue Page 58

Wilson immediately dropped his keys. I groaned inwardly and wished I had kept my big mouth shut. He leaned down and retrieved the keys and after several attempts, he unlocked the entry door and pushed it open. He waited until I entered and then followed me in, shutting the door behind us. Always the gentleman, he stopped outside my apartment. He seemed to be searching for the right words, and for once I didn't tease him or try to be funny. I just waited, feeling a little despondent that he knew my darkest secrets and seemed to be struggling with them.

He found his voice at last, and he trained his melancholy eyes on a spot beyond me, as if he was reluctant to meet my gaze.

“I keep wishing you had had a better life . . . a different life. But a different life would have made you a different Blue.” He looked at me then. “And that would be the biggest tragedy of all.” With a little quirk of a smile he raised my hand to his lips – Mr. Darcy to the very end – and then he turned and walked up the stairs.

That night I sat in the dark, waiting for Wilson to play. But there were no strings to tie me up in silken knots. I wondered if Pamela, the pretty blonde with pearly skin and perfect teeth, was with him. Maybe that's why there was no music. I supposed I should be grateful that there weren't moans and professions of love coming through the duct work. I winced at the thought and the baby kicked, causing me to catch my breath and lift my shirt so I could watch my stomach. It was so alien . . . and so cool. My stomach rolled, lifting and lowering like an ocean wave.

“No tunes yet, sugar. Wilson's holding out on us. I would sing, but I promise that's worse than no music. My stomach rolled again, and I eased myself into a different position, trying to get comfortable, trying to appreciate the discomfort. It wouldn't be long. Moments like these were trickling away. I felt them sliding away into yesterdays, and the yesterdays were stacking up. Eventually, this moment would join the others. The final tomorrow would come, and my baby would be born. And I would just be Blue again.

I was tired, and my eyes grew heavy. Somewhere between wakefulness and sleep, a memory shimmered to the surface, and I watched it like a dream, playing out like an old rerun on the T.V.

“Jimmy, how about we find a new mom?” I had pulled myself up into a tree with low hanging branches and climbed out until I lay on the branch above Jimmy. His hands slid along the gnarled hunk of juniper he was striping of bark.

“Why?” Jimmy answered after several seconds.

“Don't you wish we had a mommy?” I asked, enjoying the scenery from above. It gave me an interesting view of Jimmy's greying head. I dropped a pine cone on him, and it bounced off his head harmlessly. He didn't even swat at it.

“I had a mommy,” he grunted.

“But I don't! And I want one!” Two more pine cones hit their target.

“Put an apron on Icas.” Jimmy picked up his hat and put it on, his answer to the barrage of pine cones.

“Icas smells and has slobbery kisses. Mommies don't have dog breath.” I looped my knee over the branch and swung from one arm and one leg. Reaching down, I swooped Jimmy's hat from his head. “Maybe Bev could be our new mom. She likes you and she likes me, and she makes really good cheese sandwiches.” I put Jimmy's hat on my own head and dropped to the ground, not really minding the pins and needles sensation in my feet when I hit the dirt.

“I guess I like things the way they are, Blue.”

“Yeah. I guess.” I picked up a smaller piece of juniper, a mallet, and a chisel and started stripping the bark, mimicking the steady movements of my father.

“Maybe we could just adopt a baby,” I suggested.

Jimmy's chisel bit deeply into the wood and he cursed under his breath . . . something about hell freezing over.

“I would be a good mommy, I think,” I said seriously, ticking off my accomplishments. “I would share my bed with her. I could teach her to crawl. I obviously know how to walk, so that wouldn't be a problem. You would have to change the diapers, though. Or maybe we could teach her to poo outside, like Icas.”

“Hmmm,” Jimmy sighed, tuning me out.

“I could be the mommy, you could be the grandpa. Would you like being a grandpa, Jimmy?”

Jimmy stopped chiseling, his hands falling to his sides. He looked at me soberly, and I wondered at the deep lines around his mouth that I hadn't really noticed before. Jimmy already sort of looked like a grandpa.

Strains of music found their way through the vent and I shook myself drowsily, the memory/dream still hanging in the air like a hint of perfume. I had grandparents somewhere. My mother must have had some family. And if not, what about my father's family? Had they even known about me? Had they looked for me?

I lay in the dark, listening as Wilson played the songs that I now had names for. I could identify many of them within the first few notes. Yet I could walk by my own grandfather – even my own father! – tomorrow and not recognize him. My baby shifted within me again. Someday my baby would want to know, no matter how deeply he or she was swathed in love and family. Someday he or she would need to know. And that meant I had to find out.

Chapter Nineteen

The precinct smelled like you would expect a precinct to smell. It smelled official. Coffee, cologne, a hint of bleach, and electronics . . . you know the smell. I didn't smell donuts, though. I guess the cops and donuts thing is just a bad stereotype. More labels.

I approached the front desk, manned by a enormous woman with a severe bun and a hint of a mustache. Her looks did not encourage secret spilling.

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