A Different Blue Page 61

“Did you tell Tiffa?” He paused, phone in hand, glancing up at me. “She's going to want to know.”

I called Tiffa, and, as it turned out, Tiffa didn't just want to know, she wanted to come. She actually didn't want me to go at all, but Wilson just shook his head and took the phone from me.

“She has to go, Tiff. She has to.” So Tiffa decided the next best thing was to just come along. Jack was going to be in Reno for a medical convention on Saturday and Sunday anyway, and she had debated joining him. She would just leave a couple of days early so she could be with me. Baby Mama status was getting a wee bit old, I told myself grumpily. I had been so independent for so long, it felt strange needing to clear my comings and goings with anyone. Secretly, though, I was thrilled that she cared so much.

“Road trip!” she squealed, coming through my door two hours later, suitcase in hand, sunglasses on, wearing one of those big hats you wear on the beach. She looked ready for a day on a yacht. I giggled and allowed her to pull me in for a big squeeze, a smooch to my belly, and a kiss to my cheek. I'd always thought the English were supposed to be less effusive, less demonstrative, than Americans. It definitely wasn't true where Tiffa was concerned.

“We're taking the Mercedes! I'm not squeezing these long legs in the back of the Subaru, Darcy!”

“Fine. But I'm driving, and you are still sitting in the back,” Wilson said agreeably.

“Please do! I'm just going to sit back and relax, maybe read, maybe kip a bit.”

She didn't read a word. Or sit back. And she definitely didn't kip . . . which I learned meant to sleep. She talked and laughed and teased. And I learned a few things about Wilson.

“Did Darcy ever tell you how he wanted to trace the steps of St. Patrick?”

“Tiffa..please, can you just fall asleep already?” Wilson groaned, sounding a lot like one of his students.

“Alice had just turned eighteen – done with school, wanting an exciting holiday. I wasn't even living at home then. I was twenty-two and working at a little art gallery in London, but every year we had a family holiday. We would go somewhere for a couple of weeks, usually somewhere sunny and warm where Dad could unwind a little. Alice and I wanted to go to the south of France, and Dad was on board. However, little Darcy had gotten a wee bee in his bonnet. He wanted to go to Ireland – cold, wet, and WINDY just like Manchester was that time of year. Why? Because the precocious lad had just read a book about Saint Patrick. Mum, of course, thought that was wonderful, and we all ended up traipsing all over a bloody hill in sloshy boots, reading pamphlets.”

I giggled and tossed a look at poor Wilson. “St. Patrick was fascinating.” He shrugged, grinning.

“Oh, Cor! Here we go!” Tiffa groaned theatrically.

“He was kidnapped from his home at fourteen, chained, marched onto a boat, and kept as a slave in Ireland until he was twenty years old. Then he managed to walk across Ireland, get on a boat, with nothing more than the clothes on his back, and make it back to England, a miracle in itself. His family was overjoyed at his return. Patrick's family was wealthy and educated, and Patrick would have had a comfortable life. But he couldn't get Ireland out of his head. He dreamed about it. In his dreams, he claimed God told him to go back to Ireland to serve the people there. He went back . . . and ended up serving the people in Ireland for the rest of his life!” Wilson shook his head in wonder, as if the story still moved him.

I thought St. Patrick was just an Irish leprechaun. I'd never even thought about him as an actual person. Or an actual saint. It was just a holiday.

“So, how old were you when you discovered St. Patrick?” I teased.

“Twelve! He was bloody twelve!” Tiffa bellowed from the backseat, making everyone laugh. “When Darcy was born, he was wearing a tiny little bow tie and braces.”

“Braces?” I giggled.

“Suspenders,” Wilson supplied dryly.

“He has always been an absolute geek,” Tiffa chortled. “That, my dear Blue, is why he's brilliant. And wonderful.”

“Don't try to be nice to me now, Tiff,” Wilson smiled, catching her gaze in his rear view mirror.

“All right. I won't. Did you know he was going to be a doctor, Blue?”

“Tiffa!” Wilson moaned.

“Yes . . . actually. I did know that.” I patted Wilson's shoulder.

“He wasn't cut out for it. He would have been completely miserable. Dad saw how brilliant Darcy was and just assumed that meant he should be a 'man of medicine' like he was, and his father before him, and his father before him. But Darcy was brilliant in all the ways that had nothing to do with science, right luv?”

Wilson just sighed and shook his head.

“Darcy always had his nose in a book. He used enormous words and used them correctly . . . at least I think he did. He loved history, literature, poetry.”

“Have you heard him quote Dante?” I interrupted.

Wilson's eyes shot to mine.

“What was that lovely poem you shared with us . . . about harpies?” I questioned.

Wilson chuckled at the memory and quoted the lines obediently.

Tiffa moaned, “That's awful!”

“I thought so, too,” I laughed. “I couldn't forget it, though. I ended up carving 'Bird Woman' as a result.”

“That's what inspired 'Bird Woman?'” Wilson asked, astonishment coloring his voice.

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