A Different Blue Page 63

“You are much stronger than I am. You are incredibly selfless. And I don't think evil resides with strong and selfless,” Tiffa said softly. “I don't think it works that way.”

“But my mother . . . what she did was evil.”

“Leaving you with a stranger?”

“Yes. And her blood runs in this baby's veins. Are you willing to take that chance?”

“Absolutely. But I don't think it's much of a risk, luv. Jack has diabetes. Did you know that? It's pretty manageable. I never considered not having a child just because the child might suffer with the same illness. I had the most ghastly buck teeth growing up. Thankfully, braces made me a ravishing beauty.” There was laughter in Tiffa's voice. “But what if there were no such thing, and my child was doomed with horse teeth?”

“None of those things compare,” I protested, needing her to understand. Tiffa plopped down on the bed behind me and began to smooth my hair. She would be a fabulous mother. It was all I could do not to curl into her and let her soothe me. But of course I didn't. I lay stiffly, trying not to be so susceptible to a gentle hand. She stroked my hair as she spoke.

“We don't know what kind of life your mother had. We don't know what her reasons were. But look at you. You're brilliant! And that's enough for me, Blue. What if my mother had chosen not to adopt Darcy? She never met his birth mother or father. She knew nothing about them but their names. But she loved Darcy, maybe best of all, and he was a complete unknown. His father could have been a serial killer, for all we knew.”

“Wilson was adopted?” I was so stunned, the words came out like a shriek. Tiffa's soothing ministrations faltered along with my heart. She lay down on the bed beside me, curling up against my back, and resumed stroking my hair.

“Yes! Didn't he tell you? Mum and Daddy tried to have another child for years. They adopted Darcy when he was only days old. It was arranged through our church.”

“No . . . he didn't tell me.” My voice cracked, and I cleared my throat to disguise my dismay.

“He looked up his parents when he turned eighteen. His mother was young, like you are, when she got pregnant. She is married now with several children. She was happy to see him, happy that he had turned out well. His father was a copper in Belfast. He and Wilson hit it off. I think they still talk every now and again. Jenny Woodrow and Bert Wheatley, I think their names were. I can't remember Jenny's maiden name.”

I lay in the dark, my thoughts whirling like pinwheels in a storm. And a hurricane was brewing. I felt betrayed. Wilson was adopted. Adopted! And he hadn't said anything at all. No words of wisdom or encouragement when Tiffa and I had broken the news to the family. No “adoption is a wonderful thing, look at me” commentary. He had stayed silent; there had been no revelations.

Tiffa was apparently unaware of the gathering storm. She hadn't said anything for several minutes, and before long I heard her breathing change, and knew she had fallen to sleep, lying beside me. My hips ached. My lower back had been killing me all day, my ankles were swollen and I was too uncomfortable, too pregnant, and far too angry to sleep.

Redemption, resolution, revelations. The 'R' words just kept stacking up. Reno was just full of secrets. I was ready to go home.

Jack flew into Reno Friday morning for the medical conference and Tiffa stayed with him, sending me and Wilson on our way in her Mercedes. They would fly home on Sunday evening, which meant I was trapped in tornado ally with Wilson for eight long hours. Accusations were buzzing in my head like angry bees, threatening to break loose and swarm Wilson with a stinging barrage. I sat in angry silence, giving curt responses to every question, not looking at him, not laughing with him. He seemed flummoxed, but tried harder and harder the meaner I got, until I finally pushed him too far and he pulled off the seemingly endless highway into a rest area. Shoving the car into park, he turned toward me and threw his hands in the air.

“What is wrong with you, Blue? Did I do something? Are you in pain? For God's sake! What is the matter?”

“You were adopted!” I shouted and promptly burst into the kind of tears that squirt out of your eyes like a hose and make your nose run. I grabbed for the jockey box, but Wilson was there with his damn hanky, blotting my cheeks and shushing me like a doddering old man.

“Tiffa has such a bloody big mouth.”

“She had no idea you hadn't told me! Why wouldn't you tell me, Wilson?”

“Would it have helped you?” Wilson wiped my eyes, his gaze penetrating, his brow wrinkled in consternation.

I angrily pushed his hands away, shoving the door open and hoisting my awkward body from the confines of the car, furious in a way I had never been before.

My back was on fire, and my neck was sore and my heart hurt like it had been dragged behind the car. I waddled toward the restrooms, needing space and, frankly, needing to pee. I was nine months pregnant, after all.

I used the toilet and washed my hands, trying to stem the angry tears that wouldn't quit. I held a cold, wet paper towel to my cheeks and wiped the mascara away. I looked miserable. Even my nose was puffy. I looked down at my ankles and tried not to wail. I used to be hot . . . and I used to be thin. And I used to trust Wilson. The tears flowed again, and I held the towel to my eyes, willing them away.

“Are you all right, dear?” A little voice spoke just to my right. An old woman who barely reached my shoulder stood looking at me with a frown etched on her thin lips. Wrinkles rimmed her mouth like legs on a centipede. Her grey hair was in neat little curls all over her head, and she wore a scarf over them, presumably to protect her hair-do from the wind that had kicked up outside. I'd brought the storm with me, apparently.

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