A Different Blue Page 85

“Yeah. I felt bad. I don't know what got into me. I kept trying to get your attention in the nastiest ways, like one of those weird little boys on the playground who throws rocks at the girls he likes.”

“So I can assume it was you who put a dirty picture on my overhead projector so that when I turned it on all the students got the full monty?”


“And the lock that suddenly appeared on my cello case?”

“Yep. That was me too. It was just a little one. And I put the key in your coat pocket.”

“Yes . . . that was a little strange. Too bad it took me two days of trying to saw off the blasted thing before I found it.”

“I wanted your attention, I guess.”

Wilson snorted and shook his head. “Are you kidding? You walked into my class in the tightest trousers I've ever seen, high-heeled biker boots, and wild, snogging hair. You had my attention right from the get go.”

I blushed, half-pleased, half-mortified. “Snogging hair?”

Wilson smirked like a man who knows he's pleased his woman. “Snogging is what we spent all day doing, luv. It means kissing . . . a lot. After that first week or so of school, I was convinced I'd chosen the wrong profession. I was utterly depressed, and it was all your fault. I was quite sure I would have to ask you to transfer out of my class because I knew I was in trouble. In fact, as long as we're confessing things . . . I went and asked the counselor to pull your records for me. It was after the day I talked to you after class, after the whole 'I don't know who I am bit.'”

“It wasn't a bit.” I said, stung.

“Yeah, luv. I know,” he said softly and dropped a long kiss on my frowning mouth. And then we became entangled in each other, forgetting the discussion altogether until the doorbell chimed and we jerked apart, laughing a little as we did.

“Food's here!” We both raced for the door.

It wasn't until we had dug into the cashew chicken and the sweet and sour pork that I circled back to his confession.

“So you pulled my records . . . and what did you find?”

Wilson swallowed and took a big slug of milk. “I didn't know what I was dealing with then. You were a hard case, Echohawk. Did you know there's a police record in your file?”

I froze, my spoon paused between mouth and bowl. “What?”

“When your father's body was found they re-opened your case – or what little anyone knew. There were some efforts to find out who your mother was, for obvious reasons. Your father was officially dead, and someone thought it important to make another attempt to locate your mother. There wasn't much in the file. I'm not sure why the school even had a copy except that you are a legal ward of the state, at least you were until you turned eighteen. There was an officer's name on the file. I made note of it, I don't know why. Maybe it was the odd name, Izzard. Does that ring any bells?”

I nodded, resuming my meal. “He was one of the officers who initially found me, so to speak, after my dad went missing.” We ate in silence. “They called me. The lab, in Reno? They called. The results are back.”

Wilson stared at me, his fork paused on the way to his mouth, prompting me to continue.

“They want me to come back. They said they have a match. They will show me everything. I've known for two weeks now. Part of me wants to get in the car right now and head to Reno. Part of me can't wait. But the other part, the part that belongs to Jimmy? That part doesn't want to know. He was all I had, and I don't want to let him go. I don't want to know something that will change the way I feel about him, that will change our history.”

I thought about how that small act of kindness to a hungry little girl had brought destiny to Jimmy Echohawk's doorstep and how he had paid for his compassion in a way only Karma can craft. One small act and he opened himself up to a mother's desperation and found himself in a position where he became responsible for a child who was even more alone in the world than he was.

“ And I worry that what I find out will be ugly and . . . scary. I'm really tired of ugly, as you are well aware. It's going to hurt. It's going to rip me open. And I'm tired of that, too. What kind of woman does what she did? What kind of mother? A big part of me doesn't want to know who she is or anything about her.”

We sat silently, my words surrounding us like graffiti on the walls, unavoidable and glaring, destroying the peace that had been between us. Wilson put down his fork and rested his chin on his steepled fist.

“Don't you think it's time to put an end to this?” Same words as before, entirely different context.

“An end to what?” I said my line.

“To this not knowing business,” he repeated quietly, holding my gaze.

I knew what he meant and didn't need to hear him say it.

“We'll take a couple of days off. I have some personal days left, and Beverly will understand.”

“And what do we do?”

“We find your mother. And we find Blue.”

Chapter Twenty-Seven

We flew this time. No long, eight-hour road trip each way. I was no longer pregnant and under doctor's orders not to fly. Wilson said driving took too long, and there was no reason to torture ourselves. I think he was more anxious to get there than I was. I fluctuated between anxiousness and nausea.

We had contacted both the lab and Detective Moody and told them we were coming. Detective Moody had offered to meet us at the airport, which surprised me. I didn't think that was standard procedure and said as much. He was quiet for a moment and then replied, his voice laced with emotion, “In my line of work, there aren't very many happy endings. So many people suffer, so many people are lost . . . and we never find them. For me, this is a pretty big deal. The whole department is pretty pumped. The Chief said it's a great human interest story, and we have a liason at the Reno Review that is itching for an interview. We will let you decide if that's something you are interested in. I did call Detective Bowles out of professional courtesy, and let him know that we got a match. He was pretty excited, too.”

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