A Different Blue Page 86

I said nothing, not wanting to deflate his genuine enthusiasm, but I knew I wouldn't be talking to any reporters. Like a child with a long-awaited gift, I wasn't ready to unwrap my story and immediately pass it along like it had little worth. There was a time to share and a time to savor. I needed to hold my story, examine it, understand it. Then maybe someday, when it wasn't so fresh and raw, when some of the shine and newness had worn off, when I understood not just what but why . . . maybe then I'd be willing to share. But not now.

Las Vegas had already embraced spring, but Reno was cold. Wilson and I huddled in our coats, unprepared for the blast of winter air that met us as we walked to our rental car. We had refused the police escort, deciding we would need our own wheels though we didn't expect to be in Reno long. The answers were there waiting for us. There would be no searching. My life, my history, would be laid out before me like a movie script . . . complete with crime scenes and character descriptions. And like a movie script, none of it seemed real. At least, not until we pulled into the police station. Suddenly action was required. The cameras were rolling, and I didn't know my lines. I was overcome with stage fright, of the strangers in the audience, of the scenes I hadn't studied and couldn't possibly prepare for. And above all, I didn't want Wilson to see me in the spotlight once more, the light unflattering, the story line tragic, violent, and depressing.

“Are you ready, Blue?”

No. No! “Yes,” I whispered, lying, but seeing no way around it. But I couldn't make myself move. Wilson stepped out of the car and came around to my door. He swung it open and offered his hand. When I didn't take it, he leaned in and looked at me intently.


“I don't want you to come inside. You know too much, Wilson!”

He pressed a kiss to my forhead. “Yes. I know hundreds of things. I think we've discussed this . . . quite recently, actually.”

“What if they tell us something that changes the way you feel about me?”

“What could they possibly say that would change the way I feel about you? You were two years old when your mother left you. Do you think they are going to tell us you were a tiny drug dealer? The world's youngest ever? An assassin maybe? Or . . . oh no! A boy. Maybe you are actually a boy. That would be difficult to adjust to, I confess.”

Laughter bubbled out of me like a yellow balloon, and I clung to that glimmer of brightness Wilson always seemed to inspire in me. I buried my face in the crook between his neck and shoulder, breathing in the smell that was Wilson. Comfort, challenge, and hope all rolled into one clean scent.

“Blue. Whatever we learn will only make me love you more. You're right. I know too much. And because I do, there isn't anything anyone can say that will make me doubt you or the way I feel about you.”

“Okay,” I whispered, and I kissed his neck just above the collar of his coat. He shivered and wrapped his arms around me.

“Okay,” he repeated, a smile in his voice. “Let's go.”

I met Sergeant Martinez, who had been the lead Detective on the case eighteen years ago along with several others who faded into background almost as quickly as they were introduced. Heidi Morgan from the state crime lab was also present, and she, Sergeant Martinez, and Detective Moody proceeded to take us into a room where a large file sat waiting in the center of the table. We took a seat around the file, and Heidi Morgan added a file of her own. Without fanfare, the meeting began.

Heidi went through an explanation of DNA and DNA markers. She showed me a chart comparing my DNA to the DNA of the woman who was my mother. Some of the brief overview was the same information that had been shared with me when they had pulled my DNA months before, only this time they had the results to talk me through.

Heidi looked at me and smiled. “We are certain that you are indeed the biological daughter of a woman named Winona Hidalgo.”

“That was her name?” I repeated it, just to test its impact. “Winona Hidalgo.” I thought maybe it would strike a chord of remembrance, that I would feel something when I heard it. But it was foreign to me, as unremarkable as the name Heidi Morgan or Andy Martinez. It was as if I had never heard it before.

It was Sergeant Martinez's turn to take center stage. He flipped the big file open, and Wilson reached for my hand under the table. I clung to it, breathless.

“Winona Hidalgo was found murdered at the Stowaway Motel on August 5, 1993. At the time of her death she was nineteen years old. In fact, she had just turned nineteen on August the second, three days before.

“She was murdered?” I gasped. I don't know what I'd expected, but it hadn't been murder.

“We found paraphernalia at the scene, and blood work came back that supported drugs in her system, but her purse and her car were missing, and there were contusions to the back of her head. Apparently, Miss Hidalgo had won about five grand from the slots at a local truckstop a couple of days before, and at the time of her death, she had a nice little wad of cash on her. The money ended up getting her killed. From the tox screen, it looks like she was pretty strung out and going for round two. The dealer decided she was easy pickings and took her purse and pounded her head into the nightstand. There wasn't much evidence of a struggle, and we had no witnesses. But we were able to get a visual off a security camera on her car leaving the scene, with a decent look at the driver. The case was pretty cut and dried. Until we found out from extended family that there was a missing child. That's where the case hit a standstill. You had literally vanished into thin air.

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