A Different Blue Page 62

“Your history lessons seemed to find their way into my carvings more often than not.”

“How many? How many carvings were inspired by my history class?”

“Counting 'The Arc?'” I counted them in my head. “Ten. Tiffa bought a couple of them the first time she came to the cafe.”

Tiffa and Wilson seemed stunned, and the car was quiet for the first time since we'd set out. I fidgeted uncomfortably, not sure what the silence meant.

“Blue!” I should have known Tiffa would find her tongue first. “Blue, I have to see all of them. We should do something big, a big display with all of the pieces together. It would be brilliant!”

My cheeks flushed and I looked down at my hands, not wanting to get excited over something that hadn't even happened. “Some of them I sold at the cafe, but you are welcome to see the rest.”

“Darcy can die a happy man now,” Tiffa added after a moment. “His teaching has inspired art.” She leaned up and hoisted herself over the seat and kissed Wilson's cheek with a loud smack of her lips.

“Actually. For once, Tiffa is absolutely right. That might be the best compliment anyone has ever paid me.” Wilson smiled at me. Warmth pooled inside me, and the baby kicked in response.

“I saw that! The baby kicked!” Tiffa was still hanging over the front seat and she laid her hands against my belly, a look of intense rapture on her face. The baby rolled and nudged a few more times, inducing squeals of delight from Tiffa.

For the rest of the ride we talked, listened to music – I introduced them to Willie Nelson – and took turns driving and dozing off. But I couldn't get the image of a young Darcy Wilson out of my head, plodding over Irish hills in search of a saint who had lived many hundreds of years before. It was easy to see how a boy like that could go to Africa for two years or shun a medical profession for something simpler and less glamorous. It was harder to see how a boy like that, so inspired by a saint, could be attracted to a sinner like me.

Chapter Twenty

The process was incredibly easy. I met with a Detective Moody, who had been the responding officer on the case more than eighteen years before. He was bald, whether by choice or necessity, I wasn't sure. He was in his early forties, but tired looking, like he had a long life so far. He looked fit and slim in khakis, a dress shirt, and a shoulder holster that he seemed as comfortable with as everything else he wore.

“I can't give you details of the case. Not yet. You understand that if you aren't this woman's child, you have no right to the information. Not to her name, to her child's name, to the details of her death, nothing . . . do you understand?” Detective Moody was apologetic but firm. “But if you are who we think you are, when we get that DNA confirmation back, we'll give you everything we have. I have to say, I hope to hell that you are that little girl. It's bothered me for a lotta years, I can tell you that. It would be a happy ending to a very sad case.” Detective Moody smiled at me, his brown eyes sober and sincere.

I was sent to the lab, and I was given a big Q-tip and told to rub it against the inside of my cheek. And that was it. Eight hours in the car for a buccal swab. Detective Moody told me he would put a rush on it, and he hoped to have it back in three or four months.

“It all depends on whose goose is being cooked in these things. There are priority cases, though. And this rates pretty high up there. It'd be pretty exciting for us to see resolution on this. And we want that for you too.”

Resolution. Redemption. My life had began to circle around these reoccurring themes. Now we could add Reno. That was a new one. Another 'R' to add to the list.

We stayed the night in Reno, Tiffa and I in one room, Wilson in another. Tiffa had put her arms around me as we left the police station and had kept me close through dinner, occasionally rubbing my back or patting my hand, as if for once she had no words. None of us did. The whole thing was stranger than fiction, and the ramifications affected not only me, but my unborn child and the woman who wanted to be her mother. It wasn't until we lay in the darkened room, the long day put to bed, the sounds of the Reno night shut out by heavy curtains and thick carpeting, that I faced the fears that had clawed for recognition since talking to Detective Bowles on Monday.

“Tiffa?” I spoke up softly.

“Hmm?” Her voice was drowsy, as if I had caught her just before she dropped off into sleep.

“What if she was a monster . . . a terrible person?”

“What?” Tiffa was slightly more awake now, as if sensing my turmoil.

“Can that be passed on? Does it hide in our genes?”

“Luv. You'll have to forgive me. I don't have a clue what you're talking about.” Tiffa sat up and reached for the lamp.

“No! Please leave it off. It's easier to talk in the dark,” I pleaded needing the buffer of a shadowy room between us.

Tiffa dropped her hand but stayed upright. I could feel that she was looking at me, letting her eyes adjust in the dark. I stayed turned on my side, looking at the wall, the weight of my stomach supported by the thick mattress.

“You are going to adopt this baby. You say you don't care if it's a girl or a boy. You don't care if the baby is brown-skinned or light. And I believe you. But what if the baby is . . . the offspring of a weak, selfish, evil person?”

“You are none of those things.”

I thought for a moment. “Not all the time. But sometimes I'm weak. Sometimes I'm selfish. I don't think I'm evil . . . but I'm not necessarily good, either.”

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