Gone for Good Page 39

Edna Rogers curled the smile some more, and it was like looking at a different person.

“She was a volunteer,” I said.

“Uh-huh. And what exactly was she volunteering to do for you, Will?”

I felt a shiver skitter down my back.

“Still want to judge me?” she asked.

“I think you should leave.”

“Can’t take the truth, is that it? You think I’m some kind of monster. That I gave up on my kid for no good reason.”

“It’s not my place to say.”

“Sheila was a miserable kid. She lied. She stole—”

“Maybe I’m beginning to understand,” I said.

“Understand what?”

“Why she ran away.”

She blinked and then glared at me. “You didn’t know her. You still don’t.”

“Didn’t you hear a thing that was said down there?”

“I heard.” Her voice grew softer. “But I never knew that Sheila. She’d never let me. The Sheila I knew—”

“In all due deference, I’m really not in the mood to hear you trash her any further.”

Edna Rogers stopped. She closed her eyes and sat on the edge of a bed. The room grew very still. “That’s not why I came here.”

“Why did you come?”

“I wanted to hear something good, for one thing.”

“You got that,” I said.

She nodded. “That I did.”

“What else do you want?”

Edna Rogers stood. She stepped toward me, and I fought off the desire to move away. She looked me straight in the eye. “I’m here about Carly.”

I waited. When she did not elaborate, I said, “You mentioned that name on the phone.”


“I didn’t know any Carly then, and I don’t know any now.”

She showed me the cruel, curled smile again. “You wouldn’t be lying to me, would you, Will?”

I felt a fresh shiver. “No.”

“Sheila never mentioned the name Carly?”


“You’re sure about that?”

“Yes. Who is she?”

“Carly is Sheila’s daughter.”

I was struck dumb. Edna Rogers saw my reaction. She seemed to enjoy it.

“Your lovely volunteer never mentioned that she had a daughter, did she?”

I said nothing.

“Carly is twelve years old now. And no, I don’t know who the father is. I don’t think Sheila did either.”

“I don’t understand,” I said.

She reached into her purse and took out a picture. She handed it to me. It was one of those newborn hospital shots. A baby wrapped in a blanket, new eyes blinking out, unseeing. I flipped it over. The handwriting said “Carly.” The date of birth was written under it.

My head began to spin.

“The last time Sheila called me was on Carly’s ninth birthday,” she said. “And I spoke to her myself. Carly, that is.”

“So where is she now?”

“I don’t know,” Edna Rogers said. “That’s why I’m here, Will. I want to find my granddaughter.”


When I stumbled back home, Katy Miller was sitting by my apartment door, her knapsack between her splayed legs.

She scrambled to her feet. “I called but . . .”

I nodded.

“My parents,” Katy told me. “I just can’t stay in that house another day. I thought maybe I could crash on your couch.”

“It’s not a good time,” I said.


I put the key in the door.

“It’s just that I’ve been trying to put it together, you know. Like we said. Who could have killed Julie. And I started wondering. How much do you know about Julie’s life after you two broke up?”

We both stepped inside the apartment. “I don’t know if now is a good time.”

She finally saw my face. “Why? What happened?”

“Someone very close to me died.”

“You mean your mother?”

I shook my head. “Someone else close to me. She was murdered.”

Katy gasped and dropped the knapsack. “How close?”


“A girlfriend?”


“Someone you loved?”

“Very much.”

She looked at me.

“What?” I said.

“I don’t know, Will. It’s like someone murders the women you love.”

The same thought I’d earlier pushed away. Vocalized, it sounded even more ridiculous. “Julie and I broke up more than a year before her murder.”

“So you were over her?”

I did not want to travel that route again. I said, “What about Julie’s life after we broke up?”

Katy fell onto the couch the way teenagers do, as if she had no bones. Her right leg was draped over the arm, her head back with the chin tilted up. She wore ripped jeans again and another top that was so tight it looked like the bra was on the outside. Her hair was tied back in a ponytail. A few of the strands fell loose and onto her face.

“I started thinking,” she said, “if Ken didn’t kill her, someone else did, right?”


“So I started looking into her life at the time. You know, calling old friends, trying to remember what was going on with her, that kind of thing.”

“And what did you find?”

“That she was pretty messed up.”

I tried to focus on what she was saying. “How so?”

She dropped both legs to the floor and sat up. “What do you remember?”

“She was a senior at Haverton.”



“Julie dropped out.”

That surprised me. “You’re sure?”

“Senior year,” she said. Then she asked, “When did you last see her, Will?”

I thought about it. It had indeed been a while. I told her so.

“So when you broke up?”

I shook my head. “She ended it on the phone.”

“For real?”


“Cold,” Katy said. “And you just accepted that?”

“I tried to see her. But she wouldn’t let me.”

Katy looked at me as though I’d just spouted the lamest excuse in the history of mankind. Looking back on it, I guess maybe she was right. Why hadn’t I gone to Haverton? Why hadn’t I demanded to meet face-to-face?

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