It wasn’t a girl that I found on the other side of the door, however. My jaw dropped as I recognized my idolized brother standing calmly inside the door. “Nathan?” I asked incredulously. “I thought you said you were never coming back?”
He gave me a bear hug and said something about needing to talk to the guy down the street, which I ignored, but he didn’t answer my implied question, Why? Somehow I had the feeling that he wasn’t here to take me away to a better situation, although now would have been the perfect time!
“So, where are mom and,” I refused to say her name. He shrugged. Perfect. He was in a talkative mood today. “Do you want something to drink?” I asked, heading to kitchen, which would force him to follow me if he wanted to continue our conversation. I’ve never underestimated the guy, and today was quite definitely no exception. He was less than a step behind me when I got to the refrigerator. I opened it and started browsing the options, which definitely didn’t take long. “We have some strange fruit juice, water, and half a 2-liter of dnL. What do you want?” Propping the fridge door open on my foot, I stretched and managed to open the cup cabinet down to my right. When I’d gotten two cups out and turned around, I saw a smirk on Nathan’s face. He was waiting, so I asked “What?”
“Isn’t half a 2-liter a liter?” he asked.
I rolled my eyes. “I’m not sure if I’d recognize you without your astute observations, big brother.”
“Hey, li’l sis, how could you not recognize the only big brother you have?”
That reminded me of what I was intending to ask in the first place. “Nathan, you never came back for this little sister. Why would you come here for her?”
“It wasn’t for her,” he assured me quietly, meeting my wild eyes. “We need to have a talk.”
I think I said something intelligent like “Tell me something I don’t know,” or “That’s an understatement,” but I followed him to my room for a conversation that would change my life.
I take that back. It wasn’t the conversation I had with Nathan that changed my life, although I’m sure he wished he’d been the one to break it to me. I’m getting way ahead of myself, however. I had sat on my bed, and he had closed the door and turned toward me when there was a loud, persistent knock on the front door. I made a face at Nathan. “One of your friends?”
The way his expression entirely didn’t change at all told me that he wasn’t amused, but he had a rather good idea of who it was on the other side. “Stay here,” he told me, opening the door and heading down the stairs. Yeah right. That was totally happening. I didn’t attempt to disguise the fact that I was following him, and since the stairway is circular, I couldn’t have if I’d wanted to. He knew I was right behind him when he opened the front door to some man. I’d never seen him before, but I was certain by the end of the conversation that I never wanted to see him again. Of course, due to the nature of his job, my wish was impossible, but it was worth a try.
The man on the other side of the door seemed a bit taken back when he saw Nathan, but he quickly recovered and held out a badge. “My name is Roger Thompson, and I work for the county. I’m here to see Ms” he consulted his notepad, but before he found our mom’s last name, Nathan answered the unspoken question.
“She’s my mom. I’ll get her.”
He walked away, giving me a look that almost clearly said, “You wanted to come so badly, now you get to stay.” I resisted the urge to stick out my tongue at him. Sticking out my foot and tripping him would have worked too, but I was above that.
Apparently Roger Thompson Who Works For The County had never heard of waiting in silence, because after a moment of awkwardly shifting back and forth on the porch step, he started a conversation with me. “You must be the little sister? Jenny, was it?”
I made a split-second decision and said, “You can call me Miss Pierce.” From the raised-eyebrow expression, he plainly didn’t understand, but that didn’t bother me.
“Well then, if that’s how you want it. Have you seen your father lately?”
I noticed that he avoided calling me by name, congratulated myself, and hoped to get him to stop talking to me altogether. “What’s it to you?”
“Miss Pierce,” (One!) “if you hadn’t heard me, I work for the county.”
“And that is supposed to mean what, exactly?” I questioned. “I mean, I’ve volunteered at the library before, so technically, I’ve worked for the county too. Do you have to tell me where your dad is?”
“I’m sorry if this is difficult to talk about, ma’am, but I need answers.”
I wanted to mutter, “You’re not the only one, Loser,” but I figured that would only get me in trouble, so I confined myself to saying, “That’s why you came to talk to my mom. Unfortunately, my schedule is jam-packed, but if you give me a twenty-four hour notice, I should be able to cram a meeting with you in somewhere.”
Now he looked confused, although that wasn’t surprising because I’d pretty much decided that he was born with a confused look on his face. “Miss Pierce,” (Two!) “you don’t seem to be aware that your father is the subject of a statewide man-hunt.”
*NOTE: All characters and events portrayed in this story are purely fictitious. And resemblance to actual people or events is entirely coincidental.*
Next part next Friday! Title suggestions, names for various characters, or other questions, comments, or concerns can be left below, or you can e-mail me at the address on my contact page.
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