I shrugged, not quite knowing how to answer that. How I was holding up wasn’t much of her business. Also, I wasn’t holding up as well as I wanted to, especially when tears burned behind my eyes at the mere mention of Blake. “Well, it was great seeing you. We’re late for a meeting, though.” Alli glanced at her oversize watch and hooked her arm in mine, coaxing me away.
“Um, Erica. I was hoping we could catch up sometime.” Risa set her bag down to look through her purse. She retrieved a business card, confirming that she too was employed at the same firm that had hired Liz right out of school.
With Liz among us, I didn’t know what to say. Polite convention told me to say sure, but I had no desire to speak to Risa. She was incredibly far outside the circle of trust, and there was no way in hell I was letting her back in.
Alli plucked the card from her hand. “Cool. We’ll see you two around then. Have to run!”
We hurried down the street to our pretend meeting.
“Sorry, I went deer in headlights for a minute. Thanks for rescuing me,” I said as we approached the office.
“Not a problem. I was rescuing the both of us. I have nothing to say to that woman after what she did to you. I don’t imagine you do either.”
“Nothing good anyway.” I slid her card into my jeans and tried to ignore the fact that she now worked a few blocks away, and it was only a matter of time before our paths crossed again.
Clay drove me to Marie’s again that night. When I walked through her front door, my gaze immediately landed on the figure sitting on the couch across from my dear friend. Daniel stood and walked slowly toward me.
“Is everything okay?” I asked.
“Here.” He withdrew a piece of paper from his pocket and handed it to me.
“What’s this?” I asked as I unfolded it.
“That’s where you’ll find him.”
“Trevor?” Relief washed over me, along with a potent rush of adrenaline. Could it be possible that Daniel had really found him?
“He’s holed up in an apartment in Roxbury above a convenience store. It’s a rough area, so proceed with caution.”
“How did you find him?”
“The same way you did. Through his mother.”
“She just told you?”
His lips thinned into a grim line. “No. Not exactly.”
I felt the blood drain from my face. Oh, God. What had he done?
“Everyone has a price . . . Hers was much lower than I would have expected.”
“Do I want to know what you really mean by that?”
He cracked a smile. “If the little prick hadn’t cost me the governor’s seat, I might take pity on him. A few grand and couple bottles of Vicodin was all it took. Seems like he was neglecting her habits, so she wasn’t feeling too maternal when my friends came to chat with her.”
Sadly, nothing about that scenario surprised me. The woman had looked like a train wreck the first and only time I’d seen her. Like Daniel, if Trevor hadn’t single-handedly threatened to ruin everything I held dear, I might feel sorry for him, knowing that was the woman who’d raised him.
“How do you know he’s really there?”
“I had someone watch his apartment to make sure he was there. Short kid, black hair?”
“Yeah, that’s him.”
“We hung around long enough to make sure the address was legit, but I didn’t want him to get spooked and disappear again. I figured I’d let you take it from there.”
The paper shook in my trembling hands. Before I could think better of it, I threw my arms around Daniel and buried my face against his shoulder, stifling the tears that wanted to burst free—tears of overwhelming relief. His arms came around me. His chest expanded with a deep breath before he tightened his embrace the smallest amount.
“Thank you so much,” I whispered.
We broke apart, and he avoided my eyes.
“I better go,” he said quietly. He glanced back at Marie with a nod.
“Bye, Daniel,” she said.
Then he left, down to the street to where Connor was waiting for him by the black Lincoln that used to fill me with dread every time I saw it.
See you around, I thought to myself. But I wasn’t sure if I would. I’d promised him he’d never seen me again. Is that what he really wanted? Is that what I wanted?
I knew the answer, but I didn’t have time to dwell on it. Not now, when we were so close to ending this.
As soon as Daniel’s car disappeared down the street and I got my emotions under control, I dialed the number that had anonymously texted me a few days before, hoping to hear Detective Carmody’s voice on the other end.