Sarah pulled out her book as Barbara dressed. She spread it open on her bed and moved her finger over the words. Ambrose’s warm voice spoke in her ears of prima donnas and dizzy-headed ballerinas and a mysterious phantom.
She stopped in mid-word and closed the book.
Sarah stroked the front cover.
Ambrose was going to read the rest of the book to her. She wasn’t sure when or how, but he was going to do it.
She would make sure of it.
“Okay!” Barbara came over to her. “Let’s have breakfast.”
There’s no putting it off any further.
Barbara stirred the melted butter and beaten eggs over and over in the pan.
I will have to talk to Dad and Jeff today about Sarah. And I guess I’ll have to talk to Sarah about it too.
The eggs fluffed up as she continued to stir them.
I wonder if we can keep her without legally adopting her.
That sounds way too much like stealing. Plus, I don’t know anything about her parents. They might still be out there, looking for her. I should make an honest effort to find them. But how do I go about that?
It’s not like Sarah is a lost dog. I can’t just put up a Found Little Girl ad in the classifieds. That just seems gross somehow. Not to mention, it might attract the wrong kind of responders.
I could call the police. That seems to be a sensible starting point.
Barbara shut off the stove and plated her food. She carried her plate to the table.
Sarah sat on the other side of the table. She was reading her book while devouring a full bowl of Oatliest Oatly O’s cereal. Her dingy blonde hair hung over her small shoulders. She looked so serious and intent on what she was reading it made Barbara smile.
Someone must have filed a missing child report on her. Why wouldn’t they?
Carthage woke to a pounding pulse headache. His mouth was all dried out and tasted like a week’s worth of stale, cold coffee. He rubbed his eyes and groaned, “I want to just diiiie…”
He flopped his hands back on the mattress and lay there, trying his best to look dead. But his headache was too relentless for him to be dead for long.
“I swear I will never drink coffee again. Not even decaf.” He groaned again which didn’t help his headache any, but it somehow made him feel better. He opened his eyes.
I need to find her, but how to go about it? How?
I could wander all over town and just miss seeing her.
I could stake out Sammy’s Place, but there’s no guarantee that she’ll be there today.
He wobbled up into a sit.
I could call the police.
And tell them what?
Tell them the truth. My daughter is missing. She was last seen at—
He smiled as the whole spiel played through his head. “Yes. And best of all. It is all the truth. Every word of it.”