the church murder case (part twenty-one)

This story started here.

"Were you scared, Ron?" I asked as Jan changed for dinner. Because Ron was there, Jan was changing in the bathroom.

Ron shrugged, not looking at me.

"Well, I was," I said. "When he was waving that gun around, and I didn't know where you were, I was really scared. I didn't know..."

I stopped, because her tears had started to come. I was sitting on the edge of the bed, so I could have my eyes on her level, and I took her into my arms and held her, her tears pouring down my cheek, her hands clutching at the back of my jacket.

She tried to say a couple of things at different times, but she was gasping and crying too hard, her face blotchy and swollen, and I just held her and stroked her hair (making a mental note to insist that she had to have a shower and a shampoo before going to bed; and reflecting that, as her father, I should really have some idea where she did sleep).

Jan came in while Ron was crying, and she went and sat quietly in her desk chair. She just watched; she didn't even light a cigarette.

I did get some impressions from the few words Ron managed to get out in between her sobs, mostly about how much better we were than her birth parents. I never did press her for details, though as she grew older we did learn quite a bit more. We even met her birth parents eventually, though that was much later.

But, as I say, we never pressured her. Even the great detective realized that this was not a mystery that demanded investigation. Some things just require patience, and a willingness to listen.

I also got the idea that Ron was half expecting to find out at some point that we were kidding about her being our daughter. Given that, doing the laundry and shopping for clothes and insisting that we had to know where she slept might help convince her that we were serious.


The next morning, we got the autopsy report. It said that Toledo had died of a heart attack. There was no evidence of foul play. We knew that Father Frank would want to know this, so when Ron went to help clean off the church. we went with her, stopping for lunch on the way.

The End

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About Anthony Lee Collins

I write.
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