Heart of the Raven(4)

By: Susan Crosby


“Yes. It’s a cell.”

“I take it you’ve tried to reach her.”

“It’s turned off.”

“Okay.” She wrote down the number and gave him back the card. “Friends she’s talked about?”

“Someone named Megan. A guy named Jay.”

“In what context did she discuss them?”

“They were people she went out with after work and on the weekends.”

“You don’t think this Jay could be a boyfriend?”

“Didn’t sound like it.” Heath liked the way she fired questions, hardly waiting for his answer. Thinking one step ahead.

“You mentioned parents ‘back east.’ She never said their names?”

“No.”

“Any mention of siblings?”

“A sister, Tricia. Older. She has three children. Eva called her for pregnancy advice. Said she couldn’t talk to anyone else.”

“Is she local?”

“I have no idea.”

She contemplated him in silence.

“I know I should know more about the woman who is carrying my baby,” he said apologetically and with disgust, too. “It isn’t as if I didn’t ask her questions and want to know more about her. She just wasn’t forthcoming.”

“She kept secrets.”

The way Cassie stated it instead of asking it brought his worries to the forefront, too. He’d already realized he couldn’t trust Eva, but he hadn’t known whether to be afraid for her or angry at her.

“In some ways she was open,” he said. She was a distraction when he’d needed it. Or so he’d thought. Turned out he was wrong, but that didn’t relieve him of his responsibilities. “It was like she wanted to keep herself mysterious, like it would keep me more interested.”

“Would it?”

He considered the possibility. “Maybe. To a point. Intrigue boosts adrenaline and interest, but it had gotten tired.”

“Yeah. The rush is great—for a while. How about education?” Cassie asked.

“Currently attending business school. The firm was paying for a paralegal course. She was allowed to attend classes during work hours.” He passed her a piece of paper. “Make and model of the car she drives, and the license plate.”

“Outstanding. Who is her obstetrician?”

Heath handed her a second Rolodex card, which also listed the hospital where the baby was to be born.

“Did you take Lamaze classes? Do you plan on being there for the birth?”

“No and no.”

“Did you go to her doctor’s appointments with her?”

“No.” He almost had, once, when she was to have an ultrasound. He changed his mind at his front door.

Cassie capped the pen and bounced it against her palm as she eyed him. “You said you don’t get out much.”

“Right.”

“Do you get out at all, Mr. Raven?”

“Heath. And, no.”

“For how long?”

“Three years.”

He let her do the math. He hadn’t stepped foot out of his house since his son died.

“You don’t open the blinds, either.”

“No.”

She didn’t ask why, but if she had, he wouldn’t have answered. It wasn’t any of her business.

“Okay,” she said, slipping the pen into her notebook. “I’ve got enough to get started, except I need a photo, if you’ve got one.”

He handed her a file folder.

“Young,” Cassie said when she saw the photo inside.

“Twenty-three. I’m thirty-nine. I figure you’re wondering. Yeah, she was young.” And they didn’t have much in common. “There’s a picture of the baby.”

She turned the page. He’d made a copy of the ultrasound taken months ago.

She turned the picture sideways, then upside down. “I’ve never seen one of these before.”

He outlined the body parts. “Head. Nose. Chin. Arms. Fingers. Legs.”

Cassie smiled. “If you say so. Do you know the sex?”

He tapped the page. “Legs are crossed.”

“Or there’s nothing to see. Could be a little girl.”

“Could be.”

She closed her notebook. He handed her an envelope with a check for the retainer she’d told him on the phone that ARC would require. They walked downstairs in silence.

At the front door she stopped. “Are you in love with her?”

Like he believed in love anymore? “No.”

“Yet you would’ve married her.”

He’d already said as much. He felt no need to explain himself.

“There’s something I need you to do,” Cassie said, her tone businesslike but her eyes gentle. “The investigation may take a turn or reach a point where you will have to leave the house, maybe to go with me somewhere or even to go alone if Eva calls and needs you. You need to get your mind in a place where you can do that.”

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