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.“Do call me if you need anything tonight,” he said.“My cell number is on there.Otherwise, we’d like you to come to my office in the morning, and we can start working through the things we need to get through.”“I’ve already been talking to someone,” I said.“You’ve what?” Abby asked.I looked around.Rosenbaum and Ryan were both studying me, waiting for an answer.“I took your advice, Ryan,” I said.“I called one of those people from Volunteer Victim Services.We met once and talked about Caitlin and the case.”“Who did you talk to?” Ryan asked.“Susan Goff.”Rosenbaum spoke up.“I think it’s best if we talk to Caitlin in a formalized, professional setting.My experience tells me that’s most effective.” He still held the business card in the air between us.“Is that okay with you?”I took the card and handed it over to Abby.“Ryan,” I said, “you referred to her as a victim of a crime.Does that mean everyone’s certain she didn’t run away?”“It’s obvious a crime was committed somewhere along the line.Now it’s up to me to find out what it was.” Ryan jiggled the loose change in his pockets.“And for what it’s worth, I know Susan Goff.She does excellent work for us through Volunteer Victim Services.She’s good people.”“But still,” Rosenbaum said.“I’d like to see Caitlin.”“Of course, of course,” Ryan said.“See Dr.Rosenbaum first thing tomorrow.”Ryan turned to go, and Rosenbaum followed him, leaving Abby and me to sit there and wait for Caitlin to be released to us.Chapter Twenty-threeWe drove home in awkward silence.Caitlin rode in the back, just like in her childhood, except now she stared out the window, her face blank and indifferent.She didn’t ask questions or comment on the passing scenery.She didn’t try to convince us to change the radio or CD to something she liked, so I asked her if she wanted to listen to something.“I’m fine,” she said.I didn’t know what else to say, and apparently neither did Abby.Caitlin broke the silence for us.“Where are you going to drop me off?” she asked.“Drop you off?”“You can do that anywhere,” she said.I tried to talk to her with one eye on the road and one eye on her profile in the rearview mirror.“We talked about this at the hospital, remember?”She ignored me.“We’re going home,” I said.“To the house you used to live in.”Nothing.“Your room is just the way you left it,” Abby said.But that was it.Caitlin didn’t speak again the rest of the way home, not even when we turned down our street and saw the news van from the local TV station parked at the end of our driveway.A police department spokesperson had met with us at the hospital, and we gave our approval toa fairly standard statement, one that said we were happy to be home, thankful to have our daughter back, and eager for privacy.When I hit the turn signal and angled toward our driveway, the cameraman moved out of our way but kept his lens trained on the car.I took a quick look at Caitlin in the rearview.She seemed not to notice.The reporter and cameraman didn’t follow us farther onto the property, so we were able to pull to the end of the driveway and the back of the house.Abby and I climbed out, but Caitlin stayed in the car.Abby shrugged and pulled open Caitlin’s door.“Are you ready to go in?” Abby asked.“Do you need a minute?”Caitlin looked up, her lips slightly puckered.“This is where you’re taking me?”“This is home,” Abby said.“Remember it? Here’s the yard and the back door.We left the front porch light on every night since you were gone.Every night.And the key was right there so you could come in if you wanted.”“Really?” Caitlin said.“Really,” Abby said.“We were waiting for you.”Caitlin nodded a little, then stepped out of the car.I hustled with the keys and undid the back lock, opening the door ahead of them and stepping aside.“It’s all pretty much the same as when you were last here,” I said.Inside, Abby and I followed behind Caitlin as she went from room to room on the first floor, looking around and taking in the sights with the passivity of an unmotivated home buyer.She took a quick glance out the front window where the news van was still parked.The cameraman appeared to be putting his gear away, and the reporter, a young blond woman who I recognized from the news but whose name I couldn’t remember, was talking on a cell phone as she smoked a cigarette.“Where’s Frosty?” Caitlin asked.“Oh,” Abby said.“Oh, honey.”“Is he dead?” Caitlin asked.“Honey, when you.went away, we thought.We put him to sleep.He was old.”“He’d only be nine,” Caitlin said.“He wasn’t put to sleep,” I said.They both turned to look at me.“I took him to the pound, and someone else adopted him.” I looked at Abby.“I checked.In fact, if you want, I can try to find out who adopted him and we can try to get him back.Under the circumstances, I would think—”Caitlin turned away, but I went on.“We know you loved Frosty.And he was crazy about you.When you left, he used to sit by the door and cry.Didn’t he, Abby?”“He did,” she said.“He was so sad not to see you.”“You didn’t like Frosty, did you?” Caitlin asked.She turned and directed the question at Abby.“I liked him,” Abby said.“You didn’t like me to walk him.You thought I was getting away from you.”“No, honey.I worried about you, of course.That’s what moms do.”“We can get another dog,” I said.“Or we can try to get Frosty back.”Caitlin turned away and shrugged a little.“Whatever,” she said.“Just don’t say everything’s the same, because it isn’t.That’s bullshit.”Abby jumped a little but kept her cool.“Your room is the same,” Abby said, staying on message.“Maybe we need to update it a little.And clothes.The clothes you have here wouldn’t fit anymore, I guess [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]