Vision in Silver Page 51

When Tess was ready to talk, she’d let him know. He just hoped she didn’t kill anyone before then.

CHAPTER 21

Watersday, Maius 12

Nathan didn’t like the police station. Too many walls, too many people, too much noise. He didn’t like the way some of the men watched him as he walked by with the Lizzy and Lieutenant Montgomery. Hard not to snarl a warning for them to keep their distance.

Hard not to notice the way some of the men looked at Kowalski—as if he no longer belonged to the same pack.

Then he caught the scent of Captain Burke before the men realized the captain was there. And he wondered how Burke would settle this potential conflict within the police pack.

“Mr. Wolfgard,” Captain Burke said. “Thank you for coming in with Lizzy and Lieutenant Montgomery. If you would follow me?”

Burke led them to a small room.

Someone had been sick in here not that long ago. Should he tell Captain Burke that the humans hadn’t cleaned up all the sick? The room held the stinging scent of cleansers, so maybe humans thought the room was clean and couldn’t smell what was still there.

He hoped the Lizzy didn’t take a long time to tell her story. He did not want to stay in that room.

He tried to look as if he wasn’t paying much attention. After all, his job was to guard the Lakeside Courtyard, not fuss about something that had happened in Toland, so why would he be interested in such things?

Easier to pretend he wasn’t interested when he was in Wolf form. The deliverymen who came to the Liaison’s Office talked to Meg. It didn’t occur to them that the Wolf who looked like he’d lost interest as soon as he recognized them still listened to everything they said.

He had a feeling police weren’t as easy to fool as deliverymen. Especially someone like Burke.

After assuring Lizzy that Boo Bear was getting the best care and still needed to stay at the station and help the police, Captain Burke turned on a tape recorder. Then he just wiggled his pen and stared at the paper in front of him.

What was Burke waiting for? How long was he going to wait? They didn’t need to sneak up on the answers like some kind of skittish prey. The Lizzy had the answers. They just needed to ask the damn questions so they could all get out of this room!

“Why now?” Nathan asked. He ignored the sharp looks from Burke and Montgomery and focused on the Lizzy. “Why did your mother want you to come to Lakeside now?”

Lizzy fiddled with a button on her shirt. “Mommy and Mr. Scratch had a fight because Mr. Scratch went to a sleepover at a lady’s house, and Mommy didn’t like that. She yelled at him, and he slapped her face. Then he packed his suitcase and left. Then Mommy called Grandma Borden and cried, and when she hung up, she cried some more. Then Boo Bear’s stitches broke because Uncle Leo didn’t do it right the last time we played doctor, and I tried to fix Boo Bear with the sticky bandages, and then Mommy looked at Boo Bear and found the secret.”

Nathan studied the two men. At the word doctor, they had stiffened as if they’d scented danger, which made no sense since a word didn’t have a smell.

“Did your mommy call anyone?” Captain Burke asked.

Lizzy shook her head. “She said we had to keep the secret until we could talk to Daddy.”

“Do you remember what day that was? Did you go for the train ride the next day?”

“No. We went to the bank and got money. And Mommy packed a suitcase for each of us. And when Uncle Leo came over, she told me to stay in my room because our trip to see Daddy was a big secret, and Boo Bear might blab.”

Nathan considered this additional information. He didn’t understand why play would be bad. Play was how the young learned skills. Maybe playing with the Uncle Leo was the bad part, that the male was a danger? Since the mother was so concerned about the Lizzy talking to the Uncle Leo, it sounded like human young didn’t know enough to stay quiet and hidden when a predator came sniffing around the den. Didn’t seem fair to blame Boo Bear, though, since he wouldn’t have blabbed to anyone.

“Then what happened?” Captain Burke asked.

“As soon as it was dark, Mommy and I went to a hotel for a girls’ night out. We painted our toenails and watched TV and ate dinner in our room. And she didn’t make her mad face when I didn’t eat all my vegetables.” Lizzy kept fiddling with the button.

“Lizzy?” Montgomery said quietly.

“Mommy kept saying that the train ride had to be a secret from everyone, even Grandma Borden and Uncle Leo.” The look she gave Nathan made him want to whine in sympathy. “I didn’t tell the secret when Uncle Leo called. But . . . maybe I said I knew a secret.”

“When was this?” Captain Burke asked. “Do you remember?”

“In the morning,” Lizzy replied. “Mommy was in the bathroom. That’s why I answered the phone.”

“Did Mommy tell you not to answer it?” Montgomery asked.

She turned to him. “But it was the phone, Daddy. And it kept ringing and ringing.”

Montgomery nodded. “What did Uncle Leo say?”

“He asked what we were doing at a hotel, and I told him we were having a girls’ night out, and he said we’d packed a lot of stuff for one night and were we going somewhere? And I said I couldn’t tell him because it was a secret. Then Mommy came running out of the bathroom and hung up the phone and said we had to leave right now. I told her I didn’t brush my teeth yet and Boo Bear needed to make poop, but she said right now meant right now and Boo Bear would have to wait until we got to the train station because I had blabbed to Uncle Leo after she’d told me not to answer the phone.” Tears filled Lizzy’s eyes. She sniffled.

“You made a mistake, Lizzy girl,” Montgomery said. “But the man at the desk would have told Uncle Leo that you and Mommy were staying at the hotel. That’s why he called your room. So the man at the desk made a mistake too.”

Burke quietly cleared his throat. “Then you went to the train station?”

Lizzy nodded. “Mommy bought two tickets. Then we went to another window, and she said I could be a big girl and buy the tickets for Lakeside. She stood right behind me, and the man smiled and winked at her, and then I gave him the money and he gave me tickets, and Mommy told me to put the tickets and the extra money in the special zip pocket inside my summer coat. Then she said we were going to pretend we were being chased, like in a movie. Boo Bear and I had the secret that we had to bring to Daddy, and she would be the decoy. If she could, she would get on the train with me. If the bad men were already looking for us, she would lead them away and catch the train to Hubb’s Knees, and then call Daddy.”

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