Duncan helped Veronica with her bags and took her to a very off-the-beaten path location. They caught up on a lot of stuff, particularly how his daughter Lilly was doing. He said she was nearly 10 years old now and is really smart. He warned Veronica that she looks a lot like his sister Lilly that it’s a little daunting somehow. She also had so much energy and intensity like his sister had.
The house was definitely nowhere near any other residents and very cozy. As they walked into the house they walked by Lilly’s bedroom to find Lilly listening to Jimmy Eat World and dancing around the room without a care in the world.
“Lil! Hey you!!” Duncan yelled over the music and she ran to turn the music down. She bounced back over to the door where they were standing, “this is V, you remember me telling you about her.”
“Hi!” she waved with a big smile and Veronica lost her breath for a moment, she could have been Lilly’s little sister she looked so much like her. She had huge curious eyes and long blond hair.
“Hi,” Veronica said but then Duncan took her to the guest room and put her bags down, “you weren’t kidding that she looked just like Lilly.”
“Yeah I almost regret giving her the same name now, it’s freaky at times. Mostly she goes by her middle name Eva, it helps since we want to stay off the radar,” he admitted and then showed her where the bathroom and towels were.
They went out to the back porch that looked over the ocean. The location was by a cove that kept the area hidden but the area was so gorgeous she could hardly believe it. There was a boat down by the shore. Veronica sat in one of the chairs and Duncan came out with a drink for each of them.
“This is amazing Duncan, what a place,” she said taking the sights in.
“Yeah, I wanted to make sure we were off the radar. She has a tutor but I want to start sending her to school but I have to make sure she’s protected,” he said taking a sip while looking out over the ocean.
“Ok but why did I need to come all the way out here to do this? I could have done it from my computer,” she said looking over at him and he looked at her.
“It gets lonely here, we’re so isolated, I want to do this right and also...I wanted to see you,” he said looking down.
“Oh wow, ok, I don’t know what to say,” she said feeling an awkward moment coming on.
“No, not like that, as a friend, I know that’s not an option given my circumstances, not that I don’t think about it,” he said as the tension filled between them. She missed the ease she had with him and the simplicity. It was never really complicated with them...well except for that whole thinking they were siblings thing. But when it came to just moments together it was so easy.
“I got the feeling this was urgent, what else is going on?”
“Well, I have had the feeling that when we are out someone has been following us but I can’t say for sure, I don’t have the paranoia you have,” he smiled and took a sip.
“My paranoia is a skill I’ve worked on for many years, it doesn’t come easily,” she smirked.
“I’ll be back, I have some work to do,” he said touching her shoulder briefly and heading back into the house.
About ten minutes later Eva came out and sat down next to Veronica. She was wearing short cotton shorts and a tank top with no shoes on. Veronica couldn’t help but wonder how much she new about her namesake.
“So you’re going to try to help me get out of this house,” Eva asked putting her feet up on the table across from her and crossing her feet.
“I’m going to do the best that I can,” she had no idea how much or how little she knew, she had to be careful.
“You used to date my dad right?” she asked out of nowhere.
“Yeah, a very long time ago,” she admitted carefully.
“I think he still loves you,” she said nonchalantly as if she was talking about what kind of ice cream he likes.
“We still care about each other a lot, we were very close when we were younger.”
“Were you friends with my mom?” she asked trying to seem like she didn’t care.
“I was, she was one of the sweetest people I’ve ever known,” Veronica wanted to give her something but didn’t want to get too specific.
“I just need some friends, you know? I watch tv and see all these great lives and I’m stuck here. I hate it,” she said sounding like a normal kid in an abnormal situation.
“I’m going to do my best,” Veronica told her.
“I used to think this was how everyone lives but now I can tell that’s not true,” she said sadly getting up and going down to the water to put her feet in.
Veronica went to find Duncan and he was sitting by the computer in deep thought.
“We really need to find you guys a better option than this, Eva needs more stimulation and so do you I think,” she said leaning against his desk.
“Yeah, I knew this couldn’t last forever. She’s growing up so fast and even though i want to protect her I can’t hide her away for her entire life, that will destroy her.”
“I’m going to look into some options and come up with the best one for you guys but you will have to be willing to adjust everything, it’s not going to be easy ok?”
“Ok, thanks so much for coming, sometimes I feel like I’m losing my mind out here.”
“Can’t say I blame you...”
As Veronica went to sleep that night she checked her phone and saw she had a couple texts. She had one from her dad telling her to be careful, as he always did when she went abroad on her own and one from Mac telling her she’d check in Logan for her. Then there was also a text from Logan that said:
I’m here if you need me, I’m always here.
Back in Neptune Logan was getting dressed for work when he found an envelope over by the window sill with his name on it. He opened the envelope to find the engagement ring he’d given Veronica so many years before. It still looked as shiny as the day he gave it to her. He felt a pang of what this meant but then noticed a small note in the envelope.
I’ve kept this with me since you gave it to me, it meant more to me than you’ll ever know. I want you to hold onto this for me while I’m away so it isn’t lost. Try not to worry, I’ll be back as soon as I can.
He took the ring in his pocket and headed to work with a gleam in his eyes and a bit of worry in the back of his mind.
The next morning Veronica was up early heading out to some of the locations that Duncan had felt someone was following him. She brought her computer to a local coffee shop to research some stuff for Duncan and at the same time she kept an eye out for what was going on around her.
After a few hours she noticed a car parked across the street but the person didn’t get out. It was a black SUV with tinted windows. Veronica packed up her stuff and casually headed to her car. As she opened the car door she paused after she put her bag inside and the car across the street turned on and drove away. She got in her car and tried to follow it. After about 20 minutes of driving she found the car parked at a nearby hotel. She went over and put a tracking device on the car and went inside the hotel’s lobby to see if she saw anything suspicious.
After several hours she decided to head back as it was getting late. At Duncan’s house he and Eva were playing a Wii tennis game, they were laughing and jumped around. She was so glad that even in these circumstances they were happy, as happy as they could be trapped all by themselves.
Veronica took him aside as Eva continued to play the game.
“I think I found the car that has been following you. I found the car later parked at a nearby hotel and I put a tracking device on it,” she said opening up her computer and showing him the tracking program that showed a map and that it was still in the parking lot.
“Thanks, you make it look so easy,” he touched her hand and she paused feeling it was more than just a casual friend thing.
“No problem, so when are you going to feed me? I’m famished,” she said rubbing her belly.
Later that night she went onto her computer to get more work done, she was sitting at the desk overlooking the ocean in the guest room. She decided to take a peak on Facebook to see how Logan was doing and there was a recent picture of him and Lucy together he took with his cell phone. His most recent status update said:
There is no replacing you...not even with this blow up doll.
Veronica laughed and then noticed that Duncan had come in the room.
“I try to keep up with Logan when I can, his Facebook is set to private and my fake account on there he won’t accept. Not that I blame him, I wouldn’t trust some random person either,” he said bending down next to her.
“He’s a great father you know? It’s amazing,” she said smiling to herself.
“I’m not surprised at all, when he loves someone he loves them with everything he has,” Duncan said standing back up and then sitting across from her on the deep window sill.
“You know...me neither, deep down I knew he had a lot to offer a child,” she closed Facebook and turned to Dunan.
“I really appreciate you being here, you have no idea what it’s meant to me and Eva,” he said getting up and heading out of the room.
“I’m glad to help, really,” she said and then went to bed.
The next morning she was having french toast in the breakfast room with Eva as the sun poured through the window. The tutor was going to show up in about a ½ hour and Veronica was waiting for the SUV to go somewhere.
Just as Veronica was putting the dishes in the sink the tutor walked in.
“Hi, I’m Beth, you must be V,” she said shaking Veronica’s hand, “Do you have a full name or anything?”
“I like to be mysterious, it keeps the guys guessing,” she said as Beth sat down at the table and took out some books.
“You a friend of Mr. Wade,” Beth asked and Veronica had to remind herself that he’d changed his last name.
“Yeah, from a long time ago,” she said heading off to take a shower and get dressed. Just as she was about to turn the shower on she realized she’d forgotten her cell phone, she felt completely panicked without it. She ran back into the breakfast room and found Beth putting Veronica’s bag back down on the table with a guilty look on her face.
“What were you doing in my bag?” Veronica asked trying not to freak out, she really hated people getting in her stuff.
“Oh it almost fell off the table, I just put it back up,” she said nervously and went back to setting up her books.
Veronica took her bag into the bathroom with her and tried to see if anything had been taken, it didn’t look like anything had. Then she found her phone in the middle of the bag, she usually put it in the side pocket. She slide the smart phone screen so it lit up and it looked normal. Then she went into her email and checked the sent messages. One of the private emails had been forwarded to an unknown email address. Normally she had her phone locked but while in the house she’d not worried about locking it. Damn, she just had to let her guard down for a minute and the shit hit the fan.
She ran back out to the breakfast room and saw that Beth and all her books were gone. Veronica was reeling, trying to figure out what had just happened.
“Duncan!” she yelled and he came running from the other side of the house.
“What?!?” he said worried, “is it Eva?”
“No, it’s Beth, I think she was on my phone looking for something. How did you find her as a tutor?” she said heading to the bedroom and pulling a pair of jeans on and a shirt.
“CW found her for me, we had an extensive background check on her,” he said worriedly running his hands through his hair.
“I have to call Mac!” she said heading to the bedroom for privacy so Eva wouldn’t hear.
Twenty minutes after Veronica gave Mac the information she heard her phone ring. Mac was a godsend in her life, what did she ever do before her?
“So, spill it,” Veronica said without a hello and putting her shoes on and getting her bag together.
“Well this Beth Marino isn’t who she says she is, it was tough to find info on her because it was really hidden. Turns out her name is Kimberly Sorensen and she is linked to, and here’s the kicker, Jake Kane.”