Chapter 3: A Secret
After Luke left I contemplated going to find him and telling the truth and that day I went home unsure what to do.
Luke appeared outside the building the next day. I stopped. Why was he here? Hadn’t Trev finished interviewing him yesterday?
“Agent Page,” he called as I approached the front door to the building.
“Yes?” inquire trying to act normal.
“I know it’s you. Don’t lie or deny it. The person who changed your name told me. Why did you tell them about me? Why me?” he asked wanting to know why I disappeared more than why I told the name changer what to do if my brother came asking for me.
“Luke, you know how our parents felt about... They would have killed me. This way there’s just mystery. Hope. You know even if I went back now they’d deny all of it. That they had a daughter, that she went missing, because of how disappointed they were with what she became and... They’d forbid you from seeing me if they knew because they would worry about it rubbing off on you,” I insist. “I’m sorry I left you behind with them but I couldn’t live like that. It wasn’t who I was.”
“When you left the world spun slower and the pain became worse because I had no one to talk who agreed with me, all our friends are judgemental. They pushed the gay kids around at school like trash, it’s not fair, and the worse part is that I did it so people would believe I was normal, straight,” he whispered staring at the ground. “I moved here hoping for a new life. Who said I had to go back to... That? I decided to see if I could find you. You weren’t the type to be lured off into the woods and killed by some creeper. I knew that and mom and dad probably do, too. The only problem is if you aren’t dead, what happened? Where did you go? They’d rather us be dead than living what they’d consider a hell-sealed fate.”
“Luke, you know I’d accept you but it would be weird for an agent and witness to live in the same household and people might start suspecting things. I’m here for you but we should keep our distance, okay? Once the case has been put aside I’d be happy to spend some time with the brother I haven’t seen in a decade,” I continue.
“As long as you don’t disappear again and leave me alone with no one to accept me and confide in, I think I can handle distance for a little longer,” he said smiling.
We parted. I was ten minutes late and those ten minutes would be worth it. Somebody finally knew the truth and for his own safety, he probably wouldn’t tell anyone.
“Where have you been?” Aaron asked as I entered the office.
Patrick and Trev must have talked to him. Me being late today wasn’t going to help with them not worrying.
“Look whatever Trev and Patrick said to you is probably over-rated. Cause I’m fine, honestly,” I admit.
“Patrick thinks you know something about Haley, is that true?” he continues ignoring what I just said.
“I don’t know anything. How could I know anything about a girl who went missing in Bristol when I’ve never left America?” I reply annoyed.
Too bad I couldn’t get back at Patrick for it.
“Dean, you know if you’re hiding anything you could get in serious trouble for not telling somebody?” he inquires.
“I work for the FBI, of course, I know that, Aaron,” I reply annoyed again.
“Then, what are you hiding that you can’t tell me or Trev or Patrick about?” he continues.
“Nothing,” I answer angered.
“Are you willing to take a polygraph? ” he inquires.
“No,” I answer flat out.
“Dean, I’m trying to help you,” he whispers agitated.
“Yeah, well no offense but if you do this my life will only be worse,” I reply.
“Is that all you care about is yourself?” he inquired.
He didn’t understand. I was Haley. Her life was mine or it used to be. I was no longer Haley, I was Dean now and I was trying to keep the picture I’d painted over the last ten years from cracking as it was banged against the floor.
I sighed and started to walk away from Aaron back towards the elevator.
“You know this information you’re withholding could kill a young woman?” he inquired following me.
“You people all think Haley has been fucking kidnapped. Did you ever think about her parents’ morals and how they hate queer people? Did you ever consider that maybe Haley left because she knew she wouldn’t be accepted by her parents for who she was?” I snap.
I still talked about Haley like she was an alter personality. And she was, she was the part of me who everyone in my old life knew, the tom-boy who got good grades and hated dresses and skirts. Dean was the half everyone in my new life knew. The guy who hardly ever went drinking with his co-workers hadn’t formed bonds with people and they honestly didn’t really know that well.
“So you’re saying that Haley left to start a new life where she was accepted for being lesbian or transgender or whatever else you can be?” he asked desperate to get anything out of me now.
“Connect the fucking dots, you idiot,” I whisper annoyed and instead of waiting another second for the elevator took the stairs down to the exit.
I thought Aaron would be able to figure it out. Patrick had partially and Luke had, too.
“Dean, come on,” Aaron called after me.
“No, you need to stop asking me questions and think about what I’ve told you, come on. Luke figured it out and Patrick will probably get it eventually,” I answer turning around.
“Luke, Luke Campbell? What does he know about this? Did he do something to Haley?” Aaron continued.
“I thought I told you. Haley left of her own free will because her parents didn’t accept that she felt like she was a boy. She left to start a new life in America now I want you to stop being ignorant and think where I come into this,” I yell annoyed and fed up.
If he weren’t trying to solve a case based solely on my info he probably would have fired me by now for disrespect.
Maybe I should tell him to go through my records. He’d figure it out soon enough I’d only really surfaced on the earth ten years ago but would he understand what that meant?
“Did you help her? Give her new name? Cash? Help her find a doctor to do the surgery?” he asked.
How stupid could a forty-year-old be?
“Agent Page, what’s going on?” I hear Luke ask.
He was good at playing the concerned passerby.
“It’s nothing, don’t worry about it,” I reply but point out toward the parking lot.
“I’m going to go get some coffee, maybe when I come back you’ll have gained some common sense and understand what I’m trying to say.”
I glare at Aaron.
I walk off, and about half an hour later Luke finds me hiding out in my car.
“That guy really is stupid,” he comments getting in the car.
“Did he get it?” I ask.
“Nope, now I’m twenty-seven and have an average intelligence, so if he’s forty his intelligence must be really low, ” he jokes.
“Is it really that difficult to figure it out if you think about it? Even if I don’t look like her?” I inquire.
“No, but it’s not really something people do. They either come out and are accepted or kicked out or stay hidden and just go through life pretending to be somebody they’re not. They don’t normally do a halfway thing and come out to people who accept you but hide from the people who would normally matter the most,” he replies calmly.
“I guess there’s a first time for everything, huh?” I comment.
“Why did you choose the name, Dean Page? It just seems so simple and wouldn’t it make you easier to find you?” he asks.
“It’s expensive to change your name, kid. And people would probably expect you to choose an uncommon name because they think it makes you stand out less but really you’d probably actually remember an uncommon name more than a common name,” I answer.
“I guess,” he comments.
“Why didn’t you tell me? You know I wouldn’t expose you to mom and dad because I didn’t like their view on it,” I ask.
“I guess like everyone I feared the news would get around and they’d find out and abandon me on the street. You were my sister and I don’t know. I guess we both kind of had trust issues with telling each other things,” Luke answers.
“How about no more lying, from now on?” I question.
“Sounds good. Might jump start building our relationship as brothers,” he agrees.
“Are we actually going to get coffee or are we going to sit here?” he continues.
“I have to go back at some point. I obviously have to tell him the truth cause he’s too stupid to make sense of it. I wouldn’t be surprised if he took it as a joke at this point. You think if people weren’t accepted this would be a pretty valid option,” I reply.
“I could come with you,” he encourages.
“If you do he might think I forced you to lie and say things. I should do it by myself. He’ll think I have leverage or will get something out of it if I bring you. It’s hard to believe how stupid the FBI is,” I reply quietly.
“Isn’t proof an issue either way?” Luke asks.
“My DNA is all the proof anyone needs,” I reassure him. “You gonna stay here?”
“Na, I need lunch or something to eat, I didn’t have breakfast,” he answers and we both get out of the car.
“Take this,” I comment tossing him one of my cards.
“Do you want my number?” he asks in return.
“Sure, I guess after I left I could have called you but I was afraid you’d freak out cause a guy answered the phone and that would have only made things worse cause they would have thought I was the killer if I hadn’t been able to get the truth out over the phone,” I comment quietly.
We exchange numbers and Luke goes off to have a lunch break and I go back inside to tell Aaron the truth.