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08 Minor in Possession by J A Jance

08 Minor in Possession by J A Jance

Author:J A Jance [Jance, J A]
Format: epub
Published: 0101-01-01T00:00:00+00:00


CHAPTER

13

Ames had left the handset of his wireless phone just inside my door, and its cheerful chirping woke me early Saturday morning.

“Daddy,” Kelly said when I answered. “Is that you? Are you awake?”

“I am now,” I mumbled. “Barely. What time is it?”

“Just after seven, California time. Sorry to disturb you, but I’ve got a date to play tennis at eight. It’s a little late, but happy birthday. Hope you had fun.”

“Thanks. Ralph Ames took me out to dinner.” My early morning engines hadn’t quite caught fire. Since Kelly and I have never operated on quite the same wavelength, what followed was a long, awkward pause.

“Scott said you wanted to talk to me.”

“That’s right. I do.”

“What about?” Her question was abrupt. She was worried about whatever was coming and wanted to get it over with.

“Joey Rothman,” I answered quietly.

There was another long pause, but when she spoke she sounded exasperated. “Daddy, I already told you, nothing happened. I mean, we didn’t go to bed or-anything, if that’s what you’re worried about. Don’t you trust me?”

Her whimpered question seemed to be verging on tears. That was the last thing I wanted. “Please, Kelly. Don’t get upset. What you tell us may very well help us figure out what happened to him, that’s all.”

“You mean you’re working on the case?”

“Something like that.”

“Oh,” she said, but she didn’t volunteer any further information.

There was dead, empty silence on the other end of the phone. So that was how it would be. If I was playing cop and looking for answers, Kelly wasn’t about to make it easy. It’s the kind of diversionary strategy she learned at her mother’s knee. My best countermeasure was to tackle the problem head-on.

“Did Joey tell you about Michelle Owens?” I asked. “Did you know they were going together?”

I heard the sharp intake of breath. “No.” There was a small pause. “He lied to me about that, but it didn’t matter.”

“What do you mean, it didn’t matter?”

“Daddy, are you listening to me? We weren’t going together. It wasn’t like that. We talked mostly, just talked. I thought he was really rad. You know, exciting.”

“Like forbidden fruit.”

“Maybe. Anyway, we were just getting to know each other.”

As far as I can tell, the word “rad” roughly translates into something my generation would have called “cool.” As for the words “getting to know each other”—those must have changed entirely since I was Kelly’s age. The probing kiss I had seen Joey plant on Kelly’s lips had been well beyond the glad-to-make-your-acquaintance stage of human sexual relations. I’m not so far out of touch that I’d mistake a kiss like that for a platonic one. My daughter and I were suffering from a classic case of failure to communicate.

“So what did the two of you talk about, Kelly?”

“You.”

Her one-word answer surprised me. “Me?” I echoed.

“Joey was more interested in you than he was in me. He wanted to know exactly where you were a police officer and what kind of work you did. You know, robbery, homicide, that kind of thing.



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