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The Girl with the Green Eyes - Part II
Troy didn’t understand but couldn’t ask anymore questions. There were witnesses, Laura stated. They could have overheard their entire conversation. They might discuss it after school. Troy was definitely elated at this suggestion—he could finally find out who Laura truly was, and what she was doing in France.
After what seemed like a millennium, he escorted Laura to his home, a shabby two-level with marble exterior and a magnificent fireplace inside. He tried to avoid his pesky mother, who would be far too intrigued about a new girl entering the house, but it was too late.
“Troy!” she screeched, examining his guest. “Hello, there. You aren’t Meghan, I see.”
Laura tried hard to fake a laugh but it came out like an edgy bark. “I’m sorry to disappoint you, Mrs. Thorson.”
“No, no, I’m actually pleased! I mean, wait, oh, never mind…” After Troy rolled his eyes and his mother collected herself, Laura replied, “I’m new to Half Moon Bay and Troy is my English partner. We’re here to study and catch up on some assignments our teacher is making me do.”
Mrs. Thorson winked. “You two kids have fun up there, but not too much fun!” her laugh echoed in a shrilly tone that was contagious. But not today—Troy and Laura had more serious matters on their minds.
They hurried into his room, filled with sports posters like Jared Allen from the Minnesota Vikings; several 49ers team pictures from 1980, where his parents met; and lots of basketball, Olympic athletes and baseball photographs. There was even a signed football in a glass case from when his parents met, at the same game. Laura envied all of these treasures, especially his family pictures. There were some of them hiking—the five of them, for he had a younger sister and an older brother, along with his two parents so clearly and passionately in love—along with them swimming, biking, playing sports and hunting. Laura learned from these pixilated memory-keepers that Troy was an avid hunter. She wondered whether Meghan approved or not.
“Now, can you explain all about Paris?”
She shook her head. “I want to learn more about you, first. What is your family like?”
“My dad is the Police Chief here in Half Moon Bay and loves it. My parents are divorced—it was heart-breaking, really, but needed—and I have a brother named Austin, who is going to college at the USCF Medical School.”
Laura squirmed. She knew something was wrong but didn’t want to confront it. She had caused obvious pain on him, that was for sure—the way he starred longingly at the picture with him and the girl, maybe four and five, holding hands at Mount Rushmore, made her hurt, too.
“I lived in Paris when my father was an Army General there for the United States. My mom hated it; she was always scared she’d see a rat, and yet she never did. I have two older brothers named Leo and Markus who just worshipped that place. Anyway, I was at La Belle Vie eating my usual raspberry scone and licorice juice—it exists, trust me—when I noticed a man in a black suit, black hair and mustache watching me from behind. I thought it was odd and I was terrified. I saw you, walking with a lady, and I tried urgently for you to make a scene or come up and talk to me or something, but you just kept walking.”
Troy shuddered, feeling even more awful then before, but Laura continued. “When I got the receipt from the owner, a kind woman named Gladys Beauclerc, I wrote, ‘Do not look behind you but that man behind me is stalking me. Call this number. HELP!’ She did, and within minutes, my father came to my rescue. I hugged him, but just then, I heard a gunshot ring out, and my father dropped dead. It was like the nighttime, only without the sunset—just morning to night in one snap of a finger. I didn’t even have time to cry. I sprinted after the man with black hair and just screamed and screamed until I heard the siren of an ambulance. It was my warning call to get back to my father. He needed me, but it was too late. My father was gone, and it was all my fault.”
Troy held Laura’s hands. “It wasn’t your fault. You did the right thing. How could you have known he would shoot your father?” When she just shrugged, he said, “Did they ever catch him?”
“No, they didn’t. That’s the primary reason that we moved here. It was close to the cities but far enough away that we wouldn’t get caught. We’re on the run, Troy—we’ve always been.”
“Are you afraid?”
“You don’t have to be.”
“Why not?” her red lower lip was trembling, her green eyes glossy with tears.
“You have something you didn’t have before—me.”
She chuckled. “I had you in Paris, too, and you didn’t turn out so trustworthy.”
“But it’s different now. I know your intentions and I know who you are.”
She shook her head. “I don’t think you do, though.”
“What do you mean?”
“Troy, I’ve been holding back information since I was a kid. It’s in my nature. Our paths didn’t cross out of coincidence.”
“What are you saying, Laura?”
Now there were flat out tears running down her face. Troy tried to wipe them but she waved him off and let them fall. “Lucie was a kind girl, Troy. I’ve come here to tell you that no matter what you think of me, I will always believe she was a gorgeous sweetheart.”
“What are you talking about?” he thundered angrily.
“Your sister, Troy—I knew her, too, before I even realized who you were. I was born in San Francisco. My mother was a child cancer specialist at the USCF Benoiff Children’s Hospital. I often came with her to work and played with the patients. One girl always wore an orange headband around her head and an orange bracelet that coincided with her white hospital band. I loved her; she was my baby sister, or so I called her. Her name was Lucille Lae Thorson and she was so, so kind. When she died my mother sent a condolence basket to your home. After that, when I was thirteen years old, we started moving all around. I examined your family’s file—my father had great connections—and I wanted to meet you, and talk to you about your sister. Meeting you Paris was definitely a coincidence, but seeing you now isn’t.”
Troy had tears coming down his face, too. “I always considered you Lucie’s guardian angel.”
“She’d come home and talk about you for hours. She’d say what you did for her, what you two played all day, and how you cared more about her than anyone else at the center. She loved you, Laura, and I’ve always wanted to thank you.”
They then shared their first kiss, on the edge of Troy’s 49ers bedspread. The chaos that had brought these two together was unimaginable—and there was still more to come.
There was a knock at Troy’s door and Mrs. Thorson walked in, her face white. “Laura, there’s someone here to see you.”
A man with black hair, wearing a black suit, stepped forward. He wore a holster of weapons, from tasers to pistols to army knives. His grotesque smile, with crooked brownish-yellow teeth, sent chills up Laura’s spine. It was the one thing she identified him as, just as Laura’s green eyes identified her to Troy.