“I may be able to give Selma something back.”
“My parents.” She hadn’t thought of her parents in months. Not since she’d landed in Scotland did she consider their thoughts once they found that both their daughters were missing.
Calling them and telling them to give any money that may end up in their hands from her account to Selma was the least she could do. There was no guarantee they’d do it, but she had to try.
Then again, they would link Selma to her disappearance, and that may land her in even more trouble.
Fin voiced her concerns as if he’d read her mind.
“If you tell your parents to give Selma money, the police will question her and possibly hold her.”
“Would Jake let that happen?”
“He may not have a choice.”
Liz started to pace. “There has to be a way.”
“Is there anyone else you trust here?”
“Not on this level.”
Fin scratched he head. “What of Tara’s friend?
The one who took her to the Faire?”
Her eyes lit up. She placed one very noisy kiss on his lips and backed away. “Cassy! Of course.” Liz opened the phone and made the call.
Cassy was easy. Her part in Lizzy’s plan didn’t require anything illegal. Because she worried about tapped phones and everything CSI, Liz kept her conversation short and to the point. Cassy and Selma would never meet, never even know the other person’s name.
Calling her parents proved harder than she thought. Part of her prayed for an answering machine, while the other part knew her luck wouldn’t hold for that.
When her father’s voice, weakened by his growing age, rumbled through the line, Liz felt the rush of every broken dream she’d ever had crash over her.
He didn’t say anything at first, but Lizzy knew he was still on the line because the television blared in the background.
“Yes, it’s me.”
The volume of the TV quieted. She had his attention.
“Where are you?”
Like he really cared. “It doesn’t matter where I am.” “You always were snotty. Do you have any idea what your mother has been through?” The disapproval in his voice overruled his concern.
“No, why don’t you tell me? Tell me how either of you could possibly care what happened to Tara, Simon, and I.”
“Elizabeth? God, Elizabeth where are you?” Her mother’s tearful voice on a second line had Lizzy choking back. When Tara disappeared, neither of them bothered to travel to Orange County to join in the search. To think that either of them batted an eye at her and Simon’s disappearance never crossed her mind.
Her mother sobbed into the phone.
“Stop it, Louise. She isn’t worth it.”
“Shut up! I’m sick and tired of you telling me how to feel. I’ve lost both my children and my grandson because of you, and I’ll be damned if I listen to you now.”
Liz lifted her chin, wished she could see the expression on her father’s face. Go, Mom!
The phone clicked and Louise McAllister quickly said, “Are you all right? Where’s Tara?”
“We’re fine, Mom. All of us.”
“I’m so sorry, Lizzy. Sorry for not being there for you. I thought you were all dead, gone.”
“Is Dad off the phone?”
“Yes, he stormed out of the house. I need to see you. Where are you?”
A tear ran down her face. There wasn’t time.
“Listen, I don’t have much time.”
“What do you mean? Good God, is someone holding you against your will?”
“No. Please I need you to do something for me.
For all of us.”
“Anything,” Louise sighed into the phone.
“Did you and Dad end up with my savings account?”
“Yes, as a matter of fact we did. Where did you get that kind of money, Lizzy?”
“It doesn’t matter. Do you still have it?”
Good. “I need you to get the money to Cassandra Ross. She and Tara were roommates. Are you writing this down?”
“I am, but I don’t understand. Don’t you want it?” “I don’t need it.” Not where I’m going. She gave her mother Cassy’s phone number and address.
“Are you in trouble with the law?”
“No, Mom. We haven’t done anything wrong. I can’t explain what’s happening and you wouldn’t believe me if I did.”
The pause on the other end of the phone had Liz wondering if the batteries had gone dead on the phone.
“I’m never going to see you again, am I?”
Big, fat tears sprang from nowhere. Fin came from behind her and placed a hand on her shoulder.
“I don’t think so,” she sobbed. How unfair that she learned that her mother cared now only to say goodbye.
“I suppose this is the bed I’ve made. I didn’t appreciate you when I had you, and now you’re gone.”
“I’m sorry I wasn’t a better daughter for you.”
Louise’s voice grew stern. “You stop that right now, young lady. I’m the one who is sorry. Can you ever forgive me?”
“You and Tara were more than I ever deserved. I wish you both all the happiness in the world. Take care of my grandson.”
The knot in Lizzy’s throat erupted. “I love you.”
“Oh, Lizzy, I love you, too. All of you. Be sure and tell your sister.”
“I’ll forever be thankful to have had a chance at redemption.”
Liz glanced at Selma who walked their way and made a rolling motion with her fingers.
“I’ve got to go, Mom.”
“You be safe.”
The line went dead.
“We’ve got to go. Jake called, said the cell you’re using is being tracked.”
Without thought, Liz tossed the cell in the ivy away from the car. Selma jumped in the front seat while Fin opened the door to the back.
“Wait,” Liz yelled before running over to a massive oak tree.
“What are you doing?”
Liz placed her finger on the bark above her head and singed the bark until she made the shape of a heart. Satisfied, she followed Fin to the car.
“What was that for?” Selma asked while Linda started the engine and backed out of the parking lot.