Gray took Callaghan into her office where the walls were filled with books. Her desk was by the window. Across from it, two high back chairs were separated by a side table. She gestured for him to take one while she sat in the other.
He tried his best not to stare, but this woman was as breathtaking as Taylor and he was having a hell of a time keeping his eyes off her. “How much do you know about her, Ms. Rowan?”
“Why don’t you begin by telling me what she did to deserve that?”
He dropped his head, but didn’t answer her question. He told her everything Taylor had been up to since she had come into the police station the previous morning. He told her he had studied the police files on Ralph Morse, read Raging River. He’d run Taylor Sinclair and she had no criminal record. He accessed her case worker’s reports. She’d been in foster care from age five to ten. When she lost her sister, she lost everything she had. After that, she refused to stay in foster homes. They’d pick her up at school, put her back in a foster care home and she’d take right off again and show up at school the next morning. In time, they stopped taking her back and she eventually lived permanently on the streets. Other than the running away, she stayed out of trouble. Often, she would show up at school with injuries and they would take her straight to the nurse’s office. More often than not, Taylor’s case worker was called to take her to the hospital. She’d been interviewed by police after most of these hospital visits, but always refused to cooperate.
“Enough,” Gray pleaded, struggling to wrap her head around the information he was spilling.
He rubbed his hands over his face. “The police questioned her after her trips to the hospital because she’d been beaten and sexually assaulted – violently.” He turned towards Gray now, made eye contact. “I saw those green eyes in the crime scene photos on the victim’s wall that Morse had in his cabin, next to your photo, Grace.”
Gray was beyond denying that she was Grace Reilly by this point. She had hoped that Taylor would give up and go back to Toronto, where she was safe. “I looked into those eyes for three days straight and couldn’t look away. I knew she was the next. The look in those trusting emerald eyes gave me the courage to fight, to escape. So young, she was just so young.”
“I pushed her buttons this morning, trying to scare her back to Toronto. God, that was stupid. She made me so angry and she just kept fighting.” He shook his head, paused for a moment, knowing there was no excuse for what he had done to her. “She’s living in that Jeep. Her last known address is the office of her old case worker in Toronto. Do you know what she has in the Jeep? One pair of jeans, one shirt, your book,” he pointed to the ragged copy sitting on the side table, “And not even enough money to get her back to Toronto. The Jeep belongs to a Troy Rappaport. I called him last night to make sure it wasn’t stolen. He loaned it to her a few days ago, and told her to keep it as long as she needs it. I don’t understand why she freaked when I started to search the Jeep. I thought for sure there was something in there she didn’t want me to find.”
“There was,” Gray stated simply, looking down at her hands wringing in her lap.
“How would you feel if all you owned was a pair of jeans, a shirt and a paperback book? Would you want anyone knowing that?”
“Jesus,” was all he said.
“What are you going to do with her now?”
“I don’t know what the hell to do with her. I could cite her for driving without a license, but how the hell would she pay the fine? I could take her in for not having any form of ID. Christ, I don’t want to do that.”
“She could stay here with me until this is over.”
“Great, Morse’s two most likely targets staying in the same house.”
“You think he’s out there, too.”
“I do, but I can’t do anything about it. Not until I have proof that he’s at least in the area. It scares the hell out of me that she’ll go back up there looking for him by herself. I don’t think she even realizes that it was her photograph on that wall. She’s seen the police file, I know it. But I don’t think she’s seen the picture of that wall. She has no idea how much danger she’s putting herself in.”
“In the book, I changed the eye colour. I’ve never seen eyes the colour of glittering emeralds like that. I never wanted her to know she was next, that if I hadn’t escaped, she would have met with the same fate as her sister. Maybe whoever got her the file, wanted to spare her that, too.” Gray couldn’t stop thinking that she may have saved Taylor from Ralph Morse, but no one had saved her from the streets.
Maybe someone that cares about her enough to lend her a vehicle, Callaghan thought. He made a mental note to run Troy Rappaport through the system.
“This place is like Fort Knox, or so I’m told. Let her stay with me for the time being.”
Gray accompanied Callaghan to release Taylor from the back of the car. When he opened the door, she was sitting there with her head down, hands in her lap. “Where the hell are my cuffs?”
“I don’t wear bracelets.” Taylor pulled the cuffs out from the small of her back and handed them to Callaghan straight faced. When she looked up, she glimpsed the laughter in Gray’s eyes.
“Son of a bitch.” Callaghan took a deep breath, let it go. “You’re free to go, Sinclair.”
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