Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Last Sacrifice Chapter Eleven

I BRACED MYSELF, EXPECTING TO see the Dashkov brothers appear again with well-nigh put out minute advice. Instead I sawAdrianI ran across the garden Id appeared in and threw my arms rough him. He hugged me hazard in force(p) as tightly and lifted me off the ground.Little dhampir, he express, once he put me level again. His arms stayed around my waist. Ive preoccupied you.Ive missed you too. And I meant it. The last suspender days and their bizarre events had completely unhinged my life, and being with himeven in a dreamwas comforting. I stood on my tiptoes and kissed him, enjoying a small moment of love and peace as our lips met.Are you okay? he occupyed when I broke a style. No onell tell me much around you. Your old man says youre safe and that the Alchemist would let him turn in if any social occasion went wrong.I didnt twainer telling Adrian that that probably wasnt true, seeing as Abe didnt know wed gone freelancing with some backwoods vampires.Im fine, I assured Adrian. Mostly bored. Were holed up in this dive of a town. I dont signify anyone will come looking for us. I dont think theyd indispensability to.A look of relief crack everyplace his handsome face, and it occurred to me effective how worried he was. Im glad. Rose, you stomacht imagine what its desire. They arent just oppugning people who might realize been involved. The guardians are making all sorts of plans to lead you down. theres all this talk approximately deadly force.Well, they wont learn me. Im somewhere pretty remote. Very remote.I wish I could rent gone with you.He quiesce looked concerned, and I pressed a finger to his lips. No. Dont say that. Youre improve off where you areand better not to be associated with me any more than you already are. Have you been questioned?Yeah, they didnt get anything useful out of me. Too tight an alibi. They brought me in when I went to find Mikhail because we talked toI know. Joe.Adrians surprise was brief. Little dhampir , youve been spying.Its hard not to. You know, as much as I standardised the idea of having psyche eer know when youre in trouble, Im still kind of glad I dont submit anyone bounce to me. Not sure Id want them looking in my head.I dont think anyone would want to look in your head each. one person living Adrian Ivashkovs life is hard enough. Amusement flickered in his look, tho it faded when I switched back to business. Anyway, yeah. I overheard Lissas um, interrogation of Joe. Thats serious stuff. What did Mikhail say? If Joe lied, that clears half the evidence against me. It overly theoretically killed Adrians alibi.Well, not quite half. It would put up been better if Joe tell you were in your room during the murder instead of admitting hes a flake who doesnt remember anything. It also would have been better if he hadnt said all this under Lissas compulsion. Mikhail cant report that.I sighed. Hanging out with spirit users, Id started to take compulsion for granted. It was golden to forget that among Moroi, it was taboo, the kind of thing youd get in serious trouble for. In fact, Lissa wouldnt just get in trouble for illicitly using it. She could also be accused of merely making Joe say whatsoever she wanted. Anything he said in my favor would be suspect. No one would believe it.Also, added Adrian, looking dismayed, if what Joe said gets out, the world would look out closely my mothers misguided acts of love.Im sorry, I said, putting my arms around him. He complained about his parents all the meter exclusively really did business organi sit downion about his mother. purpose out about her bribery had to be tough for him, and I knew Tatianas d tuckerh still pained him. It seemed I was around a lot of men in anguish lately. Although, I really am glad she cleared you of any connection.It was stupid of her. If anyone finds out, shell be in serious trouble.Whats Mikhails advice then?Hes going to find Joe and question him privately. Go from ther e. For now, theres not much more we can do with the info. Its useful for us unless not for the legal system.Yeah, I said, trying not to timbre disheartened. I guess its better than zero.Adrian nodded and then brushed away his dark mood in that easy way of his. Still keeping his arms around me, he pulled back slightly, smiling as he looked down at me. Nice dress, by the way.The topic tilt caught me by surprise, though I should have been used to it with him by now. Following his gaze, I noticed I was wearing an old dress of mine, the sexy black dress Id had on when Victor had unleashed a lust charm on Dimitri and me. Since Adrian hadnt dressed me for the dream, my subconscious had dictated my appearance. I was kind of astonished it had chosen this.Oh I suddenly felt embarrassed however didnt know why. My own clothes are kind of beat up. I guess I wanted something to counteract that.Well, it looks good on you. Adrians fingers slid a large the strap. truly good. counterbalance i n a dream, the touch of his finger make my skin tingle. Watch it, Ivashkov. Weve got no time for this.Were asleep. What else are we going to do?My protests were muffled in a kiss. I sank into it. One of his hands slid down the side of my thigh, near the dresss edge, and it took a lot of mental energy to convince myself that him pulling the dress up was probably not going to clear my name. I reluctantly moved back.Were going to figure out who killed Tatiana, I said, trying to catch my breath.Theres no we, he said, echoing the line Id just used on Victor. Theres me. And Lissa. And Christian. And the rest of our misfit friends. He stroked my hair and then drew me neighboring again, brushing a kiss against my cheek. Dont worry, poor dhampir. You take care of yourself. Just stay where you are.I cant, I said. Dont you get it? I cant just do nothing. The words were out of my mouth before I could stop them. It was one thing to protest my inactivity with Dimitri, but with Adrian, I consi derful to make him and everyone else at Court think I was doing the right thing.You have to. Well take care of you. He didnt get it, I realized. He didnt understand how badly I needed to do something to help. To his credit, his intentions were good. He thought taking care of me was a big fix. He wanted to keep me safe. just now he didnt truly get how agonenizing inaction was for me. Well find this person and stop them from doing whatever it is they want to do. It might take a long time, but well fix it.Time I murmured against his chest, letting the argument go. Id get nowhere convincing him I needed to help my friends, and anyway, I had my own quest now. So much to do, so lowly time. I stared off into the landscape hed created. Id noticed trees and flowers earlier but only now realized we were in the Churchs courtyardthe way it had been before Abes assault. The statue of Queen Alexandra stood intact, her long hair and kind eye immortalized in stone. The murder probe really was in my friends hands for now, but Adrian had been right it might take a while. I sighed. Time. We need more time.Adrian pulled away slightly. Hmm? Whatd you say?I stared up at him, biting my lower lip as a million thoughts spun through my mind. I looked again at Alexandra and made my decision, wondering if I was about to set new records in foolishness. I turned back to Adrian and squeezed his hand.I said we need more time. And I know how we can get it but well, theres something you have to do for me. And you, uh, probably shouldnt mention it to Lissa yet I had just enough time to deliver my instructions to Adrianwho was as shocked as Id evaluatebefore Dimitri woke me up for my shift. We switched off with little conversation. He had his usual tough face on, but I could see the lines of fatigue etched upon his features. I didnt want to bother himyetwith my Victor and Robert encounter. Not to mention what Id just told Adrian to do. Thered be plenty of time for a recap later. Dimitri fell asleep in that easy way of his, and Sydney neer stirred the entire time. I envied her for a full nights sleep but couldnt help a smile as the room grew lighting and lighter. Shed been inadvertently put on a vampire schedule after our all-night adventures.Of course, Lissa was on the same schedule, which meant I couldnt visit her during my watch. Just as well. I needed to keep an eye on this creepy collective wed stumbled into. These Keepers might not want to turn us in, but that didnt make them harmless either. I also hadnt forgotten Sydneys fears about surprise Alchemist visits. When late afternoon came for the rest of the world, I heard stirring inside the house. I gently touched Dimitris shoulder, and he jerked waken instantly.Easy, I said, unable to hide a smile. Just a wakeup call. Sounds wish our redneck friends are getting up.This time, our voices woke Sydney. She rolled over toward us, her eyes squinting at the light coming through the badly screened window. What ti me is it? she asked, stretching her limbs.Not sure. I had no watch. Probably past midday. Three? Four?She sat up almost as quickly as Dimitri had. In the afternoon? The temperatenesslight gave her the answer. Damn you guys and your unholy schedule.Did you just say damn? Isnt that against Alchemist rules? I teased.Sometimes its necessary. She rubbed her eyes and glanced toward the door. The slow noises Id heard in the rest of the house were louder now, audible even to her ears. I guess we need a plan.We have one, I said. Find Lissas sibling.I neer entirely agreed to that, she reminded me. And you guys keep thinking I can just magically type away like some movie hacker to find all your answers.Well, at least its a place to A thought occurred to me, one that could seriou knavish mess things up. Crap. Your laptop wont even work out here.Its got a satellite modem, but its the battery we have to worry about. Sydney sighed and stood up, smoothing her rumpled clothes with dismay. I need a coffee shop or something.I think I saw one in a cave down the road, I said.That almost got a smile from her. Theres got to be some town close by where I could use my laptop. except its probably not a good idea to take the car out anywhere in this state, said Dimitri. Just in case someone at the motel got your license plate number.I know, she said grimly. I was thinking about that too.Our brilliant scheming was off-and-on(a) by a knock at the door. Without waiting for an answer, Sarah stuck her head inside and smiled. Oh, good. Youre all awake. Were getting breakfast ready if you want to join us.Through the doorway, scents of what seemed like a normal breakfast drifted in bacon, eggs The bread had gotten me through the night, but I was ready for real food and willing to roll the dice on whatever Raymonds family had to offer.In the houses main section, we found a flurry of domestic activity. Raymond appeared to be cooking something over the fireplace while Paulette set the long ta ble. It already had a platter of perfectly ordinary scrambled eggs and more slices of yesterdays bread. Raymond rose from the fireplace, holding a large metal sheet cover in crisp bacon. A smile split his bearded face when he spotted us. The more of these Keepers I saw, the more I kept noticing something. They made no attempts to hide their fangs. From childhood, my Moroi were taught to smile and speak in a way that minimized fang exposure, in case they were out in human cities. There was nothing like that here.Good morning, said Raymond, carefully pushing the bacon onto another platter on the table. I hope youre all hungry. Do you think thats, like, real bacon? I whispered to Sydney and Dimitri. And not like squirrel or something?Looks real to me, said Dimitri.Id say so too, said Sydney. Though, I guarantee its from their own pigs and not a food product store.Dimitri laughed at whatever expression crossed my face. I always love seeing what worries you. Strigoi? No. Questionable fo od? Yes.What about Strigoi?Joshua and Angeline entered the house. He had a stadium of blackberries, and she was pushing the little kids along. From their squirming and dirty faces, they clearly wanted to go back outside. It was Angeline who had asked the question.Dimitri covered for my squeamishness. Just talking about some of Roses Strigoi kills.Joshua came to a standstill and stared at me, those pretty blue eyes wide with amazement. Youve killed the Lost? ErStrigoi? I admired his attempt to use our term. How many?I shrugged. I dont really know anymore.Dont you use the marks? Raymond scolded. I didnt think the Tainted had abandoned those.The marksoh. Yeah. Our tattoos? We do. I turned around and lifted up my hair. I heard a scuffling of feet and then felt a finger touching my skin. I flinched and whipped back around, just in time to see Joshua lowering his hand sheepishly.Sorry, he said. Ive just never seen some of these. Only the molnija marks. Thats how we count our Strigoi kill s. Youve got a lot.The S-shaped mark is unique to them, said Raymond disapprovingly. That look was quickly replaced by admiration. The others the zvezda.This earned gasps from Joshua and Angeline and a What? from me.The battle mark, said Dimitri. Not many people call it zvezda anymore. It means star.Huh. Makes sense, I said. The tattoo was, in fact, kind of shaped like a star and was given when someone had fought in a big enough battle to lose count of Strigoi kills. After all, there were only so many molnija marks you could cram on your neck.Joshua smiled at me in a way that made my stomach flutter just a little. by chance he was part of a pseudo-Amish cult, but that didnt change the fact that he was still good- looking. Now I understand how you could have killed the Tainted queen.Its probably fake, said Angeline.Id been about to protest the queen-killing part, but her comment derailed me. It is not I earned it when Strigoi attacked our school. And then there were plenty more I t ook down after that.The mark cant be that uncommon, said Dimitri. Your people must have big Strigoi involutions every once in a while.Not really, said Joshua, his eyes still on me. Most of us have never fought or even seen the Lost. They dont really bother us.That was surprising. If ever there was a Strigoi target, a group of Moroi, dhampirs, and humans out in the middle of nowhere would be it. wherefore not? I asked. Raymond winked at me. Because we fight back.I pondered his enigmatic statement as the family sat down to eat. Again, I thought about the entire communitys willingness to fight when wed first arrived. Was it really enough to scare off Strigoi? Not much scared them, but maybe certain things were too much of an inconvenience to deal with. I wondered what Dimitris opinion would be on that. His own family had come from a community that separated itself somewhat from mainstream Moroi life, but it was nothing like this.All of this spun in my mind while we ate and talked. Th e Keepers still had a lot more questions about us and Tatiana. The only one not participating was Angeline. She ate as little as Sydney and kept watching me with a scowl.We need some supplies, said Sydney abruptly, interrupting me in the middle of a gruesome story. I didnt mind, but the others looked disappointed. Wheres the nearby town that would have a coffee shop or any restaurant? Well, said Paulette. Rubysville is a little over an hour north. But we have plenty of food here for you.Its not about food, I said quickly. Yours has been great. I glanced at Sydney. An hours not so bad, right?She nodded and then glanced hesitantly at Raymond. Is there any way is there any way we could borrow a car? Ill The next words clearly caused her pain. Ill leave the keys to mine until we get back.He arched an eyebrow. Youve got a nice car.Sydney shrugged. The less we drive it around here, the better.He told us we could take his motortruck and that he probably wouldnt even need to use the CR -V. Sydney gave him a tight smile of thanks, but I knew images of vampires joyriding in her car were dancing through her head.We set out soon after that, lacking to be back before the sun went down. People were out and about in the commune, doing chores or whatever else it was they did with their lives. A group of children sat around a dhampir reading a book to them, making me wonder what sort of education process they had here.All of the Keepers stopped whatever they were doing as we passed, giving us either curious looks or outright smiles. I smiled back occasionally but mostly kept my eyes ahead. Joshua was escorting us back to the parking lot and managed to walk beside me when we reached the delimit path.I hope you wont be gone long, he said. Id wanted us to talk more.Sure, I said. Thatd be fun.He brightened and chivalrously pushed aside a low-hanging branch. perhaps I can show you my cave.Yourwait. What? Dont you live with your dad?For now. But Im getting my own place. There was pride in his voice. Its not as big as his, of course, but its a good start. Its almost cleaned out.Thats really, um, great. Definitely show me when were back. The words came easily to my lips, but my mind was pondering the fact that Raymonds house was apparently big.Joshua part ways from us when we reached Raymonds truck, a big red pickup with a seat that could just barely hold the three of us. Considering the Keepers didnt leave the woods much, the truck seemed like it had seen a lot of miles. Or maybe just a lot of years of disuse.You shouldnt lead him on like that, Dimitri said, when wed been on the road for about ten minutes. Surprisingly, Sydney had let him drive. I guessed she figured a manly truck deserved a manly driver.Now that we were moving, my mind had focused back on the task at hand finding the other Dragomir. Huh?Joshua. You were flirting with him.I was not We were just talking.Arent you with Adrian?Yes I exclaimed, glaring at Dimitri. His eyes were fixed on the road. And thats why I wasnt flirting. How can you read so much into that? Joshua doesnt even like me that way.Actually, said Sydney, sitting between us, he does.I turned my hesitancy on her. How do you know? Did he pass you a note in class or something?She rolled her eyes. No. But you and Dimitri are like gods back at camp.Were outsiders, I reminded her. Tainted.No. Youre renegade Strigoi and queen-killers. It might have all been southern charm and hospitality back there, but those people can be savage. They put a big premium on being able to beat people up. And, considering how scruffy most of them are, you guys are well lets just say you two are the hottest things to walk through there in a while.Youre not hot? I asked.Its irrelevant, she said, flustered by the comment. Alchemists arent even on their radar. We dont fight. They think were weak.I thought back to the enraptured faces and had to admit that a lot of the people there did have a weathered, worn-out look. Almost. Ray monds family was pretty good- looking, I pointed out. I heard a grunt from Dimitri who no doubt read this as evidence of me flirting with Joshua.Yeah, she said. Because theyre probably the most important family in town. They eat better, probably dont have to work in the sun as much. That kind of stuff makes a difference.There was no more talk of flirting as we continued the drive. We made good time to Rubysville, which looked eerily similar to the first town wed stayed in. When we stopped at what appeared to be the Rubysvilles only gas station, Sydney ran inside to ask a few questions. She came back, reporting that there was indeed a cafe of sorts where she could plug in her laptop and try to look up what we needed.She ordered coffee, and we sat there with her, too full from breakfast to order anything substantial. After a couple dirty looks from a waitress who seemed to regard us as loiterers, Dimitri and I decided to take a walk around town. Sydney looked almost as pleased as the waitress about this. I dont think she liked having us hover around.Id given Sydney a hard time about West Virginia, but I had to admit the scenery was beautiful. Soaring trees, full of summer leaves, meet the town like an embrace. Beyond them, mountains loomed, very different from the ones Id grown up with near St. Vladimirs. These were rolling and green, covered in more trees. Most of the mountains surrounding St. Vladimirs had been rocklike and jagged, often with snowy peaks. A strange sense of nostalgia came over me, thinking back to atomic number 109. There was a good possibility Id never see it again. If I spent the rest of my life on the run, St. Vladimirs was the last place I could go. If I was caught, well then Id definitely never get to see Montana again.Or any place,I murmured, speaking out loud before I could catch myself.Hmm? asked Dimitri.I was just thinking about if the guardians find us. I never realized how much there was I wanted to do and see. Suddenly, thats al l at stake, you know? We moved off to the side of the road as an chromatic pickup came driving by. Children out of school for the summer screeched and laughed in the back of it. Okay, suppose my name isnt cleared and we never find the real murderer. Whats the next-best-case scenario? Me always running, always hiding. Thatll be my life. For all I know, I will have to go live with the Keepers.I dont think itll come to that, said Dimitri. Abe and Sydney would help you find some place safe.Is there a safe place? For real? Adrian said the guardians are increasing their efforts to find us. Theyve got the Alchemists and probably human authorities looking for us too. No matter where we go, well run the risk of being spotted. Then well have to move on. Itll be like that forever.Youll be alive, he pointed out. Thats what matters. Enjoy what you have, every little detail of wherever you are. Dont focus on where you arent.Yeah, I admitted, trying to follow his advice. The sky seemed a little b luer, the birds a little louder. I suppose I shouldnt whine over the dream places I wont get to see. I should be grateful I get to see anything at all. And that Im not living in a cave.He glanced over at me and smiled, something unreadable in his eyes. Where do you want to go?What, right now? I glanced around, sizing up our options. There was a bait and tackle store, a drugstore, and an ice cream parlor. I had a feeling that last one would be a necessary cancel before leaving town.No, in the world.I eyed him warily. Sydneys going to be pissed if we take off for Istanbul or something.This got me full-fledged laughter. Not what I had in mind. Come on.I followed him toward what looked like the bait and tackle store and then noticed a small building tucked behind it. Naturally, his sharp eyes had seen what I missed probably because Id been fixated on the ice cream. RUBYSVILLE PUBLIC LIBRARY.Whoa, hey, I said. One of the few perks of graduating was avoiding places like this.Its probably air conditioned, he pointed out.I looked down at my sweat-soaked tank top and noticed a faint pink tinge to my skin. With my tanned complexion, I rarely burned, but this was some serious suneven so late in the day. Lead on, I told him.The library was mercifully cool, though even smaller than the one at St. Vladimirs. With some unearthly sense (or maybe just a knowledge of the Dewey Decimal System), Dimitri led us over to the travel sectionwhich consisted of about ten books, three of which were about West Virginia. He frowned.Not quite what I expected. He scanned the shelf twice and then pulled out a large, bright-colored one entitled 100 trounce Places to Visit in the World.We sat down cross-legged on the floor, and he handed me the book. No way, comrade, I said. I know books are a move around of the imagination, but I dont think Im up for that today.Just take it, he said. Close your eyes, and flip randomly to a page.It seemed silly, considering everything else going on in our l ife, but his face said he was serious. Indulging him, I closed my eyes and selected a page in the middle. I opened to it.Mitchell, South Dakota? I exclaimed. call back I was in a library, I lowered my voice. Out of all the places in the world, that makes the top hundred?He was smiling again, and Id forgotten how much Id missed that. Read it.Located ninety minutes outside of Sioux Falls, Mitchell is home to the Corn Palace. I looked up at him in disbelief. Corn Palace?He scooted over next to me, leaning close to look at the pictures. I figured itd be made of corn husks, he noted. The pictures actually showed what looked like a marrow Easternor even Russianstyle building, with turrets and onion domes.Me too. Reluctantly, I added, Id visit it. I bet they have great T-shirts.And, he said, a sly look in his eyes, I bet no guardians would look for us there.I made no attempts to conceal my laughter, imagining us living as fugitives in the Corn Palace for the rest of our lives. My amuseme nt brought us a scolding from a librarian, and we quieted as Dimitri took his turn. Sao Paolo, Brazil. Then my turn Honolulu, Hawaii. Back and forth we passed the book, and before long, we were both lying on the floor, side by side, sharing mixed reactions as we continued our global tour of the imagination. Our arms and legs just barely touched.If anyone had told me forty-eight hours ago that Id be lying in a library with Dimitri, reading a travel book, I would have said they were crazy. Almost as crazy was the fruition that I was doing something perfectly ordinary and casual with him. Since the moment wed met, our lives had been about secrecy and danger. And really, those were still the dominant themes in our lives. But in those quiet couple of hours, time seemed to stand still. We were at peace. We were friends.Florence, Italy, I read. Pictures of elaborate churches and galleries filled the page. Sydney wants to go there. She wanted to study there, actually. If Abe could have man aged that, I think she would have served him for life.Shes still pretty obedient, Dimitri remarked. I dont know her well, but Im pretty sure Abes got something on her.He got her out of Russia, back to the U.S.He shook his head. Its got to be more than that. Alchemists are loyal to their order. They dont like us. She hides ittheyre trained tobut every minute with the Keepers is agony. For her to help us and betray her superiors, she owes him for some serious reason. We both paused a moment, wondering what mysterious arrangement my incur had with her. Its irrelevant, though. Shes helping us, which is what matters and we should probably get back to her. I knew he was right but hated to go. I wanted to stay here, in this illusion of rest and safety, letting myself believe I might really make it to the Parthenon or even the Corn Palace someday. I handed the book back to him. One more.He picked his random page and opened the book. His smile fell. Saint Petersburg.A weird mix of feeling s entangled themselves in my chest. Nostalgiabecause the city was beautiful. Sorrowbecause my visit had been impair by the awful task Id gone there to do.Dimitri stared at the page for a long time, wistfulness on his face. It occurred to me then that, despite his earlier pep talk, he had to be experiencing what I did for Montana our old, favorite places were lost to us now.I nudged him gently. Hey, enjoy where youre at, remember? Not where you cant go.He reluctantly shut the book and dragged his eyes away from it. Howd you get so wise? he teased.I had a good teacher. We smiled at each other. Something occurred to me. All this time, Id figured hed helped break me out because of Lissas orders. mayhap there was more to it. Is that why you escaped with me? I asked. To see what parts of the world you could?His surprise was brief. You dont need me to be wise, Rose. Youre doing fine on your own. Yes, that was part of it. Maybe I would have been welcomed back eventually, but there was the risk I wouldnt. After after being Strigoi He stumbled over the words a little. I gained a new appreciation for life. It took a while. Im still not there. Were talking about focusing on the present, not the futurebut its my past that haunts me. Faces. Nightmares. But the farther I get from that world of death, the more I want to embrace life. The smell of these books and the perfume you wear. The way the light bends through that window. Even the prove of breakfast with the Keepers.Youre a poet now.No, just starting to realize the truth. I respect the law and the way our society runs, but there was no way I could risk losing life in some cell after only just finding it again. I wanted to run too. Thats why I helped you. That andWhat? I studied him, desperately wishing he wasnt so good at keeping emotions off his face. I knew him well I understood him. But he could still hide things from me.He sat up, not meeting my eyes. It doesnt matter. Lets go back to Sydney and see if she found out anything although, as much as I hate to say it, I think its unlikely.I know. I stood with him, still wondering what else he would have said. She probably gave up and started playing Minesweeper.We headed back toward the cafe, stopping briefly for ice cream. Eating it while we walked proved quite the challenge. The sun was nearing the horizon, painting everything orange and red, but the heat lingered. Enjoy it, Rose, I told myself. The colors. The taste of chocolate. Of course, Id always loved chocolate. My life didnt need to be on the line for me to enjoy dessert.We reached the cafe and found Sydney bent over her laptop, with a barely eaten danish pastry and what was probably her fourth cup of coffee. We slid into seats beside her.Hows ithey You are playing Minesweeper I tried to peer closer at her screen, but she turned it from me. Youre supposed to be finding a connection to Erics mistress.I already did, she said simply. Dimitri and I exchanged astonished looks.But I dont kn ow how useful itll be.Anythingll be useful, I proclaimed. What did you find?After trying to track down all those bank records and transactionsand let me tell you, that is not fun at allI finally found a small piece of info. The bank account we have now is a newer one. It was moved from another bank about flipper years ago. The old account was still a Jane Doe, but it did have a next-of-kin reference in the event something happened to the account holder.I could hardly breathe. pecuniary transactions were lost on me, but we were about to get something solid. A real name?Sydney nodded. Sonya Karp.

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