• Vol. 03
  • Chapter 06
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In her official portrait at the University, Joan has her arms crossed like she’s getting things done. She means business. There are ways of getting through to her. Even as I look at a picture of her when she was my age, I see how one side of her mouth lifts slightly, her slightly hooded eyes search. I was in her 18 years ago. I’m still inside there.

My phone pulses in my pocket. At long last. The ID says private number.


"Listen. Shelly is it?" she’s saying and smoking.

"Is this Joan?"

"No. I work for Ms. Earle. I’m one of Joan's lawyers."

"Then you know I’m her —"

"Listen. You need to stop contacting her. You’re being disloyal to the people who raised you. Ms. Earle does not want her life disrupted."

"But — "

"It’s the same story the world over. I can’t help you. You can like it or not. If you try to contact her again, I will contact the police."