Missing Me

Free Missing Me by Sophie McKenzie

Book: Missing Me by Sophie McKenzie Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sophie McKenzie
was
so
cool. How could I
tell him I aspired to the same job that he obviously did so well?
    ‘OK.’ Allan nodded. ‘I know I can trust you . . . I’m trying to find out about some missing girls . . . that is, rumours of girls coming into the country and disappearing
without a trace.’
    ‘That’s . . . isn’t that called trafficking?’ I said, trying to sound knowledgeable. Allan was actually sharing proper, grown-up information. Unlike Annie, who treated me
like a child, he was talking to me as if I were an equal.
    ‘There’s no suggestion that the girls are being used illegally – no hint of prostitution or slave labour . . .’ Allan went on. ‘Just a bunch of rumours that Baxter
pays them to enter the country . . . then “disappears” them.’
    ‘Whoa.’ I shivered. ‘What was the new information you got today?’
    ‘A name and a number,’ Allan said. ‘Miriam 21.’
    ‘What d’you think it means?’
    ‘No idea, I’m afraid.’ Allan sighed. ‘Maybe it’s the name and age of the latest girl.’
    We drove on for a while in silence. I checked my face for dirty smudges in the mirror above the passenger seat, and wiped away a couple of grubby smears. We were getting close to my house, when
Allan cleared his throat.
    ‘So, do you think you’ll meet up with Baxter’s daughter, Esme, again?’
    ‘I guess.’ I thought about it. Esme had acted a bit spoilt, for sure, and she’d definitely taken her teasing of Wolf too far in front of his dad, but she’d also been
funny and interesting. Of course Esme herself wasn’t the whole story. If I were honest, I wanted to see Wolf again too – he intrigued me as much as Esme – and the only way I could
do that was through her.
    ‘What about me?’ Allan said. ‘Now we’ve met and you’ve had a chance to hang out for a bit, would you like to get together again?’ He paused. ‘I
don’t want to do anything that will make you feel uncomfortable. I realise at this stage that I can’t be any kind of conventional father to you, but . . .’ He tailed off.
    ‘Yes,’ I said with a smile. It struck me that a lot of men would have behaved just like Lauren and Annie had predicted – running a mile in the face of a child they had never
actively wanted – and that I was really lucky that Allan seemed genuinely to want to get to know me.
    ‘Great.’ Allan smiled back. ‘I’ll give you a ring, then.’
    A few minutes later, he dropped me at the end of my road. As I walked in the front door, Annie was flapping about in the hallway.
    ‘There you are, Madison,’ she said, her face filling with relief. ‘I was going to have to leave you a message. Did you have a nice time with Rosa?’
    It took me a second to remember my cover story, so much had happened since I set off earlier this afternoon. Thank goodness Wolf had lent me his jacket. Without it, my top would have got dirty
and then Annie would have been full of questions about what I’d been doing.
    ‘Great, thanks,’ I said. ‘What was the message about?’
    ‘Oh.’ Annie’s hand fluttered to her chest. ‘Just that Lydia called with a last-minute invite for us to go for supper. I was supposed to be there fifteen minutes ago. I
didn’t think you’d be back in time, but now you are, you can come too.’
    ‘Right.’ I could tell from the slightly fake-smiley way Annie was speaking that she had some hidden agenda.
    ‘Lydia will be so pleased that you can come,’ Annie went on. ‘Lauren’s going to be there too.’
    So that was it. I’d refused to talk to Annie about having a sperm donor father, so now she was hoping that I’d speak to Lauren about it.
    ‘I need to take a shower first, though,’ I said, hoping I could get out of the visit. Honestly, it was so typical of Annie to try and force the issue like this. Thinking it through,
I was certain Lauren wasn’t behind our meeting – she was letting things be . . . letting me come to her when I was ready . . . Why couldn’t

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