I was in my room reading when my bedroom door opened. I looked up, expecting to see one of my mothers, but instead I found Alison looking intently at me. “Alison? What are you doing here? Who let you in?”
“Please, I figured out where you guys keep the spare key when I was twelve.” She walked over and sat down next to me. “I’ve been thinking all night about our talk yesterday. You need to go to France, Luc.”
I put my book down and shook my head at her. “Alison, I told you why – “
“I know you did, but what if he doesn’t tell you to get the hell away? What if he has always regretted giving you up? What if he had a real reason for it? Luc, if you don’t go, you will always regret it and wonder what might have happened.”
I remained silent for a long minute, letting her words sink into me. “You’re right,” I admitted quietly. “I’m making excuses because I’m afraid. Shit, I’m terrified of what I’ll find in France.”
Alison reached over and squeezed my hand. “I know. That’s why I’m going to go with you.”
I leaned back and frowned at her. “What now?”
She smiled at me. “As if I would let you do this alone? Of course I’m going with you to Champs Les Sims! I’ve been with you every step thus far; I’m not going to drop the ball now.”
“You don’t have to do that,” I told her. “That’s a long way to go just to support me.”
She rolled her eyes. “It’s not like you’re going to the moon. France isn’t that far. Besides, I’m dragging you sight seeing while we’re there. We’ll be in France for crying out loud. Seeing your bio-dad will be just a detour.”
I snorted and gave her shoulder a slight shove. “I see what you’re trying to do.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“You’re trying to make it seem like less of a big deal.”
“Only if it’s working,” she said flippantly.
I smiled and shook my head. “Thank you, Alison. You really don’t have to go, though. I can do it on my own.”
“Yeah, you can. But you don’t have to. So, how does December sound? That way you’ll be on break.”
“That won’t interfere with your internship?” She’d graduated in May, right after Loralee’s wedding, but she was still interning at some big company. She’d told me what they did there back when she started, but evidently it had slipped in one ear and out the other.
“It’s ending in November, so I’ll be free to go with you to France before I start job hunting.” She smiled. “See? It works out perfectly.”
“I guess that’s what we’re doing then,” I said with a smile. “We better go buy our winter coats.” Loralee had told me how cold Europe was compared to Newcrest and Willow Creek.
I walked up to Loralee’s modest house and rang the doorbell. Tommy was probably at work, but Loralee ought to have a few hours before she had to leave for the restaurant. I really wanted to tell her what Alison and I had decided yesterday in person. If I waited, someone else might mention it to her. Ever since I’d started looking for my father, she’d been acting a little funny about it, so I didn’t want her to find out about this from anyone else.
Loralee walked up to the door with a smile. “Luc! What a nice surprise.”
“Hey, Lor,” I said as I walked into the house. “How’s it going?”
“Good as ever.” She motioned to the sofa and sat down with me.
“I’m glad married life is treating you well.” Every time I saw my sister, she had a smile on her face.
She laughed softly. “It certainly is. But you didn’t come over here to compliment me. What’s up, Luc?”
“I can’t just come over to see how my sister is?” When she just gave me a look, I snorted. “Yeah, I can’t pull that off. I did actually want to talk to you about something. You know how I’ve been looking for my birth father.”
“Oh,” Loralee said, suddenly looking very stiff. “Yeah, I remember.”
“Well, I found him. I have his address in Champs Les Sims. Alison and I are going to go meet him in December.”
“You’re…going to meet him? Are you really sure about this, Luc?”
Not really, but I knew Alison was right about why I needed to do it. “Yes. I’ve thought about this a lot – over and over again. I need to do this.” I looked at her almost pleadingly. “If anyone can understand, I would think it would be you, Loralee.”
“I understand.” She looked like she wanted to fight me on this but good sense was winning out. She let out a frustrated breath. “I do understand. I had to go down that road with Huy. I guess I’m just afraid for you, baby brother. I don’t want you getting hurt.”
“I’d rather that not happen either,” I said with a crooked smile. “But that door is open, and it always will be until I find out what’s on the other side. Either I need to close it for good or walk through it.”
“Do you want me to go with you? Tommy and I will probably be going to Germany in December anyway. Driving to another country in Europe is pretty much like visiting another state.”
I smiled. “Thanks for the offer, but I’ll pass. I don’t want to overwhelm the guy if he is interested in seeing me. If things go well, then I’ll introduce you all to him later. Alison has been going through this with me.”
“I suppose that’s fair.” Loralee leaned over and hugged me. “But you just say the word, and I’ll go wherever you need me to, okay?”
I hugged my sister tight. “Understood.”