What is Mine
~ Twenty-Three ~


Forty minutes passed before Jack felt composed enough to walk. He cut the engine of the big Jag and removed the key. There was no point in further delaying the task before him. As it was, he only had a limited number of hours before the stranger's early morning deadline.

Jack no longer doubted the stranger's sincerity, nor his ability to follow through on his threats. Not after he'd exited the hospital parking garage to be greeted by a phalanx of identical nondescript vehicles that escorted the doctor all the way to the driveway of his home.

“Sweetheart?” A troubled Cassie met her husband at the front door. She balanced Robby on one hip. “What is it? What is wrong?”

“Go and put Robby down in his room,” Jack ordered. He didn't wait to see if his young wife complied, but instead made his way to their spacious living room. As usual, the plush carpet there was heavily strewn with a wide assortment of Little Robby's toys.

“You are scaring me,” Cassie declared as she entered the living room. She had heard him pull up earlier, and stood watching, afraid, as he sat unmoving in the car for nearly an hour. “Jack, just tell me.” Cassie placed a gentle hand upon his arm, which was steely with tension. “What is wrong?”

The doctor could not find a more gentle way to begin their unpleasant conversation. “Robby's father has come for him.”

“His father?” Cassie's grip on her husband's arm tightened. “Robby's parents died in a car accident!”

“No,” Jack corrected gently. “Only his mother did.”

Cassie shook her head vehemently. “That is not possible. You said the nuns told you-”

“There were no nuns.”

Jack's admission was met with silence. Cassie slowly removed her hand from his arm. “What do you mean there were no nuns?” she finally asked. Both her voice and her face were filled with a growing panic.

“I made it up,” the doctor confessed. “The truth is that I took Robby from the scene of a burning car wreck on my way home from New York that day.”