“I am so sorry, Dax. I shouldn’t have asked you to come downstairs with me.”
“Yes, you should have. And she did fine in the end.”
Patty made a sound. “Only because she got her way.” She couldn’t believe how close her aunt had been to bellowing out to everyone that Dax had been “Patty’s honey,” as she’d liked to call him. Her aunt had tried to convince her to call Dax and tell him the truth in those early days of her miscarriage. Especially after she saw the locket around Patty’s neck and asked if the boy in the tiny photo was the baby’s father. It was. And she’d worn that locket through her first year of medical school, taking it off when she was doing lab work and fastening it back around her neck afterward. And then as time went on, and it became more and more evident she was never going to try to get back in contact with Dax, it became too painful to feel its weight around her neck. So she’d stuffed it in her underwear drawer, way in the back. It was still there. And truthfully, she’d forgotten about it. So how, then, had her aunt remembered it?
Dax helped her aunt get into the passenger seat and shut the door. When he opened one of the doors to the back seat, she said, “What are you doing?”
“I’ll help you get her inside the house. She might be a little woozy still from the sedative.”
Although she’d been more cooperative, they’d still had to give her a little something to calm her nerves and keep her from reaching for the needle.
“Well, thank you. I’m sure her nurse and I could have gotten her inside.”
“Like I said, I don’t have any other cases.” He gave her a smile that looked genuine. “And I want to help.”
“Okay. If you’re sure.”
He got in the car, and they started down the road. Aunt Grace was woozy, but she was still stuck on that stupid locket. Every once in a while a jumble of words came out that were iffy, but the one constant was, “Where is the locket?” By now, Patty was ignoring the question and praying that Dax didn’t pick up on it. The last thing she wanted was for him to know she still had something of his.
She fumbled around for a question. “So you work over at the Island Clinic tomorrow?”
“How’s it going so far?”
“I like it. Nate, the chief of staff, seems to be a good guy.”
“He is. And he’s done a heck of a lot for Victoria Hospital.”
“I can see that.” He leaned so that he could catch her eye in the rearview mirror. “So what’s the story with this locket?”
“Oh, it’s nothing. Just a gift my mom gave me for graduation.”
His brows went up. “Graduation.” He drew the word out as if deep in thought.
Oh no. Here it came. He was obviously putting two and two together and was about to ask, so she decided to beat him to the punch. “My aunt hasn’t seen that locket in a long, long time, and before you ask, yes…the picture inside…is you.”
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