I knocked at the farmhouse where the Wings lived. Rosalba answered the door, and beamed at me when she saw me.
“Miss Danevbie!” she said. “Come in! I’m so happy to see you! Guess what? We found a potato and it looks just like Old Man Chambers! You know who Old Man Chambers is?”
I laughed, nodding. “Yes, I know him. I can’t wait to see the potato but first I need to talk to your parents. Are they around?”
Her face fell a bit. “Oh, yes. I’ll go get them. MAMA! PAPA!” She took off running and I made myself comfortable in the living room. I had no idea what I was going to say. I didn’t want to intrude on their grief but I needed to know. Especially if they didn’t know that she was dead.
Mr. and Mrs. Wing came in and Rosalba tried to show me the potato. I admired it and admitted that it did, indeed, look a lot like Old Man Chambers. But then I sent her off again so I could talk to her parents in private. She went outside to play and I turned back to the Wings, crossing my legs and trying to figure out what to say. I was offered something to drink but I turned it down.
“Mr. Wing, Mrs. Wing, I need to talk to you about something private, and important,” I said and they exchanged worried looks. “It’s about your… daughter. Bianca.”
They both stiffened and Mrs. Wing hid her face. “Mrs. Danevbie,” Mr. Wing said slowly. “I do not understand why you are mentioning this. Bianca… Bianca has been gone for years.”
I tried to figure out if he meant ‘gone’ as in missing, or ‘gone’ as in dead. “Do you mind telling me what happened?” I asked carefully.
He stood up and stalked over to the window, staring out with a sad look. “She did something very bad, and paid for her mistake.”
“She was pregnant,” I said, wishing I didn’t have to probe like this.
Mr. Wing had had enough. He spun around, glaring at me. “I don’t understand why you even need to talk to us about her! It’s over!”
“Libano…” Mrs. Wing stood up and went to her husband’s side. “She’s part of the researchers, the scientists. Don’t yell at her.” She turned to me and I could see the sadness in her eyes. “I am terribly sorry about that. Bianca… well, we loved her dearly. Losing her was very hard on us. We love Ancora, you see. We thought she did as well.” Mrs. Wing sighed heavily.
I hesitated. “Pardon me for asking but, ah, what does loving Ancora have to do with what happened with your daughter?”
Mrs. Wing looked quizzically at me. “Everything! I assumed you knew, otherwise why would you be bringing her up? Ma’am… Bianca left Ancora, she chose to leaves years ago.”
I hadn’t the heart to tell them the truth. I just thanked them and left, going back to Acinert and spending a lot of time in my office. I tried looking up ‘Bianca Wing’ on my computer and only found a little bit of information, mentioning her death. I looked up ‘Verna Hart’ and found the same information. According to what was put up, they did have very similar deaths. Their babies also died. Was this just mere coincidence?
I felt a headache coming on and I felt the desire to just go home. But I couldn’t. I needed to think logically, to figure out what was going on. There was something wrong with Ancora. There was something wrong with these deaths. Why hadn’t the Wings been told the truth? Were the Harts going to be told the same thing?
I sat back, twirling in my chair, wondering if I should talk to Lloyd. Was he the father of Verna’s child? What about the father of Bianca’s baby? Did he know the truth?
There was a knock at the door and Kay came in without waiting for me to say anything. He looked worried. “L-Luna… Dr. D-Dearg n-needs to see you in h-her office…” I got up but he didn’t move away from the door. “L-Luna… what h-have you been d-doing? My s-sister is mad.” His voice dropped and his eyes darkened a bit.
I put my hand against my chest, wanting to run away. Jay, mad? “Did she say what was going on?” I asked.
Kay shook his head. “She’s v-very stormy. I–” He stopped and looked away. “Very s-stormy. Be on y-your t-toes.”
I thanked him and headed to Jay’s office, trying to remember the way. I got lost only once but got to her door. I knocked at it and only rapped once when she told me to come in. I very slowly opened the door and went in, looking at her for signs of anger. She looked blank, with a hint of coldness.
“Sit down,” she said before I could say anything. I shut the door and crept over to the chair, sitting down. “How are you doing?”
I folded my hands in my lap and waited for the tornado. “I am doing okay,” I replied. “And you?”
“I am fine,” she said, her voice sliding like poison. “Except for one little thing. Do you know what that one little thing is, Danevbie?”
Danevbie, I thought. She called me that only when she was truly angry at me. “No, I don’t know. Redding.”
She lifted one eyebrow but otherwise showed no emotion. “It seems that one of my highly valued employees has been poking their nose into business that is not theirs.”
“What business is that?” I asked, feigning ignorance.
Jay slammed her hands down on her desk, causing me to jump. “Don’t play games with me, Danevbie. Why have you been looking up information about Hart and Wing?”
I lifted my chin. “Well, I wanted to know why Miss Hart mentioned Miss Wing. I thought it was curious, so I looked up information. They died the same way, didn’t they?”
“That is neither here nor there,” Jay said, leaning forward, her eyes glittering like snake eyes. “There are some things at this institution that I see no need for you to know about. There are things kept from every employee. The only people who know everything are me, and my brother.”
“I don’t see why you need to get so upset over this,” I said, squeezing my hands to stop them from shaking. I had the distinct feeling that I was about to be fired.
“You also talked to the Wings,” she stated and I pulled back. “Yes. I know you did. To discuss their daughter.”
“Yes,” I mumbled. “How come they think she left?”
At first I thought she’d just prattle on about me not needing to know, but this time she really surprised me. “I felt that it would be better to keep them from the truth. Either way, their daughter is gone. This way they at least can think she’s alive and happy.”
That’s uncharacteristic of her, I thought rather moodily. I didn’t quite believe her words, but didn’t press her about it. “I didn’t think there was anything wrong with looking up simple things such as the deaths of two young ladies. After all, I am only just below you and your brother. Right?”
She scowled slightly and turned her head. “I suppose. As long as you keep yourself out of delving into past events of this institution unless otherwise asked.”
“Jay, how come two, unrelated young ladies of this institution both died the same way? And their babies died the same way? Isn’t that unusual?”
“I just asked you to stop snooping!” Jay snarled. “People die all the time, Danevbie.”
“This isn’t the olden days!” I exclaimed. “Women do die in childbirth but it’s not as common as it used to be. How come Verna was under the impression that Bianca’s baby was taken away?”
Jay threw her hands in the air. “I have no idea! Which one is which?”
I gaped at her then closed my mouth. “Bianca Wing, and Verna Hart.”
“I see. I have no idea why Hart was under such an impression. You would have had to ask her, and she is dead. Now,” Jay said swiftly, “I suggest you take your leave before I force your leave.”
I gripped the arms of the chair. “Will Verna’s family be informed of the truth, or the lie?” I inquired.
Jay ground her teeth. “Danevbie. You are on the brink of unemployment. There is only so much give I will give. I have already given you a lot of leash because of who you are. Anyone else would have been out of here by now.”
“I just want to know what’s going on here!” I said, jumping to my feet. “There is something going on at Ancora! I deserve to know why, as a ‘highly valued employee’! I think this is all a cover up for–for–for something!”
Jay smoothly stood up, her fingers linking together. “You have a strong imagination, Danevbie. And you have been causing a bit of trouble. Accusing me of kidnapping your sister, and now this? Covering up? What am I covering up? You are as insane as your father!”
My finger went in her face. “Don’t you ever say anything about my father! He is millions better than you!”
She pushed my hand away and then grabbed my hair, twisting my head back. “You have pushed my buttons way too many times! You are going to regret this! You won’t just be fired, you–YOU–are going to–“
But what I was going to, she never said. The door opened and Kay ran in. “Sister!” he shrieked. “L-let go of her!”
Jay stared at him then glared at me, releasing my hair. I stumbled back, clutching my head. “You best be glad I am merely going to fire you. And that idiotic, senseless husband of yours.”
Kay hurried forward, putting his hands up. “You c-can’t do that! Th-they have k-kids, and b-besides… L-Luna is one of our b-b-best workers, and s-so is K-Kellen!” He turned to me, eyes big. “Luna, d-do you l-like working here?”
I began trembling, looking back and forth. Jay spoke before I could. “Are you suggesting I give this brat another chance?”
Kay gulped, wringing his hands, nodding fervently. “If sh-she wants t-to. I th-think you j-just n-need to calm d-down, for one m-minute. Think! You’ve l-liked her, you s-still do. I know you d-do!” Jay frowned and rolled her eyes, and Kay continued. “You s-said l-last week th-that she’s one of the b-best things that’s happe-happened to this p-place.”
I looked at Jay who looked very angry. I knew that Kay spoke the truth. Jay had said that! Though… whether that’s a good thing or not, I wasn’t sure. “She is the most valued employee here,” Jay grudgingly admitted.
Kay turned to me. “Do y-you want to k-keep working here?”
I stepped back, pressing my lips together. “I assumed I was fired. Jay seemed rather adamant about it.”
“I suppose, if you truly want to work here, I may reconsider what I said earlier,” Jay said with a halfhearted shrug. “As long as you promise not to pursue meddling into what you do not need to meddle in.”
“And Kellen?” I asked. “Why would you fire him? Because of me? That’s not legal.”
“I… spoke out of anger,” she said, very disinterested in everything now. “Just answer me.”
I looked at her, then at Kay. He was anxious for my answer and I could tell he wanted me to stay here. I just didn’t know what to do! Part of me knew the best thing would be to march out of there and rid myself of Jay. But… Kellen would be fired, too. And illegal or not, I figured Jay would slip away from any authorities I informed. The triplets were going to be starting school in a couple years–and to pay for college, three at once! Sure we could find jobs elsewhere… but then…
All I could see were Rosealba’s big eyes and big smile. She adored me and I had a dreadful feeling that if I left, something horrible would happen to her. I had to stay, as bad as it was. There was nothing I could do to Jay if I left, it would serve no purpose other than getting away from Jay which, I admitted, was tempting. Except what would happen ten years down the line? Knowing what she did to my grandfather, she had no regard for her experiments. She most likely had no regard for the lives in Ancora. So what if I left? Just abandon them to Jay’s sick wrath? Could I live with myself doing that? But could I live with myself continuing working here?
She’s spied on you, she knows about your kids, I thought but that was quickly replaced with the knowledge that if she was truly interested in what I was doing than no where on this planet would be safe. What was the difference between a few miles and a few thousand miles? If she wanted us, then there was no difference.
“Yes,” I said finally. “I would like to stay, and I promise not to… snoop.”
Jay waved her hand dismissively. “Good. Now, go.”
Kay pulled me put of the office and asked if I was okay. I shrugged, shaking his hand off my arm. “Thank you for sticking up for me.”
His answer shocked me more than anything Jay said in her office. He smiled and said, “Wh-what are g-grandfathers for?”
I stared at him for a few seconds then smiled. “Thank you,” I said again. “I’m going to head back to my office, try to… calm down.” I really needed to try to calm down after all the emotion I went through. I wouldn’t snoop anymore, not purposely. But if I happened to notice something or overhear something well, that wasn’t my fault, now was it?
There was something bad going on, and I couldn’t just abandon Rosie; I would discover the truth. No matter how long it took.