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This week I have jumped forward quite a bit and am now in the hero's -Joshua's- POV
“What’s on your mind, Josh?”
No way to say it other than straight out, Josh decided. “Do you believe you can find Mandy after all this time? Aren’t you at a stage where you’re simply chasing windmills?”
“Is that what you’re really asking, or are you wondering whether I’m racking up your parents’ bill for my own benefit?” The reply was as straight up as his question, so why did resentment curl in his gut?
He had wondered that, once upon a time, but not now. He’d spent two weeks last year working beside the guy, seen his dedication to the search, witnessed his frustration when he discovered a lead had died or been a wild goose chase. “No I don’t think that, and I’m sorry the thought even crossed your mind.” Josh stepped back held the P.I.’s gaze, “But what will Shawn unearth that you’ve failed to?”
“I don’t know. But there’s always a chance something will turn up. For instant, look at that woman over there…” He pulled out a digital profile of what the professionals thought Mandy would look like now and then pointed to a woman throwing hoops in the hope of winning the giant purple teddy bear. “For all we know she could be married with kids of her own by now. It’s a reasonable assumption.”
Why had the thought that if she survived, Mandy could be married never entered his mind? And why did it disturb him so much? Josh looked over at the stall where the faint tinkle of laughter carried on the warm air and wondered if it was hers. Something about her raised the hairs on the back of his neck. A finger of breeze caught a loose strand of her hair and flipped it across her face.
“From the back she could be a dead ringer for that photo.” Josh tapped the sheet in the P.I’s hand. “What are you going to do?”
Together they watched the woman shake her head, laugh, and then turn away from the stall.
“I think it’s time I tried my hand at a few of those stands,” he said and sauntered off.
Josh followed, keeping his distance. He wanted to see the woman’s face. So far he’d seen her back and her profile, but the prickling sensation on his neck had him inching closer. He cast a glance over his shoulder towards the tea-tent and saw his father studying him through narrowed eyes. Their gazes locked before Josh saw the slightest nod. His father had seen the woman too and was watching for the outcome. Joshua just hoped his mother hadn’t been so observant.
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