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Blue(16)
Danielle Steel

“You’re leaving again soon?” he asked with a sorrowful look. He had heard what she had said to Becky. He had just met her, and now he was about to lose her, too.

“Not for a while,” she said calmly. She could see fear of abandonment on his face and in the deep blue eyes. His hair was clean, and he looked immaculate in her pajamas, as they sat down on the couch. “I might go sometime in January, but I don’t know yet. But then I’ll come back. I always do.” She smiled at him.

“What if you get killed?” She was about to say “no one will miss me,” but she could see in his face that he would, although they hardly knew each other. He looked panicked at the thought of her leaving.

“I won’t get killed. I’ve been doing this for two and a half years. I’m good at it. And I’ll be careful. Don’t worry. Now let’s talk about what we’re going to do today. We both hate Christmas, so let’s do something that has nothing to do with the holiday. What do you like to do? Go to movies? Go bowling? Do you ice-skate?”

He shook his head in answer, still worried. “I used to bowl with my aunt Charlene, before…before she got too busy.”

Ginny could tell that there was something he wasn’t telling her, but she didn’t want to pry. “Want to try it?”

“Okay,” he said, smiling slowly.

“And then we can go to the movies, and have dinner.” It sounded like a slice of heaven to him. She wanted him to have a good time while he was with her. She had no idea what would happen after that. All they had to do was get through the day, and make it a decent Christmas for both of them. She had been planning to stay in bed and read and finish her report, but that wasn’t in the cards now. She could do it later.

After she took them to the machines in the basement, Blue’s clothes were clean and dry an hour later, and they went downtown to a bowling alley that she called to make sure was open. Neither of them was good at the game, but they had a ball playing, and then they went to a movie. She picked an action film in 3D she thought he’d like, and he loved it. He had never seen 3D before, and he was mesmerized by it. And then they had hot dogs for dinner at a deli, and stopped at a small grocery store for food before they went back to her apartment. It was dark and snowing again when they got back to her place. She asked if he’d like to sleep on the couch again, instead of going back to the shed, and he nodded. She made the bed up for him, and she left him there, watching TV, and went to her bedroom. Becky called her as soon as she lay down.

“You’re still alive? He hasn’t killed you yet?” She was only half-kidding. She had been worried sick about her all day, about her mental state and poor judgment to have done something so dangerous.

“No, and he’s not going to. It’s Christmas, Becky, give the kid a break.” She had given him more than a break, she had given him a great time, and they had both loved it.

“Will you get him out of there tomorrow?”

“I’ll see. I want to get him to the right place. He’s afraid of shelters.”

“Oh, for chrissake. I’m afraid for your life. Who cares if he’s afraid of shelters? Where’s his family?”

“I don’t know yet. His parents are both dead. He used to live with his aunt, but something went wrong there.”

“This isn’t your problem, Ginny. There are millions of homeless people in the world. You can’t take them all in. You can’t heal all the broken and wounded in the world. Just take care of yourself. Why don’t you look for a job in New York? I think all this humanitarian work you do gives you a Mother Teresa complex. Instead of picking up homeless orphans off the street, come and visit your father.” Ginny ignored the tart remark. Becky sounded tired.

“I don’t have a family to come home to, Becky,” Ginny reminded her. “It allows me to dedicate my life to others.”

“You have us. Move back to L.A.”

“I can’t. That would kill me,” Ginny said sadly. “And I don’t want a desk job in New York. I like what I’m doing. It fulfills me.”

“You can’t run around the world for the rest of your life. And if you want a family to come home to, you have to stay somewhere for more than ten minutes and stop going to war zones, and working in refugee camps. You need a real life, Gin, while you can still have one. If you do that stuff for long enough, you won’t be able to settle down again.”

“Maybe I don’t want to,” she said honestly. Then Becky had to drive her younger daughter to meet a friend, and mercifully got off the phone, and Ginny spent the rest of the evening reading, while Blue watched TV in the living room. She went to check on him at ten o’clock, and he was sound asleep in his bed on the couch, with the remote still in his hand. Ginny gently took it from him and put it on the trunk in front of him, covered him with the blanket, and turned off the light. Then she went back to her bedroom and closed the door, and read until midnight. She thought about what Becky had said to her, and she knew they were convinced she was crazy for taking Blue in, but it felt right to her for now, at this moment. She would figure it out later. She wanted to convince him to contact his aunt, and let her know he was okay. And then she wanted to get him into a good shelter where they could help him. For now, he was her mission. And by the time she left again, she wanted to know he was in good hands. She was convinced there was a reason their paths had crossed, and she was sure that was it. She was meant to get him to safe harbor, and she vowed to herself that she would. She turned off the light, and two minutes later she was sound asleep.

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