George handed Wendy the picture of her, a strange man, and Marie as a baby. Her eyes grew wide upon seeing it and then placed it on Marie’s neatly made bed.
“What about it?” she asked coldly.
“I have a theory of who this man is, but I’m need your help to prove it.” George explained. “The man in this photograph is Marie’s father, am I right?”
Lilah cocked an eyebrow at George. She didn’t know where he was going with this one. She didn’t even know what made him come to this conclusion in the first place. She looked over at Wendy who remained calm on the bed, but now her lips were pressed together tightly and her gaze lingered towards the ground.
Adam chuckled and stepped forward. “Um, Detective. I’m Marie’s father.”
“Yes, you’re Marie’s father because you raised her. But you’re not her father by blood.” George stated nonchalantly. He looked back at Wendy. “Isn’t that right?”
Wendy stood up hugging herself. “What on earth gave you that idea? I have no idea who this man is.”
“The photo was taken the year Marie turned a year old.” Adam explained softly. “I was there when Marie was born. I was there when you told me you were pregnant. So who is the man and why did you visit him with our baby?”
“He’s an old friend.” Wendy scoffed.
“You mean he’s an old flame?” Lilah smirked. George glared at her. She shrugged her shoulders apologetically, but she wanted to be part of the action somehow.
“Marie knew she had another father and she wanted to go meet him. That’s why she left. Where she went to go find him, I have no idea. Though I assume it’s far away because of the amount of money that was given to her…” George explained.
“Given to her?” Adam repeated glancing at his wife.
Wendy folded her arms and sat back down on the bed turning the other way.
“You told me that your wife handles the bank accounts, right?” George asked.
Lilah gasped nodding her head. She was finally putting the pieces together. She pointed to Wendy. “You willingly gave Marie the money. That’s why you didn’t say anything when you noticed the money was gone. Why did you give your teenager so much cash? This is nuts!”
“Lilah,” George shot her another warning glance, but Adam stepped forward.
“No, she’s right. This is nuts. Wendy, tell us what happened.”
Wendy rolled her eyes. “Marie has always known that you’re not her biological father. She loves you and I do as well, with our whole hearts. Though she did want to meet her flesh and blood and I can’t really say that I blame her. His name is Mike and he lives on the other side of the country, so I allowed her to take a mini-vacation.”
“Without bothering to ask me? We could have taken a family vacation together. You should have told me that Marie wasn’t my child!” Adam raised his voice.
“Well, that’s why I didn’t tell you. I knew you would get upset by the fact that I cheated on your right before we got married.” Wendy shrugged as though it were no big deal.
Everyone in the room stared at her. Lilah shook her head slightly not believing her ears. This woman was certainly a piece of work.
“I had pre-wedding jitters so we did it real quick the night before. He was an old boyfriend, so it’s not like I grabbed a complete stranger. I’m not an animal.” Wendy defended herself.
Adam covered his head with his hands and began to pace the room.
“Well,” George sighed, “I guess we’re done here.” He turned to Adam. “So you’re daughter wasn’t kidnapped. She left willingly and had a lot of help.”
“She’ll be back next week.” Wendy stated matter-of-factly.
“Then all three of us are going to have a serious talk!” Adam glared at his wife. Then he turned to George with more calming eyes. “What about Mare’s boyfriend? Did he go with her?”
“No, he hated the idea. He threatened to tell you.” Wendy rolled her eyes. “What a brat.”
“I knew I liked that kid.” Adam muttered.
“You didn’t like him a couple hours ago when you thought he kidnapped her.” Lilah snorted. George elbowed her.
What? She didn’t have any clue as to what happened and then out of nowhere George had it all figured out. She felt the need to add her two cents in somewhere, even if they were snarky remarks.
Adam stretched out a hand to George. “Thank you. I’ll mail you a check.”
George shook his head and dipped his head in a slight nod. “Call me if you have anymore questions.” he motioned for Lilah to lead the way out.
As Lilah walked by Wendy, she sighed. “Good luck.” George then gently pushed her out the door.
Lilah didn’t say anything to George on their way back home, but the moment they stepped into George’s office, her mouth was running with questions. She had no idea how he was able to figure it out so quickly and on so little information as well.
“I had a whim and went for it.” George shrugged sitting down on the couch.
“I thought you weren’t supposed to accuse anyone without proper evidence?” Lilah mocked him while staring down at him.
George chuckled. “Yeah, well we were pressed for time. The mother was already acting strangely the moment we met her. So I assumed she had something to do with it. When I saw the picture of Mike, everything fell into place for me.”
“Marie looks nothing like Adam. She doesn’t even have many features of her mother. So when I saw that old photo, I realized that Marie looked just like Mike. Add that with Wendy getting nervous about the whole situation and acting as though she didn’t care, I just had a hunch. When I showed her the picture, her face said it all.” George explained.
Lilah nodded. She needed to be more observant from now on if George was able to solve problems just by the way people look. She sat down beside him on the couch. “Poor Adam.” She sighed.
“Poor Wendy.” George chuckled.
“You think they’ll get divorced?” Lilah asked.
“Oh, definitely.” George nodded. “Wendy dug herself a hole the moment she cheated on her fiancé the day before their wedding. Instead of trying to climb out, she just went further into the ground.”
“Maybe she was trying to dig a tunnel to the other side of the country where Mike is.” Lilah laughed.
George shook his head amused.
Lilah leaned back against the couch with a smile on her face. It was nice that they had wrapped up a case in a less than 24 hours and no one even got hurt… Except for poor Adam’s emotions. Either way, it was pretty successful.
It was just another day in the office.