Liberty was born on a Sunday. Her entrance in to this world ethereal. Aware and bright, were her blue eyes. Swaddled in your arms until you brought her to my breast. A new love bigger than anything we had ever known. Soul smacked.
Daddy’s girl took her first steps in to your arms. Squeaked out your name and filled you with joy. You taught her to swim in the pool out back at our ranch on Wrightwood. When we moved to North Crescent you built her a slide then a diving board. She would sing in tune with your guitar. Two voices perfectly harmonizing the alphabet, Elmo’s song and Six Little Ducks. Her fingers danced quickly over the piano keys. Your little sponge. Your little girl.
I learned to cook. Taught pre-natal yoga. And settled gladly in to a life with you, my husband, and our miracle child. Time whittled away at the walls we built. Eventually we let our guard down and went on living. Your career flourished. Music faded to the background while you concentrated on movies. Your investments grew. Life was good for us.
But … in the back of my mind always was a nugget of fear. A knowing that Damien Joseph was still out there. Cops long ago stopped returning our calls requesting an update on the case. Damien Joseph had vanished. Hadn’t resurfaced for years. That was good enough for them. But I knew better. Late at night after a long day, spent from love making and life building you’d confess that sometimes you thought about him too. He still owned a piece of us both. It wasn’t the fans or a rogue paparazzo that made us cling to Liberty so tight, it was him.
So, it goes without saying I wasn’t surprised when he appeared back in our life. Liberty was nine. Her brother Danny, just three. We were lazying away the day on the beach in Malibu. Your friend’s beach front castle borrowed for the week. Danny was collecting shells and Liberty was learning to surf. I was a hundred pages deep in a mystery, you were watching a bird swoop in and out of the waves. Our day was very California. Lovely really. Until a bullet ripped through my temple and I fell in to your lap.