I shut my eyes and try to think about what I know so far. However, my mind keeps returning to this information about Paris. Adopted. I try to put myself in my shoes and imagine how I’d feel if I realized that the people I thought were my parents weren’t, and that they’d been lying to me all my life. That would mean Libby isn’t my sister—a thought guaranteed to bring a smile to my face. It probably also would mean that Rayne isn’t my real name—another cheerful thought. Maybe this adoption thing wouldn’t be as bad as I imagined. Then I think about my father and something hits me in the gut. Not being his real daughter? Hell, no. That would kill me to find out. Even though Paris is not close to his mother and fairly hated his father before his father died, he must still be shocked by the news—especially finding out in this manner.
I stare at the blank television for some time. My mind is racing with no real thoughts, just more glimmers of this and that. I am tempted to call Paris’s mother back and cuss her out for not telling him the truth sooner. I don’t know what she was thinking, despite my attempt at defending her. She must have known that she couldn’t keep it from him forever, and yet, she never told him. I wonder what her motivation was for keeping it a secret. I pick up the phone, ready to hit the redial button. I hang up without doing so. Another call by me to her will be counterproductive. There is nothing more that she’ll be willing to tell me at this point. Better to wait and let it stew in her mind for a bit.
The phone rings, but I’m in no mood to answer it. If I try to make chitchat right now, I’ll go out of my mind. I can only focus on the stunning revelation that Paris just laid on me. I don’t know how to react. No matter how supportive I am of Paris and what he’s going through, a part of me is repulsed by the idea of Max being his mother. Not just because I don’t like the woman and think she’s a blight to humankind. If it’s true, she knowingly had sex with Paris—no, she seduced him!—knowing that he’s her son. What kind of fucked-up, twisted mind would think of doing such a thing? Then throwing it in his face. It’s almost as if she is punishing him for something that only she understands. If it’s true, I will never forgive her for pulling that kind of cruel trick on Paris. If it’s not true, then I curse her for making him sweat and for forcing him to discover his adoptive roots in such a manner. I don’t know what her game was, but I don’t like it any more than I like her.
I wait. I don’t bother turning on the television as there isn’t anything I want to watch. I glance at my watch periodically to make sure that I don’t fall asleep. I want to check in on Paris exactly an hour after he went into his room. I don’t think he’ll do anything stupid, but I’m not positive. I slump down on the couch, unable to sit still. I want to be a good friend to Paris, but I don’t know what he needs at this time. I mean, what would I want if I just found out I was adopted? It’s so far out of my realm of possibilities that I can’t even think what would be my reaction. My mind races to the emails that Libby sent me earlier. I have to make a decision by tomorrow what I’m going to tell her. Truthfully, I’d like to skip the whole sordid event, but I’m afraid that we will never talk to each other again if I don’t agree to go. There is no way I’m giving in on every point, however. If I don’t make a stand now, she’ll just keep chipping away until I’m a carbon copy of her. I resolve to email her stating my case gently, but firmly.
The next time I check my watch, I notice that over an hour has gone by. I stand up and stretch, feeling as if I’ve aged ten years in the last hour. I walk to Paris’s room, curiously reluctant to interfere with his emotions. There are some things that even a best friend shouldn’t be privy to, and this is one of them. This kind of news is best left revealed by the one to whom the news most affects, in this case, Paris. Unfortunately, given the circumstances, we don’t have time to play by the conventional rules. We need the information fast, and we need it unvarnished. That means that Paris doesn’t have the luxury of sulking over it or hoarding it to himself. Like it or not, he has to share what he knows with the good inspector as soon as possible. It falls upon my shoulders to convince him of this. Squaring my shoulders, I knock on Paris’s door. Without waiting for a reply, I go on in. Paris is curled up on his bed, staring at the wall. I know he’s not looking at his drawings or anything else. He is simply staring blankly at the wall.