Dirty Daddies

Page 84

He doesn’t believe me, I can see it in his eyes, and I’m so fucking angry that these people want to see the best in me, even when I’m lying to them. Even when all the evidence is stacked and I’m standing right in the middle of the home they think I destroyed today.
“Well, are you sure?” Mike tries again. “He’s tall, stocky, wears a hoodie with a dragon on the sleeve. He has a tattoo under his right ear, of a–”
“A snake,” I say, and I don’t understand. “But that’s not Kevin Baker.”
He tips his head, smiles just a little. “That’s definitely Kevin Baker, Carrie. I’d recognise him a mile off. I saw him skulking back along the lane a few minutes ago. I’d a good mind to pull over and demand to know what the fuck he’s doing round these parts.” He pauses. “But I think I know now. I think it’s pretty obvious. So why don’t you just tell me how you know him and we can get this mess straightened out?”
Even now his eyes are so kind and calm.
“Tell us what the fuck’s going on!” Jack barks, and it brings me to my senses.
I look from one to the other and know there’s no running from this.
“That’s not Kevin Baker,” I whisper. “That’s my brother, Eli. The first brother I remember.”
Jack’s eyes widen but not as wide as Michael’s.
“How long have you known him as Eli?”
“He is Eli!” I yell.
“How long, Carrie?”
I shake my head, trying to block out everything. All of this. “Since I was fourteen,” I admit. “He found me, came looking for me. Said he was still my brother.”
“Carrie,” Michael says and his voice is so calm. “That’s not Eli, I swear. I have Kevin’s case file, and I have Eli’s too. He came for help with socialisation skills nearly a decade ago. I knew you used to live with his parents, I saw it in your file when you first arrived. He’s at law school now, in Birmingham.”
I shake my head. “No.”
“Yes,” he says. “I swear I wouldn’t lie to you, Carrie. However Kevin knows you, it’s not because he was your brother.”
“What the fuck?!” Jack snaps, and his eyes soften. “Did he hurt you? Is that sonofabitch the one who bruised your wrists?”
Michael’s eyes go straight there and I can’t pull my cuffs down quickly enough.
“It was him, wasn’t it?” Michael asks. “It was Kevin, all those times they thought it was you, it was Kevin.”
“Eli,” I whisper. “It was Eli.”
But Eli isn’t Eli and I know that now.
I think back to how we met.
I think back to bumming a smoke from a guy in an alleyway, and he looked so similar, so fucking similar.
And that’s when he told me he’d been looking for me. That’s when he told me he knew me and offered me inside.
I knew he was Eli, I just knew it. I called him Eli and he said it was him.
He said he was my brother, and I believed him.
I believed everything he said.
Because I wanted to.
I wanted to believe he really was looking for me, and I wanted to believe he really loved me.
I slip to the floor, not caring if there’s broken glass there, not caring about anything.
And then I tell them everything.
Finally, for once in my life, I tell someone everything.Chapter Twenty-EightMichaelAnd suddenly all the pieces fit into place.
She’s in a daze as she heads through to the living room and sits herself down on the slashed sofa. She pulls her knees up to her chest and hugs them tight as Jack sits alongside her and I drop to my knees on the floor.
“It’s alright, Carrie,” I say, “you can tell us.”
And she does. She tells us everything.
She tells us how happy she was to find her brother. She tells us the story of what happened all those years ago in Eli’s family home. She tells us how they thought it was her assaulting their younger daughter and leaving bruises on her arms, but it wasn’t. It was Eli, and that makes sense too. The kid was troubled when I met him, narcissistic to the point it gave me shivers. Thoroughly dissociated from those around him.
And now he’s studying law, blending into the student populous no doubt oblivious to the pain he caused the broken girl sitting before me.
He didn’t mention Carrie once in all our sessions. I only saw her name in the family history section of his case file.
Kevin Baker told Carrie everything she wanted to hear, and I don’t blame her for believing him. A girl who had nothing and no one. The promise of a family she loved and lost coming back to find her.
I know he was the one who took her before us before she says anything. I can imagine the details before she speaks them, but they break my heart all the same.