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Manhattan, New York
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Tina shifted nervously on the couch in her and Bette’s home. Her mind was swirling. Eric and Lexi had just told her that Bree found out about her birth father. ‘This is all my fault.’ Tina kicked herself for being so careless—she left the original birth certificate where Bree could find it. Now her daughter was missing and was likely on her way to find Paul.
Tina looked Lexi in the eyes and could sense her pain. “I should have never asked you not to tell Bree.”
Tina flashed back to the night she and Eric told Lexi the truth about her sister.
Yale Campus, New Haven, Connecticut
The call Tina received from Carol, Lexi’s roommate, late into the night was strangely vague. “She’s not hurt or anything, but she’s really upset, and I can’t get her to stop crying. She only wants to talk to you. Can you come up right now?”
The drive up to New Haven was tense with Eric and Tina barely saying a word to each other. Each rode in the car, immersed in their fears. ‘What happened to my baby girl?’
Once inside Morse Hall, Eric and Tina quickened their pace, cursing that Lexi’s room was at the furthest end of the hallway. Finally, they reached her room and knocked. Carol opened the door and said, “She’s calmed down a bit, but she still won’t tell me what happened.” She grabbed her backpack. “I’ll leave you guys alone.” She left and closed the door behind her.
Lexi was curled up in a ball on the far end of her bed, clutching a pillow. She sniffled. Her eyes were red and swollen. She had a blank distant look on her face. To Tina, that look was unmistakable. She had that same look almost 17 years ago, and she knew the pain associated with it.
Eric stood at the door and watched as Tina sat on the bed next to Lexi. She gently caressed her daughter’s cheek, then lifted her chin to look her in the eyes. She softly said, “I know, baby. I know. What did he do to you?”
Tears began to roll down Eric’s face when he realized the unthinkable connection Tina and Lexi now shared.