"Damned convoluted way to get Benjamin," I said. "Why not just be there when he was born and tell her you were willing to be responsible for him?"
"Quite honestly," Carlo replied, "because after what she'd threatened—this woman who claimed she loved me and wanted us to be a family—I didn't trust her. She was a manipulative, excuse the expression, bitch."
"I’m beginning to think that's an apt description. Now the big question, did it work? Did you get custody of him?"
"Yes. As planned, my parents cared for him until I graduated. I spent every moment I could with him until then, and he knew I was his father. As soon as I got a job, I took him and brought him up to be the fine young man he is today."
"You had no contact with Ms Engel on a personal level, once you left Chathington?"
"None whatsoever. I transferred to a college not too far from where my parents lived and earned my degree there. I never got in touch with her and she never, as far as I know, tried to track me down."
I'd been watching him carefully through out our whole conversation. As far as I could tell, unless he was a consummate actor, everything he'd told me was the truth.
"I have two questions for you," I said. "One, where is Ben now? Two, why would she be looking for him?"
Carlo smiled dryly. "Do you really think, under the circumstance, I'll tell you where to find him? As for the other, I have no idea. Why would I?"
"True," I agreed. "But I had to ask."
"Another thing, if you think you can find Ben using that"—he pointed to my computer—"forget it. He's not using his birth name, or my last name. He hasn't been since my parents took custody of him—at their lawyer's suggestion. He's still Ben, but that's it."
"Smart move." I chuckled. "Frustrating for me. Or it would be if I intended to keep on searching for him. However, given what you've told me, I'm going to tell Ms Engel that finding him is impossible because the adoption agency won't give out the information I need."
"May I ask which agency?"
"That's what she told you?"
"No. She said she didn't remember the name. When I gave her a few options she said she thought that was the one."
"Pick one from column 'A'…" He shook his head. "She wasn't even close, if she really didn't remember. I question that though. How can you not remember who you gave your baby to?"
"I tend to agree, although I suppose if you were trying to wipe out the memory of the whole incident…"
"In that case, why start looking for him over twenty years later?"
I smiled wryly. "I think that was my question to you."
"It will be interesting to find out the answer. If you can."
I chuckled. "You mean you don't believe she wants to make certain she did the right thing by him?"
"In a pig's eye," he replied acerbically. "Coleen cared about no one but herself. Hell, when it comes down to it, she probably got pregnant as a way to trap me into marriage."
"She claimed it was an accident. You wanted her on the pill so you wouldn't have to use condoms and when she agreed, you stopped using them—but too soon."