The more Mike thought about it, the more he wondered what would have possessed his father to start searching for him after four years.
I suppose the simplest way to find out would be to call him. He snorted derisively. As if. I don't believe for one second he suddenly wants to become a loving parent. He never was. Okay, he never was after I reached my teens and mom died. By then I figured out I was my own person, not someone he could mold into the image he had of the perfect son.
"I could call Mandy," he murmured. "She must still be living at home since Mr. Keefe said she's the one who had the pictures." He chuckled softly. "I bet Father blew a gasket when he found out she kept them. Call and ask for her. If Father answers the phone, I'll say I'm a friend of hers. That could work. Then I'll have her meet me somewhere."
Taking out his phone, he called the number he knew by heart, even though he hadn't used it in over four years. When it was answered, by a voice he didn't recognize, he asked to speak to Amanda O'Donnell.
"I'm sorry, you must have the wrong number," the person replied.
"Is this 555-6389?" Mike asked.
"Yes, but there's no Amanda here."
"Oh," he said dispiritedly. "I guess… How long have you had this number, if you don't mind my asking?"
"Over two years."
"Thank you." Mike sighed and hung up. "Now what?" Using his phone to go online, he ran a search for his father's name, hoping to get his new number. "What the hell?" he spat out moments later. The first thing to come up when he searched was an obituary, dated a month ago. In it, it said his father had died from a massive heart attack. He felt an instant sense of grief as he shut down his phone.
How could he have died and I didn't know about it? It must have been in the papers, and on the news. He wiped his eyes, realizing they were tearing up. Is that why Mr. Keefe is looking for me? If so, why did he say he'd been hired by Father? Something's not right here.
Turning on his phone again, Mike went back to the obituary. It was from an online newspaper site in a city halfway across the country. As he read the story, he realized his family, well his father and sister since his mother was dead, had moved there a year after he had left home.
Mike blew out a long breath. "Okay, Mr. Keefe, I think it's time I had a talk with you. Presuming of course that you're still at the shelter." He was on his feet seconds later, walking swiftly back to Crossroads House.
* * * *
Paddy followed Mike, albeit invisibly. The young man was angry and it showed.
No wonder. I would be too under the circumstances. However, it might not be such a good idea for Mike to reveal who he is to this Keefe person. At least not until I find out why the man is looking for him.
Instantly Paddy was inside Crossroads House. It took him a couple of minutes to locate Mr. Keefe in the employee's area. The man was talking to two of the people who worked at the shelter, showing them a picture.
"Nope, never seen him," one man said. The other one nodded in agreement.
Mr. Keefe's mouth tightened in apparent frustration. "Is there anyone else I could ask?"
The man shrugged. "Try Mr. Jones. He's the head of Crossroads and had been here forever. He should be in his office."
Paddy gave Mr. Keefe a small nudge, implanting the idea that he had already talked to Mr. Jones—and everyone else who worked there.
"I have already and he doesn't remember the kid either," Mr. Keefe told the men. "I guess I'll have to keep searching other places. Thanks for your help."
Mr. Keefe started toward the door to the front counter area, until one of the employees suggest he use the side door instead, saying, "We're about to get hit with all the kids who know they have to be here early to get in line for a meal and a bed."
That worked well as far as Paddy was concerned since Mike had just come in the front door. Paddy got there in time to hear Mike ask the girl at the counter "Is that man, Mr. Keefe, still here?"
"He was a few minutes ago," she replied. "I haven't seen him leave."
"Buzz me through," Mike said, and a moment later he was striding down the hallway in the employee's area with Paddy right behind him. Mike stopped to talk to a couple of people, shaking his head angrily when he found out Mr. Keefe had just left via the side door.
"You might be able to catch him," the guy suggested.
With a nod, Mike went out the door. A car was just pulling away from the curb half a block down. "Damn it all to hell," Mike growled.
Paddy, being a fairly smart angel with a penchant for investigation, took note of the license plate number. I bet Vic can track it down. Vic was one of Paddy's past charges, a private investigator who had gotten himself involved in trying to stop a blackmailer. Paddy, with help, had kept Vic from harm, more or less. Which means—he grinned—it's time to pay him a visit.