I ran up the stairs as fast as I could, taking several at a time. I opened the door to the study and shut it behind me. I turned the key and waited for Markus to reply to me.
"What is it you need?" he asked.
"You'll never guess what just happened. Emma turned up at my house and basically tells me I had a daughter. She never even fucking told me she was fucking pregnant," I hissed.
"And you want me to find out if she was telling the truth?" he asked.
"Do you not have any other contacts you could ring for this sort of thing. Maybe some that are atually in your time zone; it's the middle of the night here."
"It is here too. We're in Indiana, at my old house."
"Oh. Wait, you went back?" Markus asked, as if he'd not heard me.
"How are you holding up?" Concern layered his voice, I could tell that without even seeing his face.
"Well, I've not tried to commit suicide," I said.
"Well we both know that would just be pointless now anyway. I wasn't talking about that anyway." The drugs, he was talking about the drugs.
"I may have had one fag," I said quietly.
"Is that it? Not the crack, or the ice? What about the heroin? LSD? Cannabis?" He was just rattling off the list of drugs we both knew were in my house.
"No, Markus, just the ecstasy. So, are you up to it or what?"
"I'll call you when I've found something. It's not going to be easy, you know? You disappeared off the face of the earth and took all your files with you."
"Then start by finding out whether Emma had a daughter."
"Talk to you soon," he said.
The line went dead and I put the phone back in my pocket. I dropped into the swivel chair that sat in front of the computer. That was a new one. We used to just have a block with a sheet of glass in it. This one was thin, with a massive screen.
I pulled the draw of the desk open. There were a bunch of files there. I saw one with my name on it. I smiled; it was my folder, with the pictures of me that I hadn't wanted my parents seeing. The ones of me with a fag in hand.
The folder opened and I slowly leafed through the pictures. There were a few in particular that caught my eye. There was one of Darran, Riley and I pulling faces at the camera, age 10 or so. The one behind it was of Emma and I at our school dance. Her blonde hair hung over her shoulders in waves and her blue eyes shone under the fairy lights. I remembered that night. My parents were out of town and Alistair was staying at a friend's. Emma and I had gone back to mine after the dance and... Well, never mind.
I looked through them a bit more and got to the pictures of me when I was about 14. That was after I'd stopped hanging around with Darran and Riley. That was when everything got really bad.
There was a picture of our group there; Emma, Charlotte, Anna, Stephan, Harry, Markus and me. Aimee must have been behind the camera. In the photo, I had my arm around Emma's waist. The other hand was a cigarette. The other guys had cigarettes between their fingers too, but their's were tobacco. I had no idea which drug the fag was in that picture. Ice, maybe, or LSD, I really wasn't sure.