Barbara stared disconsolately at the floor, waiting to hear her fate. When Lillian mentioned that there was a link to her parentage in the boxes, Barbara looked up with confusion.
"Parentage? Uncle Gordon and Auntie Anne are your parents."
Without even thinking about it, she returned to the familiar nomenclature of her childhood.
"No, they're my foster parents. They raised me and I love them dearly, but I'm not biologically connected to them."
Gordon stood behind Lillian as she said this, shifting his weight from one foot to the other self consciously. He put one hand on her shoulder.
"If we had known you were looking for your birth parents, we could have helped you, Lily."
Lillian patted the hand that was still on her shoulder, and smiled up at Gordon.
"That would have required researchers, or a private detective of some sort dad. I would never ask for that kind of money. I've been saving towards it. I don't have enough to do much of a search yet."
"Did you put that money in the boxes?" Barbara asked with a concerned look on her face.
The contents of the boxes hadn't held too much interest for her until she thought there might be money in them.
"No, the money's in the bank, earning interest. "
"Oh good. If there was money in them, I would have paid you back, just in case we can't find them."
"We? Does that mean that you'll help me find them?"
"Yeah, but I'm not crawling through any garbage dump!"
Lillian smiled for the first time that day.
"I'm hoping it won't come to that. Truce?"
Lillian put her hand out for Barbara to shake. Barbara took the hand and shook it with a firm grip. Declaring a truce to end an argument was one of the things they used to do as kids.
Barbara couldn't remember a lot about her life at the theatre, but she did remember that she had been happy. Her mother had been alive, and her father hadn't been so distant toward her then.
Being at the theatre had brought back a feeling of belonging, a feeling of being at home that she hadn't had to any extent since she left.
Barbara walked over to stand beside her father.
"You've been watching the reconstruction pretty closely since they started, daddy. Do you know where they usually empty those grey bins?"
Ogden's eyebrows raised with surprise. It had been a long time since Barbara had called him daddy.
"Well, I've been renting a big dumpster to put the construction debris in. It's in the alley behind the annex. It might be a good idea to ask the foreman if he knows anything about the boxes before you go climbing around in there. There's lots of nails and broken glass."
"We will, uncle Harry,"
Lillian called behind her as she made a beeline for the door, Barbara close on her heels.
Ogden smiled. Somehow he didn't mind being called Harry so much anymore.