I’m not sure how to react. What to say or not say. Why it matters.
“Where were you?”
I touch my forehead. I feel a headache coming on. But then I think of something. “What day is it?” I ask, suddenly not sure how long I’ve slept. If it was for hours or days.
“We’re supposed to get Emma.” I’m doing the math. It’s almost ten o’clock here, which means it’s four in the afternoon there. Did he change his mind? Is this another trick?
“Tell me about that year, Vittoria,” he asks calmly.
I push my chair back.
“Stay,” he says.
I stop. “You said we’d fly to New York.”
“It’s being handled.”
“Tell me about the year, and I’ll tell you about Emma.”
At that, my gaze jumps to his, and he must see my panic because before I can say anything, he speaks.
“Relax.” He pours more wine, but I don’t touch it. Does he really think I’ll sit here and drink wine now? “Nothing bad has happened.”
He gestures to the wine as he corks the bottle and sets it aside. “Drink.”
I drink a loud gulp, the food I ate feeling too heavy in my stomach.
“Tell me about the missing year, Vittoria, and I’ll tell you about Emma,” he repeats.
“You will use a little girl to get what you want.”
“I will.” He says it without any shame or emotion at all. I think this is the most frightening thing about this man. The ability to switch off his emotions so completely.
“I wasn’t well,” I say, but I’m not sure why. The words sound almost robotic even to me. I try to think. “It was around the time my mom got pregnant with Emma. My dad… He took me to a specialist. That’s all. Please tell me about Emma. Please, Amadeo. I am begging.”
“I don’t remember his name.” I rack my brain, but that year is truly a blur for me. I don’t remember much of it at all. “Tilbury. Dr. Tilbury.” It comes from nowhere, and I’m not even sure it’s right.
“What’s Dr. Tilbury’s first name?” I shake my head, shrug my shoulders. “Man, woman? Location of the clinic because I’m assuming it was a private clinic?”
“Why does it matter?”
“Call me curious.”
“Dr. Tilbury was a man. And somewhere in Upstate New York. That’s all I can remember, I swear. And there’s nothing more to it. I just... I don’t know. I wasn’t well.”
He studies me as if he’s trying to see if I’m lying or leaving anything out. I’m not.
“Are you going back on your word to bring her?” I ask, my heart falling because he can. He can do anything he wants.
He shakes his head. “You asked where Bastian was. He’s in New York. Left yesterday.”