Chapter 12

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The next morning, Barlow left his room and walked downstairs to the restaurant for breakfast. He chose to sit at the same table he and Pet had occupied the night before. Maybe it was his imagination, but he thought her scent still lingered mixed in with the miasma of stale beer.

He hadn't slept well after his conversation with her. She seemed happy with her life and married.

He felt miserable. It would've been better had their paths not crossed last night. Now, he couldn't stop obsessing about her and about what could have been had they stayed together. What had seemed the right thing to do back then, now in hindsight, may have been the biggest mistake of his life. He still loved her. He had never stopped loving her.

While lying in bed last night staring up at the ceiling, Barlow pondered her career choice as a state trooper. Maybe she could help him resolve the mystery surrounding his father? Maybe he was just looking for a reason to contact her again. Except, she was married. Why should he torture himself?

Considering the possibility his father might have been telling the truth, he wondered, could he spend some time researching the incident on his own? If he could discover any information that would settle his doubt one way or another over his father's involvement, it would ease his mind. Finding such information would be a long shot after so many years.

Barlow finished his breakfast and signaled for the waitress. When she approached, he asked, "Do you know if there's a library around here?"

"We have local libraries, but they aren't open Sundays. What exactly do you want to research?"

"I was hoping to look at old newspaper archives."

"Don't need a library for that," she said, "the Harrisburg newspaper covers Perry County. You can search their archives online."

Great idea. "Where can I find a computer around here?"

She shrugged. "You might ask the boss if you can use the office computer."

"Can you get the boss for me?" He handed her a ten-dollar tip.

She gawked at the ten and smiled. "Thanks, mister. Wait here."

A few minutes later, a raven-haired woman in her thirties emerged from the kitchen. She marched up to him and asked, "Can I help you?"

He was under the impression Trevor was the boss. "Is Trevor working today?"

"He'll be in later. I'm Jill, Trevor's wife."

"This may seem like an odd request, but..." Barlow explained to her his need to use a computer and asked if one might be available.

Jill looked at him with a stoic expression. "You're right. That is an odd request. As far as I know, nobody has ever asked to use our computer before."

"I wouldn't be asking except there's something important I need to research. Out here in the country, I just don't where else to go to."

She ran a hand through her hair. "I don't know. I'd have to let you sit in our office where we keep all our business records. I can't chaperone you because I'm busy preparing for the Sunday brunch crowd."

"I promise you, I have no interest in snooping around in your business. My eyes will remain locked on the computer screen."

She stood there considering it.

Barlow said, "I don't mind if you charge me extra for the service."

"Since you have a room here, we have your driver's license and credit card on file. We can track you down if anything goes missing or is found out of place." She said it with a smile, but Barlow understood the underlying threat.

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