What She Never Knew

BY : SisterWine
Category: 1 through F > Cold Case
Dragon prints: 48
Disclaimer: DISCLAIMER: I do NOT own Cold Case or any of its characters. My Characters are The Canne family, Monica and Stacy and Travis DiNuccio. Please do not sue. This is FICTION. I make no money.

2009, Philadelphia, PA

The woman sat down at a table next to the window, in a small coffee shoppe. The sun bore down through the window, announcing midday. She sighed and wrapped her hands around her cup of ice coffee, exhausted from the long walk around town in the warm but cool Spring day. She squinted as she turned to look out the window, finding the sun too bright and making her feel as if she were sitting in a spotlight. Moving a stray strand of blonde bangs from her forehead and looking past her own reflection to search the crowd of passers by, she was beginning to feel disheartened by the lack of prospects to find who she was looking for.

Sipping her cool drink whilst looking out the window, she nervously bit at the end of the straw and searched each passing face of every dark-haired, male in his thirties. A sinking feeling told her she knew she wouldn't find him but she had been everywhere else she could think of, now it was time to try the places she hadn't thought of. A profile of a young man with black hair caught her eye and she gasped as he turned his head, slightly but then turned the opposite direction and hurried across the busy street, running away from her. She sat back, dejected. 

Patrons filtered in, purchased their drinks and snacks and then chose to sit and dine or take it to go. The woman was once again on the casual hunt for her mysterious, dark-haired memory she had spent the better part of four years trying to track down, with no luck. The private investigator she had hired had tracked him to the northeast corner of the city but then mysteriousy came up empty on the target's exact location.

She sat two tables down from the glass door of the shoppe and eyed both sides as the shoppe was on the southwest corner of the block. Another heavy sigh as she took a moment to look down at her melted ice coffee, which was now rapidly turning into slush, and stirred it with the long, green straw. When she looked up again, she sat up and stared at the young man with dark hair and thin build, wearing a long tan raincoat, rounding the corner and walking away from her. "Travis." Her voice kept low as not to alarm any of the other patrons. The metal chair made a low groan as she stood up, letting the metal feet drag on the brown tile floor. It was him. It had to be. Quickly, she exited the shoppe and ran after the man who had already disappeared around the corner and was now a few hundred feet from her.

Following him through the midday crowd, she never lost sight of the tan raincoat and the short black hair that was just long enough to brush against the collar of the coat. She gasped anxiously but kept pace with her target, who walked briskly towards his destination. "Trav- Travis!" She called when he slowed down to let a taxi pass, before crossing the street. When he finally came to a stop, in front of a tall, non-descript building and opened the heavy tinted glass door, her heart sank as he disappeared into the lobby. She stopped at the curb and glanced up at the name of the building, witten in large, brass letters across the top of the door; Philadelphia Police Department. Fearing she had been found out and that he, in turn, feared her stalking him, she turned and hurried across the street and hailed a taxi back to her hotel.

She sat down at the small table and flipped through a sketchbook of drawings she had kept with her. Sketches he had drawn, of her, marking her most important days. Sketches he had done from memory and sly glances, as there had been rules about staring at her, or any of the Canne children, in their youth. He had drawn them with expert precision. The last page of the book had also been of her but it had been different than all the others. The last page he had drawn of her smiling face and soft curls. She sighed and swallowed as she stared down at her penciled likeness.

~~~~~

Los Angeles, California 1978

The brown two-door sedan pulled into the curved driveway and stopped just short of the closed garage. The driver put it into park and shut off the engine before unfastening her seatbelt and turning to look at the little boy in the backseat. The woman smiled and added cheerfully, "we're here, Travis. Time to meet your new family." The woman, a social worker in her early 40s, opened her door and then walked around to the passenger door to open it and help the five-year-old out of the car, grabbing his small backpack of clothes, from the front seat. She closed the car door and then turned to reach for his hand before they walked up to the front door of, what looked to the small boy, as a large mansion that spread infinitely to the left and right.

An upscale Los Angeles neighbourhood with rows of elegant houses for the wealthy citizens, with perfect grass yards that spread for miles and only separated by brilliant white fences or expertly crafted stone walls. Curved driveways, straight driveways or wide, rounded drives and freshly trimmed and shaped trees were the only details to set the neighbourhood apart.

"Best behaviour, Travis, okay?" The woman whispered as she rang the bell and waited for the door to open. Large sunglasses with thin gold rims and feathered sandy brown hair combined with an overuse of makeup, the woman looked as though she had just finished being an extra on a female cop show.

The little boy stood still and stared at the door. With one hand holding onto her's and the other holding his blue teddy bear, he wasn't sure what was going on but the interpreter had explained that he couldn't go back to his mother and that this family was named in his mother's will, to take care of him. His clothes and shoes were brand new and his black hair had been brushed neatly with his bangs swept to the side. A lot had happened in the long year he had spent in foster care and the court system, after his mother died. An accidental overdose had been listed as the official cause of death, after an evening of partying at a friend's house. Travis DiNuccio, although born in the US, spoke only bits of English as his main language was Italian. After his mother died and he was removed from the friend of his mother's house, he silently struggled to understand what was happening to him. He shrugged and looked from the door to the woman beside him, moments before the door opened and woman in a light gray maid's outfit answered the door and showed them in.

The Canne family had gathered in the large family room, to the left of the door, off the main hall, and waited for the woman and little boy to round the corner. The wife was the first to stand and rush over to greet the guests. "Mrs. Foley, we've been waiting for you. And this must be Travis. Hello, darling. Do you remember me?" She bent down to shake his hand and offer a big smile for the unsure child. "Your mommy and I were good friends, a couple years ago. We had a picnic and went to the zoo. Do you remember that?"

Travis' eyes lit up and he nodded and gave a reluctant smile. 

Evelyn Canne had been a university classmate of Veronica DiNuccio and as such, had gotten to know Veronica's twin boys; Marco and Travis, very well. "Come on in and have a seat. This is my husband, Edward and our three children, Rachel, the oldest, Bryan and Jennifer," she pointed each out as she offered the elegant champagne-coloured sofa to the guests, which sat across from the rest of the family, "who is about your age, Travis." Evelyn lightly tapped his nose and smiled, again, at the little boy.

Travis did his best to smile at the four other people who stared back at him with mild warmth. His eyes moved over each of the family members, starting with the very stern face of Mr. Canne before moving to Rachel, the 10-year-old, and then Bryan, the eight-year-old fair-haired boy and finally to the six-year-old, Jennifer. He sat between the two women and clutched his fuzzy blue teddy bear, whom he had simply named, Blu.

The afternoon wore on and as Mrs. Foley turned to leave, she hugged Travis and told him that he was in good hands and that she would be back at the tend of the week to check on him. Running her newly manicured false nails through his black hair and whispering in his ear to "be good", she told the family goodbye and walked out of the house and over to her car. As she pulled out of the driveway, she glanced over at the open door and saw the little boy still standing there, silently pleading with her to take him with.

~~~~~

Later in the evening, the woman took to the streets again, this time searching for his last known address, via taxi. The car stopped at the entrance of a tall, well-kept apartment building and the driver let know this was the address she had given him. Quickly shoving the old, faded photograph of him and his mother back into her small, red purse, she told him to wait whilst she went upstairs. She opened the door and took a breath before hastily walking into the lobby and up to the lift. She pushed the button and waited for the doors to open before stepping in and pressing the fourth floor button. Her stomach had tangled itself into a knot as the floors dinged one by one and then finally the car stopped on the destined floor.

She stepped off and stood there a moment, letting the silence of the corridor calm her. After another ragged breath, the woman turned and walked casually down the corridor to the right of the lift. "Forty-two oh nine, forty-two eleven, forty-two thirteen, forty-two fifteen." She quietly said the numbers on the door as she past them, reading only the left side of the corridor. She blinked and swallowed and gathered up all of her courage before knocking on the door she prayed he was behind. A minute passed and nothing, no sign of life. Her heart sank as she turned to leave. 

A chain grazed the door and a deadbolt unlatched before the door cracked open and a young man peered out. "Can I help you?" He asked, confused.

The woman turned back, her breath caught as she heard him speak. "Travis?"

The door opened wider, revealing the young man from earlier. "No, sorry. My name's Scotty. Are you looking for Travis?"

Her heart sank even more with an audible sigh. Getting a good look at the young man, she could tell the similarities, that had been present in the afternoon sun, had vanished and she now realised she had been chasing a ghost around another big city. She shook her head and turned again to leave. "Nevermind. Sorry I bothered you."

Scotty opened the door wider and stepped out into the corridor. "Wait. If you need help, I'll listen? Who are you looking for?" When she stopped but didn't turn around, he elaborated on who he was. "I can help. I'm Detective Scott Valens on the Philadelphia Police. Wait here and I'll show you my badge." He hurried back into his flat and grabbed his badge that sat on the countre, along with his billfold. He had already placed his weapon into his small gun safe, in the bedroom, after he came home and removed his shoes. He returned a minute later and cautiously approached her, holding out his badge for her to see. "Here. My badge."

The woman turned around and eyed the shield, mounted on a black padding with clip. Nervously, she bit her lip before telling him her name. "Jennifer Canne. I'm looking for... a friend... of mine. I was told he lived here, in that unit." She pointed to his open door. "But, I can see that I had the wrong information. Sorry to have bothered you, Detective Valens."

Scotty shook his head. "Sorry. I've been here just over a year. Would you like to come inside? We could talk about your friend and maybe I could help you find him...?" He noted the tears that streamed down her cheeks and a tremble in her lips that had wanted to talk to someone but didn't want to be a burden, or worse, to a person she didn't know.

Jennifer shook her head. "My taxi is waiting. I have to go." She turned and took a step but paused as he called to her again.

"Wait. I tell you what, let me put on my shoes and grab a pen and pad and I know an all-night diner where we can talk. Okay?" Scotty glanced down at his black socked feet and inched back to his door, from standing in the middle of the corridor. Quickly, he slipped on his running shoes that had been placed just inside, next to the door, and a blank legal pad with pen that sat under his keys and closed the door behind him on his way out. 

Jennifer walked down the corridor with him. "You don't have to do this."

Scotty cleared his throat and casually looked over at her at they stopped at the lift doors. "It's my job to help find people. Besides, you look like you could really use a friend, right now."


Continued.



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