Other Half (PsyCop #12) - Jordan Castillo Price Page 0,1

around by the railroad tracks and replaying the same four punk rock albums, Jacob had been bussing tables and mowing lawns to save up for his first car. And if it weren’t for a scholarship, the college of his choice would have been well out of reach.

Jacob took the trophy from his father and they both scrutinized it. They didn’t just look like each other, they moved like each other. And while Jerry was paunchy and graying and not so limber anymore, they still had their moments where genetics couldn’t have been more obvious. Sometimes, during these moments, I felt like I should wonder what my own parents might have looked like. But I was so well-resigned to the fact that I’d never get any answers in that regard that I didn’t think of my birth parents as actual people. Even theoretically.

Leon pointed to my mug…with his etheric arm. Given that non-physical entities are easily as scary as ghosts, you might think I’d find the term “etheric arm” just as creepy as “ghost arm.” But since I’d decided it was really just a human arm, a normal part of his subtle bodies I was seeing (and not a demonic parasite), it didn’t much faze me anymore. “Say, that coffee looks pretty good. A half-cup would really hit the spot. How much time till we need to leave?”

Jerry checked his watch as Leon’s etheric arm mimicked the gesture. Jerry said, “Ten minutes, then we’d better head over. Otherwise we’ll be stuck parking halfway out to the cornfield. Unless you take it to go.”

Everyone seemed so focused on Clayton’s big event that I was sorely tempted to forget about the whole announcement and tell them about the wedding some other time. But I’d already let the cat out of the bag with Shirley, at least partway. Mothers’ intuition has never been clinically proven one way or another—but Shirley always seemed to know when I was holding something back. And she knew when I was uncomfortable, too.

The wedding is good news, I reminded myself. Anyone would think so. Good. Freaking. News.

I gave Shirley a smile.

It felt pained.

“Jacob—before we go, you wanna fill everyone in?”

“Good idea,” he said. “So, Vic and I….” Indecision fleeted across his expression. I saw it on him so seldom, I couldn’t be sure it wasn’t a put-on. “We decided to make things official.”

His father and uncle both blinked as if they hadn’t quite figured out what this had to do with a wrestling trophy or a cup of coffee. But his mother lit up with equal parts joy and relief. I can only imagine the potential announcement scenarios that must’ve been playing through her head—and the worst part was, she didn’t know the half of what we dealt with.

“We were thinking we’d have the ceremony up here,” Jacob added. His father and uncle went wide-eyed as what he was saying sank in. “Next month.” Eyes went wider still. “At church.”

At the mention of church, the mood in the room ratcheted up from mild confusion to bafflement. Neither of us was churchy...but a church wedding would give us way more opportunity to snoop around in Wisconsin.

Of course they were all happy for him—for us. But gobsmacked didn’t even begin to cover it. And then, as if to verify that they’d heard what they thought they heard, all three dumfounded relatives turned to me.

I stared back stupidly for a heartbeat…then I nodded. Smooth. “That’s the plan. Tie the knot. At the altar. Once the cast comes off, anyhow, and I can jam a ring on.”

I’d figured Shirley might cry, but no, it was Leon. And those tears nearly set off a chain reaction. But he hurried off to the bathroom to save face—old-school Midwesterners like to think they’re a stoic bunch—leaving Shirley to grill us while pretending not to pry.

“Why so soon? Don’t you need more time to plan?”

No doubt, but Jacob didn’t handle frustration well. The notebook situation had become so unbearable, and tempers so short, that pretty soon one of us was gonna start sleeping in the car. I said, “We’re going for small and simple. There’s really no need to make a big fuss.”

“I suppose you’ve talked to Pastor Jill? No? She’ll be real glad to see you again.” Though, apparently, planning a June wedding from the middle of May was no mean feat. As Shirley rattled off a list of things a church wedding would involve—with the caveat that she was sure we had everything under control—I