The question remained whether the ex was in on it. For right now, I just walked, carrying the guitar, with Prue.
“I’m amazed you thought of that.”
I shrugged a bit. “I see musical instruments in this pawn shop I walk past all the time. I figure if you don’t really know them and want to offload one. And she thought it was worth something.”
“They’re a couple of hundred bucks new.”
Prue laughed. “So, what, half that second hand? Silly woman.”
I grinned. “Yeah. She didn’t get much out of it. The cops probably won’t bother, although the pawnbroker called it in. It’s worth more to this Samson kid.”
At least they hadn’t called the girl Delilah, I thought wryly. Penelope. Samson. The things people called their children.
A word echoed in my mind and then faded. I couldn’t quite catch it, but I was pretty sure it was my name. My real name. And it was…three syllables long and in Old Norse.
I figured I’d just stick to Jane for now. Old Norse is hard to pronounce unless you grew up speaking it. The Icelandics all speak English to tourists, unlike the French. Or so I’d read.
Penelope’s house was a nice one. I wondered what had happened. A car crash. It had been on the news and I’d missed it. I resolved to pay more attention to the news in future, in case I missed anything else relevant or important. Or even more important than this.
Prue knocked on the door. The woman who opened it was thin and harried. “Yes…” A pause. “Wait, is that?”
“It’s Penelope’s guitar. Her ex’s mother stole it.”
“Who are you?”
“We…uh…knew her at school,” Prue explained. It wasn’t true, but hopefully she woudn’t look too hard into it.
“Stole it…I knew that boy was no good.”
“He claimed it was his mother and not his idea at all.”
“Neither would surprise me. No good, either of them. What happens when there’s no father in the picture.”
Her judgmental attitude would have made me wonder if I was on the right side, except for the evidence of the stolen guitar. I offered it to her.
She took it. “She would play it every day…why don’t you girls come on?”
We did, and we sat around a round kitchen table while Penelope’s mother talked about what she had been like and Samson, who was all of fourteen, tuned the guitar with surprising, or maybe not, expertise.