Anna printed the photo. She wanted to have a hard copy when Dad got here. She also saved the photo to a disk. We shut down the computer and went to wait.
When Dad came in a few minutes later, I handed him the photo. He looked at it questioningly.
“Barstow wanted me to find his daughter. He sent me a ten year old photo of her. Dad, who is this guy and why does he think I’m his daughter?” I wanted to know.
Dad sat and just looked at me. I could see he was measuring what he wanted to say. I waited. Anna left the room presumably to give us some privacy.
“He may be your biological father. Your mother was pregnant when I married her. The guy had run off. I didn’t care. I loved your mother. Her child would be mine. We were never able to have children and I figured it was my fault. I am legally your father. This man Barstow, and that is not his real name, is looking for an heir. He is Allen Bannister Jr. and once he produces one he will inherit a trust worth millions. But the money is tied up awaiting an heir. The trust will be divided equally between the heir and Bannister.”
“Dad, I am not his heir. I am your daughter and Mom’s. Nothing will change that.” I was
“He’s going to want a DNA test,” Dad stated.
“Let’s do one,” I demanded.
“Are you sure?” He raised his eyebrows.
“Yes, was Mom pregnant when you met her or just when you got married?” I asked.
“I never really thought about it,” he answered me honestly. “I knew she’d been thrown over by this guy and ours was a whirlwind romance. I wasn’t even sure she loved me at first.”
“Anna, we’re going to see the ME (medical examiner), care to come along?” I yelled.
Anna appeared nodding her head yes. The three of us left, Anna following in her car. It took no time to reach the medical examiner’s office.
Doc Watson was quick to take cheek swabs. He told us it would be a couple weeks but he’d put a rush on it. In the meantime, Anna and I were going back to the house. I wanted to know everything I could about the man I knew as Barstow.
We arrived at home, Anna threw some sandwiches together, grabbed a couple bottles of water and we booted up the computer. We started with a people search of Allen Bannister Jr. Once we got a photo of him we went on to search his family. A quick credit card to Intellus and we had a fountain of information. Bannister was the family bad boy. He had a sister who was a lawyer, a brother who was a doctor, and he seemed to be the wastrel. I couldn’t see where he’d finished college, but he’d attended four. He hadn’t held a job for more than a year. There were a couple of tickets for DUI-driving under the influence. He’d had some gambling debts and it would seem a couple of incidents with women that had been hushed up. Apparently he had no children. I didn’t want this man to be my father. I didn’t want his money or his name.
I left the room frustrated. Anna had printed off all the information we’d found. She also found an empty file folder and put it in there. She slowly followed me to the kitchen.
“Sam, what do you want to do with this?” she asked waving the folder.
“Frankly, I want to burn it. I want nothing to do with this man, especially after last night.
What kind of father gives his daughter Rohypnol and leaves her wandering along the side of the road?” I could feel the anger building inside me.
“I don’t know. Not a good one that’s for sure.” Anna agreed.
“He can’t be my dad, Anna, he just can’t. Why my mother didn’t even recognize him.”
“She has Alzheimer’s. She has days when she doesn’t recognize you, doesn’t she?” Anna probed.
“Not yet. She’s been pretty lucid when Dad and I go to see her.”
“This man would be a stranger. Not someone she has seen in recent years,” she reminded me.
“How’d he get that photograph of me? I remember that day at the beach. I was with a bunch of school friends. I don’t remember anyone taking pictures of me.” I was pacing like a caged lion now.
“Any good investigator can take photos from long distance. You know that. You’ve gotten some shots that have helped us when we couldn’t get close.”
“Yeah, I suppose. This is just so disturbing.” I don’t know what was more frustrating, that this man could be my father or that he thought so little of me that he’d drug me and leave alone and unprotected.
“The Chief will find him. Then we’ll get to the bottom of all this,” Anna tried to be reassuring.
“I suppose. Well, we’d better make a plan for the next couple of weeks. We are going to be together a lot.”
Anna laughed. “I guess you are right. What sounds like fun?”
Anna and I spent the next two weeks hacking into every file that held information on Allen Bannister Jr. We learned that he was broke and owed large amounts of money to some on-line gambling establishments. He appeared to live the high life and he treated people badly. His scrapes with the law always managed to go away. Either his lawyer sister got the charges dropped or his wealthy father must have put out large sums of money to make them go away. So, when Dad called to say Doc Watson had DNA results, I felt armed to battle this man who claimed to be my father. We had an appointment with Doc Watson in the morning.
I tossed and turned all night, was up early, showered, dressed, and making breakfast when Dad came down the stairs. I poured him coffee and he sat at the counter. When I had breakfast on plates we moved to the table.
“I heard you roaming around last night. Are you sure you want to go with me?” he asked concerned.
“Yes, Dad, I want this over one way or the other. With Anna’s help I have enough information on the man to make him go away. Not to mention he left ME on the side of the road drugged.”
We finished breakfast in silence and I did the dishes. Then we headed to the car and drove to the ME’s office. Doc was waiting for us and took us to his office.
“I don’t want to keep you in suspense, but I need to understand why you wanted this test,” his demeanor saying this shouldn’t be an issue.
“There is a man out there claiming to be my biological father and he wants to destroy my life and my family,” I retorted hotly.
“Well, I don’t know who this guy is, but he’s barking up the wrong tree. I won’t ask Chief, but I cannot imagine that you needed a test to know that this high spirited young woman is your daughter. I did run the DNA and voila the results are as I suspected Samantha is your daughter.”
I could hardly contain myself. I threw my arms around Dad. “Well, this has all paid off. We can now add kidnapping to the charges against him.” I beamed.
The Chief’s phone rang at that moment. “Excuse me,” he said as he stood to walk across the room. “This is the Chief. Uh-huh. Okay. I’ll tell her. Thanks.”
Next installment tomorrow. Happy reading.