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Unformatted text preview: you to know." "What about Lance? Isn't he my father?" "No. Lance and I are just together, that's all." Trudy had never allowed her to refer to Lance as her father. And Lance, for his part, had never shown the slightest interest in approaching the arena of fatherhood. Trudy was a single mom. Ashley Nicole had no father. This was perfectly common and acceptable. "Lance and I have been friends for a long time," Trudy said, keeping the initiative and trying to prevent a thousand questions. "Very close friends. He loves you very much, but he is not your father. Not your real father anyway. Patrick, I'm afraid, is your real father, but I don't want you to worry about him." "Does he want to see me?" "I don't know, but I'll fight forever to keep him away from you. He is a very bad person, honey. He left you when you were two years old. He left me. He stole a bunch of money and disappeared. He didn't care about us then, and he doesn't care about us now. He wouldn't be coming back if they hadn't caught him. We would never have seen him again. So don't worry about Patrick and what he might do." Ashley Nicole crawled across the end of the bed and cuddled in her mother's lap. Trudy squeezed and patted her. "It's going to be all right, honey. I promise. I hated to tell you this, but with all those reporters out there and all the stuff on television, well, I just thought it best." "Why are those people out there?" she asked, clutching her mother's arms. "I don't know. I wish they would leave." "What do they want?" "Pictures of you. Pictures of me. Pictures they can put in the newspapers when they talk about Patrick and all die bad Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter, http://www.processtext.com/abclit.html things he's done." "So they're out there because of Patrick?" "Yes, honey." She turned and looked at Trudy square in the eyes, and said, "I hate Patric...
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- Spring '10