“Snow, come on! We’re gonna be late!”
“Just a second!” she yelled back down the stairs to her cousins. They were impatiently waiting for Snow White to be ready so they could get to the movie before any previews started.
“Where is that shoe?” Snow White asked aloud as she continued to frantically search her room. All the contents of her closet were strewn about the floor. Her bedroom resembled the aftermath of a tornado, yet she remained shoeless. With one sneaker on, she hobbled across the carpet to look under her bed for the hundredth time. She groaned in frustration when it didn’t magically appear.
Snow White got back to her feet and put her hands on her hips as she looked around. Her eyes stopped on the tall, six-drawer dresser. Then she charged forward. She yanked each drawer free and dumped the clothes in a big pile at her feet. Still no shoe. Then she dropped to her stomach and scanned underneath. She was about to give up when her eye caught sight of what looked like a blue shoelace hanging down from behind the dresser.
Jumping to her feet again, Snow White smashed her face against the wall. Sure enough, her other sneaker was wedged between the dresser and the wall. She grabbed the edge of the white, painted wood and slid the dresser out about a foot. The now empty dresser moved with relative ease.
“How did you get back here?” she asked, extending her arm as far as she could to grab it. Her fingers closed around the object of triumph and she pulled it to freedom.
With the shoe gone, Snow White noticed a little white card lying on her floor behind the dresser. One last time, she extended her arm as far as she could and raked her fingers along the carpet. Her middle finger finally touched paper and she slid it out slowly. She picked up the card and examined it carefully. She couldn’t believe she had forgotten about this!
Snow White could hear a loud BEEP BEEP from Belle’s car down in the parking lot. Then Cinderella’s voice came up the stairs. “Do you need help? Belle, Aurora, and Ariel are in the car waiting.”
“No thanks, I found it.”
“Well let’s go then!”
“Actually…” Snow White frowned down at the little card, “go ahead and go without me.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah, I need to take care of something instead.”
Snow White listened for the front door to close, then she waited a minute longer until she heard Belle’s car drive away. She held up the card and stared at it again:
She remembered when he handed her the business card about four months ago and told her to call with any questions. Well she had plenty of questions! And her mom wouldn’t tell her anything about why the lawyer had come in the first place. Snow White decided it was time to take matters into her own hands.
With a racing heart and trembling fingers, Snow White pulled out her cell phone and began to dial.
“Noah Wilkins office, this is Janette, how may I help you?”
Snow White opened her mouth to speak, but no words came. All thoughts had vanished, as she stared down at the card still clutched between her fingers.
“I…I think I have the wrong number,” she said and quickly hung up. Snow White slumped down on the carpet. She picked up her shoe and hurled it across the room. It smashed into her wall on the opposite side of the room, tearing a corner on her favorite movie poster. Snow White punched the tattered carpet until her knuckles burned red.
“Why can’t I do this?” she yelled up at her ceiling. “This man is the key to getting some answers! “
Snow White stomped into the bathroom and ran her aching hands under the cold water. She bent over the sink and splashed some water on her face. Then she crumpled to the bathroom floor. Tears sprang to her eyes as she lay on her side with her arms wrapped around her bent knees. After a good, long cry, Snow White took several slow, deep breaths and sat up, her back leaning against the bathroom counter.
Snow White slowly got to her feet and dragged herself back into her room. She bent down, scooping the card off the floor. “This is no time to be scared,” she said aloud. “I’ve been wanting answers my whole life. Don’t chicken out now.” Snow White shook her hands back and forth, trying to force the nerves away. She picked up her phone again and clicked redial. Then she squeezed her eyes shut and waited.
“Noah Wilkins office, this is Janette, how may I help you?”
“May I speak to Mr. Wilkins pl-please?” Snow White’s voice was barely a squeak.
“I’m sorry, could you repeat that please?”
Snow White took a deep breath and forced her fears aside. “May I speak to Mr. Wilkins please?” she asked, louder.
“May I ask what this is in reference to?”
“Elizabeth Princess.” Snow White wasn’t sure if her mom’s name would mean anything to this admin, but she figured it was worth a shot.
Snow White was surprised when the next thing she heard was a man’s voice. “Hello? Is this Ms. Princess?”
“No, well, sort of. I’m her daughter, do you remember me?”
The man sighed. “Yes, I do. What can I do for you?”
“I just want answers.” Snow White could feel a lump rising in her throat and tried to swallow it back down.
“I don’t feel it’s my place to divulge any information at this time. I think you need to ask your mom these questions.”
“But she won’t tell me anything! Please Mr. Wilkins, why did you come here? What does my mom need a lawyer for? Does it have anything to do with my dad? Do you know who he is?”
There was a long pause and Snow White feared he had hung up on her. “Hello?”
“I’m still here, Ms. Princess, I’m just thinking.”
“Just call me Snow White.”
“Like the princess?”
“Yes, like the princess.”
“Alright, Snow White, perhaps we can help each other. But aren’t you a minor? You legally can’t help me without a guardian’s consent.”
Snow White knew her mom would never agree to that. She had to think fast. “I’m not a minor, I just turned eighteen last week.” The lie flew out her mouth before she had time to think about it.
Noah Wilkins chuckled. “Now Snow White, I’m pretty sure you’re lying to me. And if you really are eighteen, then my timeline doesn’t fit and you can’t help me anyway.”
Snow White gritted her teeth. “Yes, I lied,” she whispered.
“I was kind of hoping that was the case,” he said. “You see, Snow White, I was hired to put a very bad man in jail, hopefully for a long time. But if you were eighteen, then you would be too old to fit in with my theory.”
“What’s your theory?” Snow White asked, not sure if she wanted to hear his answer.
“If my assumptions are correct, that bad man might be your father.”
The hair on the back of her neck stood up and she shivered, despite the August warmth. “How can I help you then?”
“I can’t divulge any of the case to you without your mom present, Snow White, but I do have an idea forming. Do you and your mom go out to eat very often?”
“Do we what? What does eating out have to do with anything?” Snow White could feel her temperature rising. This phone call was going nowhere.
“If you could get your mom to take you out to eat one night, and I just happen to be at the restaurant…” he trailed off.
Now she was starting to understand. “Then we could corner her together,” Snow White finished. “Yeah, she really likes this place called Bostons. I could probably talk her into it.”
“How about next Friday?”
“That should work,” Snow White said.
“Look,” Noah Wilkins started, “I don’t want to deceive your mom, Snow White, but I think if I talk to her, with you there, then we might both get some answers. I truly just want to help her, I don’t understand why she won’t let me.”
“Well you sure made her angry last time you came here. I’ve never heard my mom yell like that in my entire life!”
“I understand why she doesn’t want to talk to me, but this man might walk if she doesn’t. I need her help. I need your help. Do you think you can get her there?”
Snow White nodded, even though he couldn’t see her. “Yes, I think I can.”
“Great,” Noah Wilkins sighed. “I’ll see you next Friday then. Does 7:00 work?”
“6:00 would be better.”
“Alright, Snow White Princess, I will see you at Bostons next Friday, 6:00 sharp.”
“See you then.”