Nikki sighed when she put her phone back in her pocket, caught between a flicker of resentment and that odd, full-chest-and-can't-breathe feeling that came over her sometimes when dealing with Joan. So this was what it was like to have a big sister. She liked having a big sister, instead of being big sister, as she had been all her life to the constantly changing stream of foster-children the Holwoods had taken in over the years. Sometimes Joan got overly protective of her -- or at least that was how Nikki felt. Sometimes she liked it, sometimes she resented it. Especially when it seemed like Joan was still trying to make up for all the years they hadn't been together. Or even make up for not stopping their mother from putting Nikki in the car and shoving it into the storm-swollen Rocky River to drown her when she was a baby. How could Joan have stopped her? She had been only thirteen at the time.
"We are major league messed up, huh?" Nikki murmured to Gray. "Come on, help me find signs of Brooklyn."
She stepped off the tiny front porch of the neat white and blue-trimmed bungalow, and went clockwise around the house. The garage was detached, set back ten feet, so she made a separate circle around it, trying to watch Gray, for any signal of something to investigate, while she studied her surroundings. The neatly trimmed flowerbeds and immaculate mulching looked and smelled fresh enough, that was probably what Brooklyn had been doing for the last two weeks of her visit.