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Driven (Page 41)

A pattern starts to evolve with my continued scrutiny of the images, and I realize that most of his escorts are long, leggy blondes, stick thin, with some type of plastic enhancement. And all are drop-dead gorgeous. Much to my chagrin, I realize they look very similar to Haddie, except hers are real. Ironically, the pale hair next to his dark features makes him seem more aloof and edgier somehow.

I note that each girl exists through a context of time, except for one. One particular stunner is scattered through different periods of time, and I wonder why that is. Is she an escort? The one he takes when his other arrangements have fallen through and he needs a date? Or is she the one he keeps going back to because there is really something there? After clinking on several of their pictures together, I finally get a caption that offers her name. Tawny Taylor. The caller on his phone yesterday. What is she to Colton? I know I could dwell on this for hours so I force myself to push it to the back of my head and resolve to think about it at another time even though I’m afraid to know the answer.

I look like none of them. I may be tall, but I’m definitely not petite on their anorexic scale. I’m thin but I have curves in all the right places, unlike their ruler-straight physiques. I have an athletic body that I’m proud of—that I work hard at to maintain—whereas they look like they have no need to even think about exercise. I have curly hair in a rich chocolate brown color that stops midway down my back; it is unruly and a pain, but it suits me. I continue the comparisons until I tell myself that I need to just get off the page before I become depressed. That my hatred toward them has nothing to do with them in particular.

I go back to Google and type in “Colton Donavan childhood.” The first few pages reference children’s organizations that he is involved with. I quickly scan through the links, looking for one mentioning his childhood in particular.

I finally find an old article written five years ago. Colton was interviewed in connection with a charity he was supporting that benefited new changes speeding up the adoption process.

Q: It is public knowledge that you were adopted, Colton. At what age?

CD: I was eight.

Q: How was the adoption process for you? How would you have benefited from these new initiatives that this foundation supports?

CD: I was lucky. My dad literally found me on his doorstep, took me in, for lack of better term, and I was adopted shortly after that. I didn’t have to go through the lengthy process that occurs today. A process that makes kids who desperately crave a home, a sense of belonging, wait months to see if an application will be approved. The system needs to stop looking at these kids as cases, as paperwork to be stamped with approval after months of red tape, and start looking at them as delicate children who need to be an integral part of something. A part of a family.

Q: So what was your situation, prior to being adopted?

CD: Let’s focus less on me and more on the passing of these new measures.

Does he not want to talk about it because it draws attention away from the charity, or was it so bad he just doesn’t talk about it? I scan the rest of the article but there is nothing else about his childhood. So he was eight. That leaves a lot of time to be damaged, conditioned as he’s said, by whatever situation he was in.

I stare at the screen for a couple of minutes imaging all kinds of things, mostly variations of the kids who have come through my care, and I shudder.

I decide to look up his parents, Andy and Dorothea Westin. The pages are filled with Andy’s movie credits, Oscar nominations and wins, and top-grossing movies, amongst other things. His family life is referenced here and there. He met Dorothea when she had a bit part on one his movies. At the time she was Dorothea Donavan. Another piece clicks into place. I wonder why he uses his Mom’s surname and not his Dad’s. I continue scanning and see the basic Hollywood mogul background, less the tabloid drama or stints in rehab. There are a few mentions of his children, a son and a daughter, but nothing giving me the answers I’m looking for.

I return to search again and scan through the different links that mention Colton’s name. I see snippets about a fight in a club, possible altercations with current-generation brat-pack actors, generous donations to charity, and gushing comments from other racers about his skill and the charisma he brings to his sport that had been tinged after the CART and IRL league split years ago; a wide range of information on such an enigmatic man.

I sigh loudly, my head filled with too much useless information. After over an hour of research, I still don’t know Colton much better than I did before. I don’t see anything to validate the warnings he keeps giving me. I can’t help myself. I open up the page again for CDE and click on the picture of him. I stare at it for sometime, studying every angle and every nuance of his face. I glance up and sadness fills my heart as the picture on my dresser of Max catches my eye. His earnest smile and blue eyes light up the frame.

“Oh, Max,” I sigh out his name, pressing the heel of my palm to my heart where I swear I can still feel the agony. “I will always miss you. Will always love you,” I whisper to him, “but it’s time I try to find me again.” I stare at his picture, remembering when it was taken, the love I felt then. Seconds tick by before I look back at my computer screen.

I close my eyes and breathe deeply, strengthening my resolve as the song on my computer, Colton’s referenced song, repeats itself for the umpteenth time. It’s time. And maybe Haddie is right. Colton may be the perfect person to lose and find myself in at the same time. For however long he lets me, anyway.

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