I did what she used to do to me.
This is what Jenny used to do when she’d leave in an angry fit. We’d get into fights about her new friends and new habits. She’d threaten to leave and I’d threaten to follow. She thought I didn’t know that she would just pull in here until things calmed down and then she’d drive home. She’d drive away, just to hide down the street, all alone crying in her car. The house itself is empty. The owner lives in a retirement home and his kids aren’t willing to sell it yet.
I knew. I knew exactly what Jenny was doing. Not the first time, but the time after, she was too slow and I saw. I’d drive past every time though and park a few streets down and then walk back up here, watching her cry in the driver’s seat. At least she was safe.
That’s all I ever wanted.
Safe is what matters.
That’s what I told myself back then. As I see Jase speed down the road behind me, not glancing my way at all, that’s what I tell myself now. I need to keep myself safe. Safe from everything.
I don’t trust anyone.
All I know is that I need my book back.
I need to know what Jenny’s last words to me were.
The leather is hot against my palms as I twist my hands around the steering wheel. My knuckles are turning white with every second that passes.
I force myself to focus on every detail around me to keep from losing all sense of control.
The ringing of Seth’s phone echoes in the silent car. It rings once, then halfway through a second ring before he picks up.
“Where is she?” My question comes out hard and I don’t bother to hide the fury. “How the fuck did she get away?”
“Boss?” Seth questions and it only makes the irritation grow.
A seething anger is in command of every aspect of my being right now. Nothing is going right and nothing is under control. “Where the fuck is she?” I scream the question, feeling each word claw up my throat on the way out.
“Bethany Fawn’s car is located at Forty-two Bayview.”
“Forty-two Bayview.” I breathe out the address, craning my neck beneath the windshield to look at the small green street sign and then to my left as if one of them will magically be Bayview. Neither of them are and that fact is why I slam my fist on the dashboard as I simmer with pure rage. She fucking left me. Knowing there are men after her, she fucking ran from me!
“Four streets behind you, Mr. Cross.” I focus on what I can control and then finally breathe.
“Four streets?” I swallow after repeating what he said, knowing she’s safe. She’s within reach.
“Make a U-turn when you’re able. It looks like she stayed there for…” The word stretches out as he pauses and then continues, “…two minutes. She’s on the move now, backing out of the driveway.” Seth uses the GPS in her car to track her and gives me directions. “I’m still at the back entrance to the neighborhood and it looks like she’s coming this way. She’ll be driving by me if she stays on course.”
“Follow her.” Resolution takes over, following a pang of regret. Running my hand down my face and pinching the bridge of my nose, I try to pinpoint the moment I lost her. Truly lost her. She shouldn’t have done that. Something happened.
The break-in. I slam my head back, exhaling a tight breath and loathing the life I live. No shit, something happened. What the fuck is wrong with me?
“On her tail,” Seth says over the speaker. His obliviousness to my state is a kind gift in this moment as I press my palms to my eyes and focus on what I can do to keep her safe.
“Call for backup and continue following her but keep your distance and keep me informed. I want to know where she’s going and I never want her out of your sight.”
“I’m not letting her go,” I tell him. My voice is firm and resolute, although my words are more for me than for him.
“Of course not,” he answers although his tone has changed. Softer, not consoling, but understanding. A sedan skirts around me, a newer Mazda with an older man at the wheel who looks at me with a crease marred into his wrinkled forehead as his car passes mine.
Forcing a semblance of a smile to my lips, I offer him a small wave and pretend to be someone just passing by. As if I could ever just pass by Bethany. I would never be able to not feel her presence in a crowded room. I could never ignore it. Let alone allow her to ignore me.