July 27, 2013
I sit on my bed waiting for the call. The cell phone Seth and I share sits beside me along with my wallet. I pick them both up and let out a long sigh. Waiting is the hard part. I check the phone for the umpteenth time then put it back down. From the wallet, I pull out the money I had. It had taken a month of paychecks to get enough, but finally I had it. Just enough to run away for a week. Just long enough to avoid Christmas at home. It wasn’t like leaving for good would be, but it would be enough for now. And I was sure they wouldn’t find me. Maybe they wouldn’t even look.
After recounting it, I put the money and wallet back and went to the window. It was the middle of the night, pitch-black outside. Rain tapped on the glass and then gathered and slipped down like teardrops. I closed my eyes for a minute and listened to the familiar sound. Tap. Ta-ta-tap. Vvvvrrrrrrr. I opened my eyes. The phone, I remembered, was on vibrate. I hurriedly picked it up and read the text message.
‘Okay. You’re good. I’ll be there at eleven tomorrow night. I have to go home a couple days before Xmas eve, but you can stay until the day after Xmas.’
I smile to myself as I text back, ‘Thanks for doing this. You’re a lifesaver. I get off work at nine so I might be a little late meeting you. See you tomorrow.’
I wait for the message to send and then delete all evidence from the phone.
The next day, it takes an eternity for the hours to pass. It was Saturday, and I was working to make up for the time I would be gone this week. I would leave tonight and wouldn’t be back until next Monday. When I left for work this morning, Mom had been excited that I would have a week off for Christmas. Little did she know I wouldn’t be spending the holiday at home.
Finally, the end of my shift rolls around and I head out the front of the store in my warm jacket and start the car. After the incident in the forest with Sam and Emily, I started driving the car to work everyday. I missed the walk but it was better than encountering them again. I feel like they always ruin everything I enjoy.
I wait a few minutes in the car before heading home, giving time for the heat to kick in. It’s only nine, so I have time to go home and eat before I sneak out to catch my ride.
The hours at home go faster than they have all day and suddenly, I am nervous. What if I get caught? What would I say to Mom? To Dad? To Seth? I think about telling Seth, but he would probably spoil my plan before I was out the door. I wish I could confide in him. I am about to return the phone to his room when I think of it. I could leave him a message on the phone. I’ve already eaten, said goodnight to my family and am supposedly going to bed. I go to my room and type the message into the notes of the phone. He may not find it, but there is still a chance.
‘Seth, I have to tell someone. I just can’t stand to have Christmas without him. I hope you never have to have the pain of getting your heart broken. Please don’t tell. I’ll be back. I promise. Thanks. —L”
To avoid causing Seth to worry more, I don’t mention the fact that I may be running for good sometime in the future. I save the note and then go to the hallway. I knock on Seth’s door and he says for me to come in. Seth is lying in bed watching Call of the Wild on the old fuzzy-screened TV that sits on a table and end of his bed. The room is dark, the only light coming from the TV.
“Here’s the phone, ” I say, holding it out.
“Thanks. When do you need it again?”
“Probably not for awhile.” I try not to let him hear the complete truth in my voice. I won’t need it, because I won’t be here. I wish I could think of something else to say, something that will give him a hint to look in the notes of the phone.
He nods. “Well, goodnight.”
I return to my room and put my jacket on. I’ve already packed the few things I need and put them in the trunk of the car.
When I slide the window open, a cool breeze whispers in. I untie the fire ladder and it rolls quietly down to the ground. With years of practice, I swing myself outside without making a sound. Then with one hand, I hold the wood bar that stretches to either rope side of the ladder and with the other, close the window. I know my sneaking won’t be perfect since I can’t re-roll the rope or re-lock the window, but it is the best I can do for now. I sit in the chilly car, without starting it until all the lights in the house are off. I don’t have to wait long, since there were only a couple on and once the house has gone dark, I don’t hesitate to turn the key. The engine starts silently, thanks to Jacob Black’s expertise, and I begin the drive.
The road to Forks passes uneventfully, not a single other set of headlights piercing my vision. I drive through Forks which is pretty quiet for a Saturday night. The hospital parking lot has a variety of vehicles scattered among the yellow lines, just as I’d hoped it would. I park beside the small silver car I know well. Its headlights are off, but I can see the shadows of two dark figures in the front seats. Before walking back to the other car I take the keys—since I will need some way to get home at the end of the week—and my bag from the trunk.
I slide in the backseat of the silver car.
“Ready? ” a voice asks.
“More than ready, ” I reply.
The headlights flip on and we drive.