It only took me a second to realize it was Mark. He abruptly stopped when he saw me and his eyes went wide before he glanced around nervously. He looked back at me and we stared at each other for a
Instinctively, I was ready to knock out anyone, at the moment, but I didn't want to hurt Mark. He was my friend.
No, I reminded myself. He wasn't my friend. He might be the most decent person here, but he was still one of them.
He blinked at me for a second looking shocked, and I couldn't bring myself to hurt him the way I would anyone else.
But it was either that or go back, and going back wasn't an option.
I balled my hand into a fist, ready to do it, but still not really wanting to.
Mark reached into his pocket and I realized that my deliberation might have just cost me everything. I cursed myself as I got ready to swing.
But then I stopped when I saw that what he pulled out of his pocket wasn't a little black remote. It was a little black wallet.
I watched him curiously as he opened the wallet and took out the money from inside it.
"Here," he said, shoving the money in my open hand.
I looked down at the bills in my hand in shock and he shoved the wallet at me.
"Take it!" he whispered urgently.
I opened my other hand, not understanding what he was doing and too surprised to do anything else.
"Now throw the wallet in the bushes," he ordered.
"What?" I asked, confused.
"Just do it!" he said.
Still clueless about why, I did what he said.
"Here," he said, shoving his keys at me. "Mine's the black truck, all the way on the end. 34S"
"What-" I tried.
"Whatever you do, don't rush," he interrupted me. "Walk to the truck and then drive the speed limit. If you rush, you'll only attract attention."
I nodded, still feeling lost.
He looked at me assessingly for a second before he started taking off his jacket.
"They'll spot you in a second, like that," he said, handing it over. "Put this on, keep the hood up and your head down."
I put the jacket on and the hood up like he said.
"Follow the road out of the lot and then turn left at the highway," he said. "You're gonna drive about a mile before you reach Bentley Road. Turn right and you should get to the train station in about twenty minutes. Ditch the truck, get on the train, and head for New York. Don't try to drive all the way there," he said. "As soon as they figure out you took my truck, they'll find you in a few minutes. I'm pretty sure they can trace it."
"Mark, what-" I tried again.
"Stay in populated areas and keep moving." He didn't let me talk. "They can trace you, but if you stay in a crowd..."
I nodded. "One hundred feet."
He made a face. "It's not great, but it's something. Once you get there, change everything you can. Change your hair, your clothes, everything. Change your face, if you can."
"Why are you doing this?" I managed to ask.
"Because I didn't sell my conscience," he said, reminding me of the first thing I accused him of.
"Because, maybe I can do something good after everything I've done to help get you here."
"You didn't know," I said. "I don't blame you."
He nodded. "But I did it anyway."
He looked at the money in my hand. "I'm sorry that's not more..." He stopped and thought before looking at his hand.
"Here, take this." He took off the big gold Princeton ring and shoved it in my hand. "You should get at least six hundred for that, and there's a fifty in the glove compartment for emergencies."
"You saved my life." I smiled.
"Not yet," he said, glancing around nervously before he looked back at me.
"Now, you're gonna have to knock me out and-"
"I can't do that!" How could I hurt him now?
"If you don't, they'll kill me for letting you go," he said.
I looked down. He was right. Wescott wouldn't hesitate to kill anyone helping me.
"After you knock me out, drag me into the bushes and make sure I'm not visible unless they're really looking."
I nodded and looked up at him.
"Actually," he said, "Give me a black eye first."
"Do it!" he ordered. "Just don't break-"
Whatever he was going to say was cut off when I punched his eye.
"Sorry!" I said, feeling terrible.
"My nose," he finished and gingerly touched his eye, blinking and making faces. "That ought to do it," He smiled. "If anyone ever tells me I hit like a girl, I'll take that as a compliment."
"Sorry," I said again.
"Trust me, I've had worse," he said, meeting my eyes. "Now, do this quick. I don't know how much time you'll have before they figure out you're gone and someone will be patrolling this area soon."
"What were you doing here?" I asked. If someone else would be patrolling, then he hadn't been.
"I was on my way home. It's just dumb luck that I forgot something and had to come back." He grinned. "So I was totally unprepared for your attack. No remote or anything." He tisked in mock shame.
He looked serious again. "Ok, do it." He closed his eyes, waiting for whatever I was going to do to knock him out.
I was about to hit him, but I stopped, wanting to give him something else first. Closing the space between us, I reached up and kissed him softly.
His eyes opened and he looked down at me. "What was that for?"
"Everything," I said. "For helping me, for being a friend before, and for what we might have been able to have if things were different."
He smiled. "Glad that's not one sided, at least."
I gave him a sad smile and he closed his eyes again.
Knowing I was running out of time, I punched him in the jaw, hard and he slumped to the ground, unconscious.
I dragged him out of sight, like he said to, before I headed toward the parking lot, keeping my head down and looking for spot 34S.
There were a few people in the distance, but none of them payed much attention to me as I found Mark's truck and got inside.
I smiled, feeling a surge of adrenaline rise up inside of me. I was really doing it! Thanks to Mark, I was going to get away!
I started the truck, feeling giddy, and headed out, following the road like he said. It was a good thing he reminded me not to rush. My excitement of being free would have totally overruled my common sense, and I'd be flying, probably leaving skid marks behind.
I was very glad for the darkness, as most people here would know my face and, unlike Mark, they wouldn't hesitate to sound the alarm.
Still I pulled the hood lower over my forehead and kept my head down as much as I could while I passed the people coming to and from their cars.
I glanced in the mirror, before I turned the corner, to see if anyone suspected anything. After all, it wouldn't be difficult to spot something wrong if they were paying attention and knew this was Mark's truck. Even with the darkness hiding my face, he was alot bigger than me.
I grinned when I noticed that no one was even looking at the truck. Everything seemed quiet and normal.
Pulling out of the lot, I again had to fight the urge to gun it. The little clock on the dashboard said it was almost two in the morning and there wasn't any traffic. If there was a cop patrolling around here, he'd be sure to catch the only car, speeding down the road and I couldn't afford to get stopped.
Aside from wasting time, I didn't have a license and was supposed to be dead.
I forced myself to keep the speed limit, as I followed Mark's directions, and drove to the train station, all the while, glancing anxiously in my mirror.
After parking the truck, I quickly ditched Mark's jacket and took off the dirty outer layer of my clothes before I grabbed the extra money from the glove compartment and jogged to the train platform.
Another train was scheduled to arrive in ten minutes. The last train, in fact, for the night.
Talk about cutting it close!
I bought my ticket and counted the money that was left as I waited impatiently for the train, all the while, throwing nervous glances toward the parking lot. I felt so exposed, waiting out in the open. I would have preferred to hide behind something until I could get on the train, but there was nothing close by. I couldn't blend in, either. I wasn't completely alone, but the ten or so people milling around, hardly qualified as a 'crowd'.
Had they figured out I was gone yet? If they hadn't, they would be soon, I knew. Not knowing what to expect, was killing me. If I knew whether they figured it out or not yet, I could prepare, at least mentally. This standing and waiting was absolutely horrible.
The ten minutes, waiting for the train felt like an hour, but finally it chugged up to the station and stopped, letting the passengers out.
I quickly boarded the train along with the other people, waiting on the platform, as the voice over the speaker instructed.
I wound up sitting in the back of the last car, willing the conductor to hurry up and start moving.
It seemed to take forever, though, and I couldn't sit still. I felt like a sitting duck. What on earth could be taking so long? Everyone who'd got off the train, was long gone by now, and the people still traveling, were all seated.
I wished I had a watch. The last time I'd seen a clock, had been while buying my ticket. I didn't know exactly how much time had passed, waiting for the train to arrive and then sitting and waiting in the seat, and I was uncomfortable not knowing. I felt like I had less control, somehow.
Just as I was contemplating asking the girl across the aisle what time it was, the conductor announced that the doors would close in one minute.
I sat back and finally allowed myself to relax a tiny bit. One minute, that was it. I made it this far. Now I just had to get through the next minute.
Before I could relax too much, the sound of screeching tires, from the parking lot, got my attention. It had been extremely loud, to have been heard so easily over the noise of the train and instinctively I knew I'd run out of time.
They'd found me.
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