We drive for several miles before Eve even tries to speak to me. I guess she knows I want nothing to do with her. I don’t even know what I want anymore.
Maybe I did over react. Maybe she really was working with my best interests at heart. Why else would she have been doing what she was doing?
She did manage to get us a new set of wheels, which, considering how my stitches are holding up, is almost enough to make me want to forgive her. But I still can’t get that image out of my mind. And I still can’t understand why it bothers me so much.
“Please don’t be mad, Cyrus.”
I say nothing, choosing instead to continue looking forward.
“You do understand what I was trying to do, right? It really was the only way.”
I want to scream at her, tell her how much it hurt me to see her with him. But it doesn’t even make sense to me. I struggle to keep silent.
“Come on, Cyrus. Seriously? It worked, didn’t it?”
It did work. It worked too well. Is she really that good at getting men to do whatever she wants? Is that why I found it so hard to run away from her when I had the chance? This guy was ready to kill her, but does a complete 180 the second she bats her eyes.
“You can’t give me the silent treatment for the rest of the trip, can you?”
I’m pretty sure I can. I’ve done it plenty of times to The Geek. Should be even easier with her.
“I’m really trying here, Cyrus. Give me something.”
I shuffle in my seat. My side aches whenever I stay in one position for too long.
“Fine, you want it like that. I can shut you out, too.”
And she does. For the next few miles, she says nothing. I hear The Geek shouting something at me through my headphones. I don’t even want to talk to him.
Eve, unable to contain herself any longer, blurts out, “This is stupid, Cyrus. He was going to kill you, you realize that, right? I didn’t do anything wrong! What could I have possibly done that has gotten you so–”
“I don’t know, okay?” I shout, unable to keep quiet any longer. “I don’t know why I’m mad. I just know that the second I realized what you were doing, what you had been doing, I, I just…”
“Oh,” she says, giving me the excuse to stop talking.
For another five minutes we drive in silence.
Eve, once again, breaks the peace.
“What?” I ask, trying to pretend I don’t know what she’s talking about.
“Did it really bother you? You know, seeing me and Grant?” An awkward smile grows across her face as she asks the question.
“Look, it doesn’t mean anything, okay? I just, I don’t know, I didn’t like it, alright?”
“It’s just that… never mind.”
“Jeez, alright, fine. Whatever you have to say, just say it already.”
“Well, it’s just that, I don’t know, I guess it kind of bothered me too, knowing you were seeing me do that with him.”
“Glad to hear it,” I say, unable to comprehend what else to say. My brain is a mixture of anger, happiness, and confusion. I’m surprised I was able to even get those words out.
“Alright,” Eve replies. Neither of us looks at each other for several miles. Suddenly I realize The Geek’s still yelling at me. I slip my headphones over my ears.
“–off your awkward hormone high and talk to me about what the heck is going on already!” The Geek’s rants get to be pretty amusing the longer you let him go.
“Hey Geek,” I say nonchalantly. “What’s up?”
“Jeez, Cyrus, are you done playing terrible Don Juan yet?”
“You’re an idiot, Geek,” I respond in a huff.
“Is it okay if I patch in Eve or do you have more kissy faces to make at each other first?”
“Go ahead, patch her in.”
“Hey Geek, what’s up?”
“Well, while you two were both deciding to ignore me so you could pretend you weren’t completely in love with each other, I was trying to tell you some good news.”
“Good news? Well, that’s a change,” I say.
“Yeah, tell me about it,” The Geek responds.
“What is it?” Eve asks.
“The SPs officially have no clue where you are. They’re currently looking throughout all of Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois, but nowhere in Wisconsin.”
“Awesome, that means–”
The Geek cuts me off, not wanting me to steal his thunder. “That means for the time being you guys are completely safe. If those folks back in Eau Claire were right, which, as far as I can see, they are, you shouldn’t see much of an SP presence on the roads. So, although I hate to say it, it’s a really great thing you’ve gotten yourself that SUV.”
“Thanks, Geek,” Eve giggles.
“Yeah. Anyways, it looks like you should be able to make it to Lake Michigan within the next 3 hours, no problem, which puts you at arriving on the lakefront no later than 4pm, which just so happens to be perfect for catching my ferry guy.”
The Geek cuts me off again. I don’t like it. “So, you could probably keep using the car into Michigan, depending on how you’re doing on gas. For some reason there doesn’t seem to be an inter-state border patrol by the ferry drop off point. If you can manage to keep riding into Michigan, you’ll be putting yourselves well ahead of the deadline. Which brings me to my first question, how are you guys doing on gas?”
“A little over half a tank,” Eve says. I’m already climbing over the seat to look into the back while Eve says, “Grant said he had another 5 gallons in the back, which means we’re looking at having around 20 gallons, right Geek?”
“Sounds about right, which should be able to get you two all the way through Michigan, by my calculations, even though those things can really suck down some fuel.”
“Really? And Michigan’s clear of–” I begin, but once again, The Geek cuts me off.
“Michigan’s free of SPs at the moment, mostly because they’re focusing their attention on the states just south of you. But that could change at any moment. As of right now, barring any issues, you could make it to Boston in the next 10 days without even breaking a sweat.”
“But we’ve got 12 days left, right?” I ask as fast as possible so I don’t get cut off again
“Right, which means you’ll have a two day cushion in case something crops up, which, heading into the eastern seaboard, it will.”
“Is that it?” I ask.
“Yep, that’s it. Oh, I almost forgot, I do have one other thing.”
“What’s that?” Eve asks.
“Can I be best man at your wedding?”
Eve blushes and I try to come up with a way to recover from my brother being such a nuisance.
The best I can come up with is, “Only if I can be the best man at your wedding to your chair.”
Eve laughs, obviously glad to have something to turn the focus off of the topic of us.
“So, I know this might not be the best time to ask or whatever, but, how did you manage to, you know, get Grant to, well, you know?”
Eve laughs again. “Oh, that was easy. I just told him how I couldn’t stop thinking of how he looked when we saw him at the tunnel, how masculine it was for him to be so powerful. I fed him a couple of lines about how I wanted to run away with him and turn you in for the bounty. It couldn’t have been any easier.”
“Seriously? He fell for that?”
“That guy has had a crush on me for forever. I wouldn’t be surprised if the main reason he’s been tracking me down for all these years is just because he’s pissed I never returned the interest.”
“Well, let me just warn you that if I find out you’ve been manipulating me like that, I’ll be the first to join up with Grant and find you.”
“Like he’d work with you after the way you caved in his neck,” Eve laughs and I join her.
“I still don’t understand how he caught up with us. I mean, I get he’s got the tracker and can find you anywhere, but how the heck did he catch up with us so fast?”
“I’d guess he used his contacts within the SPs, considering this is obviously an SP ride we took off him. He probably got them to give him a lift to the area stating he had some sort of business to do up here or something. It really doesn’t matter. He’s never had any problems with getting around the country quickly.”
“But wouldn’t the SPs think that means he has an idea of where you are?”
“Maybe. My guess is they’ve long since stopped caring about what Grant thinks. He is crazy, you know.”
“Good point. Should we be worried we’ll see him again?”
“Probably,” she answers quietly. “But I’m not too concerned about it right now. He’s stuck out in the middle of nowhere without a car. We’ll have a few hours before he’s able to get out of there at least.”
“Okay, so, what do we do until then?”
“Nothing, we keep driving, till we can’t drive anymore. And then we do what you’re supposedly good at.”
“Shut up, you know I’m the best. You’re the one who hired me for this stupid job.”
“Maybe I didn’t hire you because you were the best,” Eve says with a knowing smile. We continue on in silence once again while I ponder the many different meanings that statement could have.
Go to Chapter Twenty-Five