Chapter 9

I woke up and heard Alexander talking. I opened up my eyes a little, but didn’t sit up. He was talking about me and I had no idea to whom or why.
    “Yeah, she’s sleep right now. Her train leaves at 5 on track C. She’s headed to Celia City,” he said to whoever he was on the phone with. “There was no contact between her and her mother. I’ve been watching her the whole time. She doesn’t even like that woman. The girl was mortified when she found that her mother had been to the police.”
    I shifted a little and he got quiet.
    “She’s waking up. I’ll call you later,” he whispered. “Yeah. Love you, too.”
    I closed my eyes and sat up slowly, pretending I’d just woken up. At some point he’d moved me into his bed. He was sitting on the sofa, looking at a laptop. He had changed clothes and turned the television down. Caramel was laying next to him.
    “Good morning, Sunshine,” he said, looking at me with a smile.
    “Morning?” I asked looking out the window, up at the night sky.
    He shrugged. “Good morning. Good night. You’d be confused no matter what I said.”
    “Not true,” I said defensively.
    “Really?” he smirked.
    I paused for a second. “You’re probably right,” I said admitting defeat.
    He laughed a little.
    “What are doing?” I asked looking at his computer.
    “Buying your ticket,” he said, looking back at it.
    “Oh.” I crawled out of the bed and sat next to him.
    “Hungry?” he asked.
    “A little,” I said, as I petted Caramel.
    “Want to order a pizza?”
    “Alright. Pepperoni?”
    I was hoping he would tell me who he was talking to and whatever else he wasn’t telling me about, but he just acted like everything was normal. Like I wasn’t going to be on a train headed somewhere new in less than 24 hours.
    “…Zander?” I whispered.
    “Why don’t you want me to leave?”
    “…It’s nice to finally have a friend that understands me.”
    “You can make other friends.”
    He smirked. “With who? Elliot? Yeah, I could totally see us becoming best friends.”
    I laughed, even thought that thought made me feel uneasy. I never wanted them to meet again. Who knows what Alexander would do to Elliot if he had another chance.
    “No. Not him,” I said. “But I’m sure that you can find someone that you can be friends with.”
    “There is,” he said looking up from his computer screen, at me.
    “Good,” I smiled.
    “But she has to go far away in several hours and I’ll probably never see her again…”
    “Zander…I’m sorry. I have to do this.”
    “I know. I won’t stop you.” He looked sad, yet I knew he meant it. “Do you have a cell phone?”
    “No, I never had a need for one.”
    “I didn’t think so,” he said and handed me a cell phone.
    “The phone?”
    “To keep in touch.”
    “It’ll make me feel better about letting you go.”
    He placed the phone in my hand and smiled. “Thank you.”
    “Don’t think that I’ll use it whenever,” I said.
    “No need. I’ll be the only one you’ll need to call for anything.”
    “…Never mind.”
    “It’s nothing. Don’t worry about it.”
    “Let it go,” he sighed.
    “…okay,” I said, feeling like I’d done something wrong.
    It was quiet for a little bit, but then the silence was broken by a knock at the door. Alexander got up to answer it.
    “Hello?” he asked.
    “Pizza,” his dad responded.
    Alexander opened the door and took the pizza from Mr. Carter.
    “Thanks, dad.”
    “No problem. Have a good evening.”
    “You too,” Alexander said, then closed the door.
    He sat the box on the table in front of me and asked, “Soda, lemonade, tea or water?”
    “Lemonade’s fine,” I said.
    I watched him go to a mini fridge and retrieve 2 cans of lemonade. He sat and handed me one. “Dig in,” he said, opening the pizza box.
    “Do you think my mom will find me?” I blurted out.
    He looked at me. “I doubt it. She’s being followed by the police for protection from you.”
    “Oh.” I took a bite of my pizza.
    “What?” he asked.
    “You want to ask me something else. What is it?”
    “I…I just wanted to know how you knew about me and the stuff I liked and the people I know?”
    He got quiet.
    “I don’t want you to lie to me,” I added.
    “I can’t tell you,” he said. “Not until you’re safe.”
    “Why not?”
    “I just can’t.”
    “Zander, I won’t be able to see you again. Please tell me,” I begged.
    “You promised you wouldn’t ask anymore.”
    I looked at him but he wouldn’t look at me.
    He had his head in his hands and was unresponsive.
    I stood and stared at him. “I’m not going anywhere until you say what’s bothering you,” I said.
    He mumbled something.
    “I can’t hear you,” I said.
    He stood and pushed me back onto the sofa. “Leave me alone.” He glared at me. “There is nothing you can do to help me. I don’t want you to go, but I don’t have a say in the matter. You can’t do anything. Understand?” he said coldly.
    I nodded in fear and shock.
    “Good,” he said, then moved to his bed. “Goodnight.”
    “G-goodnight,” I said quietly.
    He laid down and I ate in silence. About an hour later, I got cold and began looking for a blanket. I could only find the one on the bed, so I just curled up on the sofa.
    “Come here,” I heard Alexander say, but I thought he was taking in his sleep.
     He sat up and looked at me. “Come here,” he repeated.
     I stood and walked to him. I expected him to yell at me again, but in second he pulled me onto his lap and held me.
    “I’m sorry,” he said. “I didn’t mean to scare you. I got mad at myself and I took it out on you. I understand if you don’t forgive me.”
    He looked sadly at me. I stared back into his eyes, as he searched mine for an answer.
    “I forgive you,” I whispered.
    He instantly looked relived and pulled me closer. “I promise that I’ll make it up to you. I just don’t want you to leave mad and afraid of me,” he said.
    “It’s fine,” I sighed.
    He let me go and started to move away, but to his surprise, I wouldn’t let go of him.
    “I’m cold. Just a little longer?” I asked.
    He wrapped his arms back around me and we laid down. “As long as you need,” he said, as he buried his face in my hair.
    I don’t know which one of us fell asleep first, but we stayed in each other’s arms until the following morning.



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