If you're loved by someone, you're never rejected, decide what to be and GO BE IT
-The Avett brothers
Recommend Reading Introduction to Unproven
DEFINITELY READ Prologue
Chapter Ninety Eight
Grayson pulled into his driveway, his mind running at a million miles a minute. He would go upstairs and look around for any last minute things he thought he would need, then sit on the edge of his bed and wait until he was certain the house was asleep. Then he would throw on his black hoodie and sweatpants over his outfit and slip out of there like a ghost.
He jogged up the stone steps to his home with a sense of purpose and determination- which was fortunately the expression that froze on his face as he came through the doors and met his father standing on the other side of them.
"Grayson, glad I caught you. I'm on my way out but I wanted to tell you that I already heard about your performance tonight, and I couldn't be more proud." James gripped his shoulders.
"Thank you sir, I do try," he managed a dry tone.
James smiled, "You do more than that." He gave his shoulders a squeeze then released him and stepped to the side, "I'll be back tomorrow night."
Grayson nodded, forcing a smile before heading for the stairs. As he climbed them he realized he hadn't had to perform perfectly, that his father could have caught the flash of teeth and it wouldn't have mattered because he obviously knew about Ary and the deception. What he didn't know was that Ary was alive and well, and that his only son and heir was about to disappear.
He paused on the stairwell as the situation hit him once more. His hands curled into fists and he had to force himself to resume his trek. He wanted to kill the man. He wanted to kill his father, his dad, his mentor, more than anything that he'd ever wanted in his life.
No. that wasn't true. He wanted to be with Ary more than even that.
Once in his room, he took a look around. What did he need? He went to his closet and pulled out a wad of cash then grabbed his backpack and stuffed it inside. He backed out and looked at his large array of clothing and chose several outfits, stuffing them in as well. He went to his dresser and grabbed a handful of boxer briefs, then another of socks, shoved them inside. He turned and looked around. Beyond that there was nothing that mattered.
There was a knock on his door, and he froze. "Yeah?" He called.
"It's Jay, can I come in?"
Grayson shoved the bag under his bed and stared at the door. This guy was the reason for what he was doing just as much as his father was. "I'm totally wrecked man, going to bed, can it wait?" He made himself say it nonchalantly, silently wishing he could blast a shotgun through the door.
"Yeah, no problem, I just wanted to tell you that I'm glad I met you man, it's been some serious fun these past few months."
Gray blinked, was he serious? Feeling guilty maybe? "Uh, yeah, same to you, talk tomorrow, I'm exhausted."
"Yeah, tomorrow, no problem."
Grayson edged to his door and listened to the sound of Jay's footsteps receding down the hallway. He took a deep breath. Better wait at least an hour, maybe two. He glanced at his watch, it was already after two am. An hour then. He'd sit in complete silence then slip out of this house for good.
"This is where we're headed," Ary told Dori, pointing at the computer screen on the desk in Dori's bedroom.
Over an hour had passed since they'd spoken to Grayson, and she'd kept her mind preoccupied by planning their next move. They'd already packed the camping supplies into the trunk of the Subaru, so as soon as he called she'd be ready.
Dori looked at the computer screen and smiled. "South Carolina should be beautiful this time of year."
Ary nodded. She'd found a festival just outside of Myrtle Beach that began the weekend after this one, along with a small campground nearby where they could hang out-or hide out-for the days in between.
"I've been thinking," Dori said, "that instead of trying to catch a bus around here, you should take the car as far you can before his father notices you're gone, then give it to someone. You can grab a bus to your destination from that point. I just think it would be safer."
Ary thought about it and nodded slowly. "Yeah, bus stations are probably the first place his father will think of and if they have security cameras-," she felt a chill snake up her spine, "-he'll be able to intercept and we'll be screwed."
"Exactly," Dori concurred, "so get somewhere obscure enough he isn't likely to look for you."
"But won't he eventually think we might have taken someone's car?" Ary asked, casting Dori a look of concern.
"Eventually, yeah. But by then you'll be long gone."
Ary shook her head, "I wasn't thinking about us, I was thinking about you. If he figures out you're a part of this, what will he do?”
Dori snorted, "Who cares? If he figures it out I'll admit it, that I let Gray put a car in my name and you drove away in it. Then I'll tell him that I hope he finds you guys because I think Grayson's an idiot for giving up his privileged life for you."
Ary blinked. "Wow. Good. That's perfect actually."
"I know. I think ahead too." Her alternate phone beeped signaling a text message and she picked it up. "He's on his way, he’s going to meet you at the parking lot on Marion."
A flood of relief washed through Ary and she stood up.
Dori hoisted the safe up on the bed and put in the combination, pulling out several zippered bags and stuffing them in a duffel. "Here's the money," she said handing the bag to Aryanne along with a set of keys.
Ary looked at the keys, realizing with the new plan she was leaving Dori right now. She glanced at her friend, her throat tightening, "You should follow me to the meeting spot so you can say good-bye to Grayson."
Dori shook her head, "Nah. I'm not good with that stuff. Just tell him...Tell him that he knows what I expect in return." She smiled softly, "Okay, time for you to go."
Ary nodded, her eyes pricking, then leaned in and hugged her. After a moment Dori returned it, squeezing her hard. "Be safe," she whispered.
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