"Did you tell them?" Miles asked Rachel.
"Damn right I did."
"Did you rat him out in the first place?"
She shook her head slightly. "No, but now that they have him he's not getting away."
"Great. I have no idea how to save this town. I don't know how to take care of the Patriots, or how to take you off a wanted poster. When you figure it out, let me know." He walked out of the room.
"I understand what it's like to lose someone," I said. "I really, really do. I know what it feels like to want revenge. I'd know you'd do anything to get it, because I would too. Take from me and I take from you."
"Was that a threat?" Rachel asked.
"Just the common principal of revenge." I walked out after Miles. I didn't have to go far, he was just at the bottom of the stairs.
"What happens after your done with revenge?" Miles asked.
I shrugged. "I hadn't thought that far. I guess I'm just done, what else do I have left?"
"Don't you have anything else to live for?"
"Yeah, he's on death row."
"No more big dreams?"
"You wouldn't want it back now? If you could have it the way it is, and rebuild it, you wouldn't want it?"
For a second I let myself think about Savannah and my house on Forsyth Park, I imagined working with the Braxtons, and the Claymores in Mississippi, and the Deatons in Tennessee, and all the other representatives to recreate what we'd lost. I pictured expansion into the north, taking Sarah to see the Liberty Bell and Washington DC and how excited she'd be. Of course I'd take it back. If I could, I'd snatch it all right back up.
"Maybe you're right, I could find something to live for. But that doesn't mean I want to trade in Bass for a future that's probably impossible."
"I want to see him. Can we do that at least?"
"We can try."
Surprisingly the Patriots let us walk right in to the bank, well first they checked us for weapons but then they let us in. "They let me have a last request," Bass said when he saw us. "Civil, right? They're even planning a lethal injection. They should just put a bullet in my head and skip all the drama."
"You're the one that told me to laugh at a bad situation, Ciara."
"I'll give you a second," I told Miles. "If you want." He nodded and went down the stairs. I hung back and waited for a moment while Miles and Bass talked, then Miles returned.
"Go on, we should leave soon. It's getting late," Miles told me. I stepped down to Bass's level and hugged him through the bars. I didn't care what the Patriots thought; I wasn't going to let them take our last moments away from me.
"I wish I had something to say," I told him. "But I've said everything. Except, I wasted time. I'll never forgive myself for throwing away six months."
"Remember when you asked me if I loved you after Jason died, and I said-"
"It doesn't matter," I finished. "Yeah."
"I did then and I do now." He kissed me before I could say anything. "Forget me, you'll be better off."
"You know I can't do that."
"Yeah, I know."
"Ciara, we should go," Miles told me. I nodded and squeezed Bass's hands as I stepped away.
"Find my son," Bass called after us. Miles stepped back down. "It was while you and Emma were still together, I'm sorry, Miles. I have a son out there and I want you to find him for me." It was the same last request I'd gotten from Emma. I'd put finding Connor on the back burner but my need to find him was ignited again.
"Your son is fine," Miles said.
"How do you know that?" I asked.
"Emma got word to me and I hid him from you," he told Bass. "You were off the rails."
"You knew how I felt. I had a kid that died and you hid the one that lived from me?"
"No one was safe around you."
"How could you?" Bass yelled. "You son of a bitch!" Miles stepped back calmly as a few of the guards stepped in to restrain Bass. Another guard guided me towards the door, as we left I could still hear Bass cursing after Miles.
"I can't believe you, Miles!" I yelled at him as soon as we were out the doors.
"Oh come on, Ciara. You didn't know him then."
"That's not what I'm talking about, Miles. You hid him from me too! That's my cousin! You let me go off searching for him knowing damn well that I'd never be able to find him on my own. Bass I understand, but me, Miles? You kept it from me?"
"I couldn't tell you before, I knew you'd tell Bass."
"Damn right, I would have. He deserves to know where his son is! You knew how messed up I was over losing my family and yet you didn't even try to help me find Connor." Miles opened his mouth but I cut him off. "Don't, I can't even look at you right now." I turned and left him standing in the middle of the street alone.
Miles found me a little before midnight sitting at the bar. "Everyone else is waiting outside Town Hall for the execution," I told him.
"But not you," Miles noted.
"Maybe if I finish this bottle I'll do what he asked and forget about him."
"I can try." He sat down next to me and slid a glass over. I filled it up and pushed it back just as the bell rang outside. "There it is." Miles raised his glass. I downed mine in one gulp.
Eventually Charlie came in and found us in the corner. She approached slowly and put her hand on Miles's shoulder. "I'm around, ok?" He squeezed her hand. She looked at me and I couldn't summon up a single drop of venom, it was clear she hadn't wanted Bass dead either. "I'm around," she repeated, this time to me.
"Ciara, get up," Miles said. He shook me and I opened my eyes reluctantly.
"Oh god my head hurts," I groaned.
"Drink some water." He handed me a bottle and I guzzled it. "Feel better?"
"Come on, I need to show you something."
"It's like-" I looked outside.
"It's after noon, you've been sleeping all day. Get up, put some clothes on, you'll thank me later." He turned and left.
I grumbled as I changed and walked downstairs. "What is so important?"
"Just follow me."
It wasn't until we got outside that I remembered why I'd gotten so hammered the night before. I guess I had been able to forget for a little bit. "You don't seem the least bit phased by it."
"Move your feet, not your mouth." I rolled my eyes at him but did as he said.
We reached an old farmhouse with an over grown yard and peeling white paint. "Are you going to tell me what's going on?" I asked.
"It'd be better if you'd just go inside and see for yourself." He motioned for me to go ahead of him and I walked up the porch steps. Before I could open the door it flew open and Charlie was standing inside.
"Finally, I was beginning to think something happened," she said.
"I had to drag Ciara here, she gets even more stubborn when she's hungover."
"I know! It's a good thing she hardly drinks," Charlie said. I walked past them into the house. Rachel was leaning against the doorway to one of the rooms and nodded for me to follow her. When I stepped in the room I knew why Miles hadn't said anything while we were in town. Bass was lying on a mattress, alive.
"I've known since this morning," Miles told me. "But if I had woken you up any earlier you might have killed me."
Rachel was still standing next to me and I hugged her. She patted my back awkwardly. "I know you didn't do this for me, but thank you." I turned back to Bass and went to sit next to him. "Hey."
He smiled. "You look pretty," he slurred. I laughed and kissed his forehead.
"I had to drug him so they'd think he was dead, it'll be a few days until it's out of his system," Rachel explained.
Bass grabbed my hand. "Miles is gonna help us find my son and we're going to be a family," he told me stumbling over his words. I glanced at Miles who shrugged.
"Ok," I told him. "One thing at a time."
"That's what he said," Bass mumbled.
Just then we heard an explosion in the distance. "What was that?" I asked jumping up. The four of us looked out the window. A pillar of smoke rose from Willoughby.
"We need to go," Rachel said. "They might need help."
"I'll stay here," I told them. Miles nodded and the three of them left the house. I watched the smoke for a moment before deciding it wasn't my problem. I walked back over to Bass and made him slide over so I could lounge on the mattress next to him.
"Did you really think I was dead?" He asked after a while.
"I didn't think Rachel would ever save you," I told him. "I guess it's a good thing we saved Charlie, huh?"
"We're like Sonny and Cher."
"I'm pretty sure you mean Bonnie and Clyde," I corrected. "Because I can't sing."
"I got you babe," I sung, very off key.
He laughed. "You shouldn't sing."
"I told you. Anyway, you're just stealing what Miles said yesterday, you aren't even being original."
"I think that I'm not myself."
"Yeah, I can see that." I kissed him on the cheek. "Rachel saved you because Charlie wanted her to, but I feel like I owe her anyway."
"You love me," he singsonged leaning towards me. I pushed him away laughing. "Would you really have forgotten me?"
I crossed my arms. "I can't have a serious conversation with you when you're like this."
After a while Bass fell asleep. Sleep sounded nice to me too but I didn't want to risk being caught off guard. I watched him sleep for a while, everyone looked so vulnerable when they were asleep. I tried to imagine what I would have done if Rachel hadn't saved him. The thought wasn't pretty, most likely I would have kept going with the revenge thing and ended up dead.
I didn't want to think about it anymore. I stood up and walked around the house there was a bookshelf in what had once been the living room. I picked one of the novels I hadn't read before and went back to sit on the mattress to read.
I'd hardly made it to chapter two when an obnoxious light flashed across the page from outside. I stood up and looked out the window. Someone was signaling us, probably Miles. "Bass," I said. "Hey, get up."
"I'm hungry," he said. There was a thud and I turned to see that he'd knocked my book into the floor. "You read too much."
"Shut up, come here, I think Miles is trying to tell us something and I don't know how to decode it."
He grumbled but came over to the window. "Paper?" I glanced around and grabbed some and a pen. He counted flashes for a few moments and then groaned.
"What did he want?" I asked. Bass just grumbled in response and went to get dressed. I followed him outside of the house and into the woods. "Seriously, what's gong on?"
"I was already on babysitting duty."
We reached a clearing by sundown. "The one with the beard is supposed to meet us here."
"Sure." He glanced at me. "No gun?"
"I left it in Willoughby, this morning, Miles was being impatient." I reached into my backpack. "I've got knives."
"Girls," he mumbled.
"What's that supposed to mean? I killed three guys with these, in case you forgot. Knives work just fine."
"Did you hear that?" He asked.
"No. You're just changing the subject."
He shushed me and started across the clearing. I saw two Patriots had Aaron and his girlfriend, Cynthia, cornered. Before Bass could act, I stepped up behind one of them and stabbed him in the neck. Bass took care of the other one before he could shoot me. "I told you, knives work."
All of a sudden shots rang out and more Patriots attacked. Bass and I both ran leaving Aaron and Cynthia behind. We reached the tree line and I turned to see if anyone had followed us. Giant fiery forms lit up the clearing. "What the hell?"
Two Patriots reached us and Bass cut them down. I ran back towards Aaron and Cynthia. "Are you alright?" I asked them. I approached Cynthia and helped her to her feet. "What happened?" She looked at Aaron and he looked down.
Bass walked up and patted Aaron on the back. "You have got to teach me how to do that trick."