“True love hangs on the willingness to make sacrifices, no matter how painful the outcome.”
Walking away from Madalyn was not easy. I could see it in her eyes that she was hurt I was leaving her and not inviting her up. She had almost been killed because of my secrets. I saw the way she looked at me. It’s how I used to catch Ava staring at me when she longed for more. Why had I been the rock that people broke themselves against? Perhaps I loved too fiercely, and it only tortured everyone involved. I had to leave before it hurt either of us more. I could not let her get involved in all of my baggage. I had to leave before she was killed. I had to finish what was started.
I snatched up most of my clothes out of my dresser, taking only my important things before walking out of my apartment and down to the bakery. I saw the owner of the bakery was inside, probably making doughnuts for the early morning. The smell always made me hungry. The door was locked, so I tapped on the glass. He looked up, a bit startled, and then walked over, opening the door.
“Hi, Mr. Ryder. What’s up?” he greeted.
“Sir, I just wanted to give you a heads up that I have a job out of town that I have to do. I’m not sure how long it will take, so I wanted to give you some rent in advance because I won’t be around,” I told him.
“Oh,” he replied, a little surprised.
“I also wanted to give you the keys back, just in case you have to go up there for any reason,” I said before he could ask any questions about the job I was doing. “Here is six months’ rent and a little extra for any trouble this may be causing.” I handed him a paper bag with some cash.
“Whoa, whoa, Son,” he responded, looking into the bag. “This is a lot of cash.”
I chuckled for a moment at his response. “It’s fine, sir. I can assure you that it’s all legit,” I told him, in case he was worried.
“That’s alright, Son, it was just a little shocking when I first looked into the bag. I didn’t expect it to be cash is all,” he laughed.
“Well, it should help with filing your taxes,” I joked.
“You are right about that,” he stated.
“Alright, then,” I said, stalling for a moment before I left.
“Was there something else then?” he asked.
“Actually, can you do me a small favor?” I asked.
“Sure?” he answered, more questioningly than willingly.
I pulled a small envelope containing a letter I had written for Madalyn out of my back pocket. I felt hesitant about leaving her anything, as she would use it as more incentive to try to find me. I loved her too much already to string her along. There was no sense in making it harder for her.
“There is a girl that I have been seeing, not sure if you’ve seen her around. Well, she doesn’t know I’m leaving, and this job is kind of sudden, so could you give her this letter for me? Most likely she will come by here when she can’t find me,” I said.
“I can do that for you, sure. Couldn’t you just give her a call though?” he asked while taking the letter. “I’m sorry, Mr. Ryder, that’s none of my business.”
“It’s fine, you have a right to ask, I suppose. I guess my answer is that, it will be easier this way,” I told him.
“I understand,” he replied.
I jumped in my truck with a few of my belongings and headed west. It was likely that I would be marching into a battle I could not win, but Ava and Cara deserved for me to try. I would not stop. I was foolish to think I could escape my past and rebuild myself with no closure. If I had one wish, it would be to see Madalyn again after the success of my vengeance.
I called my grandfather.
“Jack?” He answered.
“Hey, Grandpa. I’m on my way home, driving. There can be no record of me traveling back home. Tell the council that the plan is in effect. I’m going to take my time. I’ll call you again after I have things started.”
“Very well, Achak,” he replied.
“Hey, listen, are the keys to my parents’ place still hidden in the same spot?”
“Yes they are, why?”
“Do you think my bow is still in the basement?”
“Yes, nothing has been taken out of the house,” he answered.
“Good. If we are doing this, I’m going to make it very personal.”
“I like that plan…” he stated in a low grumble.
“Grandpa, I’m turning my phone off. Saying Madalyn will be worried is an understatement. For her protection, she can’t know anything. Can you do me a favor and call her in the next day or so to see how she is doing?”
“Very well. She must really mean something to you, Jack,” he replied.
“You don’t even know the half of it.”