Chapter 26: Two Days Freed
Have you ever been in love?
The truth is that everyone has been and will be, a thousand times over.
You can love a friend, a family member, a man, a woman, a pet.
Love has no limits, no bounds. Love is an emotion stronger than any other.
Maybe that’s why people do bad things for love.
Is that why people hide secrets from the people they love, to protect them? Is that why Trent is not the only one hiding a secret that could destroy him?
In which the person who loves Kirsten more than anything, agrees to letting her go if only for awhile...
Hearing Kirsten quote the words I’d written made my heart ache.
If only she knew that journal was mine, and the girl in it was her. She had no idea that she was reading about herself, that she was in a book. She’d probably be excited about it, minus the circumstances.
The fact that she hadn’t realised proved how much her head was in the clouds, but it was one of the things I loved most about her. The fact that she saw things in her own way and not in the way everyone else is blinded to see it. No matter how real things get she can somehow find a way to escape them.
We were alike in the most opposite of ways.
I knew that from this moment on wards - although Kirsten didn’t know it - she would no longer be the girl she used to be.
She would be a fugitive like me, and the moment that anyone found out would be the moment a road trip would turn into running away. So, this was why I let Kirsten take as long as she needed when saying goodbye to her mother. Because I knew that it was going to be the last time they saw each other.
Standing by the doorway, I listened in to their conversation, eagerly waiting for the moment me and Kirsten started up the engine of her truck and drove far away from The Valley. I had promised myself that the trip would be what she wanted, not what I wanted. I was being selfish enough by even asking her to do this, I was pulling her into my life of unwanted crime.
“No Kirsten!” I flinched at the sound of a voice that wasn’t Kirsten’s, getting louder as she spoke, “How can you expect me to say yes? You hardly know him...”
My heart started pounding rapidly, doubt shadowing my already too crowded mind. I should’ve known Kirsten’s mum wouldn’t be easy to persuade.
“Mum I’m eighteen, you can’t keep expecting me to ask for your permission on everything. Especially since you never say yes.” Kirsten was trying to keep her voice level, but I could hear it shaking.
“Can you blame me!? After what happened to Nala, I simply don’t trust boys.”
“But mum don’t you see,” I pushed the door so it was slightly ajar, and looked inside to see Kirsten holding her mums hand and looking desperately into her eyes. “I am not Nala. I will not make the same mistakes that she did.”
Silence enveloped them for a moment. Kirsten’s mum’s eyes were welling up with tears, face a picture of worry and scarring anxiety. Heart aching, I wondered what it would be like to have a parent who cared about me like Kirsten’s mum did.
“I don’t want you ending up...” She stopped herself suddenly, deciding against what she was about to say.
I frowned, leaning in closer between the gap of the door which was separating me from the inside of the house. Blocking me out as if I were dangerous, which I was but not in the way that everyone thought.
“What mum?” Kirsten pulled a confused expression as she awaited an answer, “What is it?”
“Nothing-” she stammered, “What about the fugitive?”
A lump formed in my throat.
He’s a lot closer than you think. I thought.
The fact was that I would never hurt Kirsten. I was taking enough risks just staying in the Valley for this long, waiting on the girl who gave me my name.
“What about him?” Kirsten stated calmly. I sighed in relief. “Isn’t a road trip better than staying here, where the murderer actually is?”
Hearing her say the word murderer was like a stab in the back. It was confirmation that if she ever found out, she wouldn’t give me the chance to explain. But could I blame her? What would any rational person do if they found out the one they had become close to was wanted for murder?
“Two nights,” her mum decided, “And if you aren’t home by then I won’t hesitate to phone the police.”
“Thank you!” Kirsten threw her arms around her mum, hugging her tightly, “I promise I will be back.”
Her eyes were sad as she hugged her daughter, filled with doubt but also something more. Something I couldn’t quite put my finger on.
As the pair pulled away, her mum had one last thing to say.
“Do not have sex with him Kirsten.” She said sternly.
“I promise mum. I wouldn’t.”
Her mums eyes softened, “You like him don’t you?”
“Yeah, I do.” Kirsten’s eyes smiled and so did I.
My heart lurched. It was the first time she’d admitted it, and even though it wasn’t to my face, I couldn’t help but feel on top of the world. And that was when I pulled the door back up gently and stepped away from it, because I knew that it wouldn’t be long before Kirsten came out, clutching the bag of clothes and money I told her to bring.
Plus, I’d heard what I wanted to hear.
Two nights was better than nothing. Maybe she would see her mum again after all. But either way I was going to break Kirsten’s heart. Because I couldn’t risk staying for any longer. I would be leaving with or without Kirsten after the two days, no matter how much it hurt.
And don’t ask me what excuse I was going to make. Because I had no idea...