Chapter 40: A Change Of Heart
Her warning was blunt and absolute. A threat filled with spite and finality.
“If you aren’t home by tomorrow morning, I’m calling the police.”
The ache started in my chest before plummeting into the pit of my stomach. I swallowed the sharp pang in my throat, the air in the truck suddenly feeling clammy. I struggled for breath, the tension we were sat in thickening until I felt like I was going to choke.
“Mrs Green I can assure you that there is no need to do that. Kirsten is safe with me.” Miles spoke immediately, voice calm and assuring. He sounded as if he was proposing a business plan.
“And I can assure you that you do not get to tell me what to do with my own daughter,” she spat, “I’ve dealt with boys like you before and I am not going to let you get away with it.”
Miles recoiled backwards from the phone as if it were alive, ready to snap a rearing head in his direction. Anger heated my cheeks as I tried to open my mouth to speak, a thousand venomous words ready to spill off my tongue, but all that came out was a small squeak.
“I will repeat myself again, just so we are clear,” her voice was icy cold, a ghost of the woman I knew, “If you aren’t home by tomorrow morning, I am calling the police.”
Three loud bleeps cut the call off, low and menacing. We were left awash in silence, both staring down at the phone in my hand like it held the answer to our problems. But as we turned to each other in the dark, one look said that this was it. Our fantasy was beginning to dissipate as fantasy’s do, and we were left to face real life again.
Miles looked at me helplessly, searching for something in my eyes. He hesitated before gently pushing my chin up with his finger and tilting his head in to kiss me. The kiss was soft but deep, pulling me into his chest as our breaths collided as one. He felt like a breath of fresh air, and I savoured it, butterflies circling my heart. It was a kiss full of longing and forlorn ecstasy, overshadowed with a
nagging worry and sadness.
He pulled away suddenly, locking our eyes with a gaze so intense that I held my breath. His eyes were vacant, the blue in them seeming almost grey now. They welled up with tears as he looked at me, reaching out to take my shaking hand in his. I was about to ask if he was okay before he kissed me again, this time without any hesitation, over and over until I was sure I could see the hues of daylight already forming.
Miles was restless now, every move he made quick and erratic. It was almost as if he didn’t know what to do with himself, and every second that passed put him more on edge.
“What are we going to do?” I asked when he’d finally pulled away from me, trying to keep the distance between us as little as possible.
“We have no choice but to go back,” his voice was gruff, “I’m no genius but it isn’t hard to figure out your mum is a woman of her words. If we aren’t back by the morning then that’s that.”
“I’m eighteen years old. No crime has been committed. It’s not like I’ll get arrested for not wanting to see my own mum.” I tucked my phone deep into my pocket, wanting to bury the memory of my mums voice along with it.
Miles avoided my eyes as he started up the truck, hands tightening on the steering wheel. We lurched forwards into trees, wing-mirrors scraping against the parted branches. It took me a few seconds to realise that we were driving into the field I’d pointed out earlier.
“Your mum isn’t stupid. She’ll tell the police that her daughter randomly asked to go on a road trip with a boy from her science class, which is completely out of character, and is refusing to come home. She’ll probably lie and say that I’m the reason you aren’t coming back, that I’ve kidnapped you or some shit. The whole situation sounds dodgy, especially when they find out that I don’t even go to your school.”
The field opened up before us, miles of green terrain overstretched for as far as you could see. I blinked twice, noticing how eerily beautiful it looked in the darkness. Miles continued to drive and it felt like we could keep on going forever, head first into nothingness.
Eventually we came to a stop, and the purr of the engine died out, getting soaked up by the thick blades of grass beneath us. Moonlight glinted, reflecting off the windows and lighting up one side of my face.
“We aren’t going back. I can’t Miles. I want this. I want you.”
“I know Kirsten and I want that too. God, I want that more than anything…” his voice was strained as he paused in thought, pulling in for air, “but we can’t.”
“Why not?” I fumbled for his hand, desperate and yearning. I searched his eyes expectantly but there was nothing. “We can make it work. Fuck it let’s just run away, we’re already on a road trip, we have everything we need. What have we got to lose? We can just drop everything, leave it all behind. You said it yourself, let’s be like birds on flight, weightless and free.” I stumbled over my words, breathless.
“Kirsten you don’t understand…”
“What’s changed? You asked me to run away with you that day. And now I’m saying yes. Let’s do it.”
He paused suddenly, looking out of the window in thought. I studied him carefully, tracing the lines of his jaw and the gentle dip of his nose, his dark eyebrows that intensified the shocking blue of his eyes, the dimples that appeared every time he smiled and the way the moonlight made his skin seem almost porcelain.
He drew in a deep breath and I noticed something shift. The tight pulls of worry in his forehead relaxed and a glint lit up his eyes like a star across an open sky. His body slumped against the steering wheel, a thin line of sweat dampening the back of his neck.
“Yes,” he threw his hands up into the air, releasing an exasperated laugh, “Let’s do it. Let’s run away together Kirsten.”