The next few days go by in a blur. I have a hotel room in the town of Jackson which is where my new school will be located. It isn’t really a small town but it is by no means a huge city. I have already been in contact with a lawyer as well as the school and they are aware of my situation with the two names. My high school records will be changed over to Megan Jones as soon as they are sent over to the college. Highland College is a private school that has the best literature program in the country. I am beyond happy that I have been able to get in. They only accept a few students to the program each year.
I have also begun the house hunt. I have contacted a real estate agent and she has already started sending over some homes that I may like. I have decided that I am getting what I want. For the first time in my life, there is not someone telling me what to do and what I should want. My parents may have not cared much about me but they did try to force me into doing what they wanted and liking everything that they felt was right. I think that was just another way that they were trying to prove that they didn’t care about me for me.
The drive Jackson is going to be a long one. It is in the state of Washington so it is clear across the country. That leads me to the current dilemma that I am facing. My SUV. I have loved it with all my heart. It was something that I worked so hard for and to be honest, I know that it won’t make it to Jackson. I guess there is no other choice than to get a new vehicle. I make my way to a dealership that makes my SUV and head inside.
After about two hours a come away with the newest model of my SUV in Cobalt blue with all the bells and whistles as they say. My sweet old SUV sits in the lot awaiting the day when someone will buy it. I have to take a deep breath because I honestly want to cry leaving it behind. That vehicle got me through a lot of hard times in my life. It was a sanctuary when I needed to escape my family. But just like all things in life there comes a time when it ends and you have to move on.
I pack up my few possessions and head over to the book store to say goodbye. Gregory and Maggie know that today is the day. Neither are happy about my departure but they understand and are not planning to stand in my way. I walk into the closed store and see them sitting waiting on me with those sad faces that I have grown accustomed to seeing lately.
“Please tell me you changed your mind and that you’re staying.” Maggie cries hugging me. I shake my head no and just pat her back trying to give the only comfort that I can. Gregory joins in the hug and I can see that this is taking a toll on him as well.
“As soon as I feel it is safe I will see you guys. I just don’t want you followed and then my family finding me. I have a lot that I have hidden from them and I can’t risk losing all that I worked for. Just try and be happy for me. I am finally going to be free of it.” I smile a genuine smile at them.
“Cole’s a mess you know. We haven’t told him anything but he begs daily for us to give him some hope that you are ok and that you’re not disappearing. I don’t know what I should say to him. Ophelia that boy loves you as I have never thought possible from him. I know it doesn’t deserve a chance but it breaks my heart to see him this way.” Maggie says this and I can see that she is hesitant about it.
“Not to sound like a b-word but he should have thought of that before. Do you have any idea how it feels to know that the people you thought were your friends could do that to you? Or how about the person you were falling in love with. He said horrible things to me. You saw the video. I am in no way close to a point where I can forgive that. I need to fix me before I can even think of fixing things with him.” Part of me is angry with her for even thinking that I should give him a chance. I know he has things he needs to say but I can’t listen to him speak to me without thinking about what he said before.
The door to the shop opens and there he stands. His breathing is harsh and at first, he doesn’t see me. He makes a beeline to Maggie and he stands with his back to me. He is tense and he once again looks as if he hasn’t been taking care of himself or sleeping.
“Where is she? Her car is on the lot for sale! Tell me, Maggie! I have to see her!” Maggie lifts her hand and points to me. He slowly turns to see me and his face lights up like he has been given the greatest gift he has ever known. “Ophelia please let talk to you!” He runs over and wraps me up in his arms. My shock quickly wears off and I push him away.
“I told you I’m not ready,” I say this with a voice that is cold and unfeeling. “Maggie please tell me you didn’t do this.” She looks at me in a way that lets me know that she can’t tell me what I want to hear. I take a deep breath and realize that I was better off not trusting anyone. “I get it. He is your brother and means more. Just forget everything that I said earlier. Gregory, I’m sorry but I will not be in contact.” I turn and run out the door.
I hear them yelling after me and I know that Cole is running to catch up to me. I quickly get in my vehicle and fly out of the parking lot. I keep checking the mirrors to make sure that I am not being followed. I see Cole follow for a few seconds and then he slumps down to his knees with Maggie catching up to him. She falls alongside him and I say my goodbyes in my mind knowing that I never plan on seeing or talking to any of them again. This chapter of my life is over.
I watch her drive away and know that I have lost her for good. She never had any intention of letting me explain. I have done enough damage that she can’t bear to even look at me or hear my voice. Now I have dragged Maggie into it by begging for her help.
“Maggie I am so sorry. I didn’t mean to do any of it, I swear.” I break down in front of her sobbing. She puts her arms around me and she cries right along with me.
“I know. I made my choice to help you so I have no one to blame but myself. We’ll find her. Somehow, someway we will find her. And then we will show her how much we love her.”