Runaway Highway

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Chapter 16 - Videocall

Sam’s POV

When I got to Dave’s house, exshausted, the last thing I wanted to do was explain what happened, but I did. It was the least I could do since I had barged into his house unnanounced. We were sure to be quiet as to not wake up his wife, Melissa.

“Jesus fucking Christ-” he said under the kitchen light. “That’s insane man. Of course you can crash here. Take the sofa or somethin. Hey, I’mma make you some food, alright? Go get some rest.”

I really appreciated Dave. He treated me like an older brother.

“I’m gonna call my dad outside so I won’t wake up Mel.” I made my way outside and dialled my dad’s number. I had to call him, I just had to.

The phone rang a couple of times before he answered.

“Sam, where are you?” He asked firmely. Nice to speak to you too.

“At Dave’s. You?”

He was very factual and straight to the point.“I just left the hospital George is at, going home now. He’s doing fine, just a contusion, nothing serious. I sent some guys to the house and everything is in order, the place is clear. Tell me, what did those animals want? Did you hear them?”

“Is Geroge awake? Did you speak to him?” I pressed. I was more worried about George than getting to the details of the attack.

“Yes, he’s fine. I spoke to him and he told me what happened, but I want to hear your side of the story.”

“Good. That’s good. Well, I was in the garage and then the Starks started shouting for my name, asking where I was. George texted me from upstairs to leave.”

My dad was quiet for a second, like he was pondering his next words.

“George says it wasn’t the Stark boys. Based on the description he gave me, I think I know who they are. But you don’t need to worry about that.”

“What do you mean I don’t need to worry about that? The Starks had a reason to try and hurt me, or at least scare the shit out of me. I had an argument with them at Berkley, but that’s not the point. The point is, who else would want to take me or scare me or whatever if not the Starks? Who the hell knows who I am and wants to hurt me?”

“Sam, don’t be a child. They wanted to get to you to get to me. It’s just business.”

“Just business? Just fucking business, dad? They almost put a bullet through my brains-”

“Calm down, son. Calm the fuck down. I’m dealing with it. I always deal with it.”

There was silence again. There wasn’t nothing much I could do or say to him, I couldn’t probe him either. Whatever he had in mind it was for his knowledge only.

“Was there anybody else in the house?” He asked calmly.

I hesitated. If he were to be standing in front of me in that moment, my face would give the answer away immediately. Yes, Johanna was with me, I answered in my head.

“There was, wasn’t there?” He understood my silence.

“I had someone working for me there, a mechanic, fixing my car. Nothing to worry about.”

“And is this mechanic someone you know well?” He asked, his voice cocky. My blood immediately started to boil and I had the urge to hang up the phone.

“I know her well enough.” I answered shortly and bitterly.

“Oh, it’s a she. Besides fixing your pipes, can you trust her Sam?” I almost chocked when he said that, but held back a rude remark as he continued. “I’m not insinuating the girl plotted this attack, but we never know son. This town is full of secrets and shady people.”

“Do you think this girl is playing me? You think I’m that stupid to let some random girl trick me like that?”

“Oh son, don’t be naïve. Women are capable of anything for power, money, revenge... But anyway, let’s give her the benefit of the doubt. I’ll be expecting to meet her soon. I’ll probably be able to make an assessment about her with my head, the one up top, that is.”

“Yeah, we’ll see about that. Goodnight.”

I hung up the phone, wanting to escape that situation. God, what a fucking prick. He didn’t even ask if I was doing alright.

I made my way inside, the smell of grilled cheese greeting me. I went into the kitchen and Dave had two sandwiches ready for me to devour. I thanked him and he excused himself to bed. It was already late and he had to work early in the morning.

After filling my stomach, I made my way to the couch. It wasn’t big, but if I bent my knees I could fit in it just fine. I covered myself with a blanket and placed the unconfortable sofa pillows against the armrest. Once I was somewhat comfortable, I called Johanna on Facetime.

The bright light of the phone shone on my face. I squinted my eyes and turned the brightness to the lowest possible (which was still too bright).

Then she picked up, her face appearing on my screen. She was also lying down, her blanket tucked into her neck. Her black hair was tied up, her eyelids droopy from sleep. She had on hand tucked under her chin, her cheek pressed against a pillow.

“Hey.” I whispered.

“Hey.” She whispered back. “You okay?”

“Yeah, I’m good. Did you arrive safely?”

“Yeah.” She replied. “Did you speak to your dad?”

I stared at her face, her smooth skin, her tired eyes. She looked cute in that cave of blankets.

“I did. George is okay, he’s at the hospital. Nothing serious.” I trailed off, wondering what to say to her next.

“Does your dad know anything about the attackers?”

“No, he doesn’t. Neither does George, but he said it wasn’t the Starks. Probably some crackheads on a bad trip who just wanted money or something.”

I tried to sound truthful and she seemed to buy it. I wasn’t about to tell her my dad was doing some shady business with people who were willing to kill me for God knows what reason. Deep down, I knew not being truthful went against what I said about not wanting her to get hurt, but then again, my dad raised a bit of suspicion in me. Was it possible that she was behind this? That was impossible, absolutely impossible. I had been tricked and used and manipulated in the past, and I could feel it, I knew she wasn’t fooling me. I could tell the sincerity in her eyes were real. The way she kissed me was real.

No, I wasn’t telling her the truth because I suspected of her. I was doing it because I didn’t want her to worry.

“This is so messed up.” She said, looking at me through the screen. “I wish I was there with you, you look really tired.”

My heart leaped. If earlier in the night I was thanking videocalls for existing, now that I wanted to reach through the screen and touch the girl on the other side, I wasn’t feeling so thankful.

“I am tired. It’s the adrenaline coming down I guess. What if tomorrow we do something fun? I’ll pick you up and we’ll go wherever the road takes us.”

She smiled, her eyes closing at the thought “No way. I need to check your race car Gazelle, see if those bastards ruined my hard work.”

A smile grew on my face, my head relaxing into my pillow.

“Alright.” I replied, my voice low. I was slowly drifiting into sleep.“You look cute.”

“I’m about to look real cute in a second with drool dripping down my face.” She replied, closing her eyes completely and pulling the covers tighter to her face. She was ready to sleep and so was I, but we kept our phones turned on, comfortble silence rocking us to sleep.

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