Chapter 37

My mind went blank. “What?”

The sadness in Nathan’s eyes were starting diminish, instead being replaced with tough determination. “I said run away with me,” his tongue rolled slowly.

My tongue, however, refused to work properly. “But…” How can I decline something like this? What he was requesting was so ridiculous, so utterly insane, and yet… I replayed my earlier words and fought the urge to shoot myself.

I promised him I’d do anything to help him out. Anything.

You’ve made your bed. Now lie in it.

Finally, after a heavy beat of silence, I heaved a sigh. My next words were painful to get out. “Nate…” I bit my lip. “You know that’s impossible. I can’t.”

“What do you mean you can’t?” he exploded, suddenly jumping from his sitting position and kneeling so he was at level with me. His sweaty palms desperately gripped by fingers.

“Please, Jess. I have to do this, with or without you. And you said you’d do anything to help me.” He lowered his voice, gently running his lips along mine. I let out a shaky breath. “You said you love me.”

“I do,” I croaked, before clearing my throat and putting a tiny bit of distance between us. Nathan couldn’t know the effect he had on me, because I knew he would use it to his full advantage. The idea of running away was ludicrous, considering the situation we were both put under.

I continued, my voice a little stronger. “But we can’t just run away, Nate. That’s…” I shook my head, “stupid.”

He let out a humorless laugh. “Stupid? There is nothing stupid about what I’m planning.”

I hesitated, staring into his electric blue eyes. They were frantic and pleading, boring into my soul and almost willing me to agree.

“What are you planning on doing?” I asked tentatively. I had merely thought that his impulsive need to run away from everything had something to do with his mother’s story and the impromptu visit from his father.

But could he have a true motive behind it?

Dry amusement slithered into his expression, but it was very brief. “Angel, you should know me better than that.” His eyes became deadly and serious. I almost retreated in fear. “Alfred’s flight makes it into Atlantic City by midnight. I broke into his office last night to check his schedule. I had a feeling something like this would happen.”

“You did?” I asked, vaguely surprised. But the sinking feeling in my gut told me that whatever Nathan’s planning wasn’t good.

He nodded once, eyes burning. “Yes. He comes in to check on us every month – though I don’t know why. And I want to find out why.”

“So… you want to follow your father into Atlantic City?” I cried.

Without warning, Nathan stood up, pacing around his recently cleaned room like an angry, adolescent tiger.

“He’s hiding something,” he continued, low and silent. I could see the wheels churning inside his head. “It’s absolute bullshit that he goes there for work. He’s there for another reason – whether it’s gambling, women, or something else entirely.”

My voice wavered. “… Why?”

He glanced at me. “If I knew why, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. I’ve had enough of that fucker – I don’t care if we’re biologically related. I want to track him down, find out what he’s up to, and expose him for what he truly is.”

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