Chapter Eighteen ~Travis~

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"You made the right call man. Come on, if we find her tonight, the last thing you're gonna want to do is say goodbye to her again. Not to mention, it would entail you entrusting her safety with virtual strangers. Regardless of Jim's promises that she'll be protected, I wouldn't take that chance," Sanders says, while  looking out the passenger side window of the car, searching for Leroy's truck.

"I know what you're doing, Sanders," I reply looking over at him.

Looking back he smirks. "What?" he asks, suddenly feigning confusion.

"Is this your way of giving me your blessing?" I respond, eyeing him from the side then shifting my focus back on the road.

"My blessing? You plan on getting hitched before you two run off into the sunset? I'm honored man really," he says, placing his hand on his chest, "but I don't really know Mad--"

"You know what I'm talking about," I say loudly, talking over him. "My decision is already made, so why do you feel the need to try and convince me?" I continue as I scan the area we're passing.

"I'm not worried that you won't take Maddie and run, you know that. We both know the score. If the opportunity presented itself, and I found Anna first, as much as I love you man, I would not hesitate to leave your ass behind," he says.

"Yeah, and you're full of shit," I respond, giving him a little shove towards the door.

"Okay, okay. I might hesitate a little. But all joking aside...would it feel all kinds of wrong to leave you behind? Of course it would, but I'd do it. And you'd expect me to," he says with conviction.

"We know this already," I reply.

"Look, as tough as you may be, you don't know how to leave people behind," he says, and I shift uncomfortably in my seat. "After all, that's why you're here, isn't it?" he continues. "Accepting the fact that Maddie left and finding a way to go on without her was never an option for you. Was it?" he asks, and I feel the weight of his stare.

"No," I reply as I shake my head.

"Look, you'll have enough on your plate dealing with leaving your Mom and Grace, so I need you to keep me off that list Bro." 

My chest tightens at just the mention of them. "What list Sanders?" I respond, slightly annoyed.

"The list of people you're going to beat yourself up for leaving behind, and don't you dare make me one of them. And as far as your mom and Grace, I told you I'd look out for them. Jim said he'd keep tabs on them too."

"I know, and I appreciate that man." I reply, looking over at him. "And as for this list," I continue, "like you said, you and I both know the score. There was never any expectation that we had to run together or not run at all. I know we're both okay with this."

"But do you really Brennan? I know you man. You might say this now, and it may take you days or weeks, but at some point you are going to think back on all this and the choices you've made...don't mind fuck yourself with that shit. Guilt can't be an option for you. If you two are going to survive, your head needs to be completely in the game one hundred percent," he says.

"I'm not trying to save anyone man," I respond. "I'm not that heroic. If I was, I sure as hell wouldn't be leaving my mom and sister behind."

"No, you're just being the man your mom raised you to be. She knows why you joined the Hunters. Grace does too. You left to save the girl you love. How can they both not be proud of you for that?"

"Cuz that's not true," I sigh then continue. "It took me losing her to realize how lost I am without her. Life hasn't made sense to me since she left. Not being able to see her face or hear her voice...I'm just...I won't be the one saving her man. She'll be the one saving me."

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