Chapter Eleven

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She didn't remember turning. She didn't remember running back down the steps and around the house, headed for the driveway—for the road. None of it even mattered. Her heart was pounding in her ears, screaming at her to just run! The only thing that mattered was that the dark-haired man was in Nate's house, was Nate's father, and she needed to get to her father so they could get the hell out of town.

But she barely made it to the end of the driveway before Nate's hand was circling her wrist and drawing her to a sudden stop.

She whirled on him, going for his eyes the way that he had shown her not half an hour earlier.

Nate's other hand came up just in time, catching her second wrist in a vice grip. "Whoa! What the hell, Halsman? What are you doing?!"

The expression on his face made her pause.

It was stricken. Confused. Maybe even a little bit hurt.

Was it possible that he didn't know?

It didn't matter. Whether he knew or not, his father was one of the men who was going to be responsible for her father's death in exactly a week's time—maybe even her death. She needed to get away from the house before he saw her. Before he figured out who she was.

"I have to go." Zoe's mouth was dry. She pulled both hands out of Nate's grasp, a little surprised at how easily he let her go. "I'm sorry, Nate. I have to go now."

"Slow down," Nate said gently, his hands raised in the universal gesture of calm down. "Just... Let me grab my keys and I'll drive you home, okay? It's safer than walking. I'll only be a few seconds."

He was gone before she had a chance to respond.

Zoe considered leaving anyway. Granton Ridge was a safe enough town that she wasn't worried about running into any unsavoury characters—and even if she'd had reason to worry, her dream had already assured her that she would at least be alive until next Friday. But she wasn't willing to tempt fate by allowing Nate's father to see her. And what if that was where Nate had really gone now?

She was just about to start running when he came back out of the house, his keys and her schoolbag in hand.

"I can walk," she said as she took her proffered bag. "Really. It's not that far."

"I know you can. But I'm going to drive you anyway." Nate offered an unsure smile. "If not for your own sake, do it for mine? My mom would murder me if she knew I let you walk home in the dark."

He was climbing into the car even before she'd accepted. With a sigh, Zoe reluctantly followed his lead.

Nate was quiet for the drive, his brows furrowed in concern. Zoe kept her hands tightly balled in her lap, barely resisting the urge to fidget. Maybe it was a good thing he had offered to drive her—she would get back to her father quicker now. But would it be quick enough?

She watched Main Street fly by, its stores just now beginning to close up for the evening. She watched all of the familiar faces go by—people that she had known all of her life, that she knew she could run to for help if she needed it. The thought helped her to relax a little in her seat.

It was a change that Nate picked up on. "Do you want to tell me what happened back there?"

Zoe was shaking her head before he had even finished asking. "I can't. I'm sorry. You'll just have to trust that I needed to get home."

Nate frowned. "Is this some kind of anxiety thing? Did you have a panic attack? Paris gets them sometimes. We could have helped you."

"It's not an anxiety thing."

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