Chapter 39: Low hanging branches.

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Chapter 39

The longer it took to get there the more frustrating it got. Beside me, Kyle chewed nervously on his nails and in front of me, Simon sat cursing into his cell phone. With every mile we drove my anxiety grew and the pain in my chest grew with it.

Where were Nate and the others?

What kind of trouble were they in?

Were the hurt?

Were they even alive?

These question whirled around in my mind, over and over again, with each possibility just as sickening as the last.

I looked at Kyle, took in his nails which were bitten down to the quick, the way his eyes seemed to take in everything we passed and the way he'd gone quiet for possibly the first time since I'd known him; that alone was frightening.

I was so used to him being my positive ball of energy, the one who could make me see the silver lining in even the worst of circumstances, but here he was, just as terrified as I was and offering nothing in the way of comfort. For about the hundredth time since we'd set out, I felt my eyes fill and again I refused to let them fall. If I lost all hope now I'd fall to pieces and then I'd be of no help at all to Nate if he needed me.

I curled my hands into fists and felt my nails bite into the soft flesh, then I took a breath, opened them and looked at the red, crescent shaped punctures dotting my palms.

I needed him to be okay. I needed them all to be okay. I glanced over at Kyle again and this time he looked at me, but gone were the cheerful eyes and insane optimism. He looked lost.

"You've always been so fearless. Even when we were in prison you didn't care, it never bothered you. When we escaped you were fine with it, so what changed Kyle? Is there something you're not telling me? What else did John say?" I questioned in desperation and he shook his head, almost in pity.

"Don't be stupid Riley, do I look fearless to you? I was terrified in prison. Every time my dad visited I begged him to find some way to get me out, practically every night I cried like some little girl from just wanting to be anywhere but there and of course I was afraid when we escaped, I'm still afraid, if I get caught, I'm going back and it's not gonna be a measly three month sentence this time!" he raged and I sat back in surprise.

"But you always seemed..."

"I can't help that I don't wear my heart on my sleeve like you do. I've tried to make the best of the situation,  to push it all to the back of my mind so I could cope and...I guess having Johnny there helped too, but I'm only human...we all are and we all get scared and we all die. It's just how life is...but if Johnny..." he took a shaky breath, "If anything happens to him it'll kill me Riley...."

I watched in horror as his lower lip wobbled, but he bit it and turned away. I sighed. "Please give me some good news Simon." I begged when he finally dropped the phone onto the seat beside him, but he only shook his head and I felt my frustration grow.

"We have just as much right to know what's going on as you do. Why are you being such a dick?" I raged, pissed that he'd try to keep crucial information from us.

He glanced into the rearview mirror and our eyes locked, then his he glanced back on the road. "There's been reports of a high speed chase on the highway; two SUV's pursuing a vehicle that matches the description of Eddie's van. Witnesses claim shots were being fired." He began and I felt my chest tighten.

"John says they're heading to a warehouse not far off course. I did a bust there once."

"Why are they going to some warehouse? Why don't they drive to a police station or something? What the hell are they thinking?" Kyle erupted and Simon shook his head.

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