28 - Where Small Changes are Made

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28

         We’d been travelling for days. Well. You couldn’t really call it travelling. Since Jacoby had—to be blunt—next to no clue where this Other haven was located, or even what it looked like, we were wandering around blindly. No, not just blindly. More like walking through the Amazon wearing earplugs, sleeping masks, and clothes pins on our noses.

         I’d long gotten over my disbelief at Jacoby’s lack of knowledge, but that didn’t mean he was sane again in my eyes.

         I was forced to turn my cell phone on silent. I was getting too many calls. Jacoby did, too. My inbox was constantly flooded with text messages, as was Jacoby’s.

         His map was a little worn around the edges now, from taking it out at least three or four times a day. Since the Hawaii thing didn’t really work out, our new cover story featured him as an international student from France named Jacques, and I was taking him travelling all over the east side of the country, showing him around as volunteer hours for my tourism class at school. He limited himself to the most basic of words, but in case he slipped up, he nodded and smiled the majority of the time. We stayed away from high schools and police departments, lest they recognize us. We avoided turning on the TV as well, for fear of seeing our faces on the news.

         “Should I dye my hair?” Jacoby asked one day, after organizing and reorganizing his bag. “Is it too noticeable?” We hadn’t spoken much lately. We both knew the other person was too preoccupied fielding the calls, and fighting the urge to pick up, too.

         I scrutinized him, glad for the distraction. I’d been scrolling through my stuffed inbox, deleting every single text message. The reason I didn’t delete them all at once was because I wanted to see their messages. To know that I hadn’t been forgotten yet. Though it pained me to read them, the most excruciating being the ones from my mother and Nic, I needed that reassurance. I couldn’t keep all of them, and I had a nagging feeling in the back of my mind that saving them would eventually convince me to return home—something I couldn’t let myself do. All the same, every message I erased was a bruise or cut, and I wasn’t sure I could survive all of them.

         I gestured for Jacoby to turn his head one way and another. “I think you should,” I said, though I really liked his hair colour. “When I’m trying to find you, I always look for your hair first.”

         He raised his eyebrows. “You do?”

         “Yup.”

         “Why didn’t you tell me earlier?” he said, his maid-like cleaning discarded halfway. “I’m going out to get hair dye. If I knew my hair was that noticeable, I would’ve dyed it at the beginning of the trip.”

         I frowned while he grabbed his wallet from the bedside table and stuffed it into his pocket.

         “Leave the keys, I’ll wait here,” I said.

         He nodded. “I’ll be back in twenty minutes. Don’t open the door for anyone else.”

         I nodded, familiar with the drill, now. We were lucky enough to be saying at Holiday Inn today. The guy at the reception had taken one look at us and said we could stay. His blond-and-black hair made him look less than friendly, but his green eyes were warm when he smiled, and he personally showed us our room, no questions asked.

         I think we were on our fourth or fifth city. I left the recording stuff to Jacoby. I didn’t want to think about how far away we’d gone from home.

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