The silence in the car was heavy, making it hard to breathe. The awkwardness only weighed it down more. I took a deep breath, glanced at the person claiming to be my brother and dared to speak.
"So, Vancouver huh? You've always wanted to go there."
Jeremy was silent for half a second. "No, we have always wanted to go there. I didn't want to at first but then decided I wasn't going to let some deadbeat sister get in the way of what I wanted." Okay, so that hurt.
"Jeremy-"he cut me off, bitterness in his voice.
"Don't call me that,"
"Then what should I call you? Little brother?" I shot back, I saw him narrow his eyes out of the corner of my eye. He clenched his fists as if the thought of being in this family made him sick. It probably did. I felt my own stomach go sour at the reminder of our 'family'.
"No. I already hate you, don't make me want to kill you. Call me Jackson. Or don't talk to me at all."
"Jackson?" I questioned him.
"Oh please. You can't tell me you haven't change your name either." He said sharply, waiting arms crossed for my reply.
"My name is the same. Natalie." I swallowed hard.
"And your last name?" he asked shyly, knowing there was something I wasn't saying.
"What about yours?" I shot back, trying to avoid the question.
He sighed, deeply annoyed, and said, "Evans. What's your last name?" His voice had a hard edge to it at the end. Knowing that what I wasn't telling would probably hurt.
I swallowed. I should've know he wouldn't get distracted, that he'd find out. "Gray. Natalie Gray." I waited.
His smug expression faltered and cracked beneath my words, his arrogant falsetto composure falling away. I stared straight ahead out the windshield. I felt his heavy gaze locked onto my face. I was sure that his eyes would only be calculating, trying to see if I was lying. But why would I lie about that?
"Gray." His voice was a hoarse whisper like he had to force the word out. "That was mom's name." His voice cracked. I pretended my heart didn't crack with it.
"Yeah, so? What of it?" I asked, getting defensive.
"Nothing, it's just-that name, it's hers." He said, his arms uncrossing and falling limp in his lap. My foot tapped impatiently.
"Yes, Jackson. Keep up," I said wanting to get this ride over with. The car hadn't even been started yet. Oh boy.
"Shut up Nat," he said. My leg stilled. My whole body stopped. My heart fumbled to keep it's steady rhythm. He caught what he said and rushed to fix it. "Alie, Natalie. I meant, Natalie," he trailed off uncertainly. I almost laughed. I started the car and reminded myself that he hates me. He didn't mean to call me that. But still, I couldn't shake the words out of my head as I drive away from the airport. The man sitting next to me is not the boy who called me 'Nat'. Things are different now, we are never going back to when things were like that. Ever. I nodded to myself and focused on driving the car. Not one of us spoke again the rest of the way.
YOU ARE READING
After We Said GoodbyeMystery / Thriller
Natalie Gray was supposed to be out. For good. She walked away from her past eight years ago and never looked back... even though she left behind the person she loved the most. She thought she'd finally escaped the clutches of the past she so desper...