Through the window, I can see him put the blanket on the bed of the truck. He comes back around with the flashlight and leads me to the back, helping me up. I sit on the blanket and he hops up, lying down next to where I’m sitting.
He sighs. “It’s funny that you asked me to bring you here.”
“Why?” I ask, looking back at him. He is playing with the flashlight, now shinning it on my face and nearly blinding me.
“Sorry,” he says as he puts the flashlight down on the back center of truck’s bed.
“This is where I came when I ran away once.”
“I’m not running away,” I say defensively. “I just needed to well—to get a way for a while.”
“You can lie down,” he says. “I don’t bite.” I laugh at his comment. I lie down next to him and stare up at the stars; one of the few things that, centuries after centuries, remains unchanged.
I feel his hand on mine and I close my eyes.
“My first name is Sarah,” I say and I can feel a weight being lifted off my shoulders as I say it.
He looks to the side so he is facing me.
“Noelle is my middle name,” I say before he asks for an explanation.
“Can I ask you something? You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to.”
“It’s just something I heard. One of my mom’s friend, Ms. Lindsey, well, she has been saying that you and your family are in witness protection. That is the reason you live with your brothers and were home-schooled, and the real reason you move around a lot. I didn’t pay her any attention before because she is known to spread rumors and start drama, but—”
I think about maybe saying that is true, I mean, we are hiding and we are running away.
“Is it true?” he asks. “I won’t say anything.”
I shake my head. “No, it’s not true.”
He nods. “Sorry. I should’ve known better.”
“So I’m not going to get up one day and find out that you are gone, right?”
I don’t answer him. After a while, I can feel him squeeze my hand and I finally say, “My brothers are a little crazy. I can’t truthfully answer that question. In fact, I live in fear of that happening.”
Another truth, more weight lifted off my shoulders.
I pull my hand away. “Maybe we should end things now. I know you don’t want to deal with the craziness that is my life. I mean, who would?”
He turns on his side and grabs my hand, pulling it toward his mouth and kissing it. “Not a chance,” he says. “I’d rather live in the present and not think about the ‘what ifs’.”
“But—” I stop talking when he leans over on top of me and I can feel his breath against my lips and then, he kisses me and for that moment, I forget about every single ‘what if’ that haunts me.