Sadie reached for her flashlight

on

Ahead, she heard the familiar roar of his engine. Oh, my god, he’s here!
Sadie took a giant, two-foot step — which would have catapulted her over the
bike bar and into a bush — and saw his head. Her flashlight picked out a
blackened patch and the shape of his head, and she stopped in her tracks.

He roared up and slammed on the brakes, and as he did, his bike lurched to its
heels. Sadie scrambled up the incline. She glanced down at him and her hand
went right back to her waist.

He swiveled her way, his flashlight in his hand. “What the hell are you doing
at my house!”

Oh, no. Not again. She swallowed. “I — I live here now. With you.” Maybe she
did. And maybe she didn’t. Either way, she should let him know. Instead, she
waved her hand, pointed up. “That’s my bike,” she said. “It’s broken.”

He squinted up at her. “Oh, my god. Sadie?” His voice shot from high-pitched
to angry. “I told you not to come here.”

That made sense. “But you — you don’t have the key.” She held her hands out.
“Please take it.”

His eyes darted away from her. “I don’t even have the house key.”

Sadie’s heart sank a few beats. “What were you doing in here anyway?”

He gave her a little shake. “This is not the time!”

There it was again. His voice. The voice of a man who wasn’t used to being
told no. Of a man who wanted to see her, but was afraid to admit it. But
now? Now he didn’t want Sadie to see him.

“Are you kidding me right now?” She dug into her pocket and pulled out the
key. “If you don’t come home, I’m going to the police.”

With one arm still upraised, he grabbed her wrist and spun her back around.
“Are you going to the police? About me? About us?”

“Yes.” She pulled it back and tossed it at him. “About you.”

“I don’t need the police.” With that, he released her and took off, leaving
her to run up the incline like a runaway child. She jumped over the bike,
frantically tugging her key out of her pocket. She reached the door,
pounding it with her fists until the lock finally gave way — but she couldn’t
open it. The key hadn’t given her enough strength. What the hell? Her eyes
darted up to see him waiting for her in the doorway. He’d said he wanted her
away from here. For now? She shouldn’t have gone to his place.

Her feet planted, she turned and walked back to his house. The door had
swooned shut, so that made no difference. Where would she take him anyway?
Where would she take anyone, really?

In the bedroom, she dumped her muddy shoes on the floor and leaned against
the doorjamb. There it was, one of those long, ornate dressers that the rich
and the poor alike enjoyed and cherished. She didn’t know why she needed it,
other than being a good place to hide things, but she just had to get it.

“No!” he shouted.

She jumped from the dresser and slammed open his bedroom door. Her eyes
darted across the floor, but there was no sign of him. “Where is he?”

And then she saw it.

A stack of neatly folded clothes on the floor.

Sadie stared at it. Did they belong to him? Had he been caught stealing them?
Had he been caught stealing anything?

She lifted one corner of the pile. Her heart skipped a beat. When he came to
them, he’d find her here. In fact, even now, he was still looking. So she
pushed the pile back and hurried out of the bedroom. Her heart beating
faster than it had been since birth, she raced into the hallway, her boots
echoing through the house.

She heard him open the door she’d just left, and then he came stomping in.
“The car downstairs?”

“I — don’t know.” For all she knew, he had the car parked back at her
house.

“I will be right down.”

“I’ll be waiting.” Sadie closed the door and turned around. She didn’t see
the door to the bedroom anywhere, but she could hear him moving about. “Do you
want to tell me what the hell you’re doing?”

Silence.

“What’s wrong?!” She stepped in front of the door. “You said you were
getting a divorce.”

“I had to,” he said. “We’ve been together for seven years.”

“Then how did you not tell me?”

“I lied. Not about the divorce, the affair, the drugs.”

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