Read Mated to the Alpha Twins [by Jane Doe] Chapter 36
Thalia had been silent up until we reached the bus terminal. I found myself staring at the brightly lit board, times and dates flashing through my mind. I walked over to the clerk; I pulled a couple bills from my bag. I couldn’t help my wandering gaze, my eyes flickering towards the multitude of camera’s in the bus terminal.
It was a silly thought, one driven by paranoia and fear. What if they managed to find me? Melissa and Frank were useless and would spare no effort searching for me, it was Garrett I worried about. From the look of his crisp suit and his large house, it was obvious he was wealthy. Would Garrett put forth the effort and money into finding me? I wasn’t sure.
I had to pay extra for the soonest bus to Atlanta, Ga. It would take three hours to get to Atlanta, thankfully there were no stops involved. Anxiety and paranoia clung to me along with the crisp nighttime air. My foot tapped relentlessly; my eyes locked on the clock ticking away in the terminal. I had discarded my old flip phone at the corner store before stepping into the cab, another precaution I decided to take.
Thalia had been quiet the entire time, only speaking up as the bus pulled into the terminal.
‘Don’t do this, Aurora.’ Thalia pleaded, her voice as stressed and nervous as my own. ‘I know why you want to leave; I understand. I’m telling you it’s the wrong choice.’
‘I want to find that out for myself.’ I grimaced, ‘I never had a choice, not with anything. If this is a mistake, I’ll find out on my own.’
‘I won’t help you do this, Aurora.’ Thalia’s voice sounded tired and sad, almost making me regret my decision. ‘You’ll be on your own.’
‘I’ve always been on my own.’ I murmured, walking over to the coach bus. The smell of cleaner and air freshener filled my nose. ‘It’s time I make my own decisions.’
Thalia went silent, and I couldn’t help but feel as though I had lost a part of myself. The silence was deafening. It was then I realized how much I had gotten used to her voice, even in the short days I had known her.
“You’re doing the right thing.” I murmured to myself, stepping onto the near empty bus. “I’ll learn from my mistakes like anyone else. At least I finally had the freedom to choose.”
My stomach was doing flips as I walked down the narrow aisles of the bus. Only a few people lingered, clearly impatient for departure. I sat down in one of the empty seats, placing my duffle bag at my feet. My fingers twitched impatiently, the hairs on my arms raising. Fear and anxiety had become my closest companions this past week. They followed me around, their silky voices hissing in my ears.
I could feel the handle of the seat crunch beneath my death grip. I only released my grip as the bus pulled out of the terminal, and headed towards the highway. I purposefully averted my eyes, ignoring the large crack I had caused on the handle.
Three hours, three hours of nothing but silence. Dull music played through the speakers of the bus. My cheek pressed against the cool window of the bus, a poor attempt at stilling my nerves. Just as my eyes began to close and sleep began to take me, a noise close by startled me.
Walking down the narrow isle was a young-looking guy, one whose dark eyes were locked on my own. His hands brushed against the scratchy material of each seat until he reached the one I currently occupied.
A slew of thoughts ran through my mind, all driven by paranoia. Did Garrett send this guy? Did he know I had left? Did Kady tell what she saw?
“Of course not.” I thought to myself dryly, “It hasn’t even been an hour. They probably think I’m asleep.”
The guy stopped once he reached my seat, his dark eyes looking down on me. The guy was good looking in a rugged sort of way. His hair was a light shade of brown, wavy and just barely grazing his broad shoulders. Normally a guy like this would send a rush of butterflies swarming through me, but I felt nothing. Only two faces popped into mind. Identical features, full lips, long lashes, sharp jawlines. This guy had nothing on Alec and Kade. With great force, I willed the two of them from my mind and ignored the sharp pain that ran through my chest. Thinking of them would only cause me unneeded pain.
“Mind if I sit here?” The guy grinned softly, showing just a hint of his blinding smile.
“Sure.” I mumbled, unsure if he was able to hear me.
The guy sat in the seat beside me, cramming his bookbag between his legs. Whatever kind of cologne he was wearing swirled around me, filling my nose. It was a pleasant smell, woodsy with a hint of something sweet. Another sharp pain rattled me, reminding me I had smelled better.
“I’ve been on this bus for four hours now.” The guy chuckled, giving a tired shake of his head. I watched from the corner of my eye as his wavy hair shook and tickled against his shoulders. “You seem like you could use some company.”
“Where are you coming from?” I found myself asking, purely to get my mind off of everything else. My voice was stronger than I expected it to be. While I felt weak inside, my voice conveyed not an ounce of fear or worry.
“Florida.” The guy chuckled. It was then I noticed his tanned skin, gold and kissed by the sun. “It’s been a long ride. Hell, I still got more to go. Where are you headed to?”
“I’m not sure yet.” I chuckled dryly, “I’m still figuring that bit out.”
“You look a little young to be riding the bus by yourself.” The guy smirked; his chocolate eyes playful.
“I’m nineteen if that makes you feel better.” I shrugged, the lie leaving my lips effortlessly. Lying had become something I was good at.
Liar, liar, liar.
The word rang out in my head, filling my stomach with guilt.
“I’m just messing with you, but I do feel a little better.” The guy chuckled, flashing me a million-watt smile. A smile like that would’ve sent blush rushing to my face, instead it had no effect.
“What brings you all the way from Florida?” I found myself asking. Part of me felt guilty for talking to this guy. I could’ve cared less who he was, or what brought him here. All I wanted was a distraction, something to keep me from drowning in my own anxiety.
“Visiting my Mom. My Dad’s sick and she needed my help.” The guy shrugged, his lips twitching into a frown. “I’m taking the year off from college anyway, so I don’t mind lending a hand.”
“I’m sorry about that.” I nearly cringed at how insincere I sounded, my words coming out clipped and hard. “Do you like Florida?”
“Oh, I love it. The heat, the sun, the ocean. The storms are a downer, but you can’t have everything.” The guy shrugged, giving a chuckle. It seems he hadn’t noticed my insincerity, or he hadn’t cared to point it out.
“I’ve never been to the ocean before.” I murmured thoughtfully, wondering if I could catch a flight somewhere near the ocean. Even living in California for most of my life, I had never stepped foot on a beach. When I lived with my Grandma, we were too far from the ocean to make the long drive. I had never thought about it until now.
“Never been to the ocean?” The guy scoffed, his hand over his heart as though I had personally offended him. “Have you lived in Georgia your entire life? There’s beaches in Georgia.”
“I used to live in California, never had the chance to go to the beach.” I chuckled dryly.
“Have you thought about heading back to California?” The guy asked, his brown eyes pooling with curiosity and sincerity.
“I actually haven’t.” I shrugged, “It’s a long trip, and there’s too many memories there.”
What I didn’t mention was that if anyone looked for me, California would be the first place they would look. Melissa wouldn’t hesitate to tell Garrett I used to live in California. California was too obvious. I wanted to live somewhere no one knew my name. California is a huge state, but it wasn’t what I was looking for.
“I understand that.” The guy nodded, and I believed him. His eyes held a shadow within them, one that felt oddly familiar. “My name’s Justin by the way.”
“Amber.” I nodded; more lies.
Liar, liar, liar.
Another surge of guilt rushing through me, Tori’s face popping into my mind. I couldn’t help but wonder how long it would take for the overwhelming emotions to fade. When would my own guilt fade? When would the cruel voice in the back of my mind silence?
“Well Amber, I hope you find what you’re looking for.” Justin smiled, one that held a similar pain. Some small part of me wondered what ghosts haunted him, what the cruel voice in his own mind might whisper.
“I do too.” I murmured, forcing my mind to part from the past and think towards the future.
Justin accompanied me all the way to Atlanta, GA. I did most of the listening as Justin talked, telling me about his life. He was heading to North Virginia, to his Mom’s small ranch house. He had traveled to Florida for college, the waves calling his name. He had even participated in a couple surfing competitions, earning second place in one of them. I had learned much about Justin, yet refused to give much on myself.
Justin had asked me what hobbies I might have, making me stumble and fall into uncomfortable silence. What hobbies did I have? School, homework, working, saving money. These things were not hobbies, they were not enjoyable. The realization was like a punch in my stomach. I had no hobbies, no passions. There was nothing I truly enjoyed doing. I never had the time or security to explore the things I cared for. Such a simple question caused such turmoil within me.
Once we reached the terminal and hopped off the cramped bus, I asked Justin to call a cab for me. After wiping away the confusion on his face, he pulled a phone from his pocket. I had lied again, claiming my phone battery had died and my charger was left at home.
Justin gave me a reassuring smile and a wave as I hopped into the cab. I returned his wave, but I couldn’t force a smile to form on my face. Part of me wondered if I would ever smile again.
“Of course, I will.” I scoffed to myself, the silence in the cab was deafening. “I need to feel secure and safe first, happiness will come later.”
I told myself that lie up until I arrived at the Atlanta, GA airport.