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April 7, 2010 (17)
The police had guarded my house the whole night in order to prevent anyone from breaking in while I was asleep. Not that I actually slept very long. I’d laid awake in my bed until three o’clock in the morning, worrying, panicking. But I was so tired that I’d ended up dosing off for a few hours.
Cole was ok. At least he was as of last night. Officer Nielson had gotten in touch with the police department in Michigan and one of their guys went to make sure that Cole was alright. However, they didn’t let him know what was going on. Nielson told me that it was best if he stayed oblivious to the situation so that he wouldn’t start panicking. I wanted to tell him about it so badly though. But I didn’t ever get the chance to last night. He’d never called me back.
I wasn’t sure why. He had to have checked his phone once he’d gotten off the plane. So why the hell did he not return my calls? Two urgent voicemail messages should’ve been enough to let him know that I wasn’t ok. I sighed as I glanced at my cell phone’s screen once again. No new text messages. No missed calls. Nothing.
Rolling my eyes, I slid it into my pocket and climbed out of my bed. I traipsed out into the hallway, deciding to head downstairs for some coffee. I was much too tired to function properly, but much too anxious to sleep. But halfway down the stairs, three familiar voices stopped me in my tracks.
“I just don’t think she’s safe here.” officer Nielson’s deep voice was unmistakable.
“But where is she supposed to go?” Mom sounded like she was on the verge of tears.
“Can’t she stay with a family friend or something?” Nielson replied.
“It really would be best,” officer Griffen added.
“Well there’s my sister…but I don’t really speak with her anymore.” Mom told them. Aunt Janette had been shunned from our lives when she’d try to put the moves on Dad six years ago.
“Ok, well what about her boyfriend?” Griffen suggested.
“That could work,” Nielson agreed. “I know he goes to college in Michigan, but she could just rent an apartment near the campus, couldn’t she?”
“I guess so…” Mom said, sounding reluctant. “But would she really be safe there, living all by herself?”
“She could always get a roommate,” Griffen reminded her.
Mom sighed hesitantly. “Why don’t we just ask her what she thinks?” she said.
I took it upon myself to walk down the rest of the stairs and into the kitchen at that moment. “Hey,” I greeted them as I stepped into the room. They were all sitting around our kitchen table, and all of their heads darted up when I walked in.
“Hi, honey,” Mom was the first to reply.
“Hello, miss Mongolia,” Officer Nielson was next.
“Good morning,” And finally officer Griffen.
“So what are you all talking about?” I asked them, pretending to be unaware of the fact that they were discussing where I was going to be living without even asking me.
“Well, considering the current circumstances, officer Griffen and I feel it would be best for you to stay somewhere else for awhile. Just until we track this guy down. I think you’ll be much safer that way.” Nielson explained to me.
“Yes, we were thinking maybe you’d like to rent an apartment in Michigan, near the campus of your boyfriend’s college. Maybe get a roommate and a job there. You know, be able to start fresh.” Griffen said.
I stared back at them, unsure of how to respond. I honestly wasn’t sure whether or not I wanted to do this. Yeah, I wanted to be able to spend more time with Cole, but was it really best for me to just move out to Michigan? I bit my lip, thinking it all over.
“Ok,” I finally said.
Mom looked up at me with wide eyes, obviously surprised I’d agreed so quickly. “That’s it?” she asked me. “You’re not even going to think it over. You’re just agreeing to it right away like that?”
“Well there’s really not much to think about.” I told her. “It would keep me safe, let me start fresh and give me more time to spend with Cole. Why wouldn’t I want to move to Michigan?”
She looked back at me, not saying anything. I could see it in her eyes that she was having a hard time accepting all of this. It made sense though. Wasn’t every mother supposed to get all emotional when their child first moved out?
“There’s only one problem,” I said, turning to look at the two police officers. “How can I afford to just go rent an apartment out of the blue?”
“I think I can help with that,” Mom spoke up. “You’re father and I have been putting aside money for you in a bank account for a while now. We were saving up for when you decided to move out so that you wouldn’t just be on your own, without any money.”
I could feel my heart warming inside my chest. I had no idea that my parents had been putting money aside for me. “Oh my gosh,” I murmured. “Thank you so much,”
She flashed me a sad smile and nodded in return. “There’s about five thousand dollars saved up so far,”
My heart fluttered and I immediately felt the urge to give my mom a huge hug. “That’s great!” I exclaimed. “That should be enough for me to rent an apartment, especially if I’m going to be sharing the rent with a roommate.”
Officer Nielson smiled. “Well then it’s settled. I think you should find an apartment by the end of today so that you can move tomorrow. You should find someone who already has an apartment and is looking for a roommate to share the rent. I know it seems sudden, but the sooner you move, the sooner you’ll be safe.”
I nodded. “Sounds good to me,” And it did. In fact, it sounded great to me. The more I thought about it, the better it seemed. I’d be able to leave all of the drama from Westchester behind me and start over. I’d have my own apartment just like I’d been wanting. Sure, I’d be sharing it with a roommate but it was still better than living at home with my mother. Plus, I’d get to be with Cole.
And as long as I was with Cole, I was happy.
By ten o’clock that night I had already finished packing and was climbing into bed, ready to go to sleep. After two hours of searching, I’d come across a nice two-bedroom apartment only a few miles away from the University of Michigan. When I’d called the person who lived there to tell her that I was interested in moving in, she seemed extremely nice too.
The girl’s name was Addison Gray and she was nineteen years old, just one year older than me. She attended the University of Michigan and was studying to become a pediatrician. I could already tell by her bright, chirpy voice that she was nice, but the fact that wanted to be a pediatrician just made me even more sure.
When I’d asked her if she’d be ok with me moving in tomorrow, she was perfectly fine with it. However, she was curious as to why I wanted to move in so suddenly. I wasn’t supposed to tell anyone what was going on due to Nielson’s orders, so I just made up a quick excuse. I told her that was so excited to start fresh that I wanted to move as soon as I possibly could. She believed every word that left my mouth.
While we were on the phone, I told her about Cole, finding out that she didn’t know who he was, but that she had known Katrina. The sound of Katrina’s name mad my skin crawl. I’d never liked that girl. Not when she was trying to steal Ash away from me, and not when she had successfully stolen Cole away from me. But it was hard for me to still hate her now that she was dead. Hating a person who’d just recently passed away automatically made you feel like a bad person.
Addison had told me that she was looking forward to meeting Cole once I moved in though. She’d also told me that she had a boyfriend named Ashton Magnolia. The moment I’d heard that name, I felt my stomach churn uneasily. There was something very wrong with that name. It was much too similar to Ash’s name. I of course didn’t tell her this though.
Apparently Ashton was also getting his medical degree at the University of Michigan. But he was getting it so that he could be a trauma surgeon…because he wanted to fly out to Iraq to be a doctor for the injured soldiers there. After hearing this, I really began to feel sick. It was just too much of a coincidence. It was too weird. Almost like it wasn’t real, like someone was playing a practical joke on me.
But I erased that thought from my mind, telling myself that I was just being paranoid. However, as I fell asleep, my mind was still filled with an uneasy sense of doubt about Ashton Magnolia.