Mike spends another blissful night with Sarena, but gets a frightening phone call the next morning. His boss at the bus depot calls to ask where he is and what he’s done with the bus. Mike realizes that Miss Parker probably stole it. The truly frightening thing is that she is probably picking up his students with the intention of using them as hostages. Mike thinks he knows where she’s going. His boss calls the police while Mike gets dressed.
“Do it! I’ll find some transportation and try to follow her. Maybe I can figure out where she’s going.”
I hung up and grabbed my coat and boots. Cleo was happy to loan me her rental car. I hated to do it, and hoped she’d picked up the extra insurance, cause I had a feeling it was not coming back the same condition it was leaving in. Sarena wanted to come, but I flat refused.
“If she can, she’ll use you against me. I can go head to head with her, but only if I know you’re safe. Stay with Jesse and Cleo until your dad gets here. He’s taking you three to the motel. You’ll be safe there.”
“You be careful,” she said, fighting tears.
“I promise.” I kissed her with the same wild abandon I had the night before, but kept it short. “I have to go. I love you.”
“I love you too.” She burst into tears.
It nearly killed me to leave her, but I had to find Anisette Parker. I had a feeling I knew where she would go once the had the kids, and I wanted to get there first. I called the police and told them who I was and what I was doing. The dispatcher thought I was insane, but connected me with the woman who had handled my paintball incident the day before.
“And why do you think she’ll head to that park?”
I tried to explain about the field trip, but she didn’t understand.
“I’ll take your word for it. I’m calling for back up and heading there right now. Don’t you do a damn thing until we get there. You hear me?”
“I can’t let her threaten my kids,” I said.
“Mr. Reuben!” I hung up on her.
I sped up, nearly running a couple red lights, as I headed to the park. If a cop followed me, so be it. I didn’t care. I couldn’t let that crazy woman use those kids as hostages.
The bus was there, but the cops hadn’t arrived. I could see the kids sitting ramrod straight in their seats, staring ahead. They were clearly terrified. What was she doing? I couldn’t see her anywhere and wondered if she was on board. My question was answered before I even pulled to a stop. She stepped out of the woods in front of the car and I nearly hit her. I might have ended it all if I had just run her over, but I wanted to give her a chance.
The smile on her face filled me with dread. I stopped the car, but didn’t get out. Ani crawled on the hood of the car, eyes fixed on mine, a feral expression on her face. She was dressed in some of my clothing. She must have taken it when she was in my apartment. Not that it mattered, but I kind of liked that jacket she was wearing and had the fleeting wonder if there was any way to get it back. It’s amazing the shit that goes through your brain when you’re facing certain death, huh?
“Coming out—lover?” She lay with her chest pressed to the windshield, face inches from mine.
What was I gonna do, sit there and piss on myself? This seemed like a viable option, until she stood up, jumping on the hood of the car.
“Get out!” she bellowed. “Get—Out—Now!” She emphasized her words by jumping on the hood.
Her performance was made even more convincing when she pulled out a gun and aimed it at me. In her small hands, it looked like a pretty big gun. I could give a shit what caliber. At that distance, she wasn’t going to miss. I got out slowly, swallowing hard, hoping the cops were almost there. I prayed for the right words to say to calm her down.
“Ani,” I mumbled. “What’s wrong? Can’t we talk about this?”
“Oh, now you remember me? Now that I have your full attention, you remember? You bastard! You two timing, fornicating, dick weed! You didn’t even call me!”
She went on like that for awhile, getting more creative as she went. She waved the gun around, making me very nervous. Even though the safety was on, I was worried. One wrong move, we’ve got someone dead or bleeding. I didn’t want it to be me, but I was more concerned about that bus load of kids.
“Ani, we can talk about this. Honestly, I didn’t know it was you. I was drunk that night. And the stuff you gave me, it made me forget. . . . I wanted to call you, but you didn’t leave your number—or even your name. How can a guy call if you don’t do that, huh? I wanted to call—and say thank you. To tell you—how great it was. It was so great, Ani. . . . So great.”
© Dellani Oakes 2014