Thirty-One and a Half Regrets Page 53

“Jonah!” I said, hoping that I’d answered in time.

“Rose!” He sounded relieved. “I didn’t think you’d answer. Mason told me you had to go into hiding.”

“Honestly, I’m not sure if I was supposed to answer.” I was on my stomach, but I rolled to my side, staying under the bed. I usually hated dark, cramped places, but for some reason I liked being under there.

“Should I hang up?” he asked, sounding concerned.

“Doesn’t matter. I need to talk to you.”

“Is everything okay?”

“Yes, no. I don’t know.” I rubbed my forehead. “Bruce Wayne called me.”

“He did? Is he okay?”

“I don’t know,” I sighed. “I just found my phone, or more accurately, Mason packed my purse with my belongings, and I found the phone while I was unpacking. Bruce Wayne left me a voice message.”

“What did he say?”

“Something very vague about me being in danger. But the odd thing is that it’s time stamped less than thirty minutes before Crocker’s men found where the police were hiding me.”

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I climbed out the back window of the motel room. And then the sheriff’s deputies showed up. But I’m somewhere safe now. Or as safe as I can be.”

“So the police are watching out for you?”

“The sheriff’s department now.”

“Your house is blocked off with crime scene tape. I saw it after Mason called me. What happened?

“Daniel Crocker was in my house two nights ago. In my room while I was sleeping. That’s why they decided I needed to go into hiding.”

“Crocker was in your house? He could have killed you.”

“I’m trying not to think about that too much.”

“You can’t ignore it, Rose.”

“I know, but I’m dealing with enough right now.”

“This morning I heard Mason’s gone too. Is he with you?”

“Yeah.”

“So they have you both under surveillance somewhere?”

“Yeah.”

“There’s something else going on. I hear it in your voice. What is it?”

“I can’t tell you where I am, but I’m doing what you told me I needed to do the other day. I’m confronting my past.”

“Oh,” he said, his voice heavy with understanding.

“I used to live here, Jonah. As a baby. My mother’s things are everywhere. Mine too.”

“And how does that make you feel?”

“Confused. But it’s obvious Dora loved me. It makes me feel good and bad all at the same time, which makes no sense.”

“It’s a complicated situation, Rose. Your emotions are bound to be all over the place.”

“I found a journal in her drawer. I flipped through it and landed on an entry where Dora talks about how Daddy was going to ask Momma for a divorce. She even mentions Violet. It’s so surreal.”

“You’ve got a lot going on at the moment. Now might not be a good time to confront your past. It can wait until later.”

“Mason found some old photos, but when he told me about them he said the same thing.”

“Mason’s an intelligent man. I’m not surprised he’d tell you that. He was the one who suggested you needed to confront your past in the first place. We both want the same thing for you. For you to be happy and at peace with your past.”

“We…” I hesitated. “We decided we were ready to start a relationship.”

“You mean you decided. Mason has been ready for a long time.”

“Is it that obvious?”

“To anyone who knows you two, yes.”

In light of the Crocker situation, I wasn’t so sure that was a good thing.

“Have you found out anything else about Bruce Wayne? He didn’t give me any information about where he is or what he’s been doing.”

“No, but I found out something else while I was poking around. Crocker’s guys have been doing a lot of recruiting lately. In fact, they’re growing so much, they’ve had to get a symbol and a secret code to show each other they’re part of the fold.”

“What’s the symbol?”

“They all wear St. Jude’s medallions. But not just any St. Jude’s medallions. They’re oval with a border that says ‘Saint Jude Pray for Us,’ two stars on either side, and a snake on the back.”

That made sense. “The police found a St. Jude’s necklace in poor Miss Dorothy’s backyard last month. But I don’t know what was on the back.”

“Didn’t Bruce Wayne tell you that Crocker’s guys were involved in those break-ins?”

“Yeah. There was also a medallion on my front porch after it was vandalized. There was a snake on it.” I released a heavy sigh, my throat tight as I decided to share another piece of information. “And I found one on Bruce Wayne’s dresser when I discovered he was missing.” I didn’t want to think about the implications.

“Rose,” Jonah pleaded. “You know he has ties to them, and we know he was at Weston’s Garage several days before Crocker escaped. But you and I both know he didn’t have a part in it.”

“Unless he was forced to.” I sniffed, looking up at the bed frame over my head. “How did he know that Crocker’s guys were about to come find me?”

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