Word Count: 714
I think I was the first one to snap. A whole week cooped up in a room full of people you couldn’t stand would be enough to drive anyone insane, and let’s face it, it’s not like I needed much of a push. I was getting over the worst of my withdrawals now, and Joe had finally convinced me that he was real. I was, at the very least, able to look after myself again. Mostly. I figured I’d cope, and there wasn’t a better time to leave.
I waited until everyone was asleep, everyone except Eloise. She was on watch, sat near the door. I’d sat up and watched with her a couple times, and I knew if I waited long enough, she’d lose interest in watching the door like a hawk. When she was bored she took to counting the ceiling tiles.
Sure enough, after a couple of hours, her gaze drifted to the ceiling and I was determined to sneak past her quickly enough to get out of the room without giving her time to catch me.
It didn’t go to plan, of course. I wasn’t nearly quiet or quick enough, or maybe she was just paying more attention than I thought.
“Where are you going?” she asked quietly so she didn’t wake any of the others up. I froze, cursing myself for getting caught. It was a long shot but I was still irritated I couldn’t just slip away unnoticed like I’d wanted.
“Just for a walk,” I said weakly.
“With a bag?”
“It’s just got some spare ammo in it,” I shrugged as casually as I could manage with that paranoid voice shouting at me in the back of my head. ‘She’s gonna make you stay, you’ll never get away you’ll be stuck with these fucking people until you die.’ Shut up.
“If you wanna go, I can’t stop you,” she sighed, looking disappointed in me. That look stabbed me right in the fucking guts. It was the same fucking look my dad gave me when I couldn’t hit a bull’s eye. I put on my best poker face and did my best to ignore it. “You’re just gonna leave Joe here though? On his own?”
“He’s got you guys,” I grumbled, not needing the extra guilt on the side.
“We’re just strangers to him. Aren’t you two friends?” No. No we fucking were not. Had she not seen how he’d been acting around me the last few days? The look in his eyes told me everything I needed to know, and it wasn’t fucking friendly at all.
“I’m a stranger to him as well. All I did was save his ass and he stayed with me because I was useful,” and because there wasn’t any other idiot stupid enough to take him in. It was his fault Rayn was dead anyway. I’d blamed myself for long enough, and eventually I’d realized that if Joe hadn’t been there, we would never have ended up in Atlanta. That crazy bitch from the lab wouldn’t have chased me, and there would never have been a shootout. He would still be alive if Joe had never tagged along.
“Even I know that’s not true,” Eloise was seeing right through me. Had my mask cracked? I tried to ignore the uncomfortable truth that maybe we were more than just strangers thrown together now. I was leaving and nothing anyone could say would persuade me to stay anymore. I gave her a half hearted shrug. “And you’re not even going to say goodbye to him?”
“He wouldn’t let me go if I waited til he woke up. I’d leave him a note, but I can’t fucking write, can I?” I gritted my teeth. I could practically feel her judging me. I ignored it. I was used to that look, that one I could deal with.
“Well, good bye then.”
I nodded. I wanted to thank her for helping me and apologize for being a cunt, but the words wouldn’t come. I didn’t feel that bad about it. Not yet.
I tugged the coffee table aside and slipped through the gap, taking in a huge lungful of air as I closed the door, breathing it out in a sigh of relief. Finally I was fucking free.