Chapter Nine. Jack
I was throwing any kind of food I could find into my backpack, as well as any clothes I could stuff in. I could hear the TV in the sitting room; probably my dad. Mam had said something about going for groceries today, making it a lot easier for me to sneak out.
Jesus. I didn't even know if I'd be back, if I'd ever see them again. I strolled into the hallway, and considered saying something to my dad before I left. But what would I say? Dad, I'm running away with a fugitive, catch you later? That would go down well. Better if I just slipped out like nothing was up.
Rossie was waiting across town at the bus station. We had no idea where we were going, but that seemed like a good place to start.
I kept my eyes peeled for anyone who looked like they were looking for someone; it could be Al or Mink. Thinking of Rossie now, I hoped Al was alright. He was literally all that Rossie had. And hopefully he'd trust that Rossie was okay. Maybe we should have tried to contact him, I realized. But I was sure Rossie had already thought this through.
I remembered the bracelet in my pocket. I took it out and looked down at it as I walked. There was surprisingly no rust on it. I was happy, because now I could give it back to Rossie; and I'd give it to her properly this time.
I made one stop in the town; the jewellers. I came out with the bracelet still in my hand. I'd grabbed enough money so that I could buy another charm to put on; I examined it as I continued along the path towards the bus station.
I looked up and jumped in shock as a man stepped right in front of me. I stopped in my tracks, not knowing if I should ask what he wanted, or run.
"I see you found my girl's bracelet!" he exclaimed in a raspy voice.
I looked down at it. "What? No. This belongs to my friend."
"Rosaline! You're friends with my Rosaline, yes?"
"Your Rosaline?" Relief spread across my chest. "You're Al? Rossie's dad?"
"Yes!" the man smiled. "I've been looking for Rosaline for an hour now. Maybe you know where she is, um...?"
"Jack," I said. I was a bit surprised at how Al called Rossie "Rosaline". The first thing she'd told me about herself was that she wanted me to call her Rossie. I guess a lot of parents refused to call their children by their nicknames.
"Jack. So you know where Rosaline is? She's okay?"
"She's fine. I'm on my way to her now. We were going to get on a bus in case that man came after her."
"I'll come with you. I do hope she's alright after that awful encounter with that horrible man, Gregory."
"Gregory?" I repeated, as we walked. "Rossie said you call him Mink."
"Mink?" he repeated, a surprised look on his face. "Yeah, I usually do. I don't know what made me say Gregory."
I'd slipped Rossie's bracelet back into my pocket, and I was subconsciously twirling it around my finger. I felt a little nervous, though I don't know why.
I think I was nervous that I wouldn't get a chance to give you back your bracelet, Rossie. Or that something would stop me from getting to you.