Capture Me Slowly(3)

By: Joya Ryan



Castor James was up for parole at the end of the month. The only thing between him and an open door was my testimony — testimony that Castor and his brother would stop at nothing to ensure never be given.

Even if it meant using my family against me.

“Are you all right, Miss Wade?”

“Yeah, I’m fine. I just need to get some money for a trip.” Sort of the truth. I didn’t know where I was going, but as long as it was away from my family and friends, that was good enough.

“Okay,” Ben said in a chipper tone. “Maybe you’d like to talk to your brother, then?”

I clenched my teeth and tried to breathe. I couldn’t tell Adam about this. Because I knew exactly what he’d do if he found out, he’d try to help. And that would put everything he’d built — his new life, his new family — at risk. All because of my past mistakes. No.

“Is there any way to get the money? Just between you and me? Simple transfer?”

I heard him sigh. “If you give me a couple days I can — ”

“I don’t have a couple days.” I cupped the phone harder and, once again, heard the boots scraping against wet concrete. They were definitely real — and definitely drawing closer.

I could see the lights of Times Square. Only one more block in the distance. Then I could get out of this dark alley and be near people.

“Let me see what I can do,” Ben said finally.

“Thank you so much.” A momentary rush of relief gave my legs the extra dose of speed they needed. “Let’s meet at the Shriners Club near your office tomorrow night. Ten o’clock.”

“I can’t promise anything, Miss Wade, but I’ll see you there.”

“Thanks.”

I hung up the phone and jammed it in my pocket. I didn’t look behind me. I kicked it into high gear and ran.

Keeping my eyes focused on the lights, on the people passing by but just out of reach. I charged forward. Launching myself into the crowd, I came into the center of Times Square.

Once I was engulfed by people, I turned to look back at the alley I’d just fled and saw . . .

A breath jogged from my lungs and my knees went weak with relief. It wasn’t Mase. It was some skinny hipster guy. I needed to get a grip. Every time I heard a weird noise or footsteps in the distance, I thought it was him. I knew he was here, getting closer to finding me, but he hadn’t made contact yet —

“Ow!” I smacked right into a wall of person smelling like cigarettes and Jack Daniels. “Watch where you’re going,” I grumbled and gripped my satchel.

“I’m sorry, I must not have seen you there, Emma.”

My eyes snapped up and I froze, terror-stricken.

“Mase.” My throat instantly closed. He went to grab my arm and I jerked back and took off running.

Weaving through the crowd of tourists and people selling Broadway tickets, I went as fast as I could, desperately searching for a safe place. Somewhere I could duck into, lay low for the night.

The footsteps clapped behind me, closing in. I ran faster, knowing he was coming right for me.

No place familiar was safe. Not now. Home wasn’t an option, not until I knew Mase couldn’t follow me back to the apartment. I had lost him once in the subway crowd a few weeks ago. I didn’t know how much headway he’d made regarding my whereabouts since then, but I couldn’t risk him finding out the last little details of where I lived.

If there was one thing I’d learned living on the streets, it was knowing when to sleep alone and knowing when to partner up.

Time to partner up.

Breathing hard, running a crosswalk against the light and almost getting taken out by a honking cab, I continued to scan the street and found my answer.

The Strauss Hotel.

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