Where We Meet Again (Arrow Creek 1)

Page 78

“You’re nothing but a little girl. What did you expect to happen here?” He tore a hand through his short, buzzed hair. The sight of those hands nauseated me. “That I’d leave my family to raise a child with you? If anybody found out, I could go to jail.”
“I’d never tell anybody. That’s not what I want. I don’t anything from you.”
He leaned forward on the island that stood between us, gripping the edge until his knuckles turned white. “Then why are you here?” he hissed through clenched teeth.
“I don’t know. I don’t know what to do.”
“Get rid of it.”
“This is blackmail. If I go down, I’m ruining your reputation. You’ll be known as the town slut.” He clenched his jaw and looked out to the four-seasoned porch that doubled as his office. Without warning, he took off in that direction.
I watched, statute still, as he tore through drawers. The white dress shirt he wore became wrinkled from his frantic movements.
“What have I done?” He covered his face and spoke in a way I didn’t think he intended me to hear him. “You have to leave.”
His voice became louder. “You have to leave.”
“I can’t leave,” my voice shook. “Where would I go?”
“It’s the only solution. I’ll give you money, and you have to get out of here.”
“Go where? I’ve lived in Logansville my entire life.”
This solution calmed him down. He adjusted the burgundy paisley tie he wore and rounded his desk. He stopped in front of me, thankfully an appropriate distance away. “I have money, but you have to leave. I’ll give you ten grand upfront and twenty-five hundred dollars a month until the baby is eighteen. The only condition is you leave and never come back. You can’t tell anyone where you’ve gone or that the baby belongs to me.”
I swallowed hard and looked around the space that had been so much like a second home. Knowing I’d never step foot in there again caused an ache to spread throughout my chest.
I’d never see Law again.
I knew what I had to do as soon as he’d said it. There wasn’t another option. Only, I had one condition.
“I’ll take the ten grand today and leave. Right now. I’ll pack my things and go. I need your help to get a decent car to get me away from here, though. Mine would never make it. The last thing either of us needs is my car breaking down and forcing me to come back.”
“Done. Anything else?”
“I don’t want your charity. I don’t want the rest of the money.”
“That’s stupid. Give me the cash, and I’ll be gone. A monthly payment would only leave a paper trail.”
He sighed. His hands moved to rest on his hips, and his chin dropped to his chest. “You’re still a little girl, Cami.” He raised his eyes to mine. “As much as I want to make this disappear, I can’t just let you go out into the world on your own with nothing. You’re sixteen. You don’t even have a high school diploma. What kind of job do you expect to get that could provide livable wages?”
“That’s not your business. This is my condition. Take it or leave it.”
“You aren’t leaving me much of a choice.”
“I don’t have any choices, so it’s only fair, isn’t it?”
His response was to pick up the phone and remove the cash from the bank.
We stopped at my house to pack my things. After picking up the money, he took me to a used car lot and purchased a gently used, red Honda Civic. I got in t
he driver’s seat, and we drove separately down the highway to put my things into my new car away from prying eyes.
As I was climbing in a second time, ready to drive away from the only life I’d ever known, Law’s father stopped me by calling my name.