The End Of Me Page 40

He nodded, ’’One hundred percent. If anyone can, it\s you. That Coop kid is intense but I really like him. He reminds me of me I think. Luce seems reliable, and Jack is a genius. The kid speaks fake languages.’’

I laughed weakly, ’’I know.’’

’’You four are going to have to do something, that no one has done before.’’ His eyes sparkled.

He turned and dragged me up the short hill. We entered a small building that became huge inside.

I saw everyone else in there. Jack laughed, ’’It\s like the Harry Potter tents, way bigger inside.’’

I sighed, ’’Let\s face the music.’’

Dad led the way into another room.

We stepped into an elevator. It went down.

I started to get nervous. We stopped and got out into an intense-looking laboratory or tech building. He brought us to a door. He put his hand on it, ’’Say yes to everything,’’ he whispered.

Coop glanced at me and grinned.

Dad pushed on the door and when we entered I nearly had a heart attack. The room was bright and huge, and set up like a senate. It was filled with people from everywhere.

We walked into the middle and voices started from all sides of the room.

My palms started to sweat. We followed my dad to the center of the circle. He put his hands in the air.

A woman with dark hair, and an evil sort of sparkle in her eyes, spoke, ’’You have a choice. You will end the threat to the Burrow, or you will forfeit your lives. We have hidden you and your families long enough.’’

Jack and Luce looked a bit surprised, but Coop seemed like he was expecting it.

’’Our countries will offer you support, financing, and intel, but you will have to do the work and clean up the mess. You must stop whoever is looking for the Burrow and get whatever information they have gathered.’’

I looked at my dad, ’’Aren\ we fugitives as of now?’’

He shook his head, ’’No, something is being done to make it look like Servario took you all captive and hurt you. You will walk from this still unaware and clear of any suspicions.’’ I didn\ understand how that was possible at all.’’

The woman looked at my father, ’’You and Servario know your jobs?’’

He nodded once firmly and turned to me, ’’I love you more than anything on this planet. There is a custom here on this island.’’ He kissed my forehead, ’’I give you all my hope and love and strength.’’ He lifted the locket and smiled, ’’I gave it to you a long time ago.’’

He kissed the locket and my cheek and turned on his heel in true, military fashion, walking away from me.

I knew then, whatever he and Servario were going to do, he wasn\ planning on coming back.

I didn\ let myself have the second I needed. I shut it off and looked back at the lady. Her eyes shone when she spoke, ’’I am sorry for your loss.’’

My face was strong and brave, and I didn\ let the tears flowing down my cheeks affect that.

’’You will leave here tomorrow. You will begin something incredible and intense. We are doing something we have never done before. The world is a different place, than it was when we started, and we feel like this is the best way to keep up with the change.’’

I looked at Coop. He looked lost. That was a bad sign.

She cleared her throat, ’’Welcome the new Master Keys! Commence the swear-in ceremony.’’

My stomach dropped. Coop took my hand in his, squeezing it hard.

I wanted to protest. I had kids. I was a single mom. It wasn\ fair. Just as I opened my lips, I noticed a man in the background. He was incredibly old. He smiled at me and waved. He had no fingers on his hand. He looked at me with an awe and respect I didn\ deserve. Not yet. But I imagined I would one day.

I just needed to figure out how to do it all.

I smiled at the man and looked down at the floor, when I felt my heart attempting to leave my chest.

I put my right hand in the air and spoke the words, but my heartbeat distracted me.

The lady came down and hugged me, ’’They have made such a sacrifice for you to be able to leave here and live normally;well, to the outside world you will be normal. Even to your own military operation you will be innocent. For that they died.’’

I looked at her, ’’They?’’

She nodded, ’’They both had to die. They had to clear the suspicions from your name and the temptation to harm you. Servario will not be suspected as the Master Key or linked to the Burrow. He will look like another greedy arms dealer looking for another weapon. Your father\s remains will be found in Mexico and Servario\s in Boston. That will be where you lot escaped from. The true Master Key will kill him and help you escape the madness and torture. You must be grateful for the sacrifice they\ e making.’’

My breathing picked up, I nodded, ’’Yes, I am a lucky girl.’’ She smiled and missed the heartache and sarcasm in my voice.

He smiled, ’’You must leave here tomorrow and you may never come back. The Key must never come near here again. Your father was granted special privileges to come and live here, during his faked death, but that is not something we ever do. This whole mess is because we let him live.’’

I looked at Coop, Jack, and Luce;that statement didn\ sit well with me. Was she going to have us killed when our usefulness ran out?

We walked from the circular room.

’’Did anyone else feel like we were just given a death sentence that we\ e supposed to feel grateful for?’’ Jack muttered.

I pushed the elevator button but my heart was burning, ’’Pretty much. Like this is a huge honor, they\ e bestowing on us.’’ I felt all the floors above me threatening to come down on me. The avalanche of bad things was back. This time it was real. The elevator dinged and we all stepped in like mindless zombies.

We left the next day.

I didn\ remember the flight.

I tried to accept the fact we had to be tortured and left in the hotel parking lot, where we were locked in the back of a van. We managed to escape and flee to another hotel where Coop called us in. We were brought in for questioning and cleared, when it became obvious whoever was the Master Key had killed James and Roxy, and possibly Servario. The commander came down and requested we start back after we all healed. We would be the Burrow task force, to stop this sort of thing from happening again. We needed to know what it was, so we could protect our country from it.

It didn\ matter to me.

I still needed to give myself the moment I had been denied at the temple.

An agent drove me to my car, which was still parked at the Boston airport.

He dropped me off and drove away. I lifted a bruised hand up into the midday sun and looked at it. It was real. I could feel the dam about to burst inside of me, so I got into the car and drove home quickly.

When I got to my driveway, I looked up at my house. My family, what was left of it, came running out to greet me. They had been returned home from their lovely getaway in Thailand.

After we hugged on the lawn, and my kids got past the bruising, my mom wrapped her arms around my neck and whispered, ’’He loved you so much.’’ She sobbed and walked into the house. I felt a sickness, I couldn\ let in. He had to be dead for her to act like that.

I went directly to my room. I needed a shower. I needed to really cry in the shower.

I opened the bedroom door and then the bathroom.

I gasped and dropped to my knees.

In Russian Red my bathroom mirror read, ’’Best week of my life xoxo’’.

The lipstick was on the counter next to a pair of black, patent-leather Christian Louboutin ankle-boot pumps.

Had he done it before or after? Was he dead? I didn\ know.

I sobbed into my carpet.

What if he was dead?

I had feeling...I was numb.

Chapter Eighteen - The end of me

His death was the end of me.

The end of sad Evie Evans. The mom who made everyone more important. The hockey/soccer/every damned sport-under-the-sun single parent. The yoga-pant wearing, mortgage poor, stressed to the hilt, and se*-deprived wife.

She died.

She died the week her dad was shot down in Mexico. Her ex-husband and his girlfriend had been there as well. The house was torched and the helicopter pilot was murdered savagely.

She died the week the only man she had ever been able to be a real woman with, was murdered. He died in a hotel room of a heart attack, but they suspected poisoning. Maybe potassium chloride pills. No one knew. His body had vanished from the ME\s office before they could be sure.

In dead Evie\s stead, there was a new Evie. She was strong and fun, like a girl she once knew.

She still cried sometimes at night, when no one was looking, but that stopped when she got a postcard in the mail from a stranger. All it said was ’’See you at Christmas’’. She stopped crying then.

She stopped being broken at night when no one could see. She started counting down the days till Christmas. And until the damned house sold, so she could stop looking over at the neighbors\ house and wanting to kill the home-wrecking slut that lived there.

The End

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