From Saving Sophie by Cate Beauman
Sophie glanced around one last time at the town she’d called home for more than twelve years as Dylan merged south on the onramp towards Brunswick, knowing she would never come back to the place where she and her mother had made their fresh start.
“Your train leaves at nine. We should make it in plenty of time.”
“I’ve never traveled by train.”
“Me neither.” Dylan moved into the right lane, letting faster traffic pass. “Have you decided where you’ll go?”
She shook her head, even though she’d thought of little else since she woke this morning, knowing today had to be the day. “Somewhere big. Somewhere where he can’t find me.” She swallowed. “He’ll look. He’ll never stop,” she said, staring into the side mirror, waiting for the black Mercedes to rush up behind them and force them to pull over. “You have to be careful.”
Dylan huffed out an amused laugh. “That bastard doesn’t scare me.”
She wished he didn’t scare her either. “Be careful anyway.”
“I will, but he’s a coward.”
“No more than me,” she murmured, glancing down at the hints of bruised skin peeking out from under her sleeves.
Dylan tossed her a look. “Don’t go there.”
She sat back fully in her seat, unable to take her eyes off the mirror until Dylan eventually exited the interstate and drove toward the center of town, stopping in front of the Amtrak station as the train pulled up.
“Looks like you won’t have to wait.” She set the emergency brake and searched through her purse. “Here’s my license.” She handed over the Maine ID and paper ticket she’d bought and printed when Sophie gave her the green light from her kiosk at the mall. “We don’t look all that different with your wig, so this should get you your next ticket in Boston.”
“Thank you.” Sophie leaned over and gave Dylan a big hug. “Thank you so much. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without you.”
“Don’t look back, Sophie.” Dylan eased away, squeezing her hand. “Get out of here and never look back. Here are the phone numbers for the Stowers house shelters in Baltimore and LA I told you about—just in case.” She handed over the March copy of Trendy magazine with papers sticking out from the edges.
“Thanks. Please don’t forget to put flowers on my mother’s grave.”
She nodded and hugged Dylan for the last time. “Bye.”
“Bye. Take care of yourself.”
“I will.” Sophie got out, sliding her backpack on her shoulder as she made her way to the bored-eyed man at the ticket kiosk.
“Ticket and ID, Ma’am.”
Sophie handed over both, holding her breath, waiting for her plan to fall apart.
“Safe trip.” He gave them back.
“Thank you,” she murmured, letting loose a shaky exhale as she turned and moved toward the train, wanting to run instead of walk. She boarded the first available car and stared out the window as she sat down, watching Dylan pull out of the lot in the rusty hatchback, already missing the only person she’d had a connection with. She bobbed her leg up and down, struggling to keep her fidgeting at bay. Minutes passed, feeling like hours, until finally the doors closed. The train jerked forward, moving toward Boston—the first stop on her journey to freedom.