Eleven hour drive. And it was after eight o’clock at night. She could drive for about three hours or so and stop to sleep a bit and get there by the next evening or late afternoon. Of course it meant she would have to get a hotel room alone, late at night, but she could. And she would.
With Eli’s iPod plugged into her stereo to help calm her nerves, she tried not to think about how he looked or about the long drive. Before she realized it, Delaney was leaving New Jersey. Alone. A suffocating weight she hadn’t noticed before evaporated into the dark night of a new state. She’d done it. She untied her ropes, her frazzled oily grimy ropes that held her down into the littered marshlands of a life too long lived in fear and dread of the unknown, and took a big step out of bounds.
Delaney nearly cried with relief. She wouldn’t. She had to drive. She had to get to Eli safe and sound and take care of him and assure his mom she could take care of him, that she could be good for him. He was close to his family. She had to fit in, at least well enough, or at least convince them she would be good for him.
First she had to convince herself.
At quarter after twelve, her phone rang. She was still driving, but there was almost no traffic so she slowed down as she answered.
“Tell me I didn’t wake you.” His voice was hoarse.
“Eli, how are you? Shouldn’t you be asleep?”
“Been asleep most of the time. Woke up and Mom’s finally asleep. She’s been watching me like the proverbial crow...”
“I get watched far more by crows around my place so it seems more appropriate.”
She grinned. “Okay. Did she go get some rest?”
“Yes and no. Asleep in the chair. Can’t get her to leave.” He groaned, a painful groan.
“Are you okay?”
“Answer me first. Did I wake you?”
“No, I’m ... driving.”
“What? Now? Del, you should’ve waited till morning.”
“Couldn’t. I want to be there with you.”
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