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   Chapter 16 16

Brownie Oxford and the Seabridge Surprise: Brownie Book 4 By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 12728

Updated: 2019-06-11 15:13

Chapter 16

"Brownie, " he said. The sound of my name galvanized me into motion. He looked relieved to see me. I pushed the thought away.

"I get that a lot for some reason, " I told him. I was pleased my voice didn't shake. "It's Bonnie actually."

The edges of his mouth trembled as though he wanted to smile. "I can see that."

"Because you told them I was and are using me as bait?" I asked as I approached my car. Swift stepped back as though not wanting to crowd me. His eyes slid over my outfit, taking in Hank's ensemble. His eyes darted to the garage, then back to me.

"I told them you weren't, " he said. "Steve is using you for bait to catch Halloran. Stevens died, Halloran ran. Steve saw you leave the restaurant, but you took too long to get home. Did Halloran find you?"

"He's inside with Dr. Harding, " I replied. "They wanted Betty and told me I was bait. Is Steve here?" I didn't see him in the restaurant, but I really only checked the tables nearest me. Admittedly, I was certain if he didn't want me to see him, I wouldn't, even if I had looked.

He was worse than ninjas.

"No, " Swift replied. "He is checking out the club where your friend Ricky works in case you went there. I need to deal with Halloran."

I nodded. "He's inside."

"So you said." He looked at the car. "Will you run?"

"Why would I run?" I asked. "I'm just an innocent fashion student you used as bait."

He nodded curtly. "I'll come talk to you later." He strode off towards the door I left behind and I decided I didn't want to be here when he got back.

I let myself into my car, placing Dr. Harding's bag on the passenger's seat. I turned the key in the ignition and fastened my seatbelt. I backed out of the parking space and aimed my car towards the exit. Lurking across the way I could see several police cars waiting. I had a minor panic attack before I realized they weren't waiting for me. They were waiting to see if they could catch anyone who imbibed too many beach themed drinks and attempted to drive home.

My car slid right past them without drawing any attention. I may have been blood soaked, but I was dead sober. I merged with traffic ad entered the interstate. I didn't think it was yet time to run. I didn't leave much behind in the garage and if I lost the blood spotted clothes there might not be any link between me and the garage. I was at the restaurant, but they couldn't prove I was inside.

Well Swift could, but it would be hard to prove. Even though it wasn't a court case, I thought it might buy me a little time. I could hear what Swift had to say, then decide if I needed to run.

'I need to get rid of these clothes even if I don't run, ' I decided. I didn't go straight home. Instead, I let the interstate take me towards my hidden storage unit.

Unlike the unit that had the clothing for my fledgling fashion empire, this storage area was open twenty-four hours. To get inside a code had to be typed into the gate's key pad. I typed in the numbers and the gate swung open. The streets between the storage buildings were wide enough to drive on and I drove straight to my unit and parked outside. Unlike my new unit, the cameras weren't pointing inside. There were no cameras on my row, just on the gate and the office building. I slipped out of my car and unlocked the combination lock, opening the door.

This unit wasn't any bigger than my other. Against the wall was a stack of books and a shoe box. Against the other wall were two file boxes with all of the information about what I did for the NCS and what Dr. Harding did to me.

The sight of them steadied the fear that threatened to make my hands shake. Whatever else happened, Dr. Harding was dead. I would never be his lab rat again.

Placed next to the reports

and locked my apartment door, still unsure what to think about Swift. It seemed he wasn't going to turn me in. I leaned on it for a moment ant thought about everything.

Halloran and Dr. Harding were dead.

Swift reported I wasn't me.

Steve was leaving now that Halloran and Harding were dealt with.

Swift wasn't turning me in.

I didn't have to leave and create a new persona to hide behind.

I could remain Bonnie.

I set Anzu free to do god knows what in the world.

The thought stopped the rising elation. The internet claimed he was some sort of Mesopotamian demon, but I didn't actually know what he was in reality. Opinions about him came from millennia old stone carvings on temples. Perhaps reality was something different. I doubted he was anything warm and fuzzy, but maybe releasing him wasn't as bad as it sounded.

I looked towards my purse, knowing the flash drive was still there. It might have information about the beasts items like the cuff held inside. I yawned widely and felt tiredness seep into my bones now that my adrenalin was faded. I felt hollowed out and exhausted. Attempting to read now would just put me straight to sleep.

"I could make coffee, " I suggested to myself, feeling somewhat guilty for letting something free that someone else locked up. I yawned again and decided against it. I suspected the caffeine would just make me nauseous and jumpy rather than keeping me awake so I could accomplish a task.

"I have class in the morning, " I reminded myself. Even if Steve was leaving soon, he would still be there in the morning and I needed to act normal.

Well, normal for Bonnie.

Besides, I had a date.

Sort of.

I double checked my door locks and went to the bedroom, turning off the lights as I went. In the darkened bedroom I crawled beneath the sheets and closed my eyes. Tomorrow, I would go to class. Tomorrow, I would find out if Swift was telling the truth about Steve leaving. I would find out if he really planned to turn me in or let me remain Bonnie.

Tomorrow, I would find out if my outing with Tom was really a date. Tomorrow, I would find out more about Emily and whether the servants died with her or perhaps betrayed the family. Tomorrow, I would look towards helping to lay her to rest. Tomorrow, I would read about the Searchers and how to avoid them. Tomorrow, I would deal with Anzu and whatever releasing him entailed.

Tonight, I was safe.

Tonight, I was free.

I closed my eyes and fell into a peaceful and dreamless sleep.

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