"It isn't. He's sitting behind the wheel."
My mind whirred, trying to think of the best course of action. Should we cross to the other side of the street and hope he didn't notice?
"You're allowed to walk down the street, Vee," I said eventually. "You're not a prisoner. He doesn't know where we're going, or who I am."
"What if he stops us? He might ask you for some identification."
"Then I'll have to shoot him."
She looked up at me, her dark eyes wide.
My arm tightened around her. "Just keep walking and look forward."
I did my best to minimize my lurching gait. She was on the inside of me, and as we got closer, I could see the deputy was bent over something, not looking at us or anyone else.
Don't look up, I willed. I'd be able to deal with him if I needed to, but things would be a lot easier without the complication. Vee was so distinctive in her appearance. If he caught only a glimpse of her, he'd recognize her right away. We might have to do something about how she looked if we were going to get her sister back.
My heart thumped as we walked right by the cop car, neither slowing nor speeding up our pace. All we needed to do was get around the corner to where my car was parked. The key was hidden beneath the vehicle, attached to the cha.s.sis via a small magnet. I couldn't risk taking the key with me and dropping it somewhere, or having someone take it from me. By keeping the key with the car, I always knew where it was should I need it. People might check under a hubcap or even under a visor for a spare key if they planned on stealing the car, but they wouldn't find the key where I'd hidden it.
We made it past the police cruiser, and I exhaled a breath and gave Vee a brief squeeze to tell her that we'd done the hardest part.
I felt the stiffness in her shoulders relax slightly. We just needed to make it around the corner, and I'd be able to drive the car right out of town.
The slam of a car door behind us caused my heartrate to jump.
"Hey, Viola," a male voice called. "It's Deputy Kier."
"s.h.i.+t," she hissed from beside me.
"Keep going. Don't look back."
I hustled her forward, both of us breaking into something just short of a run. We made it around the corner, but his suspicions had been raised, and I could hear his feet smacking on the sidewalk and the exclamations from a few of the pedestrians he pa.s.sed.
Were we about to be stopped at the first hurdle?
"Viola Gingham!" The deputy called my new name. The people at Witness Protection always made sure we had the same initials as our real names. "Halt or I'll shoot."
Deputy Kier followed us down the street, but instead of stopping, I did the opposite and broke into a run.
"It's the black Ford," X shouted at me as we raced down the street toward his car. We'd broken apart from the cozy way we'd w
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