Sugar Free Page 47

I’m totally going home with my dad tonight.

No doubt.

With a regretful sigh, I look at Beck and say, “I’m sorry I went behind your back to the police station. But I don’t regret my actions.”

“Of course you wouldn’t,” he says bitterly. “If you did, you’d have to admit how stupid that was.”

This pisses me off, and even though my dad says “Sela” on a low note of warning, I stand from the couch, pin him with my death glare, and say, “You should be thanking me, Beck.”

“Oh yeah…how’s that?” he snaps back at me.

“Because I’m taking responsibility for my crime. I’m freeing you so you can go on with your life, and I’m doing that because I love you.”

In three long steps, Beck crosses the room toward me, coming to stand on the opposite side of the coffee table. “I hate to be the one to break this to you, babe, because clearly you’re in the dark, but your confessing to this crime didn’t free me at all. It just ensured we’re going to be tried together as coconspirators in JT’s death.”

“What?” I gasp, actually falling back down to the couch in a defeated slump.

“The ADA isn’t going to drop the charges against me,” he says, and his words slice into me like a million paper cuts. “She has no reason to. Nothing you’ve told them disproves that I did it.”

“But it’s a confession,” I mutter, glancing down at my tea because I can’t stand to see the look of reproach in Beck’s eyes. “They should accept it and be done with this.”

“Oh grow up, Sela,” Beck says in frustration with his hands out. “This isn’t all about you, you know.”

“Okay, that’s enough,” my dad says, and levels Beck with a look that says shut the fuck up. Then he turns that same look on me. “What’s done is done. Now it’s time to figure out what to do about it.”

Beck turns away, walks over to the windows again, and stares out, his arms crossed over his chest. I have no clue what to say. I mean, I just assumed that when I met with Kerry next week, we’d prepare and hope for the best at the preliminary hearing. I also assumed the judge would find enough evidence to hold me over for trial. Then I assumed that the ADA would come to Kerry and offer some sort of plea deal so that this could all go away and she’d get a mark in her win column.

That was how it worked.


“We need to run,” Beck says quietly, and I’m quite sure I heard that wrong.

My head snaps up to look at him, but he doesn’t turn around. I then turn to look at my dad beside me and he looks at me with raised eyebrows and hopeful eyes for my future.

And it’s at this point that I realize Beck and my dad have this all figured out.

“You want us to run?” I ask Beck.

He doesn’t respond, so I stand up from the couch, round the coffee table, and walk up to him. I come to stand beside him but still keep a bit of distance between us and look at his profile. His jaw is set, his eyes are determined as they stare out over the bay.

“You want us to run?” I repeat.

Beck’s head turns slowly my way and he looks down at me. His arms remain crossed over his chest and there’s still a little bit of anger in his eyes, but his voice is so very gentle…almost pleading. “I want us to have a life together. The only way we’re assured of it is if we run.”

“But…but…how?” I ask in disbelief that this is even an option.

“I’ve got a call into Dennis,” Beck says as he turns to me, his arms falling to his sides. “I’ve got millions at my disposal. With his contacts and my fortune, you and I could disappear.”

And finally, for the first time in over a day, Beck touches me. He takes my upper arms in his hands and holds on to me tightly, pulling me in a little closer. His voice is the most desperate I’ve ever heard from a man who never begs anyone for anything. “It’s the only way, Sela. Going forward with the trial is too risky.”

“Leave here forever?” I murmur, the idea not fully penetrating. My head swivels to look at my dad. “And you’re okay with this? Never seeing me again?”

“I’d rather you be living free and with someone you love than in jail, baby girl,” my dad says simply. “It’s the best solution.”

My head turns back to Beck. “So we run?”

His mouth curves upward to form a tiny smile, and the last dregs of bitterness drain from his face. “I love you, Sela, and I’m not going to lose you over this. So yes…we run.”

I fall forward into Beck, my head dropping so my forehead rests in the middle of his chest. My hands come to his waist and I grip him hard. I blow out a long breath and whisper, “Then we run.”

I’m already saying my goodbyes. It’s not been twelve hours since Sela and I decided to run, and I’m already trying to cram a bucket list of things I want to do with my loved ones into a few days. I haven’t heard from Dennis yet, but I’m expecting him to call at any moment now, and there’s no doubt in my mind he’s got the means and the method to let us disappear forever. I know he’ll come through for us, and I want Sela and me prepared to run fast.

It didn’t take me long at all to convince William that this was the best decision. We met at that Starbucks and sipped black coffee while I told him his daughter was arrested for murder and I wanted to leave the country with her forever. I had to give the man credit: he takes stoicism to a new level. While I know he was greatly disturbed by what I told him—and I told him everything—I knew that his love for his daughter would have him supporting my idea. William has seen Sela sunk into despair so brutal that he’d support whatever would give her the best chance at lifelong happiness.

And running was that best chance.

After William left last night, I expected a bit of awkwardness between Sela and me. I didn’t have to rehash all the ways in which she’d pissed me off and left me feeling betrayed. She got it. She understood.

I also think she was regretful.

Well, maybe not regretful for the intention behind her actions, but she understands that she screwed things up for herself when I was the only one at risk. It was altruistic though, and I know she did it out of devotion to me, so I couldn’t stay mad. Besides, once she agreed to disappear with me, she was essentially promising me a forever, and it would be hard to stay angry when I was getting something that was beyond extraordinary.

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