“So what happens after this?” Adrian asked. The rain had finally stopped, but the clouds were still thick on the highway. Elijah had his window cracked open.
“I get out as fast as I can and you call me in,” he answered.
“No. I’m mean after that.”
Elijah hesitated and glanced at her. He looked back at the road and took a breath. But Adrian kept looking at him.
“You haven’t thought this through.”
“No,” Elijah answered, quietly.
Adrian looked down for a moment. She crossed her legs.
“What do you think…” She paused. She looked up again. “What do you think you’re up against?”
Elijah drummed his hands on the wheel.
“I hope they haven’t bugged my car,” he said. Adrian titled her head.
“They probably did.”
“We should stop talking.”
“If they did bug it, they know our plan now. And now they know that we know that they bugged it.”
“We should stop anyway.”
Adrian shrugged. “Just want you to know. But we should talk about it. Or at least think about it.”
“Yeah.” He glanced up at the rearview mirror, but didn’t say anything else. Adrian stayed silent too. She put her elbow on the door and watched the cars ahead.
A few minutes later Elijah glanced up at the mirror again.
“Adrian, what’s in that guy’s window?” he said. She sat up. “The car right behind us.”
She craned her neck and looked out the back. It was a grey minivan. “It…it looks like a camera.”
“He’s following us.” Elijah switched lanes.
“Don’t try to lose him. No car chases,” Adrian said sharply and sat back.
“We’re going to let them follow us all the way?” Elijah said. He kept himself from shouting. “You kidding?”
“We got to find another way.”
“What if they’re listening, too?”
“Keep driving!” Adrian answered. “I’ll figure out another way to lose them.”
Elijah looked at the mirror and drummed his fingers on the wheel again.
Two hours later they pulled over at a service stop. Sure enough, the grey van pulled over too. Elijah put a jacket on and got out of the car. He looked over the roof at Adrian as she got out too.
“Have an idea yet?” he asked. She nodded and started walking. “You’re not going to tell me, are you?”
She led him off to the a grassy area, fenced away from a cornfield. Moisture still clung to the trees. They both stopped and Adrian turned to him.
“When we hit rush hour,” she whispered. “When it’s really bad, and we come up to an exit – and I mean right up to the exit – I want you to pull over on the berm. Hopefully, if the traffic’s bad enough, they won’t be able to pull over too. They’ll either have to continue or go off the exit.”
“Don’t mention the plan again.”
They were nearing the end of the drive at five o’clock when they hit rush hour. The traffic closed up fast, but the grey van was still behind them as they slowed to a crawling pace. Elijah moved to the middle lane. He knew there was an exist up ahead, within sight, but the sun was too bright to look at it. Adrian leaned her head back, eyes closed under her shades.
The traffic inched on. It came to another stop. The cars to the right were picking up speed as they went off the exit. Not yet, Elijah told himself, not yet. He inched forward and followed at the same pace under an overpass.
The ramp was right there.
Elijah glanced over his shoulder at the cars speeding past. He didn’t bother with a turn signal. He just turned the wheel and gunned it over.
The tires screeched and someone honked behind him. He slammed on the brakes once he was on the berm, though he managed to ram the car into the guard rails first. The car jolted, but fell back into place when he stopped.
Elijah looked back to the highway. He scanned the cars. The grey van had passed on. He took a breath of relief and put the car in park.
Adrian sat up. “Not bad.”
Elijah glance over at her.
“What’s next?” he asked. “It’s your plan.”
Adrian took the last sticky note down. She rummaged through her backpack, which was on the floor in front of her. She pulled out a pen and put the note on her knee and started to write. Then she handed it to Elijah.
You’re going to let me drive.