Disclaimer: I own CSI. Oh right, sorry… that's only my dream.

Sara woke up with a start. The phone was ringing. Amber was already in the shower. She looked madly around, and saw the clock said 7:15 am. Cursing under her breath, she ran out to the kitchen and picked up the phone.

"Hello?" She said, annoyed. Her face suddenly changed to terror and she hung up without another word. She rushed around the kitchen, closing the curtains, making sure all the doors were locked, then doing it all again in a paranoid rage. Amber came out of the bathroom with a towel wrung around her wet hair. She entered the kitchen. She saw Sara at the table, reading the newspaper, pretending not to be nervous which really wasn't working considering the backdrop of locked windows.

"What's wrong?" she asked, looking around "… do we have to leave again?" Amber asked. Sara nodded nervously.

"Yeah, hun… I think we'll have to," She said. Amber turned and ran to her room before Sara could see her crying.


There wasn't much packing to do, they'd hardly even unpacked from the last escape. Sara packed what little they had into boxes and started loading it into the car. Amber came outside and sat on the steps, observing. Tears slowly ran down her face.

"Mom, why do we keep running?" She asked. Sara paused and brushed her hair out of her face.

"Because we have to, honey… I… I really don't know how to tell you, Amber." Sara said pensively. She picked up another box and piled it into the back seat of the car, on top of the folded-down seats. Luckily she only had her daughter to look out for.

"Can't we at least fly this time?" Amber suggested. Sara shook her head. "You ALWAYS say no, mom! I have got to be… the only 16-year-old in California who hasn't been on an airplane!" she complained.

"If it comes to it, yes, Amber… we will fly. Somewhere. But for now, we have to stay close to home, it's safer…" Sara explained to her daughter.

"How is it safe when you can't even tell me why?" she asked, desperate for her mother to say something. "And close to home? We don't even have a home!" She added. Sara just continued to pack up the car.

"We can talk on the way, Amber… could you PLEASE bring your stuff out?" Sara asked, closing the trunk before heading inside. "Oh, and could you get the spare key, too? Just put it on the kitchen table…" she added. Amber got up and went around to the backyard, running her fingertips over the white stucco of her house she'd learned to love during the past month. She opened the gate and proceeded to count bricks that lined the garden edge. The sixteenth one was a hide-a-key. She turned it over. The hollow where the key should have been was empty. Amber frowned. Her mother, being the paranoid nervous wreck she was, probably already took the key and forgot about it. She headed back inside, and told her mom the key was gone.

"What do you mean?" Sara asked, searching her key chain for it in case she'd already taken it. It wasn't there. "Amber? You sure?" She asked.

"I'm POSITIVE, mom!" She said, nervously. "Someone must've taken it…"

"Amber, we are leaving this instant… come on, let's go." Sara said, grabbing the rest of the contents of the fridge and stuffing it in the cooler. She rushed out, but her daughter stayed behind a moment, saying a silent goodbye to her now-completely-empty house.


Once they were safely in the car, Amber wanted to bombard her mother with questions about everything,although shedidn't really want to upset her. She turned the radio on low.

"Mom, maybe I should just be home schooled… I've missed two weeks of school already, I mean… since we're moving around so much?" Amber asked hesitantly. Sara said she'd consider it, but she kept her eyes on the road, glancing nervously in the rearview mirror from time to time. "Mom? I think at least we should phone the school just to say we're moving I mean… or they'll send out an Amber Alert… and we don't want to draw attention to us, right?" she asked, smirking. Sara laughed, but then agreed, and handed her daughter her cell phone.

About an hour later, they were on the interstate, which had Amber worried because her mother never told her where they were going. They stopped for gas twenty minutes later. "Mom? Where… exactly are we… going?" Amber asked. Sara looked at her daughter for the first time, relaxed.

"Las Vegas," she replied.