He could barely keep up with the car as it swerved in and out of traffic. After all these years the driver hadn't lost his edge, and Benicio tried desperately to catch up. Now they were headed northeast bound, because if his calculations were correct they were going north on Route 10 and leaving the city limits.
His mind was too clouded to look at the shores of Lake Pontchartrain as they rode the bridge across it, and even though his eyes were trained on the road he was barely seeing. Right now he was thinking, and his body had gone on autopilot, leg hitting the gas pedal without a concious effort.
All his memories seemed like a lie now. For twelve years he'd believed one man dead, only to see he was alive and well. When they settled in Houston, Irene had bought a dining that table had four seats. Two were always unoccupied, both facing each other. He knew exactly why she put those chairs there though her family consisted of only two. Twelve years, he realized, twelve years one chair should not have been empty.
Finally he found their car again, but he still stayed two vehicles behind them. He didn't want to be noticed at this stage; career drivers always have amazing peripheral vision.
It went on like this for awhile, because before he realized it they were crossing the next state line into Mississippi.
The driver's car finally made a detour in Biloxi. The city was just recovering from a recent hurricane, so the streets were full of the National Guard as well as some airmen from the local base. Luckily the city hadn't been hit too hard, and the only visible damage was some debris in the streets that had yet to be disposed of.
Now Benicio was right behind them, not even trying to hide. He could see Connie's head resting on the window, but he couldn't see the driver's eyes in the rearview mirror. The license plate was Louisiana issue, and the car seemed brand new. It was probably just a working car, but he wondered which city the driver was operating out of.
As they pulled up to an intersection the light turned yellow, and without warning the car in front of him began to speed up at a dangerous rate. Sure enough, the light turned red yet the blue Honda went barrelling through it at about seventy miles per hour.
Benicio froze but only for a moment. Shit, they're getting away! he thought, and similarly stepped on the gas. He nearly collided with oncoming traffic and was greeted to a symphony of blaring horns as he crossed the intersection.
Their car was speeding up and he tried to catch up once more. His failure had of course been following them into he city proper. On Route 10 it was hard to keep dibs on a car, but here with stop lights and narrow streets it was far easier. Too easy, especially for someone the likes of who he was following.
They sped down city streets and Benicio knew he had to end this little game simply because he didn't need the police on his trail, so he began to honk at them. Someone intent on causing real harm wouldn't be doing that, they would just stalk their prey until the bitter end. But he was putting up a white flag of sorts.
The car slowed down and eventually pulled over into a commercial parking lot. By this point Connie had turned around and was pointing out of the back window. Good girl, Benicio thought, tell him everything.
Benicio pulled up behind them and put his car in park. His fingers hovered over the ignition and he shook with anticipation, fearful and hopeful all in the same moment. Connie gave a brief wave from the back seat and suddenly the driver side door was opening.
The driver emerged slowly, visibly sighing as he slammed the door behind him. He made his way over to Benicio's car, pulling on his leather gloves. Benicio gulped down, now positive he'd made the wrong choice, given the old saying of sleeping dogs lying. Soon enough he was beside Benicio's window, the knuckle of his index finger tapping on the glass.
Benicio rolled it down, no words forming in the back of his throat.
"You got anything you want to tell me?" the driver said, a stern look on his face, "She your buddy or something?"
"Uh, no, not really." Benicio stammered.
"Then why have you been following us for the last hundred miles?"
"I - erm," he might as well just get it all out now, "You looked like someone I knew."
The driver laughed then and shook his head, "Believe me kid, you don't know me. Now if you don't mind, I'm going to get to work."
He turned to make his way back but Benicio shouted out again, afraid he'd lose the chance.
"Los Angeles! It was 2011, do you remember?"
This made him stop dead in his tracks and he turned abruptly, "Excuse me?"
"You knew my parents. The Gabriels. Helped them when they got in a little trouble."
There was anger in his face but suddenly a smirk played at the corner of his lips, "A little trouble?"
"I'm Benicio. Remember me? You used to take me for rides down the aqueducts and watch me while my Mom was working."
The driver squinted and started walking back to Benicio's car. "Damn, you've grown up kid." he said as he looked in at him, "I barely recognize you."
There was an awkward silence before the driver asked the inevitable question -
"How's your mother doing?"
Benicio shrugged, "Surviving."
Though his face didn't falter, a brief look of pain crossed through the driver's eyes, a longing sadness brought on by this conversation.
"Listen," he said, leaning over, "I don't have to be in Jacksonville for another two days, so let's take a break from driving, shall we?"
"Deal." Benicio said, turning his ignition again, "Where should I meet you?"
"Just follow me. I'll find a place to get lunch."
He trailed back to his own car and once inside turned back to assumed he was probably telling her what was going on, since she turned one last time to look back at him.
Honestly, he couldn't believe his luck.
A/N: Thanks for the reviews!