"We should make it into California today," J.D. slapped the back of his hand against the map that was spread across the dash of the station wagon, "What do you say, darling? Told you I'd get you there."
"And what is your plan? Hmm?" Veronica raised an eyebrow, "Are we going to keep up this little Bonnie and Clyde act, J.D? I want to be done. I've said that before. I want to have a normal life. I just don't want to keep running and…and killing."
J.D. bit the corner of his lip. He wanted to promise her no more; he wanted to tell her that he was done, and they were out. He wanted to get a job and get her a nice house or something, but the reality was he just wasn't sure if he could. There was so much he wanted to give her, but killing had become addicting. Clearing the world of all the filth he could was his mission. He didn't know if he could just walk away from that. Sure, he wanted to; but the question was if it would let him.
Instead, he just nodded and folded the map back up before tossing it in the backseat. Veronica rolled her eyes and stared out the window. They had been on the road for a couple of weeks now, and she was exhausted, homesick, frustrated, confused, and madly in love with the crazy person sitting next to her. She knew J.D. wouldn't realistically quit. He'd do anything for her, but that was asking too much. J.D. wasn't the settle-down type of person. It just wasn't how he was raised. But she, on the other hand, wanted that. Maybe she could take a few courses at the community college…but that'd require an I.D.
Everything was suddenly sinking in. She would have to change her name and get a whole new identity. Veronica rested her head against the window of the passenger seat and closed her eyes, suddenly completely overwhelmed. When she had chosen to follow J.D. out of the boiler room, she hadn't given it much thought. Had she been doing it because she wanted to, or because she was trying to save her own life? He would have killed her. But she was already dead, wasn't she? Veronica Jane Sawyer was killed back in that boiler room.
J.D. knew something was bothering her. It had been two hours, and she was just sitting there, staring out that god damn window. It bothered him knowing something was bothering her. He needed to fix it. He pulled off the interstate and drove down the frontage road for a bit before coming to a gas station. Maybe a cherry slushie would do the trick.
"You want a cherry slushie?" J.D. asked, parking the car and waving his hand towards the convenience store.
"Sure," Veronica smiled, comforted at the fact that he was at least trying. She followed behind him into the store and leaned against the magazine counter while he grabbed them a large slushie to share. As she was standing there, she heard noises coming from the bathroom. She heard someone yelling and the muffled sound of a child crying. She awkwardly tried to busy herself with the magazines, but couldn't help but glance over towards the bathroom, wondering if there was something to do.
"Leave it alone," the man at the register shrugged, picking up on her concern, "It's not our place to muddle into how people choose to parent."
"But still…" Veronica bit her lower lip. The sounds had now reached J.D's ears and he paused, setting the cup down on the counter next to the soda fountain, and craned his neck towards the bathroom. He knew those sounds. His eyes turned to saucers and turned to Veronica. They shared a look, and he grabbed the back of his neck, wanting to be anywhere but there.
Dumb fuck didn't even have the common sense to beat his kid somewhere privately. J.D. rolled his eyes and tried to keep himself calm. Besides, what could he possibly do to remedy the situation? Sure, he could just go in there waving his gun, but what would that get him? A pair of silver bracelets and a lock up in county. And where would that leave Veronica? He couldn't just go out in the open and do anything. Maybe the dumbass kid deserved it.
No one deserves it.
J.D. finished filling up the cup and headed over to the register to check out. Veronica slipped her arm through his and leaned her head against his shoulder. She couldn't imagine being that kid. What kind of monster would ever speak to their kid like that? And god only knew what else was going on in that bathroom. It gave her a sickening chill up her spine.
"Why didn't you do anything?" Veronica asked as J.D. handed her her cup. They were back inside the station wagon, and he was digging the keys from his trench coat.
"What'd you want me to do, darling? Go in their waving a gun around? Yeah, I'd get the cops called on me in a millisecond. I can't be careless, Veronica. Not if I want to stay with you and keep you safe. I can't get caught, alright. I have to choose my battles carefully, and…"
"You're all about ridding the world of evil, well that thing in the bathroom is evil."
"I know," J.D's voice was soft, "but, darling, there is nothing I can do."
Veronica knew he was right, but still she did not want to accept that answer. The door of the store opened and a man, dragging a little boy by the arm, exited. The kid looked no more than five years old. Veronica felt her stomach drop when she saw his tear-stained cheeks. He was limping. It made her sick.
"Damn it," J.D. hissed. He hadn't expected the kid to look so little. Didn't the little snot know better by now not to cry and make himself look so damn pitiful? J.D. gripped the steering wheel, not wanting to even look over at Veronica. This whole thing was breaking her heart, and he just didn't know if he could face that. But again, what could he do?
As he drummed his fingers on the wheel, he wanted them head to their pickup truck. An idea struck him, and he put the key in the ignition and crept out of the gas station. It was just the dad and kid in the truck, and this could be easy if the man would just make it easy.
"Where are we going?" Veronica asked as the station wagon followed the pickup onto the highway, "Oh my god, we're following them, aren't we? What are you going to do?"
"I don't know yet," J.D's voice was impatient, "It's not like I can just off the bastard – I mean, he's got a kid. What'd we do with the kid?"
"You're fucking kidding me."
"No, we can take him to like a hospital or something in California and drop him off. There's those safe haven places, right? We can just drop him off and drive off. We just have to get him away from that monster."
"Woman," J.D. groaned, knowing she was right. They could just take the kid. It'd be simple, right? But he knew better than to think anything was ever just simple. Besides, what if the kid could trace them? All his trepidations still didn't stop him from following the truck. He had no idea what he was going to do, but he knew he had to do something.