Welcome back to another chapter of Random Paths. In the last chapter, Eva went back to school along with her body guards. Though this time she stayed in an apartment. Eva and her body guards let their guard down a bit as the semester started off without a hitch when a gun shot was heard. And now, on with the story.
The next few hours went by in a blur. Thomas knew the minute the bullet hit her, she was dead. His vampire nature told him that. He could hear his friends calling for the police. And he sensed his brothers arrive and they pulled him off of her as the paramedics arrived.
“Anyone home?” Samuel asked slapping him again.
“What’s that for?” Thomas asked, snapping out of it.
“That’s the tenth time I’ve slapped you!” Samuel said, “You ok? Scratch that stupid question! I know! I know! Are you going to be ok?”
Thomas glared at his brother when he asked if he was ok. “I don’t know. I failed. I failed her. I shouldn’t have let my guard down. I was supposed to protect her.” He then collapsed into his brother’s shoulder and cried.
Samuel comforted his brother the best he could and said, “I overheard the cops say it came from above. There was likely nothing that could have been done to stop it, Thomas”.
“I loved her,” Thomas cried.
“I know. At least she didn’t suffer. She likely didn’t even realize she was shot before she died. So you know what? She likely died happy. Be glad that you were at least able to give her that much. And I know that that’s not much comfort. But it’s all I can give.”
Thomas was inconsolable for the days leading up to the funeral and during the funeral. He truly blamed himself for Eva’s death. His mistake had gotten the woman he loved killed. He had pushed everyone away while he grieved. He eventually got tired of just sitting around doing nothing so he made plans. Plans to travel. Not settle down. Not get into another relationship ever. How could he fall in love with another Sim if he couldn’t protect them?
He knew his family wouldn’t understand so he decided to slip out early one morning. He left a note in his room, though, for his mother.
“Did you say good bye to your parents?” a voice said.
Thomas found himself face to face with the patriarch of the family Great-Great-Grandpa Brice. “What are you doing up so early?”
“Rolled over and couldn’t get back to sleep and knew that at least your mother would be up so I figured I give her company. You’re dressed and carrying a back pack. You’re leaving and I understand why and support it. Roaming the world is better than moping here. But did you tell your parents goodbye?”
“So you’re going to leave without saying goodbye to your mother and father?”
“I left mother a note.”
“A note. How impersonal. How unlike the Thomas Destansi I know. The one who missed the bus on the first day of school because he couldn’t stand to not let everyone in the house know he was leaving. Even if it meant waking them up to do so.”
“Everyone does. She wouldn’t want you to not tell your parents goodbye.”
“That was low, Granddad!”
“You needed the low blow. Now march into your father’s study and tell your parents good bye. Your father has been up all night apparently, trying to figure out if the SUA is still targeting those close to Eva and your mother is always up early to tend the garden and she’s trying to get your father to get some sleep at the moment.”
“Fine. But only for her!” Thomas yelled and marched off to the study.
Thomas froze when he stepped into his father’s study.
“You… you were shot. I watched you fall down. Dead,” Thomas said.
“Think, son,” Ian prodded, “Did anything seem off.”
“You had mundane friends. You know what they smell like. You know what your mother smells like. Did something seem off?”
Thomas thought back, paying closer attention to the smells. “How could I have missed that? The smell that labeled her as an imaginary friend?”
“Because very very few imaginary friends turn into real people. Most typically choose really odd genetics. Your mother is an exception,” Ian said.
“And very few of us imaginary friends get turned real in the first place,” his mother Ryanne added, “And when we do our odd genetic choices means we don’t end up with children.”
“But I think the plan worked. I’ve been up all night pulling what few favors I have left in the criminal world to see if the SUA bought it. Just like a certain other calculating criminal did when the plan was pulled on him,” Ian said.
“Remember when Alistair called me into the room to talk to me alone before the start of term?” Eva finally spoke up.
Thomas jumped at her voice but nodded.
“Well, he said that the SUA would likely not stop until I was dead. And that they would likely just skip the kidnapping phase the next time they tried to use family against me. Their MO in other countries apparently. So the only solution they could think of was if they thought I was dead. And through their research it came clear that normal attempts at witness protection still ended up with the person dead. So we used a plan that had only been done once to their knowledge. They found an unturned imaginary friend and got her to turn into me. Your Great-Grandpa had already discovered the potion to turn imaginary friends real, so it was only a matter of making it and finding an imaginary friend.”
“So whose friend did they use?”
“Mine,” Myles said and ducked a punch, “Your reaction was part of the plan, brother! You couldn’t know!”
“So you let me suffer in my room for days! It’s not like I was going anywhere!”
“They were likely watching the funeral, Thomas. And Dad swore me to secrecy. Do you think I liked not telling you that your love was still alive? It killed me to watch you suffer like you did.”
“He’s right, Thomas,” Eva said, “You wear your emotions on your sleeve too much. As do I.”
Thomas sighed in defeat. They were right. And everyone knew that. Then a sudden realization hit. “But that means…”
“Yes, that means I’m going into witness protection. Don’t worry, I made sure to visit my father. Though, that was under Wolfgang’s urging. The man only contributed DNA to me. He didn’t raise me.”
“So why tell me? They’ll likely be watching me, right?” Thomas asked.
Ian sighed, “Because no matter how hard we tried, she refused to leave until you were told. And we talked with the agency. They can swing two people living together as very close friends.”
Thomas looked at his parents. “Are you suggesting that you want me to go with her?”
“We talked about worse case scenarios. About what if she’s recognized. She isn’t your average Sim. The more we thought about it, the more having someone go with her made sense. But we couldn’t think of just who. Until she started being adamant about you being told. And why. We want you to be happy.”
Thomas just stared.
“You. Wear. Your. Emotions. On. Your. Sleeve,” Eva stated, “It didn’t take me long to figure out that you had fallen for me. And you know I wear mine on my sleeve, not to mention you’re a vampire, so you know I feel the same way. And I know you and I got confirmation on this from your father. You were beating yourself up over having failed. And that your failure would scar you like my mother’s death scarred my father. I couldn’t let that happen to you.”
“You… you’re saying that… that you love me?” Thomas stammered.
“No, I’m saying I hate your guts. Yes. I love you,” Eva said, rolling her eyes, and stood up.
Thomas didn’t say anything but when she stood up he closed the distanced and kissed her.
“Finally you two are able to show each other how you feel about each other!” Myles said, quietly.
“Shut up,” Thomas said, “Tell Yuna you love her, idiot, before she marries someone else.” He then sighed and turned to his dad, “How long do I have to decide?”
“The sooner, the better,” Ian said, “They won’t finalize until Eva is ready and she’s been pretty adamant about telling you. I think she’ll be pretty adamant about giving you some time to think.”
Eva nodded. “Thomas, if you choose your family, I will not hate you. I don’t want you to choose to go with me because of some form of duty you feel. I want you to come with me if you want to. Because there is no going back. Not until the SUA is finally taken down permanently. And I know I will die long before you even enter your adult years.”
Thomas sat down on the couch. He had been given an impossible decision. Stay with Eva and go into witness protection with her or remain with his family.
“Aren’t you guys doing the same thing that they did? Had a person in the real world that could play intermediary?” Myles asked.
“Nothing we could use to send notes back and forth though,” Ian said.
“What about your criminal friends?” Myles asked.
“Or Zachariah’s?” Eva added, “What?! He had a crush on my mother from what I’ve gathered. Revan didn’t exactly let her cohorts know she had a family. And he does feel a sense of responsibility for me and my sister.”
“We can’t promise anything since that will likely take some time to work the kinks out of. You’ll have a control agent obviously just in case you think you’ve been compromised or they find out that you have. We should be able to get word to that agent,” Ian said.
“I’ll do it,” Thomas said, “I, uh, was trying to sneak out this morning to go travel for a good long while. I’ve also never been one to use a credit card. I’ve got my own car and it’s all paid off so there is no real paper trail with it. So spinning a believable trail for me to disappear under shouldn’t be too hard.”
“We’ll call the agent and get the ball rolling,” Ian said giving his son a hug, “I’m proud of you. Always will be.”
And that’s it for this chapter! Will witness protection succeed? Will Thomas regret his decision? Find out in chapters to come!