Neither of us speaks a word the entire walk back. Once we’re both inside my car, I wait a moment before cranking it. Things are too heavy. I don’t want to start driving until we get out whatever it is we need to say. Kisses like that can’t linger without acknowledgment.
“Now what?” she asks, staring out the window.
I watch her for a moment, but she doesn’t move. It’s as if she’s frozen. Suspended in time between the last kiss and our next one.
I buckle up and put the car in drive. Now what? I have no idea. I want to kiss her like that a million more times, but every single kiss would end just like that one did. With the fear that I won’t remember it tomorrow.
“We should go back home and get a decent night’s sleep,” I say. “We also need to make more notes in case…” I cut myself off.
She pulls on her seatbelt. “In case soul mates don’t exist…” she finishes.
During our drive to Silas’s house, I think about everything we’ve learned today. I think about my father and how he isn’t a good human. Part of me is scared that being a good person is inherent. I’ve read enough about how I used to be to know that I didn’t treat people very well. Silas included.
I can only hope that the person I turned out to be was the result of outside influences, and not because that’s who I’ll always be. A vindictive, cheating shell of a person.
I open the backpack and begin reading more notes while Silas drives. I come across something about files that Silas stole from his father, and how we suspect they might implicate my father. Why would Silas steal those from his father? If my father is guilty, which I believe he is, why would Silas want to hide that?
“Why do you think you stole those files from your father?” I ask him.
He shrugs. “I don’t know. The only thing I can come up with is that maybe I hid them because I felt bad for you. Maybe I didn’t want your father to go to prison for longer than he already was, because it would have broken your heart.”
That sounds like something Silas would do.
“Are they still in your room?” I ask him.
Silas nods. “I think so. I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that I keep them near my bed.”
“When we get to your house tonight, I think you should give them to your father.”
Silas glances at me across the seats. “Are you sure about that?”
I nod. “He’s ruined a lot of lives, Silas. He deserves to pay for that.”
“Charlie didn’t know you had these?”
I’m standing outside Silas’s father’s study. When we walked in the door and he saw me with Silas, I thought he was going to hit him. Silas told him to give him five minutes to explain. He ran upstairs and got the files and brought them back down to his father.
I can’t hear their entire conversation. Silas is explaining to him that he hid them to protect me. He’s apologizing. His father is quiet. And then…
“Charlie? Can you come in here, please?”
His father scares me. Not in the way my father scared me. Clark Nash is intimidating, but he doesn’t seem evil. Not like Brett Wynwood.
I walk into his office and he motions for me to take a seat next to Silas. I do. He paces the length of his desk a few times and then stops. When he faces us, he’s looking directly at me.
“I owe you an apology.”
I’m sure he can see the shock in my expression. “You do?”
He nods. “I’ve been harsh on you. What your father did to me—to our company—that had nothing to do with you. Yet I blamed you when the files went missing, because I knew how fiercely you stood by him.” He glances back at Silas and says, “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed in you, Silas. Interfering with a federal investigation…”
“I was sixteen, Dad. I didn’t know what I was doing. But I do now, and Charlie and I both want to make things right.”
Clark Nash nods and then walks around his desk to take a seat. “So does this mean we’ll be seeing you around more often, Charlie?”
I glance at Silas and then back at his father. “Yes, sir.”
He smiles a little bit, and his smile looks just like Silas’s smile. Clark should smile more often.
“Very well, then,” he says.
Silas and I both take that as our cue to leave. As we’re walking up the stairs, Silas pretend-falls, sinking down on the top stair as he clutches his chest. “Christ, that man is terrifying,” he says.
I laugh and pull him back to his feet.
At least if things don’t work out in our favor tomorrow, we’ll have done one good deed.