12) A Plan -TOBY-
A Chapter by Sal Hylling
Gabe looked at me and then frowned. "If only things had gone as planned..." Now he was looking at Ashlee.
"Come on Ashlee. The three of us need to go now."
Gabe started to back away slowly with Ashlee and Alex. They were all still facing me. I was just hoping that Bethanny understood what I had meant when I told her to go.
"Toby, you should go too." Ashlee said as she pushed Alex behind them and took Gabe's freehand. A smile came across his face.
"Yeah Toby, go home. It's..." Gabe started to say when I heard a loud metal bang. Bethanny had done it! Gabe was now crumpled on the ground and Ashlee was bent over him trying to help.
"Let Alex go, now." I had never heard Bethanny sound scary before, but there was something in Ashlee's eyes that was different. She was scared, but not of Bethanny though. She was scared of Gabe.
"Beth! Thank you so much." Ashlee got up to hug her, but pushed away from her.
"Don't touch me. We want answers." Ashlee rolled her eyes.
"Well... there's not much to tell to be honest. I really did think I was in love with Gabe, but...." She trailed off.
"No Ashlee we want the truth." My voice was stronger than I thought it was going to be. Ashlee looked stunned. Most people she knew better than they knew themselves.
"Do you really want to know?" she asked grinning. "I can pretty much guarantee that you won't believe me." She crossed her arms, still grinning. She was waiting for Beth's answer but looking at me up and down.
"Gabe was hired to kidnap us, but he got to me first, so he made me help try and kidnap you guys." Bethanny began clenching and un-clenching her fists.
"Who hired him?" Ashlee looked at Bethanny as if deciding something then said, "Your father."
"YOUR LYING..." Alex who had remained quite the whole conversation began calling Ashlee about every single cuss word she could think of.
"Whew Alex. Never knew you had it in you to say that... and to me? I'm impressed." Ashlee put her hands on her hips. The next moment Alex had tackled Ashlee and they became a pile of punches and slaps. Me and Beth looked at each other, surprised before grabbing them off one another. Alex had scratches on her face and a busted lip while Ashlee was nursing what looked like a broken nose. There was blood everywhere now.
"I'm sorry, I don't know what got into me!" Alex told me while trying to turn back towards Ashlee and Bethanny. I caught her arm to stop her and whispered,
"Are you kidding? It was awesome." I said bringing her closer to me.
"No I was totally out of line.I mean I did kind of break her nose you know."
"She deserves it for lying about my dad."
"I wasn't lying Beth. Your dad really did hire Gabe to kidnap you guys."
"My dad has been dead for almost nine years now. It's impossible for him to be alive. I went to his funeral! I saw them bury him in the ground Ashlee! So don't you tell me that my dad's alive, and that he's been alive for the past nine years of my life. If you're really telling the truth, then I'd like to hear that from him, not you!"
"Why didn't you just say so, Annie?" A deep voice came from the shadows. Bethanny didn't move a muscle. Annie, who the heck was Annie? Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. Annie was the nickname Beth's mom and dad called her by when she was little! Which meant that the voice belonged to Bethanny's dad!
"Dad?" Beth turned around in the direction the voice came from. There emerging from the shadows was a much older version of Beth's dad. Beth took one step forward, but then two steps back.
"This is impossible. Alex, Toby tell me this isn't happening."
"Annie, we have to talk."
"You've had nine years to talk to me! I want answers."
"Answers about what?"
"I don't know, maybe like why you had to go and die?"
"I was in danger."
"In danger of what?'
"The law. I took the blame for that kid." He pointed at the unconscious Gabe on the ground.
"Can I ask why..sir?" I added the sir part just to be polite, and not get too friendly. Mr. Tyler sighed.
"I guess so. You see I was working late one night when Gabe came into the station. He looked pretty rough and acted really nervous when I spoke to him. I finally got him to tell me what was wrong though. Turns out he went to an abandoned house, and lit a fire for his camp. It was a small fire in the front yard, and the house had been abandoned for years so nobody was supposed to be home. The fire spread though when Gabe fell asleep. In a few minutes the entire house was engulfed in flames. The fire department was called in, and after the fire was out they found 3 bodies inside the house. Completely unrecognizable. When Gabe told me this I didn't know what to do. He was just a kid at eight years old. I did know that that if the sheriff found out it was him he'd be sentenced to a juvenile court trial. I didn't want that to happen to a kid so young. So I took the blame, went on the run for a few weeks, but I couldn't handle that anymore so I faked my own death."
"What about now?" Alex asked him.
"Well, I guess I got to keep running. They already think I'm dead, so it shouldn't be too hard."
"What do we have to do with it though?" Beth said.
"I just want my daughter back, and I know you won't come without your friends."
"Why don't you just turn yourself in Mr. Tyler?" I told him.
"Because that's not what I want, and that's certainly not what I'm going to do." Mr. Tyler grabbed Ashlee, Alex, and me. "Come on Annie. We're in this together, just like before." Suddenly Beth's face became braver.
"You're right, because you can't turn yourself in."
"Yes sweetheart! Now come with me and everything will be.." Beth cut him off.
"Do you know why you can't turn yourself in?" "Annie, what are you talking about?" Beth took out her phone from her pocket.
"No Annie, don't do this."
"Oh, don't do it? Well that's good to know because I already did. Ever since you stepped out of the shadows my phone has been recording the whole conversation, and the police have been listening. It's over, so just let Alex and Toby go...and Ashlee too." Mr. Tyler loosened his grip on us only when he saw the red and blue lights. Police swarmed the perimeter of the park.
"Jack Tyler, come out with your hands up!"
"Goodbye Annie. I love you." Beth's dad turned and walked into the clearing. Police came at him from every angle. Racing to see who could hand-cuff him first. Alex, Ashlee, Bethanny and I all managed to pick up Gabe, and then we went into the clearing too. We stayed on a park bench until Gabe woke up. Then we watched as Beth's dad sat in the back of a police car for a few hours, and finally the neighbors started to show up.
"Beth, you said you were recording ever since your dad walked out of the shadows. That means that the police know that Gabe set the fire."
"Yeah, but because of Civics class in eight grade I know all about the law now. The police won't really care that Gabe's the one who set the fire."
"They won't?" Gabe asked looking relieved.
"I don't think so. It wasn't your fault, and you didn't do anything wrong. You confessed to my dad that night at the station and he was supposed to turn you in, but he didn't. Instead he decided to take the blame and go on the run from the law for almost nine years. That's a whole lot worse than what you did. What you did was an accident Gabe, but my dad taking the blame, running from the law, and faking his own death definitely was not an accident." Gabe's breathing came back to normal. He still looked scared though.
"Bethanny!" The five of us turned around to see Beth's mom running towards us. "What happened to you guys? I was so worried, then I heard the sirens."
"It's a really long story mom, but I'm sure you'll hear all about it on the news tomorrow." An African-American officer approached us, and Gabe started breathing heavy again. The officer laughed.
"Calm down son, you're not the one who's in trouble here."
"I'm not in trouble?"
"Son, if you were in trouble you'd be in the back of that police car right now, but you're not so just chill. For right now you can all go home, but we will need you at the station for questioning."
"Okay, thank you Officer Layman." Beth's mom said. "Well, let's go home you guys."
© 2013 Sal Hylling
Added on January 15, 2012
Last Updated on February 9, 2013
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