31: Franny

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31. Franny

"You agreed to what?" I sputter.

"Don't give me that look." Tyler sighs. "What choice did I have?"

"Saying no, maybe?"

"And what?" Tyler shrugs. "I end up getting arrested? Like I'd let that happen."

"Arrested doesn't mean you're going to jail," I say. "What have they even got against you? What evidence are they using?"

Tyler sits on the edge of Ethan's bed. Ethan brings nothing more to the conversation; he just sits off to the side. I don't ask him though—knowing him, he'll side with Tyler anyway. The IV is no longer in his hand and the breathing tube is finally off him. He's supposed to be getting out today, if his mother ever shows up with her car.

"The detective has my files," Tyler says.

"Files?" I frown. "The files you burnt?"

Tyler shoots me a humorless smile. "Looks like they're not very burnt."

"So—what, Carl had them the whole time?" I ask. "He had another copy?"

Tyler groans. "I'm way over my head here, Franny. I have no idea what I'm doing. I didn't when I was trying to go up against Carl and now I have to somehow be a fucking spy without him realizing."

"Just watch James Bond, you'll be fine," Ethan remarks and Tyler glares at him.

"You're not helping," he snaps.

"Look, you sure there's nothing else you can do? Anything to get you out of this? I don't like it. It's not safe and that cop sure as hell won't help you if Carl tries to hurt you."

"I'm running out of options," Tyler says. "This is all I've got. And Carl won't hurt me, he barely has before."

My frown deepens. I look around the room as I think. Tyler turns away and talks quietly to Ethan, who is trying not to fall asleep. Apparently he hasn't been sleeping a lot. I bite my lip and begin to pace.

"Franny, what are you doing?" Tyler asks. "The pacing is making me worry, stop it."

"I'm thinking," I snap.

"About what?" he asks, exasperated.

"Carl hurting you," I answer.

"But I said he won't."

"Exactly," I say briskly and then look over at Tyler. "Exactly. He won't hurt you. Why won't he hurt you? If he hates you so much then why wouldn't he hurt you?"

"Never said he hated me," Tyler says.

"You said he shot a guy in the leg for stealing money," I say. "You burnt all his files and yet he didn't shoot you. He did nothing. He knew you burnt them and did nothing!"

"He still hit me the other day!" Tyler defends himself.

"But only because you hit him first," I say. "Otherwise he wouldn't have hit you. He wouldn't have touched you."

"Why does he never hurt you directly?" Ethan frowns.

"Does it even matter?" Tyler mutters.

I open my mouth to respond but the nurse comes in. Her brows crease in confusion when she sees Ethan still on the bed. "Is your mom not here yet?"

"No, it's stupid to wait for her. I'll just call a taxi."

The nurse looks a little concerned but nods anyway—Ethan is of age to do whatever the hell he wants. She finishes some things up and leaves a pile of his clothes on the chair. His mom didn't bring him new ones so he's stuck putting on a shirt caked in blood. Tyler stands up from his bed and walks to the far wall, crossing his arm and leaning against it. I glance at him before looking back at Ethan.

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