“Are you sure you really want to leave?” Jack asked.
“I have no choice, Jack. I can’t stay here.” Vickie felt her eyes starting to burn with tears, and she looked away. “She doesn’t understand me, and all we do is fight.” She glanced at the bus ticket in her hands and then impatiently put it back in her pocket.
She noticed Jack looking around nervously as though expecting her mom to come dashing around the corner of the bus station to lay claim to her and demand that she return home at once. “Don’t be so nervous, Jack. Mom’s still at work. She hasn’t a clue we’re here.”
“Maybe you should try to make amends and stay. I really don’t want you to leave, Vickie. You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I don’t want to lose you.”
Vickie gave Jack a weak smile. She could always count on him through thick and thin. “You’ll be the only thing I’ll miss in this backward town,” she replied. “Don’t worry. We’ll stay in touch, and I’ll still be your girl.”
“Vickie, it’s just that I don’t think you’re making a rational decision. I don’t always get along with my parents either, but I haven’t considered running away from home.”
“I’m not going to live on the streets. I’ll be with my Dad in Omaha.”
“Does he know you’re coming?”
“No, I didn’t…”
“You need to contact him to let him know.”
“I don’t have his number, only his address.”
“Give me your laptop. I can find his number by putting in his address.” Vickie fumbled with her bags and pulled her laptop out of the largest one and handed it to Jack. “What’s the address?”
“It’s 528 East Bank Street.” Jack typed in the address with Vickie watching.
“Here it is. Here, use my cell phone.” Vickie called the number.
“Hey, Dad…I’m fine. Dad, I’m about to board a bus to come visit you for a few days…Dad, I’ll be okay. I’m sixteen. I can travel alone…No…Mom and I have been fighting a lot lately, and I need to get away…I know it’s in the middle of the school year…Well, why can’t I attend school in Omaha?...I don’t want to wait ‘til the weekend. I need to get out now…I’m supposed to leave in about 15 minutes…Yes, only a couple
of bags…I don’t know…Only long enough to get myself together…I don’t want to go to Aunt Lilly’s. I want to stay with you, Dad…Okay…Okay…That’s fine…Bye.”
Vickie was disappointed with their conversation. She turned to Jack, “I don’t think I’ll be able to stay with Dad for any length of time. He said we’ll finish our conversation when I get there.”
“Vickie, if all else fails, you can stay with me and my parents. I’m sure they’ll be willing to take you in for a few days, if needed.”
“Thanks, Jack. What would I do without you?” She gave him a hug. “Now promise me you won’t tell my mother that I’ve left town.”
“Only if you promise to call her when you get to Omaha. She’ll be worried, Vickie.”
“I promise I’ll call. Oh, there’s my bus. I guess I’d better go.”
Jack grabbed her hand, “Call me when you can and as often as you can. Okay?”
“Okay, I will. I promise.” She hugged him again and gave him a kiss on the cheek, and then boarded the bus.