Relentless

Relentless by Robin Parrish Read Free Book Online

Book: Relentless by Robin Parrish Read Free Book Online
Authors: Robin Parrish
Fitness always came first in L.A.
    Grant placed Julie gently upon the bench, just as her eyes began to flutter open. He sat opposite her and steadied her, holding her upright.
    She looks so tired . . .
    Her eyes focused at last, and she screamed.
    ‘‘Listen to me, Julie—’’ he started, letting go of her.
    ‘‘Who are you! What—’’
    ‘‘Julie, listen! You know me! You know who I am!’’
    She was in danger of hyperventilating, but she said nothing, both terror-filled eyes trained on him, taking in his bloodstained, battered appearance. ‘‘I—I do?’’
    Grant was breathing rapidly, too, his thoughts coming faster than his tongue could handle. ‘‘I wish I could do this differently,’’ he spoke hurriedly. ‘‘But we don’t have time. We won’t be safe here for long.’’
    Still she looked at him. He forced himself to breathe more slowly as he gazed into her eyes—those eyes he knew so well, so deep, the skin around them creased by long years of tears and laughter. What a life she’d led . . .
    He was suddenly overcome with emotion, sitting next to her for the first time in years. And she looked at him with such intense fear.
    He took one last, slow, unsteady breath.
    ‘‘Julie, I’m Collin. I’m your brother .’’
    She stood up from the bench, and began backing away from him. Anguish filled her eyes.
    She started to say something, but nothing came out. Instead, she just shook her head, unblinking.
    Grant stood. ‘‘It’s the truth. I know you don’t recognize me— I don’t even recognize me—but I am the man you knew as Collin Boyd.’’
    ‘‘I’m calling the police right now,’’ she said. She pulled a tiny phone out of her pocketbook. She started to dial and turned and walked away from him.
    Grant stood and swallowed. If he couldn’t convince her now, then they had no chance. There was no time for this. Konrad would be coming. What could he say that she would believe? One obvious thing came to mind, but he’d been avoiding that conversation for twenty-some years . . .
    She was still moving away, nearing the shoreline.
    There was no choice.
    ‘‘The day you left the orphanage,’’ he called out, ‘‘was the worst day of my life.’’
    Grant had never spoken aloud these thoughts that had tumbled through his mind so many times. The gravity of the moment struck him just then, and his words came out slowly.
    Julie stopped walking. Her fingers paused over the phone, but she didn’t face him.
    ‘‘You held me so tight before they took you,’’ he gasped, his throat full. ‘‘I was terrified when you let go. I tried not to show it. For you. I didn’t want to make it worse.’’ A tear built up in one eye, and then tumbled down his face. ‘‘I knew you felt bad. Maybe worse than I did. But I was petrified , Julie.’’
    She stared off into the increasingly bright sky, blinking back tears of her own.
    ‘‘I never knew Mom. I barely remember Dad. You were the only family I had left.’’
    ‘‘This is cruel,’’ she said, shaking her head, still not looking at him.
    ‘‘You’re lying, you heard this—!’’
    ‘‘You begged your new parents,’’ he went on, barely able to choke back his own tears now. ‘‘— pleaded with them to take me—adopt me, too. But they live in Seattle and they could only take one of us.’’
    She spun around, tears streaming down her cheeks. ‘‘I don’t believe you,’’ she shouted. ‘‘Collin lives in Glendale; he’s probably there right now. You can’t be him!’’
    His gaze fell, too pained to meet her eyes. ‘‘The next time I saw you, four months had passed. Four months , Julie. You said you’d tried to visit sooner, that you asked them about it every day.’’ The tears were falling freely now. ‘‘But by then it was too late. You forgot about me.’’
    ‘‘That’s not true! I could never —!’’
    He sniffled and continued, ‘‘I know . . . now. I know. But I was lost without you.’’

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