Run, Hide(7)

By: Carol Ericson


“For an occasion like this.” He crouched down and pawed through the bag. “I don’t have any clothes for Gavin, but I do have this.”

Jenna’s eyes widened at the electric trimmer in his hand. “He doesn’t need a shave.”

Cade cracked a smile. “It’s for his hair. Give him a buzz cut.”

“Oh.” Jenna ran her fingers through Gavin’s brown, curly locks. “And what about you?”

He lifted a shoulder. “They don’t know what I look like.”

Sitting sideways in his seat with his gun in his lap, Cade kept one eye on the parking lot in front of them and one eye on Jenna in the backseat, shrugging off her blue jacket and stuffing her arms into the black one.

She slicked back her hair and tugged the wig over her head. A cascade of brown waves fell over her shoulders as she flipped her head back.

“Contacts?”

“In the side pocket.”

She hunched over the bag and then leaned between the front seats to look in the rearview mirror.

Cade adjusted it for her and she scooted in closer, the scent of her light floral perfume stealing over him and taking him back to summer nights in San Diego and the bougainvillea that crept up the trellis on her patio.

She caught his eye in the mirror. “Better?”

He nodded at the brown-eyed stranger.

Digging through her purse, she said, “Might as well have the makeup match the coloring.”

Whatever that meant.

Again, she leaned forward, this time the long hair of the wig brushing the shoulder of his jacket. She pinched a small brush between two fingers and stroked it over her eyebrows, darkening them to match the hair. Next came black mascara, applied liberally over her long lashes. She blinked and then swiped a tube of lipstick across her lush lips, turning her mouth into a dark pink pout.

Cade cocked his head. Maybe she should’ve gone mousy instead of glam.

“What?” She was studying him in the mirror, a pink blush heightening her color—a natural pink blush.

“It’s just...I don’t know.” He ran a hand through his own short hair. “You look incredible. You’re going to attract a lot of attention.”

“But I don’t look like Jenna James.”

“No, you don’t look like Jenna James, the single mom and waitress at the Lovett Brewing Company.” That Jenna James would have to disappear.

She flattened her lips into a straight line. Hadn’t she realized he’d been keeping tabs on her and Gavin these past three years? Probably thought he’d forgotten all about them.

He didn’t blame her.

“Are you done?” He held up the clippers. “Do you want to do the honors, or do you want me to do it?”

“We can’t cut off all his hair while he’s sleeping.” She brushed Gavin’s curls from his forehead. “That’s a violation of his trust.”

What did he know about raising kids?

“Can you wake him up?”

She continued stroking Gavin’s face. “Wake up, sleepyhead.”

Gavin murmured and rubbed a fist under his nose, and Jenna squeezed his shoulder. “Wake up, Gavin.”

He blinked his eyes and popped up. He clapped both hands over his mouth and giggled. “Mommy?”

She tickled his cheek with the ends of her long hair. “Do you like it?”

“You look funny.”

“Thank you.” She thrust her hand, palm up, over Cade’s shoulder. “Do you want to look funny, too?”

“Uh-huh.” He bounced in his seat.

Cade slapped the electric hair clippers into her hand and she showed it to Gavin. “Do you want a haircut?”

Gavin pointed into the front seat. “Like him?”

Jenna’s gaze flicked to Cade, her newly brown eyes narrowed. “Yeah, sort of like him.”

Gavin nodded.

She pushed open the back door away from the entrance to the parking lot. “Scoot over here, so your hair will fall outside.”

She flicked on the switch of the clippers, which vibrated in her hand, and ten minutes later, Gavin ran his hand over his buzz cut, grinning from ear to ear.

“I wanna see.”

She scooped him onto her lap so he could see in the rearview mirror. Gavin giggled again, and a smile tugged at Cade’s lips.

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