The Sequels to Syrrah's Game SGSequels

chapter 44

Wednesday, September 27th, 7:28 AM

Minneapolis, MN


Evan continued to walk along the Hilton’s parking garage roadway that headed to the 2nd Avenue South exit-way. The fact he needed to leave in this unusual manner already had his heart revving up.

A few cars drove by him, but for the most part not much activity, even though it had to be morning rush hour about now.

He finally made it outside near the avenue. He walked to the left, like he had been instructed to do, to find the sunken doorway so that Nate could meet him here.

Nearing the sunken doorway surprise shook him; Chella was there too, wearing a black hoodie, leaning against the wall, her back facing him. She was speaking on her phone.

He walked up to her and gently touched her right shoulder.

She immediately turned and looked up at him. He could see, from her sad eyes, she was feeling the same despair.

“Uh, I’ll call you back.” She swiped to end the call. “Hey, Evan. What are you doing here now?”

“Meeting up with someone.” It wasn’t a lie. He just couldn’t release all the details.

“Oh. Your friend, and his girlfriend again?”

“No, someone else. But are you doing okay, with all of this?”

She sighed. “With Carter dropping that bomb on us last night? I mean, I’m glad Dana is better, but what the heck.”

“I know. Blaming us for the Thunder Bay cancellation. It’s whatever. I’m so done with him, and Lloyd.”

Chella closed her eyes. She drew in a deep breath and moved her head away, from his view. “At least, like he said, our job positions ended. Will sound better on a resume.”

“I know, true that. Better than being fired.” 

“I just don’t like that we’re catching the blame for all of this.”

From her voice breaking slightly, Evan could tell she was on the verge of crying. Poor girl. So many times in the past few days. He leaned his left shoulder against the wall, his tired, aching body needing the support.  “My feelings too. And I can’t believe they’re still keeping us from visiting Dana. But Chella. You are so talented, on stage, with Dana. I’m hoping that once Dana is fully recovered, she will change Carter’s mind and have you continue to do backup singing for the album. Or Dana’s next tour. Really. Think about it.”

“I will, I guess.” She shyly grasped the neck side of her unzippered hoodie, lifted the section up some and wiped her eyes and nose with the soft material. “Losing this job, is not the only reason, I’m like this.” She sniffled a few times and looked toward the street. “This is really difficult, but…” She placed her phone into her hoodie’s pocket and then grasped both her hands around his one hand. She looked up at him. “It’s breaking my heart. I have strong feelings for you, but I know, you…and Dana…” She released her hands from him and leaned against the wall, her eyes downcast.

He moved closer and gently placed his hand on her upper arm. “Chella. Look at me.” She did. Her brown eyes, even sad, tearful, were so gorgeous, and inviting. “Listen to me. If it weren’t for…what I have to do…something, I cannot tell you, I would most definitely have taken you back to my room that night. Or even spent time with you, these last several days, if my friend hadn’t visited.” He stared deeply into her eyes. And for a moment, his need for Syrrah began to diminish. But like before, it was only brief. His intense desire for Syrrah came back, with a vengeance.

She blinked a lot, the fragile person she was unable to handle his strong gaze, but she nonetheless continued searching into his eyes. “Why? Why can you not tell me?”

He drew in a deep, shaky breath. “All I can say, is, something happened to me, years ago, when I was a kid. And I need to solve it, now.”

“By chasing Dana, simply because she’s a famous singer?”

Upon a driveway that led to some sort of maintenance garage door, about ten feet from where they stood and part of this same building, a newer, dark grey Cherokee Trailhawk suddenly pulled up, its tires making that crunching pebble sound. The driver lowered the window. A woman sat in the driver’s seat, her appearance similar to Chella, yet older. “We need to go. I shouldn’t be parked here for long.”

“My sister. Here to pick me up.” Chella searched even deeper into Evan’s eyes. “Dana will bring you nothing but pain. You should just leave with me, now, Evan. Please?” She reached out and gripped both his hands tightly.

For some reason, a wave of darkness, terror even, swept through his entire being, a sense of something to come. Tears formed in his own eyes. He gazed back at Chella and for another brief moment he wanted to remove himself completely from searching for Syrrah and do exactly what she requested. But again, it ended, almost as quickly as it came. “I…I can’t, Chella. I’m sorry.”

She refused to let go of his hands and her eyes locked with his gaze. “Please, Evan? You look like you’re crying now too.”

“Hey,” a male voice called out, from by the street. “We gots to go, now!”

Evan turned to the direction of the voice. Nate had his driver-side window down in an older, probably 1995, rusty, two-tone green S10 Blazer, its excessively loud muffler abruptly quite evident, along with some rattling motor noise, even though the Blazer was parked on the other side of 2nd Avenue South.

Chella looked at Nate, and then back up at Evan, her eyes perplexed. “Why is Nate here now? Oh…Dana, at the hospital?”

He nodded slightly. His hands dropped away, as she slowly released her grip. “I’m sorry. And you are right. This is hurting me too.”

“Then come with me!”

He gently grasped both her hands again. “But I just can’t.” His eyes teared up even more, but then he closed them tightly for a few seconds, forcing the tears to stop, though they leaked near his eyes anyway. “I’m sorry.”

A sudden truck motor disrupted his sad thoughts. He turned to see a Ford maintenance pickup truck had parked near the back end of the Trailhawk. The truck’s driver honked the horn several times. 

Chella drew in a deep breath and let it out. She frowned and removed her hands from his hold. “I understand. I have to go, obviously. If you ever need to text or call, you have my number.”

“Thank you, Chella. I will always keep your number.”

She lunged forward and wrapped her arms around him tightly. He embraced her back, hugging her in a close, warm hug, her kindness and compassion not really helping to confirm he made the correct decision in attempting to save Syrrah. But there was no turning back now, regardless of any darkness lying ahead.

She released him after several seconds, and he reluctantly loosened his grip as well, what with Nate and Chella’s sister calling out to them both.

Chella ran off to the Trailhawk and got in, not even glancing back at Evan. Her sister carefully backed out and then drove them away.

The Ford maintenance pickup pulled up near that garage door.

He wanted to dwell on Chella’s departure, and her great need for him to come with her, but he had to end this. Focus, Evan, focus!  

He waited for a break in the few passing vehicles and then rushed across 2nd Avenue South. He opened the Blazer’s passenger side door and knelt to enter, sitting on the seat, his tall, broad body barely fitting inside. He glanced around. “You weren’t kidding when you said your aunt’s vehicle is in rough shape.” He looked down at the floor, noticing a few holes giving view to the street below. “Dana is actually okay with this?”

“Absolutely. Good cover.” Nate reached behind his seat and brought forward a garbage bag full of stuff. He plopped it on Evan’s lap. “Here. Your personal cover. Hat. Sunglasses. A black leather jacket. And put your hair up in the hat.”

“Yeah. It has been getting longer lately. Haven’t had time to cut it.” After sliding the seat back to create more body space, he went ahead and did as Nate had told him. Black baseball cap on, hair tucked within. Sunglasses on. Jacket on. He looked at Nate. “So. Good cover?”

One look at Nate’s goofy, seductive expression instantly made Evan regret asking.

“They all match especially good with your sexy graphite-colored jogging pants, black sneakers and black T-shirt,” Nate said. “Mmm, you sure you don’t play for both teams?”

“Nope. Straight as an arrow.” Evan shook his head and stared down at those rusty holes in the floor. “Damn. Why does this keep happening to me?”

“Because you’re hot, young and sexy.”

Evan smiled. He was asked to wear dark-colored, worn-out clothes, but graphite-colored? Ah, ignore it. He looked back at Nate. “Sexy, huh.”

“Obviously. You sure seem to have Dana’s heart held captive.” His face then drew serious. He leaned closer. “Look. We have to get going here. But, I have to say. I don’t approve of this. Not at all.”

“I know. But…it’s not exactly what you think. Trust me on that.”

Nate flipped his palm down. “Isn’t that what they all say?”

“But it really is the truth. So, how is Dana going to get out?”

“Oh. Meet her at the emergency room entrance, beneath that underpass thing. She’ll be disguised, similar to yours, but with a blond hair topper, like a wig. She’ll have a floppy black hat. Ripped black jacket. Sunglasses. Text her. I messaged you her number.”

“Is she going to be all right? Is she really up to this now?”

“Honestly, no, of course not.” Nate tossed his hands up. “But she just had to do this. You sure must be something special.”

“I’m just…I’m just a person.”

“If you say so, honey.”

Evan looked at the middle console, noticing the insurance card and registration. He picked up both, confirmed that they were current, and placed them back down. 

After checking for a break in traffic, Nate opened the door and stepped out. He ran around the front end until standing before Evan’s window. Evan rolled the window down.

“Yes, insured and registered,” Nate said. “I assume you have a license.”

“Yes, of course.”

“And you can drive a stick?”

“Yes. I learned how to drive on one.”

“But you do realize, this thing will break down, at some point.”

Listening intently, focusing away from the muffler to the engine for a few seconds, Evan could hear the issues. “Yeah. High pitch whirling, like the alternator. And definitely some knocking.”

“Correct. Yup. Might have a rod knock too. Good luck is all I can say.”

“And your aunt doesn’t care if it dies somewhere?”

“Well, you guys will have to get it towed, you know. Can’t just leave it on the street so the cops go berserk, and write her a citation. So use that pretty head for something more than attracting Dana.” 

Evan chuckled. “I will.”

“Oh. And pay attention to all the one-ways in this gawd-damn city.”

“I already mapped out a route. Don’t worry.”

“All right.” Nate patted the door’s lower window frame several times. “Off I go.” He walked away on the sidewalk, in the direction beyond the Blazer’s tailgate.

Evan opened the passenger-side door and stepped out. Got to give that engine a quick once-over, he figured. He headed around the Blazer’s front end and over to the driver’s side door, to access the hood latch.

Once no traffic drove near him, he grabbed the handle and opened the door. He reached down until finding the hood latch.

“Hey, Evan. I’m back.”

He looked up. Nate was standing by the passenger-side window again.

“What’s wrong?”

Nate glanced around the area a moment and then focused on Evan. “Dana was concerned you might be followed.”

“Oh, really? I’m not too worried about it.”

“I bet you aren’t, big guy. But still, keep an eye out.”

“Will do.”