Made of steel (made of s.., p.20
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       Made of Steel (Made of Steel Series Book 1), p.20

           Ivy Smoak
 

  Chapter 18

  Tuesday

  I recognized the inside of the bank from the video footage that Eli had shown me. The teller that had been held hostage wasn't anywhere in sight though. I wouldn't be surprised if she had quit immediately after that.

  All the information I needed to give my new employer was in the packet Mr. Crawford had left me. But I was curious to see just how much money I had in my account. I had worked the whole time I was in high school. Most of that money went to food, clothes, and books though.

  I put my debit card into the machine and typed in the pin number I already had memorized. A few seconds later my accounts showed up. I clicked on my checking account first. $79. That was right about where I thought it would be. I excited the screen and clicked on the savings icon. What the hell? I blinked and rubbed my eyes.

  $3,252,101.75 was staring back at me on the screen. I blinked and read the number on the screen again. Where the fuck did this money come from? I glanced over my shoulder, but no one seemed to be watching me. I quickly exited out of the screen and pulled my card out of the reader.

  Eli had said that the bank robbers had gotten away with a few million dollars. And that it was still missing. I think I may have just found it. I kept my head down as I exited the bank. I wasn't supposed to be attracting attention to myself. And I wasn't going to jail for a crime that I didn't commit. It felt like I was hyperventilating as I pulled my phone out of the pocket of my hoodie. I pressed on Mr. Crawford's name that I had put in my phone the other day.

  After two rings he answered the phone. "Sadie. What's wrong?" He sounded concerned.

  "I'm in trouble." I tried to steady my voice. God, what was happening? "There was this bank robbery the other day at Union Bank. They got away with a few million dollars and it's still unaccounted for..."

  "The bank is insured. You shouldn't be missing any money."

  "It's not that!" My voice sounded squeaky. Someone walking by me gave me a strange look. I ducked into an alley. "There's money in my account that isn't mine. They must have...I don't know. It's not mine. What am I supposed to do? They're going to think I was involved. It's over 3 million dollars." I had just gotten out of trouble. Bad luck seemed to follow me around like we were magnetized together.

  "Sadie, take a deep breath. I was trying to tell you this the other day, but you didn't want to listen. Your parents both had good life insurance policies. Really good ones, actually. The money was frozen until you turned 18 so it was put in your grandmother's trust until you were of age. Your parents left you everything they owned. Your grandmother also left everything to you. So with both their estates and the life insurance policies, there was quite a bit of money left for you. It was just recently unfrozen."

  "My parents weren't millionaires." There hadn't been anything fancy about my house growing up. It was just a normal neighborhood. "And my grandmother certainly wasn't a millionaire. She lived in a ranch house in the middle of nowhere and hoarded old newspaper clippings."

  Mr. Crawford laughed. "You'd be surprised by the way some people with a lot of money live."

  "There has to be some kind of mistake."

  "There is no mistake, Sadie. Your parents and grandmother left you with enough money to be set for a long time. And your college is already paid for. There was a portion of the money that was designated for higher education, so we put that in a separate account and we'll take care of the payments. Everything in your account is yours to do with as you wish."

  "I don't want it." I wasn't sure what made me say that. Anyone would be thrilled to suddenly realize they were a millionaire. But I didn't want their money. I wanted them. All I wanted was one more day with them. "I don't need the money."

  "Sadie..."

  "I can't do this." I leaned my back against the brick wall. It felt like I was breaking. "I can't live like this. I can't..."

  "Take a deep breath. The first few weeks are going to be hard. Assuming your new identity is going to be challenging. But it's for your own safety, Sadie."

  "That's not my name." I felt like I was spiraling downhill and I didn't know how to stop. I was gulping for air. I hated how stale it was here. Everything smelled like trash.

  "Sadie." His voice was stern this time. "We have used every possible resource to make you disappear. We need to make sure it stays that way."

  "I didn't ask you to do that. I just asked for your help."

  He cleared his throat. "Sadie, I have some news. At first I thought that was why you were calling."

  "What news?" But I knew what news. It had been in the back of my mind this whole time. They must have had the bail hearing for Don. I held my breath for one second. Please. Please let him still be behind bars.

  "The bail hearing was this morning."

  For two seconds.

  "It didn't go the way we wanted."

  For three seconds. I swallowed hard.

  "I recommended secured bail given the circumstances. He violated the foster care system's rules. He didn't use the money he was given from the state appropriately. The judge agreed. I thought everything was fine."

  For four seconds. It felt like I was choking.

  "The bail was set high, but he paid it. All of it. I don't even know where he got the money. I'm so sorry."

  For five seconds. I closed my eyes and let the tears stream down my cheeks.

  "Sadie? Are you still there?"

  "What other evidence did they need? They took pictures of the bruises. Of the scars. They had x-rays."

  "It's not about the evidence. The trial date will be set soon. In the meantime he has a no contact order. That's the best we could do. I'm sorry, Sadie."

  There was an awkward silence between us. He's sorry? He should be fucking sorry. He promised me he'd put him away. He promised.

  "He's free?" My voice came out as a whisper even though I was angry. This can't be happening.

  "We knew this was a possibility..."

  "You promised me. You promised if I told you everything that you'd put him away. He's going to kill me." God, he's going to kill me. I could feel his fingers around my neck again.

  "I need you to take a deep breath, okay? He has a no contact order and he's out on bail. He can't leave the state. He can't contact you in any way. He won't be bothering you. He doesn't even know where you are. We made sure of that."

  "Are you promising he won't be able to find me? Like you promised he'd go to prison and stay in prison?"

  "Sadie, we said we'd do everything we could, and..."

  "No, you promised you'd put him away. You promised."

  "We tried." His voice was softer this time. "We tried everything we could. And we'll do our best at the trial. This isn't over."

  Tried and failed. "I don't want to live like this. I can't live like this..."

  "Sadie, you need to get a hold of yourself. You are safe. I can assure you..."

  "It's not just my safety! I want to be able to tell people the truth. There was nothing in the folder about how to explain the scars away. What am I supposed to say about that? How am I supposed to live a normal life like this?"

  "I never said it would be normal."

  I leaned back on the brick wall. He hadn't. I just wanted it to be.

  "You're allowed to create whatever past you want. Do you know how many people would kill for this opportunity?"

  I just want to be me.

  "But I am glad to hear you're hitting it off with someone. This process is easier if you have someone to lean on."

  "I never said I was hitting it off with someone."

  "If you're worried about someone seeing your scars..." his voice trailed off.

  I hoped he felt awkward about what he just said. He should have. Was he seriously trying to give me relationship advice? I didn't want to talk to him about Eli. Eli deserved so much more than whatever I could give him. He deserved someone honest. Someone good. Someone pure. I wiped away my angry tears.

  "Take another deep breath, Sadie."
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  I followed his instructions.

  "Does anyone suspect anything?"

  "No."

  "Good. Now, I really need you to only use this number if there is an emergency, okay?"

  I was pissed at him. I knew he could tell it too. I doubted I'd ever call him again. "Okay."

  "Is there anything else you need to verify while you have me on the line?"

  "No."

  "Then put the smile back on your face and keep blending in. Be a normal college student. This is a blessing, not a curse. The sooner you can accept that, the better. Understand?"

  I nodded, even though I knew he couldn't see me. I was making him an enemy in my head and I didn't even know why. He was the only one who truly knew me anymore. He was the only one on my side. "Thank you for the books."

  He paused. "I shouldn't have encouraged you to hold on to the past. I'm sorry about that."

  "You didn't. You just reminded me that I should believe that there could be a better tomorrow."

  "Good luck, Sadie. And if all goes well, you'll never speak to me again."

  Why did he always dismiss me that way whenever we ended a conversation? Even though I was angry, I didn't really want to never speak to him again. I wanted someone to remember me for who I was if I wasn't allowed to anymore. "Thanks for everything, Mr. Crawford."

  The line went dead.

 
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