Kemp sighed with relief as soon as his brother left the bedroom. He’d known the question about Owen would come sooner or later and he’d carefully prepared his answer. He wasn’t still pining after Owen. He’d never been pining because he knew that sooner or later he would figure out a way to go back and find him. And when he’d said that it had been fun while it lasted that was the absolute truth even though he knew that Leif had taken it differently than he had meant it. As for the rest, it was quite possible that Rikard had taken Owen somewhere away from New Orleans, but that didn’t mean that Kemp couldn’t find him. “I’m resourceful if nothing else,” he murmured as he got ready to go shopping with Leif, “And patient.”
He practiced patience for another month, doing nothing that would set off his brother’s radar. He went out at night, sometimes with one friend or another that he’d had before he’d left for New Orleans, sometimes alone while he hunted for his enemies.
And all the time he was doing that he was making plans. He had money this time, from the job he’d had in New Orleans. Not a fortune by any means but enough that he could make his way back there without having to trade sex for rides. He had vowed from the moment he’d met Owen that he would never again use his body in that way. Of course he hadn’t foreseen what would happen after that fateful night but he intended to keep his vow nonetheless. He also had his fake ID back. It had taken a while to find where his brother had stashed it, and in point of fact he was a bit surprised but very glad that Leif had kept it.
The trick was going to be getting far enough away from the house and the city that his brother couldn’t catch up with him once he realized that he was gone. And then to stay hidden once he got to New Orleans—because his brother wasn’t a fool, he’d know that was where he was going.
First things first though. He looked around the room that had been his for the last year. Everything appeared as it usually did, he’d made certain of that. The only thing out of place was the backpack sitting on his bed, crammed almost to overflowing with what he was taking with him. During the last couple of days he’d hit the thrift shops for new clothes and the drug store for a toothbrush and the rest of the grooming items he’d need. He knew that he couldn’t take what he already owned with him as that would immediately clue Leif in that he had fled.
As the first rays of sunlight slipped through the window he hefted the pack onto his shoulder and slipped out of his bedroom. Leif should be dead to the world by now but Kemp was taking no chances as he tiptoed down the hall to the stairs.
He was out of the house a few minutes later, having stopped in the kitchen just long enough to toss together a couple of sandwiches and grab some bottled water.
An hour later he was at the on-ramp to I-90 keeping an eye out for cops as he stuck out his thumb to hitch a ride.