Leaving a doctor’s appointment, where the mom-to-be was given a clean-bill of health and they’d gotten to hear the baby’s heart beat again, which was always exciting for Henry who could never feel as connected to the child as Ana, he noticed a dark sedan following their car home. He didn’t even know why he noticed the car. He had stopped looking for the feds a year ago. But, for some reason, he saw the car making the same turns and kept watching, his heart rate increasing with each followed movement as the car followed them onto their street. As he turned into the driveway, Ana, who had been daydreaming while looking out her window, noticed that he was agitated.
Hendry didn’t immediately answer. The car didn’t stop behind them but continued on down the street and then turned at the end to head deeper into their little slice of suburbia.
“Nothing,” Henry said and breathed a sigh of relief.
Ana looked startled. “What did you think was wrong?”
“I was just being paranoid. I thought a car was following us home from the doctor’s office but it didn’t stop behind us.”
Ana craned her head to look back onto the street and see if she could glimpse the vehicle but it had already turned out of sight. “What did it look like? Did you get a look at its license plate? Did the rear plate have tags?”
Henry held up his hands defensively, “Hey! Everything is okay. It was nothing.”
“You don’t know that!”
It was true. He didn’t. He didn’t want her getting upset over this. It was getting closer to baby time and she needed to keep her own blood pressure under control. He reached out for her and pulled her hand into his own. “I did get the license plate. I’ll write it down and put it on the fridge so we can be on the lookout for it. And I’ll put the make, model and color of the car too. I was being paranoid and I’m sure it was just a relative or a friend or something like that going to visit someone and it was a total coincidence that they happened to be behind us as we drove home. But, I’m still me, so of course I noticed all those details.”
She seemed relieved. “Good.”
He smiled at her and a moment later she smiled back, while one hand absentmindedly rubbed her belly. She had been doing that more and more. It was endearing and he couldn’t help but lean over and kiss her cheek.
She pushed him away playfully and got out of the car. Henry exited as well and hurried his steps to get the front door. When he turned around after unlocking the deadbolt he saw that she hadn’t followed him all the way to the door. Her gaze lingered at the end of the street where the car had disappeared. Worried that vehicle had turned around he practically ran to stand next to her. There was nothing there, though.
“Come on, I’ll make you dinner.”
“You better. And massage my feet, too. And put on my favorite music and movie and read me a book and…”
Henry laughed and let her ramble on for a bit. That she could so quickly get back into her normal joking banter meant that she wasn’t as worried about the car as she had seemed. That was good. He had just been paranoid and there was no reason she needed to worry needlessly.
Ana drifted into the home and Henry reengaged the deadbolt behind them. Not for the first time he wondered if they should look into moving. The place was plenty big enough for their growing family but moving would mean that they could completely walk away from the system. They could abandon the car and look into renting a place of their own somewhere else. It would be tricky because even renters had to have their background checks run for most places and that would create a public record that the system could find and use to track them down. But, there were ways around that. And renting would create far less of a paper trail than owning.
“Where’s my dinner?” Ana called from the living room.
Laughing, Henry went to the kitchen and promptly forgot all about the car and his concerns about the feds and the system tracking them down while he meticulously crafted a gourmet meal for his beloved. They dined and laughed the night away, talking only of the future and the possibilities to come. Then later, as the day waned towards morning and Ana slumbered peacefully next to him, Henry woke with a start and stared into the darkness. Headlights splashed against the ceiling and the muffled rumble of a car filled the silence before both sound and light faded away.
He carefully got out of bed so as to not disturb Ana and then Henry went to the window and peeked through the blinds. The car that had followed them was parked across the street. Two shadowy figures sat in the front seats. The glow of equipment pulsed against their nearly invisible faces.
They’d been given two years of relative peace but now it seemed that Henry and Ana would have to start running again or figure out how to fight back. Who would they be fighting though? Had the feds found them? Why weren’t they knocking on the door with warrants and handcuffs? Was the system just trying to keep tabs on them since they were no longer connected? Was this something else entirely? Was he just being paranoid?
The glowing light clicked off and the two figures in the car disappeared into darkness. Henry backed away from the window, unsure what he should do next.