"Oh, my dear, we are our own worst critics. Trust me when I say that you have skill." Ivy's sudden pulling away wasn't unexpected, but Parry frowned nonetheless at the sudden reversal. The clock was quickly ticking and soon he would be helpless to stop anything that came their way.
"New York, Boston, Los Angeles, they might as well be whole other worlds. I get this way whenever I have a coffee, m'dear," he said with a coy smile. "And it's getting a bit chilly out for my tastes. Would you care to join me in gassing up at a local shop? Would you, would you?"
The idea that Mark would reveal something he knew was Ian's most devastating secret, that they'd talked about it on a number of occasions, that he'd betrayed that trust, was absolutely overpowering his feelings that arose at Mark's confidences in this woman might raise.
"He wouldn't have said anything," Ian said, taking a step back. "He never would have said anything. To anyone! He knew how much this- that I needed-"
Okay. Breathe. Breathe. You're okay. You're not on camera. There's nobody around to listen. Just this weird girl. Quit acting like a scared rabbit. Game face, Ian. Game face.
"I appreciate your... coming to the funeral. It was nice to see you cared about him too. But I need to go. Goodbye."
Without another word, Ian turned on his heel and ran off the rocks and into the thicket next to the beach, treading heavily through the leaves, oblivious to any movement above him or beside him. He was running, but as often happens, he was running from the wrong thing, toward the wrong thing. He'd run through these woods a hundred times as a kid and thought he knew every step by heart, how to round every tree and move over every rock.
Much to his surprise when he stepped over an old oak that the ground didn't hold up over his weight. Between one breath and the next, Ian fell ten feet onto his left leg, pain and surprise competing with shock as he found himself in what looked like a kind of rounded tunnel. And he got the definite sense he wasn't alone in there...