Shades of Grey
Part 16

Toby paused in the outer office, searching desperately for an escape route. He was well aware that Charlie and Mrs. Landingham were watching him. It was a good thing they didn't say anything. He would have told them to shut up.

He started toward the hallway. Too many voices. Too many people. He needed to be alone. He needed...

He chose the nearest room. His body slammed into the door before his wrist could turn the doorknob. God damn it! Open! With a violent twist, he managed to get it open. Toby plunged into the darkness of the Mural Room.

Heaving for breath, he searched the nearby area for something to throw. It didn't matter what. He grabbed the nearest object and pulled back-

"Toby!"

The shriek startled him. He turned and saw CJ in the doorway. What the hell did she want? Her eyes were wide and she was gripping the edges of the doorframe as if to hold herself up.

Panting, Toby glanced at the item in his hand. It was a vase. An expensive looking one at that. Probably some priceless gift from a foreign diplomat. With what was left of his reserve, Toby put the vase down.

"Get out of here, CJ."

"Toby-"

"I said get out!" He didn't mean to shout. Yes he did. Didn't she understand? Didn't she know? Sam was dead! Sam was...

Oh my God...Sam's dead.

No.

There was a pain in his chest that took his breath away. His legs wobbled. He managed to make it to the ornate sofa before they gave out on him entirely.

No. It wasn't true. It couldn't possibly...

Sam.

The gunshot still echoed in his ears. Horrible images assaulted his mind.

No. No, no, no, no, no.

He pressed the heels of his hands to his temples, willing the images away. He didn't want to remember Sam that way.

He didn't want to have to remember Sam. He shouldn't have to. Sam should be there. Sam would be there if he hadn't let him go to lunch-

My fault.

Sam hadn't wanted to go. He had been searching for a way out. He'd given Toby the SOS, but Toby had thought it would be funny...

Funny.

Funny how things happen...

My fault.

A spasm of breath jerked his body.

There was a click from the door. Toby lowered his hands and looked over his shoulder. CJ was still there. She had closed the door and was leaning against it. He hated the way she was looking at him. Get out, CJ.

"Toby." Was she moving closer? He couldn't really see her any more. Just a blur.

"Sam's dead..."

"Toby, we don't know that-"

"He didn't want to go." My fault.

"Toby..."

"I bought this bell...thought it would be funny..." Funny how things happen.

Sam's dead.

He turned his back on CJ as the first tear fell. He didn't want her there. He didn't want her to see.

The sofa gave a small creak as she sat beside him, not too close.

"Toby, you have to let it out. It's okay. I'm here."

I don't want you here...I just...Oh God.

Toby covered his face with his hands and cried.

Shades of Grey - 17

 

 

 

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