Frantic, I look around. He’s got me by the arm and is pulling me into the darkened hallway. I drag my feet.
This wasn’t how it was supposed to happen!
I look through the glass front of the office hoping to see Mark standing there. I wave my arms, pretending to lose balance, but all I can see is the light reflecting off the tiled floor of the outside world.
“I prefer to test subjects in the conference room,” Blake croons an explanation. “The chairs are more comfortable and the room more suited for learning all your skills.”
“Please, I—I need to slow down,” I say dragging my shoes against the carpet to force one to fall off. Thinking I can stop him long enough to retrieve it. The shoe heel finally snaps causing me to jostle as my other falls off.
“Leave them,” Blake instructs. It’s clear he’s in charge now. Where the hell is Mark? I’m in trouble here. “You won’t need shoes for what we’re going to do.”
“I’m, um, I’m not so sure—”
Either Blake doesn’t hear me or doesn’t care. He pushes me into the conference room and closes the door behind him. I’m trapped. I’m trapped in a room with a couch and big chairs and a table waist high and a man who thinks I’ve given him the right to do what he wants. My purse is gone, the folder is still hidden and I’m stuck in here with this troll. Beads of sweat pour from my forehead as I stand, shoeless, shaking in the center of the room.
Blake takes his hand and rubs the back of it across my cheek, tracing my lips with his finger. I bite my bottom lip and try to think of any plan that would stop this from happening.
“As I recall,” he drones, stepping back a foot. “You were here to beg me for your company. Isn’t that right, whore?”
“Yes,” I say, a look of disgust and anger crossing my red face. “I beg you to let me have Lynx back.”
“You’re not in the right position for begging, are you?” he asks as I look confused, then places his hand on my shoulder and presses downward. “Oh dear, are you desperate and dumb?”
I sink to my knees, the position placing my head right in front of his crotch. He leans forward, rubbing his pants against my face. I take a deep breath, a tear falling from my eye. Forgive me, Mark. Forgive me, Dad. Forgive me every professor, teacher, and friend. Forgive me for what I am about to have to do.
He puts his left hand behind my head, ready to pull me forward, his hand with a firm grip on my hair, knowing I can’t escape. His other hand snakes to his pants, slowly pushing his zipper down. I see the bulge inside his boxer shorts bounce and jerk as he exposes his c**k to me, my mouth only inches away.
I close my eyes as I feel the pressure from behind my head pulling me toward him. My mouth, full of bile and bitter regret, opens obediently. I wait for that first sour taste.
The whole room explodes into sound. A red light in the ceiling begins to circle round and round and the oppressive blaring of some kind of alarm shatters the air. Blake jumps back, his head practically spinning as he looks wildly around the room. He lets go of my hair and pushes me backwards running out into the hall.
The sound rings out so loudly I can feel my heart starting to beat with the rhythm of the alarm. My brain kicks into action. That’s what it is, some kind of alarm. I look up and see the sprinkler heads have popped down. Blake has about two more minutes and this whole office is going to get sprayed with water and fire retardant. This is my chance! I bolt out of the conference room.
The rotating red lights and harsh sounds disorient me momentarily and I realize I am running further into the office instead of to the exit. By the time I get my bearings and head the correct direction, Blake is coming back down the narrow hallway from his office. He sees me and starts to run, his fly still open and his shame hanging out for all to see.
“I changed my mind,” I call uselessly and take off toward the door and he tries to cut me off. I know if he catches me, it’s over. I skirt around a chair throwing it behind me, then hear it crash against the wall as he muscles it out of his way. He’s only a foot away from me, reaching out to grab me when I get to the glass door and open it.
Six security guards are running on the tile floor adding to the cacophony of the moment. I jump out between two of them and manage to break free from Blake’s reach as they accidentally push him backwards.
“Get her!” Blake spits venomously. “She did this!”
They turn and see me standing there breathless and lunge in my direction. Just then a loud whooshing sound draws everyone’s attention to the office where the water has started flowing from the ceiling.
“No. No. No no no no!” Blake stammers running back into the office. Half the men accompany him but the others are still running toward me. The sound of more footsteps running across the lobby rings out and before I can figure out which way to turn an arm reaches around my stomach and pulls me to the ground.
“Stop!” I kick backwards trying to harm my assailant.
“It’s me. It’s Mark,” he says in my ear loudly. He pulls me under a stairwell, embracing me as I shiver. “It’s me, it’s me, it’s me.”
I put my head on his shoulder and he lifts a finger to his lips to instruct me to be very quiet. We watch from under the stairs as the boots of firemen and shiny black shoes of security all rush into Sandstone Ventures. The few late-night workers from other offices begin walking down the stairs; we can hear them above us. Mark motions for me to get ready and as a group walks by, we fit in the pack. I’m trying desperately to walk as if I am wearing shoes, and Mark keeps his hand on my arm as if he is guiding a blind woman down the stairs.
We exit with the other occupants and quietly make our way to the parking lot.
“My purse!” I exclaim. “I left it in there. It’s in there with Blake. I don’t have any keys.”
Mark motions for me to keep my voice down and walks me to another vehicle, a worn down Chrysler that looks like it was just bought from one of those lots by the junkyard where they cover the car in paint and scrawl “Best Offer” on the window. He pulls a key out of his pocket, opens the passenger door and pushes me in.
“Where did you get this?” I ask, amazed.
“Robert Clank. He’s not just a bail bondsman, you know. He has all kinds of skills and connections. How do you think he keeps from losing money? One of his bounty hunters loaned me this. Bob also knows some great lock-pick and carjacking specialists. I’ll call and have him get someone to bring your car home this evening.