Page 51 of Claimed (For Her 3)

“Summer? Oh God, are you okay? What happened? Where are we?”

She moans and covers her face with her hands. “They took us.”

Suddenly images flash through my mind as the memories come back.

I went straight to my apartment and ran up the stairs as fast as I could. Just before I got to the door, I felt something hit me on the back of my head. Then I remember being dragged into the apartment, where there were two men, but I didn’t recognize them.

Part of it is still foggy, but I remember being put in the back of a van, and at some point, I fought. I remembered some of the things Paige had taught me from our self-defense classes, but I was too disoriented to do them right. After that, I remember a pinprick in my ass, and then I passed out.

The thought makes me want to throw up again.

“Are you okay, Summer? Did they hurt you?” I reach out and hold her hands in mine, trying to will us to be okay.

“Yeah, I’m okay. One of them hit me a few times.” She lifts her head, and I see a black eye already starting to form. “I’m so sorry, Jay. I didn’t know what to do. They came to the apartment saying you had something they wanted. They tore the place apart, but I had no clue what they were looking for.” Big tears roll down her cheeks, and she begins to shake. Panic is setting in.

“Shh. It’s okay. You did the right thing,” I say, pulling her into my arms and holding her while she cries. I feel my own tears run down my face as I try to comfort her.

One of us has to be strong, and I’ve been the one doing it my whole life. I can do it a little longer.

Looking around the room, I try to look for a way to get out. The space is about the size of my apartment, with no walls dividing it up. The only sources of light are the skylight in the roof and a bare bulb hanging down in the corner. There’s a cot over on the other side of the room, and it looks filthy. I see a door, but it’s hard to even call it that, because there’s no handle on this side of it. There’s a small window on it, but that’s covered with a board, so we can’t see out. For a moment I think about going over to it and trying to talk to whoever took us, but I’m not ready for that yet.

I can still feel my legs shaking, and I’m not sure I can walk on them.

“Who did this?” Summer asks, and I shake my head.

“I think I know, but I don’t understand why. They got what they wanted.”

“If you know who it is, it means you know their face. You could identify them.” She shivers harder than before, and I can see where her train of thought has gone.

“Hey. Don’t think like that. We’ll get out of here,” I say, and I hope that I’m not a liar. “I just need a few more minutes for whatever they gave me to wear off.”

I hold Summer close to me, letting my body heat help with her shock. It’s all I can do right now, but it’s something. I keep scanning the room, looking for weaknesses.

There’s a latch on the skylight, and I wonder how heavy it would be to push open. The ceiling isn’t super tall, and I look at the bed, judging the distance from the skylight to the frame if I stood it on its side. I’m no MacGyver, but desperate times means looking at all your options.

What would Jordan do? Oh God, just the thought of him is like a punch to the gut. How could I walk out of the building like that? Will he understand that I had no choice? That I had to save my sister?

I wasn’t prepared for what happened, but how could I have been? I just wanted to give them what they asked for and make sure she was safe. But saving her may have cost me the love of my life.

Will he forgive me for what I had to do? Will I make it back into his arms?

More tears leak down my cheek, and I’m trying to be strong. I’m trying my best to hold it together. For Summer. For Jordan. For myself.

I pull all the strength I have left in me and focus on Jordan. He will find me. He would walk through hell and back to get me. He’ll come for me, and when he does, I’ll be ready. I won’t curl up in the corner and cry. I’ll fight to stay alive.

“Just hang on a little longer,” I say to Summer. I kiss the top of her head and hold her close. “Everything is going to be okay.”

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