Page 53 of Claimed (For Her 3)

My sister and I are day and night, and there’s nothing wrong with that. We should accept each other, maybe even learn something from one another. Maybe I’ve been harder on her than I should have. We are both products of our raising. While I went one way, she went another, and I can see why someone would choose to go the way she did. It’s easier to fit in. To feel loved.

“If we get out of here—”

“When,” I correct her. I want her to stay positive. I don’t want her having a breakdown.

“When we get out of here, I want us to be closer. To not fight so much.”

“I want that, too,” I admit.

“I’m tired of bouncing around, and I don’t want to go back to Mom and Dad’s. I want a home.”

“Then you’ll stay here. We’ll come up with a plan for you.”

“See? You’re always looking out for me.” I hear her sniff. I’m guessing this has really shaken her up. Made her rethink some things.

“Try to get some sleep. When we get a little more light, I’m going to try to get us out of here.”

“I’ll try,” she says, and I start rubbing her arms again.

I keep looking up at the skylight. It’s too dark for me to see the latch. I wish the moon would at least come out so I’d have some kind of idea how to open it.

We have to get out of here. If something happens to me, I know Jordan won’t be able to take it. He’s lost enough in his life. He doesn’t need to lose more. A lump fills my throat. He’s probably losing his mind right now. I have a feeling if he gets me back in his arms, he’s never going to let me leave the house again. That thought makes me smile.

I never thought in all my life I would find someone like him. Someone who makes me feel like I’m coming home for the first time. Someone who takes care of me. We both have our odd habits, and we love those things about each other. He was made for me. I know it.

Time ticks by, and I don’t know how long we’ve been here, but it feels like an eternity. I let my time with Jordan run through my mind. The memories make me want to smile and cry all at once.

I must doze off at some point, because when I glance up again I can see a hint of light starting to show. We haven’t had anyone else come back to check on us, and the tray of gross food still sits by the door. I assumed it was probably drugged, and I’m not hungry enough to eat it yet.

“Summer,” I whisper, giving her a little nudge.

“Hmm,” she says, sitting up.

I point up to the skylight. “See that latch? We have to get up there.”

Her eyes widen as she wakes up and nods. “Okay.” She stands up. I see a little more fight in her eyes, and I think maybe our talk helped.

“Okay. We’re going to move that bed over here, and I’m going to stand on it, then lift you.”

“Maybe I should lift you. What if I can’t get the latch?”

“You’re smaller than me. It will be easier to pick you up. Plus, you do all that yoga stuff. You’ve got more muscle tone than me and can probably pull yourself up. No way can I do that.”

“Okay.” She walks over to the bed with me.

“We have to pick it up. We can’t drag it. It’ll be too loud on the concrete floor.”

She nods and goes to the other side of me, and I gesture for us to both lift. It’s heavy, but not impossible to move. We have to go slow, but soon we get it right under the latch.

“Now. When you get up there, slide it open, okay? And be as quiet as you can.”

“All right.”

I reach out and put my hand on her shoulder. “Summer, I want you to climb through and go. Do you understand me? I don’t think you’ll be able to pull me up, and we aren’t wasting time trying. I don’t know how much longer we’ll have before someone comes back.”

“I’m not leaving you.” Her eyes search mine and begin to fill with tears.

“Yes, you are. You’re going to run as fast as you can and you’re going to get help.”

“But—”

“You’re not leaving me. You’re saving us,” I tell her. Suddenly she’s grabbing me and pulling me into a tight hug. “You can do this. I know you can.”

She takes a deep breath and pulls back to look at me. “Okay, let’s do this.”

I climb up on the bed, putting my feet on either side of the bed frame for support. She climbs up with me, and I hold my hands out like a cheerleader would to give a lift.

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