In my mind, I feel like some Russian prick is watching us, lifting his automatic rifle to aim it at us as he gets an order to shoot.

Pulling out onto a main road, I say to Andrew, “I need a new car and I need it fast. This one will be tracked, I’m willing to bet my life on it.”

“Got it. Will have a rolling trade-off set up. Leave the city going west.”

“Roger,” I say as I lean over to pull the hood off of Beth’s head.

She looks around with a mixture of hope and fear, then we pass under an overhead light.

She looks at me and then her eyes widen in fear. Fuck, my disguise is working too well.

“Beth, it’s me. It’s Johnathan.”

9

Beth

I stare hard at the face that looks somewhat familiar to me. His hair is shorter, his eyes are a different color, and his skin is caked in makeup.

Reaching up, I yank the tape covering my mouth off, wince from the pain, then I blurt out, “What the fuck? What the actual fuck, Johnathan?”

Did this asshole really just buy me?

“Hold that thought,” he rumbles at me, and then the car takes a sharp turn to the left. I have to reach out and grab onto the door handle to keep myself upright.

His eyes slide up and lock on the rearview mirror. He stares hard at the mirror as if he thinks someone is following us, and I stare at him.

A million thoughts run through my head. “Why did you—“

“Yeah, I see him,” he murmurs and, it takes me a second to realize he’s not talking to me.

“Roger that.”

We take another sharp turn, this time to the right, and then we burst forward as he guns the gas.

My heart starts to quicken with excitement as we make turn after turn. The way he’s driving, the way he’s talking to someone I can’t see… is this a rescue mission? It has to be.

I take a new, longer look at him, and really burn him into my eyes. He’s dressed in a dark, expensive suit and he looks almost civilized now with his beard trimmed.

Somehow, someway, my father must know him and hired him. Or maybe he knows Sophia’s father. Or even Lindsey’s…

Lindsey, shit.

Gripping the door handle tightly, an image of her lying in a pool of blood flashes through my head.

“ETA two minutes,” Johnathan murmurs, pulling me out of the memory.

Glancing over to my window, I take in the night sky and all the glittering lights of the city. It looks like life has gone on as normal while my friends and I were trapped in our own little version of hell.

How long was I held in that little room? How many nights have passed since we were grabbed? It felt like an eternity, but I bet only a couple of nights have passed.

A little whimper comes from the backseat, sending a chill down my spine, and I immediately twist around in my seat.

“Jesus,” I breathe out when I spot a little kid with a black bag over their head.

They’re curled up in the corner between the seat and the door. They must be the little one I sensed holding on to me when we were lead out to Johnathan.

I glance over at Johnathan but his eyes are still focused on the road.

Is he rescuing this kid too? He better be because if he’s not, I am.

The little one whimpers again and my heart squeezes in sympathy for them.

“Hey, it’s going to be okay,” I quietly try to reassure them.

The car begins to slow before coming to a complete stop. I turn back around to see what’s going on. It looks like we’re parking in a dark, empty parking lot.

“Yeah, we’re at the first rendezvous,” Johnathan says, and then looks over to me.

Something dark flashes in his eyes and the air seems to thicken as he stares at me. There’s something in the way he’s looking at me, something almost… possessive in his eyes.

This is a rescue mission, yes? Yet, if he’s my hero, why is he looking at me like he’s the villain?

He starts to reach for me and instinctively I shrink away. I freeze up as I press against the door and watch him like a hawk as he reaches down to my lap. I watch his eyes drop, lingering on my legs, the tips of his huge fingers hovering above them.

Then he suddenly seems to snap out of whatever trance he’s in and unbuckles my seatbelt.

“Beth, get out of the car,” he says, his voice so husky and thick he has to clear his throat from it.

Not needing to be told twice, I reach over, yank hard on the handle of the door, and push it open. Stepping outside, the cool night breeze hits me and causes the flimsy little gown I’m wearing to flutter around me.

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