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by Sophia Vanguard about a month ago in fiction

By: Sophia Vanguard

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By: Sophia Vanguard

Chapter 1: Pre-Grad

“So…here it is. Our big day……Geez. What are we gonna do?” Chase said as he plopped down with his face cupped in his hands all frustrated. Just sad. That was a ridiculous question, and Chase knew it. Of course, none of us had any idea what we were doing after high school. “What the hell?! What has gotten into you? You’re never like this.” I said with an extreme attitude. Deep down I was scared, and I did NOT want to face the real world. I knew nothing. None of us did. Most won’t admit that. “Yeah, like never.” I loved Lexi’s little stupid remarks. Most of the time. She was such a prep hidden behind a shy persona. The only people who knew her truly were Chase and I. She is kinda a loner…. we all are. “Guys, relax! We don’t have to think of this right now. Graduation is tonight. Our future is tomorrow. Let’s take it one day at a time. Please. Lex, What about this one?” Not even one second after that question, and there she went again with her silly little remarks. Always so quick to respond. “Well I don’t know. I can’t see it.” I was taking one last glance in the mirror before stepping out to face their brutal comments. I knew they hated sequins, but I loved this dress. “Okay, smartass. I’m bracing myself. Sometimes you guys are harsher than Joan Rivers.” I said, rolling my eyes as I stepped out of the dressing room. “So…what do you guys think?” They couldn’t speak. That was rare. “Honestly…. I think I like it.” Lex quickly turned to Chase to see if he agreed but for some reason he was just staring at me. “Uhm…Hello? Earth to Chase!” She said, snapping her fingers in his face. “Gross. I get it, Chase. That dress shows off her curves very well. Hey, at least we know he’s not gay now.” Chase seemed annoyed. “Lex! That was horrible. Not to mention, the guy in the clothing department is gay. Be careful what you say Lex. For once.” Sometimes she seriously had no filter. She didn’t even have anything against gay people. Lex just blurts out what she wants to. “Whatever Lex. You’re just jealous you’re as straight as a corn stalk. You look stunning Chloe.” Lex rolled her eyes and slammed her back up against the chair, crossing her arms. Letting out one big sigh she said, “You HAVE to get that dress. Number one, it looks so good and makes your body bangin’. Number two, I’m getting real tired of Chase and this HAS to be the one hundredth dress you’ve tried on. Number three, the dress will send serious shock waves to the entire senior student body. Everyone suspects you to show up in leggings and a hoodie. You will be the talk of the town. Everyone will want you. Besides, if you have curves, you should flaunt them.” Lex said, shrugging her shoulders. I looked at Chase. His opinion was most important. He was a guy. “Yeah, it’s nice. I like it.” I was shocked. “I did not think you guys would like this. You guys hate sequins.” I said as I was reaching to find the price tag. Great. It was over my budget. Chase knew something was up with my expressions. Lex was too busy scrolling through memes. “What’s wrong? Is it over your budget?” Chase asked sincerely. “Of course, it is. Nothing can ever go right for me.” I was so disappointed. “Well you change and hand all of your dresses to me. I’m sure we can find something.” Yeah, yeah, yeah. Leggings and a t-shirt it is! “Yeah, I’m sure we can.” I said sarcastically. I went into the dressing room, got undressed, and threw the dresses over the top of the door so Chase could grab them. “Thanks Chase! Lex. You can go home if you want. We can just walk over to Brenda’s Closet. I know you’re tired. I won’t be mad.” I could feel her hesitating to answer not knowing what she wanted to do. She was so indecisive. “No, it’s okay. I want to make sure I ride with my besties to graduation. Besides, I don’t want to ride with mom to grad. She will ruin my whole night.” I got dressed and we started walking to the front of the store. “Boo!” Lex and I jumped and screamed in horror. It was Chase, of course. He was hiding in a rack of clothing. He always loved scaring us. “What, did you buy yourself a dress?” Lex said, looking down at the bag he was carrying. “No, I bought her dress.” He pointed to me. “Chase! You’re crazy! That was eighty-five dollars!” I was baffled. Chase smiled. “Calm down. I wanted to see you in something different for a change. Besides, you’ve helped me with so many essays this year during my dad’s fight with cancer. I owe you.” I almost forgot his dad had passed. “Chase, I did that to help. I never wanted anything in return…Thank you, though. That’s really sweet.” I couldn’t help but stare at his goofy smile and blue green eyes with lashes to make any girl jealous. “Gross! Hello? Still here! What? Are you guys going to become a thing now?” Chase and I snapped out of it and laughed the moment off and rolled our eyes. “So, I guess off to hair and makeup now? Lex, are we going to your place?” I asked. “What do you think? I’m the only one with makeup here. Actually, I take that back. I forgot about the makeup hidden in Chase’s closet he hides in” Lex said as she pushed him. Chase pushed her playfully back. “Shut up! Oh wait, you don’t know how to. Oooooooo!” Lexi and Chase were always joking around. They were like brother and sister. They were always making me laugh. “Okay, children. Let’s go.” I wanted out quickly. I could tell people were getting annoyed by us. I don’t blame them. On our ride home to Lexi’s place we stopped for some coffee. We were all exhausted already. It took us two hours to get ready. Chase played video games while we got ready, helping us whenever we needed help. He was such a good friend. “Okay. So where are we meeting our parents for pictures?” I asked. “Mom! Where are we getting our pics done?!” Lex yelled, piercing our ears. Candice popped into the room. “So we narrowed it down. We can take pics at Patterson Park, or we can take pics at the school in their garden.” All three of us had the most disgusted looks on our faces. “No thanks. No more of that school please. Let’s do the park. They have a way better garden and lots of cherry blossoms.” Lex said. “Okay, that’s fine. Just thought taking pics at the school would be more meaningful. What do you kids think? The park?” Candice was so nice. She just tried to control everything all the time. We nodded our heads and smiled. “Okay. Park it is. I will text them to meet us there. Lex, I will meet you there. Don’t be too late.” Candice pinched Lexi’s cheeks and walked out gracefully as always. “Sometimes…I think I have a glass doll as a mother. Scary.” We all laughed, Lex was right. Her Mom was so perfect and sweet. Lex was so fortunate to have a mother like her. I wish my Mom was more like Candice. “Let’s roll!” Lex said, swirling her right index finger in the air. We had to catch up. She had to be in control just like her mom. We went to the park and took pics. Of course, my Mom forgot to charge her phone and did not want to be in any of the pictures. At least she showed up. Probably because she wanted to fool Candice, Jeff and Amanda to make it seem like she cared. Unless she sorta cared. Once Dad left she was never the same. She gave up on life, and on me. She became a rock. No emotions.

Amanda couldn’t stop crying and saying how much Chase’s dad would have loved to be here. I felt for Amanda. Her and Chris were so in love. Chase really missed his dad. I missed him too. Chris was the dad I never had. “Okay, one last pic! You all squeeze in together. Chase, get in the middle. It will look so much better.” Candice ordered. Chase got in the middle of Lex and I. He put his left arm over her shoulder and his right arm around my waist, pulled me closer to him and squeezed. I blushed, and I was shocked. Weirdly, I liked it. My heart was pounding. Was I getting feelings for Chase after all this time? I was not expecting that. Lex looked over and scoffed. “Geez. Get a room.” She whispered to us. Chase fixed his arm and put it over my shoulder too. He was embarrassed. I wish he had kept it there around my waist. “Perfect! Okay. Well, that’s a wrap. Off to graduation!” Candice ran up to Lex and gave her a big hug and a kiss on the cheek. She then hugged all of us. Amanda came up to join in the hugging. Jeff even joined. I looked over to see if my Mom was going to join, but she was already headed to her car.

The hug lasted forever! Finally, Candice let go. “See you guys there! Good luck! Have fun, be safe and smile!” Candice said as she was headed to her car. Jeff followed like a lost puppy. He was not a man of many words, or emotions. That’s probably where Lex got her shyness from. Amanda looked up at Chase and put both hands softly on the sides of his face, and just gazed into his eyes speaking through them. Lex and I couldn’t help but to tear up. “Your father would have been so proud.” They gazed into each other's eyes and started to weep. Chase grabbed his mom and hugged her tightly as they wept. Chase looked over and mouthed “Meet you there.” As he nodded to Lexi’s car.

Lex and I waited for them and watched the sweet moment Chase and his mother shared. Chase walked up to the car, jumped in and sighed. “Okay, let’s do this.” Just like that, we were off to graduation. No words. No music. Lots of thinking. Lots of reminiscing. Lots of stomach turning.

Chapter 2: Graduation

Lex rolled up in her 2017 electric blue Chevrolet Malibu. As soon as we were climbing out, Jake and the jock block rushed in next to us in his fancy new expensive Hummer. He nearly ran into us. He only cared about himself and was always antagonizing everyone in his path. Chase, being already upset to begin with, pushed Jake up against his car when he got out, pulling on his nice shirt with both tightly closed fists. They were almost completely white. “What the hell man?! Are you trying to kill us or something? You almost ran into Chloe!” He yelled through his grinding teeth. Jake being the douche he glanced over at me and smiled grotesquely. “Sup Chloe? Looking nice.” Jake said as he nodded nonchalantly. I rolled my eyes. “Chase. Just walk away. He’s pathetic and so not worth your time.” I started walking off, grabbing Lexi’s arm, and swaying my hips to taunt him. No way would I ever let that jerk have me. Chase let go, giving him one last shove and followed along. As we were leaving to go into the waiting room I glanced behind and winked at Jake. I may have also given him the middle finger. Lex and Chase may have followed my example as well. No way we were going to let some spoiled jocks ruin our night. The expression on their faces was priceless.

As we walked in the three of us quickly found the nearest empty corner to wait in. Everyone was finally changing into their caps and gowns getting ready to walk. Everyone was giving us glances. Why were we so focused on tonight? No one paid any attention to us before. Chase was standing close to me. He was still shaking with anger. “You can calm down Chase. Just relax. We are graduating tonight. You should be excited.” Lex was trying to cheer him up instead of tearing him down. It was a rare, but beautiful moment. “You’re right. I’m sorry. not being here really is getting to me. I just….don’t understand why he went out like that. You know? He was in remission. All that fighting, and a drunk driver just gets to take his life like that? He wanted me to drive that night. If I did he would have lived.” He looked up, choking on his tears. Trying to hold them in. What could I possibly say? There were no words. What had happened was devastating. I hugged him and was rubbing his back to comfort him. He froze, I guess not expecting me to do so and he wrapped his arms around me and held me tight. My heart started to beat fast, his heart too. I could feel it. I could hear it. Lex joined in for the hug. I could feel him patting her back as he was sensationally rubbing mine with his thumb. My heart jolted. Just then we were all shoved. Our special moment had ended. Jake had run into us on purpose. “Get a room, losers!” All his friends laughed obnoxiously loud. We all chose to ignore it. We couldn’t feed into his douchery. Why was Chase being so loving to me all of a sudden? Couldn’t he have done that when I had a crush on him as a kid? Maybe it was the dress that was getting to him. He had never seen my curves like this. He probably thought that I was just chubby and trying to hide my body with all the baggy hoodies. I think that’s what everyone assumed. “That dress was totally a good choice. Do you see how many people are staring at you?” Lex said. I thought she was joking. I started to laugh. “Oh yeah. I bet. Not like it has to do with the fact that Jake just pushed us and we’re total weirdos.” My sarcasm was on fire tonight. I could tell I was nervous. “You’re beautiful. They were staring at you before sir-douche-a-lot bumped into us.” Chase said as I didn’t hesitate to blush. Lex gave me a questionable look. She picked up on his sweetness and on my inability to hide my emotions. “Okay, all students line up in alphabetical order and put your caps and gowns on. Good luck everyone, and don’t forget to smile.” Principal Huckabee was so full of excitement himself. Not. “Crap!” I said as I slammed my hands against my thighs. “I forgot Jake is right next to me.” Lex and Chase both patted me slowly on the shoulder. “That sucks. Gotta go!” Lex said as she hopped and rushed away. “Listen, if he does anything I’ll kill him. K? Don’t sweat it. Let’s get this over with.” With that said Chase and I got in line. It was time. I put on my tacky gold gown and hat. As we walked in to get seated I looked for my Mother. I found her. Sitting and scrolling on her phone. Luckily Candice was seated right next to her and bumped my Mom’s arm to grab her attention. She looked at me and gave me a fake smile. I gave one back. It was something. I couldn’t complain. We sat down, and I did my best to ignore Jake. He was sitting to the left of me. As I was paying attention to the choir singing I felt his hand land on my thigh. I quickly swiped it off. He did it again and the second time he grabbed and squeezed my leg. This time I slapped it away, giving him a dirty look and crossing my arms. I looked back at Chase to see if he had noticed. Chase did and he looked to be so angered. Just then Jake leaned closer to me, inches away from my lips. Smacking his gum in my face. “You know, if I knew you had that banging body I would have banged you that night at Matt's party.” I rolled my eyes and then crossed my legs and turned away from him. “But then again, you are a loser, so probably not.” He laughed snarkily after he had said those vial words to me and shrugged. I think he was just mad that some girl finally denied him. I chose to ignore his words. I had no time for his crap. I was not going to let him ruin this night. The time finally came. It was our turn to walk up to the side of the stage to receive our diplomas. I was so happy I made it up the steps without tripping. “Chloe Daniels.” As I took a step forward from behind the curtains and onto the stage, I felt Jake step on the back of my shoe and I fell flat onto my face. Great. I did a half push up and I looked out to the crowd and saw Chase running up. Here he came to my rescue. He jumped onto the stage. I don’t know how he jumped up there so quickly. I was too embarrassed to move myself. I don’t know what I would have done if Chase hadn’t stepped into action. I guess I had lost control of everything. The whole room was dizzy and the lights seemed blinding. I was like a deer in headlights. My ears were also ringing. Not to mention when I had fallen my dress and gown game up exposing my panties. Not the best day to finally wear a thong. A hot pink one for everyone to see at that. I made a loud skid noise too when I fell. Like the ones you hear on a basketball court. He then fixed my dress and my shoe strap that came loose from my heels. He then ran a few feet to get my cap, bring it back and put it on my head. He then carefully fixed my hair and looked back at Jake and then to me quizzically. I pursed my lips together and nodded, holding back tears. Chase snapped his head up to Jake, clenched his jaw and shook his head at him with his eyes wide. I had never seen Chase so angry before. I looked down as Chase held my arm and walked me over to get my diploma and off the stage. I looked up, not once. I was sobbing. Looks like Jake did manage to ruin my night. There was complete silence. That moment lasted forever and kept playing over and over again in my mind. Principal Huckabee then went ahead with the ceremony once he saw me seated. “Jake Delgato.” In complete silence Jake stepped onto the stage with both hands in the air as he walked to get his diploma. “WOOH! Yeah baby.” There was awkward applause everywhere. Although, you could hear his family and friends cheering him on. He had to be the biggest douche on planet Earth.

Chapter 3: After-Grad

As we were all proceeding out of the ceremony Lex and Chase quickly found me. I could barely breathe and I was still in shock. Staring into nothing the whole time and walking like a robot. Everything was red. They both locked arms with mine and took me to the outer crowd away from everyone. There Chase held me tight in his arms. I bursted out in tears. “You didn’t deserve that Chloe. He’ll be sorry. Just wait. He is going to wish he never did that.” He said as he grabbed a clump of my hair gently in his hand near my scalp, pressing me harder against his chest. I know I was mad but it soothed me a bit and made my heart flutter. Once my breathing slowed, and I was only shuddering, I looked up to him with tears in my eyes. He was staring into the distance but had looked down to me when he felt me lift off his chest. He moved his other hand down from my head and had a good grip around my back. I could tell his teeth were clenched. His face was red with anger and his eyes were bloodshot. Meanwhile Lex was rubbing my back. I laid my head back against his chest, Lex laid her head against my right shoulder and Chase rested his head on mine. Suddenly we heard screaming in the crowd. All three of us jolted our heads up to look where the yelling was coming from. Then I heard her and we all let go, breaking up another sweet moment. My Mother may be hard on me and not very loving, but if you mess with her child she will come after you. Although, I didn’t expect her to do so at our graduation. “How dare you! I saw you from behind the curtain. You ever hurt my child again or pull a stunt like that your ass is grass! You hear me?!? And what are you looking at? You should have raised your kid instead of placing him in the zoo. He’s an animal! You should train him!” We all three were trying to hold our laughter in as she was yelling. All of a sudden the crowd parted and there she was, storming out of it and shaking her head. All eyes were on her and she stormed past. Jake and his family looked dumbfounded. She rushed over to me and held me tight. Is this what Motherly love is? If so, this is nice. Or was it just a public display to her? Not long after, Chases’ mother came over along with Lex’s mom and dad. They all hugged me and told me how sorry they were about the stunt Jake pulled. We all took pics together. Chases’ arm was wrapped around my waist again. I could feel my heart flutter again. Why was he being like this with me? My Mom then surprisingly asked, “Candice, do you mind taking a picture of Chloe and I?” Candice smiled and put her hand over her heart and tilted her head. “Of course I wouldn’t. Go ahead!” She was such a pure soul. Our pictures were formal. She didn’t even touch me, but this was nice. We rarely took pictures together. “Oh! I have a good idea! Why don’t you two hug and I will take a picture of it. Let’s catch a tender moment! Come on, go ahead! Don’t be shy. Loosen up a little.” Candace said as she did some shoulder rolls. My Mother hesitated but then she decided to go with it. Candace snapped the pic and then came over to show us. It was perfect. This would end up being my most favorite picture ever. Mom pulled her jacket down in the front, tugging on the bottom hems. She cleared her throat and said, “Why don’t we all meet up at O’Charley’s? My treat.” They all looked at eachother. “Heck yeah!” Lex replied with both fists shaking in the air. The others looked hesitant but all decided to go. They were all very thankful. One thing about my Mother is she was always such a hard worker. She made sure everyone was taken care of. She had grown up poor on a farm. She made sure that we would never struggle. Even if that meant less time with us and more time working and going to school. Still, you had to admire her hard work and passion for her career. I could never be a forensic pathologist. I am a little woozy when it comes to death. “Chloe, are you riding with me or going with your friends?” I paused. I kind of wanted to go with Mom. It was a sentimental day. Sometimes she shares small special moments with me. It was rare though, as she never liked to wear her heart on her sleeve. Lex could tell I was hesitant. Knowing a little part of me wanted to, and needed to go with my mom. She knew our relationship was complicated. “Yeah! Chase and I will catch up with you later.” Lex grabbed Chase’s arm and dragged him to her car. Meanwhile Chase was looking back at all of us giving us the “she’s crazy” look. Lex snapped around and yelled “Say hi to Casper for me.” Mom and I looked at each other and snickered. It was an inside joke because I was always afraid of ghosts, being that my Mom worked with the dead. I thought the ghosts followed her. Mom showed me the movie Casper when I was younger and incorporated that into my life. Although deep within me I knew there were still sinister spirits. Not fooling me, Mom! “Well I guess we’ll meet you guys there.” I said to everyone and we said our very short farewells. On the way to O’charley’s Mom cut her 80’s music on Warm 98.5 and cleared her throat. Oh no. Here comes something big. Mom looked at me puzzled with one eyebrow raised. “Are you not going to ask where your Dad is?” I sat back in my seat. “Wow. I forgot I had a Dad.” Mom took one big sigh. “Well, Jason called me an hour before graduation. He said that his car had a flat tire and he had been trying to get a ride. He said he could go if I could pick him up but the notice was so short I couldn’t. I’m sorry Chloe. If I went to get him they wouldn’t let either of us in. We for sure would have been late. I didn’t want to risk it. Both parents absent from your Graduation would have been tragic. I’m sorry he couldn’t make it.” I looked out the window trying to hold back more tears. “I guess I just figured he would somehow miss it anyways. Did he say why he was broke?” Mom gave me an “are you serious” look. “Right….as if he would admit it. I wish he would just drop the habit. What’s so fun about losing tons of money anyway? I wonder how much he has spent over the years.” Mom puffed up her cheeks and blew air out of her mouth as she shook her head. “Way more than he’s ever won.” I laughed. I loved my Dad and he taught me so many things. His habit has just consumed every part of his life now. Even his love for me I guess. “I am so proud of you Chloe. I was worried about those math classes but I am glad you passed. I know you are on the fence about college but we should really go over your options.” I just nodded. I had NO idea what I wanted to do in life. The only thing I had ever wanted was true love. Like the love Jack had for Rose, or the love The Phantom had for Christine, or Christian for Satine or even Prince Charming for Cinderella. Look, I could go on and on. I just wanted a fairytale. Something not real. Something out of this world. Something rare. I CRAVED true love. Maybe because most of my life I had lived without it. I am pretty sure I had never experienced true love before, and I wanted it. More than anything. We got out of the car and headed inside. Luckily we left graduation so fast that hopefully we were able to be seated before a crowd arrived. I ran up behind Chase and Lexi waiting in line and tickled their necks. Lexi jolted but Chase shivered. I looked away before he could glance back. “Hey! I know it was you.” I gasped and looked to the other side of me and nudged the air with my elbow. “Casper, you stinker! You can’t sneak up on people like that.” Chase fake laughed. “Yeah Casper, ya creep.” Lex chimed in. “Shoot! I forgot my phone. Be right back!” Mom and the parents were talking so I did what I always did. I just grabbed the keys from her jacket pocket. She wouldn’t notice. As I stepped back outside my nose began to burn and I smelled something almost like sulfur. Whenever this happened I always imagined it being something evil. I brushed it off and kept walking. Not today. I will not let fear control me. I had enough of it at graduation. To my right I saw a man smoking a cigarette out of the corner of my eye as I passed. Wow. I really need to stop letting my imagination get the best of me. I opened the passenger door and reached in the middle console to get my phone. As I was reaching I heard a car rush up and brakes squeal and then a door open. I heard the crunch of a shoe behind me and my body shot straight up. I trembled.

Chapter 4: Help

I woke up and sat up slowly in pain. My head was throbbing. Here I was sitting in the back of an unknown car with a few strangers. I remember hearing the car, the shoe and then feeling his hand wrap around my waist as he was grabbing me. I could feel the exact places he placed his hands on me while my body was shaking. He must have grabbed me hard. I don’t remember anything after. I Couldn’t bring myself to look up. All I could do was sit there, and tremble. I opened my mouth to yell but nothing came out. “Ace. Wake the hell up!” The driver said in a daunting voice. I jolted. The person to the right of me, I assumed the person who had grabbed me woke straight up and scooted closer to me with no hesitation. He grabbed my cheeks with his left hand real tight and turned my head to him, and with his right hand he put a knife to my throat. “You try anything, this blade is going to rip through your pretty, delicate skin. You hear?” I still could not move or speak. All I could do was tremble. “You hear?!?” As he said that his eyes got crazy and his spit went all over my face. All I could do was nod fast. He threw my face back as he let go. He only scooted over a bit, I guess to make sure I didn’t do anything. I immediately went back to the state I was in before. Just present and in disbelief. All I could do was listen and think about my Mom and friends, and how much my head hurt. Had they known I was taken? When did they notice? Are there people looking for me? Did anyone see what had happened? Was I going to die? Be raped? “How much longer?” The guy I was assuming who Ace was, asked the driver. “Just half an hour.” The driver replied. “Ay, Tommy, call Azos would ya?” Tommy replied, “Sure thing Boss. Are we gonna tell him about the state she’s in, or what?” Ace leaned forward and put his right hand on Tommy and shook him a little. “Hey man! I don’t know if that’s a good idea. We don’t know them. They warned us. I wouldn’t mention it.” Tommy started laughing, which did scare me a little bit. His laugh was sharp and frightening. Everything scared me right now. I had to listen though. Any clue would be helpful. I need to look at them. I need to at least glance for descriptions….if I ever make it out alive and escape. “Are you kiddin’??? Listen, I’m not the idiot who hit the doll face’s head on the car door. You have to be a big boy and own up to whatcha did.” Well….now I knew why my head hurt so bad. Ace slammed his back against the seat, making me jump. “Fuck!” He yelled, making me jump again with his shout. Ace threw his hands up and pleaded to “Boss”, shaking them up and down in the air. “Boss, can’t we just tie her up and scram?” Suddenly he slammed on the breaks and we halted. Boss snapped around and pointed his finger into Ace’s chest. I looked out the window quickly as I didn’t want any interaction with this “Boss” guy. We were in a heavily wooded area. It seemed a bit familiar but I couldn’t put my finger on it. “Listen here Ace. I promised the man I wouldn’t supply him with damaged goods. I’m not putting my ass on the line for your idiotic mistakes! You got that?!? Now. Do we have a problem?” I peeked to the right. Ace threw his hands up in the air and shook his head with his eyebrows raised. “Look if anything happens, take care of Jenny for me. Please.” Boss nodded, then backed off and began driving again. Tommy then began to dial a number. I tried to catch it but my eyes were blurry from the continual tears running down my face. I felt like I was going to throw up. I can’t believe this is real life. “Hey ‘Zos. This is Tommy. We’re 25 out but we have a little bit of a situation. Bozo over here knocked her head out as we were trying to get away….Aaaaah hold on. Let me check.” Tommy turned on a light in the car and reached over and grabbed my face twisting it back and forth. I winced, he gave Ace a look of disapproval, he turned back around and turned the light off. “You’re gonna need some equipment. It’s worse than we thought…...I know, I know. We shouldn’t have taken his word for it. I should have checked myself. That was my bad. Boss is driving here so he is focused on that…...Hah! Yeah. You’re right. I guess there’s two Bozo’s here.” Tommy said as he gave a fake chuckle. Now I was worried about my head. What did he mean by “worse than we thought”? “Yeah, yeah. I understand. Listen, Boss had nothing to do with it. Just us two Bozo’s. So if there’s a problem, It’s on us…….Uh, yeah. Sure thing” Tommy handed the phone to Boss. Boss turned his head and layed the phone against his shoulder, turning the music up a bit. I guess so the Bozo’s couldn’t hear the conversation. For a long time there was no reply. Then all we heard was, “I need a one on one before anything. We’re pulling up.” What was in store for me now? We turned right and started heading up a steep gravel road with trees all around. I could hear the crickets and frogs outside. There were so many fireflies flying around. It looked magical. It was so peaceful. Yet still, I trembled.

Chapter 5: A Change of Events

Boss turned to the Bozo’s and said, “Stay here. Keep it running. And keep her mouth shut.” He got out of the car and walked up the steps into this big log cabin in the woods. I looked around and there must have been at least five different vehicles, all blacked out. They looked very official and had weird special license plates. Strange. I didn’t recognize this symbol. Were they foreign? About five minutes later I heard, “Oh shit.” Ace said. We all looked over. Boss was walking towards the car with two other men. One on each side of him. They looked like the people from “Men In Black”. Boss put his right hand up as he was walking with them, suggesting that everything was alright and to calm down. They all stopped in front of the car and Boss was chatting with them. All of a sudden there was a “BANG, BANG” that startled us all. Boss ran to the vehicle and we peeled out. What the hell was going on? “Ay, Boss, what was that about?” Tommy asked. Boss looked at me through the rear view mirror and then back to the road. “We’ll talk later.” I glanced back and they were after us. Getting closer with each second. “Remind me to never work with people I don’t know, for any kind of money!” Boss was yelling and kept cursing as he was trying to get away. His face was so red and his veins were popping out of his forehead. “ACE! If you weren’t my nephew I woulda fed you to the wolves! This shit wouldn’t be happening right now if you knew WHAT THE FUCK YOU WERE DOING!!! You’re on cleanup duty, you hear me?!? YOU HEAR ME?!?” Ace threw his hands up and slammed his back against the back seat. I guess he was too scared of the Boss to say anything. “All the money we coulda had, all that money, just thrown out the FUCKIN’ window.” He was saying through his gritted teeth. My sore body kept banging against the car every twist and turn. I was holding on to the bar above my head for dear life. I looked back again and they were ganging up on us. Ace looked back too. “They’re close, Boss.” Just then I saw some deer in some headlights for a split second behind us and we heard a crash and tires squealing. All three men bursted out in laughter. “That’s the Grappo luck for ya.” Tommy said, slapping his hands on his legs in excitement, and rocking back and forth. These men were crazy. They for sure were gang members, and Boss was, well, the boss. He put his right hand out to Tommy. “Give me the phone.” The phone lit up and he spoke to it. “Call Georgeo.” He said laughing and rocking back and forth. “Ay Georgeo you would never fuckin’ beleive this. I gotta tell you later, but we are on our way back to base. Things went south…..Yeah, yeah I know. But when I tell you it’ll make sense. I’m pissed but happy we got outta there alive. NO THANKS TO ACE OVER HERE…..Maaaan I’ll tell you when we get there. See you in about an hour.” Great. It’s a good thing I didn’t eat or drink today. Well, good and bad. I was so hungry and thirsty. “So uh...what are we gonna to do with her?” Ace asked, pointing his thumb and head towards me. Boss looked in the rear view mirror again and kept glancing back and forth at me and the road. “Tommy, text Joe and tell him to have Lorian meet us there.” Tommy didn’t hesitate to pull up the phone and message the guy. I wonder who Lorian was. Is it weird I felt more comfort in knowing he was asking for a woman for help in this situation? Or should I be concerned? And why did they pick up a job to hand me over to someone? What did the other guys want with me? How much were they going to pay for me, and why? What will these guys do with me now? Who knows. All I know is I am scared for my life and what the future lies ahead.

Chapter 6: Awake

All the shaking and trembling must have knocked me out. When I opened my eyes I saw a ceiling in view. It was yellow and dingy with cobwebs in some spots. Everything smelled musty. The smell of cigarettes hit my nose like a train. I looked down to see a red, brown and green plaid blanket laying on top of me. I whipped it off of me as I sat up and looked around the room. I was in what looked like a small bedroom. Except it was equipped with a mini fridge and a microwave. On the walls there were pin up girls everywhere. There were three doors. One of them must lead out somewhere. No windows. I got up to open one of the doors and it was just a closet. I went over to the next door to open it and it was just a bathroom. Surprisingly clean. Just then I heard the other door swing open and as it did I jumped. I was too afraid to turn around. Then I heard the clicking of heels coming towards me. I spun around slowly. Before me was an older woman who looked in her early 40’s. She was very beautiful and you could tell she had some work done. Her hair was big, dark, curly, long and full. As she came closer to me I could smell her perfume. It smelled like cotton candy. She had a smirk going on. As she approached me she grabbed my face with her right hand on my chin, turning my head from side to side and examining me. “Turn.” She said as she swirled her finger in the air. I hesitated, confused as to what she was doing. “Turn. I need to get a good look at ya. I need to see where you’ll fit in. I’m on your side hun. Not gonna hurt ya. Spin. I need to get a good look.” Weird. But okay. I spun around slowly for her. She placed her hands on her hips and sighed. “Be right back. I got just the thing for ya.” She said as she popped her gum. She spun around and headed out the room. As she backed out she smiled and winked. As soon as she shut the door I didn’t hesitate to step towards it, but as I did I heard it lock. Great. So much for escaping. I sat on the bed waiting and looking around the room. I noticed a big box of condoms on the nightstand. My heart started racing and I started to panic….I hope they weren’t going to pimp me out. I’m a virgin. I’m saving myself for marriage. My mind kept racing and thinking of how I could fight off men trying to take advantage of me. It all made sense now. Just as I came to a conclusion on what was going to happen to me, the door was being unlocked and opened. A girl was brought in by Lorian. “This is Brenda. She’s been here a while. She’s going to guide you on being an escort. She’ll teach you everything you need to know. She’s a good girl. The best we have. I need you to bleach her hair. You take care of her, you hear?” She told Brenda with a pointed finger backing out the door. Once it was shut I turned to Brenda with the widest eyes. “I HAVE to get out of here.” I started bawling my eyes out and shaking. Surprisingly she grabbed me and pulled me to her chest. She was very motherly. She started stroking my hair. Once I was calmer I backed away. “How can I escape?” Brenda pressed her lips against each other and shook her head. “Many have tried but all have failed. They’re always watching. They have cameras, men standing around making sure nothing happens and also trained dogs. If you listen to them and you’re nice you’ll have a pretty easy time. Don’t try anything with them.” Brenda swiped her black wavy silky hair to the left of her face. Her whole left ear was gone. I gasped. “Worse could have happened. I’m their favorite girl though.” She leaned forward and whispered in my ear “I know tricks.” And pulled away again. I looked at her puzzled as she looked around the room. “You’ll only be in this nasty room for a few months. If you do well they will give you your own room. If you do extremely well they will even let you out of the room and into the club house to help. Better than being locked up all the time. It’s not so bad, you know? Don’t have to worry about bills or anything. Just have to worry about whether you're pleasing them.” She said as she was looking down. This woman must have been through so much. She was delusional. She laughed. “You probably think I’m crazy. I didn’t come from much….I had nothing. I ran away from my foster parents and ran into these guys in an alley. I was looking for somewhere safe to sleep. They took me. I started young….I was eleven. Still, this room was way better than what I had. I had already been through abuse. This life is easy for me. I fought back once, but it didn’t end well. Haven’t tried anything since. Took me two years before they trusted me again.” I couldn’t stop trembling. This poor woman….is this the life I will have to endure? Brenda laughed briefly, “Messed up as it is, they’ve kind of become my family.” Examining me she said, “You have a nice body. Probably the best here. They are going to eat you up. I’ll amp up my game so that maybe they’ll leave you alone some.” She tilted her head. “Have you ever done anything before?” Tears welled up in my eyes. I fell hard to my knees with my hands cuffed on my face. I started to whale. Brenda came down to me and started comforting me any way she could. She kept saying she was sorry. “Here, get up in bed. I’ll talk to Lorian for you. I’ll let her know you need training….it will give you some time. She’ll listen to me. I’m like her daughter. In a twisted way.” She helped me up in bed and tucked me in. “If you need anything just knock and ask for me.” She turned off the lights for me and knocked on the door. Someone opened it for her and then she left. I guess to speak to Lorian. No one is trying anything with me, at least for tonight….not much of a good thing to look forward to but I will take it. All the trauma made me so worn out I finally fell asleep. However I was woken up by some loud music and partying. I had no idea how long this had been going on. I looked over at the alarm clock. It was 3:46 AM. I started to hear some muffled voices at the door. I became worried. Just then the door popped open. My heart began racing and I pretended to be asleep. They pushed the door back closed gently and I heard it lock. I heard them taking off their belt……great. Here we go. I’m not ready. My heart sank. The belt fell hard to the floor. I felt the blanket come off of me and felt the bed sink as the person climbed in over top of me. I couldn’t open my eyes. I was too afraid. I was lying on my side but he grabbed my hips and roughly turned me on my back. I was lifeless but that didn’t stop him. He didn’t even undress me. Instead he moved my thong aside and ruined me. It hurt and it was painful. I started crying to myself trying not to make a sound. I don’t remember how long it lasted. I could only remember the pain. I also remembered he reeked of whiskey and cigars. For some reason they didn’t take the time to even use a condom. That was the least he could do. Once he was finished he got up and left quietly. Not a word. I got up, ran to the restroom and vomited. I quickly got undressed and into the shower. I slid to the floor of the bathtub and let the boiling hot water run on me. As I looked down I could see bright red blood flowing down out of me and into the drain. I’m ruined. I’m no longer the same girl. I am nothing but a sex slave. No more tears. Just emptiness. I couldn’t even feel the hot water anymore. Time passed and as I got tired I just turned off the shower. I lay there naked and fell asleep. I was cold and trembling, but no way was I getting into that blood soaked bed.

Chapter 7: The Next Day

I heard the thud of feet running over to me as I woke up. Brenda came over to me and felt me in a panic all over. “Oh my God. You are freezing! Here.” Brenda turned on the water again. The freezing water hit my body but still I did not move. “It will get warmer.” Brenda looked down and saw the blood. “No… God, I am so sorry. No one was supposed to come in here. Lorian promised me. Who was it? Do you know?” I shook my head slowly. Brenda looked out of the door and into the bedroom. She got up and found the belt that had been dropped. All of a sudden we heard Lorian’s voice. She jammed the belt under the mattress real quick as Lorian came in. Lorian stopped in her tracks examining the situation and shut the door slowly behind her. “What happened?” Brenda flung her arms up in the air and shrugged. “She didn’t even know who came in here.” Lorian sighed and walked towards me. She kneeled down and sat beside the tub. “Brenda, clean that mess up please. I’m going to freshen her up.” Lorian then began bathing me with the rag. My whole body was still numb and in shock. I didn’t even feel as she cleaned between my legs. “I understand that you’re in shock but you gotta get up. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for it to happen like this. I’m trying to keep you alive. They can’t just let you go. We can’t risk that. This is the next best thing. Brenda, are you done?” Brenda walked into the bathroom. “All done.” She replied. “Doll her up and then start the lessons. I’m going to find out who did this.” As Lorian left Brenda quickly ran to the mattress, rolled the belt up and placed it in her bra. She went to the dresser and grabbed something she brought in and ran over to me. “Here, dry up and put this on. I’ll be back.” As she left I got up slowly. I dried slowly. I did everything slowly. I can’t believe this is happening. I looked down at the clothes she gave me. Great. A slutty club outfit. How fitting. I slipped it on. Only because I didn’t want to be naked. No bra. But she did provide a thong. I’m guessing this is all she had. Brenda came in again this time with a bag. I’m sorry about the clothes. Believe it or not, it’s the most modest thing I own.” Brend got into her bag and started placing everything in it out onto the bed. She had stuff to bleach my hair, toner, hairdryer, brush, makeup, dvd’s, old perfume bottles, jewelry, body care items and extra clothes. She then grabbed the hairdryer and brush and started taking care of me. My legs were shaking so terribly she grabbed a chair and let me sit down. Brenda went to the door and banged on it. “What do you want?!” Someone replied. “We need water and crackers. Someone needs to stock the fridge and the snacks.” She waited a bit for a reply. “You got it…..doll face. Luca! Come watch the door.” Brenda spun around and headed back towards me. “Newbies.” She said as she rolled her eyes. She went straight back to taking care of me. As soon as she was done blow drying my hair she started to bleach it. “You have the thickest and shiniest hair ever. I wish mine were as long as yours.” She was sweet. I wish I could be nice back to her. Everything was drained from me though. After she was done and she let it process while we watched Jersey Shore she took me back to rinse my hair and tone it. She then blow dried it again and curled it. She grabbed my chair and pulled it facing the bed as she plopped on there. “May I see your face? I gotta know how to do your makeup.” I looked up slowly and lifeless. Brenda put her hand up to her heart and cocked her head and made a sad face. “Gosh you are so gorgeous. You have the greenest eyes! I’m SO sorry you’re here. You deserved a better life. You know, I bet you could have made it as a model.” Still, I was lifeless and unresponsive. “It’s alright if you don’t feel like talking, I get it.” Just then the guy that was guarding the door came in with the groceries. I snapped my head to the ground and hoped he wouldn’t look or talk to me. I could feel my head and body start shaking uncontrollably. “I can tell she’s uncomfortable. I’m just going to set this here and let you take care of it.” Brenda didn’t reply back to him. When he left she spoke to me again. “His name is Jayce. He’s a newbie too. He’s the sweetest one here, but he was watching the door last night. That’s why I am upset with him. He’s in love with me, you know? He brings me chocolates, flowers, clothes, jewelry, you name it! Sometimes he comes in just to see me. He won’t touch me unless I say he can. We’re kind of a thing, I guess? It’s strange though. He knows others are still using me. He says he wants to marry me and try to get me out of here, who knows though. Men are horrible creatures. Anyways, how do you like it?” She held up a mirror she pulled from her bag. I couldn’t even recognize myself. I looked like a pornstar. I looked good but dead inside. I put on a fake smile and nodded my head. “I’ll show you how to do it later. Right now I’m going to stick these DVD’s in. I’m going to stock everything in your room and put this all up. Everything I brought in you can have. It’s not too old of stuff. I conned Jayce to buy me all new stuff. Anyways, watch the DVD’s and we’ll get more hands on later and practice.” Great. Just what I needed. Perfect. Love this for me. I stared at the TV lifelessly and fearfully. These women are insane. How did they willingly live this lifestyle? I glanced over at Brenda. Maybe they had a rough past too. Brenda had put everything away and now she was placing crackers with cheese on a paper plate. She brought the plate over to me with bottled water. “You need to get some strength back.” Brenda went back over to the table with the microwave and snacks and grabbed a fudge round and some water and came to the bed and sat with me. “These are my favorite!” She said as she was watching the porn with me like it was nothing. Brenda let out a big sigh. “You know my first Foster parents were actually nice. They just gambled a lot. They got me all these princess books. All I could dream of was falling in love and having the perfect marriage and beautiful life. Shame how everything gets twisted by the evil in this world. Took me a long time to realize there was no such thing as a happy ending. They call them fairytales for a reason. Anyways, look at that girl. I wouldn’t do that there, see what I would do…..” She continued on but I hardly listened. Just stared at the television, not really watching. I heard music playing and some noise outside my door. They must have been partying again. I looked to the left of me at the time. It was 10:23 PM. I’m not sure how many videos she showed me. It all passed by so quickly. Now it was night. I looked to the right of me and Brenda was passed out. I shot up straight and turned to her. I started shaking her to wake her up. “Brenda, Brenda wake up…Brenda!” I must have startled her. She wiped her eyes, looked at the time and got up in a hurry. “Where are you going?” She started putting on her wedged heels. “I have to go, they will be wanting me.” She stopped, sat up and looked at me. “You know what? Maybe I can get Jayce in here and we can all practice together? You know, without really doing anything. That way you’re not alone, they aren’t looking for me, and you aren’t getting poked. What do you think?” I hesitated. I mean, any other option was worse. I doubted they would leave me alone. “Yeah, okay.” Brenda got up and knocked on the door. “It’s Brenda. Let me out. I need to speak to Jayce.” The door opened and she slipped through. My nerves started going. I got up, went to the restroom and came back in. I picked up our trash and threw it into the garbage can. Brenda came in along with whom I presumed to be Jayce. Jayce was an average height scrawny redhead with a short beard. He had kind eyes and a gold front tooth. He shyly waved hi. “Chloe, this is Jayce. Jayce, Chloe.” He nodded his head awkwardly with his hands in his pocket. He raised one hand out to me with one still in his pocket. “I’m not going to hurt you or do anything to you that you don’t want me to.” He looked over to Brenda and placed his hand over his heart, “Brenda stole my heart. There’s no room for anyone else.” The rest of the night until we went to sleep around 3:09 am, they went over positions and tips. They did most of it and showed me. A few times they had me try. I kept my clothes on and he kept his clothes on. It was awkward but I made it through. As I woke up I looked over only to see Brenda and Jayce being intimate in the sleeping bag they brought over. I looked over at the clock. It was 12:00 pm. I was so tired I fell back asleep again. I woke up to someone sitting with me on my bed. I opened my eyes. It was Lorian. I sat up quickly. “I heard you did good. Brenda and Jayce told me you were a pro. That’s great… for what’s next, I’ll only be sending newbies in for the first two weeks. They are a little less rough. Now, I have to tell you our rules for you and our guys. There’s no hurting anyone, no escaping, always have to use protection and only one man allowed per night. I made that last rule. If I hadn’t there would be endless men each night. Men are gross. They would stick their penis in anything. Trust me, I caught one of these guys with our goat.” My mouth dropped and I had a look of disgust. “Don’t worry, they took care of that guy. He didn’t last long here. If you have any problems just reach out to Brenda or me. Luca and Jayce are going to be guarding your door. Mostly for your safety. They wouldn’t tell me who snuck into your room the other night, all I know is they were threatened but the guy was taken care of…..alright, that’s it! Gotta go run the shop back home. I’ll check back in on you. See you next week after the next eight hour trip!” She grunted and rolled her eyes as she left. I checked out the Jean jacket she was wearing. It had a symbol on it. The same one on that belt Brenda picked up. It was a skull with roses and two revolvers with a widow spider. Definitely some sort of gang.

Chapter 8: Stomach Knots

Here we go. I hear the music. I hear the pool balls banging thunderously against the table. I felt sick. I felt sick waiting for what I knew was going to happen. I wish they gave me something to numb the pain and knock me out. Heck, I’d drink straight vodka. I figured it would hopefully at least be a few hours after they had their night of drinking. I thought too soon. A few seconds after being so hopeful I heard the talking at the door. I could vaguely hear them. “Come on man! He said. It’s fair game!” Nice….that is exactly what I am. A game. Sooner than I knew it the door swung open. Everything went black. All I remember is me sitting up in bed frightened and him getting into the bed. He grabbed my hips hard and turned me around quickly. He rushed to get his belt off and placed it on the nightstand and grabbed a condom. I don’t remember much after. I don’t know how long it lasted. I just knew it happened. As soon as he was done he went to the restroom and left. I bawled my eyes out, stuck bent over in the same position he left me in. I finally plopped to my left side and lost it. This is my life forever now. I opened my eyes for a split second and saw the belt in the dark. My tears stopped. I knew what I had to do. I got up quickly and grabbed the belt with the intent to fasten it around my neck. I couldn’t endure this for the rest of my life. As I grabbed the belt quickly off the table something fell hard to the floor. I then saw something light up the room. No way! I quickly glanced. The idiot left his phone. With my hands shaking I quickly dialed Chase’s number. I heard talking at the door. As it was ringing I put the belt back on the table and laid down with blankets over me. “Chloe!?” I had no time to explain everything. Whispering, I said frantically, “It’s me. I’m in danger. I don’t know where I’m a-''Listen to me Chloe, just stay on for a few more seconds so we can get the location.” I heard them talking still and then the door jiggled. “I have to go. They’re coming in. Don’t call back.” Luckily they were now arguing. Still shaking I deleted the call in the call log, I wiped the screen and then placed it back by his belt and pretended to sleep. Just as I laid my head down someone came in. Someone with heavier boots. They stopped for a while in front of my bed (I’m guessing to make sure I was asleep), and picked up the things on the nightstand. I opened my right eye just a little because I noticed a flash of light. He was checking the phone. As he went out the door I heard him saying, “You got lucky.” No, I got lucky. Hopefully it was enough time to track me. I wonder who was helping find me. Maybe there is hope.

A few months went by. I was still in the same room. I hadn’t been out yet. Jayce and Brenda would check in on me and get me what I needed. And sometimes more. Lorian would travel back here every weekend and check on me. For a while Brenda got Jayce to bring me my fav snacks. She stopped though because I was gaining weight and Lorian complained. I stopped getting so sick all the time too. The stomach knots weren’t as bad. It became normal. Sad. Brenda came in again this morning to check on me. “How are you feeling?” I told her what I always did. “I’m alive.” She plopped the bag on the table and started to get everything out. She was organizing and putting the things away while Jayce sat on the chair at the vanity and watched tv. I got up to help her. “Just put my stuff to the side.” As I was digging in the bag I grabbed a box to pull it out. When I saw what it was I just stared at it. No…...Brenda gasped and looked up at me. “Is that even possible?” She asked. I backed up to the bed and plopped down. Brenda came over and kneeled in front of me. “What’s going on?” Jayce asked and walked up to us. Brenda looked back at me. “Has everyone worn a condom?” I sat there with tears filling up my eyes. I shook my head slowly. As they fell like weights onto my face I wiped them away. “The first night…” was all I could get out of me. I couldn’t speak. My stomach was in knots all over again and I ran to the restroom. Brenda followed and held my hair up as I puked into the toilet. “Shit...well I’ll go to the store and get some tests.” Brenda shot up to Jayce. “DON'T say anything.” There was silence. Jayce was looking at her puzzled. Brenda kept giving him a look. She mouthed “the belt” to him. I guess she thought I couldn’t read lips. He made a strange face and then looked over at me. Jayce leaned over to Brenda to whisper. I couldn’t hear. All I made out was “...want to keep…” I never thought about abortion. I know I wouldn’t want a child raised in this environment though. And why would they even allow that? “I’ll be back.” Jayce said but Brenda said nothing. She was even hesitant to hug him back.

Before we knew it he came back with the tests. I went to the bathroom and peed on the electric one and then the regular one. The answers were instant. I was pregnant. Two months pregnant. I cleaned up and went out to my room. I handed them to Brenda on the way to my bed and plopped onto it and layed down. Brenda and Jayce were whispering and fighting about something. I know whatever was going to happen it wouldn’t be my decision. Jayce started heading to the door and Brenda ran to him grabbing his arm. “ No, wait!” Jayce responded while looking at me. “I can’t, I’m sorry.” Brenda stomped her right foot on the ground while slamming her hands against her sides. She looked at me and then came over to the bed and sat down. “Okay. I have to bring you up to speed.” That belt I found and hit that morning was Garry’s. He’s the Boss. Lorian is his wife. She was never able to bear him a child and he always wanted to have a son to take over everything. Jayce believes if we terminate this child and Boss found out, we would all be killed. I’m sorry to tell you but that’s where we’re at now. He’s on his way to tell him. I don’t know what will happen next” I sat there. In emotional shock of everything I just heard. Brenda I guess could tell. She laid down with me and brushed my hair. We both fell asleep. Crack! The next thing we knew, Boss and two other men came in with Jayce. “C’mon,” Jayce said as he motioned Brenda to come with him. As they left she looked back at me and mouthed “I love you.” Boss looked around the room until he saw the tests and went over to see. He sat them down and smiled abruptly. He walked over to me and bent down. I sat up. “Now you listen to me and you answer honestly. Did anyone else have sex with you without using a condom?” I shook my head no. He sighed and looked over at the other two. “‘Zos we have to move her. Take some of the guys with you to the hideout. Take the new guy too. Whatever his name is. He can be the bitch so you guys don’t have to. Tommy….we gotta do what we talked about. Tommy and I will meet you guys when it’s over.” Boss looked back at me. I shivered. He grabbed my right hand with his and kissed it. It took everything in me not to make a face. “You’re going to be very well taken care of. This was my doing and I’m going to make it right.” I sat there and smiled a fake smile. What the hell was I doing? Boss and Tommy left the room. As they were leaving he pointed at Azos. “Don’t you let anyone touch her either. No more of that shit.” Azos had me gather up everything and he and others took me into this blacked out SUV. As I was surrounded by these “men” I was sickened to think how many had taken advantage of me. I’ll miss Brenda. I hoped to see her again.

Chapter 9: New Home

Great. Another mysterious location surrounded by “men”. Hopefully no one touches me anymore. At least there was a bright side. As we pulled into the drive and up to this other log cabin I noticed a few other cars. There were two men sitting on the porch. One of them I had met already. It was Ace. As I walked in I stared at no one. I just looked at the ground. Maybe they were tricking me and maybe they were just going to kill me? At this point I didn’t really care. They escorted me to a room. “This will be your room. We are everywhere, so don’t even think of trying to escape. If any men give you problems just let me know.” Azos left, but this time they didn’t lock me in my room. He didn’t even shut the door. I didn’t like it. I went over and shut it. I looked over to the things I packed. I didn’t even bother. I went straight to bed. I woke up later to the sound of shuffling outside the window leading to the back porch. I got up and peeked out the blinds. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was Boss and Tommy, dragging Lorian on a path into the woods. She was clearly dead. Her head was all bloodied. I could see the gunshot wound to her head. I heard a knock so I slid back into bed real quick and covered myself up and pretended to be asleep. They came in, set something down and turned the light on. I got up slowly, still covering myself back up with the blanket I sat up. As I gazed at the person I could not believe my eyes. I got up unaware of my body movement and started heading towards him. He put his hands up and backed up. He cleared his throat and glanced back real quick. “I’m just here to bring you your dinner. When you’re done you can just set it outside your door. Do you need anything else?” He glanced behind him again and turned back to me. He signed me to hush. I swallowed hard. I had so many questions. He cocked his head and signaled me to answer quickly. “No thanks.” I replied. And with that he slipped away. I ran to the door after he closed it and leaned up against it in disbelief. I could still see his face. It looked like it did at graduation after Jake had tripped me. It was angered, yet tears were welling up in his eyes. Which I could understand given my situation. How did he get in? I can’t believe he would put himself in this kind of danger for me. I just wanted to hug him and talk to him. Obviously that couldn’t happen. All I knew is there was hope. And there was also food. Good food this time. I took the steak, mashed potatoes and green beans and sat myself in bed. I devoured it all. I washed it down with the tea provided. I was starting to feel like myself again, kinda. I went to put the tray outside the door. As I opened it, there Boss was. I dropped the tray and stepped back, tripping over my feet. He caught me. “Woah, woah, woah. There’s nothing to be afraid of.” He helped me to my feet. “You’re in good hands here. We’ll take good care of you.” Seemed too good to be true. “I came in to check on you. Do you want me to show you around or do you want to rest?” I couldn’t help but look at him weird. “That’s fine baby. You’ll come around. You’re welcome to do whatever. You can go places if you behave. Until then you’ll have to stay in. I’ll sleep in another room until you’re comfy. Night.” He said with a wink. I felt like I was going to crawl out of my skin. What a piece of work. How about sleep in a different room until I’m out of here and Chase rescues me? Better yet, How about sleep in a grave? Rapist. Speaking of Chase, here he comes to pick up my mess. Talking opportunity. I bent down to help him pick up the broken glass pieces. “How are you here?” Chase glanced behind him. “I’m working with the FBI. We’re going to get you out of here. It will just take a while. I need to earn their trust.” Someone started to walk to the bathroom in the hallway so Chase got up quickly and left. Every little interaction was going to be important. I layed in bed all night thinking of ways we could escape. I couldn’t sleep.

Two more months had gone by. I couldn’t stop thinking about this child. Being this far along I couldn’t bear to let it go. I wondered what it was, if it was a boy or a girl. I hope we can get out of here before they come. I don’t know if I could have a natural birth. All the women in my family have had to do a csection. I bet I’m almost four months now. I know nothing about pregnancy. All I know is it lasts nine months and I need to get the hell out of here.

Boss had been busy so he stayed out of the way for the most part. Chase and I didn’t have much time together, but we made the most of it. The sounds of the birds chirping outside my window had woken me. Along with the smell of bacon. My stomach was rumbling. Okay, if I want to get out of here I had to play it like a game. I knew that. Time to armor up. I got up and took a quick shower. I dried up, wrapped a towel around me and came out into the bedroom. I stopped in my tracks when I noticed Brenda sitting there on the bed. She came up to hug me. “Boss, let Jayce and I come here. Jayce told him how much he loved me and now we’re a thing for sure. No one is allowed to touch me anymore but him. I told Boss how much I cared about you and that we were good friends. He let me come here to help you through all of this.” She pulled away with a big grin. “I have makeup and clothes. New clothes. I was able to go with Jayce and we picked out some really cute maternity dresses for you. She saw me look uncomfortable and came in for another hug. I had to play everything off with her too. She was delusional, and she would do anything to help keep Jayce alive. She really was in love with him. “I know it’s hard, but this is way better than the position you were in before. Boss keeps his promises. He will take care of you. Very good care of you. Trust me.” I looked at her puzzled. “Are we just going to forget that he raped me the first night I was there?” Brenda sighed and paced the room. “That room that you were in was the room I’d meet him in every Sunday. He never used condoms with me because I’m on birth control. He got drunk, it was dark and I guess he assumed you were me. What happened to you was horrible, but it was a mistake. He didn’t even know it was you until he saw Lorian go into that room the next day. He left you alone after that night, right?” I was annoyed. Why was she justifying his actions? I said nothing. “Look, I know things are bad. At least we’re taken care of. You just gotta make the best out of the shittiest situations. Or you will be miserable for the rest of your life. Now c’mon! Let me do your hair and makeup and show you what we got. As she was doing my hair and makeup I kept getting angrier by the minute. I can’t believe she was this delusional. I wonder if all these years of abuse made her this way. Even before when she was younger she was taken advantage of. My life was good though. It was complicated, but it was good. I had so many things to look forward to. Never in a million years I thought this would happen to me. I even missed my Mother badly. These thoughts kept racing in my mind. But I started to understand her and how she became who she is today. I wondered how this would change me if I got out. I hoped I wasn’t as oblivious as her. After she was done she helped me get dressed and placed me in front of a mirror. Okay. Time to play dumb. “What do you think?” I smiled with the fakest Barbie smile ever. “I love it.” I hugged her tight in “excitement” and squeezed her. “Thank you! Now I’m hungry! Let’s go eat.” Brenda looked at me in shock. “Okay.” She said confused and laughing simultaneously. “I’m glad you’re feeling better.” Brenda said as she rubbed my back as we headed towards the kitchen. This is it. The start of the show.

Chapter 10: Let The Play Begin!

I put on a fake smile and headed to the kitchen with Brenda. The guys had already eaten and were sitting at the table playing cards. I saw Chase for a split second and my heart started beating. Brenda and I both got our plate full of food. “I made this all. You’re lucky you have me as a cook now. You would have starved with them.” We heard a slam on the table and we jumped and looked behind us. “Hey! That’s not true. Bet you couldn’t grill like we can. Cooking is for women. Grilling is for men,” They all got rowdy. Brenda shrugged with a smile. I smiled too. This was a good start. We both sat down at the end of the table. Boss came out of the living room and was walking towards us. He was watching a football game. Wow. It must have been Fall by now. But it was still warm here. As he passed me to go to the fridge he played with my hair and rubbed my shoulders. “You look good today. Brenda did great.” I looked at Chase and he looked away. I could see the pain he was masking. He could probably see mine as well. I looked behind me and smiled at him as he grabbed a beer. He came over and sat by me. He spoke quietly. “I don’t know if Brenda told you what happened, but I didn’t mean to cause you any harm. I mistook you for Brenda. I hope you know that.” I smiled and looked awkwardly at Brenda and then back to him. I grabbed his hand. “She told me. I understand…….and I understand how bad you want this child.” I felt so icky having to say all of this. “Once I trust you your life will be back to normal. I hope it already is starting to feel that way. But I want you to know that I won’t ever force you to do anything with me. I just ask that you and I be civil around this child.” I shook my head. “You know that we couldn’t risk releasing you, right?” I shook my head. “For some reason those people paid a million dollars to get you. We don’t know who they were or what they wanted with you. I do regret it. It’s just that we ran into problems with other charters and we needed the cash. We usually don’t do this kind of stuff. Just mainly deal with guns and drugs.” Mhm. Sure you don’t. I smiled and rubbed his hand. “It’s okay.” He slapped his hand on the table and got up. “Welp. Back to football.” The interaction must have been soooo touching to Brenda as she was rubbing my back and smiling. Another fake smile right back at ya. I couldn’t help but feel bad for how naive she was. If only I could show her what a normal life was. She would want out so badly. I scarfed down the rest of the food and then offered to play with the guys. “You know how to play cards?” Ace asked. “I know 500 Rummy.” They all agreed to play with me. Good. Now to earn their trust. We played three rounds. I won two of them. It was a game I was good at. I looked over to the mail holder on the wall. I quickly glanced at the address. We were in Tennessee. No wonder all of this looked so familiar. We had been here many times before. Strange. I wonder where they originally were from. He had mentioned charters. I wonder how many of them there were. I wondered if we were close to their home base or if they were hiding out. Also, why was I worth a million dollars? This was all strange. This was all confusing. All I know is I have to keep moving along and just going with the flow. I had to play the good girl to get out of here. I looked over at Brenda and it clicked. I have to be like Brenda.

Two more months went by. I was getting big. I had earned the trust of most of them. Today we were all going out. This was a big test. I had to play it smooth. I had to follow what Chase was doing. I don’t want to jeopardize all my hard work, or Chase’s for that matter. Brenda and I have become super close. Today they are going to take us to a local fair. Apparently the charter they’re with right now hosts fundraisers for a school. They dress up as clowns and ride mini motorcycles. The boss of this charter, Danny and his boys had come over a few times to play poker or watch some games. One day they all came over with blood splatter on them. Yep. This was my life now. I was going to pay close attention to Chase, in case we had an opportunity to escape. Chase and I hadn’t really had a chance to really talk, with Brenda being around. I’m hopeful though. I want to be excited about going somewhere but I can’t be. I have escaping on my mind. Boss walked up to me before leaving. “Look, I trust you. Please don’t do anything stupid today. We have guys everywhere. I’ll be busy and can’t stay with you. You will be with Brenda and Jayce, Ace and Chase will be around at all times. And yes, I only chose them because their names rhymed! Actually, I have some business they aren’t ready to handle, but you’re in good hands. Here’s some cash for you.” He said with a wink. “Thanks. I’ll behave.” Just as long as there’s not a chance to escape! I stashed the cash into my purse and went to grab Brenda. Chase didn’t fight to sit in the front. He sat in the back with Brenda and I. “How much did he give you?” I took the money out and looked. “Five hundred dollars?!? What!? Jayce! How much am I going to get?” Jayce’s smile sank and he got all serious. “I’m kinda broke babe. I have to fix up my car, remember?” I looked over at Brenda’s sad face and handed her a hundred. Her face lit up and she squeezed me. “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!!” As we were headed to the fair Chase briefly touched my thigh as he used it to lean up to Ace in the front seat to whisper something. My body had goosebumps all over. They then fist bumped each other. He was playing everything so well. I hope I was doing as great as him. I looked over at him. Gosh he drove me wild...he wouldn’t want me…..not with some other guy's child. No one would. I would be labeled as a whore, which I pretty much am. Just not by choice. I looked over again. His smile drove me nuts. What drove me nuts the most was his perfect lips. I always loved big lips. As we pulled into the fair I felt sick to my stomach. I was scared and excited of the possibilities to come. The guys followed behind Brenda and I a good length away. We were always in their eyesight though. Brenda and I pigged out on a bunch of food and bought a lot of things. I was actually having fun. Brenda wanted to ride some rides so I watched her ride them wishing I could too. After she got her fill of thrill we all headed over to the small petting zoo on the outer corner of the state fair. As I was petting the sheep Chase came over to me. He looked side to side and behind us. All the others were distracted by the birds talking and saying funny things. They were trying to get them to say vulgar things. “Look over there. A clearing. We have a chance.” I looked over at the space between the two pins separating the sheep and the pigs. There was a gate that led out to the parking lot and then there was a town. I looked back to see what they were doing. They were still really distracted. I grabbed Chase’s hand and we started heading towards the gate, not going too fast so we wouldn’t cause a scene. As we got to the gate someone grabbed Chase’s shoulder and spun him around. It was Jayce. “What the hell are you doing, man?” They were all around us shortly after. Chase looked to his right outside the gate to the parking lot. “I was going to take her to that portapotty over there. What did you think I was doing?” Jayce put his hands on his hips and relaxed. “There are real restrooms here. Brenda could take her to a family one to help her and look after her, if you know what I mean.” I slapped Chase in the arm. “You were going to take me to a portapotty instead of some place nicer?” We all laughed it off...that was a close one for sure. “Actually it should probably be one of us.” Ace said. “Why? You don’t trust me?” Brenda said in shock. Ace shrugged and threw his hands up. Jayce made a face and then turned to Chase. “Can you go with her?” Chase pretended to look unhappy about it. “Sure.” Chase and I started to head to the family restroom. “I need to go too!” Brenda said. “Okay, we’ll all just go then I guess. Chase, just go with the original plan. I’ll wait outside.” Ace said. When we got into the restroom I slammed my back up against the wall and started crying. Chase held me tight and started rubbing my back. All of a sudden I felt warm. I felt safe, and I felt more peace than I had felt in months. As we were hugging the baby kicked hard and Chase felt it on my stomach. “Woah!” He said laughing. He got down on one knee and put his ear up to my stomach and the baby kicked again. He gave a kiss on my stomach and rubbed it and then got up keeping his hands on my stomach. That was so unexpected and made my heart race like crazy. “I love you so much. I’ve always been in love with you. And in my heart, you always belonged to me.” He kept looking back to me and to my stomach with such adoration. “Even still.” He smirked and we gazed at each other wantingly. I couldn’t stop imagining this child being his and us being pregnant together. Chase let out a big sigh from his nose and went in for a kiss. Forget warm, I now was on fire. I wanted him so badly for so long. Now he finally confesses he wants me too, but I wasn’t in a good situation. Still I couldn’t help but to kiss him. Ace knocked and we got off each other in a panic. “Is everything okay in there?” Chase and I looked at eachother. “Yeah, it’s a number two.” I replied, palming my forehead. “Yeah, wanna trade?” Chase added in. Ace laughed. “No thanks, I’m good.” I flushed the toilet and went to wash my hands. I grabbed a piece of paper towel and wet it and washed the makeup off of Chase’s face and cleaned up mine too. Out the door we went. Back to hell. We met up with Boss and the whole crew after their business transaction and then went home. What a day.

Chapter 11: Charades

I was now probably six months pregnant. Boss had been away for a few weeks making a deal, but now he was back. “You know I think it’s strange Lorian has been home for so long. It also doesn’t make sense that she was okay with you being preggo. I think they’re hiding something. You don’t think they did something to her, do you?” I looked over at Brenda who was all wide eyed. I had to think of something quick. “She came down before you got here wanting to kill me. We made an agreement that once I had the baby she would adopt it and raise it as her own. She told Boss to have fun while he could, to take care of the mess he made, and that once the baby was here he was coming home with her, and I would go back to the club house down here with you. She’s probably just hurt by the whole situation.” Brenda sighed. “Well I don’t see him coming back home with her. I think he has feelings for you, with you carrying his child. Oh no! Do you think he told her that he was sleeping with me on the weekends down here?” Brenda was super freaked out. Little did she know she had no worries to be given about Lorian. She was gone for good. That image still haunted me. “No. I think he told her that he was just super drunk and made a mistake.” Brenda looked relieved. “I feel bad, you know? But it’s not like I could deny him. I would rather keep my other ear.” She said with a laugh. Yeah, real funny Brenda, real funny. We proceeded to watch Jersey Shore. It was her favorite show and it was growing on me too. It distracted me from everything. I wondered what my life would have been like had I not been taken. We heard two knocks on the door. We both turned around and it was Boss. “Hey Bren, can I talk to Chloe for a bit?” Brenda looked at the tv and back to him and made a sad face. Boss rolled his eyes. “Alright, fine.” Boss came over and extended his hands out to help me out of the bean bag chair. I was disgusted, but I played off his gesture with a smile. “How about some fresh air?” He took me out to the back porch and we looked out into the woods with the lightning bugs. “You know, I wanna work for us. I want us to be a family. What do you think?” He asked as he placed his hands on my stomach. Gross. Still, I had to play along. “What about Lorian?” Boss stood up straight and cleared his throat. “When I told her about what had happened she confessed she didn’t love me and ran off with some other guy. We’re through. We’ve been done for a while now. We got a divorce two years ago and told no one. She moved in with her Mom for a bit but couldn’t stand it and moved back in. That was a mistake. But she’s happy now and so am I.” I looked down and out at the lightning bugs again unsure of what to say. As I did the baby kicked and he felt it. “Woah.” He said with a smirk on his face. “See. How could I not want to be a part of something so magical? I never thought I’d have a family. I want this more than anything. Whenever I think of you and the baby, my child, my heart skips. I have never felt this way in all my forty four years.” I wanted to barf but I mustered up a smile. He grabbed my chin and fixed my eyes onto his. “I will spoil the heck out of you and our child. You will want for nothing. What do you say?” I looked up and shook my head yes. What else could I do? I needed to pull this off. He came in and kissed me. I gave him the best fake kiss I could. “C’mon.” He said as he led me down the stairs. He took me out into the backyard full of lightning bugs surrounding us. He looked me in the eyes and started reaching in his right pocket. Shit. Not this. He went down on one knee and pulled out a ring. “Chloe, I promise to give you the life you deserve with everything you could ever want and more. I’m sorry for the pain I have caused you but I promise I will make it up. I promise to give you the wedding of our dreams after our child is born. Chloe, will you marry me?” This guy is delusional. “Yes.” Little did he know this would never happen, but sure, I’ll take this huge rock with me when I escape with Chase. He got back up and kissed me passionately. This was so gross. I hated that I had to fake this. “Now that we’re engaged, you think we can sleep together now?” What does this guy want from me?!? “That’s fine.” I said with another fake smile for the thousandth time. As we were walking back in I was thinking of ways I could explain this to Brenda. We walked inside and the whole house bursted with cheer. I looked over at Chase. He had the fakest smile going on and was clapping. Brenda looked confused. “I’m going to go tell Brenda about it and show her the ring.” He kissed me on the forehead. “Alright, I’ll be celebrating with the boys. See you tonight.” I grabbed Brenda and as we passed Chase to go to my room I gave him a “get me out of here” expression and he nodded. Brenda sat down in my bean bag chair and looked up, throwing her hands up in the air. “I know. Apparently he said Lorian and him had been divorced for two years. Apparently when he went back there while he was gone she changed her mind and told him she didn’t love him, and was in love with someone else and ran away with him. She wants nothing to do with the child anymore either.” Her mouth was wide open. “Wait. Do you love him?!? I thought you hated him?” I looked down and played with the ring. “He promised to take care of me and our child.” Ew, cringe. She shook her head. “I told you. O-M-G! Wait! Did she run off with Eddie?” I looked at her puzzled. “I’m not sure. I didn’t ask.” Brenda got up super fast and hugged me. “Ooooh I bet she did. I’m going to see if Jayce knows.” I just smiled at her. Good luck. Whatever they were going to tell you was not going to be the truth. I put on a huge shirt that I bought at the fair and some panties and slipped into bed and fell asleep. I was awoken by a drunken “Boss” getting into bed with me. My stomach turned. “Please don’t try anything with me, please don’t try anything with me, please don’t!” I kept thinking. He put an arm around me and scooched closer to me rubbing my stomach. All of a sudden he moved the hair from my neck and started kissing it. He then started grabbing my boob and then ran down my stomach into between my thighs. One thing led to another and he went all in. I felt disgusted once again. I tried to block it all out. Once it was over I laid on my side and was once again traumatized. Even after that he wanted to cuddle. I don’t know how much more I could take. Silent tears were streaming down my face. Chase, get us out of here.

Chapter 12: Hope

Two more months had gone by. I was probably ten months preggo by now. I was getting humongous. You think that would keep him off of me, but no. Each night he tried to do something with me. Some nights I could get out of it. I was getting clever with excuses. Chase was helping me come up with some of them. He wanted to kill Boss more than anything but he knew that would risk our lives. Tonight Boss was taking us all out to The Melting Pot. Brenda helped me get ready and got me all dolled up, to the point where I wasn’t recognizable as usual. Can’t risk people noticing me, now could we? I was getting tired of pretending. I wanted out and it seemed like it was never going to happen. We haven’t had a chance to escape since the fair. Tonight was a special night and I had a trick up my sleeve. “Brenda do you have a purse? I want to bring some makeup so that I can touch up my makeup if needed.” Brenda snapped back to me with her hand over her mouth and gasped. “I never thought you would ask!” Brenda got me a purse together with everything I could need and more. Kinda reminded me of Lexi. I miss her dearly.

Boss made me ride with him and everyone else rode separately. When we got there we sat together too. I couldn’t get away from this guy. He was like a lost puppy dog. Actually no, let’s call it what it is. He is a psycho. The waitress came up and started taking our order. Her name was Hope. That has to be a sign this was all going to work out. I just had to play everything right and act fast when the chance came along. I kept my eye out for her. I needed her to visit the restroom for my plan to work. I kept trying to engage in conversation and fake being interested all the while looking out. Finally she and another waitress went to the restroom. I grabbed my stomach and bent over. “What’s wrong? Are you okay?” I started rubbing my stomach. “Yeah. I’ll be right back. I have to go to the restroom.” Boss helped me out of the chair and escorted me to the restroom like I knew he would. I have behaved but apparently he still doesn’t trust me. I wouldn’t trust a captive person either. I would expect them to behave. I ran to a stall. The waitresses kept talking back and forth through the stalls they were in. Mostly about their dating lives. I ripped off a piece of toilet paper and grabbed my purse and pulled out the black eyeliner. I placed it against the wall and started writing out an sos. Telling them to help Chase and I quietly. As I was writing they both came out of their stalls still talking. “Oh my gosh! Did you see the Boss’s new girl?” One of them said. My heart sank and I quit writing. “I know! Him and Lorian had been together for years. I wonder what happened. They seemed like such a good fit.” I got up, threw the message of hope in the toilet and flushed it down the drain. Of course. Of course they had their claws set in this restaurant as well. Why else would they take Brenda and I here? They’re protected. I bursted out of the stall, my face hot with anger. The girls gasped. I stopped and stared at them. “I am so sorry! We didn’t know you were here!.” I smiled and started washing my hands. “Oh. It’s alright.” I dried my hands and then left the restroom. The rest of the night I was dead. This was supposed to be my chance. Boss could read something was wrong. “What’s up? Are you doing alright?” I grabbed his hand and smiled. “I’m fine. Just not feeling too great.” He looked at me with great concern. “It’s not the baby. I just have an upset stomach.” Just then I heard clapping and fixated towards it. “Happy happy engagement! Happy couple to be! Happy happy engagement! Happy Happy Happy will you be!” They sang obnoxiously as they clapped and headed towards us. We were presented with a beautiful cake that I guess Boss paid for. I put on a fake smile and thanked the crew. So did Boss. They all dug into the cake while I refrained. I just blamed it on my fake stomach ache. Really it was the crushed hope to blame, or should I say flushed hope? Boss called Chase, Jayce and Ace over. “Hey, would you boys mind taking Chloe home? She’s not feeling the best. I need to do business here.” They agreed to take me home and I was okay with that. Jayce and Ace went into the living room to watch The Goodfellas. I sat down in the kitchen and Chase sat with me. We pretended to play cards together. “So I found something out. While I was with the guys yesterday they were talking about how this one guy tried to get away and almost made it into town. Apparently that path in the woods eventually leads out into Gatlinburg where all those businesses and hotels are. I say when the time is right we should go make a run for it. We need to get you out of here so you can have this baby safely and be free.” Jayce got up to grab a beer so we had to stop talking. “Hey! What are you guys playing?” Chase chuckled. “The only game she knows how to play.” Jayce grabbed the chair next to Chase and sat down. “Cool! Can I play? I need to get my mind off of Brenda. I miss her too much and all those sexy scenes in the movie aren’t helping.” Chase gathered all the cards and started setting up to start over. “Actually, I’m tired and getting more sick. I’m just going to call it a night. Thanks guys!” I went straight to bed with a little more hope restored.

Chapter 13: A Trip

“I know it’s close to you delivering but I have to go. We gotta make this deal. It’s too much money to pass up. Ace’s wife Jenny will be staying here. She’s an RN and she will help with the delivery. Try and keep the baby all toasty and warm INSIDE your tummy until I get back, okay?” I sighed like it was a big deal but I was happy he was going. Leaves more chances for us to escape this hell. “I’ll try.” This time I took the initiative to give him a kiss goodbye. Boss left with most of his crew but left mostly the newbies. Piece of cake. Chase and I just had to find the right moment. I made a point to hang around with them all day and play along like everything was alright. Chase and I had met up at the fridge today and decided we were going to make a run for it tonight. I even made friends with Jenny, who didn’t seem to care that I was trapped. She may have been trapped as well for all I knew though. Close to bedtime Brenda and I watched Titanic while everyone else played Poker. When the movie was over and the tears were wiped away we both went to our beds. I wasn’t sure when we were leaving so I just sat up and watched the clock. At 1:33 AM I heard the door creek open. It was Chase. He was motioning me to come. He had a backpack full of stuff just in case. “Everyone is asleep except Ace. He keeps dozing in and out but he’s super drunk. I don’t see him moving.” He whispered. Chase and I tiptoed past Ace and went out the backdoor. Chase closed it so slowly and gently there was no way we were heard. Adrenaline rushed in as soon as it closed. We were as quiet as possible until we were almost off the creaking back porch. As we got to the last step and Chase went down on the grass real quick to position himself to help me, his backpack slid off of his arm and knocked a pot over. We both paused, frightened. All of a sudden we noticed a light in the house turn on. “Let’s go!” I said in a panic. No way we could talk ourselves out of this one. Once we got into the woods we looked back. All of a sudden we saw my bedroom light turn on. It was go-time. Now they knew and soon they would be after us. As we were running Chase was rummaging in the bookbag. He pulled out a cell phone and dialed a number. “Shit!” He said in frustration and threw the phone back in the bag. “I was supposed to call them when we escaped but there’s no signal in the woods.” It was hard running being pregnant. I’m not even sure if it was good for the baby, but I had no other choice. “How far away?” I said breathless. “Not sure.” We ran for a long time and it got to the point where we had to stop. I was too exhausted. We were both wheezing. Chase embraced me and I started to cry. “We gotta keep going Chase, we can’t stop.” Just then we heard barking. “Chase! We gotta keep going!!!” We took off again faster than before. The barking was getting closer. It was still far away but who knew, they could catch up to us. We got to the point in the woods where we could finally see the night lights lighting up the streets. As I was running I tripped over a tree branch. I caught myself with my hands but my stomach hit the ground first. Just then my water broke. Chase threw the backpack off, grabbed the phone and picked me up. He ran. “I got you Chloe, I got you. We’ll be okay. I will not let them get us. I will not let them hurt our baby!” He said “our” baby. As much in awe I was of what he just said, I couldn’t get over the pain. I tried to keep my whales of pain in but I couldn’t help it. I kept moaning and groaning. Finally we got to the town. Chase and I looked back and saw flashlights through the trees. They were close. Chase booked it. “They only have affiliations with The Hilton hotel down here. I’m going to the closest hotel. We’ll be safe.” Chase ran into Days Inn. “We need your help. There are bad people out here trying to get us and she’s in labor. We need help but it can’t be obvious. They’re dangerous and have guns.” The lady frantickly started shaking her head and kept turning in circles trying to think. “This way!” She motioned Chase to follow. She took us to the kitchen where there were few staff and told everyone to keep quiet and keep working like nothing was going on. “Jeff! Come here!” She opened up the door to a huge food pantry and helped us in. “Jeff, stay here with them, I’m going to call some help for you and get you pillows and blankets.” As she started to leave Chase grabbed her arm. “No ambulances. It has to be quiet.” She shook her head and left. Chase was loving on me trying to keep my calm. Jeff was just standing there in shock. The front desk lady opened the door and threw the blankets and pillows in. “They’ll be here soon!” She left in a panic and Chase and Jeff made me comfortable. The contractions were getting closer and closer and I couldn’t stand it. “Hold on! I’ll be back.” Jeff went out and came back with a wooden spatula. “Here! Bite down. You! Pull down her pants and see if you see anything. I think she’s about to be in labor.” Chase did as he said. “I helped my wife give birth in Jamaica.” I smiled. “Thank you for helping.” I said grunting. How nice. I felt like a neanderthal woman giving birth. I was so afraid and not experienced. I’m glad Jeff was here. Chase had pulled down my pants and looked to see if he could see anything. “I think I see a white ball looking thing.” Jeff laughed. “That’s the head my friend!” Just then the door opened and the EMT guys were here to help. Chase came to my side and stayed at my side as I delivered, loving on me and helping me with each push. With the last push the baby was delivered, then everything went black.

Chapter 14: Possibilities

I woke up in the hospital. I looked to my left and I saw Chase at my side. I sat myself up and Chase leaned in and gave me a kiss on my forehead. All of a sudden panic set in. “Wait! We’re not safe. Jenny! We need to get the baby! Ace’s wife works here!” Chase held my hand. “We’re fine. We’re at a different hospital miles away. You passed out. They drove us to a secure place with a helicopter ready and flew us to an army medical base where we’re safe. I let them know who you were and they got in contact with the FBI. Your Mom should be here soon.” I looked around the room for my baby. “Chase pressed a button on the side of my bed. “Yes?” A nurse answered. “She’s awake.” Chase answered. “Okay we’ll be right there.” Chase brushed my hair back so lovingly and kissed my forehead again. “They’re bringing the baby.” I held my hand over my heart and waited in anticipation. The door flew open and the nurse brought over a baby to me with a pink hat on. It was a girl. She was so beautiful. “She looks like you.” Chase said and I smiled in agreement. Up until this moment I thought I was ugly, but now I see my beauty through her. “Do you have a name?” The nurse asked with a warm smile. “Victoria, meaning victory.” I was in love. I wasn’t sure how I was going to react to the baby but I am glad that I had her. I would go through it all again just to have her. Victoria fed well and was just a good baby all around. Chase and I took turns holding her. We couldn’t put her down. Before I knew it my Mom bursted through the doors and began whaling, kissing me all over. She said nothing but showed her love. She then went over to her Granddaughter and held her for the first time. “Gosh I’m in love. She's beautiful! Looks just like you did.” I watched how good of a Grandmother she was and how much she loved her. I had never seen her so happy. “What’s her name?” My Mom asked with a smile. “Victoria.” She rubbed her finger up and down Victoria’s nose, making the baby smile. “How lovely.”

As it came time to leave and be discharged they wanted me to fill out the birth certificate. As I filled it out I stopped on the “Father” portion. I looked over to Chase with Victoria in his arms. “Well you better put me. I cut the umbilical cord.” I laughed. He handed me Victoria and grabbed the pen and paper. He went to write but stopped and looked up at me. “Is this okay?” I laughed while simultaneously tearing up. I leaned in and kissed him. “Of course." He signed his name and took Victoria back so I could finish filling it out. After I was discharged we all embraced. “Let’s go home.” Mom said. We were escorted back home. I had questioned it being safe but apparently they already gathered everyone up and took them in.They had been busted and we were now safe. They were really short with all their answers. I asked about the other people who wanted me but they told me that I had to wait to talk about everything, but that I was safe and not to worry. So I enjoyed the ride back home with my beautiful baby girl. Chase and I were on either side of her. Protecting her, and loving her. The future was so bright, and I looked forward to it. Victoria, you’re more loved than you will ever know…..

Hi! Future Chloe here! Little did I know, there was a lot more to be worried about. My life was never going to be normal. In a few short years, it all was going to change. Even my sweet, sweet Victoria.


Sophia Vanguard

Hey, I love writing and wanted to give this thing a spin! As I am jobless right now. Hoping things take off with writing!

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