Home > Rush (The Brotherhood #2)(5)

Rush (The Brotherhood #2)(5)
Author: Penelope Black

Like, really down. I’m not even sure if there is anyone looking for me. You know that’s not true, a little voice whispers in my mind. I swallow the acidic taste as I think about them—my boyfriends? No, that doesn’t sound quite right though. Sully’s not my boyfriend anymore. And the word seems too small to encompass what they are—or what they could’ve been.

All I know is that they’re mine.

And they’ll come for me. I know they will.

But I need to do everything I can to help. And I need to get out of this place—this situation. Once I’m safe, then I’ll give into the fear draped across my shoulders and then I can take a breath to examine my feelings for three very different men.

With my newfound conviction, I square my shoulders and look at the guy in front of me. “Who are you?” My voice is clear despite the double vision.

“Tsk, tsk. C’mon, Alaina. They said you were smart, but you’re not asking the right questions,” he says as he taps his temple with his index finger. “No, not who am I—who are you?”

I still at the use of my name. Okay, so he knows who I am. I mean, that’s not that big of a shock considering they kidnapped me—Jesus, what has my life turned into?

But wait a minute. He said who am I? Doesn’t he already know?

“Look. I think there’s been a misunderstanding, but I’m not who you’re looking for. Why do—”

He interrupts me with a hand in the air in the universal stop gesture. “You’re exactly who we’re looking for.” His voice is hard, impatient.

I shake my head a couple of times. “What do you want from me?”

“Ah, there it is. Unfortunately, I’ve already said too much. The rest you’ll get from the boss. Until then, enjoy your stay at the cabin. It’s a little slice of heaven away from the bustling crowds of the city. There’s a lake bordering one side of the property—big enough that you can’t see across it. In the daytime, of course. It’s in the middle of the woods on five acres of land, so no one will hear you if you scream. Keep that in mind while you wait.” He delivers my fate with a mocking smile painted on his face.

I squint and do my best to force the two of him I see into one as I try to find something to commit him to memory. I just know Wolf will want all the details as soon as he gets here.

The stranger turns on his heel and leaves the room.

I hear the lock on the doorknob click, and even though I know it’s pointless, I stand up and cross the room to try the handle. It doesn’t budge, and there’s no lock twist on the handle on this side.

What kind of door locks from the outside like that? I shudder when I think about what someone would use a near empty room like this for.

I rest my forehead on the door. “Think, Lainey, think,” I whisper.

I tilt my head and turn around to check the obvious places a security camera would be—the corners and above the curtain rod—and come up empty-handed.

Good, this is good.

If there are no cameras, then I might have a fighting chance at sneaking out.

I cross the room and tentatively open the other door. Relief momentarily settles in my lungs when a small bathroom greets me. It’s barely big enough to turn around in, but it has a toilet and a sink, and right now, that’s good enough for me.

I flip the switch as I step inside. Shock holds my breath hostage as I come face-to-face with my reflection.

“Holy shit,” I breathe out.

My once smooth, wavy hair resembles a lion’s mane, littered with dirt and debris. Something black streaks across my cheek and bruises bloom on my cheekbone and underneath my eye. The vibrant emerald green of my birthday dress mocks me with rips and snags along the bodice. The hemline is torn over one thigh, and the swath of fabric over one shoulder is holding on by a thread. Crusted, dried blood lines my nostril, but that’s not what holds my attention.

I stare, transfixed by the sight of dried blood on the crown of my head.

Aside from spraining my ankle a few years ago, I’ve never been hurt like this before. Never bled like this before.

I slowly bring my hand to my head and probe the edges of the cut. Pain, sharp and shocking, rolls through me at the exploration, and I wince.

“Okay, Lainey. You can do this,” I whisper as I hold my own gaze in the mirror.

I nod a couple of times and mentally fortify myself. I don’t know what’s going on or where I am, but I’m smart and resourceful and . . . and I know that Wolf will be looking for me. I just have to hold on.

I turn on the faucet and a small rush of brown water sputters out before it goes dry.

Okay.

That’s okay.

I don’t need to clean these cuts.

It’s fine. I’m fine.

I eye the toilet and weigh the merits of using it when I remember the reason I came in here in the first place—my phone!

I curse myself for forgetting something so important and wasting time as I pluck it out of my hidden front pocket.

“Shit.”

The screen is covered in spiderweb cracks, but it might still work. I swipe up to unlock it, and I’m so relieved it works I nearly sob. Pulling up Wolf’s contact, I hit the call button and jerk the phone to my ear.

“C’mon, c’mon, c’mon,” I chant with my heart pounding in the same rhythm.

When I don’t hear ringing, I pull it away to look at the screen and my heart sinks. No service.

“Okay. That’s okay. I’ll just find service,” I whisper the plan to myself. I extend my arm in the air, holding my phone in different corners of the small bathroom with my eyes glued to the bars of service in the top corner. My ribs protest the movement, sending a punch of pain to my side that steals my breath. But I have no idea how much time I’ll have by myself, so I swallow the groan and keep moving.

I step back into the room and immediately head for the window. If I don’t have service, I’ll climb out the window and run until I get service. The familiar comfort of my white Vans settles my nerves as I wiggle my toes.

I’ve never been more thankful for my love of sneakers in my entire life. In fact, I just might sleep in these from now on.

I pause by the window and listen for movement in the house. When I don’t hear anything, I glance at my phone again—still no service—and slide the floral drapes aside.

Blinking rapidly, I can’t quite understand what I’m seeing. A dozen nails hold the window semi-permanently in the sill and make it nearly impossible for me to open it.

I tuck my phone back in my pocket, and I try anyway.

After sixty seconds and not even a millimeter of difference, I give up and walk the perimeter of the room with my phone in the air.

My steps are a little heavier as I make my way back to the couch. I sit down on the other side, tuck my phone away, and make sure the outline isn’t visible through the dress.

Once I’m satisfied with its concealment, I let my hands fall to the cushion and try to think of my next steps. But it’s hard. Every time I try to think too hard, my head aches like someone has taken a hammer to it.

I lean my head against the back of the couch and smooth my hands over the rough fabric of the couch. I fight back the cringe as my fingers run over some crusted patches on the couch.

Something pricks my index finger, and I lean over to see a sharpened pencil wedged between the cushion and the armrest.

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