I took a deep breath smoothing the front of my blazer and tugging down my skirt. The navy blazer slightly too big, and the skirt was just a little too short, but they would have to do since they were the only decent articles of clothing I owned.
I was sitting in the lobby of an office building in Charlottesville, Virginia, waiting for the most significant interview of my life. A few weeks ago, I had been contacted by a corporation named Baudin International, inviting me to interview for a scholarship. If I got this scholarship, I could go to University anywhere I wanted. If I didn’t, I would have to give up my dream of going to University. My phone blared, shattering the silence of the room. Flinching, I quickly turned my phone off. I knew it was my twin brother, Brandon, calling. He was probably wondering where the hell I was, but I didn’t have time to argue with him right now. That could wait until after the interview.
“Miss Wardell?” a drop-dead gorgeous guy a couple of years older than me smiled, stepping out of an office. I stood, trying to slow my racing pulse. “Mr. Baudin will see you now,” He said, gesturing towards the office he had just come from.
I arched an eyebrow in surprise. From what little I could find on Baudin International’s founder, he didn’t seem like the type who would personally interview scholarship applicants. In fact, he was so averse to publicity that I could only find a handful of photos of him.
Yet, sure enough, when I walked into the office, Mr. Pierre Antoine Baudin was sat behind a desk smiling expectantly at me. He was handsome for an older man. If I had to guess, he was in his early to mid-forties with neat dark brown hair and piercing blue eyes. “Miss Wardell, I’m pleased to finally meet you. I apologize for the setting, though. This is just a temporary office.”
“Thank you for having me,” I smiled, ignoring what he’d said about the office. Why would this man fly me across the country for an interview in an office that wasn’t theirs?
“If I’m not mistaken, you and your brother are originally from around here, correct?” Mr. Baudin asked.
I fought to keep my expression neutral. How had Mr. Baudin known that? Bran and I had been careful never to reveal where we were from after we’d ended up in the foster care system. With no one looking for us, it wasn’t hard. “That’s correct,” I smiled, careful to hide my displeasure.
“And yet somehow you ended up in the foster care system in Colorado when you were fourteen. How did that happen?” Mr. Baudin asked. His voice was calm, and yet there was something more intense lingering under the surface.
“I’m sorry. Is that relevant?” I asked, trying to remain calm. I may have needed this scholarship, but it wasn’t worth recounting my past to this man.
“We like to make sure that we have a complete history on all of our scholarship recipients,” He explained, looking almost apologetic. “I’m just trying to fill in some of the blank spots in your background.”
I nodded. I guess that made sense. “My brother and I had a bad home life. Finally, enough was enough, and we ran away. We got to Colorado before we got picked up and put into the system,” I said as clinically as I could.
“Despite moving around frequently between homes, you managed to maintain a 4.0 GPA all through high school. That’s quite impressive,” Mr. Baudin said, thankfully moving on. I relaxed, thankful that he was asking questions that I had prepared for.
After another half hour, the interview drew to a close. “Well, Miss Wardell, I’m pleased to offer you the Baudin International Co. scholarship,” He smiled warmly at me. I squealed, unable to hold back my excitement.
“Thank you so much, Mr. Baudin. You don’t know how much this means to me,” I said, tears pricking at the corner of my eyes.
“I’d like to invite you to a celebratory dinner at the Ivy Inn Restaurant,” He said warmly.
“Oh, I don’t know,” I was suddenly on edge. “I don’t know if that’s appropriate. Plus, I don’t have anything to wear.”
“Don’t be silly. Some of the other board members want to meet our newest scholarship recipient. As for a dress, just head down to the boutique on Main street, pick one out, and have them put it on my tab,” Clearly, he wasn’t going to take no for an answer. “I’ll have Greyson pick you up from your hotel at five-thirty.”
I looked at my reflection nervously, fiddling with my hair. I was dressed in a pale pink sleeveless dress with a mock turtleneck with a bow tied on the side of the collar and a flared skirt. It wasn’t exactly my style, but it was the least expensive thing in the store that actually fit me. I was trying to tame my unruly blonde curls into something presentable. Sighing, I slipped on my white peep-toe pumps giving myself a final once over. I was too small and skinny to be considered pretty, but the dress’s fit emphasized what little curves I did have, and the pale color of the dress emphasized my light blue eyes and blonde curls.
I grabbed my clutch, heading down to the lobby. I still had some time before Mr. Baudin’s assistant was supposed to pick me up, so I decided to call my brother back.
“Britney?” Brandon picked up on the first ring. “Where the hell are you?”
“Relax, Brandon,” I rolled my eyes. “I’m fine; I’m just out of town interviewing for a scholarship.”
“And where exactly is this interview,” Brandon growled. “If you were going out of town, you should have told me. I would have gone with you.”
“Why? Ever since we turned eighteen a couple of months ago, I hardly ever see you anymore,” I sighed.
“Just tell me where you are, and I’ll come to get you,” Brandon snapped.
“I don’t think that’s going to be possible; I’m in Charlottesville, Virginia,” I chewed on my bottom lip. “I’ll be back tomorrow night.” I hung up the phone before he could argue with me.
I decided that I would take advantage of the nice weather and wait outside for Mr. Baudin’s assistant.
Basking in the warmth of the setting sun, I sat down on a bench. Right now, I should have been ecstatic about receiving that scholarship, but instead, I was worried about Brandon. Brandon had been acting increasingly strange, leading up to our 18th birthday. Then one day, he dropped out of school and moved out. We texted regularly, but I was lucky if I saw him a couple of times a month, and he seemed to be in a constant state of agitation.
“Excuse me, Miss Baudin?” a voice said, jolting me back to the present.
Looking up, I saw a tall man with dark hair standing over me. Standing up, I tentatively took a step away from him. “I’m sorry, but I think you have me mistaken with someone else,” I edged away from him, realizing too late that this man had positioned himself between me and the lobby of the hotel. Looking around frantically, I saw a black SUV parked nearby with another burly-looking man leaning against it, watching us intently.
“Britney Baudin, you’re going to come with us,” the dark-haired man said, grabbing my arm.
His meaty fist quickly wrapped around my forearm. He tugged me towards the SUV, where his accomplice opened the backseat door. “Let me go,” I screamed, trying to pull away from the man, but he was impossibly strong. But I hadn’t survived as long as I had without knowing how to defend myself. Swiftly I kneed the man holding me where the sun don’t shine.
It seemed to shock him more than anything else, but he did let me go. “You little bitch” The man who had been holding me snarled. It might have been my imagination, but I thought I saw the man’s teeth elongate into fangs. But I wasn’t about to stick around to double-check.
I sprinted down the street looking for anyone who might be able to help me when I saw a red muscle car speeding down the road.
The car screeched to a stop in front of me, and I was surprised to see Mr. Baudin’s assistant. He must have been there to pick me up for dinner.
“Britney, get in the car,” He growled. He didn’t need to tell me twice.
Mr. Baudin’s assistant revved the car’s engine before taking off. I expected him to have a million questions about what the hell was going on or at least looked as freaked out as I must have. Instead, he was cooly appraising me. “Are you alright?” he asked.
“What?” I blinked, confused.
“Britney, are you injured?” he repeated as if he thought I was slow.
“I’m not injured, but I am definitely not alright,” I screeched, feeling like I was in the twilight zone. “Those guys kept calling me Miss Baudin, and then they tried to kidnap me.” I looked at him for some kind of reaction, but he was just calmly looking at me. At least we were a reasonable distance away from those men now.
“What the hell is going on?” I pleaded with him.
Mr. Baudin’s assistant reached over and brushed a stray curl out of my face. “Everything’s going to be alright, Britney. I’m going to take you to your father,”
Authors Note: Hey guys! Thank you so much for reading my first chapter of Out Running the Alpha. This is an updated version of a Story that I wrote on Wattpad with the same name. If you enjoyed this chapter please let me know, check out my other stories, and show me some love on Patreon