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Chapter 49

“Hey, Luke. Can we put a couple of kitchen chairs in front of the computer instead of this bench?” Jordan inched away from Luke until she was half off her side of the bench, but he was still almost on top of her.

“Naw, sweetie. Chairs are too big and cumbersome. They have arms. I wouldn’t be able to get close enough to teach you everything I want to.”

Jordan knew if she turned and looked she would see him leer that sickening grin. She kept her eyes on the screen. She learned never to wear shorts or a halter top around him. It was always jeans and a long sleeved shirt.

“You seem a little quiet today, a little nervous. Cat got your tongue? I could get it back for you, and stick it in that pretty little mouth with those tiny white teeth. What do you say, little gal?” He patted her rump and rubbed the small of her back in circular motions. He started to stroke her neck.

Could he just keep his hands off her? She spun around and slapped his hand away, hard this time.

“Ooooowch,” he cried, more surprised than pained.

Jordan raised her hand as if to slap him in the face, something she’d dreamed about but never done. He grabbed her wrist instead, pulled her back against the computer and brought his mouth close to hers. She could smell garlic and beer, and then he belched in her face.

“Sorry, little gal. See what you do to me? You make everything want to come up. Get it? Come up?” His hand tightened on her wrist as he moved her hand to his crotch, forcing it onto the bulge in his jeans.

Jordan leaped up. “I’m sick of this. I’m going to tell Aunt Erin, who seems to be working every day I’m here, as well as Momma and Skip.” Why hadn’t she told Skip how bad it was here? Or about Luke’s phone number written on Mikayla’s pill bottle? He wouldn’t have let her stay. Sure, she wanted to play junior detective. Look what it was getting her. Luke’s filthy hands on her. His stinking breath.

Luke’s expression flattened. He backed up to his side of the bench. He opened the computer, as if nothing had happened. She couldn’t help looking at the screen. She sat down, as far from him as the bench would allow.

“So, today I said I would open a Face Book account for you, and teach you how to use it to contact your friends. It’s so simple. I can’t believe you are thirteen and don’t have one yet.”

“My foster mom wants me to wait until I get into high school next year, and until we have a computer in our house so that she can monitor it.”

“Monitor my ass. You’re a good girl, good student. You don’t need spies monitoring you. You just need good old Luke to teach you the Face Book ropes. And Instagram. And Snapshot. I have my own accounts. We could talk to each other and send pictures to each other.. Just watch.”

Jordan shook her head in disbelief. Luke could be so helpful when his hands were off her.

“All right. Show me how to do Face Book. You’re right about one thing. All my friends have an account. I want one.”

“No sooner said than done and all that jazz.” Luke smiled at her.

She had to admit that he was a good teacher. Almost everything she had learned on the computer, including doing her homework and honors lit assignments, he had taught her.

Today he was wearing a black V-neck pullover which gave her a full view of the leather amulet, hanging on his neck. I bet it has something to do with those pills. Maybe that’s where he hides them, she thought.

She had been working on a plan for weeks now. Would there be a better time than this? Luke was concentrating on his Face Book page. He knew she wanted one of her own. He wouldn’t be suspicious. Luke was printing out a list of things to remember, something he called Facebook for Dummies. Jordan laughed and pretended it was his joke, although she had seen the booklet itself on his bookshelf. She yawned and stretched her arms, tousling her red curls.

“I better hit the john before we start this instruction. I’ll be right back.”

“Hmm…sure,” he said sorting the printed pages. He never even looked up at her.

Jordan bounded up the stairs and closed the door to her bedroom. The first thing she did was dial Skip. He answered on the second ring. She told him what Luke had done do her downstairs, his hands all over her, and about the hidden camera.. He was flabbergasted, even angry that she hadn’t told him sooner, but quick to forgive. True to his word, he said he would be outside in about fifteen minutes. Two honks.

It was now or never, she thought.

Jordan slid the desk chair over next to the footboard of the bed. By balancing herself on both, she could just barely reach the so-called smoke alarm that hung from the ceiling. She grimaced as she wobbled a little but with her hands high above her head she was able to wiggle the tiny camera out of the cover. She hopped off the chair and stuffed it into her duffle bag.

“I’ll be right down,” she yelled to Luke from the top of the stairs. “Make sure we’re going to do Face Book.”

“Hurry up,” he shouted back. “I want to get this set up before Erin comes home with dinner.”

Jordan hopped down the stairs and set the duffle bag next to the front door. Thank God the computer room was in the back of the house. She checked her watch. At least twelve minutes to go.

She sat down next to Luke and looked as interested as possible as he explained the mechanics of Face Book. That part wasn’t hard; she was interested, but she kept her ears tuned for the sound of a horn.

Twelve minutes…thirteen minutes…

“Stop looking at your watch, Jordan. This part is important.”

“I know it is, Luke. I appreciate what you’re doing. I’m going to get a glass of water. It helps me concentrate.”

“All right. Hurry back.”

Jordan turned on the water in the kitchen sink but grabbed a paring knife from the drawer. She rolled up the sleeve of her left arm and slashed herself twice, cutting an “x” just above her wrist. As it started to bleed, she pinched the wound. She rolled down her sleeve as she felt the blood spurt from the wound. She put the knife in her back pocket and walked out of the kitchen.

“What are you doing…oh, here you are. Now sit down and let’s go over it.”

She sat down next to Luke and looked at his Face Book page. She spoke not a word. She pushed up the sleeve on her left arm.

“Cat…tongue…is that it again?” Luke turned from the screen and gasped when he saw blood running down the sides of her arm, away from the X.

“Oh, my God,” he said. “You are cutting again?”

He leaned into her and put his face close to the wound. “How deep did you go?”

“Take a long look, Luke.” Jordan held her bloody arm down for his inspection, as she whipped the paring knife out of her pocket and cut his leather necklace in two with one upward swipe, barely scraping his skin.

Honk. Honk.

She grabbed the necklace and amulet and stuffed them into her jeans pocket while running out of the room towards the front door. She heard Luke scream and the sound of his footsteps behind her as she grabbed her duffle bag and opened the door. Skip’s car was coming to a stop right in front.

“You little bitch,” Luke swore, grabbing the strap of the duffle bag and twisting her around. “Give me my necklace.” In one quick moment he pulled her feet out from under her and was on top of her as she slid to the floor on her stomach.

The door was open and she tried to scream, hoping that Skip would hear, but Luke had both hands around her neck, pressing hard. She felt stunned and dizzy. She couldn’t breathe. She couldn’t think. It hurt so much. She could hear him chanting “bitch…bitch…bitch…” but he never let go. Her hands were trapped under her body. She felt her tongue touch the wooden floor and she knew she was going to black out…

“Get your hands off her, Luke.”

Jordan was barely conscious but thought she heard Aunt Erin behind them. The pressure to her neck eased a bit as Luke sat up, still on top of her. She choked and gagged but managed a few breaths.

“What the fuck?” she heard him say. She turned her head, lifting it just enough to see Aunt Erin’s white work shoes. She lifted herself on her elbows and turned to see Aunt Erin holding a gun to Luke’s head.

“Get off her, Luke, and let her go. Now, or I’ll pull the trigger and blast your brains clear out the door.”

“Jordan,” she heard Skip scream from the front doorstep.

Luke didn’t speak, but Jordan felt him rise off of her. Still gasping for breath, she scrambled to her knees, grabbed the duffle and stumbled out the front door right into Skip’s arms.

As they ran down the steps to Skips’ car, they heard the gun go off, then clatter to the floor. She turned to see Luke on the floor on top of her aunt, hands around her neck. Skip pulled her to the car and pushed her into the front seat while dialing 911 on his phone.”

The car screeched away as Skip barked the address and ” Ambulance, police, hurry.”

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