I couldn’t believe what Sam was saying.
Sean was in on all of this? Had he let them know where we were? He had let them in? None of this made sense.
“I don’t understand,” I said, flopping down on the bed. “How could Sean be a part of this? Why?”
Sam shrugged and sat next to me. “Believe me, I wish I had answers for you. I didn’t get many myself before the asshole hit me over the head.”
I sat there quietly, mulling over everything Sam had just said.
Sean was the bad guy.
Sean was one of the men hunting me.
And we walked right into his hands.
“We need to get out of here,” I said, standing suddenly and yanking the covers again.
Sam caught herself before falling to the floor. I guess ripping the blankets out from under someone has the potential to do that.
“What do you need me to do?” she asked.
“Grab the sheets. We need to tie them together and see if we can climb into the backyard. Same plan as before. We’ll make a run for garage, take one of the cars and try to find our way back to Kade and Ghost.”
Sam snorted at that last part, but started pulling the sheets off the bed.
“You think Kade is going to be very open to us coming back after we tasered him and then got his truck blown to smithereens?” she asked.
I shrugged. “Probably not, but at least Kade needs me alive, which is more than I can say for Sean and his crew downstairs.”
“Good point,” she mumbled as she started tying the sheets together.
We worked silently, cutting the sheets into long strips and tying them together as tightly as we could. We knotted the sheets around the foot of the bed for leverage.
“I sure as hell hope this works,” Sam said after we were done.
“I just hope I don’t break my leg.”
“Or legs,” Sam replied with a grin.
I stuck my tongue out at her.
“You ready?” she asked, gathering up our make-shift rope.
I shook my head.
“No, but I don’t have much of a choice, do I,” I replied.
“Just remember to hold on tight, and use your feet as a secondary anchor. These sheets are a little on the silky side, so hold on tight. Think of it as a fireman’s pole. Hold on tight, but give yourself enough fluidity to slide down.”
“And whatever you do,” she added, “don’t look down.”
Well dammit! Now I would.
I bit my lip to keep myself from laughing hysterically.
Sam walked over to the balcony and hefted up the twenty five feet of rope we managed to create. With a final glance at me over her shoulder, she threw the rope off the balcony. We both held our breath as we waited to see if the motion sensors went off.
Thankfully something was finally going right for us because it stayed dark and since we didn’t hear any yelling or pounding footsteps, it was safe to assume they didn’t notice the dark blue sheets hanging down the side of the house.
“I’ll go first,” Sam said, throwing a leg over the side of the rail.
“Be careful,” I said, giving her hand a squeeze.
“See you at the bottom,” were her parting words before she threw herself over the side.
I leaned over the railing, watching in amazement as she carefully slid down the rope to the ground below.
Once she reached the ground, she quickly ducked beside a large shrub to hide from view. Sean’s bedroom was at the other end of the house from the kitchen and deck. As long as no one was sitting on the deck or looking out of the living room windows, we had a good chance of escaping unseen.
That is, of course, assuming I didn’t kill myself as I attempted to climb down.
Grabbing the railing, I carefully climbed over the side and swallowed the bile that had suddenly risen up. Rails were made specifically for people like me. I was defying all sorts of common sense and logic by being on this side.
Fear can be useful in the right situation. Luckily for me, this was the right situation.
I have no problem being honest and saying that I have no upper body strength to speak of. I’m a girly girl when it comes to this type of physical activity. Of course, in all fairness, I never assumed I would be in such a situation where I would actually need those particular skill sets. If it wasn’t for fear driving me, I could honestly say this is the last place you would have caught me. But since I wasn’t in a position to be in such a luxury where I wasn’t running for my life, I bit the bullet and gripped the sheets with every ounce of strength I had and somehow managed to land safely on my own two feet on the ground below.
Never before did I have such a strong urge to kiss the ground.
I was probably in a daze (which I usually am anyways), because the next thing I remembered was being dragged by my arm.
When I finally got a bearing on what was going on, I realized Sam was leading me by the hand and pulling me toward the pool house, carefully skirting the outside of the perimeter while we stayed low to the ground.
Outside the pool house, my stomach began to knot up with trepidation. My last visit to this particular place hadn’t exactly ended happily. I was in no mood to repeat that experience.
With our backs against the side of the pool house, I looked carefully into the window and watched for any signs of movement while Sam kept lookout for Sean and his friends.
I tapped Sam on the shoulder to get her attention and then carefully opened the pool house door.
It creaked slightly so I stopped moving, listening for any tell-tale signs that someone was inside waiting. After a few seconds of nothingness, I decided to risk our chances and go inside where we had a better chance of being seen by less people.
Sam and I moved as a unit, watching each other’s back and tapping each other’s shoulders when it was all clear like we had seen in the movies. We didn’t speak, which was good for me because I was likely to start babbling like a nervous idiot. Years of our close friendship had made it very easy to understand one another without uttering a word.
The pool house appeared to be clear of any armed killers so I breathed my first sign of relief since gaining consciousness. Honestly I didn’t believe our luck would hold out this long, but never let it be said that I looked a gift horse in the mouth.
I pointed out the exit and we made our way over, backs once again against the wall as we looked outside the two windows flanking our exit. Thankfully there were still no signs of movement or voices. The garage was about fifty feet away and off to the left, carefully hidden by some overpriced landscaping. From what I could see the lights in the garage were off, which I took as another positive sign. But considering that I had never actually been in there, I didn’t know the layout or where anything was.
Now that I knew Sean was in cahoots with my would-be-killers (I was still puzzling over that bit of information), he could have been blowing smoke up my ass about the keys. Unfortunately, it was a chance we were going to have to take.
I looked over to Sam for reassurance that this was the right call to make. She nodded slowly so I nodded in reply.
Since I was the one closest to the door handle, I guess that made me responsible for opening Pandora’s Box. I prayed that my story didn’t end like hers.
With a loud click, the door opened and we held our breath and waited.
When nothing happened, we moved outside, closing the pool house door behind us quietly.
We took two steps from the door when we heard the unmistakable click of a safety being thrown. We froze like deer in headlights and searched around wildly for signs we weren’t alone.
Nothing else happened after a few seconds, so I began to think that maybe we had imagined it, but another step forward proved we had been right the first time.
“I don’t know if your being out here is brave or just plain stupid,” said a familiar voice.
I spun back around to the pool house and almost fainted in relief.
Ghost stood in front of the door with a shit eating grin and a very big gun tucked in his right hand.
“Ghost,” I squeaked out of happiness and surprise.
“You were expecting Santa Claus?” he asked with a small tilt of his head.
“What the hell are you doing here?” Sam asked, coming up beside me.
“Saving your ass…again,” he replied, crossing his arms over his chest as his smile slowly faded. “That was a stupid move you two made back at the house. You should be kissing my feet right now.”
“How did you find us?” I asked in a shaky voice.
He shook his head slowly.
“I didn’t,” he replied as he tilted his chin. “He did.”
Sam and I turned slowly behind us, knowing and fearing who we were going to see when we finally turned.
Sure enough, Kade stood behind us, armed and clearly pissed off.
“Hi,” I said with a pathetic finger wave.
He didn’t speak, didn’t move. Hell I couldn’t even tell if he was breathing. Undoubtedly he was seeing red right now at the sight of both of us. And as scary as Kade is normally, as I’ve said before, pissed off Kade is pee-your-pants terrifying.
We stared at each other in silence, both for different reasons. I feared what he would say considering everything that had happened over the past few hours. Strangely though I was not in fear of what he was going to do with the gun currently tucked at his side. I guess if I had stopped all my irrational paranoia and fear and realized that I had been in his presence with a weapon before and he had not actually turned it on me, then maybe we could have avoided my current situation.
“Where’s Sean,” he finally asked.
“Hopefully on the express elevator to hell right now,” Sam replied for me.
His attention turned to Sam.
“You know,” he stated more than asked.
She nodded. “Oh yeah, I know. The fucking bastard hit me over the head and then let in the assholes who tried to blow us up only seconds before. The bastard tried to save his own skin at the cost of our lives.”
I saw the quick glance Kade gave Ghost before turning his attention back to Sam.
I didn’t like what the quick little glance said. There was apparently more to this story then Sam or I currently realized, though it would appear that Ghost and Kade were in the complete know.
“There’s more to it than that, isn’t there?” I asked, turning back to Ghost since I figured Kade was much less likely to answer me directly.
He watched me with steady and focused eyes.
“Sometimes the biggest monsters we come across are the ones we already know,” he replied in a cryptic riddle.
“A simple yes would have sufficed,” I mumbled as I crossed my arms over my chest.
I was suddenly cold, and it certainly wasn’t from the warm night air.
“So what now?” I asked weakly.
Kade remained silent, but Ghost piped in, breaking the uneasy silence.
“You’re welcome to join in the fun, but something tells me that we would all be a lot safer if you girls hung back and let the big boys play,” Ghost answered with a grin.
“I couldn’t agree more,” I said with an eager nod.
He laughed and rolled his eyes in response.
“Girls always want to miss out on the fun stuff,” he chuckled.
Kade shook his head slowly, probably because rolling his eyes just didn’t seem like the type of thing he would actually do, which I found downright annoying. Sometimes there were moments when someone or something deserved a good eye roll.
“Let’s go,” Kade barked to Ghost as he headed towards the pool house.
Clearly he hadn’t forgiven me for what happened earlier, but then again, what was there to forgive? I mean really, why was he mad at me? It wasn’t like I held the Taser to his neck. If anything, he should be pissed off at Sam.
“What about us?” I asked, spinning around toward Kade and Ghost as they stood outside the pool house door, checking their clips and slamming them back into the handle. “What if they come out here looking for us? It won’t be long before they start searching out here.”
“They won’t assume you’ve gotten this far,” Kade replied quietly, holstering his gun into a sling hidden beneath his coat. He removed another gun tucked behind his back and again checked the clip. “Fortunate for you, you have little bit of a head start. Now if you’re smart, you’ll lay low and stay out of trouble until we get back.”
The slam of the clip gave his words a finality that I couldn’t possibly be stupid enough to challenge.
But then again, this is me.
“Stay here? Are you crazy? They have guns and they have made it abundantly clear they are willing to shoot us with them if necessary,” I squawked.
That earned me an eye roll from Ghost as he shook his head in disbelief. I guess he also thought I should keep my mouth shut, but why actually live up to someone’s expectations if I can avoid it?
“This area’s secure,” Kade replied, crossing his arms menacingly over his chest.
“And that’s what? Supposed to make me feel better,” I challenged. “They showed up shooting, blew up our car, assaulted us, and then tied us up. I’m sorry, but saying this area is secure isn’t exactly all that reassuring.”
“Considering the circumstances, it’s the best you’re getting,” Kade replied in a clipped tone.
“I need more than that,” I replied. “People are shooting at us. Actually trying to kill us. The only protection we have is about to walk off and leave us defenseless. So yeah, I need a little bit more than your reassurance the area is secure.”
A dark shadow passed over Kade’s face so I quickly shut my trap, almost biting my tongue off in the process.
He hesitated for half a second before stepping around Ghost and coming to a stop two feet in front of me.
He didn’t say anything at first, and honestly it made me nervous. Kade was in a deadly mood I hadn’t seen before. I had seen relaxed, flirty, pissed off, and threatening, but deadly was a new one, and not surprisingly, the scariest one of all. Thankfully it wasn’t intended for me, but it still made me uncomfortable, nervous, and a whole lot of scared.
And that didn’t even take into account that I had a lot of explaining to do about why it was his truck had suddenly been blown sky high and erupted like the Fourth of July. That was one little oopsie I knew I was going to have to own up to, and I was dreading it. Especially when I’m almost positive that explosions under our current circumstances were probably not covered by his insurance.
Kade stood silently in front of me and the sudden squint of his eyes had me wondering if he was currently reading my mind, in which case I was in deep trouble.
“My reassurance is all you should ever need Princess,” he said quietly, “but since you want some extra insurance, take this.”
I looked at him in confusion until I realized that he was holding out his hand. He held out a fierce looking gun that I had no clue how to use.
I shook my head.
“I don’t know how to use a gun,” I said with a shaky voice. “I’m accident prone enough to end up shooting off my pinkie toe just by looking at it.”
He smiled, his eyes never leaving my face.
“Don’t over complicate it. People use these every day with no training,” he replied as he held it up in front of my eyes. “Remove the safety. Rack it. Point. Shoot. Somehow I think even you can handle those four simple steps.”
He reengaged the safety before not-so-gently slapping the gun in my hand then turned abruptly and walked back to the pool house.
Ghost watched Kade’s fading shadow for a brief second as he disappeared inside before turning back to Sam and me.
“If we don’t make it out of here, a friend of ours is close behind and he’ll take you somewhere safe. We’ll make sure he knows your exact location, so whatever you do, for once in your bloody lives, do as we say and stay here.”
He gave us a final cocky grin and a wink before fading into the darkness behind Kade.
“Now what?” Sam asked, staring at the gun shaking nervously in my hand.
I shrugged. “I guess we hide, and pray I don’t have to figure out how to use this.”