I start to fight my way out of the blackness, and feel an ounce of strength return to my limbs, but when I try to move my arms, I can’t. I manage to open my eyes just enough that I’m able to see that I’m laying across a bed with my arms tied down.
“Welcome back Sleeping Beauty,” Dane, says softly from somewhere nearby. I quickly remember what has happened.
“Dane? What are you doing?” I croak, my voice still weak, “please let me go.”
“Afraid not, my love, I can’t have you running away from me. I’ll let you go when you finally admit that it’s me you should be with. You know its true so I don’t know why you fight it.”
“I’ll never admit it you fucking asshole,” I mutter, disgusted, “you are insane.”
“Then I guess we’ve hit an impasse. All will be as it should soon enough.”
A terrifying feeling creeps up my spine.
“What does that mean?”
“You’ll just have to wait and see I suppose. Your rock star lover-boy Mr. Riley should be joining us soon.”
“No!” I fight against the restraints. As much as I want to be rescued right now, I don’t want Conrad anywhere near Dane, “please don’t hurt him,” I plead.
“Well, if I don’t get rid of him, then how are we supposed to be together? He’ll just keep ruining everything we’ve worked towards Sydney,” Dane, explains calmly.
He finally comes into my view. His eyes are wild and look slightly unfocused, the tellings of a man who is obviously not stable, how I never realized this before, I’m not sure. He smiles down at me before he crawls onto the bed until he’s hovering over me. I cringe back, but I have nowhere to go. He lowers his face until it’s mere inches above mine.
“Once he’s gone, we can finally run away together Syd,” he whispers then brushes his lips against my jawline. My stomach rolls with fear, unsure of what exactly he plans to do with me, “God damn it you smell so good,” he adds.
“Get off me,” I growl.
Dane just stays where he is, his eyes piercing into mine.
“Soon, you’ll be begging me for it,” he says, licking his lips, “and trust me, I’ll give it to you Syd.”
With that, he rolls away from me and stands off the bed. I inspect the restraints on my arms and they are thick leather cuffs, like something you’d find in a mental institution or kinky book. My ankles are restrained too. There’s no way I’m getting out of this on my own. I look around the room to see if I recognize anything about it, but I do not. Its looks to be a converted warehouse type apartment.
“Like the new digs?” Dane, asks as he catches me looking around, “I moved here just a few weeks ago. It’s newly converted, I don’t even have neighbors yet, so if you’re thinking about screaming, it won’t work.”
“Why are you doing this to me Dane? What makes you think that I’ll stay with you when this is over?”
It’s at that moment I hear a pounding on the door and Conrad’s voice shouting Dane’s name through the door.
“Oh, our guest of honor is here,” Dane, says ignoring my question. He strides over to a large heavy metal door and slides it open. All I can do is watch as I see Conrad appear and then rush Dane. I hear a blood curdling scream as I see Dane pull a gun from the waistband of his jeans and point it straight at Conrad. I realize its me who is screaming.
“No! Dane no!” I shriek, pulling violently but achieving nothing.
Conrad puts his hands in the air to surrender. His eyes flit to mine, his are terrified as I’m sure mine are too.
“Please, Dane. You don’t have to do this,” Conrad says shakily.
“Just close the door behind you and go over there,” Dane, orders, waving the gun in the direction of a chair off to my left. Conrad nods and then backs toward the chair and sits down.
“Are you okay?” Conrad asks me. He starts to reach for me but realizes its a bad idea and drops his hand. I nod at him, wishing I could protect him.
Dane keeps the gun pointed at Conrad and then goes to lock the door before coming back to where he has me and Conrad.
“So this is only going to go one way,” Dane says, “and that’s my way, one way or another.”
“What do you want?” Conrad asks him, trying to stay calm. I can see him shaking from here.
“Don’t play dumb Mr. Riley. You know exactly what I want, and you’re going to give her to me.”
“I can’t give her to you Dane, she’s not my property. She decides who she wants to be with, not me.”
“Well, that’s where you’re wrong,” Dane says with a smile. He grabs a nearby chair and pulls it between Conrad and me and sits down, keeping the gun pointed at Conrad, “Sydney is too blinded by you to see straight, so the decision is going to be handed to you.”
“Trust me Dane, I have perfect 20/20 vision when it comes to who I love,” I cry, tears streaming down my face. My heart is beating a dangerous pace as I look helplessly at Conrad. Dane ignores me.
“So, here are your choices…” Dane smiles at Conrad, “the first option is, I shoot you in the fucking head right now, effectively erasing you and leaving Sydney to me. However, I’m not entirely sure how I’d get away with that quite yet, but the option is there nonetheless.”
“Fuck you,” Conrad growls, I see tears form in his eyes.
“Option two,” Dane continues, “ I agree to let you live in exchange for Sydney’s cooperation. If she leaves with me willingly, I’ll make sure the authorities know where to find you before you die. If you think you’re leaving here totally unscathed, you’re wrong.”
Before Conrad has a chance to respond, Dane lunges at Conrad and smacks him across the face with the butt end of the gun. It makes a sickening noise and Conrad is knocked off the chair onto the floor, his head now covered in blood. I start screaming until Dane turns and places his hand tightly over my mouth.
“Shut up now or Mr. Riley gets another one,” he growls at me. I clamp my mouth shut, but can’t stop the sobs. Conrad doesn’t move.
“Please, Dane. Please stop this.”
“Okay, I’ll stop. If you promise to leave him and be with me,” he replies.
“How does that even work?” I ask him, genuinely curious to hear his master plan, “if I were to go with you, what’s stopping me from leaving after I know he’s safe? Your plan just doesn’t make any sense.”
“Well, it involves a private plane and an off the grid island I know about. Look, I don’t want to spoil the surprise so you’ll just have to wait and see.”
“And if that fails?” I prod.
“Option three, and I don’t really like it, but I’m fully prepared for it.”
“Which is?” I ask, knowing I’ll like this option the least.
“I told Conrad that if I can’t have you, then nobody will, and I meant that,” Dane sits down on the bed next to me and leans in close to my face again. This time, he holds the gun to my chest, “if you don’t come with me willingly, option one will be in effect but I’ll also shoot you, and then myself.”
“Dane, you need serious help,” I whisper, even though he’s holding the gun to my chest, I don’t think he’ll shoot me. He shakes his head.
“I need you Sydney.”
With his free hand, Dane roughly grabs my chin and holds my face still as his lips touch mine. I clench my lips together tightly, refusing access. Dane pull away slightly, before moving the gun and pointing it back at Conrad.
“Kiss me back, or I have no problem taking out one of his hands.”
I know that he’s crazy enough that he’d do it, leaving me with no other option.
“Fine Dane, you can have my body, but you can’t have my heart.”
“Is that a challenge?” he chuckles, “even so, I’m going to take it.”
With that, he lowers his mouth to mine again, and I squeeze my eyes shut, hoping and praying for a miracle. Dane’s tongue invades my mouth hungrily, and I switch to autopilot. As much as it sickens me, I don’t want to give him any reason to hurt Conrad more than he already has, and I think he’d take a great deal of sick pleasure from either option, so if it’s between my body or Conrad…
My head throbs and I’m dizzy as I regain consciousness. I touch my temple, and my head comes away covered in blood. I’m face down on a rough wooden floor, but it only takes me a second to remember where I am. I turn my head to see where Dane is, I don’t see his feet nearby. Then I hear Sydney’s muffled sobs. I look up to where she is on the bed and that’s where I find Dane. On top of her.
Rage rips through me and I’m on my feet quicker than should be possible with an open head wound, and go to pull him off her, but before I can he flips over and points the gun at me once again. I look at Sydney, and am relieved to see that she is still fully clothed.
“You’ve got some balls Mr. Riley, I’ll give you that,” Dane chuckles, seemingly amused, though this is far from funny.
“Get off of her,” I choke out.
“Or what?” he challenges, “what are you going to do hero?”
“Well if you’re trying to win her heart, raping her isn’t going to be the way to do it.”
“Don’t be so fucking dramatic, I wasn’t going to rape her.”
“Really? Everything you’ve done to her so far has been against her will.”
Dane clenches his jaw and closes his eyes for a moment. I take a step forward just as he opens them and raises the gun.
“You know what? I’m kind of sick of listening to you talk, so just shut the fuck up or I’ll be forced to do something rash,” he says, his voice becoming agitated.
My eyes flicker to a nearby clock. I’ve only been here for half an hour, but it feels like longer. I’m helpless, and I hate it.
“So, have you chosen your option?” Dane asks me, “One two or three?”
“What’s three?” I ask stupidly.
“Oh that’s right, you were knocked out like the little bitch you are when I told Sydney about option three. I don’t think you’ll want that option, so you’re better off choosing number two.”
“How about option four?” I then ask.
“There is no option four, but please, feel free to enlighten me?”
I steady my breath and square my shoulders. Challenging him could get me shot, but I can’t see another way and I need to buy time.
“You untie Sydney, and let us leave right now, and we don’t press charges for attempted murder, kidnapping, assault…the list goes on.”
Dane starts shaking his head.
“No…no that’s not how this works. You don’t make the threats here asshole, I do.”
“Oh, I don’t know about that. Do you really think that I was stupid enough not to tell somebody where I was going tonight Dane? Do you really think that I trusted that you wouldn’t want to hurt me tonight? You really think I would come here without a back up plan, or some sort of protection of my own?”
“Am I? Are you willing to take that chance? Right now, you’re looking at a pretty hefty jail sentence…unless you let us go right now.”
Dane behind to pace nervously. I can see that his tough facade is beginning to break down. His eyes flit from me to Sydney, to the door and back to me again.
“That door is locked tight asshole, nobody could get in before I did some damage. I could inflict option three and then nobody is walking out of here.”
“If you really loved Sydney the way you say you do, then you wouldn’t do anything to hurt her.”
“Okay, that’s true. Maybe instead of killing her, I only take out you , then myself. At least that way I can die knowing that at least you won’t ever be with her.”
“Dane, why do you hate me so much? I never could understand…”
“Because asshole, you took the one thing that I’ve wanted since I was a kid. That final year of High School, I came back, finally the type of guy Sydney could actually be into, only to find out that some guy, our teacher, who was much too old for her I add, had weaseled his way into her pants. You took advantage of her when she was too young to know better.”
“No he didn’t!” Sydney shouts.
“Good guys don’t sleep with their students,” Dane adds, “you were skirting the border of being a pedo if it weren’t for the fact she was freshly eighteen. It was so wrong on every level, yet everyone thought it was just fine for some reason.”
“I guess thats one way of putting it,” I shrug, “that’s not how I see it though.”
“Of course you wouldn’t,” Dane scoffs.
“I didn’t plan on meeting Sydney, and I certainly didn’t know she was my student until it was too late. Obviously you know how easy it is to fall in love with her,” I try to appeal to another part of him.
“Except I was in love with her for years, and I was always there for her, and I was her best friend before you came along. If it weren’t for you, she’d be married to me right now.”
“Maybe. But you can’t dwell on the past Dane. She’s moved on, why can’t you? A good looking guy like you, you’re smart, you have things going for you. I’m sure there’s plenty of women out there who would love to get their hands on you.”
Dane shakes his head sadly, then shrugs his shoulders, his arms by his side, I realize he’s no longer pointing the gun at me.
“But they aren’t Sydney…” he murmurs.
“Dane,” Sydney says, “I’m really not worth all of this. You’re willing to ruin a lot of lives for me but this isn’t love. If you loved me like you claim to, you’d want me to be happy whether it was with Conrad, or anyone else for that matter.”
Dane shakes his head but doesn’t say anything, his eyes go glassy and his breathing is fractured.
“Option four?” I plead, “come on Dane, you knows it’s the best option. Nobody has to get hurt.”
Dane looks longingly at Sydney.
“I really do love you, you know. I always have. I just wish you could have felt the same,” he tells her, his voice so sad that I almost feel bad for him.
“I’m sorry Dane,” Sydney says softly, “I really am.”
Dane just nods before I see him raise the gun again.
“Please don’t,” I gasp, thinking he’s going to point it at me, but instead he raises it until he has it pointed at his own temple.
“Dane no!” Sydney screeches, I can hear her pulling furiously on the cuffs, “please!”
“I love you…” he whispers as he squeezes his eyes shut.
I lunge at him then, just as he pulls the trigger.