"You have to be kidding me." Samara yelled, hitting the dashboard of her car. "We're in the middle of nowhere and this stupid car had to break down." She slapped the dashboard again and glanced at me. I was shaking with laughter. "This isn't funny, Jayla. When we die because no one ever comes down this stupid road you picked. I'm going to kill you."
I looked over at her. "But won't I be dead already? So what's the point of killing me again?"
Samara glared at me then looked out the window. "Look the sun is already going down. We're going to die. Leather Face is going to come for us any minute now. This is how movies always start out, you know."
"What are you talking about?" I sighed, guessing the answer.
"Hello! I'm talking about scary movies!"
I rolled my eyes at her. "Samara, please, please, please don't start with the scary movie crap again."
Samara glared at me once more. She does that every time I don't take her seriously. "It's not crap. In scary movies, it always starts out with two pretty teen girls getting stranded in the middle of nowhere."
I had to roll my eyes at her again. "You watch way too many movies."
"Stop rolling your eyes at me." Samara glared.
"I'll stop rolling my eyes as soon as you stop glaring at me."
She sighed. "A half-crazed hillbilly is going to come and kill us."
"Why would he do that? I read the stupid book you forced me to read. What was it called again? How to Survive a Horror Movie. We aren't making out. According to that book, killers only kill people who are making out in cars. We have nothing to worry about.” I eyed her suspiciously. “Unless there’s something you want to tell me, like a crush you've been harboring for me and you have the sudden urge to kiss me."
"Please. Don't flatter yourself. If I were a lesbian, you'd be last on my list of people to make out with. And anyway hillbillies don't kill people who are making out, they kill people because they have nothing else to do and they're probably running low on meat. Just watch, any minute now a man in a truck is going to pull up and we'll be dead. Just you wait." She said a little too dramatically.
I yawned. We'd been on the road since early that morning and neither of us had slept a wink. I reclined my seat and turned on my side, facing the window. "Well, wake me up when he comes. Maybe he'll give us a ride into a town before he kills us."
"Don't go to sleep. I'll get scared by myself."
"Nothing is going to happen." I opened one eye and locked my door and rolled up my window. Just in case. I thought to myself.
"Then why are you locking your door?"
I turned to face her. "Because just in case Leather Face decides to come for us. It'll take him three seconds instead of two to kill me." I closed both eyes again, turning to face her this time.
"Shut up." Samara said, locking her door in the process. She rolled up her window as well.
The sun had completely set by now and the only light we had was the light of the almost full moon. I opened my left eye slightly and looked at Samara. She was staring at me. I sighed and closed my eye again and tried to ignore her, but I could feel her eyes burning holes into my face. I moved trying to ignore the feel of her stare. I kicked off my flip-flops and moved my right leg, tucking it under my bottom.
As the fatigue of the day took over my body I began reliving what happened two days ago, before I left for this trip. I thought about Monahan, my boyfriend, for the pass two and a half years, and how he had ended our relationship. It wasn't that I was heartbroken. It was just the fact that he had been one to break up with me. And he hadn't given me reason for breaking it off. I mean I knew things had been going downhill for the past couple of months but I thought he wanted to work things out between us. I was at a total lost. I hated not knowing all the facts.
I always needed to know everything. I hated watching mystery shows. Especially if they didn't know who the murder was or why he did it. The Black Dahlia case got on my nerves. I wanted to know why the killer did what he did. All unsolved mysteries get under my skin. I loved the facts. I needed the facts. I didn't like being in the dark. I hated it. I wanted the truth, not theories and lately life hadn't been giving me any answers. I felt as if I was missing something important, like a piece of me was missing. At times I felt like I didn't know myself.
School was okay but I needed more than okay. That was why I harassed Samara into this road trip. I needed some time to think away from home. I didn’t want to spend my spring in my room. I wouldn't have been able to chew things over with my mother breathing down my neck asking what was wrong. She seemed to be doing a lot more of that lately. She had always been over-protected and I was used to it but when I turned eighteen last year, she started watching me like a hawk and now that I was nine I couldn’t really take it many more. Even when I was away at school, I felt suffocated by her. She called often and found excuses to come to campus to visit. My school was two hours away from our house.
She would panic if she saw me in a slump. I needed to get away from it all. Even if it was only for a week. I had a feeling something big was going to happen and I had had that feeling for a while. I just didn't know what exactly was going to happen but I knew--felt that it was just around the corner. I had that feeling you get when you knew something was going to happen. My heart felt heavy like it had extra weight hanging on it. I just didn't know if what was going to happen was good or if it was bad. But I always believed everything happen for a reason.
I was slipping into a light slumber when I heard Samara gasp next to me. I pretended I didn't hear her. She probably saw something moving in the empty grassland on the other side of the car and decided it was Leather Face coming to kill us.
"I see head lights... Oh God. It's a truck. We're going to die." Samara grabbed my arm. "Jayla! Oh no, it's pulling in behind us."
I heard the rumbling of a truck as it pulled in slowly behind us. I sat up. I didn't want to admit it but I was kind of scared. My heart started pounding twice its normal speed. We were two teenage girls with no cell phones. Whoever was in that truck could kill us and no one would ever know what happened to us. I looked at Samara. She looked beyond frighten.
"We're going to die virgins!" She exclaimed. You would think that was the last thing to worry about but the thought had crossed my mind, too.
She was right we were going to die and virgins. I shouldn't have pushed Monahan off me three days ago.
I looked in the mirror. The door on the driver side was opening. I couldn't see that well because the lights from the truck were blinding me. All I could see was the silhouette of a man. I was guessing it was a man. I couldn’t be too sure. Samara hand gripped my arm harder.
"If I don't make it," She whispered. "…Tell my mom that I was the one who dented the side of her new car."
I couldn't help but roll my eyes at her stupidity. If I survived this, I told myself, I should really try to break that habit. "We're not going to die." Hopefully.
"You can say that because he's not going to your side of the car. Oh my God. What if it's Leather Face? "
"I'm saying it because what are the chances that we get attacked by Leather Face? Shouldn't he be dead by now? And wasn’t the real Leather Face from Wisconsin or something? I think there is a greater chance of whoever that is out there being Prince Charming."
"Oh yeah because Prince Charming spends his time driving up and down deserted roads, looking for princesses to rescue." She whispered, harshly.
"You never know." I whispered back.
We were too busy arguing to notice the person at the window until he knocked. We both screamed. Samara rolled the window down about an inch then practically jumped onto my lap.
"Excuse me," the man drawled. "Do you ladies need help?"
I couldn't help but notice how big hands were. His fingers were long and strong. Great. This guy was probably going to kill us and I was thinking about how perfect his hands were. Yeah. Perfect enough to choke the life out of us. I shook my head. Wait. Why was I beginning to think like Samara? He probably stopped to help us. Not kill us.
"No." I heard Samara tell him a little too loudly. "We were tired. So we decided to take a little break." She threw in a fake laugh as if she thought it was funny that we had pulled over to the side to rest. "Driving is very tiring. Especially, if the person you're traveling with is someone who doesn't have a license and you have to do all the driving."
My mouth dropped open. Even at a time like this she was still complaining about doing all the driving. "I hope he kills you first." I whispered quietly, hoping the man couldn't hear me.
He bent down to talk this time and that's when I saw how good looking he was. He was young, early twenties most likely. He had a black Stetson on. So it was impossible to see the color of his hair but his eyes were a smoky gray-- or maybe silver was a better word for them, with a hint of blue and for a second there. I could have sworn I saw a hint of gold but it disappeared too fast for me to be sure. I heard Samara little gasp of surprise. I guess she noticed that there was no way he was Leather Face. He was far from it. His face was perfection, beautiful even. From what I could see he was tall and lean but not too skinny. I could see his muscular chest through his shirt.
"Well," He drawled again in his Texan accent. "There's a town sixty miles that-o way, if you want to rest. It isn't safe out here."
My heart started to pound faster than before. This couldn't be good, if he didn't kill us soon, I would probably just die of a heart attack. I was too young to die from a heart attack. Shoot. I was too young to die at all. I looked at him carefully. He didn't look like a crazy serial killer but did they ever?
"Well thank you for your concern but we're fine." I found myself saying. I smiled to reassure him and that's when I heard it. At first it was a low growl off in the distance. Then as it grew a little closer it became a high pitch howl. Samara and I both jumped.
"What was that?" Samara asked.
"The wind." The hunk replied.
I made a un-lady like snort. "That did not sound like wind. It sounded like a wolf." I looked behind me out the window but didn't see anything.
"A very big wolf." Samara whispered.
"No. I'm pretty sure it's the wind. There's a storm coming. That's why I told you it was dangerous out here." He stood up straight for a minute and looked out to the open field. His stance was rigid. I was too afraid to see what he was staring at. "You girls should leave. While you still have a chance. I mean, before the rain comes falling down."
The hairs on the back of my neck stood up. Why did it sound like he was warning us about something other than the rain? He bent down so we could see his face again. His eyes had the hint of gold in them that I thought I had seen earlier. They mesmerized me. I found myself talking to him again.
"Our car broke down. So even though we want to leave. We pretty much can't." I explained, watching his eye color go back to silver. Why had I told him that? I had done it without meaning to.
He sighed. "I can't take you into town tonight but I can tomorrow. You can stay at my family's ranch for the night."
Samara and I looked at each other.
"Can we have a moment?" Samara said rolling up the window. He stepped back, giving us as much privacy as he possibly could. Samara turned to face me.
“We cannot go to his family's ranch.” She looked as fine she was trying to figure out a good excuse to decline his offer. “He must be related to Leather Face.” Samara whispered glancing over her shoulder to make sure he couldn't hear what she was saying.
"Will you stop with this Leather Face thing? Does he look like Leather Face? No. The answer is no. He looks nothing like Leather Face. What does Leather face look like anyway?" I watched him as he waited patiently for us to finish.
"Just because he doesn't look scary does not mean he isn't a serial killer. Most serial killer look normal." She said ignoring my last question.
I thought I heard a soft chuckle come from outside but when I looked at him he was just standing there just like before, no movement had occurred. "Samara..." I was cut off by another high pitch howl. We jumped again. There was a knock on the window. When I looked at the window. He was there again. His eyes were completely gold this time.
"We should get going." He drawled slowly through the closed window.
My hands automatically reached for lock on the door. I barely had enough time to put on my flip-flops before I was out the car door. Samara began to protest until she turned to face him. He repeated the command and Samara began to climb out of her old car. I tried to stop my body but it was impossible. I had to follow his command. We reached his truck and we jumped in as soon as he commanded it. I climbed in first followed by Samara. Before we could try to object again, he was already in the truck taking off down the road.
I came to my senses first. I peaked at him from the corner of my eye. Would this be how I died? Killed by a hunky stranger at his "family's ranch". Samara was tensed next to me. I could feel her panic radiating from every pore in her body. I grabbed her hand trying to soothe her a little. Samara squeezed my fingers. I glanced at him again. He seemed calmed but he was gripping the steering wheel a little too hard. He looked in the rearview mirror repeatedly. He must have not seen anything because he sighed a breath of relief and loosen his grip on the steering wheel. Was he afraid that someone had seen him kidnapping us?
He finally looked at us. "Hi." He said smiling as if he hadn't just kidnapped us. "My name is Titan." He finally took off his Stetson and ran his hand through his thick curly black hair.
"I would say it's nice to meet you but you just kidnapped us." I answered.
"Now that he knows we know he kidnapped us he's going to kill us." Samara whispered under breath.
Titan laughed at her comment.
He laughed so hard that the truck began to sway back and forth between the lanes. At one point he was actually driving in the middle of the road. He laughed and laughed for about two minutes straight. Samara's grip on my hand tightened.
Great! We were kidnapped by a lunatic.
He finally stopped laughing and got on the right side of the road. "I haven't laughed that hard in a long time." He informed us, peaking at us from the corner of his eye. "I didn't kidnap you. I told y'all a storm was coming and it was dangerous staying out there." He grinned. "Plus you guys got in my truck all by yourselves."
I could feel my eyebrows slam together as I thought about it. It was true he didn't force us into the truck, but when he commanded it, I couldn't refuse him. His voice had been so pretty. It reminded me of a soft lullaby. I wanted to follow his every command. When he told me to get out of Samara's car, I had to do it. My body followed his command ignoring my mind. Not that my mind had disapproved too much.
"Well then," Samara said. “If you didn't kidnap us. You wouldn't mind taking us back to my car.”
"Sorry. I can't do that."
"And why the hell not?" Samara argued.
"Well, you see, the place where your car broke down isn't part of my... family's property." He disclosed. "I'm not really supposed to stop there. I was on my way home from Victoria when I smelled y'all."
"Smelled us?" I bent my head and sniffed my armpit. Then I leaned over to smell Samara. Surely we didn't smell that bad. We had both taken showers that morning. Of course, we had been in Samara's car all day, sweating because her air didn't work but there was no way we stunk so much that he smelled us. It was impossible.
Samara pushed me away from her. I bumped into Titan but quickly shifted away.
"I don't stink." She assured me.
"Well, he said he smelled us and I don't stink so it has to be you." I sniffed under my arm again to make sure.
Titan chuckled. "I meant I saw y'all. Not smelled."
"I told you I didn't stink." Samara insisted.
I sighed. "I'm sorry I implied that you stunk."
"Okay. I forgive you but next time you should listen to me."
"Fine. I will." I said, sighing again. Samara was a pro at making me feel bad. It was a talent of hers. It could be the smallest thing. Like this one time I stepped on her big toe and she had me carrying her books around for the whole day. She said if she put any pressure on her foot, she would walk with a limp for the rest of her life. I was surprised she didn't make me carry her from class to class and then there was the time I ate her yogurt. She hadn't stop talking about it until I went to the store and bought her some more.
I had forgotten about Titan until he started laughing once again.
I was a little worried. He was laughing really hard. Any minute we would start swaying into the middle of the road again.
"Are you two sisters?" He asked when his laughter finally stopped.
This time Samara sighed. "Why do people always ask that?"
"Because you two bicker like crazy old ladies." Titan replied.
"Yeah but we look nothing a like." I said, grabbing Samara's chin and putting her face next to mine. "She so pale that sometimes I wonder if she's a vampire." His face changed for a second, but before I could read it, he grinned and it vanished. "See my skin. It's dark. I got this tan in seventh grade and it never went away. Plus look at her eyes. They're this weird bluish-green color going on, while mine are almost black they're so dark."
"That doesn't mean you can't be sisters. I look nothing like my brother." He disclosed.
"And she's a shrimp compared to me." I inserted.
"Plus," Samara glared at me, pulling her chin away. "I'm pretty and she's ugly." She stuck out her tongue at me. She didn't like being called a shrimp.
I was about to pinch her when Titan spoke. "I don't think you’re ugly at all."
I could feel my face heat up and then quickly looked at Samara. I gave her a Ha-he-thinks-I'm-not-ugly look.
And she gave me a Don't-let-the-psycho-who-just-kidnapped-us-flatter-you look.
Titan spoke again. "So if you two aren't sisters. You two are what? Best friends?"
I answered before Samara could. "Most of the time we're best friends."
"Other times I pretend I don't to know her." Samara smirked.
"Oh yeah is that why you followed me to college."
"Followed you? I applied there first." Samara declared, glaring at me.
"Yeah but you’re the one who wanted to be roommates and now everyone thinks we're lesbians."
Titan started to laugh again and I froze. How did I keep forgetting that he was there? He kidnapped us and was driving us to his so called family's ranch and I felt so relaxed that I bickered with Samara like we always do when we're alone. I looked at him through the corner of my eye. I wasn't bold enough to turn my head and actually look at him. He looked normal. When he laughed it made me want to smile. I felt like I could trust him. The sound of his laughter was relaxing. I glanced over at Samara. She didn't even react to his laughter but she seemed to calm down a little. There wasn't any more tension in the truck.
I peaked at him through the corner of my eye again. He saw that I was looking at him and grinned at me when he finished bout of laughter. I blushed again and looked forward. What was happening to me? This was not like me at all. I didn't blush every time a guy looked at me. I had grown up around guys. As cliché as it sounds, I was more comfortable around them. I had more guy friends than girl friends. Hell, Samara was my only girl friend and that was because we grew up together.
I wasn’t good at me being a girl. I didn’t know how to gossip properly and I didn’t really care about clothes and guys. I had never been boy crazy. I couldn't spend hours talking about them. I was more interested with playing with them and that didn't mean I was interested in playing with their hearts. I wanted to play sports with them-- hang with them.
And guys were okay with that until I turned thirteen and grew boobs, then they all wanted to date me and sports went out the window. After they found out I had breast. Boys were more interested in kissing me than playing football with me.
I punched my first boy after he went for my boobs instead of my flags while we played flag football. After that they started going for my butt. It was closer to my flags after all. They would always swear up and down that it was an accident. I always gave them one freebie but if it happened more than once. Then it was a punch to the face. They understood that. Not many tried going for more than the freebie. I might have been a girl but I could pack a punch. No one wanted to go around with a black eye that a girl gave them.
I didn't need a guy to have fun. I had Samara and my football buddies whom left me alone as soon as they had their own girlfriends to grope and kiss. Everything was fine. No one groped me when we played football and I didn't have to punch my friends anymore. I was happy. I wasn't interested dating anyone. Plus, most of the guys thought I was too violent to date. My life was good.
Then eleventh grade came around and Samara decided to date someone. She was spending all her free time with him and I felt left out. I didn't have anyone to hang out with. It was either hang out with the math nerds and do math all day---not my best subject--- or be by myself. My football buddies were too busy trying to get into their girlfriends' pants. I chose to be with myself. Math was too hard. But I didn't like being alone. I needed someone. So when the new cutie on the block-- that's what all the girls in school called him-- Monahan asked me out. I jumped at it. I wanted someone to hang with. I later found out that if I had waited to the end of that week, I would have had Samara back. I couldn't break it off with Monahan. He was too sweet. So I dated him for two and half years without even really liking him. Of course only Samara really knew the truth. Everyone else thought I was crazy about him.
Monahan wasn't horrible or anything. I just didn't feel anything when we kissed. My heart didn't race when he came into a room. My palms didn't get sweaty. Nothing happened when I was with him. He was cute but that didn't do anything for me. I guess he finally figured it out when I pushed him off me the other day.
That was why I felt so confused by the way I was reacting to Titan. He was making me blush by just looking at me. No guy had ever made me blush before. And not to sound conceited or anything but I was always getting compliments from guys. It wasn't new to me. They looked at me. I was used to it. So why was it when Titan looked at me and said I wasn't ugly, I blushed? Maybe my heart was beating faster earlier because I was scared but now it was beating faster because I knew he was looking at me through the corner of his eyes. I felt attracted to him. This was definitely new to me. What was going on?
I peaked at him again and our eyes met for a second. He gave me a slow grin and I couldn't help it. I smiled back before turning away. Oh my God.. I was flirting with our kidnapper. I looked at Samara to make sure she hadn't seen me. Of course she had. She elbowed me in the ribs. I tried to elbow her back but she blocked me. So I took her move and glared at her. She rolled her eyes, mimicking what I would have done.
I glanced at Titan again. He was looking straight ahead. Man, he was beautiful. He had a face that made you want to trust him and for some reason I did. I felt safe with him. He wasn't sending I'm going to kill you vibes. My body wasn't telling me to get away from him. It was actually reacting to how beautiful he was. I wanted to get closer to him.
He must have felt me staring at him because he turned and smiled at me again. I bit my lip forcing myself not to smile back. I looked over at Samara to make sure she hadn't witness me flirting with Titan again. This time she hadn't. Thankfully. She was too busy thinking. I could almost hear her brain churning.
We traveled along the road without anyone speaking for about ten minutes. The only sound was the wind blowing outside the truck. I could see the trees swaying, bending at the wind's command. The sky was quickly covered by dark clouds, looming above us. Threatening to soak us to the core if we didn't stay covered. It was quite creepy, it reminded me of all the scary movies I had ever been forced to see.
"If you're going to kill us. I want to be first. I don't want to see Jayla die." Samara stopped to catch her breath. "And I would appreciate it if you killed me with the least pain possible." She concluded.
I turned my head to Samara. I gave her an are-you-crazy look. She shrugged. I turned my head to face Titan. He had an amused look on his face. He turned his head and winked at me. I was confused for a moment.
But then he spoke.
"Alright because you asked so nicely, I'll kill you fast. I won't even torture you. Which is what I normally do."
Samara actually stopped breathing. When she started turning purple. I started to worry. I grabbed her hands in mine.
"He's joking. He's not going to kill us." I told her.
"How do you know that?"
"He winked at me. Why would he wink at me if he was planning to kill us?"
"Because he psycho! And you really need to stop flirting with our kidnapper." She wheezed out.
"I wasn't flirting." I denied.
"You kinda were." Titan said, agreeing with Samara.
Samara glared at me. "See? He even realized it."
I turned to Titan, glaring. "You're not helping."
He grinned at me, while shrugging.
I went weak and smiled back at him. I heard Samara's frustrated sigh next to me. I turn to see what her problem was. She was glaring at me again. I sighed this time.
"What?" I asked.
"You're flirting again."
"No I wasn't. I was just smiling."
"Well, that's called flirting! And with our kidnapper."
I rolled my eyes before looking at Titan. I could tell he was trying not to laugh. I grimaced inward. We always seemed to amuse people. Samara and I should start charging the people around us for the shows we always seem to put on. We would be making a lot of money. People think we're the funniest thing when we start to argue.
"So Mr. Kidnapper, if you're not going to kill us. Why did you kidnap us?" Samara asked.
"Like I said before I didn't kidnap y'all. You two got in my truck with no complaints."
"Okay. If you didn't kidnap us, take us back to my car."
"Sorry I can't do that." he continued. "It's not safe...with the storm and all. There might be a tornado."
"How convenient." Samara muttered. She crossed her arm across her chest. She was almost pouting.
Titan sighed. "Alright. I'll take y'all into town tonight."
Samara looked at him puzzled. "Really?"
"Yeah. Really, but first I have to talk to my brother."
"I knew there was a catch."
"Samara." I said. "He said he would take us to town. The least we could do is let him tell his brother what's going on."
I knew she wanted to say no but instead she said. "Fine. Whatever."
"Alright. We're almost at my house. See that over there in the distance?"
I looked out the window and saw a little blur that kind of looked like a house far out.
"If I die. I'm never talking to you again." Samara whispered under her breath.
I rolled my eyes, while Titan just laughed again.