“…and who should I make this out to?” I ask as I smile at the little girl in front of me.
She is the last one in the queue, meaning after this it’s time to meet Dylan and confess.
“Destiny,” the little girl replies with a beautiful smile on her face and my heart flutters at her adorableness.
She has radiant ebony skin with beautiful kinky hair that is made into a cute little bun on top of her head. Her eyes are big and round and have a beautiful honey brown colour to them.
I sign the book with ‘To Destiny, the most adorable girl I’ve seen today. Love your friend, Indie Blake’. I add a few hearts and smiley faces before gesturing her over for her picture with me.
Someone—I’m guessing her mother because of the uncanny resemblance — takes the picture before smiling and thanking me. I remind her to use the hashtags when posting and she nods taking her daughter’s hand walking towards the door.
She bids the storeowner goodbye while little Destiny waves at me and I wave back with a genuine smile.
“Thank you so much for doing this Ms. Blake,” the storeowner, Clark, says as they leave and I stand to meet his outstretched hand.
“It was my pleasure,” I state releasing his hand. “I hope this boosts your business’s popularity.”
“Me too,” he smiles.
I nod, I gathering my things and placing my handbag on my shoulder.
“Ms. Blake, would you like to have a drink with me after such a hectic day?”
I look up at him, reading the intent in his eyes. Clark is not your stereotypical old, bookstore owner. He’s roughly in his thirties, a decent-looking man with ginger hair and green eyes and his body shows that he does workout.
I’m flattered he’s attracted to me but I’m engaged, baby momma to a possessive dom and also, he’s not my cup of tea.
“Thank you for the offer but I have dinner plans,” I say, heading towards the door, him hot on my tail.
“That’s a shame,” he states holding ajar, the door I opened. “May I have your number? To reschedule?”
I chuckle at his attempt, shaking my head. “I’m sorry Clark but I’m engaged,” I state showing my ring.
The 4-karat diamond sparkles, enclosed in a circular band with smaller diamonds surrounding it. The band around my finger is gold and at either side of the diamond, the words “Mia” and “Siempre” are engraved.
His eyes widen and he clears his throat with a blush to his cheeks. “I apologize Ms. Blake. I thought it was a ring wore for fashion purposes. I’m not that type of man.”
“It’s okay,” I shrug nonchalantly. “Goodbye, now Clark.”
He bids me goodbye as I walk through the door onto the streets and I feel his eyes on me taking me in.
I can’t blame him though. I’m in a grey, pencil skirt that frames my perky ass with a sleeved, royal blue, silk top and blue wedges.
With each step I take my ass bounces and have to say, I look good. I walk down the street, searching through my bag for my phone. I pull up Google maps checking to ensure I’m heading in the right direction. I almost face-palm myself when I notice I’m headed in the wrong direction.
Sighing I turn around, scurrying through the crowd. I bump into someone and I offer them an apology. The guy I bump into nods, staring at me openly giving me a perverse vibe.
I hurry away from him and continue forward. I pass the bookstore once more and Clark is still inside moving around.
Shaking my head, I look at the map noticing I have a ten-minute walk before me. I’m tempted to take a cab but I decide to let out the tourist in me, taking in the scenery. Plus I’m not going to rush meeting up with Dylan.
I’ve been to California before but not Burbank. Mom has a vacation house in Los Angeles, that we use every once in a while but I never ventured this far. I walk for another five minutes getting closer to my destination when I feel the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I feel like I’m being watched. I turn around looking at the crowd and no one stands out. Shrugging, I continue on my path continuously checking my phone to ensure I’m on the right path.
Glancing at the screen two minutes later, I feel someone pull close to me and place a cold metal to my back. Their arm wraps around my waist holding me to their body and I tense as I hear a click.
“Don’t make a sound,” the man says with a thick Spanish accent.
My heart is in my throat by now and my pulse is throbbing frantically. He grabs the phone out of my hands stuffing it in his pocket before gripping my waist. He pushes me forward and I take it as my cue to move. He leads me forward before stepping into a nearby alley and I hear additional footsteps behind us.
“Esta es la perra?” the man behind us asks as we turn, entering another alley and I keep my head straight pretending I don’t understand them. Is this the bitch?
“Si, donde esta el carro? La necesitamos dar al jefé,” the man holding me responds to the other and I gasp as we suddenly come to a stop. Yes, where is the car? We need to get her to the boss.
The man pushes me and I stumble in my heels thankfully regaining my balance before I fall to the ground. I look forward, noticing an adjoining alleyway. They continue to converse with each other in Spanish and I decide to make a run for it but my kidnapper speaks freezing me in place.
“Run and I will shoot you, bitch,” he grunts out. “Now, turn around.”
Mentally cursing, I turn around with wide eyes taking a good look at my attackers. Both are tall with tan complexions but one has brown hair while the other has black. They’re dressed casually in caps, jeans and cotton hoodies.
“Pensé que la necesitábamos viva?” the other asks, I recognize him as the guy I bumped into before. I thought we needed her alive.
“Sí, pero ella no lo sabe.” the one with the gun states with a roll of his eyes, before muttering something about being stuck with the newbie. Yes, but she doesn’t know that.
The one with black hair takes my phone from his pocket throwing it to the ground, stepping on it. I flinch, mentally damning him... I relax a little as I notice that they at least need me alive.
“Now, be a good bitch and hold still,” he says slowly pointing his gun at me before motioning the other man forward.
I step back, eying the man wearily. He has a cloth in his hand and it doesn’t take a genius to guess what’s happening next.
“I said don’t fucking move!” the other bellows and I flinch again.
The other man takes this time to pounce on me. Lashing out, I swing my bag at him which distracts him enough for me to land a kick to his balls. He groans falling over and I scream as a bullet is fired at the ground close to my feet. I look up to see the other guy marching towards me, my eyes staring down the barrel of the gun.
“Fucking bitch!” the black hair guy yells before slapping me across the face with his gun.
I stumble back only to be slapped again and I fall to the ground, my face stinging. Glancing to the side, I notice his leg aiming for my stomach. I grab his foot, twisting it and pull, rolling to my side as I was taught. He falls back releasing a shot, the gun slipping from his grip. I quickly climb onto him ramming my fist to his face.
My parents didn’t pay for five years of self-defence for nothing.
He groans, eyes rolling back and a sliver of hope blossoms in me... I might get out of this alive... I scream as my neck is grabbed and a cloth is shoved over my nose and mouth.
The second man!
He pulls me up and I struggle kicking out. My eyes start to blur and I cry out as a wave of dizziness clouds me. The other man gets up sluggishly holding his blood broken nose and I cry, tears falling down my face as I can make out his silhouette in blurred, colours. He moves towards me and dread grips me by the throat as his hand rises as if to strike me.
No! No! No! I can’t go like this! My family! My baby! They need me!
I scream as a gunshot rings out and the man before me falls. Another goes off and I fall to the ground with the man behind me.
My body’s limp and my breathing is heavy. Loud thuds catch my attention, my eyes flicker in and out and I see a pair of black sneakers moving towards me.
I’m lifted but my eyes roll back taking my sight and consciousness.
I awaken with a start, lashing out. I jump off whatever I’m on only to be pulled back by a handcuff on my wrist.
I look around frantically to find myself standing in front of a small bed in a tiny grey room. Overhead are yellow lights that seem to have been built in the wall. I spy a camera in the corner opposite the bed and I see a large mirror on the wall.
I observe it for a minute before thinking maybe not a mirror but a one-way window. Is this an interrogation room?
“Where am I?” I call my voice a bit coarse. “Why am I here?!”
I look at the camera before glancing in the mirror... I move towards it but the cuff pulls me back and I fall on my ass by the force of my movements. The camera makes a noise as it moves and my gaze snaps to it, there’s no doubt in my mind that someone is behind that window.
“I know you’re there!” I yell scrambling to my feet, which I just notice are bare.
It’s silent for a while and I start to assume the worse. There has been a lot of cases of human trafficking nowadays. Is that what that is? Am going to be used as a sex slave?
“Am I to be sold?!” I cry glaring at the camera. “Is that it?!”
“That’s never going to happen! I rather go down kicking before I allow you to use me!” I lash out pulling at the handcuffs.
Pain laces my wrist and I yelp as a trickle of blood falls onto the floor. I fall to the ground, gripping my wrist as I look at the damage done. I’d manage to rub it red and cut myself.
“Settle down,” A male voice says within the room, starling me.
“Hey! Let me out!” I yell, getting to my feet and moving towards the window, ignoring the pain on my wrist.
“Stop fighting against the cuffs. It’s no use, you’ll only hurt yourself!” the voice says again and I pick up a faint accent but I can’t place it.
“Let me out!” I scream uncaring of how my throat hurts.
“Shut up and behave before you get us in trouble with the—” another male says before the sound of a door opening cuts him off. “Boss!”
The room is silent again and I look at the window, with worried eyes. The boss? He’s the one that has me here... Is he going to sell me? Kill me? R-Rape me?
Whatever it is... I’m not going down without a fight.
I stay staring at the window for a few minutes before a lock clicks, the sound resonating around the room and I watch in fright as a section on the wall opens up.
It’s fully ajar but the darkness within that area hides whoever it is from my view. Seconds tick by before the person moves and I suck in a breath.
The person takes a step forward and my gaze follows the black, leather shoes to a grey, expensive Armani suit before finally landing on his face.
When I see who it is I’m shocked.
I put my free hand over my mouth, stepping back to sit on the bed, feeling like my legs are going to fail me. My eyes hold his and my mouth goes dry.
One word plays over and over again in my mind. I can’t hold it in anymore and the word leaves my lips as I stare into his blue-green eyes. “Why?”