After some hours, the van stops, and the door lifts. My functional eye spots the harmful man and he grabs the back of my neck, dragging me out on the snow.
“Let me go!” I scream, “Creep!”
He backhands me, forcing me to spit saliva. He lets me fall on the cold ground and my skin shivers uncontrollably.
He makes a phone call, and the back-men solemnly smoke cigars. It’s too dark out to see what else they’re doing. I don’t know who they are, but I’m certain that they’re the gangs that the news warned me every day about. Kidnapped girls... Now, I’m part of it. I’ve been added to the skyrocketing number. My body temperature plummets from anxiety.
Restricted to a side view, I see a tree... I see what looks like the corner of a warehouse. I see a few other shadowy vehicles sitting in the lot.
I refuse to cry like a little baby, though. My head turns to dip my swollen eye in the snow for healing.
“Yes, I got to admit she is a looker, petite, firm body—I can see why he keeps her,” the man speaks on the phone casually. He pauses as he listens to the reply. He sets his stare on me. “Hm, college girl. Yeah.”
He’s talking to someone who’s asking about me. My heart drops, and my spine stiffens.
“Don’t worry,” the man in the long taupe coat continues, this time looking elsewhere. He crushes snow under his crocodile skin shoes. “He’ll do anything you ask.”
“Please!” I plead, “Let me go!”
One back-man puts his foot on my head, applying pressure. I yell, helpless. The man lifts his hand, as if to say that’s enough. I crawl on my chest, getting nowhere. My breath turns foggy in the air.
The man gets off the phone. I realize how difficult my life will become.
The man ends his call and chuckles lightly. He kneels down to me.
“Be a good girl and don’t cause a scene,” he warns me, widening his eyes like mad man. “If you don’t, I’m going to have to hurt you, and Judah won’t be so thrilled with me.”
I fight back the tears rolling on my eyelids. Something is going on that I don’t understand. I’m far from strong. I know I can’t get out of this mess.
Somebody walks out the warehouse, interrupting the man’s warning.
“Rick!” the newcomer exclaims.
He turns and I look, too.
“Antony, it’s nice to see you. You took so long to open the door, I thought you were still in Colombia,” Rick makes a joke.
Without another sentence, everyone gets on their feet and walk inside the warehouse. My body is picked up like a ragdoll. I’ve heard these names before. I’m scared of what they want with me.
Do I blame Judah? No, I can only blame myself. I knew how bad he was. I knew what he dealt with was dangerous. But I still went to him. So, it’s up to me to get out of this mess... alive.
“Where are you taking me?” I spit.
Rick smirks, “I’m glad you asked. We’re going to where you’ll make me a rich man.”
After descending a flight of metal stairs, we enter a fluorescently lit brothel. Pinkish and reddish light bulbs hang above our heads. Hard hitting atmospheric music blares around us. Naked women walk around with just their stilettoes on. Pole dancers on the right, lap dancers on the left...
We travel further, passing through sheer curtains and hanging glittery beads. I hold my breath from the heavy stench of pot and cocaine. I watch creepy rich men exchange money for the company of young girls and the side effects of drugs. I wonder how long these girls have been there. At what point did they give in to this life? Are any of them from my school... one day, learning how to work on a spread sheet—the next, spreading their legs for strangers.
I’m pushed into a line of girls who look frightened to death. They too are tied up and crying in fear. The girl in front of me can’t be older than fifteen. We resemble the fresh catch of the day.
“Who’s this?” someone snickers.
Rick decides to introduce me, “This is Judah’s girl.”
The auctioneer, with a blue strip of hair going down the middle of his head, smiles wide and long.
“What a jewel,” he awes and takes my face in his hand.
“High cost, though,” Rick says.
The two exchange a look... a look that tells me that they’re ready to do business.
Rick speaks first, “2 million.”
The blue head auctioneer glowers, “I don’t pay more than 500 thousand for my girls.”
Rick laughs, running his index on his brow.
“This isn’t just any girl off the street, Cobalt. This belongs to Judah. You have her—you can have anything.”
He examines me, thinking over his options and propositions. I try to look tough and cease shaking. He doesn’t seem convinced by Rick’s guarantee.
“Let’s see what she can do.”
They pull me out of the line and drag me onto a different room. Inside is a small crowd of horny men. They sit and watch a pair of nude blondies on a platform, who are playing with each other in the worst of ways. They’re putting on a show, moaning and chanting and all. But I’m certainly not about to join it.
I spit, “I’ll do nothing for you!”
The auctioneer looked me over, surprised that I spoke. He then nods to himself.
“I hope that mouth can open even wider,” he sneers, smiling evilly at me.
He grabs me away from Rick’s back-man.
He says to Rick, “You’ll see your money in the morning.”
Rick grins at his success of selling me off. If these guys see any value in keeping me here, many of them must have a strong hatred for Judah.
Cobalt’s plans for me are halted when he’s met with a much older man wearing a grey suit.
“Ah, mister Hudson. What can I do for you?”
“How much is the young one?” the older man asks, pointing to the fifteen year old I saw earlier.
Dread washes over her face, because she knows where she’ll end up. I wish there were something I could do. She’s way too young to deal with this. But then again, these girls are never saved. They’re stuck here, forced to do things they don’t want to do. What sickens me is that the police, government, and public turn a blind eye out of their own selfish fears. No one deserves this. I slightly direct my anger towards Judah, because he’s part of a gang that initiates this lifestyle. Who’s to say he’s not part of this... part of why I’m here. A stabbing feeling takes my heart under.
Cobalt turns, “She’s a newcomer. I haven’t priced her yet.”
“I’ll give you 40 thousand. Bring her to my room,” the old man orders.
“Alright,” he nods.
“Wait!” I interject over the blasting music. I felt awful watching the colour in the little girl’s face fade away. “Take me.”
The men look over at me, wondering what’s up with me and my suddenness.
“Don’t you know who I am?”
“She’s not for sale. She’s for show,” Cobalt’s blue head shakes a solid no.
“I’m Judah’s girl!”
I said it a little too loud. The old geezer’s eyes narrowed. Cobalt’s grip on me turns deadly and cuts all blood circulation. My plan is to get away from him—even if that means going up to an old guy’s room. At least, there, I can think effectively on a plan to get out.
“Since you’re here,” Cobalt changes subjects, “Let’s talk about your son. When is he coming to our side? I’m a little tired of waiting.”
Old Hudson man keeps his perverted eyes on me.
“I’ll let you know,” he answers shortly, “And I’ll take both girls into my room.”
Old man Hudson takes a seat on the edge of the bed. I look over the other girl. Her eyeliner is smudged and her teeth are grinding. I watch the old man undo his tie, getting ready for a night of pleasure with girls who are old enough to be his daughters.
I remind myself that I have a line of defence. I approach him and tilt my chin up, trying my best to look certain.
“Alright. Let’s get to it,” I say, as assertively as I can.
The old business man seems amused. He reaches to unbutton his shirt. I glance back at the terrified girl. She hugs herself, frowning my way. Taking my time, I pull my shirt above my head. It’s the easiest way to get a hold of my tiny bottle of pepper spray tucked in the side of my bra. I’ve decided to always have it on, ever since Judah told me that there are people watching me with bad intentions.
“Do you need help, sir?” I sing, leaning in.
He smiles and looks up, as I take his suit jacket off.
Then, I take my chance and spritz pepper spray in his face. Immediately, he screams in pain, shoving his hands in his melting eyeballs.
He drops back in the bed, making a gun hit the floor. In a rush of panic, I grab it and dash. I push the other girl through the door with me.
“Run!” I tell her.
She goes in one direction, I go in the other. One of us is bound to find a way out of this hotel. Then it clicked in my head. Could old man Hudson be the owner of the Hudson brand? That would be eerie. A chill slices my spine.
Just as I turn the corner, I’m met with leather jacket and leather boots—a signature look that I know too well. But I point my new found silver gun in the air, nonetheless.
I look into his face... his hard, stern, unforgiving face. My lungs can’t help but pant from the running and spent energy.
Inside, I’m jumping for joy that he found me and that he’ll save me. But outside, I return him a cold glare. I decide to blame him for my troubles.
“Put the gun down,” he commands.
“It’s called self-defence,” I bark.
“Do you know how long it took me to find you?” Judah scowls.
Air gets stuck in my throat.
“Just tell me...” I start, as my hands shake. “Tell me you’re not part of what goes on in that warehouse.”
Judah shakes his head, “That’s Brag. And if we stay here any longer, they’ll find us.”
I drop my arms and sigh. Judah takes the gun for me, before I hurt myself in some way.
He quickly takes my hand and guardedly makes a rapid escape. We trail down the stairs.
I half whisper, “They know who I am... All they keep saying is that I’m Judah’s girl. Why?”
We reach outside in the cold night. Judah wraps me in his jacket.
“That’s because you are,” he answers and glances at me.
I helplessly blush, even though I’m not happy with him. My lips push out in a pout.
“But why is it so important... to them?” I ask, watching him pulling his car door open.
I want to know what they have against him so bad that they need to use me. Also, I need to know why being Judah’s girl is so profitable, as oppose to some other guy in the mafia. There’s an underlying reason for my kidnap.
“Get in,” he directs.
As soon as I do, the car runs down the road. It becomes quiet in the car. I shuffle my arms through his leather jacket and buckle my seatbelt.
“There’s more to it, though,” I inquire impatiently. Judah stays very silent, while he drives us away from danger’s way. My nose flares, huffing out air like a bull. “But you’re not going to tell me? Huh?”
I cross my arms and turn my head the other way. My blistering head shakes. I can’t believe this guy. I get taken away, and he won’t explain why or what.
After being on the road for over an hour, Judah pulls up to a condo complex. We jump out at the same time. The valet man takes Judah’s keys to park it on the other side.
Judah doesn’t spare me a look. He just expects me to follow, I guess. I watch him pull out a key card, as we get on the elevator.
Thanks to the chrome walls, I see my reflection. Thankfully, I look alive and under my eye is back to normal. I raise my hand to rub the area.
“You look pale,” Judah’s deep voice startles me.
I glance back at him, rubbing my cold hands together. Instead of replying, I roll my eyes and stare at the digital numbers above the doors, until we reach his floor. He doesn’t appreciate it, because he lets out an annoyed sigh.
Judah aggressively pushes the condo door open. It hits the wall behind. The clattering sound makes me jump. I don’t have much time to recover, as Judah pushes me inside as well. I stare at him front the corner of my eye.
He’s fuming, sure—but what’s new?
Before anything can be said, I find the path towards the bathroom. To show that he’s not the only one with boiling blood, I slam the door shut, like there’s nothing better to do. I slip out of my clothes and turn towards the shower. The glass tiles freeze my toes. I twist the faucet, thinking about what had happened.
I’m far from thrilled about this, but I guess it comes with the package called Judah.
In no time, the mirrors fog up. I was lucky that I even had Judah to save me... Some of those girls back there have no one.
My brain thinks further. Instead of fetching a new girl to hang around, Judah came for me... and is still with me. How much does he care about me? I know I care about him. A small smile creeps up on my lips. I can’t help it.
After scrubbing my skin and washing my hair, I exit the bathroom with a towel around me. My ears hear Judah’s voice chatting strictly on his phone in the other room. I take the risky decision to stay angry with him. This is still his fault, after all.
I enter the empty bedroom and open the closet. I steal a simple black shirt and throw it on. It’s long and ends halfway down my thighs. It’ll have to do, I tell myself.
My goosebump-covered legs take me through the hall and into the kitchen. Across the island is a Judah, who’s tucking his phone in his pocket.
My back stays turned to him, as I’m not up for carrying a conversation with him. His eyes are watching me, I know.
I open the fridge and grab a can of ginger ale. He’s ready to argue—I can feel it, but I drink slowly to stall.
“You were supposed to stay in the house,” he says.
I roll my eyes and idly step around the island.
“I was supposed to nothing,” I reply flatly. Judah snatches away my soda and chugs the rest, like he has permission. “Besides, you left without a single word. So, it’s your fault that I was kidnapped!”
Satisfied with my courage to raise my voice at him, I spin to walk away.
Suddenly, Judah grabs my wrist tightly. Our glares meet. My arm tugs back. Our breathing merge.
His stare lowers down to my body. His jaw clenches for a moment, before looking back into my eyes. I feel my heart speeding up. He takes a step closer.
“You’re wearing my t-shirt,” he points out, hovering over me.
“Yeah,” I say slowly, “And nothing else.”
My neck strains so that I can look up at him, though I stand firm on my two feet. He doesn’t scare me... He just makes my heart skip.
“What if I want it that way?” he asks in a deep husky voice.
“Whatever you want... I’m not giving.”
“Why the fuck not?”
“Because of you, I was kidnapped,” my voice emphasizes.
“And you’re mad at me?”
“Of course I’m mad at you! So you can just stay on that side of the room.”
I stretch my arm to point exactly where he can reside. But Judah grabs my other wrist, pulling me towards him completely. My mouth gasped, because I didn’t see it coming.
“I do what I want.”
“Oh yeah?” I needle.
Judah nods, “Yeah. And I want you.”
I give him the stink eye, and mutter, “Needy and greedy.”
His hands pick my thighs up and rest me on the counter. I plant my hands on the edge for extra support. The way he gazes at me throws my balance off.
“You? Mad? It turns me on, sweet cheeks,” he smirks.
My bones stop working and my body turns into jelly. I didn’t see that coming either—and nothing prepared me for it.
His lips crashes against mine, pulling me apart. His hands rub me up. My hands caress his jaw, wanting more from his hot kiss. His tongue makes its way into my mouth.
My legs squeeze around his waist, because I feel like we fit perfectly together like puzzle pieces.
Once his roaming hands confirm that I have nothing under the shirt, he groans hungrily and kisses me harder.
“Shit, Rose,” he whispers breathlessly on my lips.
I forget about time and space. His mouth devours my neck. My arms latch around his neck. I can’t think of anything else I want as badly as I want Judah. The butterflies grow in the pit of my stomach. The temperature rises. My body aches so much for him, it’s unreal. His soft bites become intoxicating. All I care about is now, this moment, this feeling. I’ve fallen for Judah.
He picks me up and takes us to the bedroom. Is this it? Is this the end of the line for me?
He sets me down on the bed. I don’t think I can breathe anymore. My shoulders shiver over the cold bed sheets.
“Shh,” he hushes me with his lips.
I take a deep breath, taking in his scent. I just don’t get how being like this, right now, feels so good.
He doesn’t let my body go. His hands slide up my shirt, gripping me in every place. His rock hard body presses down on me, making me feel the bulge through his joggers, surging between my legs.
I didn’t know how sensitive my body can become. I get embarrassed at the thought.
His hands slowly smooth their way down my stomach. The lower they go, the more I get nervous.
Suddenly, Judah’s phone buzzes.
I exhale, opening my eyes and trying to reconfigure my brain.
“Fu—” Judah groans a long curse, “—uck.”