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If you'd asked me about my life a year ago, I would've told you it was boring, white-bread, middle-class-peanut-butter-and-jelly-sandwich-in-my-pink-polka-dot-lunch-bag-every-day boring. That was before everything changed. That was before I met him.
So, here I am a year later, on the floor of some stranger's parked car, trying not to breathe for fear of being discovered. The inside of the car reeks of day old fast food and dirty feet, but I don't dare raise my head, even for cleaner air. Instead, I wait for the headlights to fill the cracks where the doors hinges leave tiny fissures in the metal, letting small bits of light through. I know the light is coming from his headlights and when the light passes over me, there will be a brief window of opportunity I can use to escape and run for my life.
Finally, after I hear the distinctive ping of his diesel engine, and his precious cherry red Mercedes passes me, I carefully open the door and climb out of the backseat as noiselessly as possible. My eyes dart nervously, taking in my surroundings. The long, orderly, suburban street looks quiet. All the houses are black, with the exception of a few scattered televisions sending pulsing light out into the night. Now is my chance. Mason is only ten houses away and he has the tools to free me from this hellish nightmare. He knows my anguish. Tonight he will be my white knight.
Keeping low to stay in the shadows, I begin to move as quickly as I can down the street. I can see Mason's house now. My skin starts to prickle with anticipation. Adrenaline is coursing through my veins and has been for several hours. I stand up, making myself taller than the car for the first time all night. Suddenly, I realize how sore my back is and a little yelp escapes my mouth as my vertebrae complain at their mistreatment. My guard is down for ten seconds, and somehow, from some invisible hiding place, a dark figure emerges and grabs me from behind. It happens so fast that I don't even yell. All that comes out is a small murmur, not even enough to rouse the sleeping dogs. I feel his arms wrap around me like a straight jacket and I thrash wildly, made more powerful by my fear. Still, his strength trumps mine and he holds me tight.
"It's okay, Lucyloo," he coos in my ear. "I got ya." He knows I don't want to be held. His words are coming from some demented place from within him, some place that he kept hidden from me when we first met. For a second, I rest, letting him believe that I am giving up. I need the time to think.
No one is coming for me. He made sure of that. The worst part is that I let him. I even defended him when my friends warned me and then eventually left me, growing tired of my excuses. I watched him lull my parents, creating a persona that they could trust. Heck, I believed him too. He looked the partclean-cut, good grades, well spoken. Everything my parents wanted for me. His words were just right and his beautiful blue eyes were like quick-sand, pulling me in, deceiving me without giving away the danger. Now I'm in knee deep, covered in the toxic lies of his trap. I am like an insect, tangled in his sticky web of deceit, but I still have one last trick up my sleeve. I know his ego is huge, and his need to feel control consumes his every waking thought. At least I finally understand this now.
Taking a breath, I force my rigid body to seem relaxed. I lay my head back against his chest and let him feel my hair against his neck. He always liked that. He didn't let go, but his stance loosened just the tiniest bit.
"You got me," I purr as I lie against him. "How did you know I wanted you to get me?"
Inside, my stomach is lurching and it is all I can do not to vomit on his shiny new tennis shoes but I hold it together. I have to; it is my only hope of escape.
A strange laugh rumbles in his throat, making a fresh wave of nausea roll over me.
"I knew you really wanted me. I told my dad that I didn't need his help but he didn't believe me."
I feel him release his grip a little at a time as his confidence grows. Despite my best efforts, my breathing begins to quicken in anticipation of my escape. His arms, while still around me, are soft, almost loving. For one small second, I wonder if it something has changed, if he will let me go voluntarily,' and then I look down the street at Mason's house and my mind snaps back to reality. Like a gust of wind, a microburst of power comes from somewhere deep inside me. I throw off my captor's arms and sprint. My long legs fly beneath me, putting distance between us. Sweat beads up behind my knees and on my back despite the cold air of the early morning hours.
For a second, he stands frozen, as if his ego will not accept the reality of his defeat, and then the anger rises up in him, taking a form of fury that causes him to bellow in pure rage. As the terrible sound carries through the night, it sends terror through me like a white-hot bolt of lightning, searing up what little love I had left for him. All at once, his feet connect with the pavement and he begins to chase me again, this time driven by his lusty desire for vengeance.
As I focus on taking one breath at a time, the pounding of our footsteps on the damp pavement reminds me of a wildly beating heart and I find myself coming back again and again to one thought. How did I get into this mess? Then, with sickening clarity, I remember. Oh, yeah, I was the new kid.