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"Why are you doing this?"
"I already told you that. Lucas has to pay!" The woman's voice cracked.
"For what?" Gillian tried to keep the woman talking. Maybe she could talk her into letting her go.
"Maybe he's snowed you. But Lucas deserves this. He doesn't care about the people he's hurt. And what's worse is he drags other people into his stupid plans."
"What do I have to do with that?" Gillian wasn't going to argue. The woman was crazy.
"He loves you. He told me." The woman glared at her. "Hell I didn't need him to tell me, I've seen it over the weeks. Why do you think so many bad things have been happening to you." Gillian shrugged. The woman was talking now, anything she might have said would only have made things worse. So a silent answer seemed her best option. "It didn't start out that way you know. At first it was all about him. The rock, the gun shot, I hoped like hell one of them would hit him just right. He was right by the window. That first day, he was right by the window and I missed by a mile. That's when I realized I was too angry--too close to the situation."
Gillian stared at the woman. The more she spoke, the crazier she seemed. "And you found someone to do your dirty work." The woman just stared at her. "You went to an awful lot of trouble. Why?"
The woman slammed her hands down on the table. "He knows why! And now, well, now he will pay the ultimate price. The price he made me pay." The woman's emotion choked her, and she looked away from Gillian. "Enough talk." She waved her hand in Gillian's face.
"Are you afraid that I'll make you see reason? That, unlike your little henchman there, I won't cater to your every thought anddemand?"
"Maybe you're afraid I'll prove you wrong. That I'll show you that Lucas isn't--"
The woman backhanded her, and Gillian tasted blood. "I said shut up," the woman said with deadly calm.
Silence settled over the two women. Neither spoke again while they awaited the return of the man who had lured her into the back of the van. Gillian used the time to study the woman, her mannerisms and habits. If she could learn her habits, she could possibly fight for her freedom, if she was ever left alone with the woman again. But first, she'd have to be uncuffed, and what were the chances of that happening?
The cell phone buzzed on the nightstand and the woman moved to answer it. The woman was smaller than Gillian. If it came to a battle of strength, Gillian was sure she could overtake the nutcase.
"Carl! Where have you been?" the woman screeched into the phone. "Yeah, there something going on, stupid! Why would I be calling if there wasn't?"
A long pause followed and Gillian wished she could here what Carl was saying.
"I don't want to hear it! I'm working with a couple of idiots!" Another pause. "Family or not. I think I'm the only one with any brains here."
The woman shook her head, and her cheeks flamed again, reminding Gillian of the devil.
"It's time to move to the next step. Your father jumped the gun, and we've got the girl. Tomorrow, you need to inform Lucas that we have her, anonymously of course. Tell him to wait for our next demand at her house. We'll deliver it in twenty-four hours."
Gillian wanted to scream. Twenty-four hours with these people. Were they really going to let her go?
"When he shows up, he'll find our million-dollar demand." A low rumble of laughter came out of the woman. She listened to whatever was said and nodded although the other speaker couldn't see her. "That's right. Now, don't fuck this up!" She snarled just before she closed the phone.
The door burst open and startled the woman turned. "What the hell?"
"Someone was pulling into the driveway. I snuck out the back door. I hauled ass out of there in a hurry."
"Did anyone see you?" Panic colored her words.
"I don't think so." The man huffed trying to catch his breath.
"Put her back in the bed. It's done. Carl will do his part first thing in the morning. There's nothing more we can do tonight."
Gillian choked on disgust when the man came near her again and unlocked the cuffs that held her in place. He grabbed her and forced her to stand. Moments later, she was pushed back into the bed and secured in place. Gillian was grateful when he left her alone and walked into the bathroom. Seconds later, she heard the shower turn on and the woman settled back on the bed that sat a few feet from the one she had been forced onto.
A half hour later, the man exited the shower in a pair of boxer shorts and he crossed the room and turned out the lights. In the pitch black, she couldn't see and fear once again set in. When her eyes adjusted, she breathed a sigh of relief to see the man settled into a small chair near the window with his head back and eyes closed. At least for tonight, it seemed that the two loony tunes who kidnapped her planned to leave her alone.
Gillian prayed. Lord, please help me to endure this. Keep me safe and let Lucas come for me. Gillian thought for a moment. On second thought, if Lucas is going to die, keep him away. I couldn't live with that. Gillian ended her prayer not bothering to think about the fact that in essence she may have just bargained with God for the life of Lucas in exchange for her own.