It’s time for another serial story told flash fiction style. This one’s a contemporary romance between two emotionally damaged characters.
Time passed without a word from anyone. I had no idea if it were day or night since Rich kept the room-darkening curtains closed. Now my hands and feet were tied. Even though I promised Rich a little kinky fun if he’d just undo the restraints, he refused.
The door creaked open and my captor slipped into the room carrying a tray. “Hungry?”
I knew I really should be grateful. Rich—if that’s even his name—could have abused me by now. Providing a meal was beyond common courtesy for a criminal. Sadly, I wasn’t capable of being nice. Twisting my lips, I said, “What do you think?”
Rich sat the tray on the edge of the bed and untied my hand from the headboard.
“I need to pee too.”
Sighing, he stopped as if considering the best course of action. After a minute, he shook his head and continued untying me. “If you promise to behave, I won’t have to redo these.”
“What do you think I’m going to do? First, I don’t know where I’m at. Second, there’s not even a phone in this room. Before you closed the curtains, I saw nothing but the tops of trees.” Rich’s eyebrows touched as he stared at me. “Plus, I’m too high up to jump out a window without breaking anything.”
“Yeah.” He stood and pointed to a door on the far side of the room. “Bathroom is through there. Don’t get any wild ideas though. There isn’t a lock on the door and the window is sealed.”
Sliding off the bed, I glanced over my shoulder. I’m a fucking Daniels. There is always another way out of trouble. There has to be.
An hour later dinner was over, and I was alone again left with my thoughts. I considered what Rich said regarding his father. How big of a fool could the man be to take on Aldrich Daniels? The company is all that my father cares about. He’d kill for it. Correction: he has killed for it.
Once upon a time, Aldrich Daniels had a heart and with it he loved my mother. Loved Genevieve Marchand more than any man had a right to love anyone. He worshiped the ground she walked on—when he allowed stepping on it, that is. Aldrich Daniels gave my mother everything a woman could need in life and more.
For a short time, I belonged in that world. Aldrich Daniels was Father to me. He called me his princess, spoiling me beyond belief. There was nothing I could do wrong. Until that day.
It was a big recital for me—the first time I’d dance solo. Hours were spent practicing positions and all the choreography. Mom purchased me a brand new pink tutu along with new tights. Everyone in our family and all our friends were invited to the dance. Even my French cousin, Margaux, and her father—Mom’s brother—came to the States to watch the performance.
The dancers gathered, ready to head backstage, when I remembered my good luck charm in the car. Father said I was too old to believe in such nonsense.
“But I can’t dance without it,” I pleaded.
“Aldrich, I’ll go get it. I can take Austin with me. Get our seats.” Mom was good at smoothing things over with the man.
Father reluctantly smiled, kissed Mom on the cheek, and watched her leave to collect the stuffed bear. Father was right. I was too old to carry the toy around, but it belonged to my grandmother. It was passed down to me.
Little did any of us know what would happen next. Gunshots rang out and everyone inside ducked. Everyone except Father. He removed a gun from his holster, beneath his jacket, and ran for the exit. When you make as many enemies as Aldrich Daniels did, there was always somebody lurking in the shadows waiting for revenge.
Someone killed the security team. Mom and Austin couldn’t be found. Sadly, all of Father’s influence meant nothing. Someone made demands, but Aldrich Daniels didn’t cave to terrorists. When he refused to act, we received a phone call. Hours later, after Father left, I was told that Austin wouldn’t be coming home ever again. His funeral was five days later.
Shortly after the service Father got one more message. This one plunged his heart into a sea of darkness. Instead of consoling his only living heir, he pushed me to the side and wallowed in his grief. The bastards who killed Austin stole my mother as well. Too bad Aldrich Daniels didn’t die too.
“Hey.” The voice came from the doorway.
Glancing toward the light, I noticed Rich standing just inside the room. I was so lost in memories that I’d forgotten about my captor. “What do you want?”
“A little information. The sooner you help me, the sooner you can go home.”
Pulling my legs in, I rested my head on my knees. “Who said I wanted to go?”
The bed dipped as Rich sat down. “We just need the codes to get into the vault.”
My eyes narrowed. “Who are you working with? And what codes are you talking about?”
“Don’t play dumb, Peyton.” The man had the audacity to run the back of his finger over my cheek. “Just give me the codes. We’ll get the files and this will be over with.”
Files? Did he honestly think Aldrich Daniels trusted me with company secrets? He’d rather take in a homeless person before telling me anything of substance. “Sorry, Rich. I can’t help you. I know nothing of the Daniels empire. If I did, the only code I’d want would be the one that would help me escape.”