I stood there, with my mouth hanging open.
‘Tara, I can explain how this all necessary,’ he began but I cut him off.
‘You…you kidnapped me?’ I felt like I was going to collapse. The walls seemed to be closing in on me and my breathing started becoming restricted. I leant against the wall for support and sagged to the floor. Luke was beside me in a flash.
‘Tara, you have to listen to me, this is all completely necessary. This is protecting you.’ Luke’s face was inches from mine. I shoved him back with all my strength and he fell to the floor.
‘Take me home!’ I demanded. ‘Take me home now!’ Luke stood up and offered his hand to me. When I didn’t take it, he sighed.
‘Come downstairs, meet the others. We’re all perfectly safe I promise you.’ He started making his way out of the room and I stared after him until he disappeared. This was my chance.
I climbed shakily to my feet and headed for the window on the far side of the room when someone grabbed my arm.
‘Tara, come on,’ his blue eyes were staring at me intently. His voice was soft and pleading and I felt a sudden, ridiculous urge to do as he said. Without protesting, I let him guide me out of the room and down some old wooden stairs that creaked with each step and into a large, bare room. When I say bare, I’m not exaggerating, there was literally nothing in it, not even a chair.
Three people were huddled close together in the corner and they stopped talking and turned to face us as we entered. I instantly felt intimidated and automatically moved slightly closer to Luke. They all regarded me with cold, disinterested expressions.
‘Cool it guys.’ Luke murmured.
‘Why should we Luke?’
‘This is our mess okay? We just have to remember that we had to do this.’ Luke tried to reason.
‘Doesn’t mean we wanted to,’ one of them growled in a low voice. I looked at the one who spoke and repressed a shudder. Although he was very good looking, with olive skin and dark hair, he was extremely intimidating, probably more so than the rest. His dark eyes were glaring right at me and he looked like he wanted to hit me.
‘Gabriel, easy.’ Luke warned in a cool voice.
‘Doesn’t anybody else feel like we’ve made a terrible mistake?’ a small girl questioned. She looked too innocent to be involved in a kidnapping. She was petite, with masses of blonde hair and big green eyes and wore a worried expression.
‘What choice did we have?’ the third and final one snapped. He was just as good looking, but there was something different about him. He seemed, inhuman in some way. He had piercing blue eyes, just like Luke, but thick black hair that fell in stylish waves to just above his shoulder. He was taller than the others and his white shirt clung to his lean, muscular body. Despite his looks, I was getting seriously bad vibes from him. His eyes met mine and I swear my heart stopped, they pierced right into me, penetrating my very soul. I couldn’t breathe. When he finally looked away, I broke free of his spell and took in a gulp of air.
‘Don’t do that Reuben,’ Luke spoke in a low, menacing voice. Reuben didn’t stay anything, he just smiled in satisfaction.
‘What just happened?’ my voice was shaky. I noticed in my peripheral vision a door, not too far away. I wondered if I could make it there without being caught. I highly doubted it but it was worth a shot, right? I tried to act normal, not like I was about to run free.
‘Never mind,’ Luke flashed a warning look at Reuben. ‘We brought you here for a reason, Tara.’
‘Oh?’ I feigned interest. My heart was pounding wildly at the thought of escape. I noticed Reuben was looking at me strangely, one eyebrow slightly raised, like he could read my mind. That was a disturbing thought. I tried to act calmer.
‘And what might that be?’
‘Well, as I told you before, most of it was for your own safety. There are things you don’t know, things that could be quite…dangerous.’
I wasn’t even listening to a word he was saying, I was waiting for an opportunity to pelt it for the door. I just needed all of them to get distracted somehow. Just as I thought this, Reuben lifted his head, his eyes narrowed.
‘Someone’s in the house,’ he murmured.
At that point, something that sounded like glass smashed in the room next door, what looked like the kitchen. Everyone’s heads were turned and Reuben disappeared into the kitchen, followed by Gabriel. Luke moved closer to the blonde and whispered something in her ear. Now was the perfect opportunity. Without looking back, I ran for the door, prayed it was unlocked and almost cried with relief when it opened easily, releasing me into the early morning. I didn’t think I had a chance in hell of getting away, and I was absolutely right. Seconds later, somebody grabbed my arm and jerked me to a stop.
‘Tara! Stop!’ Luke shouted. ‘Don’t run away! Seriously it isn’t safe. There’s really no point anyway, I could easily bring you back here if you did get away.’
‘What do you want with me?!’ I yelled. ‘I thought I could trust you Luke! You made me think I could trust you…’
Luke’s face twisted in pain and he looked like I’d just slapped him.
‘Just…let me go. I won’t tell anyone, I promise,’ I resorted to begging him. Every inch of my mind was willing him to listen to me and my eyes were pleading desperately. He was silent for a moment before he slowly let go of my arm.
‘Go…’ he whispered.
I didn’t need telling twice. Without looking back at him, I turned round and ran as fast as I could leaving him standing there.
* * *
‘Where are you Rose?’ I muttered under my breath, checking my phone yet again. I was waiting in the cinema for my best friend, and she was late as per usual. More and more people were coming in, crowding the lobby. I decided I would go and stand outside for a bit of fresh air but then I reconsidered. I wasn’t too fond of being outside on my own, for obvious reasons…
‘Hey!’ a flustered looking Rose burst through the door. ‘I’m sorry I’m late, dad was putting the twins to bed and then there was loads of traffic. I’m sorry!’
‘It’s fine,’ I managed a smile. ‘Honestly.’ I ignored the icy feeling in the pit of my stomach and the fact that my heart was thudding wildly against my chest. I can’t be afraid of being alone forever.
‘So what are we going to see again?’ Rose linked her arm through mine and dragged me through bustling bodies to the ticket booth.
‘Um… that one!’ I pointed to a title on the board.
‘Surreal?’ Rose’s voice was sceptical.
‘Hey, it looks good,’ I protested.
‘Yeah okay then, well I’ll have a ticket for Surreal please,’ Rose told the man behind the counter.
After we’d both got our tickets and popcorn, we made out way up the steps and into the large cinema room, choosing a seat towards the back.
‘How have you been?’ Rose turned to look at me, dumping her popcorn on the floor.
‘So-so. Can’t complain,’ I smiled. Rose was the only one I told about Luke. I had sworn her to secrecy though, I hadn‘t told my parents. They were completely clueless.
It had been nearly a year now and I hadn‘t seen or heard from either Luke or Roman since which surprised me. Roman seemed like he really wanted to kill me and would go to extraordinary lengths to fulfil his wish, but the last time I’d seen him was outside the school a year ago and the last time I’d seen Luke was when he let me go.
I had changed vastly since then. For one, I was a lot more wary of the people around me, I had major trust issues (which was understandable) and I was a lot quieter. Mum honestly thought it was just a phase I was going through…
Nobody else has found out, and that’s the way I want it to stay. God knows what would happen if it got out.
Just then, the lights dimmed and the trailers started.
‘Hey I’m just gonna go to the toilet,’ I whispered in Rose’s ear.
‘You’ll be okay?’ she whispered back. I simply nodded. I’d be safe in the cinema. I made my way to the end of the row and up to the doors. I turned to glance back in at Rose and walked straight into someone. I would have toppled over, but they held me by the shoulders to steady me.
‘Thanks,’ I looked up and nearly screamed.
‘Hey Tara, how’ve you been?’ Luke smiled.