Numbers Page 49

’’Hello, Director Pess. What\s going on?’’

’’I\m transferring a patient.’’

’’By yourself?’’ The guard sounded surprised.

’’She\s one of our special guests. Her father is a politician. He\s managed to keep it out of the press so far that his daughter needs help, and he wants to keep it that way. She\s sedated.’’

’’Of course. Have a good day.’’

There was a slight whine again and then the fresh air was gone. The car edged forward seconds later and picked up speed. Candi barely opened her eyes to stare at the backseat of the car. She\d been belted into the back right passenger side. The first time the car made a turn, she let her head roll, allowing her to see more. They traveled along a country road. A few cars passed.

She was outside the gates, no longer behind the bars and glass. Her heart pounded and adrenaline surged, but she kept still. Patience. It\s not time yet. Penny would have to take her somewhere remote to kill her. Boy, is that bitch in for a surprise. A smile threatened to curve her lips but she resisted the temptation. I\m so close.

Candi allowed her mind to drift to keep her occupied during the wait. One memory always surfaced first. It kept her sane when she wanted to just give in and die...

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

His eyes were dark brown, almost black. They scared everyone but her. A glint of humor sparked in them and he fluttered those long black eyelashes. It was his attempt to look innocent, but she never bought it. She knew him too well.

’’Don\ ,’’ she warned.

’’What?’’ He leaned closer until their breath mingled.

’’You know.’’ She was certain he did. She turned her head, glancing at the camera in the corner, and then back at him. ’’They are watching.’’

’’They always watch.’’ He smiled.

He had the best lips. She stared at them, wanting to run her finger over the bottom one. It was slightly fuller than the top. It looked so soft and tempting.

’’Now who is being bad?’’ His voice grew husky.

She peered into his eyes. ’’They\ll make me go back to my room if you touch me.’’

’’I want to.’’

She\d never lie to him. ’’I think about you all the time.’’

He closed his eyes, a pained expression on his face. His boyish features had transformed into maturity over the past few years. He took on a harsh expression when he was angry or upset, but at the moment he just looked vulnerable to her.

’’I heard them talking.’’

His eyes snapped open. ’’About what?’’

It was a little embarrassing, but she never kept secrets from him. ’’Evelyn wants to put us together and let us share a room again. She doesn\ agree with Christopher keeping us apart. They were fighting about it.’’

’’She does?’’ He sucked in a sharp breath.

Heat bloomed in her cheeks. ’’She wants us to, um, you know.’’

His gaze roamed down her body. His breathing increased the tiniest bit, but Candi noticed. She could relate. He looked at her. ’’Are you going to say yes if she asks?’’

’’I would.’’

He reached out, breaking the rules Christopher had implemented. His warm hand brushed her knee. It was just for a second though, as if adjusting how he sat was the reason. She hoped the guard assigned to watch the camera had missed it, or wouldn\ bust them for such a minor infraction.

’’They know how we feel about each other.’’

’’It\s why they took you away.’’ His temper flared.

’’I know. Christopher showed me a tape of two people having se*.’’

’’Did it frighten you? I\d never hurt you.’’

’’I know. And no, I wasn\ afraid. That was his plan though. It just made me understand why I suddenly noticed things about you.’’

’’Like what?’’

She glanced at his chest and arms, and then his mouth again. ’’You know.’’

He smiled. ’’You want me too.’’

Her chest ached. ’’More than anything. I hate that they only let us see each other once a week now.’’ She glanced around the room they used to share. ’’I miss this being our space.’’ She stared into his eyes. ’’I miss you holding me when we sleep.’’ Tears filled her eyes. ’’I miss everything about you.’’

’’Talk to Evelyn. Tell her yes.’’

’’It\s not that simple. Christopher said no. They got into an argument in the hallway that was loud enough for me to hear. He said I\m too young, and we have to wait a few years before he\ll agree to allow that experiment.’’ She\d felt resentment. ’’Like what we are to each other is nothing.’’

His nose flared, a sure sign he was about to go into a rage. She shook her head, silently pleading with him to keep it under control. They\d pull her out of the room if he got loud or did anything aggressive. The chains secured to his wrists and ankles could be used to yank him against the wall, and he would not be able to stop them.

’’I know it\s frustrating,’’ she admitted. ’’But at least he didn\ say no outright. He just said that I\m too young. That means we\ll be back together at some point. Be good. Please? Don\ make them hurt you. I can\ stand that. It tears me apart when I see bruises on you.’’

’’I\ll do whatever they want if it means we can be together.’’

’’Thank you.’’ She fisted her hand in her lap, wanting to touch him instead. She missed running her fingers through his silky black hair. ’’Don\ let them make you angry. We\ll be together again soon, and they won\ keep us apart.’’

He bent a little, drawing closer. ’’You be good too. Do whatever it takes. I need you with me.’’

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The car slowed and left the road. The motion shook Candi out of her reminiscences, right back into the present. The wheels seemed to be on something uneven and bumpy. She peeked, letting her head fall when a really severe jarring caused her entire body to lurch to one side.

She spotted a lot of trees and grass. The car slowed and the engine died. So did the music. Penny opened the driver\s door and slammed it. It was no longer possible for Candi to track her by sound. She closed her eyes all the way, her hand near the metal buckle latch. She twisted her wrist a tiny bit until her thumb found the release. She waited, still and ready.

The door next to her opened and she stopped feigning sleep. Penny bent, her attention on getting something out of her purse. It was a knife with a long blade. Candi pushed the button and the buckle released with a soft click. The other woman must have heard it because her head snapped up, her eyes going wide.

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