Chapter 2

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He had been following them for a week, learning their routine.  Typical teens.  Home, school, mall, home.  The tracking devices he'd planted on each of their vehicles made following them easy. 

Tricking the dry cleaners to give him Jason's letter-man jacket allowed him time to plant the bug in the lining before returning it.  Likewise, taking advantage of the weekly detailing of her beloved Porsche gave him the opportunity to plant a similar listening device inside Julie's car.  The bugs he'd planted inside informed him of their plans so he knew where they would be.  All he had to do was wait for the time to strike.  They'd be his before they knew what happened.

He stole the pickup from a farm fifty miles away a month earlier.  It had been carefully painted, the plates replaced with ones swiped off abandoned trucks in a junk yard over in Monroe County.  He double checked to make sure all the lights worked.  He didn't want to give the cops any reason to stop him, especially once he had picked up his cargo.  It's doubtful they would understand having two bound, gagged, and unconscious teenagers under a tarp in the back.

He would use the truck to grab them.  He had the van parked in the service alley behind a closed shopping center on the edge town.  He could easily transfer them to the van there.  A War-Mart parking lot would provide a safe place to prep them for the trip to the love nest he had prepared for them.

He had learned a lot since his first clients.  He had been impatient.  Didn't give them enough time the first few times.  He didn't allow for his techniques to work.  This time he would give them plenty of time. 

He would have time.  He had become an expert at covering up their disappearance.  A fake message saying they have to go home due to an illness in the family.  Or simply needing time alone.  The authorities won't look too hard if there is some excuse for their sudden disappearance.

His latest targets would be easy.  Having hacked into their Facebook accounts, he'd simply leave a message announcing their elopement.  It would fool the cops and hopefully their families.  He knew however  it would not convince their two friends. 

From the conversations picked up by the bugs, he knew they were fooled by their friend's false hatred toward each other.  Didn't suspect that the pretty blond rich girl and the cocky jock were made for each other.  They would continue to look for them in spite of his deception.   They would perhaps convince somebody that they didn't elope.  He couldn't allow that.  If they want to find their friends, so be it.  He would make sure they did.   


Julie hated her fifth period class.  Besides being ready to go home, it was both the last class of the day and her worse subject.  Advanced algebra.  While Lily seemed to breeze through the formulas, they tended to confuse her.  If not for Lily's help, she would fail the course and ruin her chances of getting into a top of the line university.

Worse, it was the only class she shared with the jock jerk.  He didn't care about the class.  He didn't need it to go to the local community college.  Besides, he'd probably just get a job at his dad's hardware store.

Instead he took the time to torment her.  Tossing tiny wads of paper at her like the juvenile delinquent he was.  Busy writing formulas on the board, Mrs. Hennessy never saw any of it.  Even if she did, it's doubtful she'd do anything about it.

Finally, she'd had enough.  "Knock it off, Jason!"

By the time the teacher turned around, Jason had assumed an innocent "what did I do?" look.

"Ms. Holloway," the woman scolded, "I can't have you disrupting class like this.  I am going to keep you over after class.  Maybe you can take the time to work on a few problems without any outbursts."

"Jason keeps throwing paper wads at me," Julie said defending herself.

"Did anyone else see Mr. Brewer throwing wads at Ms. Holloway?"  Lily was sitting in front of her and didn't see anything.  The kids behind her, the ones who saw him, remained silent rather then get on the bad side of the school's star athlete.

"One hour detention." Mrs. Hennessy gave a stern look at the girl before turning back to the board.  She turned back quickly.  This time she caught Jason in the act as he was about to throw yet another paper salvo at his foe.

"That will be one hour for you as well, Mr. Brewer."

"You can't," Jason shouted.

"He has football practice," Kyle said loudly.

"Then you can keep him company and maybe teach him to focus on his classwork, Mr.  Walker.  One hour for you as well."

"Does that mean Julie doesn't have to serve detention?" Lily asked.

"Yes. She should of come up to me and told me of the problem rather than yelling and disrupting the class.  I'd like you to stay as well, Lily.  I know you've helping her after school.  This would be a good time to help her with some of her classwork."

"I'm getting detention, too?" Lily was aghast.

"No my dear, I was just hoping you would stay and help her so I can make sure Mr. Brewer concentrates on his own studies."

"Uh, sure."

"Thank you Lily."

Listening in on the conversation through the bug in Jason's jacket, Cupid couldn't believe his luck.  His targets had gotten detention.  That would mean most of the other students would be gone, the student parking lot all but empty.  Now if he could just get them away from their friends.

He reached down between the seats and pulled out a plastic baggy.  Inside was a neatly folded, fluffy white hand towel.  The letters LN were neatly monogrammed in red Gothic letters.  Smiling, he removed the bottle of ether hidden under the seat.  He looked that the label.  A couple good whiffs and the two teenagers would be sleeping like babies.

In the bed of the truck he had a large foam mat and a couple cheap throw pillows he picked up at a Goodwill.   He wanted Julie and Jason comfortable.  The tarp he got to cover them was a simple blue plastic one he got at Home Depot.  There were also two sets of handcuffs, plastic zip ties to bind their ankles, as well as a pre-cut strips of duct tape to go over their mouths to keep them quietly should they come out of the anesthetic prematurely.

A burst of cold air flooded the cab of the pickup as he opened the windows.

With gloved hands he carefully unscrewed the cap from the bottle of ether and placed it on the dash.  Slowly, deliberately he poured the clear liquid into the bag, saturating the towel.  It had been carefully folded, being large enough to easily cover their noses and mouths; thick enough to silence any outcries that might alert anyone.  The ether would quickly do the rest.

Recapping the bottle and sealing the bag, he left the windows open a full minute for the sickening fumes to vacate the cab before closing the windows to the frigid air.

Now all he had to do was wait.



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