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Chapter Two

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Christina woke up with a roaring headache. She was lying on a four-poster bed in the middle of a room. Anxiously, she scanned the unfamiliar bedroom, noting the heavy cherry wood furniture. What now? Where am I? How did I end up here?

French doors led to a balcony. Am I a prisoner? Then again, there weren't any bars. Trying to move, she realized she wasn't tied up.

Breathing out relieved, she supported herself on her elbows and attempted to sit up. The room seemed to be spinning around, and a moan escaped her lips at the sudden pain in her chest. She collapsed back down, inhaling deeply and exhaling slowly. Oh, hell, the broken ribs! The painkillers must be wearing out. Determined, she gave it another try.

This time, she managed to sit up and place her feet on the floor. Closing her eyes, she waited for the dizzy spell to pass and the pain to subside.

Suddenly, she remembered hearing someone enter her hospital room and turning right at the moment that a man put a piece of cloth with a strong, nasty smell over her face. After that, she didn't remember anything else.

A jolt of fear shot through her, turning her blood to ice. Nervously, she scanned her surroundings. The room contained three doors. One of them was open, revealing a double vanity with a mirror in what must be the bathroom. That left two. One of them must be the way out. But is it locked?

Despite the weakness plaguing her, she managed to stand up and make her way to the first door. The thick burgundy carpet smothered any noise. Her hand gripped the doorknob and turned it. The door opened quietly. Christina stepped into a hallway and carefully peered around. Nobody was in sight.

The hallway was a large corridor with three doors, including hers, on each side. At one end, a huge bay window topped a window seat covered with green and peach pillows. The other side ended at the top of a staircase. Only the mahogany railings of the staircase and a chandelier hanging from the ceiling were visible to Christina.

For a moment, she considered descending the stairs and running for the front door. Then again, she still wore the hospital gown. How far could she get in this? Would anyone even help her? I should search the room for something to wear.

Walking back inside, she closed the door quietly. The bathroom was large and comfortable like the bedroom, with a sunken marble bathtub in the middle and a shower in the corner. Big windows overlooking well-maintained grounds and a manicured lawn covered the entire outside wall. This is a beautiful place. She'd only seen houses like this one in magazines.

Where am I? The thought brought her back to reality. Throwing some water on her face, she rushed back to the bedroom, searching for the closet. Opening the third door of the room, she stepped inside a walk-in closet with a huge window on one side. In fact, it looked more like another bedroom, that's how big it was.

Christina stared at the rows of clothes. Women's clothes, thank God! Below the outfits hanging were rows of shoes. At least forty to fifty pairs, she realized in amazement.

Searching through her options, she found a pair of blue jeans and a white shirt, both a couple sizes too big. Luckily, she had a selection of belts. One section held lingerie sets with the tags still on. She grabbed the smallest size she could find, dropping everything into a pile as she pulled the hospital gown over her head.

Most of the shoes seemed too big. Finally, a pair of boots fitted her fine after wearing two pairs of socks.

All right so far. Now I have to find my way out of here before anyone comes to check up on me.

Back in the bedroom, she looked at the clock on the dresser. It was six-thirty in the morning. It's still early. That's why nobody has come for me yet.

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