Chapter Twenty-Three (Part One)

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Chapter Twenty-Three (Part One)

Caden

"Who the hell are you?" I asked in disbelief, temporarily forgetting about the intense pain shooting through my leg.

The girl with the messy blonde ringlets screamed.

I scrunched my face as her shrieks echoed through the room.

Eventually, her screams subsided and were replaced with loud sobs.

Empathy stirred as I watched her struggle to get out of the canvas sack. She had been drugged, clearly. When she finally managed to get to her feet, she wobbled a few steps before collapsing on to the floor.

"What's your name?" I asked softly, my years of training from my father kicking in. Make her feel comfortable. Gain her trust.

"M- m- m- my name is Kendall," stammered the girl.

"Hi, Kendall Taylor," I said in a quiet, yet understanding tone.

She looked around the small dank candlelit room. "Where are we?"

"We're in the basement," I answered, making eye contact.

She quickly averted her gaze.

Were her eyes blue? I wondered as I studied her wispy body. Pops always liked them small and weak. "They're easier to deal with that way," he once told me.

She raised her chin and sniffled. "Did he take you too?"

Play along, I told myself before I nodded.

"We need to get out of here," she said looking around.

I made an effort to move my hands and legs. "He tied me down and I'm hurt."

I watched the uncertainty form on Kendall's face as she picked up the small candle and took a tentative step forward.

Wincing lifted my head. "He shot me. I tried to run, but he shot me."

Her eyes immediately filled with tears. "He's going to kill us."

"Not if we behave," I said, trying to assure her. "If we behave, he'll let us live."

Kendall's body quaked. "How long have you been here?"

I slowly laid my head back. "I'm not sure." Force tears. Make her feel bad for you. Always gain her trust. My father's instructions rang through my head.

She leaned forward and held the candle closer to my body. "You have a bandage on your leg."

"I do?" I lifted my head, failing to inspect my injured leg. A feeling of warmth spread through my stomach. Pops really does love me!

"Yes," she said quietly.

I pressed my lips together. Do not smile! She'll know you're up to something!

Her brow furrowed. "Does it hurt?"

"Yeah," I admitted. "It hurts a lot."

Her eyes followed the straps binding my legs and arms to the cot.

Don't ask her yet.

She twisted her lips. "Why are you tied down?"

I shook my head. "I don't know? I can't remember?" Good job. Convince her that you're the victim too.

"Do you want me to loosen your straps?" Kendall asked tentatively.

Forcing fresh tears, I nodded my head. "I don't know if I'll be able to move my leg, but I'd like to try to sit up."

Kendall set down the candle and straightened up. Her fingers shook has she struggled to loosen the tight restraints.

How many victims had I seen tied to this very cot? How many times had I been tied to the same cot? Once Pops had left me tied to the bed for so long that I developed sores all over my back. My face tightened at the painful memory.

As the straps loosened, I pulled my arms up and managed to ease my body into a sitting position. "Thanks, Kendall. That feels a lot better." That's right, you can trust me.

She tugged on the strap holding my legs down, causing me to wince.

"I'm so sorry," she apologized, her hands flying to her face.

The soft glow gently lit her face. She's beautiful. The corners of my lips threatened to twitch into a flirty grin. Keep it under control! I looked down and squinted at the straps. "Can you hold the candle a little closer?"

As she bent down, I stared at the back of her head. I fought the urge to reach down and smash her skull into a hundred pieces.

Kendall picked up the candle and carefully held it above my leg.

Letting out a sharp cry, I loosened the straps enough to bend the leg without the bullet wound.

"Thanks, Kendall. I really appreciate it," I said.

She laid a hand on my arm, "Do you think you can walk?"

I nodded.

"We need to find a way to get out of here," she said as she scanned the room and walked the perimeter with the candle.

"Yeah, we-" but before I could finish, the door flew open and my father's frame filled the door.

Kendall let out a blood-curdling scream and dropped the candle. She reached for me and clung to my arm for safety.

Dread filled my core as my father took a step into the room. "Who's ready for tonight?" he snarled as a nefarious grin spread across his face.

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Undie Nationers a.k.a. Team Unders,

Hey, loves! How are all of you?

I was super excited to dedicate some time tonight to work on Under! It definitely is one of my most favorite projects!

What did you think of Part One of Chapter Twenty-Three (Part One)? What do you think Pops is going to do? Where do you think Hadley has been taken?

Excited to hear your thoughts!

Hearts

Kelly Anne Blount xoxo

P.S. If you enjoyed Chapter Twenty-Three (Part One), don't forget to click on that little star button to vote and leave me a comment!


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