= Chapter 25 =

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" I was your amber but now he's your new shade of gold."

-Jeremy Lockhart

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⚓️SKYLAR⚓️

"What did he tell you, Sky?" Dante broke the silence as we sat in the car with Brad and Jordan in the back seat.

"N-nothing." I stuttered, trying to cover up the lie.

"Skylar." Dante gave me a warned look.

"He said...that we should follow exactly what the tape says." I covered up the truth once again. I just couldn't tell Dante the truth till I knew what the man meant by 'He's on your side' .

The man definitely knew something that I didn't and I wasn't entirely sure whether I could trust the fact the 3W! was trying to help me.

If he was trying to help me, why would he kidnap Emily?
And who the hell is he?

Dante tucked his lower lip into his mouth as his eyes darted from one end of the road to another.

"Should we call Jeremy?" I tried to maintain a calm voice.

"Why the hell should we do that?" He snapped.

"GOD DAMMIT DANTE?! Jeremy is her boyfriend! I know you're stressed about your sister but your mood swings won't make this situation any better!" I slammed my fist against my knee before yelling.

Brad and Jordan lowered their heads at my sudden outburst while Dante glanced at me from the corner of his eye, before letting out a sigh.

"Call him, Brad."

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To my surprise, Jeremy arrived at Dante's house before us. But he was not alone. At Dante's front yard, stood Gabriel, Tristen, Zach and Jeremy with a cold expression.

"Why are those weirdos here?!" Dante pointed towards Gabriel, Tristen and Zach as he walked towards Jeremy.

Jeremy didn't answer Dante, instead his eyes fell on Dante's fingers which were intwined with mine. He glanced at me and back at Dante, before cracking his knuckles forcefully.

"Get on with it." Jeremy said in a low menacing voice that gave me the chills. Gabriel raised an eyebrow at our intwined fingers, giving me a questioning look.

It was only then did I realize how much I actually missed them. Dante rolled his eyes in annoyance before gently releasing my hand to walk into his house. Before I could follow behind, Gabriel pulled me to the side. 

"What's up with Dante and you?"

"Nothing, really Gabby. " I gave him an assuring nod.

"Sorry for being so nosy...I-I just missed you a lot." He pulled the hem of his navy blue sweatshirt nervously, his ears turning a light shade of pink. Gabriel wasn't the type to admit how he felt and it just made my heart melt when he did.

"Oh Gabby, come here." I embraced him in a warm hug before he pulled away.

"It's the same red notes you've been getting, right? " I nodded with worried eyes. Somehow, I felt I was the cause of this kidnapping.

Gabriel ran a hand through his chocolate brown hair before wrapping his arm around my shoulder as we walked into the house.

Everyone was already seated at the couch, waiting for us. Dante gave me a slight nod before he pushed the play button.

" You made a good choice in following my instructions so far, now let the real game begin. I left clues around the whole neighborhood and even further from this town which would lead you to Emily and I. You are only allowed to send 2 people to find Emily, and don't even think about involving the police. If you send more than two people, you might not see your sweet Emily and if you don't find Emily in 1 month, the two people you sent will be dead in seconds.
So good luck and choose wisely."  The squeaky high pitched voice which was definitely tuned from the original voice spoke through the recorder.

The color drained from my face the moment I heard the instructions. It was an obvious blackmail. No one uttered a thing as we stared at each other with shocked faces. Clearing my throat, I spoke out of instinct.

"I'm going."

"WHAT?!" All of the boys shouted in unison.

"Over my dead body will you be doing that." Dante lifted my chin so that I stared into his grey eyes that held deep emotions swirling in them.

"I have to. I'm the last person who saw Emily yesterday night when she left in a limo." I chewed on my lip nervously.

"Why didn't you tell me about this?" Dante asked softly.

"I didn't think it was gonna be that important or even lead to this situation."

No one could imagine how regretful I felt in that exact moment.

I wish I had stopped her from getting into the limo. I wish I had never kissed Jeremy. I could have done so much to stop this but once again, I failed.

"I'm going with Skylar to find Emily. That's final." Jeremy spoke out in a firm voice before walking towards the door.

Dante grabbed Jeremy by the shoulder, forcefully turning Jeremy around.

"Who told you you could make the decisions around?" He grabbed Jeremy's collar, lifting him off the ground. If Jeremy was annoyed by Dante's actions, it wouldn't have been obvious.

"What if they kidnap your brother or even your mom, would you like that? It's better you stay here and watch over your family, before you lose someone you love again." Jeremy questioned him. Dante slowly released Jeremy's collar as realization hit him hard.

Jeremy adjusted his collar before walking out with his hands stuffed in his pockets while Dante fell flat onto the couch with his hands covering his face.

Running out of the house, I stopped Jeremy by grabbing his hand. He turned around with annoyed eyes before they soften into a gentle blue shade.

"Jeremy—"

"Just meet me on Friday at my house and we'll leave." He interrupted rudely, switching back to his cold demeanor. Shaking my head in frustration, I pulled him back once again.

"Do you think Emily got kidnapped because we kissed?" My emerald eyes scanned over his features for a reaction I was expecting.

"What kiss?" He ignorantly answered which caused me to take a step back.

"Are you going to pretend like it never happened?" My voice came out more harsher than I wanted it to be.

"Didn't you want it that way?"

He spat out in anger and ripped his hand away from mine before getting into his car and speeding off.

He was right, I asked for this.

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