Fourteen

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By the time the evening comes around, I've already decided I'm going to attempt to escape. I know I'll be taking a big risk, that I'm possibly about to ruin the lives of all three of us if this escape doesn't work, but I can see now after what Crystal's done things are only going to get worse. If there's ever a time to act, it's now, whilst I still have access to Reece's pass.

At seven pm, I use the treadmill as usual, not wanting to do anything differently in case Reece gets suspicious of my sudden change in routine. He's been watching me like a hawk this past week and he's clever enough to pick up on any subtle differences.

My heart begins to pound in my chest, adrenaline racing through my veins. This is it. This is the moment that will forever define me. The moment I either attain my freedom or I don't. The thought has me scared out of my mind, but there is more than just fear churning inside of my body.

There is hope.

Afterward, I shower and get dressed in my nightgown, wishing I had something else to escape in. Then I sit on the bed with my Alice's Adventures in Wonderland book clutched between my fingers, my eyes trained on the clock as I wait for Reece to do his routine check on me.

When he does, my book is already by my side, my eyes wide and teary. He carefully takes in my expression from the doorway, his eyebrows furrowed before he closes the distance between us.

"What's wrong?" He asks.

Slowly, I get to my feet, trying to look as helpless and unthreatening as possible as I shyly meet his gaze. Reece seems to be the most compassionate when he thinks I need help, and I'm counting on that working right now.

"I'm okay," I say, blinking a few times. "I just have something in my eye and I can't get it out."

Reece doesn't even think about what he's doing as he closes the remaining distance between us, slowly tilting my chin up with his fingertips.

I meet his gaze, something in my stomach dropping. I didn't think it would be this easy, and the way in which he so quickly dropped his guard causes a pang of guilt to stir within my chest. He has more humanity in him than the others combined, and it is his humanity that is going to get him killed.

In one quick movement, I have his gun out of his holster and I'm pointing it at his face, my chest feeling as if it's about to implode. If he is shocked, he doesn't show it. He simply keeps his eyes trained on mine, his body tense, unmoving, but I know it's there somewhere behind those pale eyes. The betrayal. The realization that he was right all along. I am dangerous, because Marine World has forced me to be.

I look Reece dead in the eye, praying my voice doesn't shake when I next speak. "I'm going to need your pass."

He doesn't respond, he simply watches me, and I'm desperate to know what it is he's thinking in this very moment.

"I had a feeling there was more to you than you were letting on," he says carefully, not an inkling of fear in his voice.

"Too bad you won't get the chance to go blabbing to the rest of them," I say, the gun now shaking between my fingers.

The corner of his mouth twitches slightly, though his eyes remain hard. "How far do you think you'd get alone?" He asks. "The park gates are locked. You have no idea where you're going."

"I'm sure I'll figure it out," I say, urging myself to hurry up and pull the trigger.

If this were Jackson, I think I'd do it in a heartbeat, but not Reece. Not the only person who's ever looked at me like I'm a human and not an exhibition.

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