28- Fourth and Jefferson

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Warning: some minor violence ahead

I was sitting in a chair, hands tied behind my back with thick rope. My legs weren't bound and I was sitting in the center of an empty cement basement. There was nothing in it besides wooden stairs leading up to a door and a tiny window about head high, maybe two feet tall and four feet wide. Hearing nothing but the occasional creak of a floorboard overhead, I started plotting my escape.

Spotting a nail sticking out from the stairs, I quickly shuffled over with the chair tied to my back and stopped in front of it. I had just started to rub the rusty nail against the rope when I heard the door open. I abruptly turned and went back to where I started, my eyes trained on the stairs as I watched them come down.

"Already trying to escape and we haven't even introduced ourselves yet."

I recognized the two men walking down to join me in the basement. Baldy and Blue Eyes, Tyler's bosses.

Baldy stood in front of me, arms crossed with an annoyed demeanor. Blue Eyes stood behind him and looked slightly less intimidating. I looked into their eyes pleadingly, summoning my acting skills to try to look innocent.

"I knew you were trouble from the first time I saw you, Cassandra." Baldy had so far done all of the talking, calling me the name that I had first given him when they saw me in Tyler's apartment. "Good job on the hair, by the way. Took me awhile to figure it out." 

"What do you want from me?" I asked, my voice trembling.

Baldy took a step forward and slapped me hard across the face, using the back of his hand and scratching my cheek with his ring. The force of it stung so hard that tears sprung to my eyes.

"What did I do?" I cried.

"That's exactly what I'm trying to figure out." Baldy replied. I tasted blood in my mouth as I waited for him to continue. "What have you been doing with Tyler?"

"Nothing. Well... I mean, besides being with him." I muttered.

Baldy slapped me again. Another backhand, against the same cheek. "What were you doing in New York?" 

"Did you see Tyler while you were there?"

"Yes." I replied, just in case they already knew the answer to that question.

"And he used you as a hostage again." 

Panic flooded my brain. The surveillance tape, how the hell did they get it? "No." 

"No? That wasn't you?" 

I didn't know what I could say, how I could explain it all away. If I said I was a hostage since that first robbery, Tyler would get in trouble. If I said I was working with him, Tyler would get in trouble. And me? I'd probably be dead by the end of the interrogation unless I found a way out. 

Baldy was getting impatient. He looked back at Blue Eyes and made a gesture. Suddenly, Blue Eyes was behind me, cutting the rope that bound my wrists to the chair. He threw the chair to the side before holding my shoulders and forcing me to stand, my hands still tied together behind my back as Baldy stood in front of me.

"Answer this next one correctly or I hurt you again." Baldy warned. "Have you been working with my nephew?"

Nephew?

As in son of his brother? As in Baldy was Tyler's uncle?

I felt a fist crash into my stomach, forcefully bringing me back to the present. I coughed and spluttered, the arms of Blue Eyes the only thing keeping me standing. "No." 

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