26. Payment For Services Provided

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So, several of you seem to want chapters in Ryder's POV . . . I'll have to think about that. I always intended to write chapters in Ryder's POV but I was going to save those for the bonus chapters. Maybe I'll still do a couple. We'll see.


Nicky's POV

I'm woken up by a jacket being thrown in my face. I all but startle myself awake. I grab my glasses from my lap quickly and look up at John from my place on the couch.

He's got a cup of coffee in his hand and he's glaring down at me.

Worst wake-up call ever.

"Get up," He says simply.

I stare at him for a beat too long and he grabs hold of my arm with more force than necessary and hauls me roughly to my feet. My shoulder and chest scream in protest.

He picks up the discarded jacket and shoves it into my hands.

"What am I supposed to do with this?" I ask him.

"Strangle yourself with the sleeves," He says flatly. Problem is, I don't think he's joking.

I've barely slipped my arms through the sleeves before John is grabbing my arm and pulling me through the house and out the door. His grip on my arm is like a steel trap and I can feel him cutting off the circulation. Purposely, I'm sure. It takes all my willpower not to cry out when he shoves me roughly into the passenger seat of his car.

I stare out the window at the dark sky and then look back to check the clock on the dashboard. It reads a few minutes past three . . . in the morning. I'd like to kill him.

He's quiet as he backs down the driveway and drives down the street. He says absolutely nothing as we get further and further out of town and more into the less populated countryside.

I look in the back seat of the car and suddenly my stomach knots in unease. "Where exactly are we going?" I ask him.

He remains silent, his attention focused solely out the window and on the road. It's not as if he doesn't hear me. I know he does. He's not off in his own little world and not hearing what I'm asking. Nope. He's just flat out ignoring me.

"Are you planning on burying me in an unmarked grave?" I question. This gets me an answer.

"What made you jump to that conclusion, other than my obvious disdain for you?"

I want to glare at him, I really do. But in this moment, I value my life just a little bit more.

"Well," I start. "it could be the duct tape, shovels, rope, and plastic garbage bags in the back seat."

He doesn't take his eyes off the road for a second. "If I was going to bury you, I'd have brought a coffin. More air trapped inside when you're buried alive."

And that's a fun fact I don't ever need to think about.

"So," I start quietly. "where are we going?"

"I'm done babysitting you." That's all he says and then he goes back to pretending I don't exist.

It seems to take forever to get where we're going, but he finally pulls into the driveway of a large house that looks more like a house of horrors than something someone can live in.

Its color has long since faded, there isn't any glass in the windows just boards nailed across them to keep people out, and the door hangs on one hinge, tilted to the side. There are already various holes throughout the walls and in the front porch and the whole house looks like it's being held together by like, one nail.

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