It took a few hours of playing, for her to get used to it. Her sim was fine, and the phone worked. When the phone rang, she jumped, hoping it was Curtis, she was worried he had wanted to end it. She had no time to wallow, when she answered it was not him, instead it was for a for a job. She needed the money, she could not turn it down.
The job wanted her in at ten, she would be picked up at seven, a white van they told her, she was used to that, she had often been on jobs where they picked her up and took her. She had many jobs, from working in factories, and on the land, it all depending on the temp job that they needed her to do, she was not against any type of job. They all paid, and that was what she needed, money.
Dressed in casual clothing, and trainers and then waited at the top of the road for the van.
It arrived on time, the door slid open, she climbed inside and belted up. Everything seemed fine, until they drove away, the man sat beside her, was smirking at her, he lunged for her, as he placed a rag on her face, she fought hard to stop him. She was in trouble, she knew it. Her thoughts were on Curtis, was this payback for him telling his father that she would not marry him. Her eyes closed and everything turned black.
She woke, with no idea where she was, what time it was, or if they were TJ’s men. She did not recognise any of them, she heard their voices from through the door; loud booming voices. The room she was in, was dark. The only light shining on her was a thin stream coming through the crack in the door. Her hands and feet were bound, a gag around her mouth. She was terrified, she heard a movement from behind the door and then the doorknob rattled and the door opened, light flooded the room and a man entered. The man was the one who she recalled who had placed the rag to her mouth. She watched him cross the room to her, as more tears fell.
“Crying won’t help you; you know why you are here don’t you?”
She shook her head, she had no idea.
“Oh come on, Jessica,” he said, smirking at her. “Yes, we know who you are, we know everything about you.”
Her eyes were wide.
“If you want to stay alive, all you have to do is tell us where they are?”
She frowned. Where who were? She shook her head.
“Oh come on, we know you are Curtis’s woman, his wife to be.”
She shook her head again, she was, but wasn’t. He leaned in closer, she had no idea what to do, but stare at him. His breath was strong, he reeked of alcohol and tobacco.
“You see, we don’t believe you, they will pay, they know they have stepped on the wrong toes,” he smirked again. “Maybe we should take your toes, one at a time, to remind them of that.”
Her eyes were wider than ever, they were crazy, she knew his family ran a shady business, but surely there was room for two loan sharks, this man was scarier than TJ and had her heart beating, tears trickling down her face. She could barely breathe, the thought made her think of being beneath those waves, being saved by Curtis. Would he care that they had her?
The man tugged the gag from her mouth, she gasped for air.
“Tell me where they are?”
“I don’t know. Curtis has not contacted me in two days.”
“We know, but he sent you that message.”
“Oh come on sweetheart, you got his flowers didn’t you?”
“No, come on Jessica, they arrived yesterday morning.”
Curtis had only given her one bunch of flowers that she recalled. She shook her head.
“I never received any flowers yesterday.”
“Why are you lying?”
“We know you got them.”
“I didn’t,” she said, looking past him, she saw the other men in the other room. “Maybe, maybe, my mum took them in for me,” she stuttered.
“I want to believe you, Jessica, but come on, that sounds like a lie, why don’t you just tell us the truth.”
He placed the gag back on her mouth, and walked towards the door. “When you are ready to tell us the truth, I will be back. Why don’t you think about that, I am sure you want to keep your pretty little face as it is, I am sure Curtis wouldn’t want you all disfigured would he?”
If he was after scaring her, he was doing just that, she was terrified. Not just at the words that he was saying, or the threat, she knew he would do it, the way he said it, made him smile, like it was something he got off on.
She was scared, and knew in her heart, that Curtis would not care about what happened to her. She wanted to believe he would come to her rescue, that he loved her, but he was not about to come and rescue her. She would die here, that thought ran through her head. She had to find a way out, a way to save herself.
He closed and locked the door behind him. She heard his footsteps as he walked across the room to the men, she imagined he was with the other men, talking about her, and the fact she had not told him what he wanted to hear.
She tried to undo the knots, to break free, but she was locked up tight. She wanted to get out of the room, run for freedom, but how? She would not sleep, how could she? Fear had her eyes wide watching the door.
She felt herself swaying, she was tired, exhausted, she had fought and failed. She heard a commotion outside the door, raised voices, shuffling of feet and banging. The door to the room she was in swung open, it hit the wall, her eyes were on the man before her, but she could not see him, her eyes had not focused fully. She was tired, her eyes closing, she had to keep them open. She had no idea how much time had passed since the threat that had been made to disfigure her. Was this man here to do what had been promised? She squealed beneath the gag, tried to keep away from the man before her, until she heard his voice, soothing her, helping her. The tears that fell, which were at first from fear, were replaced with relief. Her heart was racing, as he removed the gag. She was able to breath, she was gasping, as he freed her and was soon carrying her past the men who had taken her, the men were being handcuffed. She did not understand, she did not know what to make of what was happening. All she knew was that voice, and who it belonged to. She was in his arms, being carried from the dark room, to his car, she felt the cold air hit her as he walked her to it. the sky was dark, no stars, just a half moon lit the way, and then they were driving, fast, away from the scene. She wanted to ask questions, she was too tired, exhausted. She closed her eyes, unable to keep them open a moment longer.
Jessica woke in a room she did not recognise. For a moment she thought she was back in the room with those men. The room was dark, she screamed, hearing movement. The light filled the room, as Curtis turned on the lamp beside the bed; he was other side, holding her to him, telling her she was safe. She could not stop the tears falling; they came, thick and fast, falling until she was sobbing, causing her chest to ache and her throat to become sore. She had never been so scared.
“Jessica, it’s okay, I am sorry, so sorry.”
Through her sobs, she had asked him what happened, who were they?
“I should explain, but how?” he said, he sat back. “I don’t know where to start.”
“The beginning,” she mumbled.
“If I tell you the truth, you know what we had, what we thought was real, isn’t.”
“What we feel may be real, but this, the way we met, the situation, that isn’t real.”
“I don’t understand.”
“I’m a cop,” he said.
“My father, he really is my father, he really is, but we have been undercover for years, so many years that we got into this deeper than we intended. But we had to put on a good show.”
She knew she was just repeating odd words, but this was a lot to take in.
“My brothers, do they owe you this money, is that real?”
“Sadly, yes, but Jessica, the plan for you, that was my dad’s idea, why, I think he knew I needed a little fun, he never expected us to actually fall for each other. We have worked too hard to bring those men down, the ones who took you. We had no idea they were watching us. We needed people to think we were bad, because they were worse, the things they did to people who could not pay. We had to play a part, look as if we were attempting take over their patch.”
“And then what was meant to happen.”
“We were hoping they would try and recruit me, and they were trying, that is why they took you, I don’t know how they knew about you, the men that were with us, are cops, we all are.”
He was telling her that how they met was only half true. Her brothers were in debt, but to cops, and she was what, a pawn in their next move. Entertainment.
“What happens now?”
He looked at her, his eyes on her, but he did not answer.
“To my brothers, their debt, to those men and to us, is there an us. What is this, what do you call what we have, is it real, is anything real?”
“Your brother’s debt is real, we had to pretend to be loan sharks, so we did what we had to, but the debt they had, is gone, why,” he paused. It gone, because of you.”
“Yes, if they had not taken you, then we would not have found their location.”
“How did you find it.”
“I did not want to do it, but something made me do it.”
“I put a tracker on your phone.”
“Yes, but then the incident in the sea, I realised ruined your phone, and I had to plant a new one in.”
“Where, where did you plant it?”
“In the necklace, the one you always wear, I took it and placed it there when you were sleeping.”
“If you had not done that, I…”
“I don’t want to think about it, I can’t.”
“Curtis, what happens now?”
He held her close to him and whispered, “I don’t know, but you are safe and that is all that matters. You are safe.”
She felt his tears on her shoulder. What she felt for him, no matter how this came about was real, but he was acting, all of it was an act. She was confused, her emotions were all over, she needed to sleep, to think and decide what she wanted.
She allowed him to hold her close, scared it would be the last time she would see him. To be held by him. she loved him not matter what the situation was, she loved him, and she could not just turn it off.