Their Protector: An MC Outlaw Halloween Romance, page 93
I sink back into the “hot seat,” which would be burning my ass up right now if it were literally hot. That’s how much of a pickle we’re in.
“So now what?”
“I think I’m going to have to tell them what’s been alleged and that I don’t believe it,” Coach Thompson says. “But that means throwing Christian under the bus. And to tell you the truth, I’m afraid that if he escalates this, it won’t be something rational, like reporting to the administration.”
I nod, in full agreement.
“Nothing he’s been doing has been very logical,” the coach continues. “If he’s resorted to planting drugs to try to frame you and even that doesn’t work, then I don’t know what he’ll try to do to you next. At this point I have to look out for your safety here. I think that before I go to the administration, I somehow need to get ironclad proof…”
“Wait,” I interrupt, my heart racing faster than it does during an overtime pass. The phrases “escalating” and “dark side of him” and “don’t know what he’ll try to do to you next” keep banging around inside my head. “Where is Christian?”
“I don’t know,” Coach Thompson shrugs. “I tried to find him to talk about all of this, until I thought better of that plan and decided to call you in instead. But he never came to my office, even though I’d put the word out for him to come, before I did the same for you.”
“The last time I saw him, he was leaving campus after you’d announced that you were going to the lake house with Chelsea. Where is Chelsea ?”
Coach Thompson suddenly looks as worried as I feel.
“She headed to the lake house early,” he says meekly, his skin turning pale.
“We need to go, now.”
Already on our feet, we both head towards the door.
“We need to call Taylor on our way,” I tell Coach Thompson.
I hope Taylor and I can still execute our plan to win Chelsea back once we find her. I hope it’s not too late for Chelsea and I to be together the way I’m now sure we’re meant to be.
Chapter 48 – Chelsea
Christian begins talking to me as he ties one of my ankles to the heavy cutting table beside the chair.
“You thought you could just turn me down and I’d forget all about it, didn’t you?” he asks.
I shake my head but since I can’t say anything in return, he just goes right on talking.
“I put myself out there, and I took the risk that your dad would kick me off the team. I might never be able to play football anywhere else again. But I still asked you out. Because that’s how much I knew I wanted to be with you.”
He glares at me, obviously hating me now while professing how much he used to like me.
“When you told me you couldn’t disobey Daddy Dearest I was hurt, but I figured, ‘Well, that makes sense. She has to worry about the risks just as I do. And she hasn’t discovered how we’re supposed to be together yet. As time goes by, she’ll realize there’s no other guy for her and eventually we’ll get together. Maybe even at the end of senior year, or after graduation, when they can’t do anything against us.’”
He really had quite the Romeo and Juliet fantasy going on about him and me. I never realized he’d liked me that much.
I almost feel sorry for him, but then I realize he has me bound and tied up at my own family’s fishing cabin. He obviously has more than a couple screws loose, and I can’t put much weight into anything he says.
“But then Wesley Reynolds comes along to steal my thunder in every way possible. I was the star of the show on the field and off before he arrived.”
I look at him funny, and he says, “Oh, I know what you’re thinking. ‘Yes Christian, you were the star player on the team prior to Wesley’s arrival, but you were the running back. On a team with a bad quarterback. On a team that never wins games. So now you had the opportunity to be a good running back on a winning team with a great quarterback.’ But guess who gets all the credit and all the glory in that scenario?”
I just look at him.
“The fucking quarterback. That’s who. I was better off being a big fish in a small pond. Now I’m just a nobody.”
As he whines on and on, I think about how crazy it is that Wesley and I were just gutting fish in this very chair, and now I’m being held captive by a psychopath. My only hope is that my dad gets here soon. Although I’m pretty sure that Christian has a plan to deal with Dad if he does arrive. Somehow Christian knew I’d be here so he probably knows my dad is supposed to be here too.
And then I remember that the knife we were using to gut the fish would still be on the ground. I look around, and sure enough, I see it glistening in the grass not too far away, partially obscured by the table I’m tied to.
“And I’m clearly a nobody to you too,” Christian continues.
I quickly lift my eyes back up to his face and act interested in what he’s saying, so that he won’t figure out what I was just looking at.
“Because when Wesley came along, you quickly forgot all about Daddy Dearest’s rules. That was clearly only an excuse you wanted to use with me , not with the great and powerful Wesley.”
I try my best to look sympathetic, while trying to devise a plan of escape in my head that will give me enough time to distract Christian and get away from him.
I’m glad that he just continues talking. He must be oblivious to the knife’s existence. I’m beginning to realize that Christian isn’t the most observant guy. He only likes to focus on himself. And I can definitely use this fact in my favor.
“At first, I figured that Wesley would dig his own grave quickly enough. He’s always good at screwing things up for himself. And sure enough, right away he changed the coach’s call. He was disobedient and disrespectful. But did your dad care? No. Somehow he seemed to like Wesley even more.”
That’s Wesley , I think.
“So then, I had to get a bit more involved. I tried to screw Wesley over by pretending to help him on his math test but really only setting him up to fail.”
He announces this act in a bragging voice.
What an asshole .
“But that didn’t work either. He got yet another chance. Golden Boy can do no wrong. So I had to get even more involved. And now I have him where I want him— caught red-handed with a bunch of drugs in his locker.”
I just stare at him.
“I bet you’re wondering how I accomplished that feat,” Christian says, still bragging.
I wasn’t but I have no choice but to listen to his explanation anyway.
“It wasn’t very hard. I just told him I’d forgotten the key to the lock on my locker one day and asked if I could put some stuff in his. When he said sure and gave me his key, I made a copy of it so that I could plant the drugs later. What an idiot.”
You’re the idiot , I want to tell him, as I think about the knife on the ground that he completely missed.
“I’d like to see him wiggle his way out of this,” Christian continues. “And now Mandy is in a coma because of a drug overdose, and everyone thinks that Mandy bought them from him.”
I can’t believe how cold he is.
“The coma was just a surprise bonus,” he says. “Sure, I sold Mandy drugs— it was easy. Just get her drinking and she’ll try anything. But I didn’t know she was so clueless that she’d mix up a bunch of them together and put herself into a coma. Apparently it was her first time and my mistake was assuming she was a pro.”
“I wanted her to get drugged up enough to where I could have her call your dad and say she was on drugs that Wesley had sold her. Instead she just passed the fuck out. But fine. Now people will just think Wesley caused her coma. And then people will hear about poor Chelsea too, but in the context of being just another of Wesley’s victims.”
So that’s his plan. To set Wesley up as the perpetrator of my demise. This guy sinks even lower than I thought anyone could
“But first I’m going to take what was supposed to be mine. You.”
He takes a step towards me, and my heart pounds with fear. But then he pauses, looking around.
“Fuck. Where’s the other rope? I know I just had it. To tie up your other foot, so there’s no way you can get away from me. It was right here…”
This guy should be on one of those episodes of Stupid Criminals.
He walks backwards, retracing his steps, and finally turns around to look behind him and find the rope.
Here’s my opportunity.
It’s now or never.
I stand up, bringing the chair with me since I’m attached to it. Then I pull one of my wrists out of the rope. Luckily, it comes free.
Obviously this idiot didn’t go to boy scouts— or fishing camp— and he has no idea how to tie a good knot.
“What the—?” Christian begins, coming back over to where I am, without having found his other piece of rope.
I do a quick side lunge and grab the knife. I never thought my gymnastics classes and cheerleading moves would come in handy to this extent.
I slice the rope that was holding my ankle to the chair so that I’m free. Then I hold the knife up in front of Christian.
“Woah. Hey there,” Christian says, backing up from me. “Take it easy. We don’t want anyone to get hurt.”
“Of course we don’t,” I mock him, leveling the knife right in front of his face. “But I’m going to need you to switch places with me. All I’ll do is tie you up the way you were trying to tie me up, but I’ll do a much better job of it.”
“Chelsea, please…” he begins, but I slap the tape over his mouth.
“No more talking. You’ve done enough of that.”
He lunges at me and I instinctively lower the knife, making contact with the top of his thigh.
He makes a muffled scream underneath the tape and tears spring to his eyes.
“Oh you’re fine,” I tell him, sitting him down on the chair and wrapping his wrists with the same piece of rope that he had inexpertly used on me. “It’s just a surface wound.”
He moans, but I ignore him as I tie up one of his ankles.
What a drama queen.
“You really will be fine. Which is good because you need to go to jail now,” I tell him.
I bend down and scoop up something else I’ve had my eye on the whole time.
“Oh, and by the way, your other piece of rope is right over here where you left it. It’ll be perfect for me to use on your other ankle.”
Chapter 49 – Wesley
It’s been a long drive to the lake house with Coach Thompson. We haven’t said much, but my mind has been racing with fear and worry, and I know that it’s been the same way for him.
As we finally pull up to the cabin, he says, “There’s her car.”
It’s eerily quiet, with no one around that I can see.
“There’re no other parked cars,” I say. “That’s good. Doesn’t look like anyone else is here.”
But when we walk into the cabin calling Chelsea’s name, there’s no answer.
It’s so weird for me to be here again, in the place where Chelsea and I first started. I miss her and I really hope she’s okay. I have the horrible realization that if Christian is here and is out to get her, then he could have taken her anywhere— even down to the lake.
But then as if on instinct— or maybe memory— I look out the back window.
“Oh my god.”
Coach Thompson comes over and looks out as well.
“What the hell?”
“Looks like Chelsea is tying Christian to the chair and the table,” I narrate.
“This is not at all what I thought we would see when we got here.”
“Me neither,” I agree.
We both laugh.
But deep down in the pit of my stomach, I’m so relieved. I had no idea what we would see, and I have to admit I had feared the worst.
It looks like the worst could have happened, too, if not for the fact that Chelsea somehow saved herself before I arrived to save her.
We rush out the back door, with me yelling “Chels?” and Coach Thompson yelling “Sweetheart!”
“I see my knights in shining armor have arrived,” Chelsea jokes, as she finishes up with the rope.
“Holy shit,” I exclaim. “How did this happen? Is he bleeding ?”
Christian moans and twists around, but he can’t say anything and can’t get up.
Chelsea says, “I told you it’s your turn to be quiet, Christian. Or I won’t call 911 to come help you with your little wound there.”
She gets on the phone and calls for help.
“How did you manage to get him tied up?” Coach Thompson asks.
“Oh, he helped me out by getting started with the ropes and the tape. I just turned it back around on him.”
“I’m so sorry, Chels,” I say, hugging her.
“It’s all right,” she says. “At least I know how to tie a good knot. Unlike Christian here.”
“Was it a Palomar knot?” I ask, unable to stop a grin from spreading across my face despite the situation.
“Yes. So I see you did retain something you learned during our fishing session,” she laughs.
It feels so good to see and touch her again, and to be laughing with her, although this circumstance was not at all how I would have preferred for our reunion to have happened.
“Really though, it’s not your fault,” Chelsea says. “It was all Christian’s doing.”
“But I was supposed to rescue you,” I protest. “And you went and rescued yourself.”
“It takes a strong woman to change a bad boy,” she says, with a grin.
“Is that what you think you’ve done?” I ask.
But I have to admit that she’s exactly right.
Chapter 50 – Chelsea
My dad swoops in and says, “Now it’s my turn for a hug.”
“Yeah, I see you brought Wesley to crash our fishing trip weekend.”
“Yes, once again I’m in the way up here,” Wesley jokes. “And overstaying my welcome.”
“I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that,” my dad says. “But really. It’s okay. I needed his help. I originally figured out Christian’s connection to all of this but he’s the one who realized that now you might be in danger, too.”
So that’s all it was. My dad needed Wesley’s help to determine what was going on and save me from Christian. I hope this means he won’t be mad when he finds out the full truth.
“Wesley, I’m sorry I doubted you,” I tell him. “I know now everything that’s been going on. Christian told me as he was preparing for my demise.”
“You asshole,” Wesley says, approaching Christian and waving a fist in front of his face.
“Wesley, don’t,” I tell him. “On the phone, they said there would be an investigation. We don’t want to make it look like we’re the ones at fault here.”
“I wish I could bash his face in,” Wesley yells.
“Let’s concentrate on more pleasant things,” I say to him. “Dad, I have something to tell you.”
“I know what it is,” he replies. “And I approve.”
I squeal and hug him again.
“Now listen,” he says. “I can’t say I’m totally used to the idea just yet. It might take me some time. But what I’m saying is that I can’t exactly disapprove of the guy who helped me come rescue my daughter who didn’t end up needing rescuing, now can I?”
And then Dad says, “And I have something to tell you.”
“I know what it is,” I tell him. “And I approve.”
My dad says, “Really? I mean, I know you know that Ms. Hudson and I have been dating. But I don’t know if you know exactly how serious it is compared to…”
“Yes Dad, I know ,” I say, groaning. “You don’t have to go into details. And please just don’t call he
“All right, all right,” my dad says. “Sherry it is then. That’s an easy promise to make.”
“I might need some time to get used to it too,” I tell him. “But someone’s already helped me work through the acceptance part of it. And I really am happy for you guys.”
I wink at Wesley, and he smiles at me.
“And I’m happy for you guys too,” Dad says. “And as long as I get a father- daughter fishing session in this weekend, I’ll be fine. Because I don’t think I’m going to have to be a third wheel or anything…”
He’s peering towards the hill that slopes from the front of the lake house to the back, where, as if on cue, Taylor and her mom are coming to join us.
“What’s going on?” I ask.
I nod at Taylor, hesitantly, and she nods back with a confused look on her face as she looks from Christian to me and then back to Christian.
Wesley says, “I needed Taylor’s help with something. And I figured her mom might be interested in joining us for her own reasons.”
Taylor says, “And I’m left out again. Poor Taylor.”
“You’re never left out when you’re with me,” I tell her. “We’ll watch more scary movies. Wesley can’t handle them, so you’ll have to comfort me.”
“This looks like the scene of a horror movie right here,” Taylor says. “You’ll have to tell me all about it, especially how the spunky heroine made it out in the end.”
“I can definitely do that.”
As the ambulance and cop cars pull up, sirens ablaze, I pull the tape off of Christian’s mouth for the sake of appearance.
“Great,” Christian shouts. “I’m glad they’re here to arrest me finally. It’s better than having to sit around listening to this fucking love fest.”