CHAPTER 1: ADRIAN HATCHES A SCHEME
Adrian Payne slammed his apartment door as hard as he could. He was pissed. He had just been laid off from his job at the local factory and came home to find an eviction notice in his mailbox. Not that he was really surprised. In fact, he had been expecting the notice, as he was two months behind on his rent. But earlier when his supervisor pulled him aside at work and told him to vacate the premises, that had been a total shock.
He stalked over to the fridge and yanked it open. After grabbing a beer he slammed the refrigerator door shut as well. He took a long pull off the bottle and sighed. Yeah, he thought, that hit the spot. He walked over to his answering machine and noted he had several messages. Reluctantly, he hit the play button. Four messages from his credit card companies telling him his accounts were suspended from being over the limit and delinquent. One from the telephone company saying his service would be disconnected if he didn't make a payment on his account. Several more from the gas and electric company, the cable company, and the cell phone company, all saying the same thing.
"Yeah, no shit," he muttered to all of them. He sighed again. What was he supposed to do now? He had no way to prevent the companies from doing what they threatened. Adrian Payne was broke. He had tried to secure loans from banks but with his delinquent payments on his credit cards he'd had no luck. A bad risk, they said. So how's a guy supposed to get ahead? There was only one chance left and it was a slim one.
He picked up the phone and punched in his parents' number. It rang twice before his father picked up.
"Hello, Payne residence."
Adrian cringed at the smug confidence his father, Addison, managed to exude even over the phone.
"Uh -- hi, Dad," he said.
There was silence on the other end for a moment. "Adrian?" his father asked.
"Yeah, Pops. It's me."
"What are you doing calling at this hour? It's late."
Adrian sighed once more. "I know. I'm sorry. I need to ask a favor."
This time his father sighed. "Adrian. When you moved out I told you I wanted nothing more to do with you."
"You kicked me out. I didn't--"
"And the answer is no to whatever favor you want," Addison thundered. "Now don't call here again."
There was a click in Adrian's ear and he knew his father had hung up on him. He stared at the phone for a moment and then hurled it against the wall. He chugged down what was left of his beer and soon the bottle joined the shattered phone on the floor.
Adrian picked up his car keys and stormed out of the apartment. Once outside he stared at his old car for several minutes before he shoved the keys in his coat pocket. He decided to walk down to his favorite bar, which was only a few blocks from his duplex apartment. He might as well drown his sorrow in alcohol, at least for the night.
Fifteen minutes later he was seated at the corner of the bar, watching the beer foam dissipate from his mug.
"Bad day, Adrian?"
He looked up to see the bartender, Miranda, standing in front of him. She was giving him a sympathetic smile as she set another bottle of beer in front of him. He nodded. "Something like that," he muttered.
"Well, this one's on me," she said. "Try to cheer up. Usually you're the life of the party."
Adrian smirked. "Usually," he agreed and then looked over to the opposite end of the bar where a loud round of laughter erupted. It came from a bunch of girls who were doing body shots. One of the girls wore a makeshift veil and Adrian realized it must be a bachelorette party. "Hey, Miranda," he muttered, "I think they'll take over the life--of--the--party role tonight."
Miranda's smile turned to one of conspiracy and she leaned closer to Adrian. "They've been dropping a shitload of money. It's the blond bitch's bachelorette party."
"So I see," he said, looking at the group of girls again. He noticed one dark haired girl sitting with them who was not really joining in on the fun. "Do you know them?"
Miranda nodded. "Yeah. I went to school with Janelle, the blond. The dark haired one sitting by them drinking water is Janelle's sister, Joslin. She's the designated driver. With as much money as their folks have, you'd think they'd hire a limo to cart them around in."
Adrian sat up straighter, suddenly at full attention. "They're rich?"
Miranda giggled. "Loaded. Their father is a lawyer and their mother's a doctor. Neurosurgeon or some shit like that. You've never heard of the McKay's?" she asked in disbelief.
He laughed and shook his head. "Nope. Should I have?"
"They own, like, half the town," she exclaimed and shook her head.
"Miranda!" another patron called, banging his glass on the bar top to get her attention.
She sighed. "Coming, Mark! Hold your damn horses. Be back."
Adrian paid no attention to her as she walked away from him. His gaze was focused on the two McKay sisters, his mind whirring away. Maybe the answer to his problems was sitting at the other end of the bar. He could begin to date Joslin and in a few weeks he'd ask her for a loan. If Miranda was right about the money, Joslin would be happy to help him out since they were throwing cash away like water in the bar.
He picked up his bottle of beer and made his way over to where the dark haired girl was sitting. The rest of the bachelorette party was crowded around the jukebox, selecting songs to play. He sat down in the chair next to her.
"Hi," he said. "Can I buy you a drink or something?"
She turned her head and looked at him for a moment. Her eyes left his face and traveled downwards, taking him in from head to foot. Then she looked away from him and stared straight ahead. "Nope," she said simply.
Adrian was taken aback for a moment. He knew he wasn't that bad looking with his thick brown hair and deep brown eyes. He stood about six foot four with a slightly stocky build from the beers he'd consumed in his twenty--seven years. But even with the little extra to love he'd never been turned down before. He just stared across the table at her unmoving.
"Look, buddy. I said no. Now please go back to your corner and drown yourself in more beer," she said snidely.
He didn't need to be told twice. He stood up and sauntered back to his original seat at the bar. Even though he didn't show it on the outside, inside he was seething. For having the face of an angel, Joslin McKay had the attitude of the devil. She didn't know him so why was she such a bitch? Any hopes he had of using her for a loan went out the window.
Twelve beers later Adrian was feeling no pain. He'd successfully hustled some other guys in pool and managed to bank two hundred bucks into his pocket. He'd also earned the attention of a couple of girls in the bachelorette party. They willingly brought him more beer even before he was done with his current bottle.
During the course of the night, he kept an eye on Joslin, whose surly expression turned even more sour when her friends began hitting on him. It made him feel pleasantly satisfied. He also noticed that she had switched from water to beer.
"Adrian. Dance with me," one of the girls said, tugging on his arm.
He looked down at her, blankly. He had long since forgotten her name along with the rest of her troupe. He shrugged her grip off his arm and shook his head. "No dancing for me. Except to the little boys' room."
The girl laughed. "You're sooo funny," she drawled. "Hurry back. Miss you already."
He shook his head and walked towards the back of the bar where the bathrooms were located. He took care of business and washed his hands. Then, as he opened the door and walked out of the tiny room, he collided hard with another person, knocking them both down to the floor.
"Oh! I'm so sorry," he slurred.
"Why don't you watch where the fuck you're going?" the woman's voice hissed at him.
"I said I was sorry, geez." Adrian picked himself up and offered his hand to help her up. He froze when he realized it was Joslin.
She glared up at him for a second and got to her feet pointedly refusing his assistance. She brushed her clothes off. "If I tell my father about this he'll sue your ass for all you got."
Adrian just stared at her for a moment. He wanted to laugh in her face and say, sure, let him try to get something from nothing. But instead, in a flash of inspiration, the thought twisted around in his head. Maybe she could be his money ticket after all. Maybe he could sue her father? Or, in better terms, blackmail him, using his bratty little daughter as collateral.
She shook her head in disgust and moved around him to continue down the short hallway to the ladies room.
He glanced back towards the people in the bar to see if anyone had seen what had just transpired. There wasn't anybody running over so he knew nobody had seen them collide and fall. He turned and followed Joslin, eying the exit just beyond the ladies room.
He took a deep breath and with all the abandon of a desperate man, he threw his arm around Joslin's torso, pinning her arms down to her sides. He clamped his hand over her mouth and nose. Joslin's body stiffened for a moment before she began to thrash around to free herself.
Adrian slammed her against the back door, using his weight to crush her. "Make a scene and I'll snap your puny neck, bitch," he growled in her ear. "Understand?"
She was quiet for a moment. She nodded once.
"Good girl. Now reach up and open the door," he ordered. "Now!" he barked when she hesitated.
She did as she was told and the door swung open without a sound.
He hustled her outside and used his foot to kick the door closed again. His mind was spinning and his heart was beating wildly as adrenaline coursed through his body. Now what was he going to do? He had just kidnapped her. In the movies, kidnappers always tied up their victims so he figured that's what he had to do. The only problem was, he didn't have anything to tie her up with; this kidnapping wasn't exactly planned.
"I'm going to let go of your trap. Make a sound and I'll carry through with the neck snapping," he hissed in her ear. He waited a minute and then slowly withdrew his hand from her face.
She greedily sucked in oxygen but did as he told her and stayed quiet.
He used his free hand to unbuckle his belt and slide it off, and then he released her and grabbed her arms, pulling them behind her back. Quickly, he wrapped his belt around her wrists several times and buckled it. He had to pull hard on the leather to get it fastened.
"Ow!" she complained.
"Shut up!" he growled. He held her by the arm and shoved her towards the woods behind the bar.
"Where are you taking me?" she asked, stumbling as she tried to keep up the pace he was prodding her along at.
"I said, shut up!" he repeated, giving her arm a hard shake. He was pleased the belt binding her arms clung tenaciously to her wrists. Not bad for a makeshift binding. Staying away from the streets, he guided her towards his apartment. A block away from his duplex, he stopped abruptly. He suddenly realized that he had to blindfold her to prevent her from seeing where he lived.
He looked around and saw nothing he could use. As he looked at her, he noted she was wearing a short skirt. He ran his hand over her leg.
She jerked away from him. "Don't touch me!"
"Shut up!" He dug under her skirt which elicited several squeals of complaint, which he ignored as he pulled her pantyhose down. He took off her shoes and yanked the hose all the way off.
"Beast!" she spat at him. "Hurry up and rape me if you must. You'll regret it. My father will make sure you pay."
Adrian straightened up and tugged the top of the pantyhose down over her head. He used the legs to wrap around her head tightly, one around her eyes and the other in her mouth. It wasn't a very effective gag but it did manage to silence some of her whiny rants. He tied it off and leaned down again to put her shoes back on her feet.
"Ungh!" she grumbled, shaking her head.
He grabbed her arm again and continued on to his apartment. He opened the door and shoved her inside. She stumbled ahead of him for a few steps before regaining her footing. She stood there breathing heavily, holding her head high and defiant, a posture that thrust out her chest even more than it was already just from having her arms bound behind her.
Wow, he thought, she is hot! Even with the pantyhose on her head.
But he didn't have time to think about that now. He yanked open the bottom drawer in one of his kitchen cupboards and rummaged around. That roll of duct tape had to be there somewhere. Did he use it all up? Shit! No, there it was, way in the back of course. He grabbed the roll and then sat his captive down on one of the kitchen chairs.
She resisted him for only a moment before giving in. Good, he thought. I really don't want this to get any messier than it already is. He grabbed her left ankle and quickly taped it to the leg of the chair. He did the same with her right. Then he moved around behind her and wrapped the tape around her wrists, above the belt already holding them.
"Hemme ho!" she cried, tugging on the new restraints.
Ignoring her, he used the rest of the tape to secure her torso to the chair, encircling her waist first, and then above and below her breasts as well. He stood up and studied her, breathing heavily as he watched her struggle against her bonds and bitch at him.
Now her breasts were even more accentuated than before. But he still didn't have time to appreciate the view. What if someone back at the bar saw both of them go towards the bathroom? The timing was relatively close together. What if they figured out what happened? He had to go back and keep up appearances.
He glanced at his watch and saw that he had only been gone five minutes at the most. He grabbed the chair and dragged Joslin along with the chair into the bathroom. It was the room farthest away from the outer walls of the house and it didn't have a window. He didn't need anybody to come around looking in the windows and seeing her bound to the chair.
She squealed as he pulled her along and shook her head. "Hop! Heeze! Hop!"
Adrian was puzzled for a moment, trying to figure out what she was saying. He shrugged and walked back into the kitchen. He picked up the dishrag and the dish towel. He carried them into the bathroom and shoved the rag into her mouth. He wrapped the towel around her head over her mouth to hold the rag in and tied it off behind her head.
"Mmmm! MmmmMMmmm!" she hummed.
Satisfied that nobody would hear her and definitely not see her, Adrian left the apartment again. He locked the door as he left just in case one of his acquaintance friends dropped by for a visit. He pocketed the keys and then took off running back to the bar, slipping in through the back door.
There was a woman standing there outside the bathroom as he entered. She jumped when the door opened.
"Sorry," Adrian said, and pretended to zip his jeans up. "Men's room was full and couldn't hold it."
She giggled and nodded. "Believe me. If I could do that, I would."
Adrian winked at her and made his way back to where his half empty beer was still sitting. He slid onto the bar stool and glanced around the bar. The bachelorette party was now on the small dance floor, shaking their moneymakers. The guys he had hustled in pool earlier had moved on to the dart board.
Miranda walked over to him and picked up his bottle. "Need a refill? Susan wants to buy you another."
"Who?" he asked.
"Susan? The short redhead that's been making a play for you all night?" she asked and laughed. "Sheesh. You are so dense sometimes, Adrian."
He grinned sheepishly at her and shrugged. "So sue me." He sighed in relief as Miranda walked away from him. If Miranda hadn't noticed he'd been gone, chances were nobody else did either. Miranda usually observed everything that went on while she was bartending.
So far, he was in the clear. His heart was still beating wildly. He couldn't believe he had just pulled that off, especially being way over the legal limit. He might be too drunk to drive but not to abduct a girl, he chuckled to himself. And it was a good thing he had earned that two hundred bucks earlier at the pool table. He would need it the next day. He had to go out and buy supplies to keep his victim under control.
Adrian slid off his stool and put three quarters on the raised edge of the pool table. He looked at the two guys playing. "Play for twenty bucks?" he asked. Might as well start earning more money, he thought. The more he had, the more prepared he would be.