A/N: Chapter 1 is an edited updated version, so please re-read this chapter if you have already read the other chapters! Thanks! R & R!
FBI agent Corbett is the task force leader in the fight against drug rings, they are after the leader of the most dangerous drug & money launder John Pierre and his six associates, who are on the international Interpol's most wanted list. But when Pierre comes across Kitty Starr, he plans to covert her to the bad side, given her family's lineage, of which Kitty does not know.
Kitty Starr and old fame FBI agent Conrad Corbett go head to head, while trying to find the mole in the FBI. When they find out one of Kitty's friend's dad is no other than the FBI Director himself and has disappeared, the stakes rise. It's now a race against time to uncover the truth and eliminate the mole in the agency and to bring down the drug lords. Can Kitty escape John Pierre's clutches? Who will she believe about her family's lineage? Will Corbett and Starr ever trust each other? Will they save her friend's dad and manage to keep them and the world safe?
September 1st 2006
Friday Night 9:07pm
Kitty Starr gradually eased down into the steaming, hot bath. She sighed, as she felt a huge weight evaporate from her aching shoulders, as the hot water caressed her skin. The lavender bath bomb she had placed under the running water was permeating every pore. The candles bathed the bathroom in a warm, golden glow accompanied by soothing meditation music in the background. It was the first time in months that she was able to enjoy this luxury of having a bubble bath without interruptions.
Endless months of study and recent events in the last six months had taken its toll on her. Ever so lightly, she dragged the loofah sponge across her toned, tanned stomach. Her eyes fluttered shut. Her muscles were screaming out in pain, from her earlier soccer game with the neighbourhood boys. She was astonished how easy it was to relax.
Kitty felt like as though she had millions of knots in her stomach. All her nerves were bristling like Fourth of July fireworks!
Every damn day she tried to control herself but it was getting more difficult as each day passed. Her heart yearned for things, or mainly someone that she would never have. But she made sure her mouth did not betray her. He would never be hers again, she began to realise as time painfully went by.
She had steeled her heart against every memory she had ever held of him. It was the only way to forget him. Shaking her head free of all thoughts, she wondered what tomorrow would bring. A heavy sigh escaped her. Her toes turned the hot tap on to warm up the bath. Her skin resembled a bleached prune but was relaxed to think about getting out. Sheer bliss. She cringed as the hot water burned her but at the same time welcomed it.
"Well don't you just look de-l-i-c-i-ous, nice loofah."
Kitty's eyes flew open. She shrieked as bubbles splashed into her face. She bolted upright and covered herself with her arms. A sudden draft sent chills into the bathroom and caused the candles to flicker wildly, as if the invasion had upset them also. Kitty slid further under the bubbles, as fear gripped her heart.
She saw the outline of a person standing to the right of the bathroom door, avoiding the light of the candles. She could not see his face, though the voice...was ..somewhat familiar.
"What the hell do you think you're doing? GET OUT!," Kitty screamed at him, throwing the nearest missile..a bottle of lotion.
Which he caught. Mirth swirled in his dark emerald eyes. He smirked, while she was visibly shaken and trying to make sense of this unexpected intrusion into her private space.
She continued shrieking. She felt very vulnerable and extremely naked, thank God for the bubbles.
"Ooo she has claws." The tongue-in-cheek voice said.
He spluttered on the wet sponge that had been launched in his direction. He began spluttering and spitting out bits of the sponge, almost gagging when he tasted the lavender on it. He raced to the basin to wash his mouth out, Kitty was about to scramble out of the bath when he flicked the light on, and she sank back down defeated into the bath. Her blood boiled inside her like a hot spring as the light revealed Trent Crenshaw... standing there, wiping his face on her pink fluffy towel!
He scowled. "That wasn't very nice, Kitty." She blanched.
"Why the hell are you in my house? No, wait how the heck did you get in? I locked everything up!" She exclaimed, letting her guard down. She knew he would not harm her, but she was still furious with him. Her hands trembled from the shock.
"Time to get out. I've waited long enough for you. You must be a prune by now."
She huffed at him. "You should have called out or rang me!"
"I did call out, there was no answer, and all I could hear was weird temple music and bells. You gave me your spare key for emergencies remember? No buts' tiger, out." Trent said, holding a towel up for her, while looking away.
"Don't look." She threatened. He rolled his eyes in response. She stepped out of the bath, pulling the plug and huddled into the warmth of the towel. The bathroom was now cold and her relaxing bath ruined by her annoying "jackass friend"-Trent.
He slapped her on the behind, chuckling as she made her way to her room. Her eyes wide with stunned shock, she yanked her door closed, slamming it. Kitty grumbled to herself, dressing in her matching satin blue knickers and bra, pulling on her jeans with a simple blue tank top. Satisfied with her towel-dried hair and appearance, she made her way into the living room to face Trent. It was barely 6pm. He placed a mug of hot chocolate in front of her and she drank it gratefully, as he sat down next to her.
"We have a problem Kitty." He said, solemnly. She raised her eyebrows at him in question.
"We? Since when?" She scoffed.
Slumping down into the lounge, he lifted her feet up onto his lap and gently massaged them. "How long were you in that bath for? You feel like a prune." He raised an eyebrow at her.
"Two hours, it was soooo relaxing, until you ruined it." Kitty said, pouting, glaring at him.
"You know Jack's dad has disappeared off the face of the earth, right? His mum called me. She says his dad went on an urgent business trip, but Jack eavesdropped on her conversation and is convinced that the famous jewellery designer, Henry Mansfield, is blackmailing his dad." Trent frowned.
"Yeah, so where's the 'we have a problem'?," Kitty yawned, not sure what he was getting at.
"He should get a private detective." She added, moaning, loving the feel of his calloused hands massaging her feet.
"That's what I said, but the problem is, that he wants to break into Henry Mansfield's Mansion. He said, and I quote 'JJ has the computer skills and you and Kitty could back me up if something goes wrong." Trent said, grimacing.
She started laughing, thinking he was just joking, until the look on his face said that he was dead serious.
She choked on her saliva, "W-wha-ttt? Me? No freaking way! That's..that's like suicide! It's B &E! It's illegal!" Her voice rose in octaves.
"He's planned it for tonight," Trent blew out a breath. Kitty swore under her breath.
Trent took her face in his hands. "I won't let anything happen to you, Kitty, I promise. We are just the lookouts. This is for Jack. He'll do it without us if we don't help him. " He said, looking into her deep blue eyes. She sighed, and thoughtfully nodded her okay.
"I don't like this, just for the record." Kitty grumbled. "Neither do I." He muttered.
By 8pm they were setting up their harnesses. Kitty growled and sulked the whole way, as JJ and Jack explained the plan in detail, which left her shaking with fury directed at Trent.
She had him pinned him up against the car, eyeballing him. "Just the lookouts, huh?" She said referring to Jack's outrageous plan to climb the cliff face. He raised his hands up in surrender and escaped into the safety of the Jeep. Kitty glanced up to the night's sky, letting her hair loose, nervously raking her fingers through her golden-blonde shimmering hair. She hated heights and Jack expected them to climb that..that monstrosity! Just thinking about it spiked her breathing. Kitty groaned. That familiar feeling in her chest, automatically started tightening while her palms were clammy. This is so not the time for a panic attack Kitty!, she scolded herself. It was imperative that she stay calm. Breathe..In..out..In..out, she chanted.
That's when she spotted the Moon in all its radiant glory. It was full. It was well documented throughout history, that everything is heightened at the time of the Full Moon. There were more break-in's, and murders. You name it – and it obviously had affected Jack tonight!
Were they really going ahead with this? Anyone of them could fall or the harness could snap. Trent was the only experienced abseiler here. No one else knew of their whereabouts and JJ's parents were the only ones who would worry enough to come looking for them. Worse yet, what if they got caught by Mansfield himself? Oh, God. Kitty's stomach lurched at the thought of that scenario. She hated the dark and the eerie
sounds that surrounded them. It was sooo not helping.
Trent shouted his instructions above the howling wind, as each of them balanced on the old oak tree branch, before beginning the treacherous climb up the rock face. Wind dangerously whipped around the faces of the four teenagers. They had parked on the outskirts of the forest, just an hour out of town. Henry Mansfield's mansion was in the countryside, standing out like a big 18th century fortress, built on the edge of a cliff. It was private property and heavily secured. Kitty's nerves were on edge as she stared upwards at the enormous cliff face that they had to climb.
The hairs on the back of her neck stood up and she felt as if someone was watching them. Her eyes scanned back towards the forest, where they had parked the Jeep, but she could see only shadows. Kitty tucked her hair up under her balaclava, as the wind swirled around her. She breathed in heavily, feeling the air getting thinner as they climbed higher, only fifty more metres to go.
Kitty glanced down at her arrogant jock jackass friend Trent as he tugged on her safety rope which was connected to his harness belt. She raised an eyebrow at his attempt to sign to her, no clue what-so-ever what he was trying to say. She had stopped for a break, panting. When she opened her eyes, she got the shock of her life! Trent was right beside her!
"I was saying to move your lard ass and get moving! Now move!" he growled, frustrated.
Kitty huffed indignantly. ...Ass! Jerk! She cursed him under her breath, fire sparking in her eyes, motivated to get to the top of the cliff and away from him!
He was the high and mighty, experienced rock-climber and enjoyed showing off his skills, especially in gym class where he would initiate challenges, and of course, always win. The girls at University craved his attention- but Kitty could not see why at the time. More recently, she had to admit that his wavy dark brown hair, green eyes and broad shoulders were very easy on the eye. Quite sexy indeed. Kitty scoffed to herself. But she knew Trent Crenshaw was the resident jock and highly arrogant, rude and impossible! There was rarely a time when he didn't get under her skin and she just wanted to pummel him with a baseball bat over and over! A little intense, maybe...but he would drive you crazy too!
Then he shows up in her computer class! The guy did not even want to take the computer science class but yet, amazingly he still showed up. He was like a buzzing bee around her, constantly distracting and irritating her.
Kitty was the only girl out of twenty-five guys in that particular class and they would bicker with each other every chance they got. She found him truly insufferable! Just like Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice but more so.
Kitty gritted her teeth and relied on her upper body strength to grip the rock with her gloved- hands. Her gloves had ripped on a piece of jagged rock and her hands were now bleeding, when she realised that he was catching up to her! Again!
Quickly dusting her hands with chalk again, she pushed her fingers into a hole above her, pulling her body upwards and managing to get a good footing. When this was over, she would cheerfully annihilateJack for this. Note the humour.
"Oh, fiddlesticks." She muttered under her breath, as her foot jammed in a crevice. She tried to yank her foot out of the hole, but it would not budge. Switching her hands over so her left was holding onto the rope, she ducked her right hand down towards her foot, tugging at it. Still it wouldn't break free. She cursed, gritting her teeth in annoyance.
After two final tugs her foot became free but a sigh of relief turned into a blood-curdling scream as she began to free-fall backwards, swaying backwards and forwards, desperately trying to lean forward and grab the rock.
"Kitty! Hang on!" Trent shouted out in horror from below her. She fell about five metres before the rope stopped, jolting her. She was hyperventilating and trembling. Trent was still another fifteen metres away below her, racing up the cliff to rescue her.
The sound of a horrifying snap echoed in the dark, as her safety rope broke and she began to fall again. She braced herself and held her eyes closed.
She felt an arm holding her securely around the waist. For a split second she thought it was Conrad. A few years ago he had saved her, when she had fallen overboard on their friend's yacht. She snapped out of it, opening her eyes as she heard Trent's calming voice.
"Shh, it's okay. I've got you." He said.
"Don't let me go!" Kitty cried out, terrified.
"I won't! Just hang on!" He said,
She wrapped her arms around his waist as he instructed her to do and burrowed her face into the crook of his neck. She was now officially terrified.
"My safety rope snapped." She whispered into his ear, her voice faltering.
"I know. Just hang onto me real tight while I attach your rope to mine." He said, hugging her to him.
It took Trent ten minutes to make sure they were both secure. "Ok, Kitty, you're going to climb up and I'll be right behind you, I promise I will not let you fall again okay?" he told her.
She nodded. "Are you sure it won't snap again?"
"Well, it probably will with your extra weight on my safety rope but we should make it to the top before that happens." He said dryly.
She blanched at his blunt statement.
He saw the look on her face and he cursed himself mentally as he said, "Do you trust me?" he asked her softly.
She looked into his emerald green eyes. "No! Of course I don't trust you!" She said, feigning panic and horror.
"I'll hang onto you while you get your footing and lift you up." Trent said, his fingers hooking into her belt for a better grip.
She cautiously hauled herself up as Trent guided her feet into a small crevice in the rock. Trent's voice guided her step by step and encouraged her up further, with him right behind her. She sighed in relief. Trent voice's was calming. He knew what he was doing and she realised she had confidence in his rock climbing ability. The wind made her skin numb and cold, sending shivers up and down her spine.
Above her Julian Jones, aka JJ was scaling the cliff face as fast as possible. He did not like heights one bit either. He was the intellectual one..history and electronics fascinated him, but he was definitely not cut out for adventure hunting. He knew Kitty was not happy about climbing this cliff either. In fact, he had never seen her more furious than she was right now. Jack had informed them of their dangerous climb only after they had arrived at the forest edge.
Julian, who was normally outgoing and upbeat- was highly irritated and annoyed at his best friend, Jack Stevens. It was Jack's idea, to climb the cliff face and disarm the perimeter alarm of Mansfield mansion. He expected that Julian could successfully disarm the security system in less than a minute which was placing alot of pressure on JJ. Hacking was not an easy task under these circumstances. Especially, when he had less than three hours, to prepare for this bizarre mission impossible. We needed Tom Cruise!
Of course, JJ hacked the system and into Mansfield's itinerary. Mr Mansfield was to be attending a black and white ball at the Sheraton Hotel at exactly 9 o'clock. JJ and Jack had swiped a electronic device that scans microchips and lists the exact position of the object. They had managed to get into the warehouse behind the railway yard unnoticed. It felt like they were in a movie. At least their search would not take too long now with the device. There was a specific painting with a flash drive hidden in the frame, well according to Jack. It did mean searching the whole mansion for this painting.
JJ thought it was ludicrous! Granted, it may contain information of Jack's father. Or it might not. Julian sighed. He knew once Jack had his mind set on something he would not stop for anything. And that meant that Trent, Kitty and Julian were in for the wildest ride of their life!
Jack Stevens. Insert drool here. Blue eyes, spiky blonde hair, smile to die for...he was every girl's dream. Sweat trickled down his well-defined muscular arms, his form fitting t-shirt drenched in sweat and clinging to him. Jack was determined to find out what really happened to his father. Of course, he had no proof that Henry Mansfield had anything to do with his dad's disappearance. Nevertheless, he had that gut feeling that somehow he did. Especially, after overhearing his mother's conversion with Mansfield himself.
He would be eternally indebted to his three best friends, Trent, Kitty and his childhood friend Julian. Of course, it had taken a lot of convincing, for them to agree. Although he left one tiny little detail out that rock climbing would be involved! Oops! Jack cringed at the thought of the angry faces his friends had given him at the bottom of the cliff.
After what seemed like hours of climbing that dreadful cliff, they finally made it to the top of the mansion wall. Hauling themselves up on the wall, heavily panting they surveyed the Mansfield mansion grounds. JJ wasted no time booting his small laptop up, his fingers flying at rapid speed across the keyboard, faster than Kitty could even blink. Her eyes glanced over the grounds in the pitch black, memorising the layout. She involuntary shivered. A glint of light captured her eye, shining in the moonlight.
She could have sworn she saw a pair of glowing yellow eyes, looking out from the window of the mansion. She gulped in fright and nearly fainted. She hoped Mansfield didn't have any..exotic creatures in his house.
They stashed their climbing gear into Trent's backpack, pulling the balaclava's down over their faces. Kitty started to itch like crazy. She frowned. She didn't know why. She frowned, desperately itching through her sleeve.
Trent tried stifling a laugh as he smugly watched Kitty scratching madly.
"Got ants in your pants, Starr?" He smirked. A playful cheeky glint in his eye said it all. He was enjoying this.
Kitty glared at him, when realization hit her. He had put itching powder in her bag! She glared daggers at him.
"God damn you, Trent! This could jeopardise the mission! " Kitty whined softly, utterly frustrated.
"What Starr? Can't take the heat?" he whispered into her ear from behind her, sending shivers down her spine.
Kitty knew what he was referring to. She found him utterly impossible and cocky. It annoyed her immensely.
Sighing heavily, she wracked her brain for the slightest reason as to why she had agreed to go on this daring adventure. She could not tolerate Trent much longer. Next to her, Julian was furiously trying to hack into the security's mainframe, his fingers darting like lightening over the keyboard in hopes of disarming the alarm. JJ started to sweat under pressure. Hacking was his speciality, top ranked in his studies and often apprehended by the FBI, for hacking into databases that were highly classified. Hell, JJ even took over Professor Linton's classes when he was sick! That's how smart he is.
He was teaching the day Kitty transferred into the class, she thought back to her first day at university. As soon as she had entered the lecture room, at Blue Water University, and saw twenty-five pair of eyes burning into her, she had cringed. She straightened her shoulders, faking self-assurance and confidence and took a seat, four rows from the back in the middle.
She had opened her hot pink laptop, while digging in her messenger bag for her pink fluffy pen and notepad. She had looked up to see JJ's sharp eyes on her, along with everyone else's. She sank lower into her chair. Finally JJ had snapped out of his trance and resumed the class, stuttering slightly. On her left, was Trent Crenshaw and to her right, was no other than Jack Stevens, heir to his dad's billionaire computer company.
"Oh, look! It's 'Malibu Barbie' in the flesh! She must have gotten lost or escaped from Wal-Mart." Trent commented loudly to Jack.
Jack smirked in agreement. He gave her the once-over. She definitely fitted the 'Malibu Barbie look'. Curly blonde hair dancing upon her shoulders, bright blue eyes, naturally tanned, slim and very girly.
Kitty's fists clenched. She hated being called 'Malibu Barbie'. It was a nickname, she put up with all through high school. Thank God, she already went over the class structure and notes! She wanted to make sure she knew a little about computer science so that she could show everyone that blondes can be smart too.
Trent Crenshaw was lapping up the situation. Besides, it was not as though he had anything else better to do. Sure, he was in the class because his father demanded it, but Trent couldn't care less. And Malibu Barbie...well Trent was now looking forward to coming the class more often as she would be his entertainment. He would have fun with this Barbie doll. She was not that bad looking either, he thought.
Suddenly Kitty lost it, as the guy on her left kept calling her 'Barbie'. She knuckle-punched his arm and glared daggers at him, then started up her laptop. Trent just gazed in shock at her. Jack was trying to stifle his laughter but Kitty had tuned them out to listen to the professor. She had expected someone older.. not someone as young, as this 'professor'. She had been ten minutes late, and three hours to go before her next class.
Walking down the campus steps, Kitty had stopped to watch a group of students in the courtyard singing along to the band Five's 'Get the feeling' song. They had attracted a lot of students and teachers. To her surprise, the two nerds from her computer class were the main singers! Girls had been fawning over them.
Kitty did not think Blue Water University even had a music program! She had bounced down the stairs to seek out the music teacher. He had greeted her warmly and suggested that she come and check out the music class being held at 4pm. She had agreed happily.
Kitty skidded to a halt, turned a sharp right and proceeded to run down the hallway puffing and panting. She was late. Very late. She cringed she hated arriving late. She thought about ditching it, but she then forced herself out of her comfort zone. You can do this, she told herself. Her hand shook as she turned the doorknob and walked in... to find no one there!
What the..? Kitty frowned, she indeed did get the right room. She sat down at the back, thinking that maybe they were just late, like her. Ten minutes later, she gathered her things to leave, just as the door burst open to reveal the music teacher. A wave of students had poured into the room after him, so she sat down again.
"Ok, first off, sorry I'm late. I'm Mr. McHenry. We will start out with duets and then solos. Pair up." He had said, passing out sheet music.
Everyone suddenly paired up, all but one. He raised his eyebrows at Kitty, indicating she should join him, which she did.
"Scott Crestwood, are you new?" he asked, offering his hand for a welcome hand-shake.
"Just transferred, yes. Kitty Starr, it's a pleasure to meet you Scott." Kitty replied politely, accepting his handshake. "Likewise, Kitty Starr."
She studied the sheet of music; she was not familiar with the song. The first five pairs sang horridly! She wanted to cover her ears. She cringed atthe number of mistakes they made.
Scott and she were up next. She was sooo nervous. She had never performed in front of an audience before. Scott grabbed her hand. She looked up at him. He winked, and mouthed 'It's ok'. She smiled as they stood near the microphone. Trent started the music, watching intently. He mouthed something to Jack, who covered his mouth to muffle his snickering jeers.
Kitty glared at them and looked at Scott, who smirked. Scott's voice flowed through the room, perfect pitch, and tone. Kitty moistened her lips to get ready for the chorus, which was her part. Closing her eyes automatically, she sang at full capacity. She felt the rhythm of the song and let it pour out from her heart. She could not describe the feeling but it felt so surreal! She carried her voice perfectly and was able to match Scott's pitch. They locked eyes and sang to one another, giving it everything they had. Musically, she and Scott connected. They came to the end of the song and stood there stunned, looking at each other. They heard clapping, which brought out of their trance.
"That was the most utterly brilliant duet that I have ever heard!" Mr. McHenry had exclaimed, excited.
Kitty and Scott blushed. Most of the students were in stunned shock with jaws wide open. Including, Jack and Trent. Kitty smiled satisfied. When the class ended, Scott invited Kitty to go for coffee.
"You have an amazing voice, Kitty Starr." Scott remarked, paying for their drinks.
"Thanks Scott, you're not too bad yourself." She smirked at him, sitting down at their table.
They chattered for hours. They had a lot in common, so much more than they could have thought. From then on, they had met up at that very coffee shop on a regular basis, collaborating to discuss music class and upcoming music concerts. They also began composing songs together. They understood each other and enjoyed each other's company. Classes went by in a flash and suddenly she was in her last class for the semester. Scott had already finished his classes and had left to go home to see his family.
It had been five months since she transferred. Trent Crenshaw was still being a 'pain in the neck', but Jack had warmed up to her after a while. Kitty began to enjoy her conversations with Jack and he confided in her about his passion for programming. Kitty admitted that she, too was intrigued with programming and hacking.
And that's where it all had started. They quickly became friends, much to Trent's chagrin. And now here they were ready to commit a crime together! Kitty shook her mind free and focused on how to descend the wall, as Jack and JJ had already done. It was about ten feet high! She froze. The last time she jumped from this height, she had broken her leg!
"Ahhh why don't you guys go ahead? I'll..I'll..um..wait..here...I mean I'll keep watch!" Kitty stuttered, clinging to the wall for dear life.
"Kitty, you can't! The fence alarm will come on again in 60 seconds! It would be suspicious if I disarmed it fully." JJ said to her, sweating worriedly. He was keeping an eye on his watch, becoming increasingly nervous and agitated.
Trent rolled his eyes as he strapped Kitty's backpack to his and pulled on the rope behind him. He planned to scale down the wall, unlike his two friends who jumped. They could have seriously injured themselves. Now it seemed he would have to strap Kitty to him, seeing the fear in her eyes. He knew she wouldn't jump. At least she has common sense, Trent thought. Unknown to Kitty, he had clipped an extra harness clip onto his harness, which was still around her waist. Having done that, he grabbed her waist and pulled her to him, covering her mouth as he did so. Otherwise she would have screamed! And he was right, she was about to.
"You don't need to jump Kitty, just hold onto me. The lasers will burn through your flesh if you stay up here." Trent drawled and removed his hand from her mouth. He felt her tense up and frowned.
Kitty knew he was right. He was right! The lasers would have burned her. She should be grateful! But instead, she felt angry. He could have asked or warned her first, right? Right! She tensed up as his arms snaked around her waist and they scaled down the wall. She stiffened. His arms around her...just felt so right, she thought in shock. She shook her head and focused on the mission.
"Five seconds!" JJ hissed at them.
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Kitty shake her head, he frowned and held in a laugh as he realised she was mulling something over in that tiny mind of hers. Trent jumped out and pushed with his feet off the wall, lower to the ground. Kitty almost shrieked and clung to him, her fingers digging into his back. He winced at the pain her fingers were causing and with her added weight, he couldn't move any faster. He flexed his leg muscles and forced himself to go faster, grateful that his absailing skills kicked in, he remained focused and calm.
JJ and Jack were watching in sheer terror. The lasers started coming back on, one by one down the wall, and sliced through the rope. They winced as they heard a thud. Trent and Kitty fell to the ground as the rope gave way. Trent groaned as her body collapsed on top off him and he put his arms around her waist, nuzzling his face into the crook of her neck, just to get a reaction from her. Her eyes went wide as dinner plates stunned for a second, until she wriggled out of his grasp and crawled off. She felt herself blushing and was grateful no one could see in the dark.
"Well, that was exciting...in more ways than one." Trent coughed out, getting to his feet.
Kitty glared at him and wacked him. Hard. She instantly regretted it after seeing the hurt look on his face, as she bit her lip ashamed of her actions. She was about to apologise when Jack told them to hurry up. She'd talk to Trent later. The four of them hid behind a grove of mature rose bushes.
"Ok, remember the framed painting we're looking for is supposedly on the third level, in the room at the end of the hall. We still have to search every room and do not touch anything!" JJ said in a hushed whisper.
They all climbed through an open window into what seemed to be a sitting room. A sparkle in the corner of the room caught Kitty's eye. She moved closer and saw it was a china cabinet full of different coloured stones. She gasped in awe. Beside her, Trent glanced at the china cabinet and announced, "They'd have to be fakes."
Kitty gritted her teeth in annoyance. He always has to ruin things! She felt like screaming and throwing things at him. Really, she did. But, she is a young lady, and young ladies do not act in such a manner. She tilted her head up, held it high, and caught up to Jack.
They all flipped their mobiles out double checking their mobiles were on 'silent mode', to keep in touch as they split up to search the mansion. Trent took the basement level, Kitty had the ground floor, JJ volunteered to search the second level and Jack was eager to search the third level. Carefully, JJ and Jack ascended the jarrah carved winding staircase up to the second landing where they separated. Just as Jack reached the third level, he jumped at the noise of a door slamming. Terror raced throughout his body.
His mobile flashed indicating he had a new text message.
Did you hear that? Kitty texted him. A second later, Trent's text came through. What was that! Another flash, and JJ's text flashed onto the screen, Did anyone hear that? I think it's just the garden shed door banging in the wind.
Jack quickly typed out a message while heading down to the first room on his right to search.
'Garden Shed door banging, false alarm, keep searching. Text if you find anything!'
Turning on his torch light on his mobile, Jack scanned the room. An antique oak desk faced the door, with a jarrah wall-to-ceiling bookcase opposite, filled with old tattered books and lots of dust. He coughed, as his finger slid along one of the books, the dust spraying into his face. There was a armchair opposite the desk with a side table and lamp. There were no paintings whatsoever in the room. It was almost bare, as if no one had been in here for a very long time. Jack frowned, finding it a bit weird. He advanced onto the next two rooms, turning up with zilch. There were no paintings. Where are they? Jack thought frustrated. He only had one more room to search and it was the one that puzzled him the most. On entering, he discovered it was a bedroom, with a definite gothic theme.
The round bed had a black lace trim with red polka dots, red cushions that had feathers stitched into it...weirddd! He opened the closet and with a wide-eyed gasp scanned the handcuffs, studded collars, whips and some sort of muzzle brace that was on the shelves. High-heeled boots that looked like cowboy boots were placed on the shoe rack at the bottom of the closet. Kinky bastard, Jack thought. He opened the door opposite the closet, which he presumed was the bathroom. He was right. But, he did not expect to find photography equipment and photos hanging from the shower curtain. He shined his mobile torch over them and stumbled back, utterly disgusted at what he saw. It looked as if Mansfield had taken photos of himself and of his 'flavour of the week' in rather compromising positions with the bondage gear that he had spied in the closet. A bunch of photos were spread out on the vanity so Jack grabbed a few of them for evidence. Maybe they could blackmail Mansfield with them, they would definitely be handy for something.
JJ was high on an adrenaline rush, which was highly unusual for him, being a complete nerd who was always in control. His whole body shook with anticipation as he searched the fourth room for the framed painting. So far, he had not come across any paintings. He was intrigued by the antique apothecary chest placed against the wall. Having an interest in antiques, he knew most apothecary's chest had secret compartments. He had once inspected one similar at an auction. It was found to have a whole panel, which pulled out to be a desk, with an extra compartment, which had never been opened by anyone, but the craftsmen who made the piece. It somehow rang bells in his head, could this be where his precious jewellery stones were kept safe? ... 'But onto the task at hand, no time to get sidetracked', JJ told himself.
But just one sneak peak at the craftsmen's stamp! He promised pulled the chest out without scraping it on the oak floor, just enough to scan the lower right side with his mobile torch. And there it was! But, before JJ could read it, his eyes widened at the sight of a the painting behind the apothecary chest. It was in bubble wrap and pushed right up towards the corner, he reached for it and gently extricated it from its hiding place. He scanned the microchip device over the painting and waited for the indicator light.
Seconds passed, which seemed like eternity, and the indicator light turned green. It was a match! Carefully pulling back the bubble wrap he spotted the flash drive instantly and gently removed it. He prised the chip off the flash drive and placed it back onto the painting, covering it up again, pushing the painting back to its hiding place. He nudged the chest back towards the wall, and winced as it scraped on the oak floor. JJ flipped his mini laptop out and inserted the flash drive into the usb port quickly. He scanned the file, not sure if it was the one Jack was after, yanking the flash drive out, he put his laptop back into his bag. He pocketed the flash drive and crept out of the room quietly. He continued to search the second floor. The fifth room was a huge library, with display cases of sparkling gems and various artifacts. JJ was in heaven, he loved old books. He searched every nook and cranny of the library until he came across the desk. His hand skimmed underneath the desk, and a sudden sharp pain radiated through his finger. He snatched his hand back, sucking his now bleeding finger. He cursed. Leaning down he saw a padded envelope taped to bottom of the desk. He ripped it off and stuffed it into his backpack, glancing at his watch. He bolted out of the room and hurried to search the remaining five rooms. They did not have much time left.
Trent found the basement door in the far left of the kitchen. It had a spiral staircase leading down to a solid steel door. It was unlocked. He cautiously descended the basement stairs. He flicked the switch. The light did not go on. He swore and stalked back halfway up the stairs, grabbing the light bulb and twisting it. When it was secure, he flipped the switch again. Light filled the basement. It was filled with cardboard boxes and junk, old crates, pieces of furniture and at further down the end was a small wine cellar. Trent heaved a sigh, shrugged his backpack off his shoulders and opened the nearest box to him. He was sure there were more than fifty boxes and he had only been through a third. He searched the wine cellar, noting the expensive labels in the temperature controlled display case. There were a string of paintings along the wall and all framed.
He took them all down, searched them for a microchip, but found nothing. He looked up and saw a built-in safe in the wall. Score! It had some combination lock on it. He accessed the code hacker application on his mobile that JJ had installed and held it up to the electronic panel. It flashed through a series of numbers just as he heard footsteps. He froze. The lock opened. He grabbed the contents, stuffing them into his backpack and closing the safe, hurriedly hanging up the paintings again. A creak sounded above him. He raced back to the stairs, flicked the light switch off and hid underneath the staircase. The floorboards creaked. The door opened. Then it closed, and an audible click of a lock sounded. He was locked in! He stifled a groan.
'Someone locked me in the basement! Are you guys okay? I'm going to try pick the lock.' Trent quickly texted the others before stashing it into his jean pocket.
'On the way down.' Jack texted back.
'Still searching, text if need back-up.' JJ sent.
'I heard someone, footsteps. We don't have much time left. Trent get out of there.' Kitty's message flashed onto the screen.
"I'm planning to Kitty." He whispered to himself, agitated. There was someone else in the mansion. They would have to get out soon.
Kitty began searching the ground floor, room by room, storing the layout in her head. She admired the gems in the display cases and books on the shelves and the beautiful murals of angels on the ceiling in one of the dining rooms. So far, she had searched one side of the ground floor, which had six different rooms ranging from sitting rooms to the dining areas, games room and TV room. On the other side of the ground floor, there were only four rooms. She crept quietly along the jarrah floorboards and into the first room on her left. It was a huge office. Set with dark, burgundy-coloured curtains and polished jarrah wall to ceiling bookcases on both sides. A Chesterfield studded emerald lounge was situated just in front of the bookcase, beside an antique coffee table. She scanned the bookcases, browsing over the book titles and ornaments, until she came across a set of decorated Faberge` eggs. Her eyes were wide in awe. They were so beautiful! She just could not resist, she opened one up, revealing a pink gem. It sparkled unlike anything she had ever seen before. Then she saw a small key taped in one of the nooks. She pocketed it and closed the egg up again. She wondered what the key opened? She opened the other ones and found another strange jagged key- could it be a safety- deposit box key? It looked similar to the one her mum had on her key ring. She placed them back carefully, and scanned her eyes over the rest of the bookcase. She found nothing else of interest. The desk was empty, which was kind of weird. The next three bedrooms were guest rooms, she guessed. The closets were bare, as were the dressing tables. She did not find anything there either. She was at the end of the hallway now, having searched every room. She tried to think where she would hide valuable paintings. It had to be somewhere here! She wondered if Mansfield had a walk-in vault? But, where could it be? She ruled out the second and third floor, thinking it would be too obvious. No, it had to be here or in the basement, she thought.
Sending a quick text message to Trent, telling him to look for a walk-in vault, she headed back to the most obvious place. The first sitting room where they entered. There were so many bookcases in the mansion, why not have secret passages behind it? It made sense.
She was walking down the stretch of the large hallway, admiring the moon that was in clear view of the stained-glass patterned windows, when suddenly she was overcome with a strange sensation. Her senses heightened. She shivered. She had a bad feeling that something bad was going to happen.
A new message flashed onto her mobile screen. 'No vault, just a small safe. I'm out of the basement.' She was about to text back when she frowned and looked up. Dark shadows danced outside the windows and Kitty cried out. Four dark figures fitted with ski masks smashed into the four windows along the hallway. She did not know if they had heard her over the smashing glass or not. She ran quickly along the hall to the back of the house and hid in one of the offices.
'Ground floor. Office next to the kitchen on the right. Get here now! We have company on the ground level!' Kitty speedily texted the others.
Three instant messages blazed onto the screen. 'BTS' all of them said. BTS stood for be there soon. Trent and Jack stealthily entered the office. Kitty crawled around the desk and pulled them both down behind the jarrah desk. Trent was about to make a remark at the sight of her crawling on the floor, but before he could Kitty leapt up and put her hand over his and Jack's mouth. She glared at him alarmed, her eyes wide. JJ appeared in the doorway and Kitty beckoned them over.
"We have to get out NOW! Four guys just smashed through the windows down the hall and they'd been searching the rooms." Kitty whispered urgently, taking her hand off Trent's mouth.
"WHAT?" They exclaimed.
Kitty gritted her teeth and hushed them. Suddenly she froze. They looked at her weirdly. She heard the footsteps of the intruders. It sounded like they were heading their way! Jack deftly unlocked the French door behind the desk and led the way. They counted to thirty before the next person ran for it. Kitty was last to follow, keeping an eye out for the intruders, as the footsteps came closer. She panicked, and closed the door quietly. She pushed herself up under the desk, texting the boys saying she had to get out another way and to meet her back at the rose bushes. Were the intruders after them? Or were they after something else as well? She bit her lip. We need to know what they were looking for, she thought.
She crept quietly over to the door to listen, but she couldn't hear anything. Just as she made sure the coast was clear her heart skipped a beat. Remember those pair of yellow eyes she saw on the wall? Well, time to say hello to those yellow eyes that were now gleaming brightly at her, not to mention glaring murderously at her.
"Good dogs. Let me pass." She let out a nervous whimper as teeth stared at her.
Backing up slowly, until she hit the desk with her hip painfully, the beasts growled suddenly lurching for her. She managed not to yell, still in shock as she fell to the floor. The two beasts pounced on top of her. She squeezed her eyes shut, terrified at their vicious yellow eyes. They clawed her neck and arm ferociously as her shrill screams sounded throughout the mansion.
Her hand searched for something...anything just to get them off her, but she was out of luck. Suddenly she felt them shift and jump off her, running out of the room. She was puzzled. She managed to sit up against the back of the desk and groaned. Blood was smeared on the jarrah floor and a stream of warm, sticky blood ran down her neck onto her top and her black jeans. Curse Jack and his stupid ideas!
She tore a strip from her shirt tail, trying to stop the blood, but it was hopeless. She couldn't tie it properly with one hand. She even tried pulling it with her teeth. She could not hear any footsteps, but she was eager to get out of the mansion. She closed her eyes for a second to think and sensed movement. Trying to stop whimpering, she listened in fear that the dogs were returning. A hand out of nowhere appeared, rewrapping the torn piece of fabric around her arm and tied it into a knot. She opened her eyes only to stare into bright blue ones. Thank God they were not yellow eyes!
They were looking straight at her. It was a he. One of the intruders had helped her. Her eyes went wide in terror. She'd been caught. But, why would he help her? she was confused. She did not know what to make of it.
"Are you ok? Those dogs are vicious. You have lost a lot of blood. I'm just going to put a bandage on your neck ok? You will be leaving with us, too!" The blue-eyed intruder said, not looking at her.
"Ok." Kitty said hoarsely. She decided to play along until she could make a break for it.
"So, are you after the microchip as well? Did you get it? Because I couldn't find it," Kitty asked curious.
The intruder's head whipped around to look into her uncaring sapphire blue eyes. "Yes, we did get it. May I ask why you want it?" he asked, dangerously calm.
'Get out of there! You don't know what he's capable of!' She thought to herself. She steeled herself. "Probably same reason you do. Information. Why are you helping me?" Kitty said simply.
"You're only a kid and you've already lost a lot of blood. Shouldn't you be out partying instead of breaking in to secure places?" Blue eyes asked her amusedly.
"Parties are over rated and I am not a kid! I am 18. You look like my age too, shouldn't you be partying instead of breaking into mansions?" Kitty scoffed at him.
"Yes, I am your age, but I don't have time for partying. Ok, that should stop the bleeding, are you okay to walk?" He asked softly. His voice...was familiar to her.
Kitty reached up, grabbing the corner of the desk and hauled herself up with 'Blue Eyes' help. Kitty put her palm to her head to try to stop her head rush. 'Blue Eyes' put his hands on her shoulders to steady her.
"Thank you." Kitty said, looking into his eyes.
"You're welcome." Blue eyes said smirking, about to grab her arm.
Kitty darted out of his reach, picking up her bag from the floor, on her way to the door. She stopped, turning her head to see 'Blue Eyes' watching her. She grinned cheekily, blowing him a kiss and darted out of the room.
She ran down the long hallway, muttering under her breath. She flipped out her mobile and speed-dialled the others. "Where are you?" Trent's urgent voice asked.
"On my way out. Where do I meet you guys?" Kitty said, quietly.
"We're waiting at the rose bushes, hurry." He said, ending the call.
Kitty felt dizzy again, as she leaned against the cool marble wall for a minute. Think, Kitty! She couldn't go back through the office, she had to find another door leading outside. Glancing at her watch, she was horrified to find they only had fifteen minutes left before Mansfield was scheduled to arrive home. He would be on his way now!
Her mobile vibrated. 'Go to the second floor, end room on the left, left my bag there. There's an earpiece in it, put it in your ear. Now!' The text was from JJ. She groaned. She dashed as quietly as she could up to the second floor, as she heard low voices down to her left. She tip-toed to the right down the hall and ducked into the end room on the left, just as JJ told her.
She spotted JJ's bag near the curtain and fished her hand in to retrieve the earpiece. She held it up to her mouth, "JJ? You there?," she said into it before putting in her ear.
"Yes. We're looking for another way out, Trent says it'll take too long to gear up the climbing gear again, we have to get back to the Jeep." JJ said.
Everything looked the same as one of the rooms on the ground floor. The couch, chairs, the desk, even the lamp and the bookcases were exactly the same as the other office. Kitty thought it was a bit weird. Her eyes went wide as she heard a crash downstairs.
"I think I just found the painting." She informed JJ, breathless as her eyes landed on the glass display case set into the desk. She undid the clasp on the case and lifted it. She ran her hand over the canvas and under the frame and felt two flash drives, she ripped them off and inspected them, glancing back uneasily to the door. She placed the chip back under the frame.
She looked suspiciously at the hanging tapestry covering the wall. She peeked behind it and discovered the walk-in safe! She was right! There was a walk-in safe! She slipped behind it and used her code hacker application on her mobile. JJ had programmed the app into their phones that afternoon. A few seconds later it unlocked, the light turning green.
She pushed the button in and the doors retracted into the wall. She stepped inside, it was the size of an walk-in closet! Boxes were stacked on one shelf, labelled, and to her horror a selection of knives, swords and guns! A chill went down her spine. But, one of the knives...looked really familiar to her. She picked it up inspecting it closer. It had the initials D.S. on the back of it. It was pure silver, with sapphire and pink stones set in it. She was familiar with it, but how? 'Now's not the time Kitty', she scolded herself. But, she stuffed it into her backpack and continued looking. There were a bunch of photos and a laptop on a desk to the side. She flicked through the photos scanning them. She could not help but gasp as she saw a photo of her dad! On the back was written, D. Starr and H. Mansfield. She almost fainted! She closed the box of photos and stuffed them into her bag, her hands now shaking. She grabbed a file labelled 'FBI/CIA Hit list'.
There was a whole shelf of bundles of cash and she debated whether or not to grab a few. She was not a thief, but she could tell they would be deep in this situation down the track. They would need resources they did not have and that cash might just help them, especially if there is something sinister going on. Did Mansfield kill my dad? She wondered, suddenly saddened. Is Jack right? Is Mansfield blackmailing his dad? In a split second, Kitty stuffed as much as she could into her backpack. She inserted her black flash drive and downloaded all the files on the computer. Something deep inside of her snapped, and she went all into commando mode. She selected two Glocks 27's, and a few round balls that were labelled 'flash bang grenades'. She clipped a holster belt around her waist and loaded the Glock 27 with ammo. She grabbed a set of knuckledusters and a bottle of truth serum complete with a syringe. All common sense went out the door. She would get to the bottom of this mystery when suddenly, she heard voices. She edged towards the door of the vault, and listened. Heavy footsteps, suggesting late 40's, heavy-set and flat footed, the second one roughly early 30's, and not as loud as his partner.
"Why does he have four offices exactly the same? It's outrageous." A gruff grumpy loud voice said.
"Beats me mate, I'll check this one out, go check the one down the hall." A young male voice replied.
If she closed the vault door, she would be trapped. They would likely know the combination and see that certain things are missing. Biting her lip, she crept to the back of the vault, feeling the panels hoping for some sort of secret passageway. Surely, Mansfield would have an escape route from the vault? Or maybe not! Her palm hit a soft spot in the wood panelling and she pried it open as quietly as she could. Luckily, it did not make a sound. It revealed a switch, she flicked it and for a second nothing happened.
Just then, her eyes saw an opening in the wood-panelled wall revealing a staircase. She rejoiced excitedly, as relief flooded through her. She crept back to the vault entrance, and heard the two men talking while they searched the rooms. They'd not discovered the vault..yet. Kitty looked at the keypad and selected 'silent mode' and then 'lock' and stood back. It slid back into place without a sound and Kitty breathed a sigh of relief. She darted over to the secret passage, flicking the switch on the stone wall. It closed behind her and she continued her way down the staircase.
She froze, halfway down as a voice said, "What was that?" "It sounded like footsteps," said another. Kitty spotted a keyhole in the stone wall and flipped it up and looked through it. She could see 'Blue eyes' and another one of his accomplices. They were in the office on the ground floor where the boys had escaped through the French door.
Finally, 'Blue eyes' and his accomplice left the room and his footsteps faded away. She tip-toed down the rest of the steps and came to an abrupt halt. It was a dead end. Or it seemed to be.
'Must be another hidden door here somewhere!' she thought. Kitty shone her torch light around looking for a gap or crack in the wall. Kitty tried to push all her weight against it, to budge it open somehow. It worked and she fell through it and onto the cold marble floor. She glanced up and around before getting up. She closed the secret door. She was in the kitchen.
She saw the bench covered with trays of sweets. She lit up. Grinning she grabbed a plastic container and took a bit from each, while stuffing her mouth with a shortbread biscuit. She sighed in delight. "So yummy!" Kitty exclaimed to herself quietly.
"So shall I add stealing to the list, kid?" A dark figure emerged from the doorway. She froze as her mouth dropped open in shock.
"Blue eyes?" She asked nervously turning around to face him.
"Blue eyes aye? I thought you left." He said, his finger under her chin forcing her mouth closed.
"Low blood sugar level, I needed a sugar hit." She replied, eyeing him.
"Ahh I see. Maybe you should come with me then, it's going to get dangerous very soon." He said, seriously, taking the bag of goodies out of her hand, he unzipped her backpack and placed them inside. She gulped. She hoped he did not see what was in her backpack!
"Go with you? Why? I'm not by myself you know." Kitty gulped, a tad worried.
"Because I'm one of the good guys and you're just a kid. I am trained and you are not. And we mistook you and your friends for the bad guys. So that means the real bad guys will be here soon." Blue eyes drawled out.
"I am not a KID! We already established we are the same age!" She said, frowning.
Blue Eyes eyeballed her sternly. "Come on, we don't have time for this, you're coming with me." He said, grabbing her arm and pulling her towards the door.
Kitty reeled angrily. She tore her arm from his hand and spun on her heels, darting through the kitchen into the nearest room. She heard his footsteps pass the room and then she double-backed to the kitchen. How dare he! Just to demand that she go with him! If he knew how to treat a lady and asked politely she would have gone with him. Kitty unclenched her hands that formed into fists.
She jumped when she heard voices in the hallway. "Fiddlesticks!" She muttered, frantically looking around the kitchen for another hiding place. Then she spotted the dumbwaiter! It was next to the pantry. She climbed up and into the dumbwaiter, tucking her legs up under her chin, just as the men entered the room. She let out a huge sigh of relief. Her heart was thumping against her chest. Her head pounded. She could tell she had low blood sugar. She definitely needed a sugar hit. And JJ's constant voice shouting orders in her ear was not helping either!
Taking a risk, she pressed the B2 level button on the side panel of the dumbwaiter. Thankfully it didn't make a lot of noise. "JJ, tell me exactly where you are right now," she whispered, loud enough for him to hear her.
"KITTY! What happened? I've been trying to reach you for ages!" JJ's angry voice shouted in her ear.
"Chill out JJ, I took the earpiece out, you were giving me a headache!" Kitty muttered in annoyance.
"Kitty, we are at the back of the mansion, behind the pool in the bushes. Hurry up and get out here. Mansfield's due back anytime now! We are out of time!." Trent's deadly calm voice came over the earpiece.
"Ok, I'm coming. Over and out." Kitty replied, her heart beating madly against her chest.
She climbed out of the dumbwaiter coming face to face with a garage filled with cars. She counted ten. Wow, he must be really loaded! There was her favourite car, Lotus Elise, two Jaguars, a Mercedes, Ford falcon, MGF, three Chrysler's and a Chrysler jeep. Kitty hurried over to the stairs in the far left corner of the garage. Cautiously she jogged up the stairs, ducking down. She was behind the waterfall feature wall that cascaded into the pool. The rose bushes were opposite the pool, hidden behind the one of the palm trees. Kitty sprinted over to it and dived into the shrubs, landing hard on her hip. She bit her lip and rolled onto her side in pain. Sitting up, she noticed the guys were unconscious! And had been tied up. 'Must have been Blue eyes and his accomplices who tied them up,' she thought. She shook them, willing them to wake up. No such luck! She found their backpacks hidden in the bushes, after digging her hands in, catching them on the thorns. JJ's laptop had been smashed to pieces. She gasped.
"Trent! Wake up! JJ! Jack! Come on! Wake up!" She shook them, trying to wake them again. They didn't stir.
Kitty was white with fear and panic as she checked their pulses. She sighed a breath of relief, they were alive. It was up to Kitty to get them out of there now. Only one problem. The reason they climbed the cliff face in the first place was because the Mansion is on a hill and there's only one road leading up to it, with security cameras in the trees on the whole road. Problem number two: they were unconscious. Problem three: without JJ's computer working, she had no idea where the other exits were. There had to be another exit!
With no time to waste, she ran back to the garage with their backpacks slung over her shoulder. A plan was forming in her head. It was the only way, she said to herself.
She found all ten car keys dangling up on the labelled board near the door. She grabbed the Jeep keys and unlocked it. She stuffed the backpacks under the backseats and headed back to her friends. Kitty stuffed the laptop into the bag and sprinted back to the jeep She half-picked half dragged JJ up and staggered back to the garage, placing him in the back seat, strapping him in as she went back for Jack and Trent.
When she had them all in the car, she tucked her backpack under the seat near Trent's feet. Kitty did not know where the exit would lead, but she had to chance it. She pressed the garage button on the ceiling of the car roof, putting the Jeep into reverse and backing up until she could turn the Jeep around. There were two exits, the right leading up a ramp and the left was a level road. She chose the level road. The engine purred to life, praying that she had chosen the right path.
She was absolutely delighted to find that the exit lead them away from Mansfield's mansion, underground for a good eight hundred meters! There was a second gate up ahead. She rammed the gate, skidding onto the coast road and high-tailing it towards Trent's beach house, which was a three hour drive from Henry Mansfield's mansion.
Kitty glanced into the rear view mirror at the mansion and could have sworn she had seen Blue Eyes standing at one of the windows, staring after her. It unnerved her. She was already tense and full of fear. Was Blue Eyes going to came after her now? Was he really a good guy or a bad one with a conscience? She was really confused, but something about him made her question everything going on around her, as if she was part of one big giant jig-saw puzzle. He definitely reminded her of someone, but who?
All the way to Trent's beach house she kept checking the rear-vision mirror, now totally paranoid that Blue eyes was following her. She stopped at the gas station and hurriedly, with trembling hands filled the tank. Kitty dashed in to pay and hastily grabbed some food and forced herself to remain calm because the shop owner was eyeing her with caution.
"That'll be $28.70 miss," the old man said gruffly.
She handed him the money and as she opened the door, she overheard the old man on the phone.
"Matches your description sir, yes of course."
Her eyes widened in horror as she bolted for the car. Her hands shaking, she finally started the engine just as the old man came out with a shotgun! She planted her foot on the accelerator, causing the car to swerve to and fro, while shots were being fired in her direction.
,She shrieked, petrified, glancing in the rear vision mirror, thankful that this model Jeep had a was relieved that the road was clear behind her as she battled to stay alert, although she was shivering. Her arm was throbbing from the wounds she'd received from those vicious marauding animals!
She turned the heater on, to thaw her frozen legs and hands. Lost in her thoughts of the past, this scenario seemed all too familiar to her. Countless times, she had run away from home, but she had always came back. For her mother but every damn time it was the same old thing. Kitty and her father never saw eye to eye. He was the one who taught her how to fight and defend herself. Kitty had tried to be the daughter he wanted, but he always wanted a son, not a girl. He never had time for her and she would have to beg him to take her to the park to play catch or basketball and everything he refused, she would run off crying. After getting into a fight at the park one afternoon, she came home battered and bruised, her father yelled at her for not fighting back. She was not weak, like her father thought. Kitty could remember their screaming fights, both of them losing their tempers and her father ready to swipe her mother for bearing a girl instead of a boy, that night she had stood in front of her mother and copped the hard-fisted punch her dad had delivered. Kitty had left because of her father. He died when she was thirteen. Kitty glanced over her shoulder briefly, to check on her illustrious co-conspirators and wondered how long it would take for her to miss their idle banter. She found herself wishing that they would wake up soon, it was too quiet.
She had been driving for an hour already, but this time she was not enjoying the journey. Kitty had been to Trent's beach house many times during summer vaction at his invitation. Jack had moved interstate with his parents and JJ was usually working. Kitty thought Trent would have lots of friends. It turned out he did – about 200 came along to a Beach Barbeque at the beach house, but Jack was his real best friend, he had told her. And that she was like a sister to him . He enjoyed her company and trusted her because she didn't fawn over him, like all the other girls. Kitty liked Trent. Even though he could be an annoying, egotistical jerk, she valued him as a good friend. She was probably closer to Trent than Jack or JJ. Which was surprising since they always bickered and argued with each other .
She sighed and turned the radio on continuing along the coast road. She glanced at the clock. It glowed 1:15am. Her head whipped to the rear view mirror when a flash of light caught her eye. Her eyes narrowed, observing headlights in the distance. The car was a fair way behind. Ten minutes were bad enough, but twenty minutes later the car was still behind them. Kitty began to panic. At first she thought it might be a police car, which would not be good, she decided. Kitty chewed on her bottom lip nervously. Finally, the car got into the passing lane and went by without incident, disappearing in the distance ahead of them. Kitty sighed with relief and her shoulders relaxed. Still, she remained alert, surprisingly.
She skilfully opened a juice box with one hand and sipped it through the straw. A nice cold drink, she did not realize how thirsty she was. Kitty desperately wanted to get off this road before Henry Mansfield discovered that his Jeep was still mobile. She knew there was a private road that lead to Trent's beach house but where was it? It was so dark, she could not see a thing!
The events of that night replayed over and over in her mind. Who had tied Jack, JJ and Trent up? Blue eyes said he was one of the good guys and that the bad guys hadn't arrived yet. It did not make sense to her. The speedometer read 70kmph. The speed limit changed to 110 a while back and Kitty did not notice. She cursed herself and floored it to the speed limit. She was glad she knew her way around these roads, thanks to Trent. Otherwise, she would have been lost by now. But, she still couldn't find that private road! They were about forty minutes from Trent's, the sky was still pitch black and the noise of the wind was unsettling.
Suddenly a high speed engine roared to life, Kitty jumped glancing in the mirror and saw a black limo speeding their way. She watched terrified. It looked like the black Chrysler from the mansion! She gripped the steering wheel and sped up hoping to evade them, with only her parking lights illuminated. She recognized a road up to the left that lead to a tourist outlook and hopefully refuge.
Increasing her speed, Kitty made a sharp left turn on to the sandy gravel road. She pulled over and parked to the far left of the look-out, away from the other cars near the path leading down to the beach. Thankfully, the shrubs were tall and hid the Jeep from view. She quickly cut the engine and then locked the doors and windows with trembling hands. She glanced to the back seat and saw Jack and JJ slumped in their seats still out to it. She cursed. Trent was in the same condition. She kept an eye out for the Chrysler. Her heart beat slowed, as minutes passed, and she was able to breathe easier. Whoever they were, they would probably be long gone by now, Kitty thought. But! was she wrong! Kitty groaned softly, as her eyes went wide at the sight of headlights. Her heart raced. It had to be them! Desperate and terrified she violently shook Trent.
"Trent! Wake up! Come on Trent!" She whispered urgently. She grabbed her perfume bottle from her bag, hoping it would have the same effect as smelling salts did. She sprayed some onto her wrist and held it just under his nose.
"Trent! Wake up please!" She coaxed, desperately. She heard car doors slam. Her body went cold. Footsteps...coming closer...voices? The wind was loud and it was hard to hear over it.
"Kitty? What's going on?" Trent said, suddenly awake, pulling her arm away from his nose.
"Oh thank God! It worked!" Kitty whispered in relief. She clamped a hand over his mouth and motioned him to stay silent. He nodded. Kitty leaned over him, and threw a blanket over Jack and JJ. Kitty glanced over at the Chrysler, she could see feet facing their way. Sooo not good.
"No time to explain. We are at the lookout near your beach house. We were followed.
Trent's eyes went wide as he realised what she was saying. He saw movement in the corner of his eyes, grabbed Kitty's waist, and pulled her over to him. "Do not move. Just play along." He said, seriously, seeing movement.
She nodded as her heart pounded. His hand went to her head and pulled her head closer to his neck. She rolled her eyes but snuggled against him, her knee was pressing against his crotch area. He breathed softly into her hair. He tilted his head into the crook of her neck, kissing it. The feel of his lips on her neck made her shiver. . She blushed, grateful that he couldn't see her. Trent saw two dark figures watching them. He tensed.
He rubbed her back, hoping it would look like a romantic gesture to the two dark figures. He was aiming to pass them off as teenagers 'hooking up', so they had to make this believable. He figured a lot had happened while he was out cold, because Kitty was not always this glad to see him.
He felt her body shake with fear as his arms tightened his hold on her. He had never seen this vulnerable, scared side of Kitty before and he wasn't sure how to comfort her. He started to worry that something had happened to her while he was out cold. The last thing he could remember was someone smashing JJ's laptop and then everything went black. 'Comfort her you idiot!' he thought. This was new territory for him, he never had to comfort a girl before.
He kissed her cheek softly. Her cheeks felt wet, his eyes widened as he realised she was crying! He was stunned. Kitty had never cried. Period. He cupped her chin and forced her to look at him. Her glassy blue eyes stared into his brown ones. He could see she was really shaken up. Hell!
Forgetting about the two dark figures watching them, he wiped her tears away with his thumb. Her lips quivered. He was captivated. Something that had never happened to him before, he wanted to take care of her. Movement suddenly caught his attention. The dark figures had retreated. They headed towards a large limo parked around the bend . After a while they revved their engine to life and with headlights on, exited the lookout car sighed with relief.
"Looks like we fooled them, they were obviously here for a pre-arranged liaison with the occupants from that stretch Hummer." Trent said, as he had watched the exchange carefully.
Once out of sight, Kitty collapsed from sheer exhaustion against Trent's hard chest and sobbed in relief. We're safe, she thought, as her eyes closed and she drifted off to sleep. Trent opened his door lifting Kitty up with him and settled her back into the passenger's seat, securing the seat belt around her. He turned the keys in the ignition and pulled out of the lookout car park.