Double Dare

By: Cassandra Dee

I shook my head. Emily Patterson was the opposite of kind. She looked like Mrs. Doubtfire but beneath that kind, matronly exterior was a snake with a tight fist and a nasty tongue.

“Um, right,” I murmured. “Right, you spoke with Mrs. Patterson.”

Panic was already starting to rise in my chest because my job at Ninth Street is what puts the roof over my head. I’m an art student at the union       League, and between taking classes and working on my paintings, I put in almost forty hours a week at the coffee shop to pay for tuition and housing. So if Mrs. Patterson found out what had happened, I was toast for sure. I was gonna be fired, with no way to afford school.

Jumping to my feet, I stammered again.

“I’m so sorry, but I have to go back. I need to get back asap because Rocky doesn’t know how to use the espresso machine and Bernard is always late. I’m sorry, but I gotta go.”

And before the big man could say anything, I jumped to my feet and ran to the door. At least my head was better, at least I could mobilize like a normal person. But the door was locked, and I pulled uselessly at the handle, rattling it a bit.

“What the?” I asked. “What in the world? I have to go!” I gasped, but it was no use. “Do you have the key to this thing?” I asked. “Why would it lock from the outside?”

Mason merely smiled at me, calm and unperturbed.

“Little girl,” he said, “It’s locked is because we’re keeping you.”

I goggled.

“Keeping me? What does that mean?” I said in a rush before turning back to the door and banging with my fist. “Hey!” I shouted loudly. “I’m in here, can you send a janitor please? Or the doorman? Or one of those, what do you call it? The concierge? In here, in here!” I yelled loudly.

Mason stood to his full height, looming in the office.

“Naw baby girl, that’s not going to do you any good,” he said. “Like I said, we’re keeping you.”

I whirled to face him, face flushed and confused.

“What do you mean, you’re keeping me? I don’t even know you,” I huffed. “You’re just some guy at the store this morning who happened to save me from a crazy customer.”

“That’s true,” he admitted. “But I liked what I saw.”

My mouth dropped open.

“I’m sorry, you liked what you saw?” I repeatedly dumbly. “All I did was sell him a bear claw, if I remember correctly,” I said. “What could you possibly have seen?”

His smile grew a little darker then.

“We’ve been watching,” he said. “Major Corporation has been watching and you’re the woman for our plan.”

I gasped at him, my mouth opening and closing with shock.

“I don’t care who you say you are, but right now, I’m trapped and I have to get back,” I said. “This isn’t the time for games, you can’t just go about kidnapping women and saying ‘We’ve decided to keep you.’ This is the twenty first century, women have rights. You can’t just lock me up, even in this fancy office,” I said, gesturing at our surroundings. “Besides I don’t know you,” I added forcefully.

But Mason was calm and strode over to his desk, coming back with something in his hand. He got closer and I shrank away, cowering against the door, but the big man was oddly gentle as he came close, like a trainer working with a nervous filly.

“Like I said,” that deep voice rumbled, “We’re keeping you.”

And before I knew it, handcuffs snapped on.

“What the?” I gasped, staring down more in surprise than anything else. The metal was cool against my wrists, glinting under the light. “What the?”

“Some cuffs will do the trick,” the big man replied smoothly, leading me by a chain to the sofa. “I find that women like it, if it’s done right,” he added with a gleam to his eye.

I gasped again, digging my heels in, but it did no good. The big man was twice my size, shoulders broad as a tank, and double my weight too.

“Come on,” he said, leading me over to the couch. “Take a seat and we’ll talk about options.”

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