Oh, and before I forget, I am excited to announce that I am now represented by Lucienne Diver of The Knight Agency. :) Merrilee Heifetz, my previous agent, is a wonderful person and a tremendously skilled agent, but we had a different vision for my individual future (aside from the joint projects with Cathy). So with no animus, or onus on either party, a change has been made.
NOW ON TO THE SERIAL:
You expect that if bad things are going to happen, they'll happen at night. The burglar, or rapist will sneak in through the bedroom window in the wee hours between bedtime and sunrise. It isn't always so. Sometimes the bad things happen in broad daylight.
I don't know how Ryan found out the girls were doing well. Maybe he heard it from one of the patrons from the bar, or around the neighborhood. Maybe he noticed the curtains and decided to investigate. I suppose it doesn't matter. But disaster struck on Saturday afternoon. The girls came back from the store, arms laden with groceries. Carrie hooked a foot around the edge of the door to kick it closed and followed Jen into the kitchen. She would've locked it after she set down the bags in her arms. She always did.
She never got the chance.
They were chattering and laughing in the kitchen as, very quietly, Ryan opened the door and stepped into the living room. He pulled it quietly closed behind him, flipping the lock.
"Well, well, well. Would you look at this. You two sure seem to be doing well."
"Get out." Carrie's voice was cold. In less than a second, her cheerful expression had hardened like stone. Slowly, carefully, Jen moved her body so that she faced Ryan. Hand behind her back, she very quietly reached into the silverware drawer and pulled out a steak knife.
"Now is that any way to talk to the love of your life?" He scolded. He sounded almost obscenely cheerful.
"Get out." She repeated. She was furious, but I could hear a tiny thread of fear in her voice. Apparently Ryan could too. He smiled.
"Oh, I don't think so. Not without what I came for."
"What do you want?" Jen asked. She held the knife in a white-knuckled grip behind her back, blade ready for an upward thrust. Clever girl. It's too easy to block a downward strike.
"You always did get right to the point." The fake cheer faded from his face. "What do you think I want?"
"Money." Jen answered. "That's what you always want isn't it?"
"Got that right. And you two seem to have more than enough to spare."
"I've got twenty bucks." Carrie said. She was still angry, but there was a sense of tired hope in her voice. An almost audible thought that, if she gave him her cash, maybe he'd just go. "I spent the rest at the store."
He shook his head in mock sorrow. "Ladies, ladies, I just know you can do better than that. LOOK at this place." He smiled dangerously. "Jen, why don't we just check in that bedroom you used to keep locked up so tight. I just bet there's something worth pawning in there."
He turned toward the bedroom door, and the light jacket he wore unzipped moved slightly, showing the gun tucked into the waistband of his jeans.Carrie gasped, her eyes widening in fear.