Jared and Skyla cancel on everyone else's dinner reservations; Jessey (I spelled that right, right?) reappears with a vendetta against Skyla.
A BEAUTIFUL LIE
“Yeah?” she repeated. It was the middle of September and Jared had asked her to join him and everyone else for dinner. True, she hadn't been feeling well, but didn't want to decline the offer for fear of hurting his feelings. Their normal, everyday conversation went like this:
“Have you taken a pregnancy test yet?”
“Not yet. I'm waiting a bit longer.”
As she began working up another stupid excuse as to why she hadn't taken the test yet, Skyla began feeling sick to her stomach again. She felt moody and drowsy, but was still determined to go out with them. This feeling was different than when she had her false positive. She was heading to the bathroom to throw up all the time at night, and the standard ginger ale and crackers routine weren't helping her. When she walked into her bedroom after her talk with Jared, she saw the peach cocktail dress she had worn on her date with Jared in New York and tried it on. Her eyes widened as she noticed her dress could barely zip up in the back. Either she had gained a few pounds, or...
“Skyla? I'm coming in,” Jared said, knocking on her door. He began twisting the knob to come in when Skyla unzipped the dress fully and stepped out of it, leaning against the door so he couldn't come in.
“No!” she yelled. As she tried to push it to and lock it, Jared was talking to her from a crack in the door he had made with his foot.
“Why not?” he asked her. Seeing how he was stronger than Skyla, he was able to push the door open easily. Skyla grabbed her robe and wrapped it around her. She had in mind what she would have worn if the dress didn't fit, but she had to get Jared out of the room because she was stark naked under her robe. “I'm just here to have a chat with you.”
“Well, hurry up. I need to get dressed.” She sat down in one of the chairs in her room and watched as Jared walked over to where she was and sat down in the chair across from her.
“What are you going to wear?” he asked her. He had moved her peach cocktail dress from the floor to her bed before sitting down, and Skyla cleared her throat.
“I don't know yet. I'll find something in my closet,” she told him.
He looked at her, then back at the peach dress. “You sure?” he trailed off. He walked over to her closet and pulled out a jade-green dress that matched her eyes perfectly. “What about this?” he suggested.
Skyla snatched the dress from his hands. “I'll find something,” she told him with a tight-lipped grin as she escorted him back to the door. As she turned away, she had a quick change of mind. “You know what, I don't think I'll go after all.”
“Okay. Yeah. See you later,” he told her with a nod of his head. He walked out of her room and into his room to promptly see Shannon sitting in the chair, awaiting him. “She's not going,” he told him, throwing his hands up in the air.
“Why not?” Shannon asked. He was dressed in a light blue dress shirt and black pants; an outfit similar to it was laid out on Jared's bed, but with a peach colored shirt. Obviously he was expecting her to wear the peach colored dress.
“If she's not going, then I'm not going either.” Jared kept sitting down and standing up on his bed.
“Why?” Shannon asked again.
“Because I feel like I need to.” Jared began putting the shirt and pants back into his closet. He was hungry, but vegan pancakes for him and Skyla would do fine.
“You lie. You think something is going to happen.” Shannon got up and left the room, grumbling. “Everyone else will be pissed at you, you know,” he said to Jared over his shoulder.
“They can deal with it,” Jared called back to him. He began changing into a white t-shirt and a pair of gray sweatpants.
“You know, how about we all not go and just wait until another time to go?” Shannon suggested. “We'll all stay here and eat vegan pancakes. They're quick, easy, and cheaper than a restaurant.”
Jared grinned as he looked down. He sent everyone a text and told them that instead of going out, they were all going to stay home and have vegan pancakes. He then texted Skyla and asked her if vegan pancakes was okay with her to eat tonight.
“Sure.” Another one word answer.
Shannon headed back to his room, and when he emerged he was dressed in a t-shirt and a pair of sweatpants similar to Jared's. “Did you tell Skyla we were all going to stay here tonight?” he asked him.
“Yeah,” he answered.
“What did she say?”
“Another one word answer.”
They headed downstairs together and walked into the studio. Tomo was there in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, and welcomed their company. “So Skyla didn't want to go first, and then everyone else just followed suit?” he asked. As he was talking, Emma and Vicki walked in.
“Why didn't Skyla want to come? She's awesome company!” Vicki said. They all sat down and began talking in whispers. “So, has anyone ever been to Chattanooga with her?”
Shannon raised his hand. “I have.”
“What's her family like?”
“I've only met her mom, but she's told me she has an older brother and both of her parents are pretty successful,” Shannon said. “One works at a college and the other works at a hospital.”
“Damn, she's–” Before Tomo got a full sentence out, he was interrupted by someone screaming.
“Skyla!” Jared yelled. He tried to run and check on her, but a tall figure blocked his way. He stepped back quickly and sat back down in his empty chair. He had a feeling he knew who this guy was from Skyla's description of him, but what Skyla described to him that night and reality formed two totally different things in his mind. His eyes were a teal color, and his hair was jet black; when she said he was about six foot one she had to have been off by about five inches. And he had all the snootiness of a rich kid. All Jared could do was swallow as he tried to scoot even farther away from both Geoff Waters and the weapons he was carrying. Soon after Geoff walked into the studio, Markus walked in as well and Jared had to fight the urge to pass out.
Jessey Vargas dragged Skyla by the hair of her head into the living room. “Hello, Skyla,” she whispered quietly. She had dyed the lower part of her hair red since she had kidnapped Jared so she wouldn't be as noticeable. “You remember me, right?” she asked as she pulled her hair even tighter.
“Yes!” Skyla screamed. From inside the studio, Jared couldn't stand hearing it; he heard it more times than he needed to when he was held hostage and he didn't want to hear it now. He grabbed a pair of the nearest headphones and put them on, but it wasn't helping; her screaming came into the studio and deafened them all.
“Now, who would have known that you, Little Miss Perfect, would be here of all places?” Jessey sneered. Her voice was barely louder than a whisper, and Skyla's first thought was because Jared was within earshot. Instead, she voiced her second thought.
“I am not Little Miss Perfect!” Skyla yelled.
Jessey pinned her down and pulled out a knife. Skyla had put on a buttoned shirt and a pair of Jared's pajama pants after she told him she wasn't going out to dinner with them. Jessey rolled up the sleeves on the shirt and yanked out her right arm. Line by line, Skyla screamed in pain as Jessey slowly began cutting “slut” and “tramp” into her arms. As Jessey finished with Skyla's arms, she unbuttoned her shirt and started on her stomach, cutting “whore” into her stomach. The pain was unbearable; Skyla began sobbing, stopping when Jessey stopped cutting her stomach. As Jessey stood up, Skyla felt the air hit her body and it stung. Her entire body was bleeding, and she fought back tears.
Jared was pressed closely to Shannon and he was ignoring Skyla's pain-filled screams. When they stopped, Jared made a break for the door and narrowly got through Markus and Geoff.
“Skyla!” he yelled. He saw her laying on the floor, with “slut,” “tramp,” and “whore,” cut into her arms and stomach. As he turned and saw Jessey Vargas with something else she had in mind to torture Skyla, Jared stood his ground.
“Get away from her.”
“Why? I'm having fun.”
“It doesn't matter. Just get away from her,” Jared told her. He felt Markus and Geoff close in behind him; he went into protective mode and knelt down beside Skyla and pulled her up into a sitting position in his arms. “If you want to do anything else to her, you'll have to go through me as well.”