Read I Know Lucy (The Fugitive Series) Online

Authors: Melissa Pearl

Tags: #coming of age, #justice, #young adult, #fugitive, #contemporary romance

I Know Lucy (The Fugitive Series) (4 page)

BOOK: I Know Lucy (The Fugitive Series)
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“No! Please! Leave him!” Her mother’s voice was high and screechy. She earned a punch to the cheek for her cries. She covered her face with shaking hands, sobs wrenching her body.

“What do you have on me?” The tall man’s voice was cold, like ice cubes clinking into the room. Each word hit the air, filling it with a sense of foreboding that had Lucy’s heart crumpling into a little ball. She didn’t recognize the man, but she was guessing he was the criminal they’d just been talking about.

The man reached for her mother, yanking her up by the hair and shoving her into view of her father. He was still lying on the ground spitting blood from his mouth.

“What do you have on me?” The man repeated his first question, sounding bored and frustrated at having to ask twice.

Jack shook his head, fear pulsing from him. Lucy could feel it through the basement door. The man took in a slow breath, his pale green eyes sparking. With a little sniff, he pressed his gun into Edith’s leg and fired.

Her scream was agonizing.

Lucy’s face bunched with horror as tears popped over her lashes. Her mother writhed as she was dropped to the floor, clutching her leg. Squeezing her eyes shut, Lucy turned away and covered her ears, but it didn’t help. She could still hear everything.

“Stop it! Please,” Jack begged.

“Tell me what you have.”

Lucy could tell her father didn’t want to give an inch. She could feel his fight. Unable to help herself, she opened her eyes and peered back through the crack.

The man was running his hand through his white, blond hair with a frustrated sigh. He then pointed his gun at Edith’s other leg.

“Okay! Wait!” Jack raised his hands. “Files, okay. I have proof of the money trails. I know about your affiliation with the gang and I have evidence of the bribery.”

“Anything else.”

Lucy’s father paused. Licking his bottom lip, he shook his head.

“Good.” The man nodded.

The gun went off, eliciting another scream from Edith. Lucy couldn’t quite see what part of her anatomy he’d shot, but she was in serious pain. Her suffering was loud and heartbreaking.

“Stop it. Stop it!” Jack screamed.

“I want you to give it to me.” The man held out his hand.

“I can’t.” Jack’s voice shook. “I don’t have it on me.”

Pursing his lips, the man looked across the kitchen, trying to rein in his anger maybe. It was hard for Lucy to tell. His left eye twitched and the gun went off again. This time Edith’s head jerked to the side and her body went limp, her cries of pain silenced.

“NO! Edith!”

Lucy wanted to scream with her father, but she bit her lips together and held back the sobs. Terror was rippling through her body. She clutched the doorknob, keeping herself from tumbling down the basement stairs. She wanted to run for her life, but she couldn’t leave her father.

“Take me to it.”

“Go to hell!”

“Jack,” the man chided. “Is that any way to speak to an officer of the law?”

“You just killed my wife! I’m not giving you anything!”

Crouching down, the man grabbed Jack by the hair and jerked his head back. His pale eyes gleamed. “I know you have a daughter, too. She’s here, isn’t she?”

“No,” her father croaked.

“Don’t lie to me, Jack. I’m gonna find her and I’m gonna make her suffer until you tell me everything I want to know.”

“She’s not here.”

“Lucy?” The man shouted. “Lucy, honey, come into the kitchen.”

Lucy’s shoulders tensed, her muscles quivering as she stayed as still as possible behind the door.

“Come out, come out, where ever you are?” He sing-songed.

“She’s not here! And even if I did give you what you want, you can’t access it without me.”

“What do you mean?” Pale eyes narrowed in on Lucy’s father.

“You need me to gain access to those files.”

“You’ve put some bullshit encryption on them, haven’t you?”

Lucy waited for some kind of response, but her father wouldn’t budge.

“Damn it, Jack, you’re making my life hard today.”

Standing tall, he hauled Lucy’s father up and slammed him against the kitchen wall.

“Well, let me just go find Lucy and then we’ll head to your office and see if we can’t gain access to those files, okay?” Removing a pair of handcuffs, he moved to wrap them around Jack’s wrists when the beaten man suddenly pushed back, catching the intruder off guard.

They stumbled back together, crunching into the kitchen counter. Spinning in a rage, Jack lunged at his wife’s killer, wrestling for control of the gun. The man grunted, kicking at Jack’s legs. He fell with a crunch, but wouldn’t release the gun, pulling the man down with him.

Rolling across the floor, they continued to wrestle for control when suddenly the gun went off once more. Lucy flinched, going statue still as she waited for the winner to arise.

It wasn’t Jack Tate.

The attacker stood, his shirt now stained with another man’s blood.

Lucy covered her mouth, trying to muffle the sound of her rapid breathing.

The man stared down at the lifeless forms on the kitchen floor and swore.

Kicking Jack’s dead body, he cursed again.

“Lucy! Where are you!” His thundering voice ripped the frozen fear from Lucy’s belly, zapping her into action.

A jolt shot through her muscles. She scurried down the stairs, slipping on the last few and tumbling onto the hard concrete floor.

“Lucy! You can’t hide from me!”

Ignoring the pain, she scrambled to her feet and jumped onto the chest freezer. The terror pulsing through her system outweighed her spider phobia and she placed her hands on the window, pushing it with a grunt.

“Come on,” she whimpered. “Please open.”

“Lu-cy! Where are you?”

She whipped her head back as she heard a door creak open, but it wasn’t the basement. She listened to the creaking floorboards above. He was in the living room. She froze still, worried he’d hear her or see her scampering out of the window, if she could get the damn thing open!

Finally the footsteps moved out of the living area and sounded as though they were headed for the stairwell leading up to her room. With rapid breaths she turned back to the window and pushed with every ounce of strength she possessed. It eased open with a groan. She shunted it a couple more times until it was wide enough for her to wiggle through.

Pulling herself up was hard work and she was astounded that she had the strength to do it. Her fingertips felt like they were bleeding as she clung to the rough concrete and ran her feet up the wall. Slithering through the small opening, she clutched at the grass of their lawn, pulling and clawing until she was out.

She scrambled behind the bush at the corner of the house.

A light flicked on upstairs, illuminating the front lawn. He was checking her bedroom.

She stayed crouched in the shadows, trying to focus on the simple act of breathing and not let her mind go wild. Insanity was pushing its way in, trying to paralyze her. She couldn’t let it. Her parents were dead. Dead! And now their killer wanted her too.

Her bedroom light flicked off. The lawn around her fell into darkness and Lucy did the only thing she could.

She ran.

She had no idea where she was supposed to go. If that man knew her name and all about her family then he probably knew her friends too. She instinctively knew to stay clear of Maria’s house. She had no other family and there was no way she was endangering any of their family friends.

It had always been the three of them. When two only children get married and have only one child, once their parents die, that’s it. And that was the case with the little Tate family. They were it.

Except now only Lucy remained.

Sobs worked their way out of her as she propelled her body down the dark street. She couldn’t bang on anyone’s door asking for assistance. Her parents had just been murdered by someone powerful. An officer of the law! That’s what he’d called himself!

Worse still, he was crooked and she was screwed.

As her feet pounded the pavement, ducking into the shadows at any opportunity, Lucy knew one thing. She was on her own. And if she was going to survive at all, she needed to keep running.

Chapter 5

ZACH

March 2014

I always left for school early on Wednesdays. I liked to fit in a morning swim before school. I found it relaxing and a much more enjoyable form of exercise than running. It gave me time to think and it was basically the only time I was ever alone. I love my family and friends more than anything, but they all talked… a lot. The beauty of silence was lost on all of them except Elliot. He knew how to sit and just not say anything.

I grinned as I thought of my deadpan friend. The guy hardly ever smiled, came across as gruff and aggressive, but I could count on Elliot Strickland for anything. He was gold, just the kind you needed to excavate and it had taken me three years of middle school to do that. Now that I’d won him over, he’d be loyal to me for life. That’s just the kind of guy he was.

Flicking on the indicator, I turned towards school, noticing a runner as I did. Her strides were long and steady. She had a really nice style. I couldn’t help admiring her as I slowly drove past. Her short, blonde ponytail swung like a pendulum. She maintained a quick pace too. She’d leave me in the dust for sure.

I glanced in the rearview mirror as I passed her and nearly swerved into the other lane.

Dani?

Wow. She just kept on surprising me. What was she doing running to school?

Where did she live?

I really wanted to stop and pick her up, but she was dressed for running and I guessed she didn’t want to have it cut short by me. The little backpack strapped tightly to her back told me she was heading to school and would no doubt shower up there and head to class.

I tried not to think about her showering up as I pulled into the parking lot.

I was determined to prove my friends wrong. This wasn’t about love and attraction. It was about intrigue. My mission was to work out Danielle Harrison, not score a new girlfriend.

I shook off images of her sleek muscles working in a steady rhythm as she ran to school, and headed for the swimming pool locker room. Ten minutes later I adjusted my goggles and dove into the pool. The cold shock hit me, but eased quickly as my legs and arms fell into an easy tempo. I wasn’t after speed today. My goal was 75 lengths. I had been upping it by four lengths every week this year. It wasn’t an Olympic sized pool. I think it was 20 meters and I wanted to be able to swim 100 lengths by the time I graduated. I knew I was running out of weeks, but I’d speed up in May if I had to. I still had a couple of months to go.

With each stroke, my muscles warmed up and I made it past the initial pain barrier and was soon slapping the wall and counting forty. Over halfway there. As my feet pushed off the wall, I noticed another body moving above the water. I couldn’t see who it was or even if it was a guy or a girl. I just saw them stride past the pool. I thought it was strange. I usually had it to myself. I had even checked with Coach Atkins that it was okay and he told me I’d probably be the only student dumb enough to come in that early. Wednesday was not a swim team practice day, so I saved up my longer swims for then. I was always the only one here.

I was about halfway back through the pool, feeling fatigue for the first time, when the water rippled beside me. The temptation to stop and see who had just dived into the pool was strong and by the end of my next length, I could no longer resist. I put my elbows on the edge of the pool and caught my breath, waiting for my companion to reach me and hopefully bob out of the water to say hello.

Much to my delight, she did.

And much to my even greater delight, it was Dani.

“Hey.” She didn’t exactly grin, but her eyes were soft with a smile. Droplets of water fell from her chin as she dangled from the wall in the lane beside me.

“I thought I was the only one dumb enough to swim before school.”

Her lips rose and I caught a flash of those teeth again. I noticed they weren’t as straight as I thought. The tooth left of her front teeth stuck out just a little. It was cute.

“Mr. Atkins told me that too, but a girl’s gotta exercise.”

“Didn’t you just run to school?”

She tipped her head and shrugged before dropping back into the water and pushing off the wall.

I grinned before following suit, catching up with her a few moments later. I kept my speed the same as hers although I could have gone a touch faster.

We popped up on the other side of the pool. Dani brushed the droplets from her face. “How many laps today?”

“I’ve lost count, but I was hoping to make 75. I think I’ve got about thirty more to go.”

Her eyes twinkled. “Wow, that’s pretty good.” She pursed her lips then nodded. “I think I can try for thirty. I’ll race ya.”

BOOK: I Know Lucy (The Fugitive Series)
3.4Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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