"Leave her out of this, your problem is with me," Jesse said cautiously. I could feel his grip shake. I had never been put in danger like this, and I could tell he was scared.

"Looks like I found your weakness," He smirked and reached forward and grabbed me. With his grimy hands on my hips, I started to panic. My breathing became erratic and I was desperately looking towards Jesse for help.

"Jess," I whispered and he looked at me with sad eyes.

"Let her go. Let her go and you can take me, and the money," Jesse pleaded and the leader thought this through.

"You and the money?" He questioned, "So you'll come work for me?" He questioned.

"You can even take seventy five percent profit," Jesse added.

"Done. Nessa, take the girl towards her car," He pushed me forward and I hugged Jesse tightly, wrapping my arms around his middle. I buried my face in his strong chest, never wanting to let go.

"Look at me," He whispered, and I did. He brought his hand up to wipe away a tear before resting his palm on my cold cheek, "I love you," He said before leaning down and planting his lips on mine.

Never, in the time I had known Jesse, had he ever kissed me on the lips. Forehead, cheek, and sometimes my hand- but never my lips. I hadn't a problem with it, surprisingly. It was soft and sweet. Just a simple peck, and I found myself saddened when he pulled away, "Go," He said and I hugged him one last time, "Get her out of here," He told me discreetly before pulling away and walking towards the group, leaving the outside of the park.

"C'mon," I nodded towards Nessa once they were gone. I reached forward and grabbed her hand, "I need you to trust me right now, okay? I'm going to get you out of here," I told her and her eyes went wide.

"N-No! If Derek finds out I left, he'll be angry!" She exclaimed.

"Sh," I cooed, "If we move now he won't find us alright?" I asked and she nodded. I tugged on her arm and we were off running.

The car was parked on the other side of the parking lot, through the trees. I knew this park pretty well, so I knew how to wrestle through the thick trees and make it out to the other side, "Stay with me, alright?" I asked and I could hear a faint 'okay', behind me.

I got to the car and opened the trunk. Inside I pulled out an extra jacket for Vanessa and handed it to her, the poor thing looked like she was frozen solid. She wrapped it around her quickly and took in the warmth as I searched for Jesse's cell. He never took it with him on deals, always to make sure if something like this happens they can't destroy his only hope of contact, "Now what?" Vanessa asked and we heard people yelling and a gunshot. My heart dropped and I could hear voices getting louder to us, "They're coming to kill you," She whispered, "They're going to hurt me when they find out I was trying to escape! They'll lock me in the basement again!" She kept rambling on and I shook my head, trying to figure out a plan.

"I need you to be calm," I spoke slowly, "You need to be calm and quiet as you follow me," I said and she nodded. I pocketed the cellphone and took her hand so she wouldn't fall behind.

Just like that, we took off sprinting at the sight of men coming out from the forest. Her hand gripped mine tightly as we ran out of the parking lot and across the street. There were only houses across, but I knew the neighborhood well. On the other side of the housing area, there was a busy street with bars and restaurants where we could hide.

Vanessa was close behind me as we ran down the street, passing by houses with windows lit up. Inside, families were probably eating dinner or watching a movie. None of them had experienced the feeling you get when running for you life.

Literally running for your life.

We turned down a small street and I could see the lights from the other street ahead of us. Suddenly, a gunshot was fired and it hit a house wall beside us, "Get down!" I yelled and grabbed my gun.

I had only shot a gun a handful of times, all of which were at targets- never people. I aimed it behind me and fired two shots back before picking Vanessa up and pushing her in front of me. I lead her through some bushes and ended up in someones backyard, "Can you hop a wall?" I asked and she shook her head. I sighed and ran towards the wall, putting my hands together and looking at her, "Climb over and wait for me, alright?" I asked and she nodded. She put her foot on my hands and used her arms to pull herself over the wall. I glanced back and the guys were just making it through the bushes. More shots were fired, and now the family inside the home were at their window looking out. I kept my face covered and hopped the wall, "Run!" I yelled at Vanessa and she took off, me not far behind.

We ran side by side past cars speeding by. We made it to the other side of the street and turned the other way so we could head towards the busy part of San Diego. We weren't far from where one of the malls were. It was an outdoor mall that we could hide pretty easily in.

Rounding the corner, I could see the parking structure for the mall. We ran inside and up the ramp to the second floor, then to the third. We ran down the rows of cars before stopping, "I can't run anymore. I'm sorry," Vanessa whispered. She looked weak. Her face and arms were covered in cuts and bruises.

"It's okay," I breathed hard, "We can stop." I ushered her behind the valet section and towards the back wall. We sat between a car and the closest wall to the elevator and stairs. It was a small opening in the wall that we could hide, as long as they didn't walk directly by the side of the car.

I pushed her into the opening first before I followed. She pulled her knees to her chest as tears fell down her cheeks, leaving rivers of dirt and blood. I wrapped my hand in the sleeve of my sweatshirt and brought it to her face, softly dabbing the cuts and dirt, "How did you get in with these guys?" I asked and her lip quivered. She shrugged before looking down at the ground.

"They just found me I guess," She looked back up, "It was so long ago I hardly remember. I know that I don't belong with them."

"So you were kidnapped?" I asked and she nodded, "Do you remember your parents?" And she slightly nodded.

"I remember my Dad mostly. Not so much his face, but the way he acted and spoke. I can remember him singing to me."

"What about your mom?"

"I remember her always being with my dad. I can kind of remember her face, but I really remember the way she held me. Sometime we would just sit on the couch in the middle of the night watching cartoons, and she would just hold me."

I sighed and looked out to the parking lot to make sure no one was coming before turning back to her, "I don't know how to say this, Vanessa, but I know your parents."

"H-How? And how do you know my name?"

"Vanessa Sanders, right?" I asked and she nodded.

"See how much we look alike?" I pointed to the car so she could see our reflections in the slick silver paint, "I met your Dad about a month ago. He thought I was his daughter, who was kidnapped when she was five. You're fifteen right?" I asked and she nodded, "His name is Matt Sanders and your mom is Val Sanders."

"They remember me?" She asked and I nodded.

"Of course they do," I put a hand on her shaking shoulder, "They miss you and I want to help you get back to them," I smiled and she nodded.

"What now?" She asked, "If you can't drive, how to we get out of here?" I asked and I grabbed the phone. I closed my eyes and tried to remember the paper Brian had gave me, the one with his phone number. I dialed and put the phone to my ear.

"We're sorry, the phone number you have tried to reach cannot be connected as dialed..."

I closed my eyes again before dialing, this time getting a dial tone. I waited impatiently as the phone rang multiple times before someone answered, but I didn't recognize it was him, "Brian?" I asked.

"Van? This is Zacky, where the hell are you?" He demanded.

"Where's Brian?" I asked and he sighed.

"He's not doing so well, Van. He's been in this mood ever since he talked about Avery yesterday. Now are you okay? Matt and Jason are throwing fits over you two. They're worried about you guys."

"We're not okay," I said, "They took Jesse," I whispered and I kept myself from crying, "I think they killed him."

"Okay, stay calm alright? Where are you?" He asked. I could hear him grabbing keys in the background.

"I'm hiding in the parking lot of Horton Plaza," I answered.

"Where's that?" He asked.

"San Diego." I could hear him sigh as he got into the car.

"Okay, I need you to get somewhere safe for you to be until I get there. Can you get into the mall?"

"Yeah, why?"

"Because they're less likely to take you in a mall surrounded by people. Now go there and walk around like your shopping until I get down there. Try to stay in the girlier stores near the cashier and don't go anywhere alone where they can find you, understood?" He asked.


"It'll be alright, Van. I'm going to get you home."

I hung up and sighed. I looked out to the parking lot to see no one there. I stood up and grabbed Vanessa before heading to the stairs and making our way to the mall, "We have to get you cleaned up, c'mon," I said and took her to the nearest bathroom. I locked the door behind me and turned to her, "Sit on the sink," I ordered and she nodded. I grabbed a wad of paper towels before soaking them in water and starting to clean her face. Underneath the dirt and dried blood was a beautiful girl who resembled Val and Matt. Like me, she looked like the twins. The only difference was her hazel eyes and dimples, "I don't want people getting suspicious of your cuts. Do you mind if I put make-up on you?" She shook her head and I grabbed the little compact from my jeans, something I also took from the trunk of the car. I covered the cuts and bruises with ease before letting her get down from the sink.

We made our way out of the bathroom and inside the mall. It was nice out, slightly chilly, but there were plenty of people surrounding us. I motioned her to follow me as we made our way to the nearest store. I found a Forever 21 and pulled her inside.

I quickly grabbed two pairs of jeans and two different shirts. I black jersey knit tank top for her and a navy blue with stripes for me. Making our way to the dressing room, I found a pair of flats for both of us, "Make sure these fit," I said and she nodded. She came out of the dressing room looking much better than her ragged clothes from earlier.

At the cashier we paid, but not before I grabbed two purses to match, and made our way to another bathroom to change. Putting our old clothes in the shopping bags, we changed our look and headed back out to the mall.

"Stay near me at all times, alright? Do you want to hold my arm?" I asked and without answering she linked her arm with mine. I held the shopping bags as we walked up and down the many floors of the mall, "Do you remember anything else about your family?"

"I remember four other guys," She said, "And four other girls."

"Like who?"

"One was my aunt Michelle. She was my mom's sister, and her husband. I can't remember his name, but I remember him wearing a hat all the time." A smile grew on my face, "And I remember someone really tall that always called me Nessie," I thought of Jimmy, "And there was someone short, but I don't remember him too much," Johnny, "And I remember one of the guys having green eyes and dark hair."

"His name is Zacky. He's going to pick us up," I assured her and she nodded.

"What about the other girls?" I asked.

"I think they were their girlfriends. I remember the name Leana," She said and I nodded.

"That's the tall guy's girlfriend," I told her and she nodded.

"And I remember a blonde girl. She was really pretty and I remember her always doing my hair and dressing me up for things with my mom."

"That's Gena, she's Zacky's girlfriend.," I informed her.

"And the other girl must be the short guy's girlfriend. I think her name was Laney," She questioned and I shook my head.

"Her name is Lacey, but you were close," I smiled.

We stopped at the sound of my phone ringing. It had been an hour and a half since I called Zacky, and hopefully he would be here now, "Hello?"

"I'm near a Starbuck's and a movie theater. Do you know where that is?" He questioned.

"Yeah. I'm not too far. I'll be there soon," I said and turned to Vanessa.

"Zacky is here," I told her and she followed me up an escalator before turning towards the movie theater and Starbuck's.

At the sight of him, I ran into his arms. He held me tight and sighed, "I was really worried," He said and I started to cry.

"Jesse's gone," I muttered and he nodded.

"Okay. It's okay. We're going to get you out of here," He said and I nodded. Pulling away, he noticed Vanessa standing back, not sure what to do, "She looks like..." He trailed off.

"Zacky, meet Vanessa Sanders."
♠ ♠ ♠
language: slovenian

more updates to come today :) i'm in a writing kind of mood.