4 This Is Kidnapping

When school ended for the day, Keeley was about to head towards the subway station as usual. She had to take three connecting trains and walk another six blocks to get to and from school every day.

Her dad hadn't been happy about this at first—he was overprotective since her mother and brother passed away in a mugging gone wrong when she was younger—but Keeley insisted that he needed to go to work and that everybody went to school like that.

He relented when she promised to check in with him every twenty minutes since it took more than an hour to travel each way.

A hand shot out and grabbed her by the arm, hauling her into a waiting limousine. A kidnapping?!

She wasn't even one of the rich students here but if someone just went by the uniform and grabbed her by mistake…

"I know karate!" Keeley shouted in a panic.

This was only partially true. She quit when she was ten. Her karate skills were extremely rusty but if worst came to worst, she could aim a decent kick.

"Do you really want to use it in here?" a cold, slightly amused voice asked.

Aaron. He stared at her with an eyebrow raised as if she was stupid and it made her flush slightly.

"What are you doing? I have to go home."

"I'll take you there. Based on everything I heard earlier, the subway sounds terrible. I don't know how you can even stand it."

His words were disdainful, haughty, and raised Keeley's hackles. Millions of New Yorkers used the subway every day! It was a perfectly valid mode of transportation!

"That's unnecessary," she sniffed. "Let me out."

"Drive, Carlton," Aaron said loftily, ignoring her demands.

The car sped away from the curb and Keeley jolted forward and practically landed on Aaron's lap.

She immediately backtracked and put her seatbelt on since there was no way she could leap out into oncoming traffic while they drove. She would find a way to get out the next time they stopped.

"Why are you doing this?"

Keeley had no idea what was going through the young man's head. Brooklyn was nowhere near the Upper East Side. There was absolutely no point in going that far out of his way to take her home. Weren't rich people supposed to value their time?

"I don't have to explain myself to you."

A typical Aaron answer. He was always like this! At first, she thought it was part of his charm. He was so aloof from everything that she thought he was an intriguing mystery to be solved.

How idiotic she had been. There was nothing mysterious about Aaron at all. He was meant to be taken at face value. He looked cold and emotionless because he WAS cold and emotionless.

Keeley kept her thoughts to herself, waiting for her chance to escape. Unfortunately, it didn't come. She realized that the child locks were on. Only the driver could unlock the car.

"This is kidnapping. I ought to call the cops on you," she muttered.

Aaron actually smiled. A real smile. She would have been moved by it in the past but it gave off a sinister vibe now.

"I'm sure they would believe you."

It was the same excuse he used before Keeley died when she threatened to go to the police with her suspicions about him and Lacy colluding to cover up her father's death and it sent a shiver down her spine.

She chose to keep quiet after that. No use goading him. She would give him a fake address in Brooklyn and walk home, no matter how long it took.

Aaron ignored her from then on, flipping through an edition of Time magazine as if it was perfectly normal to abduct a classmate and see them home. What teenager in their right mind even read that sort of thing? Children of rich businessmen were weird.

It was even weirder that he kidnapped her only to ignore her for the majority of the ride. There wasn't really a point if he didn't even want to talk to her. His logic was beyond her.

Keeley's attention was out the window as they crossed the Brooklyn Bridge. Even with traffic, her commute was practically cut in half.

"Let me off here," she said when she saw a random apartment building several blocks from her own.

"Thank you for the ride," she said begrudgingly. "But don't do this again. It's weird. I don't even know you that well."

"You will," he said confidently. "We are desk mates, after all. See you tomorrow."

There was nothing inherently wrong with his words but they gave Keeley a sense of foreboding. What exactly had she done to attract this creep's attention?

Was it because she protested the seating chart and he got offended? They hadn't met any other times! She would have to be more alert tomorrow.

Keeley trudged the extra six blocks home though the winter wind bit at her face. Warm for January her foot.

After taking the often undependable elevator up to the thirteenth floor, she unlocked the front door of the apartment she shared with her father and sighed with relief. Home. At least Aaron didn't know where she lived. She felt safe here.

Her father came home an hour and a half later as she was stirring a bubbling pot of pasta sauce. "Hey, Dad. How was work?"

"Same as usual. Did you make meatballs?" he asked hopefully as he draped his coat over the coat hanger.

"What do you take me for?" she replied with a laugh. Homemade meatballs using her mother's recipe had long been a favorite for both of them.

They laughed and talked over dinner and Keeley felt herself relax. Today was an anomaly. Aaron would lose interest in her soon enough; he certainly had before. Out of sight, out of mind.

She could change the place she ate lunch and her route home after school. Then all she would have to do is ignore him for one hour a day. One hour was totally doable.

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