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Authors: Melinda Metz - Fingerprints - 5

Tags: #Fantasy, #Mystery, #Young Adult, #Science Fiction

Betrayed

BOOK: Betrayed
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Melinda Metz

Fingerprints 05 - Betrayed

Chapter 1

Rae Voight closed her eyes. She felt her body sink down into her soft bed. Deeper, deeper, her breath becoming
deeper, too. Slower. Then her right leg kicked out. Her head jerked back. And her eyes snapped open. "You're not
there anymore," she whispered, hoping saying the words out loud would help her believe them. "You're home.

You're safe."

Safe. But for how long? The men who had held her and Yana captive in the Motel 6 hadn't found out whatever it
was they wanted to know. Whoever they were, they weren't finished with her. Rae didn't think they'd be finished
until she was dead. Or they were.

Rae's eyes began to itch. She needed to blink, but she didn't want to shut her eyes again, even for afraction of a
second. If she did, it would happen. She'd be back in the Motel 6, tied up, helpless. The itching increased. Rae had
to blink. Had to. She flicked her eyelids down-and saw herself on the floor of the motel room. She could actually feel
the thick, nubby blindfold pressing against her eyes, even though her eyelids had already flicked back up.

Light. She needed light. Rae sat up in bed and switched on the lamp on her nightstand. There was no way she was
ever getting to sleep, not when closing her eyes long enough to blink freaked her out. She glanced at her alarm
clock-a little after 4 A.M. Thank God. She could get up in another hour or so without her dad going into parental
concern overdrive. Rae blinked as fast as she could. Having the light on definitely helped somehow, even during a
blink.

A plan. I need some kind of plan
, she thought. But her brain was blank, like a fried computer.
Okay, so I'll get Yana

and Anthony to help. Maybe even Jesse. I'll ask them all to meet up here after--

Rae's heart went still, then gave a hard double thump. Someone was in the hall. They were trying to be quiet, but
she knew they were there. What if it was him-her kidnapper? The non-meter reader. The man she'd been so close to
without knowing what he was capable of, what he would soon do to her. She heard the whisper of cloth-a sleeve? a
pantleg?-against the wall. And there-just then-the soft creak of a floorboard. Rae knew that board. It was the loose
one about three steps from her bedroom door. Whoever was out there was close. Very close. She jerked her eyes to
the window. Closed. Locked. There wouldn't be time to A faint squeak interrupted her thoughts. Rae whipped her
head back toward the door, her eyes riveted on the doorknob, the turning doorknob. She opened her mouth to
scream-and her father stepped into the room.

"Dad," Rae exclaimed, the word coming out cracked from her dry throat.

"I saw your light. I was up to use the bathroom," he said, jamming his hands in the deep pockets of his worn terry
cloth robe.

"I was, um, studying. History test tomorrow," Rae explained, realizing a moment too late that she had no book out,
no notebook, nothing.

"Actually, I was lying," her father told her. "I couldn't sleep."

"Me, neither," Rae admitted. She scooted closer to the headboard so she could lean against it.

Her father sat down on the edge of the bed. "I kept replaying all the things I said to you when you got home from
the concert. I was too harsh. I-" "No. You were right. It was completely wrong ofme just to call and announce I was
crashing after the concert and wouldn't be home until morning." Rae didn't tell him she'd been forced by her
kidnappers to tell him that lie. If her dad knew what really happened Saturday night, he'd never let her out of his
sight again. And he'd probably give himself an ulcer. She remembered how he'd looked when he used to come visit
her in the hospital after her breakdown. He'd looked like he should be in the hospital himself, his skin all gray, his
clothes loose from the weight he'd lost. Rae never wanted to see him like that again. Especially not because of her.

"Ever since… summer," her father began. Rae knew he really meant ever since she'd been put in the mental
hospital. "Ever since then, I know I've been a pain." A burst of laughter escaped Rae. That was so not what she was
expecting her dad to say. "Buying you that cell phone so I could always check up on you," he continued. "And
remember how I wanted to get a live-in housekeeper?" he asked.

"Yeah. I remember," Rae told him. It had taken her at least a week to talk him out of that one.

"I want you to know that it's not that I don't trust you. You have more sense than most of my college students," her
dad said. He rubbed the bump on his nose, the bump that Rae had inherited. "It's just that even when you're my
age, I'm probably going to feellike it's my job to keep you safe. Last summer-no, last spring, last fall, or even before
that, I should have seen-"

"No," Rae cut him off. "It-it wasn't like that. It happened really fast. There was nothing for you to see." That was the
truth. Rae's fingerprint-reading power had appeared like a light switch being turned on. At first she'd thought she
was going nuts, that she was hearing voices in her head like a psycho killer. Then she'd realized-well, Anthony
Fascinelli had realized-what was really going on. When Rae touched a fingerprint, she got the thought the person
who'd left the print was having. "And I'm okay now. I really am," she added.

"I guess we should both get a little sleep," her father answered. He clicked off her lamp. "Next time you want to
stay over somewhere after a concert or something, ask first. I'll probably manage to give permission for you to be
out of my sight for that long."

"I will," Rae said as he headed out. He shut the door behind him, returning the room to full darkness. Rae realized
she'd been blinking away during their whole conversation with no trauma flashes.

So I just need to keep myself distracted
, she thought. There was only one thing she could think of that had the
power to occupy every molecule of herbrain now that she was alone in the dark again-that kiss. That body-melting
kiss between her and Anthony after he found her at the motel, found her and carried her to safety.

Experimentally Rae closed her eyes, trying to remember every detail. One of his hands had been twined in her hair,
his fingers grazing the back of her neck. That one touch had been enough to send lava down her body. But
Anthony'd had one hand under her shirt, on her bare back. And his mouth… God. She'd never felt anything like it.

Never. It was like she'd walked around her whole life with her body set on six and Anthony had cranked it up to ten.

Heat began pumping through Rae again just thinking about it.

I'm never falling asleep now
, she thought. But she didn't care. This was worth staying awake for. Rae replayed the
kiss over and over, and it only gained in intensity. When her clock radio began to play, she could hardly believe that
hours had passed. Had she actually fallen asleep? If she had, a dream had started exactly where her imagination
had left off. She'd spent every moment with Anthony, awake or asleep. She was certain of that.

What am I going to wear?
The thought had her out of bed and on her feet in seconds. She rushed over to the
closet, yanked it open, and studied the contents.
Like Anthony actually notices what you wear,
she thought.

Except that he probably did, in that guy way. Maybe he wouldn't be able to say what she'd had on a minute after
she was out of his sight, but he'd have an impression-sexy or girlie or something.

Rae ran her finger along the row of clothes. She stopped on her suede skirt, the short one. Anthony liked to look at
her in that. She'd seen it on his face. Maybe he couldn't say the color or what it was made of, but it was one of his
favorites. Rae picked out a light blue cashmere sweater set to go with it and a pair of flats. She didn't mind it when
her heels made her taller than Anthony was, but she was pretty sure he hated it.

After she carefully laid out her clothes on the bed, ignoring the soft buzz of her own old thoughts, Rae hurried to
the bathroom. She wanted time to do the hair mud pack and give her legs a quick shave so she could wear the skirt.

Rae only stepped out of the shower when the water turned cold. She knew her father would give her grief for
hogging the hot water-he was always saying it should be absolutely impossible for the two of them to come close to
using all the water in the reservoir of the hot water heater. But Rae didn't care. In a little more than an hour, she'd be
seeing Anthony.

Yeah, it was true that she saw him all the time. But that kiss-that kiss had changed everything. It had for her, at
least. And from the way he'd acted as he drove her home early Sunday morning after dropping off Jesse and Yana-so quiet and serious-she was pretty sure Anthony felt the same way.

What am I going to say to him?
she wondered as she started to dry her hair.
Do I mention the kiss-no. That would

be lame. But am I supposed to just act like nothing is different? Just say hi-and oh, yeah, thanks for saving my life-

then head off to my locker?

What am I going to say to him?
Rae was still wondering as she headed toward the main entrance of Sanderson
Prep an hour later. She scanned the crowd, and her heart slammed against her ribs as she spotted Anthony leaning
against the railing of the front steps. For an instant she felt like she was in his arms again, being carried out of the
motel. She could actually feel the heat of his body.

Was that fake meter reader kidnapper watching me and Anthony in the motel parking lot Saturday night?
she
thought.
Is he already making a new plan to get whatever it is he wants from me?

And then kill me, she couldn't stop herself from adding.

You're coming up with a plan, too
, she reminded herself.
You and Anthony, and Yana and Jesse.
Shetook one step
toward Anthony, then someone grabbed her by the elbow. Rae jerked away. "Sorry. Did I scare you?" Marcus
Salkow asked.

Rae let out a short breath. "A little. I didn't see you come up," she said. And she wished he hadn't. She wanted to
get over to Anthony. Right now.

Marcus shifted awkwardly from foot to foot, which was so not the usual Marcus Salkow, school demigod.
Is he

going to ask me out again?
Rae wondered.
Is he going to try and convince me to take him back right here and now?

BOOK: Betrayed
4.41Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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