Hostage to LovebyMoonlight_33©
Another social engagement, this time it was to raise money for a new wing on the children's hospital. Alison thought it a worth while cause, but really it was more of an excuse to get her out of the house and boost her husband's social standing at the same time. Her husband of the past five years, Grant Harlow, was a good man, but he was far to absorbed in his business. He lived, slept, eat, and dreamed of nothing but business, and that left very little time in his life to give to her. She understood his need to be sucessful, but he didn't seem to understand her need for affection and love, the little things that made a woman feel needed, and like a woman. She had considered an affair; he was out of the country so often there was no chance of ever getting caught. The pool boy, the driver, and the gardener were all very good looking young men, but it would just be meaningless sex, and she wanted love.
She picked up her purse and headed down to the waiting limousine. Stan, the driver, opened the door and helped her in. It was an hours drive from the house to the function, but she was used to traveling the distance so she always kept paper and a pen handy, writing ideas for novels that she never got around to writing. She had started a novel once, a romance, but Grant discouraged her by saying it was just sappy garbage and not worth the paper it was written on. She had been so upset, she threw the manuscript away.
On several occasions she had visited him at the office, locking his door and pulling the blinds, settling for a quick pounding bent over his desk, a slap on her ass and marching orders. On the last occasion she attempted to seek out his affections, he gave her his credit card and told her to go buy herself something pretty, he had no time for that kind of nonsense right now. She left the office in tears, returning home to find flowers and a note of apology waiting for her, and a message saying he had to fly to Paris and would be back in a few days.
As the limousine pulled up in front of the Regent Hotel, she slipped her note pad into her purse and waited for Stan to open the door.
This function was like the hundreds of others she had attended. Lots of people with more money than they could ever possibly spend, all trying to outdo each other with fashion and influence, two things Alison cared little for. She wondered if these people had any idea that just one of the dresses in their wardrobe was worth enough to feed a middle class family for a month. She seriously doubted it. So for the sake of boredom, and her husbands good name, she smiled sweetly, sipped her champagne, and pledged an amount that Grant would allocate her, more as a tax deduction than a real touch of generosity. Grant was never one to be generous with out reason or motivation. Many of the women here tonight were married to men that were important to Grant's business, so it was equally important to make a good impression on every front.
Relieved that it was finally over, she climbed back into the limousine and relaxed as much as she could, kicking off her shoes and shedding her pantyhose. As the car pulled to a halt for a red light both back doors and the passenger side front door flew open and three men jumped into the car brandishing handguns. The man who now occupied the front passenger seat was holding his gun to Stan's temple, telling him in a calm voice to open his door and get out. Stan shot Alison a terrified look, unsure about leaving his employer in such a predicament. Alison tried to stay as calm as she could, knowing full well that both their lives depended on it.
"It's ok Stan, hop out of the car. I'll be alright" She gave him the most reassuring smile she could manage and watched him vanish through the open door, another man taking his place behind the wheel and pulling back into the flow of traffic with the next green light. It all happened so fast that Alison was yet to comprehend the full extent of what was going on and the danger she was in.
"Mrs. Harlow, we don't mean you any harm, but we do intend to relieve your husband's back account of ten million dollars for your safe return. Once he pays, you'll be set free unharmed."
Alison swallowed hard, not sure if she wanted to ask the obvious question. "And if he doesn't pay?"
The man beside her looked her directly in the eyes, his face expressionless, but his dark eyes told her he was very serious.
"Then you die."
She closed her eyes and sank back into the seat. There was no way Grant was going to part with ten million dollars, not even for her. She was as good as dead.
They drove for what seemed like an eternity, she could see the dim glow of dawn through the windscreen but she had no idea where they were. As the limousine slowed and pulled into what looked to be a large warehouse, Alison began to feel physically sick. The shock of her situation was finally starting to hit home and her hands were shaking so badly she was having trouble clutching her purse. She was relieved of her purse and her mobile phone, then taken from the car and led to a room that looked to be an empty storeroom. There was a bed in the corner, a hand basin with a cold water tap, and a table with 2 chairs. Under the edge of the bed there was a bucket with a lid and a roll of toilet paper and she shuddered at the indignity of having to use such means to relieve herself. She was pushed roughly inside, the door closing behind her with the click of a lock.
"Enjoy your stay Mrs. Harlow." His voice was flat, cold and emotionless. It made her shiver to think what that man was capable of. Sinking to the bed, she rolled to her side and began to sob. She didn't deserve this.
It seemed like an eternity before anyone came into the room to speak to her or see to her needs. She badly needed to use the ladies room, using the bucket was something she desperately didn't want to do, and her stomach was growling from hunger. When finally someone did come, it was the tall dark haired man who had sat closest to her in the limousine. He set a tray for food and a bottle of water on the table, the smell of Chinese take out assaulting her senses and her hunger growled all the louder. The man looked at her somewhat sympathetically.
"Your name is Alison, is it not?" She nodded yes. "Well Alison, I apologize for the food but I very much doubt a single one of my men as any idea on how to prepare a meal, I suggest you come and eat It before it gets cold."
Alison was too hungry to argue, and she knew that if was to stand any chance of surviving this ordeal, she would have to keep her strength up. Grant was not going to part with ten million dollars any time soon and who knew how she would be treated once these men realized they would not get their money. She moved to the other side of the table, keeping as much distance between her abductor and herself. She looked curiously at the food laid out before her. Either they were giving her enough to last her three days, or he intended to dine with her, which proved to be the case. Producing two paper plates, he began dividing the food, to her surprise, serving her first.
As the honey pork and fried rice all but melted in her hungry mouth, the man lifted the lids of two polystyrene cups of coffee and set on in front of her. She breathed deep the sweet aroma of the first cup of coffee she had seen in what must have been close to twenty-four hours. Not in any resent time did she remember coffee smelling quite so good. She lifted the steaming black brew to her lips and sipped carefully from the flimsy cup. It tasted a little odd, a slight bitterness, but then if it came from the same place as the food, who knew what was in it. Still, it was coffee and her nerves needed it badly. The man on the other side of the table watched her for a moment, but said nothing, seeming content to just eat his food and leave her in peace.
When they were done, he picked up the tray and left the room, still without a word, only to return a few moments later with one of the other men. Alison watched them cautiously, her fear rising and her head beginning to spin. She reached for the water but the dark haired man took it from her reach shaking his head 'NO' confusion began to intermingle with her fear. Why give her the water only to take it way when her mouth was feeling so dry? The dark haired man sat across from the table from her as he did before, the other man, a short overweight balding blond in his mid thirties, leaned against the door watching. There was something about that man she found very unnerving, but she couldn't quite place him.
The man across the table could have been no more than his late twenties, his shoulder length black hair pulled back in a leather clasp, his dark eyes shining with intelligence and purpose.
"Alison, would you like a drink of water?" was he going to teas and torment her for a simple drink of water? "Is your mouth feeling a little dry?" How could he know that? She still didn't answer; her head spinning a little and her vision became a little blurry.
"Alison, you and I are going to have a little talk. First of all, my name is Jake, that man over there," He pointed to the man by the door, "is Hank. Until recently he worked in your husbands office, that was of course until your darling husband found him expendable, and made him redundant. Hank want's compensation for the injustice of his dismissal, and me, well, I'm just a greedy son of a bitch who believes Mr. Grant Harlow has all together to much money and can afford to part with a little of it. Alison, do you think he will part with it? Will he give what we ask to get back her beloved wife?"
Alison felt the sudden urge to laugh. These men really had no idea what Grant was like and for some strange reason, she felt rather inclined to enlighten them to the truth of her husbands nature.
"I doubt it. That self-absorbed money hungry ass hole would not part with a dime of his precious wealth for a wife he adored, let alone one he barley remembers he has. If it wasn't for my credit card bill I very would much doubt he knew I even existed."
Jake stood, walked a short distance across the room, turned and looked at her the lifted his attention to Hank.
"Are you sure that stuff works? Can we trust what she says?"
Hank gave him a reassuring nod. "That stuff has never failed. If it's coming out of her mouth, then it's the truth."
Jake frowned as he turned back to Alison. She could see he was frustrated and it scared her a little. With both of his hands on the back of his char, he looked into her eyes.
"Alison, how old are you?" she raised an eyebrow at him. What a silly question. She had watched many movies where there was a hostage involved and that was not the kinds of questions kidnappers asked. Her head spun and she recalled feeling like this once in high school when one of her friends had heavily spiked the punch at a party and two glasses had her quite drunk. It was then that it dawned on her. The coffee. No wonder it tasted a little odd and he watched her drink it, it was drugged. She leaned forward, resting her spinning head on the backs of her hands on the table. It felt to heavy for her to lift it again by herself.
"Alison, answer me. How old are you?" she could hear the increased irritation and impatience in his voice and she decided she had nothing to lose by giving him the answers he wanted.
"I'm twenty seven."
Jake began to pace the room; Hank moved to stand behind her and lifted her head so the Jake could see her face when she answered his questions.
"Ok. So from what I know, you married Grant Harlow, a man fifteen years your senior, on the seventh of June, 1996 and you have been his loving wife ever since. Am I right?" She shook her head, sadness filling her pale blue eyes.
"Yes and no. Yes he is older. Yes I married him on that date. Yes I have always been his loving wife, but he has never, not for one moment since the day we were married, has he ever been a loving husband. He married me because I was pregnant with his child and he didn't want to lose my father as a business associate. When my father was on his death bed Grant convinced him I was unfit to handle his estates and had my father change the will so the he would inherited my fathers wealth, not me, his only living heir. Grant inherited the eighty seven million dollars that should have been mine, and now he gives me an allowance."
Jake's ears were pricked and she had his full attention. He wasn't sure if it was the drug working his magic, or if she was really just a neglected wife who had come to the end of her tether. He decided to push the issue and find out.
"If you were pregnant, where's the child?" he realized he's asked the wrong question when she burst into a torrent of fitful tears.
"Dead. My little girl is dead. She lives two days, two precious days. The shock of what Grant had done to my father caused her to come into the world to soon. Much too soon, she was so tiny, so frail. He didn't even come to her funeral. I think he was happy that she didn't live to complicate his oh so busy life. I suspect he only stays married to me because it's cheaper than divorcing me. Killing me would save him millions in alimony, so don't expect he's ever going to pay you. Unless you offer to kill me, he might pay you for that."
Jake could see by the look on her face that she was telling the truth and his heart went out to her. It had never been is intention to harm Alison, he was not a cruel man by nature, just a greedy one, but it seemed that Grant Harlow had already tortured her more than he could ever bring himself to do. She was a beautiful young woman. Bright, spirited and adventurous. Any man who could deny such a woman was cheating himself of one hell of good thing. It was obvious she loved her husband, or at least did for a time, but even the lusty adoration of youth could only live for so long when treated with neglect. He strongly suspected that for her, it had been dying a slow death for quite some time.
"Well that presents us with quite a dilemma Alison. You see, we have already presented him with our ransom demands and we're awaiting a reply as we speak. If he does as you say he will, then I am going to have a difficult time preventing Charles from carrying out his threat to hand you back in pieces. We shall give the good Mr. Harlow a little time before we go making any hasty discussions. Perhaps he will surprise us all and be readily forthcoming with the price of your freedom." The look she gave him told him that she honestly doubted it.
This left Jake in quite a predicament. If they didn't get the money they had asked for, his colleagues would be most upset, and it would be difficult to guarantee her safety, but for now, they would wait and see what Grant Harlow's reaction would be to the ransom demands before he could plan a further course of action.
Lifting Allison from her chair he carried her to the bed, laying her head on the pillow and covering her with a blanket. He instructed Hank not to say a word of this to the others and sent him out for fresh coffee while and waited until she had cried herself to sleep. Turning his chair backwards, he rested his arms on the back of the chair, and his chin on his arms, just sitting there quietly watching her sleep. Every now and then she would sob a little, or mumble something incoherent, but on the whole, she looked to be at peace. He had to wonder how a man could neglect a woman like this one. She was beautiful, more like a perfect flower than a super model, but it was a beauty he found very appealing. It worried him that he gave a damn about how much she was hurting, how much Grant had hurt and used her, and it made him want to strip the man of his precious wealth all the more.
The following morning there had still been no word back from Grant in regards to paying the ransom, so Jake had Charles call him on his cell phone. They had networked the phone in the warehouse through series computer links to make it untraceable, and implemented a program to alter their voices. At was a stroke of pure genius on behalf of Stewart, the younger member of the group, and one that made the older men realize and appreciate modern machinery.
They kept the message brief, telling Grant that he had two days to come up with the ten million dollars or he would be getting his wife back in a body bag. Grant protested most strongly, saying it was impossible for him to come up with that amount of money in such a short time and he would need longer, at least a week. Jake gave him a compromise, three days, no longer, and Grant agreed that he would be waiting for the exchange with the money at that time.
Jake had to wonder about the things Alison had told him about her husband and thought he should talk to her more. If Grant did decide not to pay, then he would be in a situation he would rather avoid. He found her sitting on the edge of her bed, staring into space, her eyes puffy and her face tear streaked. Setting a chair down close to her knees, he sat taking her hands in his.
"We contacted Grant again, he wanted a week but we gave him three days, he agreed to come up with the money by then."
She said nothing, sitting there looking at his hands as they held hers. It was the closest thing she had felt to intimacy in a very long time and it made her heart ache for the love she had been denied. Grant was not going to pay, and these men would be forced to keep their word, but for now she was alive and that in it's self was a small mercy. With the end of his finger, Jake lifted her face and looked into her eyes. What he saw surprised him. They were filled with need, longing and pain, and yet there was a beauty in them that took his breath away. His lips brushed against hers with the lightest caress, she could feel the heat of his breath in her mouth and even though she knew it was wrong, she wanted him.
His lips became hungry, his tongue darting into her mouth and searching out the inner reaches of her sensitive pallet. Gentle fingers found her hair, cradling the back of her head as he kissed her harder, the spark between them quickly becoming a raging inferno of desperate lust and need. The buttons on her blouse parted easily beneath his eager fingers and clasp in the front of her bra snapped him his haste to obtain access to her ample breasts. She moaned softly, digging her fingers into his dark hair and leading him to the dark hard points of her desire, his tongue reaching out tease and caress.
Her emotions ran wild, so many years of repressed sexuality, so much fear and doubt, all added up to make her recklessly wanton. All of a sudden Jake stopped, pulling away from her and stepping back from the bed. He couldn't do her, not like this. She deserved so much more. The look in her eyes as he stepped away from her was devastating and he doubted she could handle rejection again. Returning to the edge of the bed, he touched her cheek and kissed her lips tenderly.
"I am going to make a few arrangements, and see about getting you more comfortable. A bath and some clean clothing, some descent food and whatever other personal need you require. You deserve better than this."
Her eyes told him she didn't want better, she just wanted what ever he could give her, here and now, but his conscience would not allow it. He left the room, locking the door behind him, the sound of her sobs echoing in his ears. About two hours later he returned carrying a shopping bag and a silly grin, producing a change of clothing, dark glasses, and a wig. He looked so proud of himself she could not help but wonder what he was up to.
"Change into these, and put on the wig and glasses, we're going to have a change of location. Thanks to your credit card and a little of Stewart's magic, we're moving up in the world. Be quick Alison, the others are edgy." With that he left the room, locking the door once more and leaving her to change. With the wig, glasses and frumpy dress she looked more like a cheap hooker than the wife of one of the richest men in the country, an effect Jack seem quite happy with.