The Girl You Lost

By: Kathryn Croft
For Oliver, our rainbow.





Prologue





It had been easy to get him alone. He’d played right into her hands and all she’d had to do was flash a smile at him. Laugh at his jokes. Pretend to be interested in his words.

But now they were in his flat, in a part of town she barely knew, and if she wasn’t careful, her control would slip away.

‘This is your home?’ she asked, glancing around, taking in the sparse furnishings and bare white walls. This place was a show home, with no sign that anybody lived here.

He nodded, pulling her towards him, his hand sliding down the back of her skirt. His skin was cold and she smelt whisky on his breath as he leaned towards her, his mouth fumbling for hers.

For a moment she let him kiss her; it was a small sacrifice to make in return for finding out the truth. And the truth was what she would get tonight, no matter what it took. She had vowed to herself that before this day was over she would have an answer.

‘Tell me what you meant the other day,’ she said, pressing her body against his, feeling how hard he was under his jeans.

‘Huh? What?’ He was distracted. And drunk. Not a good combination.

‘You started to tell me something. Remember?’

He took his hand from her skirt and placed it under her shirt, rubbing her breast. She tried not to flinch. She had deliberately worn a low cut denim shirt, too many buttons undone, flashing just a small section of her bra. But her effort had been unnecessary; he wouldn’t have cared if she was dressed in a bin liner.

‘Forget that,’ he slurred. ‘Come in the bedroom.’

She would have to do as he asked. Following him, she prayed things would not have to go too far. She couldn’t bear the thought of his naked body on top of her. No, she couldn’t let that happen.

The curtains were drawn in the bedroom, only a sliver of soft street lighting shining through a tiny slit in the middle. He was digging in his pocket for something, finally pulling out his mobile and tapping on it.

‘Damn it. Battery’s dead. Fuck. Can you give me your phone?’

‘Why?’ she said. ‘Who are you calling?’

‘Nobody. Just let me check something.’

Reluctantly she handed her mobile to him, waiting to see what he’d do.

‘I want to film you,’ he said, pointing her phone at her.

She stepped back towards the door. ‘What? No. Why? Stop it. Give my phone back.’ She lunged forward, trying to make a grab for it, but he whipped his arm back.

His smile dropped. ‘Take off your clothes.’

Sitting on the bed now, he kept the phone pointed at her. ‘It won’t be the same as using my camera, but you look so good I need to capture you. I can send it to my phone after.’

The thought of him having any piece of her, even just on film, filled her with horror. ‘Wait. Tell me first. Tell me what you meant. And stop filming.’ At least it was her phone; she would just make sure she deleted the video the second she got it back in her possession.

He let out a heavy sigh, proving he knew exactly what she was asking. ‘Anyone would think you’re using me. That’s not nice, is it? I want something in return. Come on, play fair.’

His words were jovial but there was something in his expression, the deep lines etched on his forehead. He would not take rejection well. Perhaps she could play along for a few moments longer, let him think he was having his way.

Slowly, she undid the last few buttons on her shirt, trying to ignore the fact that he was still filming, rubbing his crotch. His eyes remained fixed on the phone screen; he was clearly more interested in watching her that way than in the flesh.

‘That’s it,’ she said, removing her shirt and placing her hands on her hips, trying to show she was still in control. ‘That’s all you get until you talk.’

Ignoring her, he lowered his arm. ‘Take everything off. And stay there. Come on, you’re wasting time. I’m losing my patience.’ He shook his head and his stare became cold, hard and unfamiliar.

That was when she realised she had made a terrible mistake. She had underestimated him. There was no way he was letting her leave until he’d done what he wanted to do.

‘That’s it, I’m out of here,’ she said. There had to be a better way to get the truth from him. Clearly this was not going to work. She began to pull her shirt back on but within seconds he had sprung up and was forcing her onto the bed, tugging at her skirt.

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