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Rules of Seduction


I sat on the edge of the bed staring mindlessly at the television as some athletes—whose names I didn’t know, and honestly didn’t care to know—bounced a little orange and black ball up and down and ran down the court trying to steal it from one another.

“Get the ball to Kobe!” Seth screamed at the t.v.

I rolled my eyes and rubbed my temples.

My head was throbbing and Seth screaming every few minutes wasn’t helping.

I was worried about my friends and family—hoping that they would realize that the message I’d left had been a big lie and they’d come and get me. 

I was tired of limping around on my injured leg, I was tired of my sore arm and ultimately, I was tired of Seth.

Sure, he’d been nice to me lately, but I still didn’t trust him.

After he’d allowed me to call my parents, I’d kept my promise and forgiven him, but I’m not one of those people who believe in the saying: ‘forgive and forget’. I don’t think that’s even possible.

Suddenly, I felt an overwhelming sense of nausea.

I clutched the little trash can that leaned against the bed.

“Again?” Seth asked actually paying attention to me for the first time. “That’s like your fifth time throwing up this morning! And you’ve lost your cookies everyday this week.” Yeah, Mr. Obvious, like I didn’t notice.

When I finally finished I felt even worse.

“Here,” Seth said handing me a glass of water and a mint.

“Thanks,” I said my voice sounding hoarse because of my raw throat.

Seth placed his hand against my forehead.

“You’re not running a fever.” he said. “Do you have chills?”

“No,” I shook my head. “I’m not sick.”

“Well, something is wrong.” he insisted.

“Maybe I’m allergic to something,” I said. Like this dusty old cabin.

“Maybe, but I doubt it.” he said.

Honestly, I doubted that it was an allergy too, but what else could make me feel like this?

“Just get some rest.” Seth said pulling back the covers on the bed. “Maybe it’s a stomach virus or something.”


I woke up the next morning to the sound of my phone ringing. I rubbed my eyes and reached over on the night stand where I’d sat it.

“Hello,” I answered groggily.

“Justin!” It was my mother’s voice.

Suddenly it dawned on me that I’d left our hotel room without telling her.

“I’m sorry that I left without telling you....I was gonna come back, but then I came to Kayla and Kevin’s house and....”

“Yes, we’ll talk about that later.” She interrupted. “I’m calling because Caitlin called the Beadles late last night. They just got the message this morning.”

“Oh my gosh!” I exclaimed. “Is she okay? Is she coming home?”

“They said that she’s fine and she just went on a last minute vacation with Seth. There cancelling all of the search parties and everything.”

“What?” I asked. “Why would they do that? What if she’s lying?”

“Lying?” Pattie asked. “Why would she do that?”

“I dunno, but if Seth’s a psychopath like Christian think he is, maybe he forced her to lie.” I said. “They should let me listen to that message.”

“Honey, I know you’re concerned about Caitlin, but I’m sure her parents know her well enough to detect whether or not she’s being truthful.”

I bit my lip.

This whole ordeal didn’t make sense.

Caitlin’s a planner, she doesn’t just randomly do things. She certainly wouldn’t just go off on a spontaneous vacation without telling anyone. She’s at least tell her best friend.

“Has anyone spoken to Holly Peterson?”

“No, not yet. I think Holly and her family just came into town.” Mom answered. “Wh—”

My mind was racing at the speed of light as I instinctively slammed the phone shut and climbed out of bed.

I threw on the clothes I’d worn over here last night and made a mad-dash down the stairs.

I entered the family room to find Kayla sitting in a chair reading her Bible.

“What’s up?” she asked. Her eyes drew together in concern as they landed on me. “Are you alright?”

“No time to talk, now. I’ll explain later.” I said grabbing her by the hand and pulling her behind me.

I snatched our jackets off the coat rack and left the house.

I opened the door to my Range Rover for her.

“Justin, are you feeling okay?” she asked cautiously.

“Never been better, just get in the car.” I rushed.

Kayla climbed in, but her uncertainty was evident.

I hopped in the driver’s seat and slammed on the accelerator.

I drove up the streets of Stratford towards the country. Towards Holly Peterson, Caitlin’s best friend.

As I drove, Kayla rattled off questions, but my mind was so focused on trying to prove my theory that I didn’t pay her an ounce of attention.

I pulled into the driveway and undid my seat belt.

“C’mon.” I said.

“Justin!” Kayla yelled. “You need to slow down and explain to me what’s going on, right now.”

“You’ll understand, let’s just go.” I said reaching over her and opening her door.

She stopped me and re-shut the door.

“Justin! Stop!” she said. “I’m not going anywhere until you tell me what’s wrong with you! You show up on my doorstep last night and I think that you just need a friend to talk to, but then you end up kissing me. Now this morning you come flying down the steps, drag me into your car, and drive me to some stranger’s house in the boonies!”

I stared at Kayla for a moment. I wasn’t sure what to say.

“Kayla,” I began. “I’m not really sure how to explain all of this, but you’re just going to have to trust me.”

She shook her head.

“I can’t do that, Justin. I’m sorry.”

She hopped out of the car and began to walk up the street. I wasn’t sure where she was going to go, but I didn’t have time to worry about that. Instead, I had to focus on finding Caitlin. 

There was no way she’d agreed to go on vacation with Seth. Just absolutely no way.



I grasped tightly onto the sides of the toilet as I threw-up—again.

I wiped my mouth off with a towel and flushed the toilet.

I groaned as I wiped the sweat off my forehead.

Something was wrong—terribly wrong.

I walked over to the sink and splashed cold water on my face. As I glanced at the calendar, it dawned on me.

“No,” I whispered quietly. “God, please no.”

A single tear rolled down my face and I quickly wiped it away. Maybe it wasn’t true. Maybe it was just late, but there was only one way to know....

“Seth,” I called into the living room.

He didn’t reply and I was about to call him again when he appeared at the doorway and concerned look on his face.

“What is it babe?” he asked.

“I need you to take me to the drugstore.” I said quietly.

“The drugstore?” he repeated. “Why?”

“I, uh, need to get uh, something.” I stuttered.

“Like what?” he asked I could tell he was getting angry. “You know I can’t risk letting you out alone. I’ll get it for you, what do you want?”

I swallowed hard.

“It’s personal.” I said.

Seth’s eyes turned ice-cold as he tightly grasped my arm.

“You’re not keeping something from me, are you?”


“Then just tell me what you fudgein’ need and I’ll buy it.”

I swallowed hard.

“I missed it.” I muttered, my voice barely above a whisper.

“What?” he snapped. “Speak louder, bitch. I can’t hear you!”

I trembled in fear as the tears returned.

“My period. It didn’t come.” I wailed.

Seth shoved me into the wall.

“You’d better not be.” he said. “I’m gonna go buy the frickin’ test, but you’d better not be.”

Seth slapped me across the face and stormed out of the bathroom.

I clutched my cheek and sobbed as I heard the front door slam.

I grabbed my crutches and hobbled into the kitchen.

I began to rummage through the drawers.

One thing for sure, Seth didn’t have to worry about seeing a little pink plus sign, because if there was a life inside of me now, there wouldn’t be when he got back. It would be gone with me to see the angels.

Chapter End Notes:

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