Episode 7: Freeing Richard
Delilah couldn’t hear what her dad was saying, and suddenly, she desperately wanted to know how he would respond. She irrationally felt that now that her father knew what was going on, he would come sweeping in to rescue her. As a kid, he’d seemed invincible, like he could right any wrong, punish any bully that tried to mess with her.
(Did you miss Episode 6?)
She remembered the time a girl in her class had made fun of her mini-boobs in fifth grade, how she’d told her father about it. The next day, he’d shown up at school and personally berated the girl for being so mean to his daughter. Delilah had been embarrassed, but proud, too, that her dad had cared enough to actually come to school on her behalf. Maybe he would magically figure out where she was now and appear at the door to rescue her.
Back in reality, the burly man was saying, “No, this isn’t a joke. We have...what’s your name sweetie pie?”
It took a minute for Delilah to realize he was talking to her. “Delilah,” she said, quietly.
“We have Delilah. She’s...she’s tied up in my house and...if you want to see her again, you’ll give us $50,000 by the end of the day.”
Her father said something and then the burly man said, “Cash only. Deliver it to the Pinecrest library parking lot tonight at midnight. Be there or you’ll never see your daughter again.” He hung up the phone and turned to Richard. “Your turn,” he said. Suddenly, part of “Despacito” wafted out of his pocket, “Tengo que bailar contigo hoy.”
He reached down and pulled out a pink iPhone 8 Plus. “What’s up?” he asked. As he listened, his eyes widened. After he hung up, he turned to Cassandra. “Cassie,” he yelled, “I need to go. You stay here with these...make sure they don’t escape.”
Cassandra, who had clearly been taking the opportunity to use Delilah’s makeup on her own face, came in from another room. “Got it,” she said. She sounded bored.
The man walked away and then slammed the door behind him.
As soon as he was gone, Cassandra sat down on the couch across from Delilah. “What do you think of my new look?” she asked. Delilah had to admit, she’d applied her makeup flawlessly. She’d expertly lined her eyes with Sultry Eyes Gel Liner and mixed Blue Frost from her Smoky Eye Compact in Blue Frosted with Silver Bullet Hotsy Totsy Metallic Eye Shadow on her eyelids. She looked gorgeous. And evil.
“Are you seriously asking me that?” Delilah asked.
“I know you like makeup,” Cassandra said.
“Cassie,” Richard said, “What is going on here? When I saw you guys come in, I thought you were here to rescue me, but...are you really working with Frank?”
“Of course I’m here to rescue you,” she said. “I just needed Frank to think I was on his side. You know how crazy he is. If I had just barged in here and demanded he untie you, what do you think he would have done? I would be sitting where Delilah is now.”
“So…” Delilah said, “You’re...are you going to help us escape?”
“Shhh,” Cassandra replied, holding her pale, delicate hand over Delilah’s mouth. “He might have microphones in here.”
“But what about what you just said?” Delilah asked. “You just said you were here to rescue us. Don’t you think he heard that?”
“I didn’t say I was here to rescue you,” Cassandra corrected. “I said I was here to rescue Richard. I thought if I brought you along, he would take you in place of Richard, and when he comes back to find Richard gone, he won’t be quite as angry.”
“So...you’re just going to leave me here?” Delilah asked, a note of desperation creeping into her voice. Apparently the idea of Cassandra rescuing her was just as ridiculous as that of her dad bursting in here and saving her.
“No,” Richard said, “She isn’t. Are you Cassie?”
“I’m not leaving without her,” Richard said.
“Well, I’m not rescuing both of you, so deal with it,” Cassie said. “I’m going to go find a...bread knife. Or something.” She went into the kitchen.
Richard looked at Delilah, and then, in a low voice, said, “Don’t worry. I’m not leaving without you. Just...follow my lead.” Delilah nodded silently. She hoped Richard knew what he was doing. She’d already seen him be kidnapped in broad daylight, so she didn’t have high hopes.
“Are you okay?” he asked. They could hear Cassandra in the kitchen, opening drawers and taking things out.
“Not exactly,” Delilah said. “When I woke up this morning, my greatest worry was that you wouldn’t call me. Now I’m worried about being hacked into pieces by a crazy guy who has a pink iPhone.”
Richard laughed under his breath. “Don’t worry. Frank won’t kill us.”
“Didn’t you say you put him away for murder?”
“Yeah, but it was a crime of passion. He killed his brother after he found him in bed with his wife. He’s not just going to kill us for money...I don’t think.”
“What about the fact that you put him in prison?”
“Well...there is that.”
Richard’s eyes widened and Delilah saw that Cassandra had come back from the kitchen wielding a gigantic bread knife. She went to work sawing the rope away from his arms and legs. It took a painfully long time. With each scrape, Delilah imagined Frank appearing in the doorway in a rage.
“And...you’re free,” Cassandra finally said as the final ropes dropped away. “Let’s get going.”
Richard looked back at Delilah as he followed Cassandra to the kitchen. She felt a sense of mounting panic. Seriously? Was he just going to leave her here?