Shortly before 7 a.m. Saturday
Andy Drayton pulled his 10-year-old Saturn up to the gate and glanced at his passenger.
"You're home," he said as he gently shook the girl awake. "Are you going to be alright?"
Regan Riley rubbed her eyes and looked out the windshield. The sun could just be seen over the house. She was certain her parents were awake. They had probably been awakened by a frantic phone call from Clairborne Benedict Prep. But maybe not yet.
"What time is it?" she asked the driver.
"A quarter til 7," he replied. "Are you ready for this?"
Regan sighed deeply.
"Not so much," she said. "I'm in an absolute ton of shit. Hey, thanks for bringing me all the way out here. That was really nice of you."
"Come on," Andy said with a smile. "Like I was going to leave my pretend girlfriend stuck in the city in the middle of the night. What sort of faux white knight would I be then?"
Regan leaned across the parking brake and kissed Andy lightly on the cheek.
"I had fun last night," she whispered. "It was fucked up beyond belief. But I had fun. Can you believe that shit?"
Andy was formulating his reply when the squad car pulled up behind him at the gate.
"Oh shit," he said.
Regan pulled back from his shoulder and looked out the back window.
"Don't worry," she said. "They're Rent-A-Cops. Leave them to me."
Andy watched in his sideview mirror as the young, uniformed man sauntered up to the car and pecked on the glass. Regan made a "roll it down" motion.
"What the fuck do you want, Prick?" she asked in an imperious tone. "I'm just blowing my boyfriend goodbye before I go in the fucking house. How about some privacy? Or are you one of those sick fucks who gets off on watching?"
"Ms. Riley," the man said as he stepped back. "I didn't realize you were home from school."
"Like we'd tell you, Perv," Regan shot back. "Don't think my father hasn't noticed that you fucks drive past the house twice as often during warm, sunny days when you think I might be at the pool. Now you just run along while I thank my guy for taking such good care of me last night."
The security guard's face was red but he walked back to his car — with much less swagger in his stride — and for a moment, Andy wondered if Regan really did plan to thank him that way. Then he realized the stupidity of his thought.
Regan Riley, only daughter of a billionaire investor, a girl worth millions in her own right, did not perform sex acts on the only son of a single mother who lived in a tiny, two bedroom apartment in one of the poorer neighborhoods in West Hempfield.
"Well, if you ever get stuck in a alone in a strange city with no money and no friends, look me up," Andy said lightly. "You know I'll look out for you."
"You'll be my first call," Regan promised. "Thanks again, Andy. I don't know what would have happened if you hadn't come along."
Andy knew what would have happened. Regan would have sweet-talked some poor bastard out of his cell phone long enough to call her father or mother, who would have had a shit-fit and sent out the National Guard to rescue her.
The thought brought a small smile to Andy's face.
"You get a kick out of thinking of me raped and murdered?" Regan asked.
"Huh?" Andy replied. "No, no. Of course not. I was thinking of how you probably would find a geek with a cell phone, whisper sweet nothings in his ear, get him to let you call your folks — who would proceed to tear the poor bastard's life apart. That's why I'm letting you off right outside the gate and driving away as fast as I can."
Regan shook her head slowly as her eyes widened.
"I don't think it is going to be that easy," she said softly. "Don't worry. I don't think she will be pissed off at you."
Andy jerked his eyes away from Regan's face long enough to see the gate swinging open and a very angry Rita Riley and an equally irate Robert Riley stalking toward his car.
The window was still down from the foray with the security guard so Andy tilted his head back and awaited the inevitable. He didn't wait long.
"What in the hell are you doing here at 7 in the morning with my daughter?" Rita Riley screamed as she leaned through the window of Andy's car.
4 p.m. Friday
"I fucking hate this place," Regan screamed as the door to her room closed.
For the second time in six weeks she had been placed on restriction because of "substandard academic effort." So while all of her friends headed into the city for a few hours of unsupervised fun, Regan was stuck in the dorm room she shared with Ruth DeLancy, a pudgy, pimply girl who bathed only twice per week.
Regan and her friends had plans to go out to dinner and then to a club. No one would say anything so long as they were back in their dorms before breakfast — unless some bitch like Ruth DeLancy narced them out.
Luckily for Regan, Ruth was scared of her own shadow — as well as being terrified of a bar of soap — so she was safe. Her other friends knew the risk and accepted it readily. Then her dorm supervisor came around just before the group was ready to depart to relay the bad news. The hateful old bitch actually seemed happy to tell Regan about the restriction.
So Regan ate her dinner in the cafeteria by herself. It wasn't until she was dumping the tray off that inspiration hit. A truck was backed up to the cafeteria dock, bringing in supplies for the coming week.
Without a second thought, Regan climbed in the trailer and hit behind some boxes. She planned to hitch a ride into the city, catch up with her friends and sneak back into the dorm when they did. The last time she was on restriction, no one had checked on her, even when she skipped breakfast and lunch on Saturday.
It wasn't until she was bumping along that a couple of realizations dawned on her: she didn't have her cell phone in her jeans pocket and she only had $15 with her.
"Fuck!" she swore loudly. She only hoped that one of her friends would spot her some cash for the night. Then another thought hit her: Her fake ID was in her wallet, which was in her purse, which was in her dorm room. She wouldn't be going clubbing unless she could sneak in.
The truck's abrupt stop broke up Regan's thoughts. She almost panicked when she heard the engine shut down. She had ridden into the city many times in the 15 months she was a boarding student at C-B Prep. The truck stopped a full 20 minutes short of her destination.
"Probably another delivery," Regan thought. "I hope these boxes aren't taken out."
But when the door hadn't raised after 10 minutes, Regan realized how screwed she was. She slipped out of her hiding place and slipped forward slowly until she found the door. She tried to raise it to no avail and she frantically searched for the latch. After a minute or so of fumbling, she located the hook and moved it in the only direction it would go.
"Son of a bitch," she whispered under her breath.
Regan found herself in the fenced-in yard of a warehouse. The lot was dark and she didn't see any cars nearby. She silently slipped out of the trailer and made her way along the fence until she found the opening. Then she did the only thing she could do: She started walking down the highway to the city.
Andy knew he was going to hit a shitload of traffic on the way home but he had little choice. He had stopped at his part-time job for the sole purpose of picking up his paycheck. He didn't count on the fact that three workers had called off that day and his help was needed desperately. Grudgingly he pitched in and helped fill the orders that needed to be filled before hopping in his car and driving south.
His girlfriend was going to be plenty pissed off when he was late picking her up again. He plugged in the hands-free device and gave her a call. Just as he figured, Erin was angry.
"We had plans," she seethed. "Did you not tell them that you couldn't stay to help. Of course not, you just pushed me aside like you always do. Well, here is the deal. If you're not here to pick me up when you said you would be, I'll go to the party with someone else. I don't think I'll have any problem finding someone else to take me."
"I'm still a hour away," Andy told her. "So you might as well start your calls now. This is ridiculous. The only way I can afford to do things with you is to work. If I told them I couldn't work today, I would be looking for a job tomorrow instead of doing whatever the hell you want to do. So fine, but know this. If you go to the party with someone else, you better make sure he's a keeper. Because I'm through with this shit."
"Fine," Erin screamed into the phone. "I'm through with the shit, too. Look me up if you ever get your priorities straight."
She hung up the phone before Andy could reply.
Andy looked down and noticed he was going 15 miles per hour over the speed limit. He had just glanced up when he almost slammed into a truck that had stopped in the middle of the highway in front of him.
7 p.m. Friday
Regan saw the same truck that had slowed down a few minutes before pass by headed in the other direction. She wasn't really dressed for walking along a highway. Her jeans were a little tight and her T-shirt was a little short for comfort. At least she had on tennis shoes instead of her boots.
She had been walking for about 10 minutes when she saw the truck the first time. Five minutes later it came back headed North and slowed down again when it passed her. Not for the first time, Regan was having second thoughts about her brilliant plan.
.... There is more of this story ...