So, since a couple of readers expressed an interest in reading more, I thought I’d take a page from one of my favorite writer bloggers (Lisa at Boondock Ramblings) and post the next part a little early. It’s not the anticipated scene, but it comes next in the story. The information Rose is about to divulge will come on Friday since it was a little too long to include here.
Maya was sweet, but a little young. I’m surprised her parents had even let her attend one of the parties. Turns out she’d sneaked out and her parents were furious. She was only seventeen. It was a good thing I talked her into going back home. My mother would have eaten her alive. I planted the __ for her.
Camille was nervous about leaving the security around Roderick Hall in Lily’s hands knowing how protective Lily was of their friend, but she didn’t have much choice. Lily would have only frightened Elaina’s parents. Being the calmer of the two, it was better she let James and Poppy know what Brad was planning.
She knocked quickly and firmly on the front door. Moments later, it swung open to reveal the smiling, somewhat hopeful face of Poppy Linden. A flash of disappointed darkened her eyes, but she still smiled and ushered in her daughter’s friend.
“I’m sorry I’m not Elaina,” Camille said as the two women settled into the living room.
Poppy shook her head. “It doesn’t matter. Elaina is sure to come back eventually.” Strain showed on her face, enough that Camille leaned forward, reaching out to grasp Poppy’s hand, but Poppy only shook her head. “I’m just hoping that something good is happening over there. That’s all. I miss Elaina, but I think she’s okay.” She smiled at Camille, a shadow in her eyes. “Mother’s intuition.”
Camille nodded and leaned back. She missed Elaina, but probably not as much as Poppy and James. This had to have been the longest they’d ever been separated from each other. And with no other children to keep Poppy and James busy, there was nothing but worry filling the house.
“Is James around?”
Poppy shook her head. “He went out to pick up some groceries, but he should be back soon.” She cocked her head to one side. “Is everything okay? Is Lily okay?”
Camille glanced away. “Lily’s fine. I hope.” She sighed. “Lily and I heard something yesterday. Well, actually, we witnessed something. Something that has to do with Elaina. And Brad.”
“Brad?” Poppy asked. “She broke up with Brad.”
“He’s, uh, not taking it well. A pride thing, probably. We all know he never really loved Elaina. But his pride was hurt when she broke up with him.” Camille sighed. “He rounded up what looked like all of the former companions he could and is talking them into storming Roderick Hall.”
Poppy frowned. “Why? Does he really think that will win Elaina back?”
Camille shrugged. “Maybe. Probably. You know Brad has never been the brightest bulb. Just very wealthy.” She offered a weak smile. “Probably doesn’t sit well with him that Elaina essentially dumped him for a wealthier guy. And all the former companions who never lasted more than a few weeks are probably jealous she’s been there so long.”
Poppy opened her mouth, her brows drawn into a straight line, but a loud voice calling her name stalled her. James barreled into the room moments later, barely sparing a glance and a nod at Camille.
“Brad has a gun,” James announced. “He’s planning on storming Roderick Hall and dragging Elaina out.”
“A gun?” Camille gasped as Poppy’s face went white.
James dropped onto the couch next to his wife and took her hand. “That’s the rumor buzzing around. I don’t know if it’s true, but he’s hard at work rounding up former companions and several women who have been dying for a chance to be a companion.” He looked over at Camille. “Is there any way we can get a message to Elaina?”
“Lily and I witnessed Brad gathering the former companions and rallying them together. She’s over at Roderick Hall, trying to get a message through security.” She took a deep breath. “She hasn’t had any luck so far, but maybe if she can pass on Brad having a gun the message will get through.”
James nodded. “Let her know, Camille. My daughter may be a grown woman, but I’m her father. I have to protect her any way I can.”
Camille nodded and pulled out her phone. Within seconds she was typing out a message to Lily. Almost immediately, she received Lily’s response. She had to bite off a grin in front of Elaina’s parents, but, really, Elaina didn’t have a better protector than Lily.
“Lily’s on her way to Roderick Hall,” Camille announced. “She, ah, had some colorful language. She’ll try to talk to security, let them know. They’ve refused to listen to her, but maybe the gun part will get them to listen. I mean, they are there to protect the Rodericks, right? Surely they’ll take it seriously.”
Poppy and James exchanged a look. Camille couldn’t read it, but it didn’t exactly put her at ease. Elaina’s parents knew something about the security around Roderick Hall. Something that didn’t reassure them.
“We hope,” Poppy said softly, still staring at her husband.