Elite (Empire High, #2)(4)

I knocked on the door.


“Isabella?” I called.

No response came.

I tried the door handle again and then pressed my ear against the door. It was completely silent on the other side.

“You’re not allowed to go in there.”

I jumped. I hadn’t even heard the bodyguard come in. He was holding a few brown paper bags and I could smell the cheesy, fried goodness from where I was standing. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d eaten. It was hard to make yourself eat when all you wanted to do was cry. I ignored the audible growl of my stomach.

“Where are Mrs. Pruitt and Isabella?” I asked.

He just stared at me.

“Is Mr. Pruitt even married? Does he have other children?”

He squinted his eyes at me like I was some kind of puzzle he didn’t understand.

This wasn’t working. “I need to make a phone call. My friends will want to know that I’m safe.” My stomach growled again.

“We’ll discuss it after we eat.”

After we eat? My curiosity made me follow him. He started to unpack takeout container after container.

“They didn’t have any empanadas,” he said. “I wasn’t sure what else you liked.”

I sat down and lifted the lid off the closest container. It was filled with a bean burrito and rice that were both still steaming. Bean burritos were one of my favorites. He bought me all this food because he didn’t know what I preferred? I stared at him as he grabbed a second bean burrito and started eating it. Was it one of his favorites too? He was significantly younger than Mr. Pruitt. He couldn’t be more than mid-twenties. His hair was dark like Mr. Pruitt’s and Isabella’s. “Are you his son?” I asked.

He started choking. “What? No.” The way he said it made it seem like the thought truly disgusted him.

Being related to the Pruitts disgusted me too. I pushed some of the rice around with my fork. I wasn’t hungry anymore.

“He’s not that bad.”

I looked back up at the bodyguard. “Isabella is.”

He finished chewing his bite. “I’m not supposed to talk about his family with you.”

For some reason that was better than him denying that Isabella was horrid. “What’s your name?”

“You can call me Miller.”

“Is that your first or last name?”

“It’s just what you should call me.”

That was vague. But Miller sounded like a last name to me. “What’s your first name?”

I could have sworn he was trying to hide a smile. “Eat your food, kid.”

Kid. I felt that stab in my heart as I remembered my uncle. Would that feeling ever go away? I got it when things reminded me of my mother too. It was like someone was following me around with a knife, constantly jabbing at my heart. I wasn’t sure it would ever stop.

“Fine. Make your call. Two minutes. Then you eat.” Miller slid his cell phone across the table. “But you’re staying here tonight. So there’s no point in asking someone to come get you.”

“Okay.” I grabbed his phone and slid out of my seat. I wasn’t allowed to ask someone to come get me. But that was fine. Because the only person I wanted to talk to right now was someone that would just show up anyway. Because that was what he always did. He’d figure out a way to get me out of here. He’d fix this. He had just as many resources as Mr. Pruitt. I dialed the number and put the phone up to my ear.

“Hello?” His voice was rigid and cold like he was in the middle of an argument. For a second I wasn’t even sure if it was him. But I’d memorized his number by heart.


“Brooklyn? Is that you?” The anger in his tone was gone. It was just that familiar warmth I‘d grown used to. Hearing him say my name like that made my tears start again. I turned away from Miller so he wouldn’t see.

“It’s me.” I tried to stop my tears so I could have a coherent conversation. Recently Matt’s arms around me were the only thing that could calm me down. He’d held me as I fell asleep every night after my uncle’s death. I couldn’t be here tonight without him. I couldn’t do it. I needed him.

“Where are you?”

“I’m at the Pruitt’s apartment.” Technically I didn’t ask him to come. But I could still feel Miller staring at me.

“I’ll be right there.”

I gripped the phone tighter in my hand. “Thank you.” Please hurry.

“Are you okay? He hasn’t hurt you?”

Was Mr. Pruitt violent? I gripped the phone even tighter. I wouldn’t put it past him. He was certainly uncaring. “I’m okay.” I looked over at Miller and my untouched food. I’m not. I’m really not. “He had a doctor run a few tests to make sure I’m his.”

I heard a car door slam. I’d never seen Matt drive before. He was always riding with James. I couldn’t imagine James assisting him in this, even though Matt swore James was sorry about what he’d done. Humiliating me in front of the whole school and then coming to my rescue? It didn’t seem like a realistic jump.

Matt’s parents had been at the funeral. Would they help? Would they even think this was an issue?

I heard Matt tell someone where to head.

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