As she watched the coffee drip into the pot, Leanne was overwhelmed by just how crazy this was. What was she doing in the kitchen--making coffee--with this man she didn't even know? He could be a rapist or a murderer or--she looked at his big blue eyes and dismissed that idea. There was a kind soul inside there. But wasn't that what they said about Ted Bundy too?
"Relax, Leanne," he said. "I'm not going to attack you."
Was she that obvious? And why not?
"Sorry, I'm just a little shook up," she said, giving a nervous glance to the ceiling over their heads.
Scared was probably more to the point, but she didn't say that. She'd always been this away--afraid to confront things that scared her. When they were little, it was Suzy who'd checked under the bed for monsters and in the closet for wild beasts. She should march upstairs, open that stupid trunk and be done with both the mystery and the man.
She looked at Aaron from the corner of her eye, not sure that was the solution she really wanted... Definitely crazy.
"How did you meet Suzy?" she asked.
"Fat Franks Tooney Salooney," he said, moving to her side to add cream to the cup she'd pulled from the cupboard. She got a whiff of soap and a light cologne that made her want to turn into him, bury her face in the crook of his neck and just breathe him in. With an inane laugh, she stepped away. Aaron gave her a strange look and a smile that made her chunky socks slip right down to her ankles.
"You met at a bar," she said, trying to stay with the conversation. "You're in a band?"
Of course he was. All of Suzy's men were in a band. She eyed his musculed biceps and broad chest, wondering what tatoos he might be hiding beneath his Bowling for Soup t-shirt.
He laughed at that, a deep rumbling sound that made her want to smile. "A band? No. I'm a teacher. Seventh grade science."
Leanne's jaw dropped and she gawked at him. When had seventh grade science teachers started looking like him?
Before she could say anything else, the phone upstairs began to ring again. It silenced them both and for a moment they stood still as statues, listening.
This was more than crazy. They had to open it up and see what was inside. Determined, she marched to the utility drawer in the kitchen and pulled out a flat head screwdriver and a hammer. She met Aaron's eyes for a moment, wishing he'd reach out and take them from her, but he didn't.
He trailed her silently upstairs and watched over her shoulder as she tried to first unscrew the fastener and then to wedge it free. The cell phone inside gave another ring and then silenced, but still she kept at it. Only after watching her struggled for a few minutes did he offer to help. Leanne handed the tools over, appreciating that he hadn't just assumed she'd be unable.
As he finally managed to pop the fastener open, the phone began to ring again. With renewed determination, they threw the lid back and looked inside.
"What the..." Aaron said softly.
At the bottom of the trunk was a blow up doll, dressed in a top and shorts Leanne recognized as belonging to her sister. The doll lay across a bag of unmixed concrete. The phone was taped to her hand. It ran again.
Leanne tore it free and almost shouted her sisters name into in her panic. "Suzy?"
Her sister answered, but with one word...