I was sitting, cross-legged, picking at the bread from my dinner, dressed and ready, when Wescott came back into my room.
We regarded each other for a minute before he said, "I think I might fall over in shock. You voluntarily cooperated, for once? I think I'm a little disappointed."
The way he said it was a little funny and if I didn't completely despise him with a fiery passion, I might have cracked a smile or something. Instead, I popped another piece of bread into my mouth and shrugged.
"It was worth more to me this way," I said, reminding him that he was obligated to give me answers.
He sighed. "Bribery, of course. I'll have to remember to use that more often."
As if there was just so much that I wanted from him that bribing me would work more than this once. Not that I'd be here for it anyway. I just watched him waiting for him to tell me what was going on.
"I'll tell you where we're headed, in the car," he said.
"Well, you didn't think I dressed you up to stay in your room, did you?" he asked, sarcastically, making me feel stupid. Obviously, I was going somewhere.
I looked at him, unable to think of a snippy remark to that.
"Well?" he said impatiently, gesturing toward the door.
Deciding to play nice for now, and, admittedly curious about where we were going, I got up and walked to the door.
I was led through the building, in a direction I'd never gone before, and wound up in a garage full of cars. Like everything else I'd seen since I'd been here, the cars mostly looked expensive.
I hadn't recognized the name on the label on my dress - I'd never cared much for fashion - but based on the look and feel of it, I knew it must have cost upward of $500, at the very least. And I guessed that the tux he had on was pretty costly, as well.
No one could accuse Wescott of being cheap.
We got into a black Mercedes and I looked at him expectantly as the car started moving.
"Well?" I gave him the same snotty tone he'd given me back in my room.
"We are going to a benefit, of sorts," he said, looking at the phone in his hand, rather than at me.
"Benefit?" I asked. "For what?"
He looked up. "For you."
"Well, for the idea of you, anyway," he said going back to his phone. "You are the proof of my progress."
I stared at him, not knowing if I was more disgusted or outraged that other people - supposedly decent people knew about this and were supporting it.
"Do they know about me?" I asked, angry.
"Yes, of course they do." He still wasn't paying me much attention. "The money has to come from somewhere. And now they want to see some results from all the money they've invested over the years."
I crossed my arms, settling on disgusted. It was one thing for the people like Mark, who got pulled into this without being aware of what they were doing. It was completely different for the people who would be at this benefit.
They were the ones knowingly enabling Wescott. They were abominable.
Wescott looked up after I was silent for a minute.
"Well, you didn't think I was paying for everything myself, did you?" he asked, again making me feel stupid for missing the obvious. I hadn't thought about where the money was coming from. It's not like Wescott could be an accountant by day and mad scientist by night. This was all he did. And there were the many people he employed, the building, and all the expensive equipment.
Obviously he had to have some rich supporters for this. People who would be among his first clients, no doubt.
Could this even be legal? How did you put something like that on your taxes?
Well, I was apparently going to be in the same room with these people. Maybe I could do something to convince them, this wasn't such a good investment...
"And before you start planning anything stupid," Wescott said, interrupting my thoughts. "I'm warning you, it would be very unwise."
I scowled, hating the fact that he always seemed to know what I was thinking.
"Unwise how?" I challenged. I'd endured that stupid little remote before and sure, it was painful, but not necessarily something that terrified me. Not enough to make me behave in this kind of situation.
He watched me for a few seconds. "Lets just say, what would happen to you, should you become...unpleasant, would make this," he indicated the remote in his hand. "Seem desirable."
I narrowed my eyes, debating whether or not to believe him. I didn't think he was above lying to me to scare me into submission, but I also hadn't seen any evidence that he ever lied to me before.
Plus, I doubted that he would take a chance with all his important guests tonight.
"What would happen?" I asked.
He thought for a second. "Something similar," he said. "But rather than only affecting your hearing, it would target your entire nervous system. And I can't guarantee there won't be any lingering affects as with the type of...deterrent you've experienced before."
I just watched him, still torn.
"Don't test this, Abi," he said. "I promise you, it won't be worth it. If necessary, I will give you a tranquilizer and give an excuse as to why you are lethargic. I prefer to have you alert and your usual...charming self."
I rolled my eyes at his obvious sarcasm.
He sighed. "Just do us all a favor and behave for once," he said.
"If I do?" I asked, wanting to see what he might give me in exchange, since he seemed so willing to bribe me.
"If you do," he said. "I'll give you more information."
"You already promised me that," I pointed out.
"No, I said I'd tell you what you wanted to know," he corrected me. "I didn't specify how much. And I believe I've already answered some of your questions."
I scowled at him. "I want to know everything you've got planned for me," I said. "I want to know why you would need me for so long. Why you couldn't just keep me for a while and let me go."
"Anything else?" he asked dryly.
"I want real answers from now on. No more of those stupid vague answers about me not worrying about something. I don't like not knowing what's expected or what's coming."
The car turned into a parking garage and weaved it's way downward, stopping at a door that was obviously not the main entrance.
He thought about it for a few seconds. "Alright. I suppose there's no harm in you knowing everything at this point."
I watched him curiously. What would it have hurt for me to know everything before?
Wescott opened his door and got out. He stood outside and was joined by four security guards who'd been traveling in the car behind us.
"Abi," he said impatiently after a minute of me not moving.
"I still have plenty of questions," I said, stubbornly.
"And I'll answer them later," he said. "If you want me to follow through on this, you've got to earn it. Besides, I don't want the guest of honor to be late."
I glared at him, not really convinced that I ought to cooperate with this. Wouldn't it be better to try to discourage anyone I could tonight? Even if I had to act like maniac or hurt someone? Anything to stop Wescott would be worth the effort. And probably pain from whatever he was planning on using on me.
He waited a minute before he spoke again. "I'm not asking again," he said. "And I'm not going to be so accommodating if I have to resort to force with you tonight."
But would my actions even accomplish anything with these people? They obviously were already void of a conscience. Or at least, pretty apathetic. Any negative behavior from me, might backfire. They might see it as a kink in an otherwise perfect project. Something requiring more money, not less.
Plus, I had to keep Wescott completely ignorant of my impending escape. He had to think I was still anxious for any little crumb of information he was willing to give me. He needed to think I was still at his complete mercy. And acting like I suddenly didn't care about what was going to happen to me passed this week, might just make him suspicious.
"Fine," I said. "But I want to know everything tonight. As soon as we're done here."
"If I have your cooperation right now, you'll have mine later," he said.
I stared at him for another few seconds, allowing my hatred and disgust for this whole thing shine through, before I gave in and got out of the car.
"Perhaps there is hope for you, yet," he said dismissively as he turned and walked through the doors, expecting me to follow with the guards.
I glared after him, before reluctantly following.
Right as I was about to go through the door, I notice that one of my guards was Mark. He gave me a sympathetic look and I allowed my scowl to disappear for him.
I couldn't exactly call him my friend - he was still technically one of my captors, but it was nice to have him with me. At least I knew there'd be one decent person in there.
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