One Big Mistake - Jennifer Youngblood


It was one of those times when Ramsey wished he were anywhere but here. Two hours ago, Ramsey had been holed up in his dormitory room studying for his physical science final exam. Then, his roommate Edison had burst through the door in tears. Edison was in such a frenzied state and was talking so fast that at first, Ramsey had only been able to make out the words Allie and kidnapped. It had taken Ramsey a full five minutes to get Edison calmed down enough to get the full story.

Edison had been trying to reach Allie, but she’d not answered his calls or texts. Finally, in desperation, Edison called Allie’s parents and was told the horrifying news. Allie had been kidnapped earlier that morning. A couple hours after Allie left for her hot yoga class at six a.m., Jefferson Post, her father, received a video of Allie through text. She was gagged and tied to a chair, tears streaming down her cheeks. The kidnappers were demanding that a one-million-dollar ransom be paid by ten a.m. the following day or Allie would die.

The news hit Ramsey square between the eyes. Allie was one of the first friends he’d made when he started college at The University of Tennessee in Knoxville. In fact, Ramsey had introduced Allie to his roommate Edison, and the two had started dating. Allie’s dad was a billionaire who owned a slew of gas stations and truck stops throughout the US. Jefferson Post was heavily involved in politics and had recently put his name in the running for senator. The family’s wealth and high-profile status made them a target.

Edison was insistent on going to talk to Allie’s parents and asked that Ramsey come along for moral support. Ramsey had readily agreed, desiring to offer help to Edison and Allie. However, now that he was here in the Posts’ home, he was second guessing his decision. It was painfully obvious that Edison and Ramsey weren’t welcome. Things were getting ugly fast.

“How dare you come into my home and dictate to me how this should go down!” Jefferson thundered. “All Allison is to you is a meal ticket.”

“That’s not true,” Edison countered, blotches of red seeping into his cheeks.

Jefferson grunted. “I’ve had your number from day one. You’re an opportunist. You don’t love my daughter. You’re just chasing the money.” His face was tomato red, a vein throbbing in the center of his forehead. The heavyset man glared at Edison like he was about two seconds away from jumping up from the plush leather couch and punching his lights out. To Edison’s credit, he was doing a good job of holding his own. His chin was set in a hard stance, eyes narrowed to slits.

Edison and Ramsey were sitting across from Jefferson and Bitsie Post in the large den of the Post’s palatial home. The furnishings were ornate, too gaudy for Ramsey’s taste, but they were obviously expensive.

“Look, Mr. Post. I know how you feel about me, but now is not the time for you to grind your axe. Your daughter’s life is on the line here.” Edison leaned forward. “As you said, the kidnappers stipulated that there be no police.” His voice trembled with indignation, but Ramsey caught the note of underlying fear beneath his bravado. The vibration of Edison’s shaking knee shook the couch. “They’ll kill her if you don’t comply with their directions.”

Bitsie’s eyes filled with tears. “He’s right,” she uttered hoarsely. “We need to keep the police out of this and just pay the ransom money.”

Bitsie was Allie’s mom. Her hair had probably been naturally blonde like Allie’s when she was younger. Now, she kept it dyed platinum blonde. It was set in large curls, almost as if the rollers had just been taken out. Her makeup was too thick, her lipstick too red. Bitsie looked like she’d be more at home waiting tables in a greasy diner rather than here in this exclusive home. She was dressed in a zebra print silk shirt and matching lounge pants.

Allie had mentioned on several occasions that because of her Dad’s desire to enter the political arena that her parents would need to hire an image consultant to make them look the part. Ramsey had laughed assuming she was joking. Now, he realized that Allie was serious.

Jefferson swore. “Shame on me for not calling the police the minute I got that blasted text.” He balled his meaty hand into a fist. “We’ve already lost three hours.” He glared at