Love Game

Love Game by Elise Sax

Book: Love Game by Elise Sax Read Free Book Online
Authors: Elise Sax
face.
    “Why? Did she Taser you when she gassed you?” Ruth asked, and laughed at her own joke.
    Outside, the pool had been drained, and the plaster was half blasted off. A large machine lay at the deep end, with a large hose attached to it. Bags of plaster peppered the pool deck.
    “This is going to be some house,” Bridget noted.
    Two men joined us in the back. Both were middle-aged, one dressed like a lawyer, and the other in casual clothes. The second man was very familiar to me, but I couldn’t place him.
    “Oh, good, you’re here. The house is almost there. Get your checkbooks ready,” Rellik said with an exaggerated wink. He smiled and shook their hands. Potential buyers. They talked numbers for a moment and then joined our tour.
    I never knew house flipping was so fast. The house had been run-down for decades, but within a few days it was halfway to being on the market and ready for a feature in
House & Garden
magazine.
    “I can’t wait to show you this next part,” Rellik said. “We’ve actually made a basement.”
    “Why would you do that?” Ruth asked. “No basements in Southern California.”
    “Rellik Construction aims to please.” Rellik steered us down a hallway and through a door leading to stairs. “But this is no ordinary basement.”
    Downstairs were two metal doors, sitting side by side.
    “A dungeon,” Ruth said.
    “A bomb shelter,” Bridget guessed.
    Rellik shook his head. “No, they’re panic rooms. They’re going to be the finest ones in America. Go ahead, get in.”
    There was a flurry of enthusiastic shuffling toward the two rooms. Something about the idea of a spot for the express purpose of hiding was irresistible. And it was the perfect setup for a married couple—his-and-hers panic rooms.
    I had to admit I was envious. I would have loved a place to go when I panicked, which was pretty regularly.
    I couldn’t wait to get inside. I envisioned a wet bar and satellite TV. I pictured an endless supply of chipsand a really comfortable recliner chair. Maybe the flipper would let me hang out and escape the menagerie I was saddled with. I could be safe in a panic room. Nobody could throw me off a balcony in a panic room.
    We shuffled into the rooms, separated evenly into two groups.
    “Don’t think I forgot about you, woman,” Lucy warned Luanda. Luanda had elbowed her way in first—there was a trail of water behind her—and Lucy was fast on her heels.
    “I’m not sure I like this,” Ruth muttered, but either her curiosity got the best of her or she thought her bat was inside, because she didn’t hesitate to follow Lucy.
    Bridget’s attention was fixed on Remington. Her head was tilted up, and her mouth hung open. Her eyes darted from tattoo to muscle and back again. There was a lot of both. I figured she was battling her internal feminist voice, and she was probably coming out on the side that ogling men purely for their physical beauty was only fair play.
    Remington, however, was distracted by other things. By the room. By me. He turned to me and opened his mouth, as if to say something, but as soon as I entered the room, the flipper interrupted.
    “There you go,” he announced. “All in. What do you think?”
    But he didn’t give us a chance to answer. The door closed behind me with a click that was a little on this side of ominous. The room filled with a red light, and the only sound was an annoying buzzing, like mosquitoes. We collectively held our breath, but the door didn’t open again.
    The room was plenty big for the six of us, but it was bare, like the inside of a soup can. The floor was cement, the walls metal, and the door looked like it could protect Fort Knox.
    Remington stepped around me and jimmied the door, but it was locked down tight. He banged on it with his fists, but it didn’t budge. After a moment Ruth ran at it, shoved Remington aside, and started to scream for everything she was worth.
    “Open the goddamned door!” she yelled, her

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