Disguise

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A New Standard

My eyes widened as he came impossibly close. His hands went around my waist, pulling me towards him, to the edge of the bed. I think I tried to move away, but I couldn’t be certain. At this point I wasn’t even sure if I was awake.

This surely had to be a dream right?

And then he looked into my eyes, his green depths drinking in my own muddy brown ones, and I felt exposed. Like with that small, intangible connection I was allowing him access to my innermost thoughts.

I had the overwhelming need to look away, and yet I was chained to his heated gaze. We were hardly a hair’s breadth apart and his hands were snaked around my waist in an iron grip. There was no movement possible except forward, he’d made sure of that.

It was all still the same. Every touch, every emotion, even the feel of his hot breath on me, everything incited this strange, uncontrollable and unconditional affection in me. Like he was meant for me. Oh how I wish I could explain this to myself but I just didn’t have the words.

Ironic, for a script writer.

His eyes were getting darker again, and I knew that something was holding him back. He was frozen, I was frozen.

I couldn’t comprehend what was happening but it was like I was bound by something invisible and no action could be taken to fight this.

I knew I should move away, voice out that this was not okay, but I just felt so...content.

I could stay like this all day, letting him read me.

And then Reece closed his eyes, seemingly trying to reign something in and it effectively broke the spell I was in.

What am I doing?!

His eyes opened a moment later, both were their usual forest green and he seemed to be in better control now.

I, on the other hand, freaked.

“Reece! What- uh, move your hands!” I blabbered and a knowing smirk grew on his lips as he loosened his grip just a little. I immediately moved back, creating a meager amount of space between us but it managed to calm my burnt nerves.

He was still smirking, that asshole knew what he did to me and he was so smug about it. He entranced me so easily.

It boiled my blood.

Why can’t I just fight this absolutely ridiculous bond?! Nobody can fall that deep in love!

A blush began to rise as I took in our current position and tried to move further away from him.

His smile widened as he held his grip and watched me struggle.

“Reece! What are you-”

“I like this position.” He said it so casually, as if he wasn’t a few centimeters away from me.

My face turned further red, “Let go!”

Why was he getting so bold all of a sudden?

“So, you still like me.” He whispered, his smile not lessening by a millimeter.

I made a mental note to jump off the highest building once I was out of his arms.

How embarrassing! Why would he say it out like that?!

“Reece!” I squeaked in alarm. He had to stop this torture!

“You’re blushing.” He observed, again so casually.

GAAAAH! Someone make him stop before I spontaneously combust!

“Reece it’s not- it’s not like that! Let go!” I protested in his arms, goodness how strong was he?!

But nothing seemed to get through to him, he was in his own happy zone.

I needed to take this back! Why did I light such a fire?!

“Reece! Honestly you’ve gotten it all wrong I swear-” I placed both my palms on his muscular chest, but I just let them be there, instead of trying to push him away.

“You couldn’t have lied to me.” He cut me off and I wondered how he could be so sure.

The small flutters in my palms did nothing to reduce my predicament.

“What? No! I just- I was confused and I didn’t know what I was answering to-” I argued weakly. I wish I had a better pretext but I really didn’t.

“No, you were in a haze, you answered the truth.” He said it with such certainty that nothing I said would deter him. His mind had been made up.

I shifted my hands to his biceps, trying to push him away but they only bulged under my protests and reminded me how out powered I really was. I couldn’t stand his penetrating gaze anymore, he could read me so well through it.

Aaahhh! I was almost in his lap for god’s sake! Help meee!

“Reece! Honestly I’m telling you! Please let me go!” I was trying to muster up some anger, but at this point I was only awkward, embarrassed and suddenly feeling very very shy. I was trying to look everywhere but at him, focusing on his chest and arms where I pushed. My voice got more screechy.

Why couldn’t he just let me go?!

Reece was eyeing me for a second or two in complete silence and then finally I felt his hand move away...

Oh thank god!

....only to wrap his fingers around my wrists.

Startled, I met his gaze to see what he was doing but the glint in his eyes told me only one thing;

That’s it I’m screwed.

His tight grip didn’t hurt me, he made sure of that, but the large hand and long fingers effectively trapped both my hands in front of me and I knew that nothing could help me now.

“Reeeecee! What do you think you’re doing?!” My voice was beyond the point of a screech. It hurt my own ears but he paid my rebellion no attention. He was just watching me, entranced, just as I had been.

“Reece dammit! Answer me! What are you doing?!” I yelled again, attempting to sound furious, but it was hard to do so when all I could think about was how it would feel if his lips were on mine.

I let my gaze, only for a millisecond, slip to his lips and then immediately pulled them back up to his eyes.

But that was all that was needed, his eyes went from green to black in a blink and he said, “You’re blushing so much just by admitting it. I want to see your reaction when I do this.”

If the sparks earlier had set a standard, then this one broke them all.

His lips on mine sent lightning strikes to every single nerve ending I had in my body (and I’ve heard that there are a lot of those.)

I hadn’t expected it, the slow, sensual kiss that he’d started. I just sat there, unmoving for a long while before I responded but when I did, Reece took that as permission and deepened the already insane kiss.

I had, of course, kissed him before but this was nothing like what it was before. This was ten times, fifteen times sexier, heart stopping, mind boggling.

He did things to me, things I had never felt from anybody, these feelings he evoked in me that made me sure that soul mates existed and everyone had somebody out there waiting for them.

How else could this be so powerful? Could a single kiss bring you to your knees and make you want to do anything for that person? How was he so... Irresistible? He made me crave more and more and I just wanted to continue this moment forever.

His lips on mine, his hands on my waist and the back of my neck, they made me forget everything.

My hands, which were now free, moved into his hair and before I knew it he was on the bed and leaning over me.

He refused to let go but it wasn’t just him. My own mind had flown out the window and my body had taken over.

His hands stroked the skin just below the hem of the shirt - his shirt that I’d been wearing - and I almost let out a moan.

No thinking, no rules and no reservations. There was only a primal instinct that drove us both, and boy was it amazing. I pulled his head closer to mine, aggravating the slow kiss to a newer, more animalistic dimension and things went crazy.

He pushed me into the sheets and moved above me, careful to not put all his weight on my comparatively smaller body. Reece gripped the back of my neck and arched it, making me look to the side.

A rush of thrill ran through me. I didn’t know why but it felt like something was about to happen, and I sure as hell couldn’t stop it.

He started peppering light kisses across my jaw, and reached the base of my neck, every inch making me burn. I was helpless against his assault, immobilized. I could only tilt my neck further..

I was starting to get dizzy from the kiss, and he realized that because he pulled away and then crushed me to his chest. We were both breathing heavily, I could feel my heart beating rapidly and my hands were clutching his biceps rather painfully - not that he complained.

“Whoaa calm down Flora, your heart’s running at a hundred miles per hour!” He said after a minute, when his own breathing reduced to normal levels.

I didn’t reply, too busy trying to comprehend what had actually happened.

Shit shit shit shit shit. What had I done? What had we done? No no no no. What happened to staying away? Don’t you remember all the secrecy and the drama that follows him everywhere? Don’t you remember why you left?

Reece just sat there, his arms engulfing me in the most comfortable bear hug ever, and I just wanted to snuggle - despite my approaching breakdown.

Or continue that kiss.

I didn’t say anything as we sat there, what could I say? I was as guilty as him. Granted he initiated it but I know I could have said no and he’d listen.

And then my phone rang. We broke apart and I went forward to grab it. My mind was in a blur, it couldn’t grasp the gravity of what had happened. Moving to the edge of the bed, I stood up, automatically accepting the call without looking at the screen.

“Hello?” I spoke softly, my voice out of breath.

“Flo! Honey, where have you been?” My mom’s voice sang through.

“Mom?” I said stupidly.

“Yes of course it’s me, who’d you think it was?” She laughed.

“Nobody, I just didn’t see the screen.” I was aware of Reece’s eyes following my every moment. Trying to keep a calm tone was impossible knowing what had transpired between us just thirty seconds ago but I had to try. He hadn’t gotten up, but I was sure he was analyzing my behavior, and mental health after the whole shebang.

I took the call as an excuse to leave the room, and he did not follow me out. Maybe he thought I would come back in once I was done.

Even I didn’t know if I would. Or maybe he was giving me space, lord knows I needed some.

“Hey mom.” I said as I shut the door behind me.

“Hey sweetie, where have you been?” She asked me, her tone a little disappointed.

“Sorry mom, I’ve just been busy.” I gave her my automated excuse.

“Busy? Flora, you’re on vacation!” She chided and I laughed.

“Well I just called to ask if you’re okay.” And I nodded stupidly.

“Yes I am, and you?”

“Everything’s great Flo, except that my only child doesn’t miss me.” She sighed dramatically and I giggled.

We spoke for a few more minutes, by the end of which I was pacing in the hall lobby, my mind not really in the conversation at all.

I cut the call after saying goodbye and looked at the elevator doors. This apartment was similar, with the elevator opening directly into the house. They were tempting, could I make it out of here before Reece figured it out and stopped me?

I had to try, I decided.

My footsteps were light as I headed to the doors and called the lift. I hoped he couldn’t hear that my phone call was over.

It was on “1” I could make it!

G..

B1..

B2!

Aha! Almost there..

But then the single horrifying and subtle sound of the elevator rang through, and I knew that the ‘Ping!’ was enough to alert him.

The doors slid open three inches before I heard the quick steps and in less time than possible, Reece stood behind me - I could feel it.

My shoulders sank with realization - the doors were open wide in front of me now but I knew it was too late. Either he’d stop me, or he’d join me. My cheeks burned yet again as I remembered that I’d kissed him.

“Flora.” Something in his tone made me turn around. He was scared, I could hear it.

His eyes were worried - for me.

Something was wrong.

But he quickly masked it up and looked at me with an expression I couldn’t recognize.

“I need you to do something.” He said clearly.

What?

“Flora? It is important that you listen to me.” He said again, his eyes on me, seeing if his words registered.

What?

“Flora! Listen to me!” He shook me roughly and I snapped back to him.

“What?” I finally spoke out loud, trying hard to not show how much he affected me.

“I need you to stay here and not step outside. Two of my men are coming here, they’ll take care of you just don’t go anywhere.”

“What?” I said again. His words were confusing. He didn’t want to talk about the heated session in the room?

“No questions. Just stay here alright. Trust me.”

No sir.

“Trust you?” My words echoed a little harsher than they should have. I was supposed to have forgiven him. Especially if I went around kissing him like there was no tomorrow.

Forgive but don’t forget? Once bitten twice shy? My subconscious hurled these phrases at me, but they didn’t make me feel better. What was his deal?

Reece didn’t notice, or give any reaction to my taunt and he just looked at me for a moment.

“Yes. Stay here. Wait for my people, one of them is Atticus and the other is April.” He explained as he saw me listening.

“Why?”

“There’s no time for that, I have to go.”

He said as he dragged me indoors - the elevator doors sealed shut again - steering me around towards the same room I’d exited.

“Wha- Reece! What is going on?” I protested as I was pushed ahead.

“Can’t tell you right now.” He said, his voice restrained.

“And I’m supposed to just listen to you?” I didn’t bother to conceal my annoyance.

“Yes.” We reached halfway up the stairs.

Why was he so bossy! Infuriating stupid man!

“Then no.” I said as I spun around to face him but very gracefully lost my balance. Reece caught me mid fall, and he caught himself just at the last moment, before his heavy body squished me to juice.

He looked at me once more, his demeanor no longer compliant.

“I asked you nicely, I’m telling you it’s for your own safety but you’re Flora, you never listen to anyone, you only do what you think is right, even if it is putting yourself in danger! And I’ve had enough of that.”

What was the matter with him? Had he lost his-

“Marbles? Yes.” Reece finished my sentence for me and I turned red.

“I didn’t know I said that out loud.” I said sheepishly.

He’d straightened us both up by this point and he stopped to give me an incredulous look, before understanding dawned on his face. However, his astonished expression lasted a second before he went back to his ranting.

“I told them to come here soon, but they’re taking a while, so how do I make sure that you don’t leave this house?” He was talking to himself by this point.

“Make sure? You can’t make me do anything!” I shouted back, but he wasn’t listening to me. I tried to go past him, back to the exit but his bulky hand cut off that way, and all I could do was glare at him in total futility.

“Reece, you can’t hold me here this is crazy! Seriously, are you insane? It’s almost like kidnapping if you do that! What is going on? You’re acting like a crazy person! What happen- aaahh!”

But my speech was cut off mid dialogue as he picked me up and threw me over his shoulder!

“Put me down! What is the matter with you?! Let! Me! Down!” I struggled against his back, I tried to pound it with my fists, I tried to kick him, but nothing worked.

What is this caveman attitude we were in the 21st century for crying out loud!

And Reece was ignoring me through and through - he was beyond reason now. We reached the bedroom door and I had managed to move a millimeter out of his grasp - maybe.

He opened it with his free hand - the asshole didn’t even need two hands to hold me - and walked in towards the bed.

“Reece! What do you think you’re doing! I said put me down goddammit!” I shouted at the top of my voice but he didn’t even bother to respond. He deposited me on the bed in a haste, but carefully nonetheless and it took me a second to gather my bearings.

I heard him open a drawer and fish out something I couldn’t see. But it sounded like metal because of the clunking noise and I looked up at him with wide eyes.

“What are you doing?!” I asked him unmoving, because what was the point really? He was hovering over my lying body and he was a thousand times stronger.

“I’m sorry about this, I really am, but it’s the only way to protect you right now.” He said, and I could see that he really meant it.

But then his hand, the one that was holding something came into view and I shrieked.

“Reece don’t you dare! Reece WHAT THE FU-”

He lifted one of my arms and handcuffed them to the bedpost! I tried to struggle against it, but it was useless. I was trapped. My eyes looked accusingly at Reece and he held a defensive position but he looked rather guilty about it.

I wasn’t scared of him, but at this moment I was very scared of what he was trying to hide from me.

“I said I’m sorry for doing this.” He placed a quick kiss on my lips - which I was completely outraged about- before he turned around and left.

Just like that. Gone.

“REECE! What the hell?!” But I was talking to the air.

You don’t kiss someone without their permission!

Who does he think he is, going around kissing me like I’m his?!

I think it was ten minutes before I gave up struggling. This was infuriating! What is going on? Bastard had even taken away my phone!

What could be so...dangerous that I couldn’t leave the house?? What if someone was hurt? I need to get out of here!

A knock on the door startled me and I screamed.

The door opened and Atticus entered, with a timid look.

“Oh my.” He said as he took in my state. Hair disheveled, one hand cuffed to the bed and the sheets rumpled.

I knew exactly what he was imagining and immediately I wanted him to know the truth.

A second person entered the room, she was well built with dark skin and brown eyes. She had an expressionless face, and reminded me of one of those bodyguards who ‘meant business’.

She didn’t comment about my state or even drop a small hint on it, just entered and stood beside the door, her hands folded in front, her back ramrod straight.

“Atticus! This isn’t what it looks like!” I began immediately, my uncuffed hand in the air, in a defensive gesture.

“I know, Ms. Lori! The Alpha told me he kept you against your own volition.” Atticus said as he immediately moved towards me.

“Yeah well this is kidnapping! Free me right now!” I shouted, even though I knew it wasn’t him I should be mad at.

He seemed hesitant, he glanced back at April who looked at him impassively.

“Atticus!” I said outrageously! He could not be planning on leaving me handcuffed to a bed!

“I’m sorry Ms. Lori! But I have strict orders from the Alph-”

“Oh alpha schmalpha! What kind of a title is that anyway?! Sounds like a pack of animals to me!”

“Ms. Lori-!” He seemed genuinely embarrassed of me by this point.

“Don’t Ms. Lori me! What is going on?” The sentence started out angry, but my voice broke at the last word - underneath all this ridicule I was frightened.

He seemed to understand my predicament, but he could offer me no answers, except empty consolation.

“Alpha Reece will be back soon. Till then we are here to protect you.” April spoke for the first time, her clear voice cutting through the dark atmosphere, and my head turned to her. She went back to her statue position.

“Protect me from whom? What is happening? And where is Reece? And Grey and Dani and Sienna?” I spoke with urgency. My wrist was a little tender from all the struggling against the cool metal but I didn’t stop.

“We are not aware of their exact locations, Ms. Lori.” Atticus answered softly.

“Is there anything you can tell me?” I addressed April directly, my tone harsh.

“I’m afraid not, ma’am.” She replied dutifully and I groaned.

“Can you at least get rid of these ridiculous handcuffs!” I made a show by dangling my handcuffed arm towards them with whatever limited movement I could.

“I’m afraid not, ma’am.” April replied in the same collected tone again, as if we were discussing a small favor instead of a potential hostage situation. This was useless, they weren’t going to step out of line to help me. Reece definitely ran a tight ship.

And so I said,” just call me Flora.” If we were going to spend time here they might as well drop that annoying habit.

I slumped back into the bed and stared up at the ceiling, willing myself to not cry.

There was no talking in the room. Atticus tried to make a small conversation but he could tell that I was not in the mood.

April hadn’t moved an inch from her position, her eyes kept wandering fervently though- to the door, the window, to me - everywhere.

And then there came one moment of silence, a moment of calm when Atticus and April stiffened, turning towards the door.

“Uncuff her.” She said and he nodded.

And then a ferocious, glass shattering, booming growl came from the hall.

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