Painted Scars (The Millennium Wolves 03)

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Chapter 20

Once Kalypso teleported us to what looked to be a beach, she told us a hasty goodbye, gave Shade a meaningful look, and teleported away.

I let go of Shade and looked around me, trying to discern where we were. The sky were a hypnotizing purple, indicating it was either sunset or sunrise here. The sea was was pure and calm, unlike the seas I’d seen in the West Coast Pack territory, and the sand was gold and seemingly healthy. When I turned around, I saw a house standing mere few meters from the sea. Calling it a house, however, was an understatement; it was big and airy, the walls made of glass and transparent, with a terrace at the front that made it all seem welcoming. Behind the house there was some fields that led far away into what I could now see was an island. We were on an island.

“We’re at Freedom Island,” Shade said from next to me, making me look at him. His eyes searched my face for something, and something in him seemed to relax slightly, as though he found it. “It’s an unmapped place at northern part of the Thousand Islands.”

A faint memory told me this place shouldn’t have been exactly his first choice, and I found myself saying, “Isn’t this place hold unpleasant memories for you?”

Shade sighed and put his hand on the low of my back. “Not here specifically. But that’s for later,” he started walking toward the house and with his hand on my back, I had no choice but to follow. “We have a lot to do first.”

We entered the house and inside was the most open space indoors I’d ever seen; the ceiling was tall, parts of the glass walls were open, letting the breeze in, and everything was white, giving the illusion of calmness. But I found that I didn’t mind the meditative place. In truth, it was better than if it was all wooden like that damned cabin.

Shade let go of my back. “First, we need to get you showered and dressed in new clothes.”

I shrugged.

Grabbing my wrist, Shade dragged me to the second floor through a spiral staircase that also seemed cloudy, as though were stepping up into thin air. Then, at the second floor, he took me to the bathroom, which wasn’t a normal bathroom; it was like a huge wall only meant for bathing. Next to the glass window was a grandiose circular tub, the water sending off steam from how freshly hot they were. Suddenly my body shook. It looked so inviting that my body, for the first time in what felt like forever, felt like demanding to be put inside that warmth.

But I was frozen. I couldn’t move as I stared at the alluring bathtub. It was like something in me didn’t quite believe I was here, in this allegedly majestic, airy place. It felt like a trap.

When he saw I remained immobile, Shade came to stand right before me. “Daisy,” he said, voice quiet, “you need to shower.”

I looked up at him. Trying not to sweat, I asked, “Are you going to be joining me?” Not because I wanted him to; because I needed to know. Damon had joined my showers, after all. But I knew that whenever he joined, it wouldn’t end well. Now I didn’t know what to wait for; Shade was like a stranger to me. I certainly didn’t remember him like that. Maybe it was my memory playing tricks on me; maybe he’d always been so unbearably kind and I just wasn’t able to see it. Or maybe I was starting to get delusional and confused for no reason.

“I am,” Shade said, “for medical reasons. I need to see that your body is okay.”

Fair enough, I guess, even though it was quite out of character for him to care so much about me. Besides, while the old me would’ve been delighted at the change, the me now preferred the old, distant Shade. It would’ve been easier this way, for both of us.

Since my body was still stuck in place, Shade seemed to sense what the problem was and began stripping me. There was nothing erotic about it; it was as though he was stripping a doll. Once I was naked, he scooped me gently into his arms and then put me slowly inside the tub. Warm water covered me then, and my body shivered in sheer relief. I closed my eyes and let myself sink deeper into the warmth of the tub.

A few moments later there was a small splash and I knew Shade was inside with me. I opened my eyes and saw him coming over to where I was sitting at. He wasn’t completely naked; he had on black boxer shorts. As the stars blinked in the sky outside and the moon rose, I looked at his naked chest and tried to fathom any kind of reaction. Any kind of lust. Any kind of anything.

But nothing came. His chest was chiseled, like a Greek god’s statue, but as detached as one. Then there were the scars marring his skin even from the front and, I knew, on his back. It was a... beautiful sight I guess. If I still believed in beautiful. Other than that, it was like seeing a cool art piece; easy on the eye, yet devoid of emotions.

He crouched before me in the water. Then, his eyes were on my body. “I need to check for injuries,” he said, voice lower than before, “I have one of the local healers in stand by in case you need true medical attention.”

He was asking for permission to observe and touch. That was nice of him. It wasn’t like I had anything to hide anyway. “Go ahead,” I said flatly. What was another pair of arms touching me? I’d already been through the worst that could come of what should’ve been a simple touch.

My body tensed on its own accord as Shade’s hand came near my shoulders. Then, when his callused palms touched my skin, I found myself letting out a soft sigh. His hands were warm and gentle. Brass, sure, but it felt... slightly more than nice.

He was close, his breaths on mine. His eyes searched my collarbone, then his hands picked me up a little from my waist so he could see that my entire front body was alright. Then he had me turning my back to him as he searched my back and behind. When he saw that, on the surface, I was okay, he turned me back to face him.

When I let myself look up into his eyes, I found they were brimming almost completely silver. I’d never seen his wolf as apparent in his eyes as I did now. What brought it out, I didn’t want to know. “I need to check your... sex now,” he said, and seemed to wince. “I need to make sure you’re truly okay.”

Some old spark flared faintly inside the hollowness. “I had no idea you’re a gynecologist,” I said, but my words came bit out, harsh, sarcastic.

His eyes gleamed with even more silver. “Let me see with my own eyes that you’re unharmed, at least physically. Please,” the last word came gritted out.

That spark died out. “Sure,” I said, and when his hands were on my knees, I let them open wide. My lower body was still in the water, so Shade nudged me up so I was sitting at the edge of the tub, my body dripping pools onto the marble floor. Then, with legs spread, Shade’s eyes bore into my sex.

The moments seemed to drag until her raised his eyes, his gaze no longer abnormally silver, and said, “It seems okay, but I need to know if... you feel any pain.”

That was almost funny. Almost. “I don’t feel any pain,” I told him, closing my legs and letting myself into the warm water again. “He didn’t hurt me physically.”

Shade said nothing to that. Instead he nodded, and got out of the tub. “I’ll be just outside the room if you need me,” he said, voice still low, “when you finish, you have a towel and spare clothes here on the stand.”

With these words, he left, closing the door behind him.

Letting myself truly relax, now that he wasn’t here, I let myself sink deeper into the water until it engulfed me and I couldn’t breathe. Then I let myself float in the warmth, let my face touch the surface and rise back. Let myself breathe as I let my muscles all to be completely free.

I didn’t know how long it was before I felt like soaping myself. But then I was soaping away, shampooing my newly short hair, and feeling cleaner than I’d felt in a long time. Once I was out of the tub, I toweled myself and combed my hair with a comb brush I found next to the sink. Then I put on the spare clothes, which appeared to be blue yoga pants, a matching tank top, and a pair of flip flops.

Dressed and clean, I went out of the room and saw that Shade was indeed waiting for me. When he saw me, his shoulders seemed less taut. “Dinner is served,” he said, and, this time without touching me, he began walking toward the first floor. I followed him silently.

We were back at the airy space of the first floor, and we sat a small square of a dinning table just out of the kitchen. On the table were few dishes, like rice with curry and chicken, tomato soup, bacon pasta, and mashed potatoes with cream and cheddar.

Basically, all the dishes were specifically made for me, because they were my favorite. Something inside me, something that I hadn’t felt in a long time,vibrated against me, warming a part of me. As I sat next to the table, Shade next to me, I looked up and said with the most sincerity I managed to grab, “Thank you.”

Shade nodded, accepting my gratitude.

Then we were eating in complete silence, only broken by the waves outside, and I relaxed even farther. It was hard, trying to keep on guard, in a place that was obviously meant to give you a peace of mind.

After I stuffed myself with the amazing food, Shade said, “Let’s go to the balcony and talk there. I can make us some coffee.”

“Not coffee,” I said immediately, and when Shade sent me a look, I averted my gaze. “I’d rather have hot cocoa.”

“As you wish,” he said, and after he had the drinks made, he brought them over and we walked to the balcony at the top floor. It had a beautiful view from it; part at the sea, part at the fields.

We sat there on a sofa, him holding coffee and me holding the hot cocoa. I found myself asking then, “Is it your place?”

Shade’s eyes were on the view and he sipped his own coffee before answering, “Yes.”

I figured it must’ve been, even though anyone who’d met him wouldn’t have pegged him for the glass-walled, white-furniture, therapeutic house type of guy. But in a strange way it fit him.

Returning my eyes to the view, I said, “You didn’t cook the food, did you?”

“No,” he responded softly, “I had the staff doing that. They also made sure the tub would be ready for you, hot and steamy.”

“I haven’t seen a single maid here,” I told him, trying to process that he actually had a staff.

“Because I asked them to give you space,” he said.

I glanced at him. “I didn’t know you were that rich.”

He glanced back at me. “I had a good inheritance.”

Deciding not to think about the implication of what he said, I took a sip from my hot cocoa. Then, as I was beginning to relax again, he said quietly, “I have a few guesses as to what happened to you in these three months, but I need you to spell it out to me. I need you to tell me how bad it was. I need to know what we have to deal with.”

I overlooked the we comment. Instead, I turned to look fully at him. “I’ve been raped, over and over again. At least for the first month.” I said emotionlessly. “The second month, I just lay there as he did what he did. I don’t know if it counts as rape anymore, but I’m going with a yes. So that’s what happened.”

The shattering sound made me wince and tense. Then I looked down and saw that the cup of coffee in Shade’s hands was no more; instead it was in pieces on the floor, dripped with blood from his cut palms. What coffee that remained in the cup was no covering his hands, mixing with the crimson liquid.

Slowly, I looked up to see his face, and his eyes weren’t just silver now; they were an ominous, illuminated silver, like the moon above us, only unlike the moon, they weren’t calm; no, his eyes meant he was feeling anything but calm.

He looked ready to murder.

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