Chapter 8: Studium
The bed is comfortable.
It’s been so long since I’d slept on a brand new bed that isn’t covered in stains and ripped around the edges. The small salary I got went right back into my basic needs, there was no extra money for a new bed, no matter how much I thought I needed one.
I sigh, gripping the duvet tightly and wiggling my toes under the folded blankets sitting at the bottom of the bed. Deep down, I know it’s wrong to enjoy this wonderful bed when John is downstairs in solitary confinement, scratching at the wall and begging to be fed his daily meal.
My heart clenches in guilt.
Just because my situation has improved overnight doesn’t mean that anyone else in the dungeon had been set free as well. I didn’t see Alpha Kaine leading any other girls out of their cells into beautifully decorated rooms as if they were his respected guests. It was just me.
Something was different about him.
The hard exterior I had seen on the television all those times and in the interrogation room had crumbled the moment I demanded he treat me with the same violence that he treated John to. In that moment he had seemed vulnerable, like he was sorry for what he had done to all of us. I don’t know what he say that made him feel powerless.
Three sharp knocks sound from the other side of the door and I jump from my position. I wasn’t supposed to answer the door to anyone except Alpha Kaine. They were the only orders I had been given before he let me in here and I was not about to disobey the and loose the one bed I had been given the whole time I had been in Sector 1.
I pull my legs to my chest and rest my chin in my knees, watching the door with a racing heart. The knocking stops after the three pats ring through the room. The sound kills the silence in the room and echoes off the walls, ringing in my ears long after it stopped.
I don’t answer and the person doesn’t try to knock again, simply sliding a note under the door and retreating as quickly as they had come. It wouldn’t have been the Alpha or he would have just come right in without a care in the world for my privacy.
Slowly, I let my body relax as I slide off the side of the bed, pushing off the side of the mattress to pull myself into a sitting position before letting my feet drop to the cool tile. I try not to make noise as I walk over to the small note, poking it first with my toe to pull it closer to me before I actually bend over to pick it up.
My name is written in beautiful calligraphy on the front. I wonder how he knew it. I’d never told him and I didn’t have any criminal record on file that I knew of saying who I was. At least, not that I knew of.
Two doors down to your right.
Don’t let anyone see you.
It would be typical of him to leave a note that was short and to the point with no sender information on it. But if there was no sender information did that mean that the big bad Alpha Kaine had drawn my name so beautifully on the front all by himself? Surely he hadn’t but that didn’t stop the small laugh from rumbling out of me as I imagined him with his tongue poking out from between his lips as he worked on curling the line through the “A” just right.
I slowly crumble to my knees, letting my cheek press against the tile. I shiver at the contact the chill brings down my barely clothed body. The clothes I had been wearing earlier had been torn to shreds by the townspeople who pulled at the already form fitting fabric as I was paraded through town in preparation for my death.
The hallway is empty, save for two pairs of booted feet at the end of the hall that remain stoically still beside each other, their toes facing forward and long staffs held carefully by their sides. Alpha Kaine’s guards are probably stationed at the end of the hall of the floor he’s on at all times.
Equal rights my fucking ass.
A door opens down the hall and I find myself darting back to the bed, abandoning the note on the floor in my hurry. I don’t turn out the light or bother to make it look as if someone wasn’t in the room. But the looming shadow of my body hunched in front of the crack beneath the floor would look more suspicious than a small light below it.
The figure stops in front of my door, two feet cast a shadow on my room. I’m not scared this time, even as the handle turns slowly under the force of their grip I don’t feel worried, even though I should be.
Alpha Kaine storms into the room, closing the door behind him softly and looking at me expectantly. I drop the covers that I had pulled up to my chin and shrug at him.
He bends down and sweeps up the small note fromm before and waves it around wildly. “Were you planning on coming or were you just going to wait until I came to fetch you like the dog you are?” I raise an eyebrow at him but say nothing. I was fairly confident that I got under his skin pretty well but I couldn’t care less about what he was going to do about it. After his display downstairs I seriously doubted that he was actually going to do more than dish out empty threats to me.
"Well?" he says. “Do you have anything to say? You’ve clearly read my note,” he says with a huff before crossing his arms like a child.
“I was waiting for the hallway to empty like you had written. I don’t think you want anyone to see me walking around to see you early in the morning. They would talk. I’m assuming that was your reasoning as well for including it in your note?” he nods, running a hand through his hair.
He looked different now than he had when we were downstairs in the dungeon. His hair was combed and slicked back with gel. He donned a nice suit and dress shoes. In the dungeon he had worn his hair freely and his clothes were older and more casual. These were the two sides of Alpha Kaine, the uncontrolled man who acts on impulse with no compassion for anyone other than himself, and the politician putting on a show for his people.
“They would talk,” he agrees. “The hall was empty, so why didn’t you come?” I look at him for a moment, checking his features for any signs that he was joking or trying to trick me. Nothing stood out.
“There were at least two guards on both ends of the hallway. They would have all seen me. I don’t think even your guards are immune to gossip, Alpha. I was not trying to be difficult. Your instructions were just bullet points and a bit unclear.” He cracks the door, holding his finger out to me, as if telling me I needed to hang on for just a second.
I watch his neck bend as he looks down both ends of the hallway before nodding to me. It was if he forgot that he had people watching his every move to make sure he was safe. I wouldn’t be surprised even if he did. Alpha Kaine always seemed so self absorbed to me, even when I didn’t actually know him from anything other than being the star of frequent news broadcasts across the District.
“Right,” he tells me. He doesn’t bother addressing my directly. He acknowledged and accepted my information and reasoning. He didn’t accept me as the person who gave it. His pride would not allow him to stoop so low so to allow a human to be right.
“You’re here now so can’t you just tell me whatever you needed to say before?” he nods slowly. I internally smirk at the idea that I and I alone am directing the Alpha when he’s worked so hard on trying to put me in my place.
He’s distracted today, that much I can tell. He’s trying to process everything all at once and it’s making him overthink even the simplest of things.
“Tell me about who you’re working for,” he says without a second thought. I wait for him to elaborate but he simply stares at me with an expectant look. It would make sense that Alpha Kaine would want to know all about the man who is recruiting criminals.
“I don’t know much about him,” I say honestly, coupling my statement with a small jut of my shoulders. “I am just given my next assignment, my partner, and the deadline. It is my job to meet with them and organize everything from there.” He pulls a notepad from his back pocket and begins furiously scribbling down my answers without looking at me.
He nods as he writes, mumbling to himself before turning to another page, crossing out two names off the list. I want to ask him what he’s doing but something stops me. I don’t want to give him any leads on my mysterious boss, it would put innocent people at risk, people like me who just needed the income in a District that would not provide it to us themselves.
“Do you have anything to help us track down this man?” he asks without looking up, his pen poised over the lined paper he had begun to list my details on. I cross my arms over my chest and give him a pointed glare.
“Why would I help you?” I ask. “You’ve captured me and my partner. Your pathetic guards are probably torturing him right now. I myself will probably never see the light of day. Shouldn’t you be giving me an incentive for helping you? Freedom, perhaps?” I try to reason with him.
Alpha Kaine sighs heavily, closing his notebook and standing without another moment. “If that is all I will get out of you then it seems I will have to consult your partner for other information I will need to track down the self proclaimed Prince.” I don’t know what to say to that. John didn’t have any more information than I did. If anything, he had less. John had not been employed as long as I have. There would be no reason for him to be trustworthy enough to know anything of value. The only thing I really had on the guy was a possible location I wasn’t going to give up.
If Alpha Kaine thought I had anything else I was withholding he would hear out my demands and maybe follow through on them. I knew John would snap like a twig under pressure, I was certain of it. But some part of me still had hope that he would stay silent, even through the pain, so I could hold this over Alpha Kaine’s head
“Prince?” I ask the Alpha with a grimace. I never knew our boss went around referring to himself as a Prince. How pathetic.
Alpha Kaine nods. “Yes. The Prince of The Rogues. I can only assume that’s who you work for. I have consulted with my brothers. Their Districts have never known an Anita Goldstein of human decent. I can only assume that you are on of them and the boss you work for is their leader. You’ve been sent here to discover all of our secrets to bring back to your leader so he can plan an attack on the Kingdom of Slethia.”
My mouth goes dry and my lips part. I was not a part of any secret organization. Not even close. Somehow I knew Alpha Kaine would not budge on this matter and I would forever be labelled a Rogue.
“I am not a Rogue.” I call to him as he stands, placing his hand on the doorknob. He doesn’t turn back as he laughs and pushes the wood door open but he spins around to give me one last look before shutting me in my room.
"Right,” he says, winking as he closes the door softly behind him.
I’m so fucked.