Eva sits next to me, talking to me quietly, though I barely hear what she says.
“Rowaelin,” she says touching my shoulder, “You need to get dressed and eat something.”
I glare at Eva and then roll away from her. She managed to peel the wet clothes from my skin, but then I didn’t want her touching me, so I shut down and now lay on my bed, wrapped in a towel and nothing else.
There is a knock on the door and Eva opens it.
“Is she ok?” Adrian asks, speaking softly as he steps into the room. Max follows in after him and trots over to me, he jumps up onto the bed and puts his nose in my face, I run a hand over his fur and he lays down next to me, allowing me to pull him close.
“She is not,” Eva says walking back over to me, “I am taking her back to my farm.”
“That is not your choice to make,” Adrian says, though it comes out as sort of a growl.
“No, it’s not,” she says, her voice becoming mad and thick with her Scottish accent, “It is up tae ‘er tae say, but she is no’ sayin’ anything reit noo is she?! Coz ’at damn priest hurt ‘er, she is no’ safe here!”
Adrian spits back something in a foreign language and I am too tired to try to understand what he is saying, but Eva speaks back in the same language and an argument ensues.
Max lifts his head and then nudges me with his nose, I silently slide off the bed and walk into the bathroom, I get dressed in the clothes that Adrian gave me, the shirt is too big and the shorts hang off my waist.
Max walks into the room and looks up at me with his big brown eyes. I hold out my hand and the dog rubs his head against it. I rub his ear and he smiles at me. Outside I can hear the arguing continuing.
I take a deep breath and lean against the bathroom wall before sliding down to the floor. I rap my knuckles softly against the floor and try to calm my racing heart. The pain still dully echoes through my head.
“Rowy?” a soft voice says, I look up to Adrian as he walks into the bathroom, he kneels down in front of me and stares at me with his wide brown eyes. I bite my lip as Eva steps behind him.
“Rowaelin, do you want to come back to the farm with me?” Eva asks, I look to Adrian and he keeps his eyes on me, “You will be safe there, with others like yourself.”
I look at Adrian and my hands start to shake.
“Will… you come too?” I ask, barely able to form the words.
“If it is what you want,” Adrian smiles, my heart races as he holds his hand out for me. I take his hand and he stands and pulls me up with him, “I promise, I will keep you safe.”
“I… I don’t want to be here,” I say, almost choking out my words as my body shakes.
“Hey,” he says, wiping a tear from my cheek, “It’s going to be alright.”
Adrian pulls me to his chest and he wraps his arms around me. I hold onto him and shiver at his touch. It feels good to be touched by him, to be touched and know that it is for nothing but comfort.
To have her arms around me, it makes me feel something, it makes me feel like no matter what, I have to protect her.
She steps back and I let her go, her eyes are red and her face streamed with tears, she has mastered the art of crying silently.
“We will leave as soon as we can,” I promise her, she nods her head as she wipes her eyes, then I take her into her room and sit her down on her bed.
“You should sleep,” I say to her, “I will be back in a while.”
Rowaelin’s eyes widen and she shakes her head as she holds on tightly onto my shirt.
“Don’t worry,” I say, looking to Max, “He will watch you.”
Max wags his tail and leaps up onto the bed next to Rowaelin, he licks her cheek but her eyes remain wide.
“I will stay also,” Eva says, sitting in a chair next to the bed.
I nod my head and then leave the room, seeking out Cedric, I find him in the office, looking at some files. I knock on his door and his head snaps up and he looks at me.
“Adrian,” he breathes, “How can I help you?”
“Eva is taking Rowaelin back to her farm,” I report, “I will be going with them.”
“It seems reasonable,” Cedric says, leaning his elbows on his desk and resting his chin on top his fists, “I’ll make sure to contact you regularly regarding Thana. As of yet, it seems she has vanished.”
“She won’t be far,” I muse, sitting across from him, “The head society has her face on red alert, if she appears anywhere on camera, they will be notified.”
“One other thing,” he smiles, pulling an envelope out from his desk drawer, “A lawyer found out that we have Rowaelin here, he dropped this off today; it’s Rowaelin’s mother’s will. Everything goes to Rowaelin. She has a home in Kansas, a bank account and several other things locked in a storage compartment. This is only a copy, the real one has to be handed directly to Rowaelin. He will be here this afternoon.”
I take the envelope and read through the will.
“How is this possible?” I question, looking at the amount of money in Rowaelin’s bank.
“Her mother must have put money aside for her ever since Rowaelin was born.” Cedric shrugs, “But I worked into the bank account to access the statements, and it seems that, along with all of her mother’s money, there is still a steady flow of money going into the account, from another account.”
“What account?” I ask, looking to the bank statements.
“A big one,” Cedric says, “Offshore, from multiple accounts that I cannot trace. But Adrian, whoever is sending money to Rowaelin, is very wealthy, he or she has been putting two thousand dollars, every month, into the account ever since Rowaelin’s third birthday.”
“The father?” I question and Cedric shrugs his shoulders.
“Could be,” he says, leaning back in his chair, “I am assuming that Rowaelin is rooted into something deep. The money is all legit, I think we need to track down her father. The only time I’ve seen this steady of income, is in drug cartels… or vampire operations.”
“You think her father could be tangled with the fangs?” I ask, it isn’t uncommon, sometimes humans work alongside vampires as willing feeders, and they do the day time tasks that vampires cannot fulfil.
“It is possible,” Cedric muses, “Which means that he could lead us to another nest. I’ve been trying to work out who her father could be, but with no name on the birth certificate, and no other living relatives, it’s going to be hard. I am trying to reach out my sources, see if her mother had any friends that might know.”
“It is a start,” I shrug, “I will help as best as I can, I’ll see if I can hack into cameras at the hospital, just because he isn’t named, doesn’t mean he wasn’t there.”
“It will be greatly appreciated,” he smiles, handing me the copy of the will, “There are also other copies of documents in there. Anything else that you need?”
“This should do just fine,” I smile, I sit back in my chair and talk with Cedric about the case and any others that are circulating.
I stay in his office for an hour before I hear a scream followed by a bark.
“What the hell is that?” Cedric asks as he and I stand to our feet and leave the office, and then I recognise the bark, it’s Max. I take off running.
I was awoken from my sleep when hands grip my arms, my eyes widen when I see two hunters holding me down I begin to panic.
“Don’t make a fucking sound,” one of them spits, wrapping his hand around my throat.
“Hold her still,” another one says, I hear the sound of a zipper opening and my heart begins to pound in my chest.
Not again, not again.
The second man, who I cannot see, pulls the shorts off my hips, I scream out in fear and the first man tightens his grip on my throat.
“Shut up, whore,” the man says, as I feel my underwear pulled aside.
My vision blurs as I feel the man’s other hand begin to grope my breast. He pushes down hard and squeezes me as the other man kneels in between my legs.
I am paralysed in fear as he shoves his member into me as the other man releases his grip on my neck slightly and I grip the sheets tightly.
Where is Max? Where is Eva? Where is Adrian?
“She’s tight,” the man between my legs grunts, “odd for a whore.”
The men laugh, the sound makes me sick to my stomach.
I shouldn’t make a sound, I should just lie still until the men are finished like I used to, but I’m not there anymore, I don’t have to be silent.
I scream out in defiance and I hear a bark in return, the man who palms at my breasts grips onto my throat tighter.
“I said shut up,” he growls, I whimper as he smiles as his partner quickens his pace.
“ROWAELIN!” Adrian calls from the other side of the door.
I look to the door and see it braced by a chair. I whimper and my attention is drawn back to the man between my legs as I feel him finish inside of me.
He thrusts himself inside of me three more times before pulling all the way out and pulling his pants back up.
“I wanted a turn,” the man whose hand is wrapped around my throat says, pouting as he lowers his face towards mine, “I bet you’d like me better.”
“No time,” the other man says as I hear Adrian slam himself against the door, “Kill her now.”
I whimper as the other man pulls out a flick knife.
“One thing first,” he says, cutting my shirt open. He paws at my exposed chest before bringing his lips down onto my nipple.
The door explodes open and Adrian charges through, the man at my breast pulls back and lets me go. Max leaps up onto the bed and then jumps over me to tackle the man who held my throat.
I cough and roll onto my side, I watch as Adrian punches the man that was between my legs.
“You can’t change what I did,” the man laughs, putting his fists up, “Come on, so only you get to play with the goods?”
Adrian snarls as he punches the man again, this time biting out a curse in Romanian. I cover my ears as the other man screams, Max is latched onto his arm and is shaking his head violently.
“Stop this!” Cedric says, coming into the room, “What is going on here?”
Adrian doesn’t stop, he keeps hitting and hitting the man, and Max remains attached to the other man’s arm.
Adrian beats the man to the ground, by the time Adrian backs off the man’s face is broken and bleeding. Adrian calls Max off and the dog drops the man’s arm and goes to Adrian’s side.
“These two… raped her,” Adrian spits, looking down to the men before him.
Cedric is speechless, he looks to the men and then to Adrian and then, briefly, to me.
I curl up on myself as he begins to speak to Adrian. I keep my hands around my ears and feel tears leak from my eyes.
Adrian and Cedric drag the men out of the room as Eva steps into the room and kneels next to me. I move away from her and whimper as she tries to touch me, Max turns and looks to me, his muzzle is drenched in blood, he walks over to me and I reach for him, but Eva pulls him back.
“Rowaelin?” she asks, gently as she reaches for me again, again I move back away from her, not wanting to be touched, “Honey, did he… inside of you?”
I nod my head once and she curses under her breath.
“I’ll get you a pill,” she says, standing.
I look to Max as Eva leaves the room, I stand up and carefully walk to the bathroom, I can feel the wetness between my legs, and it makes me feel sick.
I turn on the shower and then stand in front of the mirror. My neck is already starting to bruise, I cover my mouth with my hand and look away from my reflection. I step into the shower and let the scalding water run down my back, turning my skin red. I scrub my skin roughly with soap and try to keep myself together.
“Rowy?” Adrian says, knocking on the bathroom door, “Can I come in?”
I suck in a deep breath and kneel down in the shower, I sit against the wall and gently knock my knuckle against it.
‘How is this better than the vampires?’ I think to myself as I listen to the sound my knuckles make on the tiles.
I sit under the water and scrub the inside of my thighs, my tears fall down my cheek as I close my eyes. The look in the men’s faces, they hated me. They despised me, I could see the way they looked at me, and they thought I was nothing but a whore.
I cover my mouth as I choke out a sob and in a heartbeat, Adrian opens the door and rushes in.
When I heard Max bark I charged to the room, when I found him locked outside with Eva I began to panic, fear spread through me when I found the door locked and barred.
Apparently the two men lured Eva and Max outside and then slipped inside.
When I saw Rowaelin I could assume what they had done to her, and it made me so angry, it made me want to kill them, if I had Screamer I would have.
Now standing outside of the bathroom, my heart is still yet to return to normal speed. Max lays at my feet and presses his nose against the bottom of the door.
“Rowaelin?” I ask, knocking on the door, “Can I come in?”
I feel sick at the thought of what those men did to her, I hear a soft sound from the other side of the door, the sound of Rowaelin knocking her knuckles against the tiles. And then I hear a soft choking sound.
I immediately walk in, needing to be near her. To help her.
“I’m sorry,” I apologise, kneeling down near the shower screen, “To barge in like this. I’m sorry.”
She looks at me, her eyes wide with fear and her skin burning red.
“You’re going to burn,” I say, slowly standing and opening the shower screen. I turn the water off and she looks up to me. I grab a towel and help her to her feet, I wrap her up and hold her close.
“I’m sorry,” I mumble as she goes stiff against me, “I’m sorry I left.”
Rowaelin steps back and I let her go, she drops her towel and I keep my eyes on hers, she stares at me in confusion.
I take in her face, her eyes are red and hard with anger and fear. Her neck is shaded purple with the outline of a hand bruised into her skin, I can also see the scars on her neck under the bruising.
Rowaelin sucks in a deep breath and then covers her breasts, she picks her towel up and then wraps it around herself.
“Is there anything I can do?” I ask her, she looks at me and frowns, I can feel the anger seething inside of her, the anger that she has never been able to let go of.
I hear Eva walk back into the bedroom, calling for Rowaelin.
Rowaelin grinds her teeth and then walks out of the bathroom.
“I found a huntress who was willing to give you some clothes,” I hear Eva explain, I walk into the bedroom and Eva glares at me before turning back to Rowaelin, “Here.” She hands Rowaelin a pill.
“What is that?” I question as Rowaelin puts the pill in her mouth and swallows it without question.
“To make sure that she doesn’t get pregnant,” Eva says, not looking at me as she hands Rowaelin her clothes, my anger spikes.
“Take her to my room,” I say to Eva, “Lock the door and don’t open it for anyone but me, understand?”
“Careful, boy,” Eva warns, “You do not scare me, do not assume that you can boss me around. I know what she has been through, I will be taking her with me now.”
“You can’t,” I growl, “There are lawyers coming soon, they need to speak with Rowaelin.”
Eva glares at me and begins to argue with me.