Love Meets You part 2

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3.

* Clover *

A long time passed before a bulb switched on in the creepy room Clover occupied. Had it been hours or days? In the darkness, hungry, thirsty, sore, and absolutely miserable, she stopped trying to make sense of time. She had wet herself, wanting to weep when that shame occurred, but kept her tears at bay by getting angry instead.

Furious.

There was no chance to adjust her eyesight against the blinding light before the entrance opened and a pale and subdued Reese entered with a first aid kit clutched in her hands. The door slammed close when she shuffled over to release her at last.

Clover groaned, inspecting her arms. It wasn’t pretty. She gritted her teeth as pins and needles exploded across her skin, peering at Reese. The girls’ eyes looked dead inside as she silently waited for her to do something. She was still wearing the blue dress, only the material was wrinkled and dirty.

“Take a shower,” she ordered quietly, “I’ll bandage your wounds afterward.”

“What am I to wear?” Clover stood on shaky legs.

She didn’t answer, fiddling with the handle of the medical kit while ignoring her disoriented state. Realizing Reese would not give further instructions, she checked out the little side room. She peeled off her soiled clothes before turning on the shower, which was just a small stall with a toilet beside it. She quickly cleaned up as well as she could without soap, drinking the tepid water to quench her thirst, then startled after shutting off the spray to see Reese handing her a large fluffy white towel. Someone must have come in while she zoned out. She would have to be more alert to get out of this nightmare.

“What happened to you?” Clover asked, wringing excess drops from her hair.

Reese placed the container on the bed, pulling out ointment and gauze, “You’ll learn to obey. What happens to you — passes to us all.”

Clover inhaled, “What do you mean? Are there more women here? Do you know a way out?”

Reese held out her hand for her injured wrist, “Yes and no. There is no escape. We are better off with Sir watching over us. Are you ready to hear the rules? If you misbehave again, our punishment will last longer. It only gets worse and Sir has the patience to wait out your temper tantrums.”

Her body swayed from hunger, letting the pain keep her focused, “It’s Bentley, isn’t it?”

Reese applied a liberal dose of antibiotic cream to her flesh, reciting in a robotic tone of voice, “Rule #1, it’s Sir to you. Never address him by any other name. #2, act promptly when given orders. #3, Never say no, trust me, and always respond with, ‘Yes Sir’.”

She yanked her arm back, “That’s such bullshit!”

“Sir will break you of that potty mouth,” Reese muttered, tossing the gauze at her, “Do it yourself.”

Clover glared, wrapping her wrist as best she could, “He’s a monster. You realize he kidnapped me, right? How long has he tortured you?”

The door opened then Man-Bun Guy stepped in holding a dress identical to the one Reese wore, “Put this on,” he sounded bored, “It’s time for dinner.”

Reese stumbled back, making herself small near the open doorway. Clover clutched the towel tightly across her middle, but the man just stared at her, as if he had every right to watch her change.

“Turn around,” she snapped.

He gave her a smirk. People probably found him handsome with his tall, muscular frame and manly beard, but to her, he was a sick fuck who held women against their will, believing her purpose in life was to act like a meek idiot so he could get off from it. Although Reese neither confirmed nor denied Bentley kidnapped her, she didn’t suppose anyone would go out their way to show her kindness. She had to rein in her temper and learn the lay of the land before trying to escape.

“No. If I have to come over there, you’ll regret it.”

She swallowed hard, slipping the dress over her head. Pulling it down awkwardly, she tugged the towel out, dropping it on the cement floor. He grabbed her upper arm roughly, barking at Reese to go ahead of them. When they stepped into the hallway, she almost threw up the water sloshing in her belly. Three other women stood waiting like perfect little dolls, all wearing blue dresses. She counted six doors, realizing each door was a cell where they were being kept.

She wobbled on her feet and wanted to scream when Kyrell emerged at the end of the narrow hall. He shoved each woman forward into a dining room with only one other exit leading out from where they’d entered. Were they underground? She saw no windows, illumination shining from two intimate chandeliers above a long wooden table which accommodated ten. Each girl sat like stony-faced robots.

Kyrell didn’t acknowledge Clover as Man-bun Guy forced her into a high-back chair and zip-tied both hands to the armrest. The others seated themselves on their own. Both men retreated without a word.

Seeing Kyrell shocked the shit out of her, but should have predicted another blow. She recalled how he ran from the taco festival when Bentley showed up. Had he intended to kidnap her that day? Did Mason stop them? Her mind reeled with unanswered questions.

In the silence, she took in the strangers sitting with her. One was blonde with navy eyes and a beautiful face and body, essentially a Plastic she mused. The other two were brunette with a set of glassy hazel eyes. The other had amazing violet ones. She’d never seen purple eyes before, but they were stunning even in their despondent state.

The turning of a key disturbed the quiet when an older man wearing an apron shuffled through, pulling a trolley cart loaded with food. The smell of meat made her stomach growl loudly and the other women didn’t so much as twitch when he delivered plates topped with a small roasted chicken, a single boiled potato, and three stalks of green beans. He placed a glass of water down in front of them, but she got a bowl of soup. Soup?

The man went to the head of the table, depositing a domed plate before exiting. It was all very weird, and anxiety caused her to breathe hard. She wanted to scream and yell at them to run while the door remained open but she realized, like Reese, someone had broken their spirit. The placid expressions on their faces wigged her out. They looked gaunt and hollowed out. Nobody was home when she tried to catch their eyes. How long had Bentley tortured these women before they quit fighting? There was no way they were there by choice and she shuddered, wondering what made them so obedient.

When the chef left, the devil himself arrived, sporting a dark blue suit and a cocky smirk. Ugh, she scowled at how gorgeous and perfectly relaxed he came across. To think, she once considered his Superman jawline worth a minute of her time when all along he planned to force her into his cult. She pretended his appearance didn’t bother her, tilting her face to the side while tapping raw fingernails on the armrests.

He nodded at the men somewhere behind her before sitting down with a flourish. His inky hair shone in the light as he gave each woman a soft smile which they one by one returned. She stiffened when he finally laid those brilliant blue orbs on her. How had she once thought of Bentley as anything but a predator? He studied her, but she didn’t waver with a defiant glare right back at his smug expression.

“Welcome Clover,” his deep voice was soft, kind almost, “I see your confusion. Let me begin by saying I know you understand the rules laid out for you earlier. What Reese failed to nail home is anytime you break them, what happens to you, falls to the other beauties here.” He paused, allowing the sick information to settle into her terrified psyche. “Tonight I expect you to be a little coarse but my fondness for you will not tolerate disrespect. Am I clear?”

Her body vibrated with fear and stifled animosity. All she could do besides curse a blue streak his way was nod curtly.

“Say, yes sir.” he tutted, “Use your words, Clover.”

She sneered darkly at his patient tone, “Yes, sir.”

He frowned at her lips, “Are you giving me attitude? I should hope for Alisha’s sake you’re not.”

The violet-eyed girl jumped in her seat.

“What do you want from me?” she gritted out.

“Obedience for starters,” Bentley smiled as if she were dense, “You think I went through all this trouble to have you sitting there trying to burn me to the ground with those pretty jade eyes? Do you like potato soup? Since you haven’t eaten in several days, it’s best to start small.”

Her mind reeled, “What day is it? What did you do to Mason? You won’t get away with this!”

Bentley’s handsome face darkened as he clenched his fists on either side of his plate. “That’s one Clover. Now, are you ready to eat? I’m sure the others would while it’s hot.”

She yanked at the ties, “How the fuck can I?”

Her head bounced off of the back of the chair when Bentley backhanded her. She groaned in distress and then whimpered when Man-Bun Guy stalked around the dinner table, proceeding to slap the women’s faces.

Stop!” she shouted, “Don’t do that! I’m sorry! Leave them alone!”

The women sat perfectly still after each blow, and Clover nearly gave up her resolve not to cry. How had they come to accept the abuse? She looked at Reese, who was staring at her with something like — TOLD YOU SO, although she received punishment too. They were all crazy!

“Do you have anything else to ask?” Bentley calmly took the dome off of his food, smiling at the rare steak underneath, “Kyrell will help you.”

She almost spouted she’d rather starve, but she already was. Her stomach had never experienced acute hunger before, hence her fat ass. She swallowed and kept her mouth closed, not wanting to cause further harm. Bentley Jarvis was a sick fucker.

“Ladies, you may eat,” he decreed, then as if rehearsed, each picked up a fork and knife to cut into the chicken. “Kyrell, please assist Clover.”

The large tattooed man came to her side, and she glowered at him. Kyrell’s hazel eyes didn’t bother to look directly at her as he spooned the thin soup past her parched lips. It tasted wonderful, which pissed her off even more. The women worked their way around their plates in sync, heightening her anxiety as she watched. She wanted to spew the soup on Kyrell and Bentley but needed calories for fuel. Her abductor hummed with satisfaction, eating his bloody meat, oblivious to her riotous thoughts.

“To answer your earlier question Clover,” Bentley said, placing his knife sideways on the plate, “It’s Tuesday. By now they’ve replaced you at work with the lovely little slut Adley. Mason has moved on, playing his part perfectly. His help was invaluable procuring what I required in the city.”

Her heart stuttered at the bomb he dropped, but shook her head in denial, “No, you’re lying! Mason warned me to stay away from you!”

He sighed, waving Kyrell aside, “Maybe I am, maybe I’m not. Mason isn’t as innocent as you believe. Sometimes people spit rainbows, but if you dare to dig deep? You’ll find they’re wet shit at the bottom of your heel. Oh, I should thank you for using my online services.”

Confused by the segue switch, she growled, “What services?”

“Darling Delia,” he angled his head towards the blonde who gave him a smile that looked far too real, “Where did we meet?”

“Love Meets You, sir,” Came the sickly sweet response from the grinning woman. Clover squirmed at the lust in her eyes. Were they all brainwashed?

He turned back to her with a pleased nod. Clover wished they hadn’t bound her hands as she eyed the steak knife. She imagined stabbing them in their black hearts. Of course, she should have realized when she’d first sighted Kyrell, Love Meets You had something to do with all this.

“Fate intervened when we met in the park,” he dipped his chin sheepishly as if she would think of him anything less than a monster, “I had no idea you worked for Mason or used my apps. You captivated me. I can’t wait to learn all about you, Clover.”

She licked her lips, choosing her words carefully, “Where are we?”

He waved his hand at the men, ignoring her, “Return them to their rooms. I’ll take care of Clover.”

The women filed out behind Man-Bun Guy without protest. Subservient puppets obeying orders. She didn’t want to be alone with Bentley. The devil plotted in those sparkling blue eyes of his, terrified of what his next move would be. There was no telling when he would snap, but it wasn’t in her nature to capitulate. Fighting what he expected from her might bring a swift ending, but would go with dignity.

Bentley stood once the room cleared, pulling her chair from the table until they faced each other. Silently, he loomed over her, confronting her pissed off expressions as if she amused him. She kept quiet, deciding to listen and figure a way out of this madness.

“Are you jealous of the other ladies?” he asked after a long moment, “Don’t be. Their training is nearly complete. I’ll send them on their merry way soon.”

Jealous? That sentiment was the last thing she felt. “Okay? Where will you be sending them?”

“If I tell you, you’ll swear I’m lying. It’ll disappoint me if you crack. I like you as you are, but a little sweeter.”

Clover was getting sick of the sweet lectures. She could be nice, just not to him or anyone else in this strange place. She considered what he revealed. Those sad women joined Love Meets You and found themselves kidnapped by Bentley, who… what… trained them for submissiveness?

“You’re a sex trafficker, aren’t you?” she whispered in horror, “Please Bentley, please let me go.”

He huffed down his nose, “You know better than to use my name, Clover. Should I punish you?”

“No, NO!” she shook her head, “Sir, no, sir.”

He smirked and pulled a switchblade out of his slacks, causing her to stiffen in fear. “Good girl. I wish you no harm, but it’s entirely up to you how our future together progresses. I should warn you,” he flipped the blade open, “I will always reward your respectful behavior, but if you refuse to follow the rules or try to leave me, I have no choice but to correct your attitude.”

Leave him?

Her breathing caught as he leaned forward with the knife. His little speech had her heart trying to climb out of her chest. He was insane! Some kind of control freak with a side of sadism. He was friends with Mason. Had she missed the crazy with him as well?

Bentley cut the zip ties, then pocketed the sharp steel. He held out his hand for her to take and she did because she never intended to pass violence on the others by standing her ground. Seeing them beat because she mouthed off certainly affected her decision making. He helped her stand, leading her to the creepy cell.

“See you in the morning, Clover,” he murmured, opening the door and when she hesitated, he pushed her past the threshold, “Be good and I’ll have blueberry pancakes waiting for you.”

His odd civility made her skin crawl, acting as if he just walked her home from a dinner date, smiling at her like he promised the best damn flapjacks she ever tasted. When she said nothing he frowned, stepping so close she felt the heat of his body. She recoiled, but he took hold of her right shoulder, which was sore from being strung up, squeezing so hard she yelped.

“Gratefulness is common courtesy all over the world, Clover. When I feed you, give you clothes and treat you with consideration, it’s polite to thank the person,” She flinched under his glower, “Yes?”

“Yes, sir,” she gritted out, pain radiating down her spine. “Thank you, sir.”

He released his grip with a satisfied nod, “You’re welcome. Sweet dreams.”

After he locked her inside the dingy room, she collapsed on the floor and covered her mouth to keep from screaming. She didn’t deserve this nightmare! Who could help her? Shit, five days had passed! No wonder she became disoriented and malnourished, secured to the wall with no reprieve.

Was Brad even alive? Had Mason cared for her at all? Aurora would soon notice she was missing, knowing without a doubt her loyal friend would search for her. Would Bentley kidnap her too if they crossed paths?

She clutched her hair in misery, refusing to cry.

The light went out, and she screeched in frustration when darkness swallowed her whole.

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