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36. The Kiss

More days passed and nothing changed. Every other night, she was brought down to play her hideous part in this farce. Sometimes she was lucky enough to get away with a few slaps. Other times things were worse.

It all depended on the pet’s mood and Emilia was almost grateful when it happened for it not to be that foul. She even thought she saw some shred of sympathy in Kendra’s eyes once or twice and it was at those nights that she would get beaten less. However, she couldn’t help but think; if that woman was truly merciful, she would try not to stir trouble for her.

Some days Emilia cried. Some others she would try to find a way to escape from the sealed window. She was not allowed to walk free around the house anymore and this was the only thing she could count on if she wanted out and she did. She knew that the Man had opened it the day she had embarrassed herself, to let the air in the room be cleaned by the stench of piss, so she thought that if she was persistent enough, she could manage to open it as well.. So far, she had been unsuccessful.

Yet, most of the time, when the man knocked on her door in warning, letting her know that she had fifteen minutes to get ready, she would drag her feet to her bathroom – avoiding at all costs to peer in the mirrors – to take an ice cold shower. Then she would wear one of her new slutty dresses and she would meekly follow the Man downstairs. She didn’t even bother with pulling the flimsy garment down anymore but heels were still bothersome.

If she lost her balance, the Man was there to catch her but that this wasn’t a pleasant option.

One evening when she had followed the usual pattern, there was an unexpected change. The Man was leading the way and she was coming behind him as always. As they passed by the entrance, though, she saw that the front door was slightly ajar. At first, she thought it was an illusion from dreaming so much of a way out but soon realized it was not a trick of her mind. It was like that indeed.

Heart beating fast and thanking her luck that she wasn’t very badly beaten the last two times, she raced to the door and slipped carefully outside, only to find herself face to face with Theodore.

“Where do you think you are going, little rabbit?” he asked with a smirk.

There was no humor in his expression, however. His green eyes were cold as they gazed in hers, giving her that all familiar chill down her spine.

Instantly and without being able to utter a word, she took a step back and then another until she was back in the house and even then, she didn’t stop retreating, which caused her to bump on the Man. Since Theo also stepped in, she felt like she was trapped between the two men.

The latter came close to her and the second was blocking her from fleeing. When she bowed her head to avoid his deadly stare, he lifted up her chin softly and forced her to look in his eyes.

“You owe me an answer” he said calmly.

“I…” she stammered and hated herself for not to being able to form proper sentences.

“You” he mimicked her stammering mockingly. “You wanted to leave, didn’t you?”

His expression would seem gentle and understanding to one who didn’t know any better. Emilia, though, couldn’t be fooled any more than she had already been fooled. It was all a façade. Still, she nodded.

“But you wanted to come here” he pouted. “You wanted to see my own better version of Manderley. Remember how happy you were when you saw it? Before Gage scared you that is”

“I am not happy anymore” she whispered.

“I see” he said thoughtfully. “Why?”

“I came here because I thought you liked me” she mumbled under her breath.

“What was that little rabbit?” he asked tauntingly.

She was sure he had heard her and the snort from the Man behind her when she had spoken the words only confirmed it.

“I came here because I thought you liked me” she spoked louder, lifting her chin out of his reach and acting braver than she felt. “You clearly don’t, so I would like to go back home”

“A please at the end of the sentence would be more appropriate” he observed. “Although, it wouldn’t really change things for you. You aren’t going anywhere”

“You love her. Not me” she tried again. “Let me go, please”

“You didn’t understand a thing from the story I told you, did you?” he asked disapprovingly. “It is because I love her that you have to stay, little rabbit. She means the world and you are dispensable. No different than the other women”

The tiny part of her heart that still harbored warm feelings for him was shattered to pieces.

“I was really in love with you” she said with a broken voice, as tears filled her eyes.

“Enough to be loyal to me for a lifetime? Enough to keep you from betraying me?”

“Yes” she replied without hesitation.

“Funny little thing that you are” he scoffed.

That night instead of a punishment for her pathetic attempt to escape, she was sent back to her room and the Man brought her, her first decent meal in days. She barely ate two bites before she pushed the plate away.

For the next two nights she wasn’t brought down. This only increased her fear. Especially when she started receiving more regular meals, delivered by the Man. She was too suspicious to eat of course. She didn’t trust this sudden change of treatment. She was sure something wicked would follow. When the warm water was activated in her bathroom again, she started getting more scared.

It was another game. To let her think that things were going better before they got worse. She felt uneasy. Antsy.

The third night, the Man came in her room and threw a dress on her bed. It was off white and long and elegant. It was not revealing like the others that filled her closet. In fact, it was something she would gladly choose to wear.

“No shoes. Fifteen minutes” he ordered before he turned on his heel and left.

That puzzled her. Why was she was told to be barefoot? Dread gripped her heart but she tried to dismiss it. Whatever Theo had planned for her, he’d better kill her this time because she knew she wouldn’t be able to last for much longer.

This time it was much easier to descend the stairs and she felt happy that she wouldn’t have to lean on the man for support.

When they reached the dining room, she let out a gasp. From the door to the table there was a flower petal path, calling her to follow it. At the end of the path, Theo was waiting for her smiling dashingly. She blinked a few times to make sure she wasn’t dreaming and heard the man scoff from beside her.

Kendra was nowhere to be found.

Despite her instant joy, she walked towards Theo cautiously. Who was to tell if there weren’t shards of glass among the petals that would pierce her feet? Thankfully, there weren’t and gradually she quickened her step. When she was close enough, he extended his arm and she put her hand in his reluctantly. After leaving a feather like kiss on it, Theo dropped it and pulled a chair for her to sit.

“What is going on?” she asked.

“We are having dinner” he replied still smiling.

“Alone?”

“Almost. Gage is here too” he pointed at the man who was standing by the door.

“Why?”

“Why what?”

“Why are you suddenly kind to me?”

“Curious, aren’t you?” he chuckled. “Let’s talk about it after we eat”

While Theo ate with an appetite, Emilia could barely down a mouthful of food. He noticed and urged her to eat more than once, but it was impossible. She was on edge. This was too good to be true but she couldn’t imagine what would happen next.

As Theo finished with his dinner he stood up, taking Emilia’s hand again and leading her in the middle of the flowery path.

He cupped her cheeks and stroke them slowly with his thumbs.

“You are a lovely girl” he praised.

“Thank you” she felt her cheeks blushing.

“And you love me, don’t you?”

She nodded even though she wasn’t sure anymore if there were enough positive feelings in her heart about him.

“That’s good” he muttered pleased as he retracted his hands from her face to reach in his pocket.

He took out two white silk scarves, smiling sweetly at her and proceeded to tie the first around her eyes. She tensed immediately.

“Shhhh, little rabbit” he cooed softly in her ear as he used the second to tie her wrists loosely behind her back. “I just want to see how much you love me”

She felt his body heat going away and for a few moments nothing happened. Then some steps were heard and before she had time to think anything Theo was kissing her.

It was different than every other time she remembered. His lips were rougher but the kiss was much sweeter and more passionate at the same time. It was so easy to get lost in it and she did just that. The longer she was kissed, the more she craved and the fact that Theo was not touching her at all was just adding more fuel to the fire that was igniting inside her. In an attempt to get closer to him, he stood on her tiptoes and parted her lips, letting his tongue slip inside her mouth.

After that, it was pure intoxication, only it stopped abruptly. She staggered a bit back when he moved his mouth away from hers but he was there to catch her by the waist. Slowly, he untied both scarves and she winced when her eyes were exposed to the room’s soft light.

Then, as she lifted her gaze to his face, she beamed at him. His response was a slap on her cheek, but as he was still holding her, she didn’t fall back. Before she even had time to recover or ask what was that about, the second one came.

“Whore!” he hissed venomously in her ear. “You would have kissed anyone willingly with your eyes closed”

She wanted to deny that but no word came out. She only shook her head a couple of times but it was all the same to him.

“You are all the same!” he roared punching her stomach and finally tossing her to the ground.

From that point it all went downhill. She couldn’t even tell which part of her body was kicked until it couldn’t take anymore, blissfully shutting down.

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