Chapter 4: Waking the Beast
Rushing around I tighten my hold on the forest green strappy heels in my hand, quickly I grab my bag and head out to the main living area. Robin grins at me and Marisa surprisingly sits next to her... Ready for work? She moves next to me and zips the tight grey dress up as I look towards them pleadingly, “he’s going to kill me if I’m late!” I panic.
“Calm down, chook.” Robin rolls her eyes.
Marisa grabs my bag and allows me to bend and buckle my heels. We then simultaneously exit the apartment and head down to our respective vehicles, “I’ll see you tonight,” she waves.
I give her a suspicious look but wave back nevertheless... Since when is she ready for work! Slipping into the driver's seat, I reverse and drive out of the underground parking lot. I turn my GPS on and head in the direction the robotic voice dictates. Ten minutes later I find myself gawking at the warehouse-like structure in front of me, there are no other houses or buildings in sight, in fact, I almost turn back.
Growing a pair, I park outside on the curb and grab my keys and the note Red has given me previously. Cracking my knuckles I nervously make my way to the large steel doors, what kind of millionaire lives in an abandoned warehouse! Scanning the large surface I find a keypad, with a small sigh I go for gold and speak the numbers as I touch the screen. “Six. Eight. Zero. Five. Nine. Six.” Fortunately, the touch screen accepts the code and I grab the large handle, with a bit of effort I drag it back.
Stepping inside the building my eyes instantly enlarge. Currently, I am placed on a large platform which has steps going down to the living area, to the left is a modern, industrial kitchen. The kitchen is accompanied by a large concrete slab hoisted on metal leggings, doubling as a dining table. I make my way down the steps after slipping out of my heels, I walk across the large opening and then grin as my toes move from the hard surface to a plush rug. Slowly, almost pleasurably I make my way through his living room and straight for the large glass windows that cover the entirety of the back wall. I notice two of the floor to ceiling length panels have handles, which lead out to a long deck. I look to my left and head for the metal and glass staircase leading up to a platform.
I curl my hand around a frosted glass panel and peak inside the opening, the room is dark and sterile. I creep inside and glance around quickly, in the middle rests a massive bed, across from it is a closed off bathroom... I frown noticing the blurred glass not doing much in sense of privacy for the shower and bathtub. I take a small step forward and instantly freeze when the large bulge in the middle of the bed moves. Holding my breath I continue forward, finally reaching the side of the large plush mattress.
For a moment I’m awestruck at the beautiful chest and face I’m greeted with, he seems so peaceful here, looking far younger than his actual age. My arm nervously extends and I gently place my hand on his hard, strong shoulder. My gasp is the only thing that manages to escape before I’m pulled down and pressed against the bed with a bruising grip cutting into my neck. I stare wide eyed at Red as he glares down at me, almost as if waking from a shock he immediately releases me and sits back on his haunches while still straddling me.
The sheets pool around him and I blush noticing the only article of clothing on his body, happens to be a pair of silky black boxers. Black ink coats his skin, I feel red hot liquid heat burn to my core and forcefully pull out from under him. Edging of the bed I stand awkwardly and fix my dress. “Good morning, sir.” I clear my throat. Red looks up at me once, he then moved towards me and I instinctively step back, he halts while running a hand through his hair. “I’ll go make you breakfast...” I mumble in a rush before practically running out of there.
The industrial kitchen is ridiculously big and unfortunately not stocked... I close the fridge after grabbing two eggs, butter and half a loaf of bread... What does this man eat? My eyes zero in on a bowl of fruit and I instantly grin, grabbing two oranges, an apple and lemon I locate a juicer. With a decent meal in mind, I get to work. From the corner of my eye I notice Red descending the stairs, good timing. I place the plate on the other side of the island which has four bar stools. I then pour the fruit concoction into a tall glass and add ice, this is also placed next to his eggs and toast.
Red takes a seat and looks down at the drink confused. I quickly fumble out an explanation, “it’s better than coffee and you don’t have milk... If you want I can bin it and go out for some milk...” My words are rushed.
“Sit.” He looks up and then motions his head to the seat next to him. I wring my hands together anxiously and make my way around the big surface to his side, silently I hop up onto the seat. He puts the plate between us, “next time make enough for two.”
I lean back, “I’m fine, sir... Already had breakfast.”
“What did you have,” he picks up the glass and studies it carefully before placing it back down.
My response was supposed to come out strong and unwavering, however, the meek response has even me cringing, “cereal.”
He places on of the sunny side up eggs on a toasted piece of bread and lifts it towards me, I shake my head. He glares down at me and I bite the corner of my lip before opening my mouth, leaning forward I take a bite... My mouth remaining on the food, “do I need to feed you, or—” before he can continue I quickly grab the slice and look away.
He makes quick work of his breakfast and then lifts the glass to his lips, at first he’s cautious of it and then in a matter of seconds the glass is empty. He places it down next to the empty plate and moves to his feet, “I want this every morning,” he looks down at the empty dishes.
“Okay,” I nod.
Red moves towards the stairs, I snap into action after watching him for a moment. Washing the dishes I dry them and put them away, finishing off with wiping the sink and bench top. Spinning around I look for something to do. Only then so I notice just how empty his home is, there’s no colour or personality. No mess or clutter, just fundamental objects placed in designated areas for show.
Ten minutes later Red snags my keys and we head to my vehicle before driving to work...
The next two months follow this routine, everything runs smoothly and I find myself adjusting well to Reds un-talkative state. Slowly but surely I become aware of his needs and wants... Relating to business of course. After the first few weeks, I’d sufficiently stocked his kitchen and secretly added splashes of life to his house. Turns out Red wanted the fruit drink each morning and couldn’t care less about everything else. So I created a chart, each weekday had a meal assigned to it which was always served with a tall glass of orange, lemon and apple mix.
But then, the calm and comforting routine went flying to the curb one Friday morning. I arrived at Reds house as per usual and first prepared his breakfast, pancakes with a small fruit salad. Cause I’m all about that healthy life, of course. After plating the food, I place it on the island and ascend the stairs to his room. No longer nervous or uncomfortable, I quickly stride to his bed. His defined back greets me, sighing I reach down to shake him. Quickly drawing my hand back due to his burning body, “sir?” I call. He doesn’t answer. I try again. Still nothing.
Taking a seat on the side of his bed I take hold of his shoulder and turn him with great effort towards me, he rolls over limp and cracks his eyes open slightly. Despite his charming looks, I take note of his pale skin... His normal tan looking very chalky. “Is breakfast ready?” His voice is weak. He goes to sit up, put I firmly place my hands on his bare chest and push him back down.
“Didn’t I tell you to take some medicine yesterday!” I snap, feeling agitated for some unknown reason.
He groans as if I’m an annoyance, “I didn’t know which kind.” This time when he moves to get up, my previously strong hands don’t do much, I realise the first time he’d allowed me to push him back. The sudden rise of his body causes my face to be inches from his chest.
“Oh my god!” I don’t have time to admire his broad chest as my eyes catch the sweat on his body, a resolution sounds in my head, “no chance you’re going to the company like this.” I lean back and cross my arms.
He cocks his head to the side and raises an eyebrow, “move, Julia. All I need is a shower.” He makes his way off the bed, carelessly dropping the sheets on the floor, walking to the bathroom he goes to pull down his boxers. A navy blue addition this time. I quickly turn away and mumble curses to myself.
Annoyed at being dismissed so casually, I head down the stairs, out of his room and back to my car. Forcing myself to keep it together I grab my bag. Bringing it back inside the house I make myself comfortable in front of the coffee table, on the fluffy rug. Opening the bag I pull out my laptop and boot it up. Crossing my legs I get comfortable and begin reworking Reds schedules.
I look up at the empty stairs for the hundredth time, in the past half and hour. Surely it doesn’t take this long for him to shower. I look over at the island where the cold food rests. I close my laptop, having cleared all of Reds meetings today and the rest of his appointments during the weekend, I stand up. A bad feeling stirs in my stomach and I practically lung up the stairs, “Red?” I call. I scan his room quickly. Empty. My gaze then travels to his bathroom, a slumped figure blurs through the glass.
Running across the oversized room, I enter the bathroom. A very naked Red greets me, water pummels him like needles, thankfully he has one leg pulled up... Saving me from probably passing out. Realising the gravity of the situation I forget his bare body and rush forward. Expecting the water to be warm I lean over him, ice cold water hits me hard. Shivering, I grab his face between my hands. “Red, get up. Come on, get up! I can’t lift you. Please!” He simply groans in response. I force myself not to look below his waist. Looking around, I stand while turning the water off and move to the railing. Grabbing a towel I head back to him.
With closed eyes, I wrap it around his body and tuck it into itself against his lower back. I contemplate my options and know if I call for a doctor the media would get a whiff and I know how much Red hates them. You’re a strong girl, Julia! Lift his ass off the damn cold tiles. Yes, thank you for the pep talk, I roll my eyes.
I push my arms under his armpits and heave upwards, I spread my legs to gain better balance... Only to hear the sound of fabric ripping. Great, just perfect. Not really, just bloody perfect. I disregard my clothes and continue pulling Red. “Julia...” His weak voice has me looking up, our eyes connect.
“Oh thank god, I need you to get up.... Just stand and then you can relax.” He keeps his eyes on me and pushes up, for a second he stand straight before slumping over me completely. My already damp shirt is further drenched by his ridiculously chiselled abs. He buries his face into the crook of my neck, while his arms fall over mine. I reach around him and make sure his towel remains in place, before taking a step back. Bad move, really bad move!
My legs weaken and I feel myself falling, bracing for the impact I close my eyes. But I don’t feel the tile hit me, instead, I hear a groan. “Idiot.” Red grunts out before I once again coax him into getting up.
Eventually, we make it out of his cold bathroom and to his room, I drop him on his bed and grab another towel to dry his body. “No. You’re the idiot.” I seethe silently, the nerve he has to allow himself to get sick! Why I outta’—
“You’re angry with me,” he grabs my wrist tightly, causing me to fall onto the bed next to him. I grind my molars together and move to sit up.
I turn on my side, “I’m not angry with you.” Lies have never come easy to me, I bite my lip at how unconvincing I sound. When he doesn’t say anything I look back at him, he’s watching me silently with a slight frown. “Let go of me.” I sigh after a moment. “I’ll go get you some medicine.”
“I want your juice.” He tightens his grip on my wrist...