The Beauty of Grey

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Chapter 9

Water sloshed around in the bathtub wildly as the man, a barbarous glint darkening his eyes, rose to his feet; shameless in his nudity just as he was about his anger. My face paled, all colour draining from it as I slowly backed away from him. It was freaky to know that I had influenced this—this savage, beastly dark side.

My back hit the bathroom door, and as much as I wanted to close my eyes to shut out the stalking man, I wouldn’t break eye contact with him. I was afraid that if I were to look away he’d do something rash; snap my neck, break my jaw, punch his fist right through my stomach. I knew he was able to inflict serious damage, and that wasn’t limited to me.

My hand blindly reached for the doorknob, but the man wasn’t having it. “Don’t touch that fucking doorknob,” he snarled. My hand brushed it and I gripped it, preparing myself to twist it. “If you open the door, Edie, you’ll regret it.”

I didn’t risk twisting it, but I did dish pettiness at him like it was a main course.

“Do you have more anaesthetics shoved up your ass?” I sneered. Despite my catty words, I was shaking like a leaf. If anything, I had snapped just to try and put on a brave front. But the moment the words left my mouth, I rued them. I was making poor decisions, and I recognized it. But I couldn’t stop myself.

He bared his teeth at me, and I would’ve thought he was ludicrous had I not witnessed him shifting into a wolf just hours before. Now his show of teeth served to warn me that he was more competent than I liked to falsely deny. The lion was taming the lamb.

He stepped out of the bathtub, his strong body soaked and soapy. There was something so formidable and terrorizing about him approaching me naked, knowing that if he wanted to take advantage of me he could. His legs like tree trunks, his washboard abs, his corded arms. He rippled with every step he took, muscles tightening and relaxing.

His manhood, unashamedly dangling. I wanted him to feel indignity and humiliation, so I made the notion for him to know that I was looking him up and down; and I did so with a sneer, acting disgusted. Truth was, if we were drunk strangers who went back to his place after leaving the bar, I’d feel content. He was sculpted perfectly. But he didn’t need to know that.

He stood directly in front of me, placing his hands on both sides of my head as he looked down at me. I inhaled deeply, showing him my repulse, before I looked away to meet my eyes in the mirror. Our reflections only reminded me of our great size differences. I quickly turned my head to other side; facing the wall.

“You tempt me in ways I’ve never been tempted before,” he said, removing one hand from the door to grab my jaw with it. There was a roughness in his touch—a bellicosity as he forced me to look up at him. I let out a grunt, showing my displeasure. “You’re a bad influence on me.” He teased.

I didn’t say anything, but I was flummoxed by his mood shift. A second ago I thought that I was three breaths away from my last, but now he was giving me impure compliments. He seemed as unstable as unbalanced atoms, and I was scared to say anything because I was worried it would rattle the mood. He wasn’t ripping my throat out yet, but one more word could change that.

He stood flush against me, his erect manhood pressing into my stomach. I tried to rip my jaw from his hand, but he had control; taking away my privilege to turn my head. “Your words are fierce, but you are not.”

I tried to push him away from me, but he was anchored; wouldn’t budge. I lifted my leg, ready to kick his groin, but he abolished my plans when he put one knee in between my thighs and lifted me off of the ground; scraping my back against the door until we were eye level. My feet dangled in the air, and I was inept to fight him off. I didn’t think punching him in the face or twisting his nipples would have much effect.

“You’re so small,” he said. “So fragile, so delicate. You piss me off so badly that I want to hurt you, but if I hurt you I’ll break you. I don’t want to break you.”

“I’m not a porcelain doll,” I rebuked, simply unable to keep silent as he questioned my pneuma. “You can break my bones, but you can’t break my spirit.”

He smiled; a mocking smile, as if of faux empathy. Again, I tried to turn away from him but he didn’t allow it. “I won’t have to break your spirit, Edie. One day you’ll wake up and you’ll realize your spirit has abandoned you, and when that happens you’ll realize what you are. You are mine.”

“I am mine before I am anyone else’s.” I pledged.

He buried his face in the crook of my neck, scraping the tip of of his nose along the side of my throat. I clenched my eyes shut, terrified he was actually going to rip it out. I felt like I had to hype myself up, preparing myself to feel the searing agony of his teeth ripping out chunks of my flesh.

But instead, he pressed a light kiss to where my shoulder and neck met. “Right here,” He murmured, before kissing it again. ”Right here.”

“Wh-what?” I stammered as sweat began to bead on my forehead. He let go of my jaw, and the ache from his fingertips slowly began to allay. I took a few deep breaths, thankful that I could move my head without restriction.

But what I didn’t think I’d do was move my head away from the man to bare my neck to him more. There was something so satisfying and...exhilarating about his lips against the tender skin. When he grabbed my nape, I felt myself turn to putty. I was thankful he held me up.

“Right here,” he rasped, breath heating me up at the same time it sent a shiver down my spine. “You’ll understand one day. But that day is not today.”

I didn’t ask any more questions, and the man removed his face from my neck but kept his hand on my nape. When he looked down at me, whatever spell he had casted on me became useless, and I was thrown back into reality. My teeth clenched together when I realized he had played me for a fool.

I lied. I did ask him more questions. “Why is it a secret? Why did that feel so...nice?”

He flashed me a charming grin, and I wanted to slap it right off of him. “Describe to me what it felt like.”

My brows flicked up. “Why?”

“Just do it, Edie.”

I closed my eyes, too uncomfortable to tell him with my eyes open. “Like an out of body experience.”

“And do you know why?” I opened my eyes.

I swallowed, not having to dig deep for the answer. But I still shrugged, disliking that I had to say it out loud. Saying the answer out loud contradicted my beliefs—my belief that soulmates weren’t real.

“Say it. I know you know why.” He urged, leaning in closer until our faces were mere inches apart.

“I don’t believe in that stuff,” I gritted out. “Let me go.”

“Answer me first,” he reasoned. “Then I’ll let you go.”

“No.”

“Say it,” Like me, he wasn’t backing down. “Say it, Edie, fucking say it. I know you hate the position you’re in. Just say it and I’ll set you down, then we can carry on our merry ways.”

“Real merry.” I seethed.

“Say it,” he prodded. “Say it, say it, say it.”

I narrowed my eyes at him. “No,” I took a deep breath. ”Fuck you.”

It wasn’t conventional, mind you, but it still got the job done. He gave me a brief nod—not a nod that showed me he was content with my answer, but a nod that showed me he received my message loud and clear and he did not appreciate it one bit. This nod—it was competitive. As if to say that two could play at this game.

He spun us around and my feet finally met the floor. But he didn’t give me time to readjust my stance, because he threw the door open and dragged me out behind him; he was manhandling me. I was small and he was strong, so I was featherweight to him. It was like we were at my home all over again.

He had me by my wrists and we were both thrashing around, fighting against each other. It was a battle for mastery, but at the end of the day we both knew who was the true master in the end; I was nothing but an unruly puppet to him. He had the threads attached and I kept untying them but he’d tie them again just as quickly, making the knots more intricate each time.

It was dizzying as we spun in circles. My head was circling like a globe as my back was slammed against the wall. It didn’t hurt; there was a precaution that prevented it from hurting, but it was enough to knock the air out of my lungs. I couldn’t see anything in front of me; I could hardly make out the naked man.

“Say it, Edie, say it! Say it, say it, say it!” He hollered at me, over and over again; reducing me to nothing but a receding mess in front of him. I shook my head from side to side as he overpowered me, trying to ignore him; but you couldn’t ignore something like that. “Say it, say it, say it!” He wasn’t going to give up, and I wished I could’ve let him yell until he tired himself out.

But I couldn’t take it anymore.

“Because we're soulmates!” I screamed at him. “Because we’re fucking soulmates!”

“That’s right, Edie, and you know what I can do?”

He ripped me from the wall, releasing my wrists as he wrapped an arm around my waist and fisted my curls with the other. I bent my back away from him, bending into an upside down U-shape as I tried to resist him. But he had a hold of my hair, so I wasn’t successful in staying away from him.

Yanking my head up by my hair, he had me positioned in such a way that my face was toward the ceiling. I blinked, head hurting as he spoke. ”This.” He finished.

Then planted his lips over mine.

It wasn’t a lovely kiss—it was far from dreamy or awing. It was aggressive and fervent—desperate and sloppy; hot and anxious. My eyes widened to the size of saucers as I made out the delineation of his shaded face, but closed right after as I relented. I was so defeated, and although our were lips were meshed together, the kiss was meant for absolutely nothing but bragging rights.

He did this solely to rub in my face that he could, no matter how much I fought against him. Because at that point, I was too exhausted to fight him off, and could only land weak punches to his bare chest. I was so repulsed at his piggish, dominant ways. I knew then, despite his claims about our souls being intertwined through the moon, that I hated him. With every fibre of my being, I hated him.

When he pulled his lips off of mine, he looked down at me. “You taste sweet,” he went in for another peck. He was lucky it was only a peck, because if he had tried to slip me his tongue he would’ve lost a good chunk of it. ”So sweet.” He reiterated when he pulled away again.

He opened the bedroom door and swung me inside. I was so dazed that I nearly fell onto my knees, but I caught myself. When I heard him close the door, I snapped my head to look back at him; only to see that he wasn’t in the room with me. I was so relieved. Even more so when I heard the door lock, only because it meant he wasn’t going to be back for a while.

I felt safe enough to collapse onto my knees, burying my face in my hands as I folded over; like I had at the window when I discovered it was shatterproof. My mouth was swollen, from the sheer belligerence of his rush to claim my lips with his own. I suddenly wanted to break out of the room, rush to the bathroom, and eat a bar of soap, but I knew it wasn’t an option. So instead I gagged until I felt like I was going to throw up.

He wasn’t treating me like this for any other reason, as much as he denied these allegations, than to break me—to break my spirit and kill my will. He was adamant that I tell him we were soulmates because he thought that if I said it, it would be embedded in my mind and my acceptance of it would become second nature. He was doing it to manipulate me so I could doubt myself.

That kiss—that vile, rotten kiss wasn’t incited by lust or passion or attraction, it was incited by pure selfishness, greed and dominance. He wanted me to know that I wasn’t as strong as him; that I wasn’t capable of putting up a good battle when it came to him. He was showing off his omnipotence, his complete dictation over me. He was slapping me in the face with his power.

I knew I couldn’t hide behind my self-conviction forever. The human mind is malleable. I had watched documentaries where police detectives were able to convince the innocent people they were interrogating that they had committed a crime that, in actuality, they hadn’t. And that scared me. If you could convince someone they committed a life-in-prison-without-parole type of crime, what could my kidnapper convince me to think?

I didn’t even want to imagine what he could convince me of. So like every other Disney princess, I threw myself onto the bed and wept for myself.

I must have fallen asleep at some point, because I hadn’t heard the bedroom door creak open or shut. What I did hear, however, was the sound of a dresser drawer being slammed closed. I had been lying on my stomach, but the loud bang sent me rolling onto my back before I sat up; a startled gasp bubbling from my throat.

I could make out his outline, filtered by moonlight. He glanced at me over his shoulder as he put on a pair of dark boxers before looking away. “Sorry,” he apologized halfheartedly. “I didn’t mean to wake you. I’m used to being alone.”

I didn’t respond to him, but I watched him with scrutinizing eyes just to make sure I knew where he was. I wouldn’t allow him to manhandle me like he had again—not if I could prevent it. My head still suffered from the disorientation of being spun in vicious circles.

“It’s four AM,” he continued to tell me. “I tried to sleep on the couch.”

I rolled my eyes, wondering why he bothered coming up here to complain to me about it.

“But I can’t be away from you. I’m drawn to you like a moth is drawn to a flame.”

He walked over to the bed, stared down at me, before he sat beside to me. I retracted away from him, pleased with the disappointment that masked his face. He reached out a hand, preparing to rest it on my thigh.

I slapped his hand away from me. “Fuck you,” I fumed. “You have no right touching me. I said it once and I’ll say it again: I am not your whore.”

I swirled around and scooted off of the opposite side of the bed. I plopped myself on the window bench, keeping my back turned to him as I swung my legs up. I stared out of the window, tracing my fingertips along the glass. A zephyr stirred the trees, swaying them from one side to the next.

“I do not treat you like a whore.” He argued.

I didn’t give him the reverence of looking at him when I spoke to him. “If I did to you what you did to me, I bet you’d feel as low as I do right now.”

“I already feel low.” He growled.

I shook my head, biting my lip and wincing when I was remembered its soreness. There was a billion things I wanted to say, but I held back. Something told me that now was not the time. What was happening was still too raw and new. I wanted to lash out, but in the same breath I still wanted to curl up and weep for myself. I had not finished crying. But the man was in here, so crying was no longer an option.

But the metal weapon in between my breasts was. I swallowed, taking a quick peek at him. I instantly looked away, however, when we made eye contact. I stared straight ahead, resting the back of my head against the wall that supported me. I took a deep breath, heart race beginning to pick up speed again.

“I need a second of privacy,” I rushed out, pulling an excuse out of my ass as I looked back at him again. “My bras uncomfortable. I need to fiddle with it.”

Feeling charitable, he granted me privacy. But I didn’t look away from him, not until I was confident that he wasn’t going to look back at me. Once I was confident he wouldn’t, I looked forward and stuck my hand down the shirt and wriggled my fingers in the wiring in between my breasts.

My jaw slacked, my face flushed. It wasn’t in there.

I muttered before I could stop myself. “No,” I stuck my face into the shirt as if I could spot it hanging around. I stuck my arms up through the bottom of the shirt, grabbing the wiring on both of my cups as I shook them, hoping that I could feel the blade fall out. But I felt nothing. “No!” I shrieked.

“Looking for this?” The man asked. When I looked at him through hooded eyes, he was holding up the metallic blade in between his thumb and index finger. The moonlight spotlighted it, and I slapped my hands over my face. It must have fallen out in the hallway during our wrestling match.

And of course, he found it.

“Oh my god.” I shook my head, refusing to come to terms with the fact that he held the blade with his fingertips. I repeated no over and over again like it was a precious mantra, but it didn’t change the fact that he was in possession of my weapon of choice.

“Were you going to slice my neck with this, Edie?” He asked calmly, like he was asking me what day of the week it was. I heard the bed squeak as it was alleviated of his weight, and I heard the sound of his approaching footsteps as he started to near me. I was looking at him, but I wasn’t focusing in on him. “Were you going to cut out my eyeballs? Hack my wrists? Were you going to skin me? Neuter me?”

He kneeled down directly in front of me, and my hands slumped from my face. He took the opportune moment to place his hand absent of the blade on my cheek. He was so fuzzy and blurry; I felt like I was looking at him underwater. It was perfect, because in that moment I felt like I was drowning in my own despondency.

My eyes were wide with earth-shattering horror as I locked contact with the mans. He lifted up his other hand, and with a featherlight trace, dragged the blade down the side of my face untouched by his calloused palm. I let out a sound between a sob and a choke, fearing that he was going to skin me like he had suggested I was going to.

The metal was cold and bothersome, and had I been able to move I would’ve smacked his hand away again. But I was so frozen in place. Him finding my blade definitely didn’t earn me any brownie points. My anger, I was sure of it, was understandable to him...but him knowing I was debating murder was a little less forgivable.

He dragged the tip of the blade over my mouth, pressing it into my bottom lip. I didn’t so much as jerk; there hadn’t been a need to, because despite the fact that he was threatening me with my own weapon, he didn’t do any damage. He didn’t draw any blood from me. But the knowledge that he could was prevalent.

“Look at you. If I wanted to cut out your pretty brown eyes with this right now, you couldn’t stop me. And you know why? Because you’re scared, and when you’re scared you’re vulnerable, and when you’re vulnerable you’re destructible. Don’t ever think that you can domesticate me. Even if you held a rifle to my forehead, nothing could keep me away from you.”

He stood up and walked away from me, and I let out a deep breath I hadn’t even known I was holding. He walked over to the other side of the bed farthest from the window, set the blade on his nightstand, and scrutinized me as he untucked the blankets from underneath the pillows. “I dare you to try to reach for that blade.”

That, much like the way he dragged the blade down my face, was a threat.

He walked back over to me and grabbed my bicep, pulling me off of the bench. Too emotionally fatigued to fight against him, I allowed him to drag me over to the bed. I was surprised when he didn’t try to coax me to lay down because once he let me go, I stood up straight. I didn’t move.

But he didn’t let me stand for long. Once he was laying down in the bed, he grabbed onto the fabric of the shirt and pulled me down. I splayed on my hands and knees, grief hitting me in stages. Again, he was treating me like he owned me; like this was his God-given right to force me into bed with him.

He turned around, giving me his back; disregarding me. “I’m a light sleeper. If you try to run, I’ll know.”

I didn’t have the energy to run.

And for the night, I gave up. I fell onto my back, not bothering to grab the covers to cover myself with them. I wanted nothing more than to fall asleep and not wake up. The mans ignorance, his insensitivity, his lack of remorse or morality...it upset me more than it should’ve.

I closed my eyes, trying to sleep the rest of the night away. I wanted my brain to shut off just so I could push the flashbacks of today away, even if only for a couple of hours. I wanted the heaviness to lift off of my chest, just so I didn’t feel like I was breathing in honey instead of air.

But I was wakeful, reliving everything that had happened starting from last night up until now.

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