This Is For You
I heard a rustling sound, felt the mattress beneath me dip. I frowned, my head pounding, my mouth dry as a desert. I reached for my head, whimpering in defeat when I felt the cool metal of the handcuffs. Head swirling, I pried my eyes open, greeted by soft golden lighting, the curtains now dark. It had been dawn when I’d finally fallen asleep. I reeled, realizing how long I’d slept.
I moaned, the urge to urinate overcoming me. I felt like I was getting sick—still exhausted, my throat aching. A typical reaction to having my sleep schedule thrown off. My immune system was shit.
I felt warm fingers wrap around my wrist, and I yelped, yanking away as my wild eyes searched for my assailant. I stilled when they fell upon the devil himself, sagging in defeat. His eyes watched me, his face wiped clear of any and all emotions. My cheeks flamed, however, when they fell upon his naked torso, his smooth muscles gliding as he moved to unlock my wrists. He leaned near me, his chest mere inches from my nose. I froze as he moved back, the heat from his body leaving with him.
I cradled my hands to my chest, attempting to ease the ache I felt throbbing in my bones. He watched me, small frown flittering across his tanned face, his angular jaw ticking. Without a word, he stood, and I shied away, but he moved to the end of the bed, grasping my ankle and giving a sharp tug, pulling me to him as he loomed above me. My heart leapt into my throat. Beck would do the same thing, when we were…well, being intimate.
He surprised me as he bent, throwing me over his shoulder and walking toward another door in his room, his perfectly curved butt right in front of my eyes, clad in grey sweats. Of course. I struggled, hissing in pain as his shoulder bit into my organs. Well, one organ in particular.
“Ow…fuck…put me down put me down,” I gasped, panicking. He strode into the bathroom, settling me on the counter quickly as I gripped at my left side, biting my lip to trick my mind into thinking the pain wasn’t that bad. He wanted me alive for some reason but was about to unwittingly kill me with his stupid, macho ways.
He gripped my chin, eyes swishing between mine, his brow furrowed.
“What did I do to hurt you?” he said, voice a bit biting, his accent coming forth in the haste with which he spoke. The pain in my side ebbed a little. I reddened at our proximity, eyeing his naked torso.
“It’s my spleen, ok? I’m fine,” I said.
“I’m not sure what you mean…” he said, lines between his brows deepening in what appeared to be concern. My eyes dipped to his full lips, and I blushed even more.
“My blood cells, my body doesn’t know how to f-form them correctly. Your spleen is responsible for…ridding your body of faulty red blood cells. It’s always working overtime,” I said, shaking my head, leaning away from his scrutiny. He still seemed stumped. Where was his nasty doctor friend to explain all this to him? Why was I talking this much? Why was I here?
“If a spleen ruptures, you have minutes to live, and mine is already enlarged to the point where it can do so if it decides to,” I said, prattling on as my nervous habit of rambling took control. His brows rose.
I shrank, crossing my arms, eyeing the massive, modern bathroom, everything about it dark and foreboding. He drummed his fingers on the cool counter next to my thigh, our eyes just level. I looked away, unable to hold his gaze for very long.
“When do you need your meds?” he asked, tone softening a bit. I glared at him.
“Why don’t you ask that scummy doctor friend of yours?” I hissed, still highly upset about the night before. Fury flashed in his gaze, and I leaned back.
“I would, but you broke his nose.”
“That’s what he gets,” I mumbled to myself.
I clamped my mouth shut, wincing as his eyes narrowed on my face.
“What?” he seethed. My stomach clenched, and I suddenly felt like a little girl, wanting to curl into a ball and hide under my bed.
“N-nothing,” I said. It was a bold faced lie, and we both knew it, but I wasn’t about to run to a freshly release prisoner and tattle on his friend for groping me in the name of science. As soon as that fucker had reached for my pants, I’d planted my heel deep into his face.
The hand that had been next to my thigh reached up, and I shied, jerking away, but he only gripped my chin, stroking his thumb along my jaw. I eyed him warily, my thoughts of psychology seeming a lost cause now—I couldn’t help myself in this situation. I was too weak, too frightened.
As I stared into his calculating eyes, I decided they were, in fact, green, flecked around the iris with tints of gold. Mesmerizing. He was beautiful, could put any model or actor to shame with his looks and physique, and I felt myself shrink further. He was the epitome of an alpha male, something that had attracted me to Beck, but there was something…different about Dante.
Where Beck could talk shit for hours, I knew he could never back it up when it came down to it, unless it was to someone vastly weaker than him. With this man…I shivered again, knowing in my gut he was capable of atrocious things, and I wondered when he’d turn his evil ways onto me. I felt the familiar lump in my throat rise as my hope for this entire situation dwindled to near nothingness. And it seemed Dante wasn’t even the end of my problems, considering the amount of faces I’d seen upon arrival.
“Eira,” he said, my name a warning on his tongue, his voice deep. It made me squirm, but his grip tightened. I averted my eyes, staring at my lap. He sighed in annoyance, backing away.
“Fine. Keep your secrets. You’re never leaving my sight again, though, bellissima,” he warned.
“Why are you keeping me? Why did you say I was safer here than at home—”
His severe glare cut my words short.
“Just be thankful you have your life, Eira, and that I was the one…” he trailed off, shaking his head, pulling away.
“What?” I breathed, leaning forward at the straw he’d given me to grasp at.
“I’m all about fairness, bellissima. You tell me what I want to know, and I’ll give you the same courtesy,” he said, crossing his arms over his broad chest. There was no way in hell I was going there with him. What would my word mean against someone he was friends with? I didn’t need him to patronize me, to disbelieve me and mock me. He waited for a beat, before growling and gripping his hair.
“Get down, get in the shower,” he said. I blanched, wondering if I’d heard him correctly.
“W-what?” I breathed, twisting my hands together. Was this it? Was he about to…hurt me? My knees clamped shut at the mere thought, dread roving throughout my body. There was no way in hell I’d let him come near me in that manner. He quirked a brow at my hesitance.
“Now’s your chance, I suggest you take it.”
“You-you’re going to get out, right?” I said, trembling.
“And leave you alone with things you can turn into shivs? No,” he said, crossing his arms once more. Part of me was relieved—he only wanted to ensure I wasn’t going to attempt to fight him or his thugs. So far, he’d made good on his promise not to hurt me—but I had a feeling it wouldn’t last. How could it?
“I wouldn’t be the one who knows how to make a shiv,” I bit back. I was surprised as he smirked, but his face soon clouded over, something sinister pacing behind his watchful eyes.
“I didn’t have any need for weapons in prison,” he said, voice husky. A chill ran up and down my spine, and I shivered. He turned away, stepping into the massive shower and cranking on the tap. Steam billowed in the cavernous room as water spewed from about ten different shower heads. He backed away, quirking his brow at me once more.
I began to shake all over, avoiding his gaze, sifting through my scant options. In a flash of anger and sorrow, I realized how pissed I was at myself for not being braver, for not fighting them more as they’d dragged me off into the night from my home, for not giving it my all to try and escape. Perhaps other chances would arise, but in the end, I knew I was too frightened to really follow through. I was no better than Beck—all talk and no action when it came down to it.
He was before me once more, and I jumped out of my reverie, my lips trembling in fear. He gripped my hips, pulling me off the counter and setting me on my feet, before he grasped my hand and tugged me toward the impending shower. I stalled, and he paused, peering down at my with a sort of gentle curiosity.
I felt tears coat my cheeks as I shook my head, and I wiped them away in haste and anger. My mind was reeling, collapsing in on itself. There was no way he didn’t want to force himself on me—two of his men had already attempted similar acts. He was lying to me, toying with me, trying to break my mind. And it was working. I was weak, I was female, and that was the way of this cruel world.
“Don’t…please…don’t hurt me like that, please, you don’t have to do…that…” I said, hiccuping as I stared at my feet, still trying to pull away from him. The hand holding mine tightened to a painful degree before he released me.
“That’s not what this is about,” he growled, voice low. I glanced up at him in confusion. In his eyes was something different, unreadable, but I surmised it wasn’t malicious. I decided to press him on it, to figure out his angle for keeping me his hostage. I needed reasons to cope, to plot out my next move.
“But…but…” I felt my cheeks flame, unable to finish my sentence. Again, that look flitted in his keen eyes. He let out a harsh sigh, close to a growl, as he tilted his head to the ceiling.
“I won’t ever force myself on you, alright? Just take a fucking shower.”
My stomach fluttered, my hope rekindled. He glared at me, setting his jaw.
“I’m still not leaving.”
“Just…don’t look at me, please?” I said, avoiding his gaze, shame settling heavy upon my shoulders. I somehow felt like a whore, letting this happen—for giving in so easily to his every demand. I just wanted to feel the warmth, to cleanse myself of last night’s events—from Beck to my kidnapping. And if it meant having him in the same room, I was simply resigned to that fact.
I could see his jaw tick as he grit his teeth, but he nodded, moving to stand and face the door. When I was sure he wasn’t going to make a move, I stripped, jumping into the heavenly warmth, pressing a fist to my mouth to stifle my sobs as the water washed my tears away.
I listened as the shower shut off, the dripping faucets and splashes of water a soothing sound to me. I waited against my will, giving the girl her privacy. I supposed there was some decency left in me, even after everything I’d seen in my lifetime—even after every horrible thing I’d done. Even after every damnable thing that had been done to me.
But when she’d looked up at me with those eyes, when she’d all but begged me not to take her here and now—it was more than I could bear in that moment. It had knocked the breath from my lungs, made my knees want to buckle. Everyone I dealt with in this life had a darkness within them, had done equally as horrific things. But Eira…she hadn’t. As I’d stared at the white door, watching steam collect and race down the trim, I’d heard her sobs, no matter how hard she tried to stifle them. Each and every one grated upon my ears and left a deep mark on my dead heart.
She was an enigma, able to go from mouthy and feisty to frightened and meek in a matter of seconds. It left me frustrated, wishing I could just pluck her thoughts from her mind. Especially after her slip up concerning Davide. My jaw locked in fury. She was under my protection, under my reign, and I’d ensure my men knew that, and Davide would be made an example of.
I smirked. She’d already had her chance with him, and I had to admit, it was impressive. I stilled, hearing her timid approach as I glared at the door.
“Am I allowed to look now, sweetheart?”
She made a small noise at the back of her throat, and I turned, stunned into silence. She stood shivering in nothing but a towel, her raven black hair plastered to her alabaster skin, her cheeks and lips the most luscious red I’d ever seen. Her long, thick lashes kissed her cheekbones as she stared at the floor.
I felt myself grow hot with need, with desperate desire. The emotion seared through me, shocking me, and I remembered with a jolt what she’d felt like in my arms last night. She heaved a shuddering breath, bringing her red-rimmed glacier eyes to my face.
“I…need some…clothes…” she muttered, looking away just as quickly. I swallowed hard, turning and wrenching open the door before I reached out to caress her smooth skin. Stomping to her backpack, I gripped it, bringing it to her and stepping away, praying those dumbasses had figured out what to pack. She bobbed her head in thanks, crouching, keeping her knees together as the towel rode up.
She rifled through her bag for a moment before she paused, shoulders slumping in defeat as quiet cries met my ears once more.
“What is it?” I said.
“I…there’s no…no…pajamas…” she cried, hiccuping between each word. So, it seemed we’d reached the irrational stage in her processing. Super.
“You don’t need pajamas,” I said.
“Yes I do,” she all but wailed.
“Jesus Christ,” I said, throwing up my hands and stomping into my closet, retrieving a plain black t-shirt and tossing it to her. She glanced up at me, slowly gripping at the shirt. I crossed my arms.
“Don’t tell me you need underwear, too?” I said, raging inside my mind at the incompetency of Leo and Gabe. She shook her head, so sullen. I turned around once more.
“Hurry up, I’m exhausted and starving.”
I knew she was done when I heard no more movement, but I peeked over my shoulder just to make sure. She stood, towel in her hands, my shirt falling mid thigh. She must have attempted to dry her hair, because if fell in wet waves across her shoulders now. I reached out for her towel, and she handed it to me. I jerked my head, indicating she follow.
“Time to eat,” I said, tossing the towel in the hamper. I paused at my door, reaching for her wrist. She jumped away, and I leveled her with a dark look.
“Ah ah, come here,” I demanded. Eyes finding her bare feet, she stepped forward. I towed her out into the kitchen, the hour late enough that I assumed everyone was in bed. We rounded the corner, though, and strange yet familiar noises hit my ears, but as the realization fell on me, it was too late, and I’d flicked on the light. My jaw snapped in rage as Eira gasped, pulling against me.
Leo stood at the island counter, some blond with massive fake tits taking a pounding from him as she moaned, perched on the granite.
“Fuck,” he hissed, slowing his thrusts, but by no means did he seem willing to stop.
“You have two seconds to get out of my sight,” I said, voice cool.
“Oooh, baby, have her…join us…” the woman moaned and slurred, pointing behind me to a trembling Eira. Leo chuckled, picking her up and striding away toward his room.
“I don’t think boss would be too happy to share,” came his voice. Growling, I shook my head, even more pissed off now. I pulled Eira forward, to the other side of the island, making a mental note to bleach the entire kitchen before I cooked anything.
“I’m ordering take out,” I said, releasing her and glancing down in her direction. She found my eyes, standing at my elbow, her ruby lips parted. After a moment, she nodded. She had to be fucking starving. I bristled as I heard someone else approach, and she made a strangled, frightened noise, jumping about a foot in the air. I chuckled, the sound dark, gripping her wrist and pulling her in front of me and between the counter to hide her bare thighs from wandering eyes. She stiffened, our bodies just barely touching.
“Sorry, man, Leo fucking woke me up again,” Gabe said, scratching his bare chest as he padded to the fridge.
“Careful, there’s probably more than one STD on the counter,” I said with a nod toward where they’d been caught red handed. He rolled his eyes, and I watched as they widened a bit when they fell on Eira. He gave a half smile, nodding to her. I felt her stiffen as she recognized him.
I fished my phone from my pocket, leaning around Eira and resting my forearms on the counter to sift through food options, feeling that need to protect her, stronger than before. Her fright and innocence gave me a superior feeling—one of utter power and control, but it was nothing compared to how angry the idea of other men looking at her made me feel. Most women faked such personality traits, but hers was raw, real.
“You don’t have any allergies to go with all your other…problems, right?” I said. She gave a slight shake of her head. Her damp hair was fragrant, but it smelled rather masculine, since that was all we had to offer as far as shampoo went. She’d need to get used to being around mostly men, as much as that irked me. The only women allowed to remain in my life were my two younger sisters and nieces, but they were off traveling the world on my dime.
Gabe leaned near the stove top, bottle of water in hand, breathing in as though he were about to speak up. Eira jumped again, this time nearly knocking my chin with the top of her head in her fright. My eyes snapped up as Davide approached, purple and black bruises under both eyes, nose swollen and reddish. She took a step back, pushing herself against me, her ass pressed to my thighs.
I grit my teeth at the contact, arm slipping down to circle around her waist and keep her planted to me. She didn’t seem to mind, her gaze clearly directed away from him. Her reaction to him was all the confirmation I needed. The fucker had done something to her, something worth getting the shit beat out of him for.
His eyes widened a bit before he glared.
“Did I miss something?” he spat. I felt her shivering increase as he spoke. I caught Gabe’s eyes, his usual smile dipping into a frown.
“I just wanted to make something clear,” I said, brushing my thumb up and down her hip bone, envisioning what it would feel like crashing against my own. The thought sent my heart racing, and it seared through me without warning as I tried in vain to dispel it. That wasn’t why she was here. He crossed his arms, annoyed.
“Uh oh,” Gabe said, grin creeping back onto his face.
“You never made it clear,” Davide defended, guilty as fuck. Rage coursed through me, and I straightened my spine, glaring down at him.
“How did I not make it clear?” I said, voice level, low.
“Please, you’ll be bored with her in a week and then we can all have a turn—”
He cut his own sentence short, and my fingers dug into her hip in my possessive anger.
“I asked you to do a job, Davide, not fuck around.”
His jaw snapped shut, defiance in his eyes. I turned to Gabe, whose smirk widened. He wasn’t very fond of his brother. I leaned down once more, lips at Eira’s ear as I gripped her chin with my other hand, forcing her gaze to what was about to unfold. She pulled away at first, but soon stilled like a statue. Gabe lunged for Davide, gaining control of him and pinning him by his throat against the wall.
“This is for you, bellissima,” I whispered, lips brushing the shell of her ear. Gabe waited, eyes one me, as Davide growled and struggled. I gave a slight nod. He reeled his fist back, hitting him square in his already broken nose, his head bouncing off the wall from the force of the blow. To my surprise, she didn’t flinch or shy away from the violence. A surge of pride tore through me. She had her weaknesses, her moments of falling apart, but she was equally as strong. I pressed myself tighter to her, feeling euphoric.
Gabe released him, stepping back to his spot as though nothing had happened. Blood coursed down Davide’s face as he howled in agony, but he knew better than to say a damn thing. Gabe picked up his water, nodding to my phone.
“I’ll go halves on pizza.”
I chuckled as Davide stormed off, nodding.