Patrick is silent the entire drive back to his apartment. He doesn't look at you even though he still opens the car door for you before leading you upstairs.. A nervous tension circles you like a storm cloud and your heart constricts with anxiety with every second the silence continues..
He leaves you standing in the living room, storming off into the kitchen, you hear the hiss of a bottle opening and the clink of the screw top hitting the counter..
You stand there, wavering between running to the bedroom and crawling under the covers to hide.. Or following him into the kitchen..
He gets the best of you and you choose the kitchen, sliding out of your stilettos you pad across the bamboo flooring..
You stand in the doorway, watching him as he leans his long muscular frame against the counter, a half drunk beer in front of him.. He doesn't look at you..
He closes his eyes, his head tipping back as he huffs out a breath.. "I'm tryin' real hard not to lose me shit here, princess.." He growls as you take a step closer..
His eyes snap open and his head drops back down.. His gaze finally meets yours and you feel all the air rush from your lungs.. "You know why.." He shakes his head and turns away from you, pressing his palms into the counter and leaning forward, his shoulder blades drawn together beneath his tailored dress shirt..
"Why, because a guy beat me up and so now I'm supposed to be scared of every man I meet.. Is that what you think?"
He laughs bitterly.. "Obviously you're not fuckin' scared, Yevette.." He whirls back around, his glare is icy cold and it sends a sharp stabbing pain straight through you.. "Cus' if you were, you wouldn' have agreed to that lil' fuckerz' stupid fuckin' plan!" He hammers his fist down on the counter, resulting in a bang so loud you jump in shock..
"I have to Patrick, there are HUNDREDS of girls.. Just like me.. If I can help set them free, how can that be wrong? Isn't that what you have been doing with those people who were trapped in that camp with you? .. The ones you still look for.."
His face falls, his shoulder slump.. "Don' you get it, Yevie?.. I'm the one who's scared.."
You take another step towards him tentatively, in case he isn't done with his outburst.. "I.." You hold your breath, it really feels like he is about to make the ultimate confession.. You want him to, you want to hear those words more than anything, because you know he feels it.. "I can't lose you, princess.."
You approach him quickly, wrapping your arms around him and looking up into his sad eyes.. "I didn't say I wasn't scared, Patrick.. I am.. But what is the alternative.. I hide in your shadow for the rest of my life while those assholes get to keep torturing people, selling them.. .. No.. It's sick! That can't be it, Patrick it can't be!" You don't know how to make him understand this is something you need to do..
Not just for the innocent victims, or your mom.. But for you..
Because you can't live your life in chains any longer..
"I could fuckin' kill Paxton for puttin' this idea in your head.."
You shake your head, he needs to see the reality, the real blame lies with the people who wronged you.. Not Hunter Paxton.. Even if he is a selfish bastard.. "This isn't Hunter's fault.. Michael and Anderson were never going to let me walk away.. Not really.. I will always just be somebody's property in their eyes.."
He growls out a long pained groan.. "Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuck!"
You grab his face and force him to look into your eyes.. "Listen to me.. This is happening. And when they take me, I will be counting down the seconds until you find me and we can finally be together.. Because I know you will.."
His eyes narrow on you, and in them a swirling sea of emotion is reflected.. "You're puttin' a lot of faith in me here, princess.."
You smile at him.. "Of course I am, because.." You slowly let your hands slide down the hard contours of his muscular shoulders to his chest, resting over his thudding heart.. You take a deep breath and dare to let the words roll from the tip of your tongue.. "I love you, Patrick O'connor.."