Zee sat quietly beside Michael in the car. He was driving and she had no idea about where their current destination was. He kept running a finger beneath his jaw, which was set in a hard line.
After leaving the boutique in the heat of the tense atmosphere, they had been on the road for three minutes and he had not said a word. She had not spoken either because of the fear consuming her. Still, she was using the silence to plan her explanation.
There was no way she would explain herself without mentioning The Last Dare. It would sound ridiculous to him. Hell, it would have sounded ridiculous to her if she hadn’t played the game herself.
Michael could not understand why Zee had dared him by displaying another episode of disrespect right after he had warned her. The anger in him was barely controllable and he would have to vent it by teaching her a lesson. That would be good for him but too bad for her.
As far as he was concerned, every display of her bad character was an opportunity for him to exact his revenge on her for always playing with his emotions by seeing him as someone she could mess around with. The game had only just begun and it would intensify the moment they were married.
On the bright side on her part, though, she would get character growth whether she liked it or not. He was prepared to make that happen.
“Michael.” she said, interrupting his flow of thoughts and he spared her a glance before refocusing his attention on the road ahead of them.
“Good. Finally, you can talk. I’m all ears.”
“It’s not what you think.” Zee replied. She still had not figured out how to explain herself. She was so confused and scared, especially because the game was still haunting her, even though she had agreed to marry Michael.
“What do you mean by it’s not what I think?”
“I mean, I did not plan to yell at the attendant.”
“Of course, you didn’t.” His tone was laced with sarcasm. “You never plan anything. You’re impulsive. That’s why you always do whatever you like. But all that is going to change.”
“Michael, you have to believe me. I know I was rude the other time, but the last one wasn’t intentional.”
“Stop blabbing, Zee.”
“I have had enough.” He said forcefully and Zee’s eyes became clammy. Now she knew he would not believe a word she said. Tiny whimpers began to escape her lips.
“And shut the hell up.”
Her hand flew to her mouth, her palm covering it to keep her whimpers in. She missed her parents. They barely scolded her. She didn’t even have any memories of being punished by them.
“It’s not as if I never warned you. But you chose to repeat it. By that, you deliberately disrespected her and me as well. For that, we’ll be having a really unpleasant time alone.”
Zee already understood the threat behind his words. She knew it didn’t mean well for her. If they were going to have an unpleasant time alone as he put it, then it was obvious that she would be the one experiencing the unpleasantness.
“I can explain.”
“Maybe that should work better than the outright denial you’ve been so engrossed in.”
Hearing him say that, Zee felt encouraged to mention the game. She didn’t care if he believed her or not.
By now, he was driving towards the hotel he was lodging at, which was close to Inara’s family home. In trepidation, she realized where their current destination could be. He was taking her to the privacy of his suite to punish her and she had to do what she could to prevent that from happening.
“That’s the second time you’ve said my name, Zee. If you have nothing important to say, then you’re welcome to remain silent.”
Zee tried not to break down in tears as he pulled the car into the hotel, accepted a parking spot and parked the car at the assigned space. She became aware that two of his guards had immediately taken positions on each side of the car.
“Michael.” She said and when he fixed his amber gaze on her, she became speechless.
“Since you have nothing to say other than my name, I’ll tell you what will happen. I’ll take you to my suite where I can’t wait to teach you a little lesson about respect.”
The tears that had stood on her eyes started running down her face. “I can explain.”
“You’re starting to sound like a broken record.” He said, killing the engine and opening his side door. “Let yourself out.”
“Please, it’s the game.” She whined and he paused for a moment.
“The last dare.”
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