Nori’s body was heavy. She rolled onto her side trying to get comfortable, but she felt a sour taste in her mouth. Her eyes fluttered open. She instantly knew something was wrong. Where was she? She squinted, searching for her glasses. She rolled over and thought she saw them on the nightstand. She reached out and grabbed them with trembling fingers. She slid the frames onto her face. She looked around the room she was in...it was someone’s bedroom. Someone’s massive bedroom.
What happened last night? Did she go home with someone? No, she would never have done something like that.
She wracked her brain. What did she do yesterday? She didn’t feel hungover. So, clearly she hadn’t been drinking. Had her blood sugar gone too low? Nori sat up. She didn’t feel shaky or lightheaded. So her blood sugar seemed fine.
She looked around. She was on a queen sized bed. The room was so big she could have fit her whole studio apartment inside it four times over. There was a large TV, a table with a few chairs, and a large dresser. The furnishings were sparse. There was no clutter and virtually no personality.
Nori remembered what her mother used to say. ‘If someone has a lot of space and doesn’t have a lot of things, there’s a good chance they are exorbitantly wealthy because they don’t need to worry about throwing stuff out the same way that poor people do.’ Nori hadn’t grown up poor. In fact, she’d been the epitome of middle class, but her mom’s words of wisdom always stuck with her.
She looked down at her body and suddenly realized what she was wearing. She was wearing some sort of sexy lingerie set that she would never have picked out for herself.
These weren’t her clothes. Nori’s shoulders tensed as a surge of panic rushed through her because the only explanations she could come up with were not things she wanted to think about. Someone had undressed her...or drugged her...or kidnapped her...or all of the above.
“I’ve got to get out of here,” muttered Nori.
She swung her bare legs to the ground. There were three doors. She ran over to the door across from the bed and pulled it open. It was a private ensuite bathroom. She went to the door next to the bed. It was a huge walk-in closet, almost like another room inside the massive bedroom. She flicked on the light. To her left were men’s clothes and to her right were women’s clothes. But it was the back of the closet that concerned her. Her throat was tight.
She walked towards the twisted sight. The wall was covered in pictures...of her.
Nori looked at herself from when the movie first started filming. Another picture was from her walking to set during the fourth week. She could tell because she was walking past a 24-hour donut shop that she frequented on those walks. There was a photo of her during a planning session with Jake, Zev, Cameron the cameraman, and the director. That had to have been taken before the film even started. But the pictures that worried her the most were the ones of her sleeping in her apartment. She had a serious stalker.
There were at least a hundred different photos of her on the wall. “What the hell is going on?” she gasped.
Nori felt like she couldn’t breathe. Was this a panic attack? She needed to stay calm if she was ever going to get out of here. Her stomach churned and she knew what was coming. She ran to the bathroom and barely made it before throwing up in the toilet. Ugh. She rinsed her mouth out in the sink. She was getting out of there. She went back to the closet, clutching her hands in front of her chest.
“Who took these?” she breathed out, gently touching the photographic proof that someone had been following her. She studied them, looking for any clue to who her mysterious stalker could be. But there was nothing. Nori couldn’t waste time looking at the disturbing shrine. She took a heavy breath and felt like her lungs were tingling.
She snapped back to reality and grabbed a men’s shirt and a pair of women’s pants. The pants were a perfect fit. She threw the shirt over the sexy bra thing and buttoned it up.
She looked around the room for shoes, her phone, her purse, or anything. She searched the dresser and found a bunch of men’s boxers, panties, and more sexy lingerie. She lifted up one of the bras, it still had the tags on it. It was her size, she dropped it, and slammed the drawer. She needed to leave. She’d worry about everything else later.
She ran to the last door. It was open. Perfect.
Nori jumped down the stairs, two at a time, hoping it would lead her to freedom. This house was amazing, but it was too big and she needed to get out of here. Where was the exit? That’s when she heard him. She assumed it was a him . . . her mysterious captor.
She could escape or she could find out why she was here. There was no way Nori would come here of her own freewill. Why else would she not remember anything?
Before she could stop herself, she was moving towards the sounds she heard. She walked into a lavish kitchen. There he stood, cooking. Her stomach instantly dropped. Even from behind she knew who it was. He turned to face her with a devilish smirk.
“No,” she whispered. It couldn’t be. He was her friend. She had always joked...but no, he was her friend. She took several deep breaths. She clenched her fist.
“Ah, you’re awake, love. I see you raided our closet.” He paused, seemingly waiting for some kind of response. But she didn’t know what to say. She opened her mouth a few times, but kept closing it, trying to wrap her head around what was going on. “You look good in my shirt, but you’d look better with it on the floor,” laughed Theo.
Her nostrils flared. “What did you do to me? Where am I? Why am I here?” choked Nori, determined to get an answer.
“Woah, woah, just breathe, darling. In and out. In and out.” He walked in front of her. “I’m not going to hurt you or anything.”
Nori crossed her arms over her chest, all the muscles in her arms were twitching. “What did you do to me? Did you drug me?”
His smile quickly turned to a frown. “Drug is such a nasty word. I prefer to say I sedated you.”
“How is that any better?” she shrieked. “Why did you sedate me?” She was on the verge of tears. She wanted to throw something. She wanted to punch him. She dug her fingers into her skin.
“Because I wanted you and it was the only way I could have you.”
“What the fuck is wrong with you?” wailed Nori.
“Don’t curse at me!” In a split second Theo slammed her small frame against the wall, his hand clamped around her neck. He breathed heavily, blood rushed to his face as rage coursed through him. “I’m not like your precious Derek. You’re mine now and that means you’ll act like it. That means no cursing, no back talking to me, just obey me, and I will treat you like a queen, Nori!”
Nori’s vision blurred as she tried to fend off tears. But she couldn’t hold back any longer. She was petrified. She didn’t know what was going on. Slowly Theo’s hand trailed up from her neck and gently stroked her face. Wiping away the stream of tears. “Don’t cry, my love. In time you’ll be so happy here with me.”
“I want to go home,” trembled Nori.
Theo forced a rough kiss on her lips. He breathed in her ear, “You are home.”
Nori saw red. This wasn’t her home. She’d worked so hard to make a home for herself and this wasn’t it. She quickly jerked away from him, breathing so heavily she was on the verge of wheezing.
She raised her knee to his crotch and pushed hard against his chest. Theo stumbled backwards and Nori ran out of the kitchen. She wasn’t going to stay here for another moment. She darted into a large living room. There were two ways to go. She hesitated for a moment, then she dashed to the right into a sunroom that had all the curtains drawn over the windows. ’Shit.’ This was the wrong way. She bolted back to the living room and Theo jumped out at her.
“Nori! If you come over here right now I won’t punish you!” shouted Theo.
Her shoulders drooped. “You said you wouldn’t hurt me!”
“I won’t if you just listen to me. I can give you everything you’ve ever wanted,” he boasted.
Nori’s eyes flicked around the room, she needed to get out of here. Her eyes were watering. She sniffled, “All I want is to go home. I can just walk out the door and we can pretend nothing happened. No one needs to know.”
Theo strut towards her and Nori bit her lip so hard she drew blood. ’Think. Think.’ She jumped out of the way and kicked an ottoman and towards Theo, then ran towards the other hallway and hopefully her ticket out of here.
“Nori, you are going to regret that!” he bellowed at her back .
She briefly glanced over her shoulder. Theo was right behind her. He tackled her and pulled her to the ground.
“Get off me!” Nori tried her hardest to throw him off her. He pinned both her hands between her back and his torso. She let out a loud scream. “Get the fuck off me you psychopath!”
“What did I say about cursing!” Theo covered her mouth with his hand, she bit down hard. He growled in pain, but he didn’t uncover her mouth. “You bit me! You fucking bitch!”
Nori wouldn’t stop thrashing about. She could barely see anything through her own tears. She was shaking uncontrollably and desperately hoped to escape. He kept her pinned on the ground for far longer than she expected. After several minutes of this she had exhausted herself and knew she had no chance of throwing him off her. Nori had lost this fight.
Theo uncovered her mouth and slid off her, quickly grabbing hold of her arms. “Get up,” growled Theo into her ear. He half pulled her up and she half stood on her own. She had been crying so much that she was congested. She breathed through her now very dry mouth. Theo kept her arms tight being her back.
“We’re going to go back upstairs. So start walking.”
Nori slowly walked with Theo right behind her, keeping her arms in place. She didn’t have the energy left to fight him again. He walked her back to the bedroom she had awoken in and pushed her inside. He closed the door behind her and locked it, leaving her alone.
Nori panted. She grabbed her hair and started pulling it from the roots. She let out a guttural scream. There was no escape. She needed to relax or she was going to start doing stupid stuff that would get her hurt.
Nori stumbled to the bathroom and grabbed a tissue. She blew her nose. She rinsed her face in the sink. She was pale and her eyes were red. She tried to steady her breathing. ’Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale.’
Nori left the bathroom and paced about. The room was nice, but it was a prison no matter how she looked at it. She couldn’t escape if she acted irrationally. She wandered to the window and opened the curtain. She looked down at an unfamiliar suburb. Was this a suburb? Where was she?
She pulled the curtain closed and went back to pacing. She sat on the bed. What was going to happen to her? She pulled her legs up into her chest. She no longer had any tears left to cry. The door flew open. Theo came in with a tray of food and kicked the door closed. He put the tray on the small table.
“Nori, darling, come over here,” he cooed.
She wanted to tell him off, but she was tired and hungry and afraid, so she obediently walked over to the table and sat down. She sat cross legged on the chair, much like how a child would sit on the floor.
“Please eat. I don’t want you to get sick . . . again.” Apparently, he knew about her throwing up. Or maybe there was another time she got sick while she was out cold.
“Are . . . Are you going to punish me? Like you . . . you said you would,” stammered Nori. Theo moved his chair closer to her. He gently wiped the tears from her eyes with the pad of his thumb.
“Just this once I’ll forgive you.” He leaned in and gently kissed her forehead. “But you’ll need to follow my rules in the future. Now just eat.”
“I need to take my blood sugar.”
“Of course. I kept an eye on it while you...ah...while you were indisposed.” Theo walked to the dresser. He pulled out her test kit from a drawer.
“You also undressed me,” she mumbled.
“What did you say?” he asked as he handed her the meter.
“Nothing.” Nori set up her kit and looked at the history of readings. There were a few in there. Her sugar had been pretty low at one point. She was shocked she hadn’t died while unconscious. She took a reading, her sugars were normal, then she took a few bites of food and drank some water.
“I gave you some of your glucose tablets while you were out. I’m sorry I had to keep you like that for so long. But from now on I’m going to take care of you, little one.” She shuddered at the pet name he decided to give her. She hated it. She hated him.
“Where am I?”
“We’re at our home, in London.”
Nori knew she should be more surprised, but somehow she wasn’t.
“How did I get here?”
“It’s amazing the oversight they have when you travel by private jet.”
“And why did you bring me here?”
“You’re here because I love you.”
Nori’s mouth twitched. She put her fork down. “This isn’t love, Theo! This is kidnapping.” She could hear her own heartbeat pounding in her ears.
Theo stood up, towering over her. “You are on thin ice, little one. I suggest you keep eating your food and get used to your new life with me.”
The tension in the room was so thick she could cut it with a knife. She held eye contact with him for a moment longer than turned back to her plate. Nori silently ate her food. The only sound was the clanking of her silverware against the plate.
Theo sat there watching her. She was abroad, thousands of miles from home, with a man she thought had been her friend. But she was wrong. How was she going to get out of here? And home for that matter?
What would Derek do? He was her only real family. What about her friends? She didn’t have tons of them, but the few people close to her in L.A. would certainly notice if she’d gone missing. They’d been begging to hang out as soon as the film came to an end. And her best friend, Andrea, would be back from her own film set in Arizona any day. So, she was bound to know.
Nori finished eating. Theo sat down on the bed and patted the spot next to him. Nori reluctantly padded over to him. Theo pulled her down next to him. To think that at one point in time she was obsessed with this man. He was her favorite actor. And now, here she was, afraid of him.
She sat there, rigidly. “What’s wrong, Nori? Relax,” he said as he started rubbing her neck.
Nori pulled her head away and looked at him. “How can I relax when I’m sitting next to the man who kidnapped me.”
“Stop using that word,” growled Theo.
“What would you prefer? Abducted? Imprisoned?”
“Shut your mouth!” he yelled.
“Make me,” said Nori, braver than she felt.
“Oh, I intend to.” Theo smirked. He pushed her back onto a pillow at the head of the bed and climbed on top of her.
Nori gasped and tried to push him away. His mouth descended onto her’s. His kiss was needful and hungry. His desire for her was clear.
Nori broke down into tears and Theo stopped. “Why are you crying?”
“I don’t want this.”
Theo wiped her tears away with his thumb. “Why? Why won’t you let me love you?”
“Because I don’t feel the same way. I’m in love with someone else.”
Theo got off her and rumpled his hair back. He took off his glasses and rubbed his eyes.
He turned away and muttered to himself. “What can I do to make her love me? She’s my soulmate! She’s the one! This isn’t what I planned. Maybe if I’d been there when she awoke? It’s the only way. She hates me.”
Nori sat up and looked at Theo. She furrowed her brows and asked, “What’s going on?”
“I need to start over. It’s all going to shambles. I need to start over.” He walked to the dresser and grabbed something.
Nori kept her eyes on him. It was a needle. She gasped. “Theo? What are you going to do with that?”
“We’re going to give things a bit of a do-over. A fresh start.”
“Don’t touch me with that!” begged Nori.
Theo pushed her to the bed by the neck. She flailed about, trying her hardest to fight him off. But it was useless, the needle pierced her skin. She felt a cool liquid filling her body and soon the sleep embraced her.