Did I want to show those things?—hand over the private parts of me, he’d never accessed? “They were like best friends.” I felt my mouth form the words and heard my voice speak them before I’d made a conscious decision. No point in holding back now. “They would tell me their stories, and I’d live every high and low with them.” I shrugged, trying to downplay the significance of those—my only—friends.
“I read your journal,” he blurted out as if the words had escaped unbidden just like mine had. “I shouldn’t have done it, and I’m sorry. And I know it’s completely fucked up to be apologizing for that after everything else I’ve done to you…”
My cheeks flamed, remembering all too clearly the things I’d written in that book. Still, nothing had forced him to tell me. Nothing could force Derek to do anything he didn’t want to do. “Thank you.”
“What?” It was his turn to look dumbfounded for a change, though he had it covered up in three seconds flat. Still, it was a victory. More than worth the cost of the privacy he’d invaded. And a victory I was damn well going to savor. I didn’t even try to fight the Cheshire cat grin.
“You didn’t have to tell me, but you did. It mattered to you that you felt you’d invaded my privacy.”
“It was all true, wasn’t it?” he asked, his voice quiet again, almost as if he hoped I wouldn’t hear him.
My smile faded. Of course, it was all true, but I figured I knew what he was really asking. I’d only written about Derek’s father once in that stupid journal, but if he hadn’t known about the things the man had done, it must have come as a shock, possibly one he wished he could disprove. I could do that, couldn’t I?—tell him it had been a lie? It was tempting. I didn’t want to shatter the image of the only family he’d ever known. After the hell he’d been through, didn’t he deserve that image?
He nodded before I’d said a word. “That’s what I thought.”
Damn. Damn. Damn. If the man wasn’t so god damned perceptive, I could have given him that image.
The conversation died away after that. I was caught up in memories of that damn book, all the things I’d written in it, and the day my father had found it. I’d been late coming home from school in my senior year. I’d stayed afterward at the teacher’s request to discuss college applications because he’d noticed I hadn’t applied anywhere.
By the time I got home, my dad had ransacked my room looking for an explanation of my whereabouts. It would have taken one-hundredth of the effort to pick up the phone and call the school, but there’d been no point in making mention of that. He’d tossed the one lipstick I’d worked up the nerve to buy into the trash can and he stood in the doorway to my room, holding my journal open in one hand.
He’d made me stand there and listen while he read aloud every line, and then he hadn’t said another word to me for weeks. He wore the same disgusted expression every time he looked at me though.
Lulled by the gentle vibrations of the car engine, I must have fallen asleep at some point because when I opened my eyes next, we were at another fast food stop and Derek was opening the passenger door. I’d been dreaming, and it took a moment to separate myself from the images in my head. I hadn’t been dreaming about James. I’d been dreaming about Derek. He had me shackled to the bedpost, whipping me before he dropped the whip on the ground and shoved his cock into my sopping wet sex. He was my captor again, but I never wanted to escape.
He reached into the car to take my hand, but as I shifted my thighs to slide out, it was clear that my body’s response hadn’t been confined to the dream. I could feel the slippery proof of my arousal on my inner thighs as I stood up.
He led us to the washrooms in the store first, and he insisted on checking the stalls, but then he left me to use the men’s room next door. Afterward, he ordered our food to go like before, but we didn’t drive far again before pulling off the road into some secluded area. I looked up at him, perplexed, but it seemed as if he was deliberately not acknowledging me there. His jaw was clamped tight but there were no other outward signs anything was wrong.
I almost said it again—especially after the recent dream, ‘master’ was on the tip of my tongue. But I swallowed it back. “Derek?”
He parked the car and got out without responding, but he was at my door two seconds later. He reached for the bag of food with one hand and my wrist with the other and yanked me out. I couldn’t stop the tremor that rippled through my body. No warning signals were sounding in my head, but something was definitely wrong. Had we been spotted? Did we have to abandon the car? But he brought me with him to the trunk of the car and then stopped.