He turned and strode to the door, opened it, and left without another word or a backward glance.
Her knees buckled, and she sat on the bed, her eyes wide as she looked around the room again. Dr. Vincent had been like a second father to her, and the events that had just taken place rocked her to the very core. She wiped away her tears. It was maybe twenty minutes later before the door opened again.
Neeka was so numb she didn’t even cower when a man in military-type gear walked in with a large box in hand. He set it on the ground without speaking or looking at her, and strode back toward the door, shutting and engaging the lock in place.
Even though she was numb, she found the strength to rise off the bed and move toward the box. She could have been defiant, but she wanted answers.
She’d been locked away for so long that staying one more minute in this hellhole was too much to bear. She’d find a way out. She had to, because giving up hope, even with the revelations she’d just been presented with, was not an option.
“Enough time has passed, Rye.”
Rye looked at the man that paced his office. “Calm yourself. You’ll have her when I’m finished. Patience is a virtue.”
“Fuck patience.” The man stopped, looking angry and annoyed, but Rye didn’t care.
“My work is more important than your perverse need to own Neeka. But a deal is a deal, and you’ll have her once I’m finished gathering all the details and data I need to make my research solid.” Rye stared at the man hard, not about to back down. “Now leave my office, and don’t come here again making demands.”
The man breathed out, his hands at his side, clenching, his face red, his annoyance and impatience tangible.
“I’m on a thin wire here, Rye. I’ve waited years to have her, and I want this deal settled.” Without another look he turned and left Rye’s office.
Rye had known Neeka since she was an infant, and although he had a fondness for her, his research and work were of far more importance than anything else. That was the way life worked, and she’d have no choice on either matter.
Neeka was led down a long, white hallway as two big men stood on either side of her. They held semi-automatic rifles, and their expressions were emotionless. She swallowed roughly, the shoes she’d been given making minimal sound against the white tile beneath her feet.
They took several more turns, and soon the all-white hallway turned less sterile and hospital-like. One of the men placed his hand on a glass, black plate on the wall, and the door slid open. She felt her mouth open slightly at the hallway that was revealed.
Oriental rugs graced the granite flooring, and oil paintings covered the walls. There were actually windows, and she could see the bright sun and clouds outside. Wincing from the brightness and from being locked away for so long, she blinked past the pain.
Although she saw outside, she was high enough up that all she could see were the tops of a few scattered trees. Everything else was dead land, sand, and nothingness.
They kept moving down the hallway, took several more turns, and then stopped in front of a set of wide double doors. One of the goons knocked on the wood, the sound loud as it echoed off of the walls.
Her heart was beating so damn fast, her nerves, and the betrayal she felt having her muscles tighten and lock up.
The doors opened to reveal a man no older than she was. He stood on the other side, the suit he wore all black. He didn’t even glance at her, just stepped aside to let them in.
His light hair was brushed back from his face, and his expression was unmoving. The assholes on either side of her pushed her forward, causing Neeka to stumble. Sitting behind a large desk was Rye, his focus on the papers in front of him.
“Leave us,” he barked out.
She turned around and watched the three men follow Rye’s command. The door shut behind them, and she clenched her hands at her sides, her fear rising. Rye was not a man she knew anymore. Everything he’d ever told her, how he’d ever acted toward her, had been a lie.
She faced him again and stared into his dark, emotionless gaze.
“Have a seat, Neeka.”
She straightened her shoulders and sat in the chair in front of his desk, not wanting to show him her fear, but it was damn hard.
He steepled his fingers in front of his face and leaned forward, bracing his elbows on the desk. “You are a rare treasure, Neeka. A very special girl.”
For all of her twenty-seven years, Dr. Vincent had been there for her and her family. Hell, he’d delivered her when she was born, and had been a support system after her mother passed away when she was younger. But the man in front of her was not the man she looked at like a second father.