The night air clings to me, holding me here at the threshold instead of moving forward to face Aria.
“Where did you find that dumb fuck, Jett?” I ask him to get off the topic and remind him who I am. His fucking boss.
“He’s a good shot, just a little shit when it comes to his mouth. I think he has Asperger’s or something.” He looks past me and into the night for a moment before continuing. “He’s not too good at reading social clues, but in the war, he waited three days to get a shot on the insurgents in Afghanistan. Three days he stayed in the same bunker, barely bigger than a shack. He didn’t fucking move until the three on his hit list were in his sights.” He huffs a short laugh although it lacks genuine humor. “They came out for a smoke, thinking they were in the clear since it’d been quiet for three days. It only took him twenty seconds to get all three of them in the skull.”
“I still want to rip his fucking throat out,” I tell him absently, although my respect for Jett grows as I picture what he’s been through.
Eli shrugs. “I’ve told him before that he could still shoot his gun if I cut out his tongue.” He chuckles and adds, “Jokingly, of course. I owe him my life.”
“I’ll keep that in mind the next time I want to punch his face in.” My words come out dull, lacking the conviction I had before.
“What’d he say?” he asks me.
“Nothing,” I answer him, knowing I don’t want to have this conversation with him. I respect Eli, but he’s not my friend. This is business.
He nods once, opening the door just a hair more and the soft sound of it creaking is loud in my ears.
“Tell the men not to go in and to stall Addison until I’m done in here,” I say, staring at the spiral staircase that leads to the second floor where my little songbird is now caged. “I don’t want her to hear this.”
I pat him on the shoulder as I walk in, but I don’t look him in the eyes. Even though I’m staring at the staircase, all I can see is everything that happened hours ago. The gun she pointed at me, the box she ran to and hid in. The sight of the car as it pulled away and how she didn’t object.
My throat’s tight and the hammering of my heart gets faster and more painful as I climb the stairs. The railing is slick under my hot palm.
She’s going to know I fucking own her when I leave her tonight.
Even if she still leaves me, she will always belong to me.
The thought makes the rushing of blood in my ears that much louder. Each step closer to the door my cock gets harder, thinking of every reaction she’ll have to me.
Anger, hate even.
Or maybe she’ll beg me to forgive her.
I close my eyes, resting the flat side of my fist against the wall to the right of her bedroom door at the thought of her begging me for mercy. Something she refused to do in the cell.
My eyes open slowly at the sound of the bed creaking from just beyond the door.
I heard his footsteps before the door opened.
I can’t explain why I prayed for it to be Carter. The last time I saw him, all I had was fear of him.
With the window open, the wind drifts in, shifting the curtains out of place and letting the moonlight drape over Carter’s dominant form.
My heart flickers in a weird uneven beat and I’m reminded of the first time I ever saw him. The same fear races through me, but so does the feeling that he could save me.
If only he wanted to, but from the sharp look in his eyes, that’s not what he has planned for me at all.
At this point, I’m okay with that. He can do what he’d like to me because I already know I’ll submit to him. I already know I still love him. No matter how fucked up it is.
“Carter,” I whisper his name as I sit up in bed, letting the sheets fall into a puddle around me. A shiver graces my skin as the wind tickles my shoulder.
The floor creaks with his heavy step and the shadow across his face moves, hugging the sharp lines of his jaw as he stalks toward me.
“Get on your knees,” he commands me in a rough voice. That’s the only greeting he gives me and it reminds me of what life was like in the cell with him.
Defiance runs deep in my blood and it spikes anger high in my chest as my jaw clenches.
“That’s what you have to say to me?” I question him with my voice wavering. Anxiety and heartbreak are equally present, making my toes curl and my fists bunch the silk sheets. I can barely breathe as I bite back the words, “You didn’t come for me.”