My eyebrows stitch together. What the hell is he talking about? He doesn’t know shit about me. Before I can speak on what he’s just said, I hear voices growing louder. Someone’s coming down the corridor. I listen harder and it’s one of the guards, shouting at another
“Shit.” I hurry to the steps, listening to the guards speaking rapidly in their native language. “They’re about to do a perimeter check. Draco will come looking for me soon. I have to go.” I shut off the lantern, putting it back in its place. “Tonight is your only chance to get out,” I whisper-hiss. “Wait for about thirty minutes. You better make it count, and you better run as far and as fast as you can. I would wish you good luck, but luck doesn’t seem to be on your side much right now.”
He chuckles dryly. “Luck is probably the only reason I’m still breathing, Gia.”
I purse my lips and rush up the steps. I grip the doorknob, the voices becoming distant. Good. They aren’t coming downstairs yet. I have time to make it back and pretend I’m coming from the library.
I hurry out, pulling the key from the lock and placing it above the banister again. I purposely leave the door unlocked, my heart beating a mile a minute. I don’t know what the hell I’m doing, but I hope that I’m right. I hope that Henry gets out and he gets somewhere safe.
I’m not sure if the part of me that feels guilty is the part that still cares for Toni or for Daddy. What Toni did—it was wrong. Unforgivable. But it doesn’t mean that I’ve stopped caring about him altogether. I remember everything I shared with him. Every moment with him felt like bliss, but that bliss has become shadowed by the troubling truth.
I don’t know how Henry will escape without arms. Maybe he won’t at all, but at least I tried. If he’s caught, it will be his own fault. My conscious is clear and my promise to him has been fulfilled. I did my part. He is on his own now.
Giving a thorough look around the hallway, I turn around and make way for the marble staircase. I get halfway down the hall before Patanza appears ahead of me, shouting, “Where the hell have you been?”
“Bathroom,” I shout back, pretending to adjust my gown.
I enter the dining room with her again. The music is still playing and Draco and Simon are still downing shots of tequila.
He spots me, head cocking. “Where is my mother?” he asks when I’m close.
“She’s tired.” I take the seat beside him. “She went to bed.”
“Oh.” He tosses his shot back, not even wincing as he slams the cup down. “Did she say if she had a good time or not?” he asks me, leaning back and planting his elbows on the arms of his chair. He runs his thumb over the skull ring on his pinky finger.
“Yeah. She said it was a good night,” I respond.
He nods and then stands, grabbing my hand. “Good. Let’s go.” I stand with him and we leave the dining room. But as we walk out, I look down the hallway, feeling my chest tighten. As we walk up the stairs to get to Draco’s bedroom, Henry’s last remark really gets to my head.
“Are you? Or is everything so normal and boring right now that you’re hoping he actually does something to you when he finds out what you’ve done? He’s spoiling you. Pampering you. He fucks you good, I’m sure. I can tell by the way you speak about him. So highly, like you owe him or something. But you want the old him back. The brutal one. The one that tossed you around and made a fool out of you. That’s the kind of man you want—the kind of man you crave so that you can have a reason to fight back or even kill him if it comes down to it. You’re just too afraid to accept that godawful truth.”
Am I bored?
Am I stupid?
Am I both?
Perhaps it’s not about the promise I made to Ronaldo. Maybe it’s something much deeper than even I want to begin to understand.
But for now I can’t think much about it. My back lands on the soft bed. His lips drop down to my neck and he sucks on my skin, trailing down, kissing each breast while his hands shove my dress up.
Fingers wrap around the waistband of my panties, tugging down. His mouth moves south, lower, lower, lower, until his face is centered between my thighs.
I can still hear the music—the guests partying and laughing.
Warmth coats my sacred area, swirling on my clit. His tongue plunges in and out of me, his hand resting on my belly to hold me still before I can wriggle.