No clothes. Just a robe, loosely tied at the waist.
I walk down the stairs, noticing the house is eerily calm. None of the maids are running around, no butlers calling orders to the others. None of the guards are posted at the doors.
As I walk down the corridor, where his paintings are, I look in the empty dining room. There is one maid there, mopping the floors. She has her headphones on. I realize this is the same maid that walked in during my first few days in Draco’s bedroom—how scared she was that she did, as if I would chop off her head.
She doesn’t look up as she mops, probably not even noticing me.
This is the way he wanted it.
It’s a ghost town in here. Dead quiet. Eerily calm compared to the shitstorm that happened today.
As I walk down the corridor that leads to the galería, I stop at the top of the marble staircase. Music is playing. A violin. It’s a slow song, dramatic enough to make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.
I take each step down with each chord struck, walking until I’m at the bottom and standing in front of the half-open door.
The violin stops as I pull the creaking door open. My throat thickens.
I walk in, heart racing now, steps measured.
And then I notice. The room . . .
His art supplies, they are nowhere in sight.
It’s almost like a completely different chamber.
In the middle of the room there is a thick, black rail hanging from the tall ceiling. It extends all the way down, several feet from the floor, and I realize it has always been built in there. There is a slot in the ceiling that the railing most likely goes into.
On each end are leather cuffs with silver chains connecting them to the rails. Built into the floor are chains, similar to the ones in the brown shed, but shinier. Thicker.
A red light streams down from the ceiling, right on the spot the rails and chains are. They bounce off the marble floor, and near the staircase, where I notice he stands. The light barely shines on him.
He’s there with a leather paddle gripped in hand. And on the flat of it is the word OBEY.
My body swims with fear and adrenaline as I take note of his serious glare, the way his jaw ticks, his shoulders hiked with wrath. He looks mean and hard . . . he looks evil.
I swallow the hard lump in my throat as I stop only a few steps away from the rail and cuffs. I thought surely he would take me to the bed, hate-fuck me, and then be on his way.
But this? This means business.
This is serious.
He is going to teach me, whether I like it or not . . . and I’m ready.
He doesn’t speak as he walks, purposely avoiding the red light, lurking in the shadows. He comes closer and closer, and soon I can smell his cologne. He’s a step away. I can feel his anger radiating off of his tan skin, burning beneath the shirt that’s unbuttoned at the neckline and chest, revealing his gold crucifix and the broad pecs beneath.
“You know why you’re here, don’t you?” he asks, standing in front of me, tall, hovering. His voice is gravelly. Deep.
“Yes,” I whisper. “You made it very clear why I’m here.”
“Did I?” I can hear the jeer in his voice. “No, Gianna. I don’t think I have. See, I haven’t even gotten started yet with how clear I need to make myself when it comes to you.”
I let out a ragged, thick breath as he circles me like a lion about to pounce on its prey. Calculating. Waiting for the perfect moment to strike. When he’s behind me, I feel him standing close—so close I can feel his breath on the nape of my neck. He pushes the braid aside, bringing it over my shoulder.
“What you did, Gianna, is un-fucking-acceptable,” he grumbles, still close. “You would be fucking dead if it wasn’t for your father—if it wasn’t for how much I owe him. But since I can’t kill you out of my respect for him, I will make you pay instead.” He steps around again to face me. “I won’t be gentle with you,” he sneers. “Oh, no.” He squeezes my face tight between his fingers. “I am going to make you cry. I am going to make you scream and beg me for mercy. See, I tried being gentle with you, and you took advantage of it. You got a little freedom from me and turned right around and betrayed me. I told you I wanted to trust you, but that trust is long gone now.
“So believe me when I say this will hurt, and I will not stop, even when I hear you screaming. Even when I see the tears rolling down this beautiful, angelic face of yours, I will keep going. Even when I see blood, I. Will. Keep.Going.” He finally lets go of my face, and I release a shaky breath. “I will show you just where disobedience lands you.” He points at the rails. “Get over there.”