Manwhore 3, page 3
The long lines of the W cutting into my skin are too much. I buck and try to roll over, but he doesn’t let me. Sean presses me down with one hand while he cuts me with the other.
When he finishes, he grabs hold of my ankles and pulls me across the room. The carpet burns my breasts, but I’m no longer screaming. I’ve retreated to the back of my mind, to a place filled with buzzing silence, where I can’t feel what he’s doing to me. It’s a place where it doesn’t matter.
I’m limp when he drags me into the bathroom. The cold marble doesn’t register, even though it’s pressing against my breasts and stomach. My cheek is pressed to the floor as he walks away. I’m left like that, lying in a pool of warm blood on the cold floor.
This is how I found her. This is what I saw when I ran inside that day. I cut her free and watched her pale hand fall limply into a puddle of blood. The movement in my mind is suddenly real. My wrists fall freely to the floor, and someone is rolling me over. I don’t struggle. I don’t fight.
I see Sean looking down at me as he bends over to lift me up into his arms. He carries me over to the bed and places me on the white sheets. He reaches for the remnants of the ankle restraints and pulls them away. He spreads my legs and unzips his pants. I’m aware of him, but I no longer care. I’m here, but I’m not.
The gag remains. He takes my hands and places them above my head and leans in closely, and kisses my breasts. I feel him pressing against my core as he shifts, pressing his body to mine. He moves and rocks into me gently. He holds my hips in his hands and pushes into me slowly. His sapphire eyes lock on my face as he does it. He fills me, pushing in deep, over and over again. He doesn’t speak as he does it. There are no false words—only the sound of his breathing becoming more and more jagged.
His hands cup my ass as the rhythmic rocking turns frantic. He pushes in harder and faster, until that last time where he slams into me as deep as possible and arches his back. His eyes close and he stays like that for a moment before his shoulders sag, and he collapses on top of me.
He rolls off of me, and I feel my mind slowly turning over, wondering how long it will take for me to die. I don’t move when he gets up and turns on the shower. I assumed I’d be too weak. I blink and wonder why it feels like I’m waking up. I wiggle my toes and am surprised when they move. I sit up, shocked that I can. I pull the gag from my mouth and touch my arms. They’re wet, but when I pull my hand away, there’s no blood. It’s too dark in here. I can’t see what he did to me.
I slip out of bed, and pad to the bathroom. The lights are bright and blur my vision. I blink and rub my eyes as I walk over to the mirror. I expect to see my body covered in cuts and blood pouring down my arms, but when I wipe my hand across the glass—there’s nothing there. No blood. No cuts.
I glance down at my legs and see it’s the same. Sean is in the shower. I walk over and pull the door open. I feel half alive. It’s like he sucked every last drop of sanity and hope from my entire body.
He smiles at me awkwardly and holds out his hand. “Come in.”
I shake my head, instinctively backing away. “What did you do to me? I thought there was a knife. I felt the cuts and the blood.” My voice is shaking, and it’s not until then that I realize my entire body is shaking.
Sean holds out his hand, palms up. “Touch my hand, Paige. Do it. What you're feeling will fade the more you touch things and people.”
I don’t believe him, but I feel too weird. I reach out and touch the pad of his finger. The normal simmering spark between us amplifies, feeling like licking a light socket. The charge rushes through me, enough that I gasp and pull away.
Sean lowers his hand and explains. “That happened to me, too, after you did that to me.”
“I did not do this to you.”
“Yes, you did. You made me relive something that pushed me too far. You didn’t break me, but it came close. I did the same thing to you.” I can’t read his thoughts or tell if he has any remorse. I’m not sure if I care.
My arms are over my breasts even though my bottom is bare. I feel fragile like I might come unglued. “I felt the knife. I felt blood.”
“It was warm oil and a letter opener, Paige.”
I stand there, thinking, still unable to believe it even though both objects are on the counter. Before I can say anything else, he steps out of the shower, naked and dripping. He walks over to me and stops before touching me. Water beads on his hair and drips from his chin. “Thank you. I haven’t felt like this in a long time. I owe you, Paige.”
“No, you don’t. I did this to you. I caused your suffering to be more than anyone could possibly bear. The worst part is I know you didn’t do it. I just don’t understand why you aren’t trying to kill the person who did. Amanda’s killer is still walking around.”
He shakes his head and averts his eyes. “That person won’t kill anyone again.”
My eyebrow jumps into my hairline. “You can’t tell me things like that. I have to report it.”
He steps closer, his naked body barely touching mine and I’m such a freak because I want to jump him. He shakes his head. “You asked a question. That’s the answer. Amanda’s killer is gone. There’s nothing to report or call.”
His hands are on mine, and I’m not sure if I did it or he did. “You didn’t do it?”
He shakes his head. “No.” His voice is soft.
“I believe you.”
Sean touches my face and wipes the tear stains off my face with his thumb. “Let me help you feel a little bit better, if you trust me.”
I feel a smile take hold of my mouth as I nod. “A girl’s got to eat.”
“True.” Sean’s mouth comes down on mine, and he kisses me softly.
* * *
The trial ended a few weeks ago, and Sean Ferro is no longer the heir to a massive fortune because he walked away from it. That made my jaw drop, but he did it. He took the first plane out of New York and hasn’t looked back.
Sean did something with me that plummeted my mind into darkness and then brought me back to life. It was frightening and glorious. I’ve never forgotten him because of it.
It’s early spring, and daffodils are popping up in Central Park. I’ve gotten back into the habit of jogging, and I value that time in the morning more than anything else. Since my night with Sean, the mental barricade I was afraid to acknowledge is no longer there. I no longer need Club Noir, and have no intention of ever going back.
I shower and dress before Jess falls out of bed and heads to her yoga class. I spend the day crushing bad guys and wishing I had someone to share my nights. I’m not exactly lonely. I just know there’s someone out there for me, and I haven’t bothered to look for him.
When I get home that night, Jess has a bucket of chicken. I smile at her and plop down on our couch.
Jess hands it to me. “Your favorite, right?”
I take the bucket, thinking it’s filled with fried chicken and glance inside. Buttermilk biscuits. I grin at her. “Oh, my, God! How’d you know?” I pop a piece of bread in my mouth and savor the flavor. I swear it’s like these are deep fried angels or something—they taste like heaven in my mouth.
“Well, you’ve been working too hard and running too much.” She sips her huge-o bottle of water and lifts a chicken leg to her mouth.
“You’re a yoga teacher!”
“And I’m eating fried chicken and our living room isn’t Feng Shui enough. I know. My aura is totally out of whack. It’s throwing me off. By the way, this came for you today. I found it stuffed in the mailbox.”
She tosses me a beat up padded envelope. I put down my food, rip it open, and look inside. A smile creeps across my face as I recognize the black leather collar with nine stones.
There’s a note enclosed:
I thought you might need this. If you’re ever in California, look me up.
He sent it back. It means I no longer need to worry about this suddenly sh
“What is it?” Jess asks.
“Just junk mail. Nothing important.” Not anymore. I get off the couch, pad across the apartment into the kitchen, and open the garbage pail.
I toss the package in the trash with no regrets. That part of my life is over and I’m glad. I finally understand how people get over Club Noir and move on from the dark places in their past. I’m finally there. I’m ready to start looking for Mr. Right.
* * *
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The night air is frigid. It doesn’t help that I’m stuck wearing this little black dress in my crap car. I shiver as I try to keep the engine running at a red light. My little battered car is from two decades ago and stalls if I don’t rev the engine while I have my foot on the brake. I’m driving with two feet, in a car that’s supposed to be an automatic. The heater doesn’t work. If I try to turn it on, I’ll get my face blasted with white smoke. It’s awesome, in an utterly humbling kind of way. At least the car is mine. It gets me where I need to go, most of the time.
The light flips to green and I botch it. I don’t gas the car enough and it shudders and stalls. I grumble and grab for the can of ether. The cars behind me blare their horns.
I ignore them. They can go around me. I grab the can on the seat next to me, kick open my door, and walk around to the hood. I shake the can and spray it into the engine intake. The car will start up as soon as I turn the key now, and I can drive away in shame.
The night air is crisp and filled with exhaust. This road is always busy. It doesn’t matter what time of day it is. Angry drivers move around me. Everyone is always in a hurry. It’s part of the New York frame of mind. I’m treated to a catcall as a car full of guys blows past me. I flip them the bird and hear their laughter echo as they fade from sight.
Tonight couldn’t possibly get any worse. I put the cap on the can of ether. Then it happens. My night takes a one-eighty straight into suckage.
As I drop the hood, it slams shut, and I look through the windshield. “Seriously?” I say at the guy who jumps in my seat. He’s wearing a once-blue fluffy coat and hasn’t shaved for weeks. He turns the key and my crappy car roars to life. He gasses it and takes off, swerving around me. I stand in the lane staring after him. What a moron. Who’d steal that piece of trash?
Still, it’s my car and I need it. After the night I had, I don’t want to run after him, but I have to. I need that car. I take off at a full run. My lungs start to burn as I suck in frozen air and exhaust. I run down the shoulder, avoiding trash that’s laying in the gutter. My attention is singularly focused on my car. I push my body harder and feel my muscles protest, but I don’t hold back. He’s getting away.
I manage to run a block when a guy on a motorcycle slows next to me. “That guy stole your car.” He sounds shocked.
I can’t see his face through the black helmet. It has a tinted visor that covers his face. “No shit, Sherlock,” I huff and keep running. My purse is in the car, my only pair of work-acceptable heels, my books—awh, fuck—my books. I paid over a grand for those. They’re worth more than the car. I run faster. My dress flares around my thighs as my Chucks help me sprint forward. My body doesn’t want to do it. The stitch in my side feels like it’s going to bust open.
The guy on the bike is annoying. He rolls next to me and flips up his face shield. I glance at him, wondering what he’s doing. Biker guy looks at me like I’m crazy. “Are you trying to catch him?”
“Yes,” pointing ahead, huffing. There are three lights on this stretch of road before the ramp to get on the parkway. If he hits a red light, the car will stall and I’ll get it back. My lungs are burning and it’s not like I have time to explain this. My car has already passed the first light. “If he stops, the car will stall.”
“You want me to help?” he glances at the car and then back at me.
I stop and nearly double over. Holy hell, I’m out of shape. I nod and throw my leg over the back of his bike, flashing the cars driving past us. I so don’t care. Wrapping my arms around his waist, I hold on tight and say, “Go.”
“I was going to call the cops, but this works, too.” He sounds amused. I hold onto his trim waist and plaster myself against his back. He’s wearing a leather jacket, and I can feel his toned body through the supple material. He pulls into traffic and zips through the lanes. The wind blasts my hair and plasters my eyelashes wide open. We bob and weave, getting closer and closer to my car. My heart is racing so fast that it’s going to explode.
I see my car. It’s passing the second light. Motorcycle man punches it, and the bike flies under the second intersection just as the light changes. I manage not to shriek. My skirt flies up to my hips, but I don’t let go of the biker’s waist to push the fabric back down.
We’re nearly there when the thief catches the third light. The car in front of him stops, forcing the carjacker to stop as well. As soon as he takes his foot off the gas, my car convulses and white smoke shoots out the tailpipe. The engine ceases. The driver’s side door is kicked open and the guy runs.
Motorcycle man pulls up next to my car. I slip off the back of the bike, my heart beating a mile a minute. I can’t afford to lose this stuff. I’m barely making it as it is. I look at my car. Everything is still there. I turn back to the guy on the bike as I smooth my skirt back into place.
Tucking my hair behind my ear, I say, “Thanks.” I must seem insane.
He flips his face shield up and says, “No problem. Does your car always do that?” A pair of blue eyes meet mine and the floor of my stomach gives way. Damn, he’s cute. No, not cute—he’s hot.
“Get jacked? No, not always.”
He smiles. There’s a dusting of stubble on his cheeks. I can barely see it because of the helmet. He raises an eyebrow at me and asks, “This has happened before, hasn’t it?”
More times than you’d think. Criminals are really stupid. “Let’s just say, this isn’t the first time I had to chase after the car. So far no one’s made it to the parkway. That damn light takes forever and I keep stalling out in the same spot. You’d think I’d figure it out by now, but…” But I’m mentally challenged and prefer to chase after car thieves. I stop talking and press my lips together. His eyes run over my dress and pause on my sneakers, before returning to my face. Great, he thinks I’m mental.
Turning to the car, I grab another can of ether from the backseat and walk around to the front. I dropped the last can somewhere behind me. I pop the hood and spray. I’m so cold that I’ve gone numb. As I walk back to my door, I shake my head saying, “Who steals a car that barely runs?”
“Do you need any help?” The guy holds my gaze for a moment and my stomach twists. He seems sincere, which kills me. A strange compulsion to spill my guts tries to overtake me, but I bash it back down.
Pressing my lips together, I shake my head, and swallow the lump in my throat. Today sucked. I’m totally alone. No one helps me, and yet this guy did. “No, I’m okay,” I lie as I slip into my car and yank the door shut. “Thanks for the ride.” I turn the engine over and smile at him. The window is down. It doesn’t go up.
“Anytime.” He nods at me, like he wants to say something else. All I can see of his face is his crystal blue eyes and a beautiful mouth. He’s sitting on a bike that cost more than my tuition. He’s loaded and I’ve got nothing. A pang of remorse shoots through me, but I need to go. The haves and the have-nots weren’t made to mingle. I already learned that lesson once. I don’t need to learn it again.
“Thanks,” I say before he can ask my name. “I’ll see you around.” I smile at him and drive away, holding back tears
It’s weird. There are so many shitty people in the world, and on the worst day of my life, I finally find a nice one and I’m driving away from him.
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