Mrs Briffen didn't have breakfast with me, which was odd. We always had our meals together. She wouldn't speak to me either. I tried to recall the things I'd done that might have driven her to act this way. I couldn't.

I went through the bookcase down the hallway to help relieve my budding boredom. Who knew living in a house this luxurious could be so bland?

I hadn't read a proper book in a long time. At home, I had to help my mother with the chores most of the time and our bookshelves were only stacked with old books that I'd read many times so I slowly resorted to knitting and origami for entertainment. 

The thought itself screamed boring. But it was the truth. There really was nothing else to do besides that.

"Up so early?" I snapped my head to the side. Harry sunk his teeth into an apple he held, taking a massive bite. He began to pace down the hallway, bobbing the half eaten fruit in his hand.

"It's twelve in the afternoon." I replied matter-of-factly.

"That's always early for me." He responded with a full mouth, his morning voice still noticeable in the muffled tone.

I wagged my head as a smile crept out. When Harry reached the entrance door he knelt down to put on his sneakers. Then I felt his eyes on me.


They were practically skimming me from head to toe. Not to sound vain in any way but I have been looked at by men before and I would always feel insecure and repulsed whenever I sensed it.

So this burst of excitement was something unfamiliar to me. I was so ashamed for feeling this way, although it was something I had no control over. What would my mother think of me if she knew?

"I'm thinking of having Chinese for dinner." He said.

"Oh, with your friends?" I turned to look at him.

"No." He lugged a backpack over his shoulder as he rose to his full height. He was so tall. "At home. I'm thinking of calling the cook over. What do you think?"

"Sounds like a good idea." I replied.

"You... do like Chinese food right?"

"Yes." He wanted my opinion? "My grandmother cooked it up often." I managed a smile. "Are you having anyone over?"

Harry looked down, letting out a quiet laugh as he rubbed his neck. "No."
Did I miss anything?

__________________


I'd only reached the fifth chapter of The Time Keeper when my eyes were fluttering closed. The cold air outside definitely had an effect on me. I could fall asleep any time of the day as long as it was chilly. Today was definitely one of those lazy days.


I had a feeling that I was about to drift off into a nice dream but it was made difficult as I worried for my mother and my brother. Last I heard my mother wasn't in a very healthy state.


But my eyelids were getting heavier by the second. Sleep had been my resort ever since I arrived in this mansion. It helped me escape reality and it had been the only thing I looked forward to. But these past few days, I found myself looking forward to something other than sleep.


Almost every day this week, I'd been anticipating for the clock to strike ten. I hated myself for it because that was when Harry usually returned home, although sometimes he would leave again for more parties with his friends. He was technically my captor, wasn't he? I cursed myself for having these thoughts about him. If he hadn't kissed me, I'd never have them.


I was suddenly hauled out of my sleep, my eyes straining as they struggled to adjust to the brightness. Then I felt an excrutiating pain on my neck.


A strong hand was latched around my neck as fingernails dug into the skin. I screamed. "Having a dream, love?" Richard jeered as Mrs Briffen cried out in the back. He jerked me off the arm chair I'd fallen asleep in.


I was positive that my neck was bruised. Tears began to spill from my eyes as he tugged me to my feet with violent force, his grip leaving a lingering ache on my arm.


"Stop it, please! I'm so sorry!" Mrs Briffen yelled.


"Briffen, you get back to the kitchen before I convince Damian that your old arse needs to get fired already." Richard spat at her before looking down at me. Droplets of sweat began to trickle down my face, my eyes growing impossibly wide with fear.


"What do you want?" I cried as I placed a hand over my neck.

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