Chapter 21 – I'm Fine!

Raine

His hand shot out, impacting with my stomach, pinning me to the door. He snarled again, "I said, what the fuck are you doing here?"

His fierce direct hit to my abdomen knocked the breath out of me, and pain radiated through my belly. I gasped, trying to breathe and talk at the same time, "I'm sorry...I didn't know...I didn't mean to!"

Suddenly his expression changed. He smiled cruelly.

Terror shot through me.

Before I could even realize what he was doing, he snatched my hand and wrapped it around his very hard shaft.

I screamed.

He clamped his free hand over my mouth.

I tried to jerk away from him, but he was relentless as he stroked my hand up and down his length.

His voice was deadly calm as he threatened, "I may not be able to compel you, but that sure as fuck doesn't mean I cannot force you do what I want. You still owe me."

He nodded down toward my hand and purred, "If you say anything to anyone, it won't be your hand next time. Oh no, those pretty little lips of yours will be wrapped around my cock. Do we clearly understand each other?"

Uncontrollable tears flowed down my cheeks as I nodded hard in agreement.

Abruptly he released my hand and spat, "Get the fuck out!"

I stumbled out into the hallway, tremors crashing through me as I ran back to Cage's suite. I had no idea how I made it there with my body shaking so violently.

I ran into the bathroom and turned the faucet on full steam, while I snatched the soap and poured the entire bottle onto my hand. I couldn't stop the deep sobs wrenching from my chest as I scrubbed it viciously.

It wasn't enough!

I still felt dirty.

I ran into the closet and hurriedly stripped off all of my clothes. Pain tore through my abdomen, but I didn't slow down as I grabbed a t-shirt and pair of shorts before hurtling back into the bathroom, turning on the shower and jumping in. The burning water scalded my skin, but still I turned up the heat, hoping the water would sear the remnants of Vladimir's touch away from my skin.

I cried until I had no tears left.

Finally I could take it no more. I turned off the water and stepped out. I was numb now as I stared at the deep purple and red bruise blooming on my stomach where Vladimir had struck me when he pinned me to the door.

My current state of shock did nothing to alleviate my pain. I whimpered and looked around quickly for the pain pills. I found the bottle, wrenched it open and threw two of them down my throat, washing it down with tap water.

I was calm now as I put on the t-shirt and shorts. It had been about an hour since I had seen Cage and I was shocked he hadn't found me before now. I wasn't sure what had delayed him, but whatever it was, I was hugely thankful for it. I had to keep this a secret from him. I couldn't let him see the bruise and I needed to come up with an excuse for why I left the party.

Before I could come up with a story, Cage burst through the door. His eyes scanned the room quickly and then zeroed in on me. I could see the relief rush over him, but there was more – he was angry.

He spoke slowly through clenched teeth, "Why did you leave?"

"I...I needed a minute to wrap my head round our conversation," I stuttered. Well, at least that part was true.

His eyes softened but I could see he didn't fully trust my answer. A muscle in his jaw clenched when he continued slowly, "Armand kept me busy entertaining his guests. They did not miss the fact that you were no longer by my side. Nor did they miss the fact that Felaern disappeared for some length of time as well."

What?

He thought I had run off with Felaern?

I gasped in shock, "No! I wasn't with him. I tried to get myself back under control in the bathroom...But I just couldn't." My lip trembled as I continued, "So, I came here. I'm sorry...For embarrassing you."

His entire body relaxed as he crossed the room to me. He whispered in my ear, "It's going to be okay. You have time. I will help you every step of the way...With everything you need."

I had almost convinced him. I could tell he believed me – until I flinched hard from the pain in my stomach when he hugged me.

He released me immediately and demanded, "What's wrong?"

"It's nothing! I'm fine!" I rushed. My voice was too high. Even I didn't believe me. Shit.

His eyes narrowed dangerously into slits.

He knew I was lying. Shit! Shit!

He looked me slowly up and down my body. I didn't see him even move before he tore the shirt in half exposing my chest. I grabbed at my belly trying to shield the bruise from him, but it didn't work.

He had been angry before, but now he was positively livid. His eyes snapped to crimson and he clenched his fists. "Who did this to you?"

I shook my head as tears flowed down my cheeks. I spoke barely above a whisper, "I can't."

His expression immediately altered when he saw my distress. He wrapped his arms around me and soothed, "It will be okay. I will make sure that whoever it was will never touch you again."

I continued to shake my head because I knew that unless he killed Vladimir, Vladimir would absolutely follow through on his threat, somehow, someway. And I couldn't bear it if that happened.

Cage stepped back with my continued silence and insisted firmly, "You can tell me anything. This action cannot go unpunished."

"No," I replied simply, before turning toward the closet to find another shirt.

He face transformed to shock as he read the resoluteness of my answer, and then back to anger. "Fine, if you will not tell me, then I will find out elsewhere."

He walked toward the door.

I rushed to him, grabbed his arms and pleaded, "Please...Please don't do that!"

His eyes were hard as he remained in the doorway. "You can still tell me. Last chance..."

I couldn't.

I dropped my hands away from him.

He nodded hard and left.

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