Chapter 30

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Chapter 30

Madraeus padded back to his room. His shower had left his body clean but not his conscience. Rami's parting words had been turning over in his head with a vengeance. Whitney had taken everything in stride so far but if she found out that he had tortured Justin... It may be the straw that breaks Whitney's back. Madraeus growled in frustration. This is why he didn't get involved with anyone. Things always became complicated too easily. Quietly he pushed open his bedroom door.

The bed was empty. 

"Damn it." He growled. He stalked across the room and yanked open the dresser drawer. "Why does she ever stay where she's put?" He dressed quickly.

After a quick search of his living quarters and the office he strode down the hall way toward Whitney's apartment. "She had better be in there."

He thrust open the kitchen door and stopped dead. A sunbeam glowed in the air at the edge of the tile. It barred him from further progress into the room. It was coming from one of the living room windows around the corner. He gave another growl of frustration under his breath.

"Whitney? Are you in here?" he called impatiently.

Whitney froze when she heard him call her name. 

"Yeah," she croaked. 

"Would you mind coming in here please?" he sighed. 

Slowly inch by inch she forced her feet move. She tried to fix a pleasant look on her face. As she rounded the corner the sun glinted off the screen of her phone that was still in her hand flashing light across the kitchen. Madraeus instinctively ducked but the light seared his cheek. He hissed at the pain thinking how ironic that was. She clapped her hands over her mouth.

"Oh my gosh! I'm so sorry," she croaked as she rushed forward. Gently she reached out to touch his cheek. Her hands were cold.

Madraeus took in her wide eyes filled with panic and frowned. It was only a little burn. 

"It's alright," he gestured to his cheek absently, "this is nothing." Nothing compared to what I did to Justin, his conscience asserted. He cleared his throat trying to banish that thought. 

"You shouldn't use your voice too much if you can help it," he offered.

She nodded but she still looked frightened. 

He gestured to her neck, "Is it bad?"

Whitney shrugged and pulled the collar of her sweater down for him to see. He winced at the marks.

"We should have Dr. Kirkland take a look and make sure there is no permanent damage."

Whitney shrugged again. 

 "Are you alright? You seem upset? Is it because of what happened in here last night?" 

"I..." her voice scratched as she made a vague nodding shrugging movement. 

"If it bothers you, what are you doing in here?" Madraeus frowned. 

She gestured at her sweater.

"Ah. Yes, you needed clothes."  He added, "I put your things from last night in the laundry in my apartments."  She nodded biting her lip. Something was definitely bothering her. He looked her over trying to find the answer. She seemed nervous as well as scared.Her passivity coupled with the wild look in her eyes that she was trying to conceal bothered him.

"Come on, you shouldn't be in her alone." He slipped a hand around her back and guided her into the darkness of the hallway. "I'll call Dr. Kirkland since you can't talk. Although I must say it is a unique experience for you to be so quiet."

He periodically stole glances at her. Why was she so frightened? Was she afraid of him? He didn't know what to say to calm her fears but he had to try something. Her fear was killing him.

When they reached his apartments he turned toward her. Madraeus searched her face. "Whitney," he cupped her face, "about last night."  Her eyes darted around his face. She was like a frightened rabbit searching for an escape route. 

"You know that wasn't me," he started unsure how to explain, "It was me but that wasn't all of me. That was just one side of me. I am more than that monster. I don't want you to be scared of me."

She bit her lip as tears started welling up in her eyes. 

"My poor Whitney," he growled pulling her into his embrace. His heart swelled as she returned it fiercely.  She hugged him like she was pulling every ounce of strength she could from him. 

"I need to sleep," he said quietly into her hair, "the daylight drains me, but I will call Mrs. Myers to come sit with you." He pulled back and cupped her face again. "You are safe. Justin is locked away upstairs. You don't need to worry anymore. Just stay here, alright? I want you to be here when I get up for a change." He said before turning away. 

Whitney watched him disappear into his bedroom. He thought that she was afraid of him? He couldn't be farther from the truth. Regardless of how much she wanted to reassure him right now, she had to remain silent. His misinterpretation was the only thing saving her right now. If he knew the true source of her fear, it would mean her grandmother's death.  

A hysterical sob escaped her lips. She clamped her hands over her mouth. Quiet tears ran down her cheeks. She hated lies and secrets. She wished she could still be here when he got up but if she let Justin out Madraeus would see it as the ultimate betrayal.

With a breaking heart she turned to scan the room. She didn't have much time. If Madraeus called Mrs. Myers she would be on her way. Once she was here there would be no chance of getting to Justin. 

Quietly she made her way up the spiral staircase next to the kitchen. It was the only way up that she could see. She stepped cautiously onto the thick carpet of the upper living room. She had no idea where to go there were so many doors. Resigned to trial and error, Whitney started opening doors. 

After a few tries, she had managed to find a conference room, a lobby that led to the back elevator, and two unused bedrooms. She hadn't yet run into anyone. She wondered if her luck would hold. 

She started to open another door but heard snoring from the other side. She held her breath as she slowly let the door knob slide back into place. Slowly she backed away into the hallway directly behind her. While she waited listening for signs of discovery she noticed the walls next to her.  She tapped one with a fingernail experimentally. They were made of metal. Maybe these were the cells that Cecelia had mentioned.

Quickly Whitney followed the wall around the corner to the doors. There was a small sliding window in the middle of each door. She lifted the bar and slid back the first one to reveal an empty cell. She didn't bother sliding it back she was running out of time. Any moment could bring discovery. 

The second door she tried was the one she was looking for. She could see Justin in the shadows at the back of the cell. Whitney glanced around to make sure no one was coming then pulled open the heavy metal door. It swung silently on well-oiled hinges. Light spilled in from the corridor illuminating the bloody mess that was Justin. 

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