I fight the urge to take a step back. Men like him enjoy the fear they can incite in people. I know that from watching my dad. He enjoys it too much, but I always chalked it up to being the boss. Now I’m not so sure that’s true. His way of life is all I’ve ever known, and from what I’ve just discovered, it might all be an illusion.

“I wasn’t aware I couldn’t have some sort of privacy.” I raise my chin in challenge.

“You’ll never have that.” I glance away from him to my closed bedroom door, wondering if I could make it. I might not need to because my scream would get attention. “But you know that already, little Loren.”

I look back at him and he licks his lips. I can tell something is rattling around in that head of his.

“He killed the last man who watched over you.” I’m not sure if he knew that already or if he just saw it on my laptop.

“No,” I say, but my head is nodding, not only shocking me, but I see it on Greg’s face, too. My faith in my dad is faltering and I just gave Greg a weakness.

“Why?” His voice is low now.

“I don’t know.” A tear slips free. I was sure I’d cried them all out. I was wrong. I was wrong about many things.

We both stand in silence. It’s not uncomfortable, there just aren’t any words I can find to say. At least that why I’m quiet. Greg is a little slower on the uptake, but even as I take the mental jab at him I realize I’m the one who’s slow.

“He kills them,” he finally says, and this time I can’t stop the chill that runs over me at the impact of his words. “Dear old daddy isn’t who he pretends to be in front of you. You’re his darling sweet daughter.” He licks his lips again. “Do you think he thinks about you when he kills them? You know I’ve read about that shit. Killers pretending to kill the same person over and over again. Some sick shit if you ask me.”

Suddenly I envision all those girls with red hair. The disgusting thought had entered my mind for the briefest moment before I tossed it back out. Greg is shining a light on it, on everything I’m refusing to look at. He’s giving the thoughts voice and it makes it feel real.

He shakes his head. “Though I could see why not having the real thing would be unsatisfying. Especially when it’s right in front of you.” He clears the rest of the distance between us and everything inside of me freezes.

He runs his finger down my cheek and it keeps going down my neck and across the top of my breasts. I want to slap his hand away, but I keep my grip on the towel.

“I bet you’re untouched, aren’t you? You’ve been locked away from anyone getting to you, when really you should fear what you’re locked in with.”

“Are you going to hurt me?” I ask, because I’m sick of not knowing.

His words are true and I should fear what’s around me. All this time my dad has been saying things out there could hurt me because of who he is, but the danger lingers within these walls.

“No, I don’t want to hurt you. I want you as my own because he doesn’t deserve you.” Greg’s nostrils flare and the darkness I know he has in him flashes in his eyes. I notice the way he says want to, meaning he will if he has to.

It’s in that moment I know it’s better the devil I know. My dad has never laid a hand on me. He might be capable of horrible things, but so far it’s not been to me. His temper with me is growing and I can feel it. Tension is in the air and I know all it will take is a spark. Still, I’d be safer with him than Greg. Maybe I could get out of here with the help of Greg, but I still have my own hidden escape path if they haven’t destroyed it.

“He’d kill you if he knew what you were saying.” I remind Greg who he’s messing with. I’m trying to use the fear my dad uses on others to get Greg to back down.

“But you won’t tell, will you?” His smile broadens. “You don’t like to see people hurt, which is unlike your father.” He leans down, brushing his nose against my neck and up to my ear. “Or maybe you don’t want me to get hurt. I’ll get you out of here and then I’ll have you all to myself.” He walks away from me and leaves the room. I’m relieved, but his fantasy that I want to be with him is terrifying.

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