With the key comes guilt because now I’m breaking the law. These are real charges that could be brought against me. Breaking and entering isn’t the only thing I’ve done in here. I stole PowerBars and water from the gym’s front desk, but I made a list of everything hoping to one day be able to pay this place back. The man in the suit has no idea what he did for me the day he dropped his key. He was helping me survive.
I flip off the water knowing I need to get going. I’ve been in here too long already.
When I turn around to grab my towel I freeze and all the blood rushes to my ears. As if my mind conjured him, there he stands not five feet from me. He’s standing outside the huge gym shower that’s big enough for ten people.
His eyes travel down my body and back up. For the first time in my life I wonder what a man thinks of me even as I feel embarrassment flare over every inch. No one has seen me naked since I was a baby, and even then it would have been my nanny.
“I…I,” I try to form words, but nothing comes out. He keeps on standing there, not saying anything. Maybe he’s as shocked as I am. “I’m sorry. I was just leaving,” I finally get out of my mouth as I scramble for the towel hanging on the hook. I wrap it around me as tight as I can and feel my cheeks burn with shame.
“I’ve been looking for you,” he says as he cocks his head to the side. “You’re the little thief around here.”
Panic hits me and I try to rush past him, but he grabs my arm. It’s not hard, but I know I can’t break the hold. I look up at him and he’s even bigger than I thought he was. He fills out every inch of his custom suit. Not like my uncle who has to have everything tailored smaller to fit him. What I thought were dark blue eyes from a distance are now as hard as ice. There’s no warmth behind them even if my body is starting to heat more than when I was under the running water.
I want to defend myself and tell him I’m not a thief, but I’d be lying. I don’t need to add to my growing list of wrongs. The same man I’ve been having wild fantasies about is the one to catch me. I’ve been making up little stories about the two of us to fill my day. I’ve wondered what he’s doing and where he’s going. I’ve thought about his life and if he belongs to someone. Then I doubt myself and decide he’s probably like my uncle and belongs to a lot of women. That thought always makes my chest ache.
“Please let me go and I swear I’ll never come back. You’ll never see me again.” I try to jerk against his hold, but he doesn’t release me.
“How old are you?” he asks as I watch his tongue come out and lick his bottom lip. For some reason I mimic the action and his jaw tightens. His face is clean shaven and I miss the scruff it carries when he comes back to the gym at night. He comes twice a day, but even just once a day sounds miserable.
“Eighteen,” I reply, and I’m not sure if he likes my answer.
What I do know is that it makes me an adult. Meaning there won’t be a slap on the wrist for my petty theft. I swallow when I think about my uncle. He’d get me off, but I’d rather sit in a jail cell than go back to the life he has planned for me. One that I know is illegal but doesn’t stop him. I have a feeling nothing will and that’s why he can’t find me.
“Please. Let me go,” I try again as fear climbs up my throat.
“You’re homeless.” His eyes flick over to my bag, but I think he knew that before he looked over at it. Maybe he noticed me watching him. I bite my lip and nod. “Don’t you think it would be better to come with me then? Girls like you aren’t safe running around on the streets.”
He glances down at my towel and I do the same, seeing it’s slipped some from when I put it on. Only a bit lower and he’d see all of my breast. Not that it matters because he already got a full view. Who knows how long he’d been standing there before I turned around.
When his eyes come back to mine, I know he isn’t going to let me go. Unlike my uncle, though, I don’t feel fear. Desire curls up my stomach for all the wrong reasons and I can’t control myself. I need to because he can’t possibly want me. I’m a runaway who breaks into places and steals stuff. He’s a solid wall of man with money and power.