“Okay,” I say, trying to stay calm as I stare up at him. Something is obviously wrong here. “More work?”

“Yeah,” he confirms, his eyes hardening.

I have no clue what ‘work’ means to him but from the look he’s giving me it must not be pleasant.

“I don’t know when I’ll be back,” he goes on to explain, and his grip on my wrists further tightens.

It’s not painful, yet, but it’s obvious he’s trying to send a message. The same damn message that he’s been drilling in my head ever since he bought me. He’s bigger, stronger, meaner, and I’m his.

“You are not to leave the house, Beth.”

I open up my mouth to tell him I won’t, but he cuts me off by growling deeply, “Promise me. Promise you won’t leave the house. Promise me you won’t make a fucking run for it.”

I stare up into his eyes, and though I still don’t know why he’s so pissed off, there’s something vulnerable about the way he’s looking at me.

Is he afraid he’s going to lose me?

I could have left last night and didn’t, but I get the feeling right now is not the time to point that out to him.

“I promise I won’t leave,” I assure him.

He stares deep into my eyes, searching out the truth of my words before his grip and posture begins to relax.

“I don’t want to leave you,” he finally admits. “I’ve got a bad fucking feeling about this.”

I curl and uncurl my fingers, fighting off the numbness caused by his grip.

“If I had time, I’d drop you off at the compound…”

I stiffen. “Compound?”

His eyes drop to my mouth and he frowns thoughtfully. “Yeah, where Lucifer keeps Lily.”

I can just imagine what kind of horrible dungeon that place is.

His right hand releases his grip on my wrist completely and he drags it down to tenderly stroke my cheek.

His head dips down and his beard tickles my chin as his voice thickens. “Promise me again.”

Aw, the big guy really is afraid I’m going to take off on him.

“I promise,” I say easily, finding his worry kind of sweet. It would be even sweeter if he didn’t have me pinned down beneath him…

But I guess I have to take what I can get.

His mouth comes down on mine and he gives me a slow, lingering kiss before pulling away with a look of regret. “I’ll be back as soon as I can.”

I nod as he rolls off of me and stands from the bed.

I sit up to watch him pick up the pair of jeans he wore last night off the floor and shove his legs into them.

The room is quiet, too quiet as he gets dressed. I start to think of what I’m going to do today trapped in the house with Charlie without him.

Once he’s got all his clothes on, he grabs his phone off the nightstand, and leans over to grab me by the back of the head.

He gives me another quick but meaningful kiss.

“Take care of our boy for me,” he says, and straightens.

I nod and promise, “I will.”

He starts to walk out the door, stops, and turns back. “There’s a gun under the bed if you need it.”

19

Beth

The phone is taunting me, just begging me to pick it up and dial Sophia.

I haven’t seen or talked to her since I was taken from that room we were held in. Johnathan told me she’s safe, that they rescued her and returned her to father, but I need to hear it from her own lips.

What happened to her? What happened to Amanda?

I pace and pace in the kitchen. With nothing to do and no one to distract me, the not knowing is driving me a little crazy.

I’ve spent all morning hanging out with Charlie, trying to keep busy, but now he’s doing his own thing. He’s currently sitting at the table, playing with all the Lego sets I helped him build yesterday.

Completely oblivious to the little war waging inside me.

Johnathan made it very clear that I’m not to leave, but he never said a word about phone calls… But even so, I know he’d be pissed if I called someone without asking for permission.

Honestly, I don’t know why he’s so hard up about keeping me in his house, cut off from everyone I know. We don’t want my father to find me, of course, but Sophia would never betray me and give my location away.

Besides, if we’re just talking on the phone, she won’t know where I am anyway.

Fuck it, I know I’m probably making a mistake, but what Johnathan doesn’t know won’t hurt him.

Or me, for that matter.

I just need to hear her voice. I just need to know she’s safe.

Picking up the phone, I quickly punch Sophia’s cell number in before I lose my nerve. The phone rings once, twice, and then she picks up.

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