Getting out of the car after the lead security man motions for me, I say to him, “Ensure we’re not disturbed.”

Nodding his head, he asks, “Would you like us to go through the house, sir?”

“No, it won’t be needed,” I say as I come around the door to escort Meredith out of the Tahoe I’ve taken over.

“Very well. We’ll have another car here soon. It will be roaming in a sporadic perimeter.”

“Good.”

It’s only early afternoon, but I can already tell the day has worn my poor Meredith thin. Escorting her into the bedroom, I sit her down on the bed’s edge. Kneeling in front of her, I look up into her tired eyes.

“The excitement will die down soon enough,” I say as I drop my eyes down to her heeled shoes.

Taking them off slowly, I lift her feet up on the bed and pull the comforter over her body.

“Promise?” she asks after a weary yawn.

“Yes,” I say, and then head into my office off the main bedroom.

Heading to the closet inside the room, I pull a new keyboard out of the box. I normally replace them after a couple of months. It’s just too hard to get all the lint and refuse out from under the key buttons for them to be worth keeping.

Plugging into the system, I begin my work.

I need to figure out who the hell is trying to kill us off. It’s the Yakuza, I’m willing to wager. But why now and what for, is the question.

The fucking tracer on my Escalade has been there for a small time. Maybe since the night at the club. Though with how sophisticated it is, I’m willing to bet I can trace it back to a manufacturer, or at the very least who built it.

12

Meredith

I wake up clutching a pillow to my chest and then immediately shove it away in disgust. Disgust for myself or for Simon, though? I’m not sure and it bothers the hell out of me. Ever since last night, I feel completely unbalanced.

Simon not only did a number on my body, he did a number on my head.

All those things he said… fuck. I honestly don’t know how to process it.

Sitting up, I glance around the dim bedroom. It’s empty, but I can hear fingers tapping rapidly against a keyboard coming from somewhere close. It must be his computer room. He left the door wide open.

Why is my first instinct to go to him?

Pushing that instinct away, I throw the blankets aside and slide out of bed. My thighs ache as my feet hit the floor and my mouth goes dry as I remember why.

Water. I need water. And perhaps a lobotomy, so I can forget that last night ever happened.

I glance towards the nightstand, checking the clock, and spot a glass covered in condensation.

Fuck. Did he know I’d be thirsty when I woke up?

Of course he did. He’s been watching me for five years. Apparently he knows everything about me. Too bad I know jack all about him.

I grab the glass and drink deeply from it. Then I set it back down on the nightstand, purposely avoiding the coaster. It’s a small, petty, rebellion, but still a rebellion nonetheless.

Every little bit counts, especially since that pit of raging fire I’ve carried around in my stomach seems to have extinguished. I want to be angry at him. I want to fucking rage at him and fight him.

But I just can’t…

It’s like when he fucked me he broke something inside me. He broke my ability to hate him.

Shaking my head at myself, I head into the bathroom to take care of my business. When I step up to the mirror to wash my hands and fix my hair, my eyes are drawn to the counter and all my toiletries.

It was unnerving as hell to walk in here this morning to find everything I need, everything I like to use waiting for me. Mixed in with his things.

And the devil’s in the details, isn’t it? Not only is all my stuff here, but he has everything placed exactly where I need it. My soaps are in the shower, my cosmetics and brushes are on the counter, and in the cabinets beneath the sink I found my tampons.

It’s creepy as fuck, but also, strangely, a little flattering. He set this all up while I was asleep, and then brought me breakfast in bed, again. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think he actually cares about me…

I shudder and turn off the tap. That’s a terrifying thought. I know he’s obviously obsessed with me, but to think he has real feelings… No, a man like him could never truly care about me in that way. I know his type. I’ve spent my entire life surrounded by them. Men like him, they only care about themselves. Their own personal wishes and desires will always come first. Sure, they might marry and have children. Take Matthew for instance. But ultimately their families are simply an extension of their possessions.

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