Page 35 of Hero Next Door

“No!” I scream as he vanishes, bolting up right in my bed, as sweat covers the entirety of my face. “No, no, Mr. Jones, no. Don’t… don’t do this… don’t do this to… to anyone… to anyone else because…”

The words fall apart on my lips as I realize that I am panting and becoming desperate, unable to really grab on to Mr. Jones because he’s nowhere to be found. I’m not in that burning building anymore, the office is gone, burned down to the ground. I was lucky enough to somehow get out, although what happened to him I don’t know.

“He… he…” I shiver, the cold now creeping through me. “He forced himself on me. Or he tried to…”

“Esme?” At first, I think that I must be sleeping again because there is no way in hell that my hero is here for real… only, he is. Theo pulls himself up from a very uncomfortable looking bed on the floor and stares at me in shock. “What’s going on? Are you having a nightmare because of the shock, or is that real?”

“Both,” I admit with a gulp as I wrap my arms tightly around myself. “It’s both. I was dreaming about it, but it helped me to remember things. I think that my brain tried to block it out or something because it’s so horrible but… that did happen. Or he tried to anyway. He forced a kiss on me and wanted more.”

“That’s horrible.” Theo sits beside me on the bed. “I really want to hug you right now, just to comfort you. Can I?”

I ponder this for a second wondering if it’s a good idea for anyone to touch me right now, but I soon decide that I need some human connection from him. I need Theo to hold me because he might well be able to hold me together when I’m desperately close to losing my mind and falling apart. “Yes, please do.”

In his arms, I can feel myself start to rebuild once more, piece by piece. Just the knowledge that I’m not alone is wonderful, and to be with someone who clearly cares so much about me… well that just makes it incredible.

“He started the fire, Theo,” I admit in to his chest. “The details are a bit sketchy but I was in his office, he kept me behind after work as usual and he was being his normal crazy self. Yelling at me because the company isn’t doing as well as he wants, the typical thing.” He tuts, which nearly makes me smile. “And then he blocked the exit so I couldn’t leave. I told him that I wanted to quit my job because I can’t handle it any longer, which I think is the moment that he started screaming at me about wanting to be with me and stuff. Just like you said.” I lift my arm up and see the finger bruises there. I might be injured all over, but I know where that came from. “That’s when he grabbed me and he pinned me against the door. He kissed me. I didn’t want him to but he held me in place and did what he wanted.” I suck in a shaky breath, trying to steady myself before I get all mixed up. “I saw on his desk stuff that was weird. I didn’t think too much of it at the time because I just wanted to get out, but it was a kit to start a fire.”

“Are you certain about that?” Despite this question, I can already tell that Theo immediately believes me which brings up my own confidence levels in what I’m saying here. “Because we can get him locked up for a crime if so.”

“I’m sure. There were things there to start a fire and he was saying about being done with the business. He wanted me not the company as if he thought us working together was the issue standing in our way. He…” Urgh, I hate having to admit this aloud but it’s important. “He tried to rip my clothes off and got all mad when I didn’t want anything to do with him in that way. Then he started the fire. He poured gasoline everywhere and started the fire.” I pull back to stare at Theo. “I know you said that the police will pick anything up in the investigation, but don’t you think that I should tell them what I know? It might help them, don’t you think?”

“It would definitely help them,” he reassures me kindly. “I’m sure they are desperate for any evidence and eye witness accounts that they can get. If you need me to, I will come with you to the fire station. You know, if that will help? I don’t want to be in the way or anything, or force you to do anything you aren’t ready for…”

Tags: Mia Ford Romance