“Greta took care of it,” she says kindly.

“Yes, but it shouldn’t have gone that far.” I step over to the tall shelf on the wall and open the cabinet, which is also usually locked, but isn’t. I take down some peroxide in a spray bottle and a clean wash cloth. “I’ll be here every day for the next week, at least,” I go on, spraying her ankle with the peroxide. “But I think it’s better that way.”

It still bothers me that I’ve been given a ‘leave of absence’ because I’m obviously too distracted to carry out my duties, but it’s for the best just the same.

“Fredrik?”

“Yeah?” I don’t look up at her, but continue cleaning her wounds though they’ve already been cleaned recently.

There is a bout of momentary silence and finally Cassia speaks up in a quiet voice. “I…well, I don’t want you to leave me again. Why can’t you stay here with me? Or, take me with you when you leave?”

I raise my eyes from my work and look into hers. She smiles softly, but I also see desperation in her delicate features.

“That’s not possible.” I look back down at her ankle.

Her mood shifts and I can sense that her smile has fallen.

“I wouldn’t run away,” she says; the desperation taking precedence in her voice. “I want to be here with you. I want to stay with you. You have to believe that.”

I drop her ankle more harshly than I intended and the back of her heel bumps against the cabinet door underneath the counter.

“Why do you feel that way?” I lash out, my eyebrows hardening in my forehead. “Cassia, look what I’ve done to you. How can you say or believe these things yourself? You’ve got to stop this—it’s making it harder on me!” I didn’t mean to say that last part, but by the time I realized it, the words had already fled my lips.

Cassia just looks at me, confusion and curiosity in her eyes.

“Harder on you why?”

I turn my back to her and walk back over to the cabinet and put the peroxide away.

“Because, Cassia, it can never happen. Nothing more than what has already happened between us, can ever happen.” I can’t look at her.

“Because of Seraphina,” she says.

I nod. “Yes. Because of Seraphina.” I hate the truth. I hate myself because of the truth.

This is the ultimate punishment.

“But I’m in love with you,” she says quietly from behind and my heart collapses inside my chest with a crushing force.

“Don’t say that!” I swing around at her. “You’re not in love with me, Cassia! You don’t even know what you’re saying!”

Tears glisten in the corners of her eyes and all I want to do is crush her against me and never let her go. But I can’t and I won’t. Her brown doe-like eyes look up at me with such pain that I can hardly bear the consequences. Her plump lips tremble around the edges. Her long, blonde hair lays like silk over her petite bare shoulders, stopping just below her br**sts that are somewhat visible through the thin satin fabric of the yellow gown she wears. I wonder why she never dresses in the regular clothes I bought for her. But I only wonder for a brief moment.

I try to avert my eyes until she says, “That woman has such a hold on your heart that it can’t breathe. She’s the reason your heart is dark. Look what she’s done to you. Look what she’s doing to you every day of your life.” My hands have compressed into fists down at my sides. “Why won’t you look at me?” Her voice begins to rise with desperation.

I look up and my eyes fall on hers.

“Seraphina is evil,” she says. “And look what she’s doing to you.” A trace of anger laces her words.

But it’s not the anger that attracts my attention, it’s something cryptic that lies beneath it.

“What are you saying, Cassia?”

She shakes her head gently and her gaze falls toward the floor.

“Cassia?” I say in a cautionary tone. “Is there something you want to tell me?”

“No,” she says after a long pause.

“You’re lying.”

She looks up. Pain and resentment and love resides in her eyes.

I step closer.

“What have you remembered?”

“Nothing.”

“Tell me the truth!” My fingers dig into the palms of my hands. “What have you remembered?!”

“Nothing!”

She slaps her hands against the countertop.

“Goddammit! I don’t remember anything!”

“You’re lying!”

My hands fly to her upper arms and I shake her so hard her head bobs back and forth on her neck.

“Tell me the truth, Cassia!”

The side of my face stings when she frees one arm and slaps me so hard across the cheek that I hear a ringing in my ears. I grab her wrists into my hands and shove her against the wall where the mirror used to be, pressing my body between her opened thighs. Her feet raise up onto the counter. Her eyes expand as largely as they can, her pouty mouth lies halfway open as her breath expels rapidly from her lips. I can feel her heart beating in her wrists secured beneath my tightening fingers.

Leaning forward even farther, my eyes bore into hers, my lips are inches from her own. “You’re going to tell me what you remember, Cassia, or I swear to f**king God I’ll put you in that chair.” My voice is calm, but harsh and unforgiving.

“Fuck you,” she says and it’s more surprising than the slap was across my face.

I pull back just inches and look at her. Tears pour from the corners of her eyes. It’s not defiance I see in her, but pure, unadulterated pain.

“I remember,” she says, trembling. “I remember everything about Seraphina. How I know her. Why she wants me dead. I remember.” She sniffles. It’s tearing me up inside to see her this way. But I can’t let her get to me. Not now of all the times she’s done it since I’ve had possession of her.

“Tell. Me. What. You. Know.”

She shakes her head and my hands tighten around her wrists pressed against the wall behind her head.

“I won’t tell you anything until you tell me everything.”

Gritting my teeth, I hold my position with her body against the wall for mere seconds before finally letting go. I take a step backward. My mind is thick with merciless thoughts. A dark, soulless haze momentarily covers my vision and all I see in front of me is who I wish she was. Seraphina. The other half of my soul. The only other person in this world who can control me, who can control my urges, my violent, murderous tendencies. Because if she were here, I could f**k her. I could take my anger and guilt and pain and vengeance out on her and she would love me for it. Because Seraphina never wanted me to be gentle. She wanted me to hurt her. She wanted me to make her bleed. She wanted to feel it when I released my darkest side because she was only ever at peace with herself when someone darker than her was in control. I was the only person darker than Seraphina. Together, we could not be broken.


Tags: J.A. Redmerski In the Company of Killers Book Series
Source: www.StudyNovels.com
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