“You didn't scare me. You surprised me,” she snapped, snatching one of the towels off the floor and wrapping it around herself. She was relieved when he didn't follow the movement with his eyes. The last thing she needed right now was one of his smoldering looks that usually set her body on fire. Right now it would make her feel too damn vulnerable and she didn't need that. She needed to get it together and push through this.
He frowned down at her. “You're still shivering,” he said on a sigh as he headed for the door. “Get some clothes on and I'll see if I can find another blanket for you.”
“I'm fine!” she yelled after him. She was fine, more than fine. Everything was fine. The important thing was that she was alive and no longer stuck in that old musty shed. As soon as she was able to stop shivering she’d be better than fine.
Ignoring her trembling legs, she walked into her room and quickly pulled on a long-sleeved t-shirt, a pair of sweatpants and a pair of socks all while keeping an eye on the door. When she was done and didn't feel even an ounce of additional warmth, she crawled in bed, pausing only long enough to turn on the lamp by her bed to brighten the already bright room up a little more, and then snuggled beneath the covers.
Why couldn't she get warm? She was wearing clothes and there was a mountain of blankets on top of her, but it felt as though she was only covered by a thin layer of tissue. She was so damn cold, she thought miserably as another shiver rocked her body.
“I found another quilt and a blanket,” Christofer announced as he walked back into the room. Without another word, he placed the blankets over her.
“T-thank you, Christofer,” she stammered, closing her eyes as she willed her body to stop shivering. “I'm fine now. Thank you,” she said, hoping that he would leave. She just needed a little time to pull it together. By morning she'd be as good as new. She just needed to get warm first.
“We'll see if that helps,” he said just as her mind registered the sound of wood creaking. She opened her eyes to find him sitting in the old wood rocking chair in the corner of her small room, watching her.
“You can go now, Christofer. I'm fine,” she promised him even as another tremor tore through her body, leaving her with no choice but to grind her teeth against the pain racing up and down her muscles.
She heard him sigh heavily and looked up in time to see him pull off his shoes and the t-shirt he’d pulled back on at some point, leaving him bare from the waist up. If she hadn’t been shivering so damn violently or trying to calm her nerves she'd probably take a moment to simply enjoy the sight before her.
Had she ever seen anything more beautiful? She really didn't think so. Her eyes quickly took in his tanned muscular chest, ropes of muscle and perfectly sculpted abs. Okay, so maybe she took a moment between tremors to appreciate the sight before her. She was human after all. Thankfully another tremor tore through her body, helping her to focus.
“What are you doing?” she asked, hating the way her voice shook.
“Body heat,” was all he said as he pulled back the covers of the small double bed and climbed in beside her.
It took her a moment to register what he’d said and when it did she was moving to climb off the bed. Unfortunately for her, he was a lot faster than her and had her yanked back into his arms before she could put up a proper fight. Of course, once she felt the delicious heat that he was giving off she didn't want to fight it anymore.
With a little grumble and a grunt, she turned in his arms and plastered herself against him. She ignored his hiss of surprise as she pressed her cool cheek against his shoulder. If he hadn't invited himself into her bed she might have felt bad, but then again, she wouldn't even be in this mess if he hadn't ditched her ass today. This was his fault, she reminded herself as she placed her cold hand on his chest and nearly smiled when he released another hiss.
“Better?” he asked, sounding almost concerned, but she knew that he really wasn't. He was probably doing this out of guilt more than anything. Marta was mad at him and he was probably being nice to her to earn his sister's forgiveness.
If she hadn’t already known that Christofer was the one that owned the house and had the money she would have suspected that he was using his much older sister. She'd seen it enough times to recognize the signs. She hated when relatives who didn't give a damn showed up occasionally just to get on the good side of the elderly person she was working for to gain a spot in their wills. It was sickening and she was glad that it wasn't going on here. She really liked Marta, probably more than she'd liked any of her previous employers, and she didn't want to see her hurt.
The real reason, and something that actually stunned her once she’d realized what was going on here, was that Christofer genuinely cared about his sister even if he was lazy about showing it. In a way it was actually kind of odd. The two of them acted as though they'd been raised together when they had be at least fifty years apart. Sometimes Marta treated Christofer like the older sibling. That is, when she wasn't going out of her way to torment her brother. It was a little odd, but she'd seen odder things over the years.
“Go to sleep, Cloe. You're safe,” Christofer said, earning a snort from her.
Yeah, right. Like she'd be able to sleep. She knew it would be several days before she managed to fall asleep. She'd be too damn afraid to close her eyes, but she appreciated the offer all the same and of course the body heat.
She snuggled tightly against him as her eyes began to droop, noting that she felt oddly safe in his arms.
“What's wrong, Christofer?” Marta asked, appearing concerned as he made his way quickly down the stairs.
“Everything is fine. I'll be back in a minute. Grab your purse,” he said, desperately struggling against the urge to go back upstairs and rip into Cloe's neck.
If he didn't get downstairs within the next minute he knew there would be nothing to stop the monster inside of him from taking over. Holding her in his arms all night had been heaven and hell for him. Being that close to someone was something he usually never allowed for himself. He'd pleasured women before, but he'd never been able to relax his guard enough to hang around long enough to hold them afterwards or cared enough to do it. The only woman he'd ever cared about was Marta.
When they’d first escaped the camp, she'd been scared, traumatized, and in no shape to face the world alone. Every night he’d held her in his arms, singing all those songs that used to annoy him, but that she loved. He sang them until his voice was raw and she was sleeping deeply. Whenever she woke up in the middle of the night, he started all over again. He did that until she was a grown woman and no longer needed him.