“Are you ok?” I asked her again.
She blinked those gorgeous eyes at me slowly. “I am learning english,” she spoke carefully.
I nodded. “Ok. What’s your name?”
“What’s your name?” she asked me back.
I smiled. “I’m Jillian. What’s your name?”
She smiled back, and her face lit up. “I’m Jillian, too!!”
I laughed at the obvious lie. “You are not. What’s your name, really?”
She clutched her hands together excitedly. “I’m Jillian. We have same name. Maybe you’re my mother?”
I shook my head at her, still smiling. “Sorry, sweetheart, I’m not your mother. I think I would have remembered if I had a little girl.”
“Maybe you forgot.”
“I promise I didn’t. Can you tell me what you’re doing in a place like this?”
“This is bad place.”
“For children, yes, it’s very bad. Where are your parents?”
She scowled, and even her scowl was pretty. “I don’t know. I think maybe you are my mother.”
I sighed at her persistence. “Why do you think that?”
She looked down, shrugging. “I don’t know, but I wish you were.”
I knelt down in front of her. “Trust me, you don’t want a stranger for a mother.”
Her chin set stubbornly. “You are not strang-” she was cut off suddenly by a loud crashing sound that seemed to shake the whole building.
“Um, I think we should check that out,” Sloan spoke, reminding me of her presence. I nodded, standing.
“Stay here,” I told the little girl. “I’ll come back after we take care of some business, ok?”
She ran after me, surprising me with a tight hug to my stomach. “Be careful. They are very strong. Don’t get hurt.” She placed both hands on my belly, whispering something indecipherable. It was then that it occurred to me that the girl wasn’t human. I had no time to ask, though, knowing my help was needed elsewhere.
“You stay here,” I reminded her as I strode away. “We’ll be back very soon.”
We continued our search of the club, and I couldn’t help but notice the increasingly strange looks I was getting. I glanced back at Sloan. “You notice people are staring at me?”
She rolled her eyes. “People always stare at you. You should be used to it by now. I hate blonds. And big boobs. Bitch.”
I stopped, looking at her. “Have you seen the looks they’ve been giving me? They’re not checking me out. Something weird is going on here.”
“Um, yeah. I thought that’s why we were here.”
“Just watch the faces of the next people we come across.”
We came across another chamber with someone getting whipped. I interrupted them without hesitation, calling out loudly as I stormed their private room. “Hey, have you guys seen a woman about my height with spiky black hair? Or anything strange at all, for that matter?”
They both turned to me, the still chained woman craning her neck. They just stared at me, confused. “She would look a little like me, my size, black hair. Ring a bell?”
“B-black hair?” the woman asked.
“Yes, pitch-black. Seen anyone by that description?”
They both shook their heads, still looking at me strangely. I let out a frustrated sigh as I stormed out.
“I see what you mean,” Sloan muttered behind me.
We continued our search of the large building, until we came across a large audience chamber of some kind, with a show going on that stopped me in my tracks.
A tall blond woman was at the center of it all, barely covered in a series of latex straps that didn’t manage to cover even the essentials. Nipple clamps tried but failed to help cover her ni**les, and her crotch didn’t fair much better, with a g-string so thin it barely covered anything. It was one of the most obscene outfits I’d ever seen, and she wore it with no shame. Her pale blond hair was done up in twin braid buns on the sides of her head. As I noticed her face, a face identical to my own, my hands clenched into fists at my sides.
“Holy shit,” Sloan muttered beside me.
“I’m gonna kill him,” I growled.
Two men knelt at her feet, but a cat-o-nine was only busy working on one of them . They both knelt facing us, and adding insult to injury, I recognized them right away. One was Luke, looking way too comfortable being bound and helpless. The other was the club’s owner, Johnny, who I recognized because he and Lynn had gone out a few times. He seemed to be a less willing participant than Luke, as he pleaded with his torturer to stop.
“Caleb,” I screamed across the room.
Caleb heard me scream his name, but didn’t bother to stop whipping the figure before him.
“I’ve searched the building, Jillian,” he called back to me in my own voice. “Johnny here knows where she is, and he’s gonna tell me.”
I strode to the center of the room, standing directly in front of the stage. I stood there with my arms crossed in front of my chest until he finally looked at me, with my own eyes. It was beyond creepy. I just glared at him until he finally shrugged, saying, “Looking like this got me in the club, fast.”
I eyed him up and down, portraying with a look how disgusted I was with my body in that ensemble. “You’re really gonna try to tell me that this,” I pointed at his near naked crotch, “was entirely necessary?”
He shrugged, “It did the trick.”
“I’ll help you beat the shit out of him, if you want,” Sloan spoke from behind me.
I gave her a surprised look. “Thanks for the offer, but we need to find Lynn first. Maybe after.” Something occurred to me, and I turned back to Caleb/Me. “Is this the first time you’ve mimicked me?”
His/My face went carefully blank, and I cursed out loud.
“You bastard!” I burst out. “Where and what have you been doing with my body and face?’
He held up his hands. “Don’t get too excited. I’ve never impersonated you in public before this.”
My eyes widened, then narrowed. “What the hell is that supposed to mean?”
“I think that means he did something worse,” Sloan said softly. Her tone was deadly. It was almost like, in spite of herself, she wanted to have my back. The thought warmed me. I had the bizarre urge to win her over again. But what was the point of that? Stupid human emotions. Even a small amount of contact with Dom had made me soft again. He had always had that effect on me. He made me almost feel human. Everyone always accused me of screwing with his head, but he’d had the same effect on me, in his own way.