Authors: Cristina Grenier
Tags: #bwwm interracial romance
Dorian snorted. “If you choose to believe that, then who am I to stop you. Shower or bath?”
“Shower or bath? For cleaning up. Granted, one of them has much better potential to actually get us clean and not result in us falling asleep in a large tub of water.”
Andrea’s grin grew. “And one of them has much better potential for shower sex.”
“Ah. Nice to see where your priorities are,” Dorian replied. “Shall we, then?”
And even though she had been tired out before, it was easy to peel herself off of him and head into his, frankly ridiculously lavish, bathroom to start the shower.
Needless to say, it was another hour before they made it down for dinner, and that was after a stop in Andrea’s room so she could get clothes that weren’t Dorian’s dressing gown to wear down to the kitchen.
Anita was nowhere to be found, but there was shepherd’s pie in the oven, and while Andrea set the table, Dorian dished up the food.
They ate in silence for a bit, both of them lost in their thoughts and in the act of feeding themselves after realizing how hungry they were.
“We should go somewhere,” Dorian said after a moment, and Andrea looked up with a frown.
“After we eat,” he clarified. “I just. I feel like I can’t breathe in here right now, and I’d really like to be elsewhere. I want to see the sky for a bit and just try to forget that all of this horrible stuff is just going to keep following me.”
“Couldn’t you just go outside for that?” The grounds were dark at this point, and there would be plenty of sky for him to look at. It wasn’t that she couldn’t see where he was coming from, because she definitely could. Sometimes after a massive fight with her mother, she’d just get in her car and drive for a while. Sometimes she had a specific destination in mind, but most of the time she was just trying to get away from the pain and memories of whatever had just happened with her mother.
But, then again, she wasn’t the current owner of a massive fortune who had people trying to make attempts on her life, and it was completely safe for her to go driving alone at night.
“It’s not the same, and you know it,” Dorian replied. “I just want to feel free for a little while.”
The look he was giving her wasn’t making her resolve any stronger, and she sighed. “Dorian, there was just a man who wanted to see you dead on the grounds of your house. Don’t you think maybe this is a bad time for you to be wandering off? Can’t you at least go and get one of the guards?”
He sighed. “I highly doubt they’d let me go anywhere after what happened today.”
With good reason,
Andrea didn’t say. She sighed and tried to think of some other way to persuade him to do the right thing.
“Let’s put it this way, yes?” Dorian continued, giving her an arch look. “If you don’t want to come with me, that’s fine. If you want to go and alert the guards, that’s also fine. But I’m going, with or without you, and in the time it would take for you to get the guards to find me, anything could have happened. It makes much more sense for you to just come with me.”
“Oh, yeah. Because I’m definitely skilled at keeping you safe when you need to be,” she muttered under her breath.
“We can take your car. They won’t be looking for that.”
“That’s a terrible idea.”
And yeah, it was really a very,
idea, and yet somehow Andrea found herself sitting in the driver’s seat of her car with Dorian riding shotgun, pulling down the driveway of the manor.
David was working the gate, and he waved her through without even pausing to look and notice that Dorian was ducking his head to avoid being seen. She muttered under her breath as they pulled onto the road and then sighed.
“Where are we even going?” she wanted to know.
Dorian shrugged his shoulders, leaning back in the seat. “No idea. Wherever. We don’t even have to get out of the car if that will make you feel better.”
“My brother is going to kill me, I hope you know,” she said, heading for the highway.
“He won’t. He loves you far too much for that. And if it comes down to it, I’ll take all the blame. Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve ridden in the passenger seat of a car?”
Andrea wanted to be upset that she’d basically been manipulated into letting him do this, but somehow his excitement was infectious. It was really nice to be out with him without any guards breathing down their necks, and as the miles flew by, she found herself relaxing bit by bit.
She turned on the radio, and the two of them sang along to eighties songs that they both knew, laughing and swapping secrets during the commercials.
“She used to be really nice,” Andrea found herself saying at one point, eyes fixed firmly on the road. “But when my dad died, she just. She shut down. And it was hard on everyone, but Ben took it the worst, I think.”
“It’s hard to imagine Ben just givin' up on someone,” Dorian murmured.
“Yeah. He tried for a while to hang in there, but. Once it became clear she wasn’t even going to try to get better, he was just done. I stuck around for a while longer.” That was something of an understatement, but Andrea already couldn’t believe that she was telling him about everything that had happened with her family.
“Well, you’ve got something of a front row seat for the mess that my family is right now,” Dorian said after a moment. “It’s really just me, now. I have Carlos and Anita and now all of you and the guards, but it’s not the same in some ways.”
Andrea nodded. “Yeah, I know what you mean.” She pulled off the highway onto a grassy area and stopped the car. They hadn’t gone too far from the manor, mostly just driving in circles that stayed in the same general area.
Once the car was stopped, Dorian reached over and took her hand, bringing it to his lips to kiss the back of it. “Thank you,” he said. “I know you were opposed to this, but it’s helping immensely.”
“You’re welcome,” she responded. “I’m still convinced that Ben’s going to-” she broke off when the flash of headlights caught her attention, and turned her head, trying to squint and see if she could tell who it was that was coming up on them. They weren’t on the main road anymore, so it had to be someone who knew they were there or someone who’d had the same idea. There was a chance it was some random person or someone who thought maybe they needed help, but Andrea had a sinking feeling that it was going to be Ben, ready to chew them out.
“Who is that?” Dorian asked, sitting up and turning around.
“I think it’s-”
She didn’t get a chance to say who she thought it was because a gunshot pierced the air just then, and she jumped, banging her elbow on the door of the car. The sinking feeling she’d had when she’d just assumed it was her brother come to bring them back got even worse because if it was someone other than Ben who’d been looking for them, maybe even
them, then they were in big trouble.
“Oh no,” Dorian said. “No, no, no, no. This is not good.”
?” Andrea snapped, her nerves winding tight. For all her brother was a bodyguard and skilled at this kind of thing, she’d never been in a situation like this before, and she had no idea what she was supposed to do. Before she could ask, three more gunshots rang out, and the sound of one of the bullets hitting the car was unmistakable.
“What do we
?” she asked, trying not to sound hysterical, probably with limited results.
“Drive!” Dorian said. “Maybe we can lose them in traffic. Or at least get close enough to the manor that we have a chance.”
“Right.” Her hands were shaking and fear was clawing at her chest, making it hard to breath and her movements were fumbling at best. It took her two tries to get the car started again, but she managed, reversing out of the little grassy area they’d been parked in and peeling back out onto the road with the smell of burning rubber.
Luckily (or perhaps
depending on how you looked at it) there weren’t many cars on that particular stretch of road, and so it was no trouble to speed up and weave through the few cars that there present, trying to lose the car that was clearly tailing them.
“Call Ben!” Andrea said, looking behind her to see that the car was still there. “Tell him where we are and that we need help.”
Her phone was closest, sitting in the cup holder right in front of them, so Dorian snatched it up and found Ben’s number, calling while she drove.
“Andrea,” Ben said as soon as he picked up. “Please tell me you’re with Dorian.”
Dorian,” Dorian said.
“Dorian! Where are you? What are you doing?”
Andrea could hear that he sounded worried, and she took a sharp turn, taking them off of the main road and putting them back on the road that would take them to the manor. Maybe they could make it.
“Elm!” Andrea supplied.
“Elm. We’re on Elm. And we’re being pursued.”
More gunshots sounded behind them, and Andrea risked a glance back and then swore under her breath. “How did they catch up so fast?” And then from behind the one car, came another, cutting off any chance of turning around. “Crap.”
“Dorian?” Ben was saying on the phone. “Dorian!”
“Yes, I’m here. We’re not far from the manor, but I honestly don’t know if we’re going to make it at this rate. There’s two cars, and they’re shooting at us. I don’t know how they knew where we’d be.”
“Just hang in there for as long as you can,” Ben said. “We’re coming. My sister is with you, right?”
Ben swore harshly. “Just. Hang tight.”
Dorian ended the call, and glanced back, seeing how close the cars were. Apparently the speed limit meant nothing to them. “Ben says to hang tight,” he repeated.
Andrea snorted. “Well, that’s easy for him to say. He’s not the one being chased, is he? We need to-”
Once again, she was cut off. This time by a bullet slamming into her back tire, puncturing it and making the car skid as she tried to regain control. They were going too fast to correct properly, and as they drifted to one side of the road, one of the cars came up to block their other side.
“No, no, no!” Dorian said, eyes wide with panic. “No!”
“Calm down,” Andrea said. “Just calm down.” But it wasn’t like there was anywhere for them to go. With a tire out, there was no way they were going to be able to outrun them, and as soon as she tried to think of a plan, the car on the side of them rammed them over, slamming the car into the guard rail.
The sound of metal on metal was loud and awful, and Andrea slammed her foot down on the brake, the car shuddering hard before it drew to a stop. “Are you okay?” she murmured to Dorian who was pale in the low light and breathing hard.
“I...I honestly do not know,” he said, accent razor sharp with fear. “What are we going to do?”
“What you’re gonna do is get outta the car,” a voice cut in, and they both looked up to see a man standing there with a gun pointed directly at them. He was dressed all in black, and looked buff enough that they didn’t want to take any chances by seeing if he was serious or not.
They looked at each other and the same defeat was in each of their eyes.
They were definitely out of options for the moment.
Chapter 11: In the Thick of It
Of all the mistakes Dorian had made in his life, this was definitely one of the biggest. He’d never meant to drag anyone else down with him, let alone Andrea who he never wanted to see hurt. But he’d been selfish and proved what a spoiled little idiot he could be, and now they were most likely in a world of trouble that they couldn’t get themselves out of.
For starters, he had no idea where they were.
When they’d gotten out of the car, they’d been pounced on by the rest of the people who’d been chasing them. Canvas bags were placed over their heads and their hands had been tied behind them before they were shoved roughly into the back of one of the cars.
The bags had made it hard to breathe, but Dorian had worked hard not to hyperventilate. Passing out wouldn’t do anyone any good. Neither he nor Andrea had tried to talk while the cars were moving, sensing that it was a bad idea from the start. He’d been able to feel Andrea trembling against him, though, and more than anything he’d wished that there was something he could do for her. Or that he could go back in time and listen to her warnings before he’d manipulated her into coming with him.
Now they were in a dank basement somewhere, still bound at the hands and now at the feet as well. Andrea was in one corner and he was in another, and there was a portly man with a gun standing in the middle of the room, probably to make sure they didn’t try anything. He didn’t look too bright, but it wasn’t like there was much Dorian could do anyway.
The bags had been removed from over their heads, and the air was thick with the scent of mold and damp. It was chilly, but he wasn’t naive enough to think that was the reason why he was shaking. This was fear, plain and simple.