Screaming in the Silence (5 page)

BOOK: Screaming in the Silence
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"Julie? Does he know I was with Julie, the woman you killed with your car?"

Kaden answered with a glare.

"No," I admitted. "I met her in Tennessee."

"You don't like your father, do you?" He asked without pause.

Now it was my turn to glare. "What does it matter?"

"Let me guess, your father fell in love with your mother, the beautiful and vibrant opera singer from London, but couldn't handle the stress of juggling a family and his career so he left you and your mother with a large monthly allowance to keep you happy?"

"Something like that."

"Something but not quiet?" Kaden raised an eyebrow in curiosity.

"I remember us being happy. Until I lost my hearing, we were happy. He could handle anything and everything until that was taken away from me."

"What happened?" Kaden looked genuinely interested, an expression which I hadn't seen before.

"Measles."

"I thought there were vaccinations for that."

"My mother didn't believe in them. He blamed her for the disease."

"And now you're angry because she's dead and he uses your disadvantage to advance his political career."

"Yes. And now you're scared because ransoming a senator's daughter is going to be a lot harder than ransoming off a lonely hitchhiker."

Kaden raised an eyebrow and we stared at each other for a minute. He had such intuition about me it was almost scary. I was amazed at how much he could learn from a few hours on the Internet and a few minutes in my company.

"You don't even want to go home, do you, Raleigh?"

That bastard.
I just want to leave here,
I signed, not wanting him to hear me say it.

Good luck trying.

I turned away, unable to look at him any longer. I didn't know what life was going to be like here. I didn't know if I could expect Ray and his pathetic younger brother to attack me every night. I didn't know if Kaden would tire of protecting me and say to hell with it. Maybe he would let Ray kill me if things didn't go his way.

Kaden's hips and torso came into view as I stared off into nothing, thinking about my future. I turned my neck more so I didn't have to look at him but, like he always did when he had something to say, his fingers gripped my face and turned my head up toward his. He looked incredibly tall from where I sat, his dark hair falling in his eyes and his shoulders curling over his chest.

"It could be a lot worse," he said slowly and moved a step closer, putting a hand on my shoulder to keep me in place. His belt buckle was at eye level and one more step would have eliminated the distance completely.

"I could be making you do things they don't even talk about in your Ivy League schools."

My jaw clenched and I smiled at him. "It was George Washington University, actually."

Kaden scoffed and released my face, walking away and sitting on the couch. He picked up a remote and turned on the small television that was in the corner of the room. I stood up, not wanting to join him, just wanting to do something to distract myself, but he spread his legs on the couch, leaving no room for me even if I had wanted to sit down. Shaking my head and rolling my eyes, I walked to the kitchen and looked under the sink. There, along with old grocery bags and a pair of snow boots, was exactly what I was looking for. I picked up the bleach, the tile cleaner and a sponge before standing up and turning straight into Kaden.

"What do you think you're doing?"

"Cleaning. This place is as disgusting as you are."

Kaden's emerald eyes sparkled with amusement and his lips twitched into a half smile. "Don't make yourself too useful. I might never let you go."

"Good luck explaining that to the FBI agents who will be pounding down your door when they discover I'm missing. Time's running out rather quickly now. I haven't spoken to my father in almost a week and he'll begin to wonder where I am."

"Fuck you, Raleigh," Kaden swore before walking back into the living room and taking his position on the couch.

I smiled to myself and for the first time in many, many years, I was happy that my father was in such a position of power.

Chapter 7

 

The hours felt like days and the days felt like months. I spent most of my time in the basement, cleaning and organizing, trying to keep myself busy because the alternative was lonely misery. At times I would find tears on my cheeks without even realizing I had been crying. I would drop a glass or a towel, whatever else was in my hand, without even realizing I was shaking.

Kaden stayed true to his word and kept Ray away from me. On the days when Ray and his brother left the house, Kaden would keep the basement door open. I was free to roam around the main floor, and use the kitchen and bathroom as I pleased. I looked forward to those days.

But on days when they were all away, or on days when they all stayed in the house, the basement door would remain locked and I had nothing but myself and the broken furniture to keep me entertained. Often, I would try to imagine the furniture in its prime, what it looked like, where it was kept, what was stored in the drawers or beneath table legs. Unfortunately, my imagination was not very creative and all the images inside my head looked more like a shabby-chic collection from a design catalogue. Other times, I would lie in my bed and try to remember my mother's voice. Although I doubted I was remembering it accurately; it had been such a long time since I had heard anything.

I was doing just that, while staring at the basement ceiling when I saw the dust falling from the beams overhead and I knew they were home. A week, maybe eight or nine days, had passed since they first brought me here, and I knew Kaden was getting anxious. He would stare at me for literally hours on end if we were alone, trying to figure out what he was going to do with me. His gaze bothered me at first but, like the silence, I learned to get used to it. I was never doing anything amusing or entertaining, usually just reading whatever magazine Ray or Marshal brought home. They didn't have books. Sometimes I would watch television with him. Kaden's green eyes were always on me, studying and questioning my every move.

We rarely spoke, which I found odd. If I were in his position, I would want to know everything I could about the person I was planning to ransom. I took his silence to be some sort of strategy, some plan to keep me scared and submissive. On the rare occasions when we did speak to one another, his questions and statements tended to be little more than one or two word phrases such as 'hungry?' or 'nice day.' It wasn't much, but at least it was human interaction.

Suddenly, the light in the room became brighter and I looked toward the stairs, knowing the door had been opened. Kaden's now familiar red Pumas came into sight as he staggered down the stairs. Was he drunk? His steps were usually so confident. As he came closer, I saw that I had been correct; he had a beer in one hand and was struggling to hold onto the railing with the other. His green eyes, normally bright and knowing, were glazed over and his lids were heavy.

He came to a stop on the bottom stair and just looked at me, blinking slowly and swaying on his feet.

"Do you know what you've done to me?" He wasn't opening his lips very wide and it was hard for me to determine what he was saying.

No,
I signed, hoping he would do the same.

"You've taken over my life. You're all I think about and I can't get you out of my fucking head!"

I didn't respond.

"You should be gone by now. I should have let Ray kill you but I was stupid and selfish, thinking I could …"

He took a step toward me but tripped down the last stair, landing on his knees and breaking the bottle of beer in his hand. He didn't attempt to stand up, but crawled over to my bed. I backed to the far side of the mattress, ready to jump up and run if necessary.

Kaden laughed. "Don't bother trying to escape. The guys upstairs won't be any help."

I glared at him and he smiled.

"Do you still hate me after all this time? I wish I could hate you, Raleigh, but I can't." He pulled himself onto the mattress and stretched his legs so he was lying on his side facing me.

"I try to hate you because, really, all you are is just some stuck up bitch with too much of Daddy's money. You wouldn't even give a guy like me a passing glance if we met on the street."

That much was probably true. But I couldn't think about what would have happened if Kaden and I met under different circumstances. That didn't help me in my present situation.

Kaden moved closer to me and reached for my arm. I jerked away. But he was too quick and had me by the wrist, pulling me back to the mattress before I could stand up. His strong arms hauled me under him as he rolled on top of me, pinning me to the sheets, his hands at my shoulders and his knees on the outside of my thighs.

I remained absolutely frozen. His eyes danced over my face, the muscles in his arms flexing as he gripped my shoulders tightly.

"So, maybe," he continued. "Maybe all I have to do is have you once and I'll be able to forget you."

His face started to come down toward mine and he kept staring into my eyes, waiting to see if I would protest.

"I can't promise you're going to like it, but I'll try not to hurt you."

Then, before I could turn my face to avoid his mouth, he kissed me. His full lips molded around mine and forced them apart. I could taste the beer on his breath, but his tongue was sweet as it gently entered my mouth. Kaden's fingers softly touched my cheek and neck, running down my arms and across my sides. I waited for his hands to roam but they stayed fixed, one gripping the fabric of my t-shirt, and the other gently touching my face.

This kiss hadn't been what I expected. I closed my eyes and realized how easy it was to imagine it all happening under different circumstances. Kaden kissed me again and again, each time as gentle and eager as the time before. He would tenderly bite my lower lip, tease my tongue with his, and then close his lips only to start again.

The realization that I was kissing him back hit us both simultaneously. My eyes flew open and he pulled away quickly, leaving me feeling naked without his warm body. Sitting above my knees, he stared at me, his eyes no longer glossy, and his lustful expression mixed with confusion. I pushed myself up onto my elbows, breathing heavily, but not wanting him to see me in a completely submissive position. I couldn't apologize because I didn't want to appear weak. I couldn't admit what I had done, because I didn't want him to think he had that much persuasion over me. So I stared at him, challenging him to make the next move.

Kaden opened his mouth to speak and then shut it, pushing away from the mattress and running up the stairs. The door slammed, shaking the banister. I threw myself back on the mattress, staring at the clouds of dust raining down from the ceiling.

Chapter 8

 

I slept very little that night, replaying the kiss in my mind, each time creating a new outcome and willing it to be true. But I knew what had happened. Kaden had kissed me and I had kissed him back. I was such a fool, so caught up in the moment, and now he had something to use against me.

I wasn't at all surprised to see Marshal tiptoeing down the stairs to deliver my breakfast the next morning. Did he think I would hear him? The kid handed me the oatmeal looking confused and shy.

Thank you,
I signed, smiling more at his awkward demeanor than his act of bringing me breakfast.

"You're welcome," he replied, though he looked as if he were asking a question with his eyebrow raised and his head tilted slightly to one side.

You're welcome,
I signed back.

Marshal grinned back at me as he repeated the motion. I nodded in approval and his smile widened. He quickly turned to leave, shutting the door on his way out.

And so the days passed. On my way to the bathroom and again on my way back to the basement I would see Kaden and Ray sitting in the living room, rarely doing anything that looked productive or strategic. Kaden never looked at me and, although it pained me to admit it, I was upset by it. So I spent the days in the basement, lying on my mattress, imagining possible escape scenarios, all of which I deemed implausible or too dangerous.

My meals became fewer and farther between; often all I received was my morning oatmeal, usually delivered by Marshal. I took to rationing it throughout my day. On my infrequent trips to the bathroom, I could see myself wasting away, my skin turning grey and my spirit draining. Showers were the worst because I noticed see my hipbones sharply jutting from my waist. My hair started to fall out in small clumps when I ran my fingers through it and the veins on my arms and hands protruded from my skin.

I'm not sure how much time had passed since Kaden had spoken to me. I lived in silence and the lack of conversation was torture. I didn't dare speak out loud to either Marshal or Ray, choosing to believe that Kaden wouldn't break his promise. I found myself, unable to talk with anyone else, having conversations with my reflection. I would sign, of course, not trusting my voice enough to whisper. Some days I would encourage myself to stay strong, others I would retell my favorite childhood memories or favorite fairy tales. It was during one of those stories that Kaden decided to speak to me again.

I saw the door open in the mirror, my hands instantly becoming rigid at my side. I turned to face whoever was interrupting me. Kaden stood on the other side of the doorframe, his face a mixture of confusion and frustration, his body tall and stiff.

"I came to check on you. You've been up here a while."

Afraid I slit my wrist or hung myself with shoestrings?

"You can speak, they've left for the day."

But I didn't want to say anything to him. I turned around and picked up my brush, running in through my hair and wincing as it pulled out strand after strand of blonde curls. Kaden stared at my reflection in the mirror, his face appearing concerned. He turned slowly and left, leaving me to finish my daily routine alone.

I couldn't decide if I wanted to stay or leave once I reached the living room on my way back to the basement. The light coming through the windows was pleasant, but Kaden's muscular body on the couch was a grueling reminder of my captivity. I chose to stay when I glanced at the paper on the table. It had been so long since I had seen a newspaper; I jumped at the chance to read it.

BOOK: Screaming in the Silence
2.32Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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