Screaming in the Silence (8 page)

BOOK: Screaming in the Silence
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I took a few hesitant steps forward, brushing past Kaden and into the light. I inhaled through my nose and mouth, smelling and tasting the clean air that surrounded me like an embrace from a long lost friend. I would have been happy to stay on the front stoop of the house but Kaden appeared beside me, a blanket under one arm, and motioned for us to venture further. Again, he offered his hand, and again I refused to take it. Part of him looked sad by the refusal, part of him looked infuriated by it, but he didn't let either side win.

Kaden walked in front of me for nearly half an hour. I constantly stopped to look up at the sky or marvel at the brilliant autumn colors. I felt his hand pulling at my elbow if I paused for too long, hurrying me along as if we had some sort of pressing appointment. The thought that he would be taking me far away from the house only to kill me didn't pass my mind until I saw our destination. The path opened to a small lake, blue and sparkling with the reflection of the morning sky. Kaden walked to a small dock where a paddle boat was bobbing up and down in the gentle tide. Was he going to drown me? Leave me tied to a brick at the bottom of the lake? But he walked a few steps onto the dock and spread the blanket out, lying down and stretching his arms wide.

I looked around, a sudden urge to run had taken hold of me. Here, where there was so much to run through, so much to hide behind, I could easily get lost in the woods. He would hear me running, no doubt, for I had no idea how much noise my footsteps would make. And what would he do to me if I ran? No, the safest option was to convince him to accept the money and set me free, or wait until my father realized I was missing. Although, the amount of time it would take for both or either of those events to occur could be infinite.

I moved closer to the dock and eventually joined Kaden on the blanket. I imitated his movements, lying on my back, closing my eyes, and stretching my arms. The warm air and the bright sun felt incredible against my sallow skin. On days like these, back home in Delaware, I would be on the beach, lying in a bikini with a good novel or chatting with my best friends. But now I was lying on a rickety dock in baggy jeans and a man's t-shirt; my only company was my kidnapper.

I opened my eyes and I felt Kaden's fingers on my neck, tracing the curve of my shoulder and the hollow area above my collar bone.

"Stop," I said turning my head toward him. He had rolled onto his side, his elbow next to my shoulder, his head in his hand.

He shook his head and I frowned, knowing it would be useless to fight. His eyes and skin were practically glowing in the sunlight, his hair falling to the side of his face above his brow. I studied his face, his high cheekbones, his strong jaw and chin, and wondered what about this man had so captivated me. I was terrified of him but at the same time wanted him to desire me. I wanted him to care for me and protect me.

Kaden pushed himself closer, keeping his hand on my shoulder. His eyes were peaceful and not intimidating so I wasn't at all scared when he bent his head down and kissed the small wound Ray's knife had cut on my neck.

He stared into my eyes. His fingers glided over my collar bone.

"Why are you doing this?" I asked.

"Doing what?" He looked at my lips as he spoke.

"Why are you being nice to me?"

His mouth stretched into a smile. "I'm not a bad person, Raleigh. I've just done some fucked up things lately."

I raised my eyebrows at his understatement. "So now you're feeling guilty for what you've done? Are you trying to make it up to me, because, believe me, that's never going to happen."

Kaden lay there for a minute without moving his lips, just staring at me. Finally he spoke, "I'm not trying to atone for my actions because I don't regret anything I've done. I'm learning to live with the decisions I've made and am making the best of them."

With that I sat up and pushed his hand away. "And what about me, Kaden? I'm not a bad person either but I've been forced to live with your decisions. I have no say in any of this, no hint or insinuation about what's going to happen to me. I live, day to day, wondering if you're going to speak to me, kill me, or worse."

Kaden didn't sit up, allowing me, for once, to look down on him. "I agree, it's not fair to you. But what happened yesterday isn't worse than death. I know you know that."

"You don't know how I feel. You don't know how terrifying and humiliating this is."

"I don't want you to be scared when you're with me," Kaden said, sitting up and reaching for my hand. "You never need to be scared."

"You say that, but look at what you've done to me!"

"Let me explain it to you, then." I could tell he was getting upset. His eyes started to squint and his lips pressed tightly together. "When you and I are alone, when Ray and Marshal are out of the house, you belong to me."

I pulled my hand away, shocked by his words. I would never belong to anyone, especially Kaden. "What about that statement wouldn't scare me?"

"Just listen to me." He put two hands on my thighs to keep me from moving. "What I meant was, just let me finish."

I glared at him. It was a simple and common mistake to make. It had happened with my closest of friends and we always laughed about it. But Kaden had felt some remorse for his slip of tongue and I wasn't about to comfort him over it.

"I want you with me all the time, Raleigh. I meant what I said that night, about not being able to push you from my mind. Ever since I kissed you, I've wanted nothing more than to be with you. I thought that I would be able to forget about you, let you waste away down in the basement until I no longer recognized you. But then yesterday you made me so angry that I lost all sense of self control and now it's too late. I've had you once and I need you again. I don't know if I will ever stop needing to touch you or wanting to feel you against me."

I turned away from him, not caring if he had anything more to say. Everything surrounding me was tranquil and serene but I felt like a ticking time bomb, ready to explode. The water gently lapped against the rocky shore. The trees displayed their fall colors, hardening for the rough winter that lay ahead. The blue sky was flawlessly clear. How could things remain so beautiful in the outside world when my entire existence had just been claimed by a man who was little more than a stranger?

I felt my body start to shake. I blinked away a few tears and tried to compose myself. Kaden's strong arms pulled me close to his hard chest, wrapping around me securely.

It wouldn't be that bad, would it, allowing Kaden absolute control over me? In some sick and twisted way, he seemed to care about me, enough to let me cry on his shoulder, at least. No, things could be worse. All three of the men could divide ownership of me, and at least one of them wasn't as kind as Kaden proved he could sometimes be.

So I made up my mind and lifted my head to Kaden's. As soon as our eyes met, I spoke. "I'm yours, on one condition."

A quick raise of one eyebrow told me I had surprised him. "What's that?"

I knew he wasn't going to allow me to name my own terms, but this was more of a favor than anything else. "I'm not strong enough to stop you from taking what you want. But I'm also not strong enough to live with the abuse of being thrown aside when you're finished. All I ask is that when you're done, don't dismiss me like an afterthought. Let me stay for a moment so I can at least pretend that everything is going to be all right."

His eyes softened again and he nodded. His hands gently lowered me back to the blanket and he positioned himself over me. "You will never feel alone again," he said before brushing his lips against mine. His kiss was passionate and gentle but I sensed the conflict in him. He was worried I would change my mind, start to fight him off. I could tell how badly he wanted me.

He kissed me for what seemed like hours that day, slowly stripping away not only layers of my clothes but of my defensive wall as well. The noon sun found us lying side by side, me in nothing but my bra and panties, Kaden in only his boxers, our eyes closed in the resigned comfort of our new understanding.

Chapter 11

 

"Raleigh, Darling, are you awake?" My mother's voice sounded like a distant whisper. I opened my eyes and realized she was standing over my bed. I was too uncomfortable to speak or to move, so I blinked at her from behind my heavy eyes.

"How are you feeling today?" She asked, knowing very well that I wasn't going to respond.

"You look much better," she continued, wiping the perspiration from my clammy face.

I looked across the room as she turned her head. My father had entered the room, but I hadn't heard him. I saw his lips moving as he spoke to my mother but I couldn't hear the words. His face looked worn and his eyes looked tired. His head nodded towards the door and I felt my mother stand up. I watched her walk across the room and place a hand on my father's arm. But he wouldn't look at her. His eyes moved to my bed and I blinked under his stare. I had never seen him act so cold.

My mother left when my father didn't acknowledge her, hanging her head and wiping away tears. As the door closed, my father walked slowly to my bed, his heavy eyes now filled with sadness and worry.

I started to shiver as a cold wave passed over my body. My father looked at me helplessly and put a hand over his mouth as he choked back a sob. My body started to shake uncontrollably and my eyes closed in response to the terrifying tremors.

"
Raleigh
?" I heard my father say.

"
Raleigh
, wake up!
Raleigh
!"

My eyes opened and I blinked at the sunlight. I could feel Kaden's lips on my ribs and looked down to see his dark hair just below the curve of my breast. He must have felt me move because he looked up and smiled.

"I didn't want to wake you, but you're starting to turn pink."

I looked down and saw that indeed my chest and belly were starting to redden in the afternoon sun. I pushed myself onto my elbows and looked at Kaden, his head resting nonchalantly on my lower abdomen, resisting an urge to reach up and run my fingers through his unruly black hair.

He stared back for a moment, a casual smile still on his face. His lips returned to my skin. He kissed down my stomach and paused before reaching up and slipping a finger under the elastic band of my panties. Defensively, I crossed my legs and sat up, moving my hips away from his face. His head swung in defeat just above my knees before he sat up and reached for his shirt.

I watched for only a second as he pulled the fabric over his head and covered the muscles of his shoulders and stomach. I quickly followed suit, reaching for my clothes and pulling them on. Kaden wasted no time lifting the blanket off the dock before throwing it over his shoulder and walking back toward the trees. I wasn't eager to leave the serenity of the lake, but I wasn't in a position to demand or ask for anything. Kaden stopped at the beginning of the path and turned to face me.

"Hold my hand," he said as he stretched his arm toward me.

I took a few steps and reached for it, lightly placing my palm against his. His fingers closed around mine as he started walking again, pulling me behind him. I had to quicken my step to keep up with him since his legs were much longer than mine.

The shingled roof came into view and I craned my neck to see the driveway. It was empty, and I sighed in relief. I hadn't seen Ray's car since the morning they brought me to the house. I'm sure they had already fixed the damage, probably claiming they had hit a deer instead of two women.

Kaden let go of my hand, bounded up to the front door and unlocked it. I took one last look at the afternoon sky before returning to my prison. The oranges and yellows of the changing leaves contrasted brilliantly with the blue sky. Waving gently in the breeze, the limbs of the trees seemed to be dancing together, perhaps celebrating their last warm day before the bitter cold of winter froze them to their core. I closed my eyes and tried to imprint the image into my head. This was ever so much nicer than staring at dust falling from ceiling rafters. Inhaling a last breath of fresh air, I opened my eyes and walked through the open door, passing Kaden as I stepped inside. I was halfway across the living room when I felt his grip on my elbow.

"I'd like you to come upstairs with me," he said as I turned to face him.

I eyed the front door. "What about Ray and Marshal? Won't they be back soon?"

Kaden shook his head and pulled me gently toward him as a smile crept over his face. "They are on their way to Virginia to mail your letter and won't be back until tomorrow morning. At the earliest," he added with a tilt of his cocky head.

"Where are you mailing it to? Sixteen hundred Pennsylvania Avenue?"

Kaden's smile faded and he glared at me. "Clever, but not quite. You'd be surprised just how easy it is to obtain a PO Box over the Internet. Your letter is on its way to Dover, and will be waiting there until I can no longer afford the yearly payments."

I wasn't surprised to hear this. While incredibly incriminating if discovered, Kaden's diversion would buy him some time.

"Where do they usually go during the day?" I asked, wanting to change the subject.

"Why do you care?"

"Just curious, I guess."

I could see him debating whether or not he wanted to answer me and finally he gave in. "They're at work."

"Where?"

"The docks," he answered quickly.

"Why don't you work?" I knew I was letting my curiosity get the better of me but I couldn't stop myself.

"I work from here." He pushed his hair out of his eyes and gave me an exasperated look.

"Doing what?"

"I'm done with the twenty questions, Raleigh," he snapped. "We're going upstairs so we can finish what you didn't even let me start back at the lake."

I took a deep breath, knowing that what he wanted was inevitable. His hand was still on my elbow as I reached for his arm, lightly squeezing his bicep beneath his shirt.

BOOK: Screaming in the Silence
3.67Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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