Heat crawled up my face and the lump in my throat got harder to swallow and keep at bay. I bit on my lip and looked down at my plate of cooling food.
“With so much responsibility resting upon your shoulders how is it that you're still so innocent, still a trembling little thing needing to be told what to do?”
“I'm not a baby,” I stated firmly, but my voice lacked that certain kind of conviction—of confidence.
“Right,” he said, a big grin played across his face. It fell quickly, “Do you blame your mother?” Taken aback, I blinked and simply nodded in response. How could he see me so well? I wiped away the tears before they spilled from my eyes.
“Yes!” I cried and succumbed to my tears, head in my hands.
“I don't mean to make you cry Kitten.” He leaned in farther, his hand reaching for mine. The hell you don’t. I tried to pull my hand away, but his hold was insistent. I dared a look at him. Was that my pain reflected in the pool of his eyes? He swallowed and it was as if he was hiding some powerful emotion. He cleared his throat and when he spoke, he was once again in charge of himself, “Do you think she misses you?” He asked so matter-of-factly, as if the answer was not capable of breaking me inside, but it was, it really was.
I cried so hard the tears spread all over my face and I kept wiping my hands on my nightgown. “Please, stop it. Why are you being so cruel?”
He seemed impatient, “Just answer my question. It’s very simple–do you think she misses you? Or do you think it’s possible she’s already moved on and forgotten you?”
I pulled my hand from under his oppressive grip and pounded the table, “You don't know me! You don't know my family. You don't know a single thing about me. You're just some sick pervert who kidnaps women so you can feel superior! You think I give a fuck about what you say? I don't. I hate you!” The moment I finished with my outburst, cold, black, heavy fear took hold of me. He looked pissed. He gently tapped his fork against his plate, but one look at his knuckles, all white with the intensity of his grasp, suggested there was nothing gentle about him just now. I looked into his eyes, keeping his gaze locked onto mine, hoping that his anger would ebb. If I looked away, there was no hope for me.
Suddenly, he burst into a fit of laughter so loud and forceful that I jumped and slapped my hands over my ears. It made me want to scream, just to make him stop laughing. He rose from his chair and came at me with his hands out. I quickly threw my hands up to protect my face. To my surprise, he grabbed my face in his hands and kissed me on the mouth so intensely it made my lips hurt a little. His face lingered close to mine, his breath warm on my mouth.
“I'll let you have that one Kitten. I'll let you have it because it's told me so much about you already. And I like you Kitten, I like your saucy little mouth. I don't want to hurt it. I'd rather kiss it, just like this.” He put his mouth on mine again, this time softly, his tongue gently probing my lips, until forced apart. I put my hands on his wrists, gently pushing him back before I turned my head away and wiped my mouth with the back of my hand. He stood upright, grabbing my chin and tilting it upward. We looked at each other again.
“But if you keep this up,” he continued, “I will have to teach your saucy mouth a cruel lesson. Do you understand?” I nodded slowly, his hand still holding my chin. He smiled, “Good.” He sat back down at his chair, seemingly delighted with himself. So much for his pity.
“My mother does miss me,” I was adamant. “She’ll never stop looking for me; no mother would ever stop looking for her child.” But my tone wasn't too convincing, not even to my own ears. For a moment he looked just as stricken as I felt, but only for a moment. Did I want to know why? Was he after more than my misery?
“If you say so,” he whispered, expression cooling.
I looked away and chugged on my beer, picked up my fork and stuck a big scoop of food into my mouth. If my mouth was full, I couldn’t talk. We sat in silence for several minutes, just the sound of both of us chewing and drinking. I stared at the fork, my metal fork and for too long because when I felt watched, I looked up. Caleb just smiled at me. He was daring me to use it as a weapon. It was odd to discover I was learning his various smiles. I think I got a little bit drunk because the world seemed a little, I don't know, wobbly? For reasons unknown to me at the time, I felt compelled to repeat a question...carefully.
He had told me once before he would do whatever he wanted with me, but he’d never told me what that might be. Was what happened between us the worst of it? I was surprisingly hopeful. “Master?” I paused. When he said nothing, I continued. “What happened before…is that all you plan to do with me?” The question didn't seem to surprise him in the least, but it felt like I’d asked him the most important question I could ever ask him.
He continued eating without another look at me. I pushed the food around, drank my beer as the weight of the silence became denser, more obvious he had an answer and didn’t want to say anything.
My face grew very warm, though I figured the alcohol was responsible for a little of it. I looked down at my plate again. I had eaten everything; funny, I didn’t remember doing that. “Another one?” He pointed at my drink, that smile of his playing on the curve of his lips.
“Um, yeah, I guess.” He got up from the table and moved around in the small kitchen. I looked around again, still in mild shock over how it was that I had come to be here. I never believed such a thing could happen to me. I had never imagined my life could take such an outrageous turn, or at least, certainly not for the worst. Not that I ever had any reason to be optimistic. He returned shortly, bottle in hand and opened it before giving it to me.
“Don’t drink too much Kitten. I don’t want you to be sick.” I drank from the bottle, marveling to myself at just how much like water it tasted now. He sat back down, set on ignoring me while he continued to eat and drink. It was pissing me off.
“And what about you – Master?” I provoked. “What about your family?”
“What about them?”
“I assume they aren’t all kidnappers.”
He actually smiled. Not the usual half smile, the one he always tried to hide. A real smile. God, he was a beautiful son of a bitch. Not fair. “No.”
“No. What about you?”
“No.” Hadn’t we covered that? What did he know? “What about your mom?”
Caleb’s face went blank. “Dead.”
There was a great feeling of loss that swept across the table and despite my better judgment I couldn’t help but be deeply touched. If my mother were dead… I would be lost. It didn’t matter that she was an impossible woman, or that she still held me responsible for things that I knew deep down weren’t my fault. I loved her. Nothing else mattered. Not even the feeling that the love may be one sided. “I’m sorry” I whispered and meant it.
“Thank you.” He gritted.
“How did she die?” His eyes blazed with a fierceness I had yet to see, but I held my ground. To my chagrin, he broke eye contact first. He stabbed his tamale and I wondered if he had meant that forceful jab for me. He has mother issues – figures. Didn’t us all.
“What happened to your mother?” he asked. “Men came in and out of your lives, making promises, taking what they wanted and leaving?”
“Isn’t that how it always is?” I sneered. Or worse.
“Come here Kitten.” My heart thudded loudly in my ears at the sound of his suddenly baritone voice. I already recognized what that tone meant. My head shook, ‘No,’ of its own volition, making my thoughts known to him before I formulated words. “I won’t hurt you Kitten, not unless you make me. Now come here.” His voice was soft yet firm and his words pressed upon me with a grave seriousness. I stood up and slowly crossed the distance between us, stopping when I stood directly in front of him. He reached out and put his hands around my forearms, steadying me.
“You see,” he sighed, “right now you are so sweet, so docile and meek. You respect me; you respect what I can do to you if I wanted. Just as you are, all I want to do is hold you, protect you, and take away all the distress in your little face. Right now, if I made you a promise, I would keep it.”
He stood from his chair, still holding my arms. My breath hitched in my chest, my mind reeled from the alcohol and the new anxiety in my chest. I looked down at my feet, refusing to meet his eyes, though I felt them on me. His breathing seemed heavier, his hold more pronounced. He leaned down, my breath non-existent now, and he kissed me, almost tenderly, first on one cheek and then the other. And then he simply walked passed me, calling out behind him, “Put the dishes in the sink. I’ll be right back.”
I operated as if under a spell, quickly gathering up all the dishes and placing them in the sink, wiping off the table with a sponge I found. Then I returned and sat at the table. My thoughts were all over the place. Were it not for the fact I had watched him open my drink I would have thought maybe he had slipped me something, but no, I guess I was just drunk. It didn’t even occur to me that I was alone, that I could be searching for a way to escape until I heard his footsteps making their way toward me. Had he been testing me? I suddenly felt like a trained animal. Stay Livvie. Stay. Good girl.
“Well Kitten, that was really fun, but I’m afraid I have some business to attend to; so that means you’ll have to return to your room.” A cold chill ran up my spine and I shivered a little too violently.
“Please Master,” I said, looking him straight in the eyes “I can’t go in there, please don’t make me go in there.” My body began to convulse with dread and panic, but no longer that frantic and angry rush. The alcohol made it nearly impossible to disguise my emotions.
“Kitten, we both know begging won’t get you anywhere. I said I have things to do, I don’t have time to baby-sit.”
I begged anyway. “You won’t have to baby-sit, I promise. I’ll stay out of the way, I’ll be quiet; I’ll be whatever you say. Just please! Don’t make me go back into that dark room. I’ll go crazy in there.” I looked at him, imploring him with everything I had at my disposal. I could not go back in that room. I couldn’t go back to the dark, to the loneliness, to the fear within those walls.
He sighed heavily, weighing me silently.
“Tell me Kitten, what’s in it for me?”
Caleb had been surprised at the lengths to which his captive had agreed to go in order to stay out of ‘her room’. He wondered, not for the first time, what the fuck he was thinking. He knew this was the last thing he should be doing, inviting her into his space. She’d already worked her way much too far into his thoughts. The longer he was near her, the less he seemed capable of trusting himself. Especially now, when every glance at her triggered the memory of her quivering beneath him, wanting more and never realizing it. She had come a long way from the timid girl he’d met on the streets of Los Angeles. What he had done was wrong, somewhere inside him he knew that and still he couldn’t say with any sincerity he wouldn’t do it again given the chance. Or that he didn’t want to do it again. There was just something about her, something he wanted to taste and touch. Something he wanted to claim. This was the first time she had ever offered him anything and he was hard pressed to refuse.
An unexpected shiver ran down his spine and his cock instantly lengthened. While his mind had doubts about what he wanted, his body apparently did not. He closed his eyes, trying to feel what she must be feeling as she stood a few feet away blindfolded and shaking slightly. He felt the cold tile under his bare feet, smelled the crisp scent of the candles in the air, and tasted the slightest trace of sweat on his lip. He wanted to taste her sweat. He wanted to do anything to distract him from the debacle at the kitchen table.