Ivan was dragging Dani back to the bedroom they had been in before. She should never have had sex with him the night before. Now that she had given in to his petty advances, he would expect to have sex with her whenever he wanted.
She was angry, no, pissed, at herself for giving in. And as they arrived at the bedroom, it was hardly the time to argue. Besides, she couldn't risk making him angry… however, she could put up a fight… in other ways… Let's see how willing he is after she was done with him…
A bit later and Dani was unhappily curled up against him. She had given him a rough time, much rougher than he had ever had, she was sure, but to no avail. He had enjoyed it, perhaps even more than the night before. It disgusted her.
As his arm wrapped around her, stroking her shoulder, she began to pull away. His grip tightened on her.
"Here's the deal, baby," he said. "I need you to stay here while I go away for business."
That pet name again…
"Why do I have to stay here? Why can't I go home and you can come get me when you get back?" she said.
"I'm afraid you can't leave for awhile. See, you've become an asset now. Things that belong to me need to be under a watchful eye and since I'm the one who watches you, the only other thing to do when I'm gone is to keep you here."
"I belong to you?" The attempted clueless tone of her voice slipped away and her anger showed. She did not belong to anyone. She wasn't property. Everything was always her choice.
"You will belong to me as long as I wish," Ivan said forcefully.
It took her a long moment, but she calmed herself down.
"Fine, but does this mean you'll take your asshole friend with you?" Dani said. "You failed to get rid of him before like you told me you would."
Ivan didn't answer.
"He assaulted me in the library today, did you know? He even kissed me," she said.
"He WHAT?!" Ivan exploded.
"He kissed me. I tried to push him away, but what's a girl to do?"
As Ivan fumed, Dani had to hold her breath to keep herself from burst out laughing. Since she knew Ivan and his green-eyed fellow were friends, she could only daydream about Ivan's wrath. She would absolutely love if a fight to the death broke out… but then again… she wouldn't get to kill them.
Ivan threw back the sheets and yanked his clothes on.
"Stay here," he commanded. "I mean it, Alex."
The door slammed behind him as he left.
The minutes ticked by and Dani was getting bored. She eyed the bathroom door and decided to waste some time washing the stink of Ivan off in the shower. Ten minutes later and she slunk out of the shower, some-what refreshed. As she used her fingers to untangle her hair, she heard the bedroom door open. She wrapped a towel around her and went back into the room. She turned toward the bed, trying her best to put on an innocent face, but it immediately vanished when she saw the green-eyed laying on the newly made bed. Her mouth turned into a deep scowl as the green-eyed guy gave her an extended look over.
"Too bad you have to have the towel on," he said.
"Fucking bastard!" she said. "Get out of my room!"
"Why? Afraid your little Ivan's going to walk in on us?"
"Hardly. I'd love if he would, but I'd prefer not to have blood all over my sheets."
"Oh, that's harsh…"
He stood up and strode toward her.
"Don't come any closer," she said.
He laughed, "You're threatening me? I thought you were 'just a girl'?"
He came closer.
"Do you want a broken nose to match your split lip?" she said through clenched teeth.
"I'll take the risk…" he said, his eyes brightening.
She took a sharp breath, clenching her fists, but before she could act, he had her face pinned to his in a crushing kiss.
Just then, Ivan's voice boomed through the room, "LUCIUS! Downstairs. NOW!"
Ivan waited until the green-eyed guy left the room. He went to Dani and put his hands on her shoulders.
"I'll take care of this," he said.
Dani faked a traumatized face and Ivan reassured her again.
"I'll end this. Don't worry, baby," he said.
She nodded, while keeping the bile from rising.
Ivan left the room, storming down the stairs. She couldn't hear the two arguing, but she figured Ivan would keep it out of her earshot.
Dani didn't mind this time though. It gave her time to think. The green-eyed guy finally had a name – Lucius. There was still not a last name, for him or Ivan, but she could manage with a first. Perhaps her father would recognize it in conjunction with Ivan.
The thought of her father again gave her the weak urge to talk to him. What had he been doing for the days she was gone? Surely he would be worried as he was used to hearing from her every day, but was he paranoid enough to send men looking for her? She hoped not. Knowing what she did and seeing the size and quality of the compound Ivan and Lucius had – their house – base really – would not be easy to locate. However, if she called from an interior telephone, they could trace the call… but did she want them to know where she was? Her father's paranoia and need to control her could – would – jeopardize her whole mission; her whole glory. But if he did send out men to find her, it would take them away from where they needed to be.
Dani peeked out of the bedroom. She didn't hear or see Ivan and Lucius, but she was sure she didn't have much time. She formulated a plan as she got dressed.
She hurried down the marble staircase and into the dining room she had been in for breakfast. She spotted a door that she was sure the servers had come from. She entered the room to see workers preparing what was probably lunch. A chef shoved past the worked and put himself in Dani's path.
"What are you doing in here?" he demanded.
"Sorry," she lied. "But I'm just looking for a telephone. Is there one around here I can use?"
The chef eyed her suspiciously and she tried to look innocent with big eyes and biting her lip.
"There's one at the back on the wall, but be quick about it," he said.
She smiled convincingly and made her way to the old, corded phone. She dialed the number without a pause. No one answered. She tried again, this time hanging up after one ring. Then she called again and just when it was about to go to voicemail, a voice spoke, "Hello?"
"Hawk, is that you?" Dani said, using old code names she and Nathan had made when they were kids.
"Falcon?!" the voice said. "Shit! Where the hell are you?!"
"Hawk, this is not the time for specifics."
"The hell it is, Falcon. Eagle has been looking everywhere for you!"
"Tell Eagle that I'm fine, but I won't be migrating for awhile. I've found myself with my wings clipped."
"Well you need to find a way to fly or the talons will come out."
"No. I must stay grounded, as the flock should," she said. "But know this…" she quickly spelled out Ivan and Lucius backwards. "Goodbye, Hawk."
Dani hung up the phone and began running back upstairs to the bedroom. She only hoped that Nathan was as smart as her father gave him credit for. She also hoped that the conversation had been short enough that they were unable to track her call. She couldn't risk them knowing where she was. Her father was brilliant, but stupid when it came to her. If he knew where she was, he would blindly try and storm the place to get to her.
Just as she reached the top of the marble staircase, she saw Ivan appear at the bottom. She caught her breath quickly as she waited for him in the bedroom.
He came into the room with a blank face. He was silent, too silent.
"So?" Dani said.
He ignored her impatience and spoke as is if she had not, "I'm leaving now. You will be under the watch of Lucius for the time being."
"What?!" she hissed. "You're joking, right?"
"I'm afraid I'm not. He's the only one qualified to watch you. Now don't worry, he's throwing a party tonight to distract you from my absence. A dress will be brought up for you later."
Great, Dani thought, three nights, three dresses.
Ivan didn't say goodbye or kiss Dani even though she put on her best devastated face.
He knew something. Lucius must have told him something. She was surprised that he didn't send her away. Evidently he wanted to have Lucius watch her; investigate.
Not even a minute after Ivan left, Lucius was back in the room.
"Guess it's just you and me, huh?" he said.
"Good. No one will know if you go missing," Dani said.
"Who would you think about all the time then?"
"Ivan. Who I actually think about all the time."
"Really? You weren't thinking about me before I walked in?"
She clenched her jaw. "No, I was thinking about how I miss Ivan already."
"Oh you're pathetic," Lucius said. "What's the big deal if you say you were thinking about me? I was thinking about you."
She crumpled her face up in disgust, "Pervert."
"I'm not allowed to think about you?" he said.
"Absolutely not! Go daydream about someone else's girlfriend."
"You're Ivan's girlfriend? Did he call you that?"
"You mean 'no.' Ivan doesn't have girlfriends. He has girls that he uses then loses. Good thing for you, I won't be losing you anytime soon."
"You don't have me to lose."
"Oh really? I don't have you right now?"
"Not blocking the only exit from this room?"
"You wouldn't have me even if I was handcuffed to you," Dani said.
He laughed, his green-eyes sparkling erratically.
"I hope you'll be this feisty as my date to the party tonight," he said.
"Your date?" she spat.
"Of course," he said. "How else am I supposed to keep an eye on you?"
"Oh it won't be so bad. I won't rape you like Ivan did," Lucius said.
"Is that what they're calling sex these days?" Dani said.
"With Ivan, yes. With me… well... wouldn't you like to know…"
"I know I'd love to smash your head open and see how small your brain is…"
"Tsk tsk… not on the first date! You can assess my organs later."
"Ugh! Get the hell out of my room!"
Dani shoved him forcefully on the chest until she sent him wheeling and, aggravatingly, smiling into the hallway. She made sure to slam the door.
She paced angrily around the room clenching and unclenching her fists. This was all ridiculous. If she left the room, Lucius was sure to be waiting for her. She couldn't give him the pleasure of getting to harass her. And he couldn't know just how short her temper really was.
In her angry boredom, she took another shower to wash away her fury. She stood under the water for an extended period and when she got out, she saw new clothes had been set out for her on the bed.
There was a pair of tight black leather pants and a sequined green tank top. Along with the outfit were black gladiator high-heeled shoes. She cringed as she saw the note that lingered on top:
Put these on and come downstairs.
She had no doubt this was Lucius' doing, but nonetheless, she obliged his demand. Taking her sweet time, she got dressed and carefully descended the marble stairs. Lucius was waiting for her at the bottom. He was wearing jeans a white button-down shirt. As he panned his eyes up to see her, the annoyed look on his face disappeared not of his own free will. He tried desperately to regain his scowl. His face recovered, but his eyes took longer to bounce back. They remained a melting pot of weakness toward her for moments after.
Dani smiled. All men were the same around her: easily moldable.
Lucius may have given her the most trouble thus far, but he was collapsing swiftly with no way to escape her presence. After all, it was his duty to watch her – and that required him to be around her all of the time.
"Well, I'm here. What do you want?" she said.
"It's lunch time," he said, retreating behind his "authority." If that's what he even had, because he certainly had none over Dani.
She followed Lucius into the dining room and sat herself down across from him. Plates of food were immediately set before them and they proceeded to eat in silence.
Mid-plate, Dani threw down her fork.
"When is Ivan coming back?" she demanded.
Lucius' eyes blazed at her. "You'll be stuck with me for awhile.".
"Why can't I go home until he gets back?"
"Go home to what? Ivan told me you said you have no family and no job."
"Maybe so, but I have a home that I can wait in… away from you!"
Lucius dropped his fork noisily, "What's your problem with me?"
"Other than manipulating me for your own use?" she said.
"Oh shut up. You like it."
Then, Dani got a sure-fire idea to bring the arguing to an end.
She smiled coyly, "Ok, maybe a little."
Lucius narrowed his eyes, but she knew he was caving in to her fake admittance.
She got up from her chair and circumvented the table until she stood next to his chair.
She leaned down to whisper in his ear, "I'm going to make your heart stop. Are you ready?"
Her breath trickling over his ear had him completely undone; unraveling beneath her fingers. She kissed him just beneath his ear, then down a little further on his neck. She made a trail of kisses and while he was distracted, she slipped his steak knife off the table. With one last kiss, she pulled out the knife and stabbed it at his chest.