Til death, p.7
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       Til Death, p.7

           Bella Jewel
 
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  Instead of going into the bathroom, I run out the back door. I don’t know how he knew I wasn’t going to come back, or how he got out before me—all I know is I’m running for a cab, my chest seizing, when a strong arm goes around my waist, hauling me against a hard chest. I squirm, only causing that arm to tighten.

  “I can handle being run out on once,” he growls into my ear. “I can’t deal with it a second time.”

  “You won’t listen to me,” I yell, frustrated. “I’m not the toy for you, Marcus. I’m broken; I’m not some pretty, shiny thing you can keep around until you’re finished. I have a mother, Marcus, who had a brain tumor and the doctors screwed up her surgery. She lives life in a chair, a God damned chair that’s so fucked up I’m surprised it hasn’t caused an accident, but I can’t get her a new one, even with the ridiculous hours I work, because I’m paying for her care and a shit-load of debt from her surgery. I’m asking you—no, I’m begging you—don’t make me your toy. Pick someone else. Anyone else.”

  His arm tightens around me, and I’m panting by the time I’m finished with my speech. I wait, the silence surrounding us. He holds me there for a long, long moment, his arm tightly around my middle, his breath hot against my ear. “Katia,” he finally murmurs.

  “I work so much,” I whisper, my body slumping. He keeps me upright. “For a boss who is a complete asshole.”

  “Katia.”

  “My mom wants me to have a life. I can’t have a life.”

  “Katia.”

  “Then you come along and I want you; I don’t know you, but I want you.”

  He gives up trying to say my name and spins me around so fast I lose my footing. His arm circles my waist and he holds me up, my front crushed against his chest. Then he dips his head and he kisses me. My eyes flutter closed, my legs stay dangling, and I kiss him back. I kiss him back because I want to, because I need to, but most of all, because he’s not letting me do anything else and I’m okay with that.

  Slowly, he starts walking us backwards. My body hits the side of a car, and then my leg is up around his hip and he’s tearing my panties aside. Frenzy takes over and I reach down, unbuckling his belt. With fumbling fingers, I manage to open his pants and reach inside, finding his cock. He hisses against my mouth, and thrusts his fingers inside my depths, working me, preparing me.

  “Fuck me,” I plead. “I just need you to . . . fuck me.”

  He takes his cock from my hand, guides it between us, and does just that. He plunges inside me, deep, hard, causing my body to jerk with pleasure. My nipples harden almost painfully, and I arch into him. His fingers clutch my hips, and he holds me so tightly I know I’ll find bruises in the morning. He fucks me harder, slamming my tiny body against the metal of the car.

  “Marcus,” I scream.

  “Fuck,” he grunts.

  His cock drives deep, slamming over and over, harder and harder, until we’re both panting, clutching, growling each other’s names. Then I come, I come so fucking hard my vision goes white and my scream hitches in my throat. Marcus rides my pussy, fucking me through my pleasure, until he too finds his release with a bellow. My face drops into his chest and I clutch his suit, holding him to me, wondering why the fuck he decided I was good enough to fight for?

  “Why me?” I whisper there.

  He squeezes my hip. “If it wasn’t you,” he murmurs, “and it was another girl, she too would probably be asking the same question right now. Why would she be good enough, Katia? Why would she be the best choice? There is no answer. It just is.”

  What can I say to that?

  Absolutely nothing.

  CHAPTER 13

  NOW

  Marcus

  His face turns an ugly shade of blue as my fingers tighten around his throat. I’ve got him against the wall, his legs dangling, his fingers clutching at my wrists, trying to pry them off. I lean in close, baring my teeth in his face.

  “I won’t ask again,” I snarl. “Where’s Lucas?”

  “I don’t . . .” he wheezes. “I don’t know.”

  “You fuckin’ do know. You’re runnin’ dirty money and makin’ it clean for him, takin’ my clients, and lettin’ him hide. Tell me what you fuckin’ know?”

  “I . . . I . . .”

  I raise a fist and drive it into his nose. A sickening crack rings out and he screams, blood filling his opened mouth. I shove him so hard his head slams back onto the wall.

  “Now,” I roar. “Tell me where the fuck he is.”

  “I don’t know!” he squeals again. “I haven’t heard from him for days.”

  I drop him. I can tell by his expression he’s telling me the truth. Fuck. Another dead end. Lucas is avoiding me, and I know why. He’s up in my business, shoving his nose in my clients, and fucking around where he shouldn’t be. He doesn’t want me on his back, but unlucky for him, I’m already there.

  “Tell him Marcus is looking for him,” I say, staring down at his body. “Fuckin’ pitiful.”

  Then I turn, disappearing out of the alley.

  This is proving difficult.

  ~*~*~*~

  KATIA

  “Oh my God, you look gorgeous,” I cry, hugging Santana.

  She pulls back, hands on my shoulders. “So do you. How do you get your hair to curl like that?”

  “With great difficulty.” I laugh.

  She giggles just as Ash and Jaylah join us.

  “Katia.” Jaylah laughs, throwing her arms around me. “Long time no see.”

  I squeeze her. “Thank you for coming tonight.”

  “We needed a night out. I was glad when you suggested it.”

  I nod, turning my attention to all the guys. I’ve just met Maddox, Krypt and Mack, the members of the Jokers’ Wrath MC. Krypt is with Ash, and he’s freaking smoking hot, all broody biker with dark hair and stunning eyes. Maddox is with Santana, and he’s tall, huge and scary. He’s also extremely attractive. Mack is with Jaylah and he’s Native American—all this long hair and chocolate eyes. These girls got lucky.

  I turn my attention to Marcus.

  So did I.

  “Marcus looks fine tonight.” Jaylah giggles in my ear.

  I laugh softly, hooking my arm through hers. “Right? Let’s get a drink.”

  “I’m all over that.”

  We head to the bar and order shots. Santana and Ash join us, but neither of them are drinking, so Jaylah and I down them. After four, we’re giggling and laughing about random shit. A set of tanned arms go around her waist and I look over to see Mack leaning over her, his face in her neck.

  “Baby, you’re behaving, aren’t you?”

  “Yes.” She giggles.

  “Is that your first?”

  She giggles again. “No, honey.”

  He kisses her neck and my eyes skitter over to Marcus, who is laughing with Maddox. He’s not even looking at me. I don’t think he’s turned towards me once. My heart aches, probably induced by the alcohol. I wish I could shake the empty feeling but I can’t; I love him so damned much I want him to do those things to me.

  Normal things.

  I want him to call me baby, just once. I want him to stay in my bed. I want him to ask me how many drinks I’ve had. I want him to glare at men that walk by, like Maddox has been doing with Santana for the last hour.

  “Dance with me, Katia!” Jaylah grins, planting a kiss on Mack’s lips before pulling me onto the dance floor.

  Maybe Marcus will notice now.

  The alcohol is in my head, swirling around, making me giggle even when I don’t want to. Jaylah and I dance, wiggling about, swaying our hips and throwing our hands in the air. A young man shimmies over during the fifth song and puts his hands on my hips. Part of me wants to jerk away—the other part is drunk, stupid, and wants to see if Marcus will notice.

  I let him dance with me, holding my hips, swinging my body with his. Jaylah gives me a confused look, and her eyes flicker to Marcus more than once. When I look at him, he’s watching me, h
is jaw tight but he doesn’t move. Not once. Not even for a second. My heart slowly breaks to pieces, and it hurts. God, does it hurt.

  I shove away from the man and rush through the crowd, out into the cool night. Jaylah is on my heels and when I stop, she slams into me. I spin, my eyes brimming with tears, my heart aching.

  “Honey,” she says, putting her hands on my shoulders. “Are you okay?”

  I shake my head. “You saw that, Jaylah; you saw it with your own eyes. He didn’t care.”

  “I . . .”

  “Don’t tell me he did; he didn’t.”

  “He looked pretty pissed off, sweetie.”

  I shake my head, and a tear falls.

  “Honey,” she murmurs, wrapping me in a hug.

  “Can you get Santana to take me home?”

  She pulls back and stares at me. “Don’t you want to ask Marcus?”

  “No,” I say firmly. “I just want to go.”

  “Okay, I’ll get her.”

  Ten minutes later, Santana arrives.

  Half an hour later, I’m curled in my bed with an aching heart.

  CHAPTER 14

  THEN

  Katia

  “Get me what I asked for!” Robert bellows.

  “I am,” I say, closing my eyes and struggling for calm.

  “You wonder why you have to work so much. If you did your job properly then you wouldn’t screw up, therefore you wouldn’t have to work this often.”

  Screw up. Screw up.

  I don’t make damned mistakes, I live and breathe this job, doing everything this weasel wants me to and no matter how hard I try, he’s up for abuse most days of the week.

  “I said I’d do it, Robert, and I will.”

  “You’re pathetic,” he mutters, crossing his arms over his flabby chest. “I could get a better PA. I only keep you because I feel sorry for you.”

  He tells me this often enough, too.

  “If your mother wasn’t sick, you wouldn’t be here. Remember that, Katia. You are simply . . . average.”

  Average.

  My eyes burn. I’m usually full of sass and wit, but right now I’m tired. I’m tired because Mom had a difficult night, her head hurt and she cried a lot. I spent that time by her side. Then there’s Marcus. A man I have met three times and yet he is somehow convincing me he’s worth seeing more. He’s dangerous—I know he’s dangerous, but does it stop me? No.

  I turn and leave the office before I burst into a fit of pathetic tears. That would only fuel Robert’s fire. It’s time for my break, and while I probably don’t have precious minutes for it, I’m taking it. Tears burn under my eyelids as I rush out the front doors of the massive building onto the bustling street. That’s when I run into a hard, beautiful form that I recognize by scent right away.

  Marcus.

  “Katia,” he says, placing his hands on my upper arms and pushing me back.

  I look up at him, and blink back my tears. He narrows his eyes.

  “You’re crying.”

  “No.”

  “Lying,” he growls. “Don’t do it.”

  “My boss is being a jackass, that’s all.”

  His face flashes. “Your boss is Robert Kaco, yes?”

  I blink. “You know him.”

  Marcus laughs bitterly. “I know him, all right. Let me have a word.”

  “Marcus, no,” I cry, clutching his arm.

  “You work over fifty hours a week,” he begins.

  “Marcus.”

  “On a minimum wage.”

  “Please,” I beg.

  “He treats you like a dog, I know this because I know him.”

  “Marcus.”

  He leans in close, with his dominant face on. His features are hard, and he allows for no argument. This scares me, but I push it down.

  “You’re out here crying, and it would take me one single guess as to who did that. I’m going to have a word.”

  “Marcus,” I plead, taking his arm. “This job is all I have. If I lose it...”

  “You lose it, I give you one.”

  With that, he goes inside. I find a park bench and drop my head into my hands, forcing back my tears. Sometimes life gets difficult, and I usually fight it but today I feel weak, pathetic, and unable to bring out the Katia buried deep inside, the one who can take on the world with a smirk.

  She’s just not here.

  ~**~*~*~

  MARCUS

  “Good to see you, Robert,” I mutter, stepping into the office of Katia’s asshole boss.

  Don’t get me wrong, I’m an asshole when I need to be, but I’d never send my girls to a street crying, nor would I make them work the hours she works, for a wage similar to she’s paid. I know everything about Robert, including what he likes to do on weekends. He forgets I’m a bad man. He forgets I can take him down.

  He remembers now; I know he remembers because his face grows pale and he stammers, “What are you doing here? How did you get in?”

  “I’m here to have a chat,” I say, leaning against the door.

  “Get out of here, Marcus. I’ll call security and—”

  “And what?” I laugh bitterly. “We both know if I want to, you won’t be leaving this room. I’m here to talk about Katia.”

  His face curls in disgust. “Katia?”

  “Yeah, Katia. My fiancé.”

  He blinks. I keep my face blank. He doesn’t need to know we haven’t made it to that point . . . yet.

  “Katia is your . . . your . . .”

  “Moving on from that,” I say, pushing off the door and casually walking towards him. “You see I just found my fiancée outside, crying.”

  “I don’t . . .”

  “I’m not done, Robert,” I say, flashing him a glare that has his mouth slamming shut. “As I was saying, I found my fiancé outside crying. It’s not the first time.” Lie. “In fact, I know exactly how you treat her. I also know the hours you make her work and for a minimum wage we both know is pathetic, even coming from filth like you.”

  “I’m her boss. What I do is none of your—”

  “I hope you weren’t going to say it is none of my business.” I take a step closer and he stumbles backwards. “Because Robert, I will crush you.”

  “You can’t come in here and threaten me, Marcus Tandem!”

  “I can, I am, and you will do as I ask.”

  “I’ll call the police and—”

  I laugh loudly. “And what? Go on; tell me. I mean, we couldn’t possibly tell them you were part of smuggling drugs overseas, now, could we?”

  His face goes red and his fists clench.

  “I mean, where would that leave your business?”

  “You have made your point, Marcus,” he rasps. “Tell me what it is you’re here to demand, and get the hell out of my office.”

  I move then, wrapping my fingers around his throat and shoving him against the wall. His fat body wobbles as he tries to break free, his fingers pulling mine back, trying to get me to release his neck. His face grows redder and he starts gasping for air.

  “It’s simple. You’re going to pay that girl more money to work less hours. You’re going to treat her with respect. And you’re going to promote her to another position far, far away from you.”

  He’s so red, he’s nearly purple. I release him, and he falls to the floor in a heap. “Well?”

  “We have a deal,” he chokes.

  “I’ll be making sure you follow through with that deal,” I say, straightening my suit. “Good day, Robert.”

  With that, I leave.

  ~*~*~*~

  KATIA

  I’m fumbling my fingers together when Marcus comes out. He strides over, his face carefully blank. I leap up, running towards him. “What did you do?”

  “Fixed it.”

  “Fixed it how?”

  His eyes flash, but he makes no move to explain.

  “Marcus?”

  He leans in close. “It’s sorted, Katia.”


  “Marcus,” I begin, but he cuts me off by curling his hand around my neck and pulling me close. Our faces are only inches apart and his eyes are intense, so intense my breath catches in my throat.

  “What’s done is done. Go to work. Finish your day.”

  “Marcus.”

  “Later, Katia.”

  With that he lets me go and turns, walking away.

  Argh!

  CHAPTER 15

  NOW

  Katia

  I hear his car pull up, and the lights flash into my room. He’s home. I roll to my side, curling into a ball. My heart aches; it aches because he didn’t defend me. He didn’t beat the life out of the man I was dancing with. He showed nothing. Nothing at all. I wish I didn’t love him so much. I wish it didn’t hurt. I wish for a fucking second I had the guts to be angry with him.

  I stare at the bedroom door, just as the front door slams.

  I know what I have to do, the minute I hear his keys hit the counter; I know.

  I get out of the bed and I walk over to the door, flicking the lock. Then I get back in and squeeze my eyes shut as he stops at my door. I hear the door rattle and my heart clenches angrily. I swallow and a tear slides out of the corner of my eye.

  “Katia?”

  God.

  “Open the door.”

  I press my face into the pillow, and listen as he rattles it once more.

  Then he walks away.

  Walks away.

  My heart can’t take much more.

  ~*~*~*~

  I’m in a deep sleep when the door rattles again. It’s pitch black out and I know it’s Marcus. He rattles it a few times, then it flings open. I keep my eyes closed as I feel the bed dip. Marcus’s fingers glide over my hips and I clench my eyes shut, pain radiating through my heart and scorching into my soul.

  “I know you’re awake, precious,” he murmurs.

  “Don’t call me that,” I whisper. “Just go, Marcus.”

  “You’re angry at me.”

  I huff. “How observant of you.”

  “Why?”

  I roll, and his fingers remain at my hips, making small circles.

  “Really?” I whisper. “Why?”

  “Yes, Katia. Why?”

 
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