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     Epilogue

       part  #3 of  The Dark Duet Series  by  C. J. Roberts / Young Adult / Romance & Love
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Epilogue

There was only one thing the void wanted. Greedily tearing me apart, it asked for Livvie. It wanted my hopes, my dreams. It wanted my memories of her face. It wanted the laughter we had shared. “Mine,” the void had decreed. Only Livvie could make me whole, and as soon as I had realized it, I couldn’t stop looking for her. -- Caleb





CHAPTER ONE



I’m writing this because you begged. You know how I love the begging. In fact, you probably know too many things and know them far too well.

It’s been a long time since Captive in the Dark; today is Friday, February 8th, 2013. In May it will have been four years since I sat in a tinted sedan and contemplated kidnapping Livvie. I’m twenty-nine now and I finally know it for a fact. Sometimes I wish I didn’t because I have to face turning thirty in August. Livvie is eight years my junior, but you wouldn’t know it by the way she talks to me sometimes (I think she just likes getting a spanking). Livvie and I have changed considerably from the people you read about. However, because you begged so nicely, I will endeavor to tell you the story you want to hear.

Before I move on, a word about names. They were very important in Livvie’s books and it’s worth mentioning. Shakespeare asked, “What is in a name?” I can tell you—a whole hell of a lot.

Livvie is now named Sophia. She changed her name when she entered the witness protection program in the United States in exchange for her testimony against her kidnapper and rapist (that’s me).

However, you know her as Livvie and so I’ll continue to call her that for your benefit, but of course, that would beg the question: Who am I?

Am I Caleb?

Am I James?

I’ve often asked myself this very thing and have always come up with a different answer. Perhaps the only truthful answer is, “I am both.”

Caleb will always be a part of me—probably the largest part. I want to be James.

James is a 29-year-old from Oregon. He was raised by his mother and always wondered about his father. He grew up with respect for women but also a need to display his masculinity to make up for his lack of a father. He went to college but took time off before grad school to go and see the world. He met Sophia at The Paseo de Colon and fell instantly in love.

James never met anyone named Livvie. He never hurt her.

We know different. We know the truth. So, for the purposes of this story you begged me to tell—I am Caleb.

I am the man who kidnapped Livvie. I am the man who held her in a dark room for weeks. I’m the one who tied her to a bedpost and beat her. I’m the one who nearly sold her into sexual slavery. But, most importantly, I am the man she loves.

She loves me. It’s quite sick, isn’t it?

Of course, there’s more to our story than can be surmised in a few short sentences, but I’m at a loss for justifying my behavior back then. I assume if you’re reading this, I don’t need to make those justifications. You’ve already made your own.

You’re reading this because you want to know about the rest of the story. You want to know what happened that warm summer night in September of 2010, the night I met Livvie at The Paseo. It was the night my life changed all over again.

It didn’t happen exactly as Livvie said. She’s been very kind to me in the retelling of our story. The truth is far more… complicated.

Livvie would have you believe we kissed and it was all that needed to be said.

I wish it had been so simple. The part about the kiss is true. She kissed me. It had been a year since we touched. A year since I’d watched her walk away. An entire year since she killed for me and I repaid her by dropping her off at the Mexican border covered in blood. She kissed me and my head did swim. I can tell you unabashedly, it was probably the happiest I’d ever been before.

Then she slapped me. Hard. I think my head vibrated.

I remember holding my face together and thinking, “I’m going to jail now.”

“How could you?” Livvie asked. I could hear the pain in her voice and it gutted me.

I believed she’d moved on. She’d made a life and I’d come along one last time to fuck it up. It was the minute that would never end. In that single minute, I replayed Livvie’s and my time together in my mind and I berated myself for ever thinking she could forgive me for the things I’d done.

“I won’t run, Livvie. I’ll let them take me and you’ll never see me again.” I couldn’t meet her eyes. I’d been dreaming of her for so long, imagining her face smiling at me. I couldn’t bear seeing her disgust toward me. I didn’t want to remember her that way.

Slowly, the longest minute of my life ticked away. I couldn’t hear any sirens; there weren’t any men slamming me to the ground and putting me in handcuffs. It was strange.

“Never see you again? How stupid could you be? You can’t just walk into my life and expect to leave me again. I won’t let you, Caleb. Not this time.”

And if you can believe it… she slapped me again.

“What the hell is wrong with you? Stop hitting me!” Livvie was a blur. She hit me so hard my damn eyes were watering (I was not crying—eyes water. I think we all know I’m a badass and I don’t cry). After I cleared my eyes, I could see the anger in hers, the hurt… but also her longing. She longed for me. I knew it only because I could recognize her face as a mirror of my own.

“How could you leave me, Caleb? I thought… I thought you were dead,” she cried. She wrapped her arms around my waist and held me tight. It felt so good to have her in my arms again, I couldn’t think of anything but the feel of her against me.

“I’m sorry, Livvie. I’m so sorry,” I whispered into her hair. I couldn’t believe I was with her again. I can’t even describe it to you. Suffice to say, if I’d died in that moment, I’d have been fine with it.

We stood there for a long time. She held on to me. I held on to her. We said things with our silence we couldn’t put into words. I suppose that’s what she meant by, “it was all that needed to be said.”

I felt all the things I could only have felt with Livvie: hollow, and simultaneously, full to bursting.

“I’ve missed you, Livvie. I’ve missed you like you wouldn’t believe.”

I don’t know how long we stood there holding one another as tourists passed us by. We were simply another couple, enjoying the warm evening together. No one knew who we were or what we had been through to get to that moment. However, even in that elegantly prolonged circumstance, I knew it couldn’t last forever. I had many things to say to Livvie. I was afraid of the things she might have to say to me.

I felt her shaking in my arms, her shoulders quaking against my chest, and I knew she was crying. I didn’t hold it against her. She was more than entitled to her tears. I, unfortunately, couldn’t express myself in quite the same way. So much had happened to me in my life. I’d cried all the tears I had in me to weep. All I could offer was strength. I could be strong for her. I could hold her, rock her, and shield her from the dozens of eyes around us.

The women glared at me as they passed. “What did you do?” their eyes accused.

The men sent pitying glances or condescending smirks my way. “Sucks to be you.”

I ignored them. They weren’t worth my attention.

“Can I get us out of here?” I asked. I felt the gentle nod of Livvie’s head against my chest. I pulled back slowly, not sure if I was prepared for what might happen next. Suddenly, it didn’t matter. Livvie looked up at me, and even with tears in her eyes, she smiled. I had been waiting a long time to see her smile. It had been worth every horrible second I’d been without her.

“I missed you too. So much,” she whispered and wiped her eyes. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to cry. It’s just… it’s so fucking good to see you!”

And then I smiled. I took her hand and we walked. All around me, life seemed surreal. I’d have thought I was in a dream were it not for the way my face stung. I was tempted to mention it, to make a joke of some kind to break up the tension just under the surface of our joy, but I opted to say nothing. Livvie was with me and it was all that mattered to me.

“Did you drive?” she asked.

“I did,” I replied somewhat awkwardly. “It was optimistic, I guess. I figured either it would be my last opportunity to drive the streets of Barcelona, or I’d be driving you back to my place in style.” I laughed half-heartedly. The longer it took to get to my car, the more awkward the situation became.

Livvie stopped walking and I jerked to a halt.

“I don’t think I’m ready for that… Caleb.” She looked around as if making sure we weren’t alone. She slipped her hand from mine.

I tried not to let it bother me. Of course she’d be frightened to go anywhere with me, but it still stung. I tried to smile as sincerely as possible and shoved my hands in my pockets.

“We don’t have to go to my place. I’ll take you anywhere you want to go. I just… shit, I don’t even know what I’m trying to say.”

Livvie gave me a weak smile, the kind that didn’t reach her eyes. She looked so beautiful, and so sad. She looked just as I remembered.

“I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’ve been a wreck for the last four hours, just dying to get here so I could see you and now…” She crossed her arms around her stomach and lifted one hand to pull at her bottom lip. It was one of those gestures she made unconsciously and I remembered it well. It reminded me that no matter how much she’d changed in the last year, there were things about her that would never change.

It was only natural for her to wonder about the ways I hadn’t changed. Frankly, it took every ounce of my self-control not to grab her and abscond. I had come so close to having everything I wanted, and in a split second it seemed things between Livvie and me would end before we even got to the car.

I suddenly didn’t trust myself.

“Maybe... this was a mistake?” I edged. I wanted to give her the choice, but I wasn’t sure I could bear to hear the answer.

She closed her eyes and squeezed herself a little tighter. Her brows knit together in what I interpreted as sorrow. Her head shook slightly from side to side.

I took it as a good sign. Her tells weren’t choice—they were instinct. It thrilled me to know her instinct was to deny any possibility that meeting me was a mistake.

“I know what I want, Livvie. I want to be a part of your life again. I know we can’t start over. I know you have every reason in the world to want me dead, but I—”

She placed her hand over my mouth.

“Don’t. I’m not ready for that either,” she said. She almost seemed angry with me.

I can never overstate the depth and beauty of Livvie’s eyes. I can stare into them forever, until I forget my own name (which, let’s face it—wouldn’t take me long).

I took my left hand out of my pocket and covered her hand over my mouth. I kissed her fingers and nodded. It was as close to supplication as I could come without making a groveling ass of myself. It wasn’t pride—it was stratagem. If I had thought groveling would get Livvie into my car, I would have made a good show of it. I’m shameless.

Slowly, Livvie pulled her hand away from my mouth and curled her fingers around mine. She shook her head and smiled ruefully.

“I don’t know what I’m doing either, Caleb. I’ve wanted this for so long. I’ve put certain aspects of my life on hold, thinking—hoping that one day you’d find me again. And now you’re here and I have to be honest… it’s freaking me out.”

I stepped closer to her. I was elated when she didn’t take a step back. Her hand was warm in mine and her red lips were simply begging to be kissed again. She’d caught me off guard with the first one. I was desperate to make the second kiss last.

“I know. I don’t expect you to trust me, but, Livvie, I would never do anything to hurt you again. Just give me a chance to prove it. How can I prove it to you?” I couldn’t resist the urge to stroke her bronzed shoulder. She looked like a goddess. She looked like sex on silky legs. Her kitten tongue, just like I remembered it, swept her bottom lip as she pondered her response. “You’re killing me with that, Livvie.”

Her head tilted to one side.

“Killing you with what?”

I took a chance and tugged her a little closer. I removed my other hand from my pocket and let my thumb run across the curved bow of her lips. We swallowed.

“I want to kiss you again, but I’m afraid I’ll scare you away.” I took a step back when she tensed. “So I won’t.”

It was almost more than I cared to take. The impulsive man in me that was used to getting what he wanted at any cost was tempted to take control.

I realize you’ve somehow been lulled into believing my baser urges had been overcome, but that couldn’t have been further from the truth at the time. I had spent the year prior to our reunion righting old wrongs, and sometimes it had meant being the man Rafiq had raised me to be.

“How did you find me, Caleb?” Livvie’s voice was small and her fear irritated me because I knew she had a right to it. She cared about me. She wouldn’t have shown up if she didn’t, but I hated her trepidation just the same.

“What do you want me to say? You know who I am. You know what I do.” I let go of her hand before she had a chance to pull away from me again. The night was quickly going to shit. I was glad she didn’t have me arrested, but I hadn’t really planned for a scenario involving lust and incredible awkwardness.

“Hey,” she whispered. “I don’t mean it like that. I’m happy to see you, I am! But if you found me… what makes you think someone else can’t?”

I felt like an idiot.

“It wasn’t easy. If it weren’t for our conversations, the things I know about you, I don’t think I would have found you. You’re safe, Livvie. No one’s coming for you. I swear it.” I didn’t mention that I’d killed anyone who would have bothered.

“What things?” she asked. I could hear the hesitation in her voice.

“Do you really want to know, Livvie? Because once you know, I can’t take it back.” I let my eyes meet hers. I was willing to do a lot of things to win her, but she had to accept the harsh truth that I wasn’t a man who played by society’s rules and I never would be.

“Did you hurt anyone?” Her eyes implored me to say no.

“No,” I said honestly. I even managed a flirtatious smile. She smiled back.

“Then I guess I don’t need to know.” She reached for my hand and tugged me in the direction we had been walking.

“This still doesn’t solve the problem of what we’re going to do when we get to my car.”

“Is it a stick shift?”

“Of course. Why? Did you finally learn to drive?” I laughed at the memory of her admitting she couldn’t drive. I laughed even harder when she scowled at me and playfully hit my shoulder.

“Asshole.”

“Aww, you like it when I tease you.”

“No. I don’t.”

“Then why are you smiling?” I whispered the words in her ear as we walked. All became right in my world when I felt her nudge me with her shoulder and her hand held mine a little tighter. The void in me sighed. I had found a way to feed it.

“I can drive. I’m not good with a stick though.”

“I don’t remember you being quite so bad with mine.” A smile played across her lips as she gawked at me. If there’s one thing I know how to do, it’s flirt.

“I’ve seen you handle your stick, Caleb. You’re much better at it than I am.” She kept eye contact with me as I stared at her in shock, but she still blushed something furious.

I tried to make words come out of my mouth. I settled for smiling and shaking my head. She’d made me uncomfortable in the best way. It was a skill only she seemed to possess. I know it sounds juvenile, but there it is.

Finally, we reached my car. I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t expect Livvie to be impressed. If you’ve ever stood in the presence of a Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera and not gotten a tingly sensation in your naughty bits, you have to be very young, very old, or completely fucking blind.

“Nice car,” she said.

I could tell she was trying to be nonchalant. She didn’t do it well. I knew what she looked like when her pussy was wet.

“Wait until you get inside. It’s my favorite part.” And yes, gentle readers, I am that fucking smooth. I didn’t open the door for her, but considering I was used to women opening them for me, let’s call it progress.

I slid against the soft black leather and reached for Livvie’s safety harness. Within the enclosed space of the vehicle, her scent infiltrated my senses. I took my time pulling the straps across Livvie’s chest. I could feel her anxiety like a physical caress, but I didn’t think it had to do with fear.

I was mere inches from her red lips. They were gently parted. I could hear her taking soft open-mouthed breaths. I looked up into her eyes and noticed immediately how they seemed both vigilant, and heavy with desire. She was watching my every move very carefully.

I leaned closer to her. I moved slowly, giving her every opportunity to say no or push me away. Carefully, I braced myself against her door with one hand. I didn’t want my weight against her, not yet. I brushed the end of her nose with mine, urging her head to tilt upward. I felt her breath against my mouth, faster and heavier than before. And at last, I watched her eyes close as she leaned forward.

I let the tip of my tongue trace her bottom lip, coaxing her mouth open. I didn’t want to rush things. Well, I did want to, but I know when I shouldn’t. I wanted to push her up against the door, rip off her panties, and ram myself into her, but I suspected she wouldn’t appreciate it as much as I would. It was enough to feel her lips opening for me. I came a little closer and she let out a soft whimper into my mouth.

She wanted me. She wanted me as much as I wanted her.

I kissed her for a long time. I couldn’t get enough of her moans. I liked to threaten to pull away and let her lean forward, chasing after my mouth. I was pretty sure if I used my skills in the right way, I could get Livvie into my bed. I could see every glorious inch of her. Taste her pussy in my mouth before I wrapped her legs around me and fucked her until there was no come left inside me.

I heard myself moan, but I didn’t give a fuck. I hadn’t had sex in months, and the sex I’d had since Livvie wasn’t worth mentioning or even thinking about. I’d jerked off before I came to meet her and my balls still felt heavy. I took a chance and removed my hand from the door. I let myself caress her shoulder to gauge her reaction to my touch.

“Caleb,” she sighed. She gripped the edges of her seat and pushed her chest out slightly. Her tongue pushed harder and deeper into my mouth.

Fuck! Yes! I wanted to yell the words. I reached for her breast and my cock throbbed when I felt how hard her nipple was against my palm. I could tell she wasn’t wearing a bra beneath her dress and the thin fabric let me feel every contour of her. As quickly as I could, I pushed on the harness and released the straps. I pulled the fabric aside and Livvie’s beautiful breast came into view.

“Caleb!” It wasn’t a sigh this time. She was a little panicked.

I didn’t let it stop me. I could still hear the lust in her voice. I palmed her breast and put my mouth around her puckered nipple. I sucked on her greedily. I moaned loud and gripped her harder when her cry hit the air and her hands held on to my head, pulling me closer.

Somewhere in my lust-addled head I knew the situation wasn’t ideal. As sexy as a Gallardo Superleggera is, it’s incredibly cramped and certainly wasn’t conducive to the all-out fuck-fest I had in mind. It took every ounce of self-control I didn’t possess to pull myself away from Livvie’s delicious nipple.

It was harder not to go back to it when I got a good look at Livvie upon pulling away. Her body was tilted at an angle, with her head against the door, and her dress was pushed to the side to expose one of her breasts. Her nipple was hard and wet from my mouth. Livvie’s lipstick deserved an award because it had surprisingly stayed on her lips and wasn’t smeared all over her face.

“Let me take you home, Livvie. Please. I can’t stand being this close to you and not being inside you for one more fucking second.” I put myself out there. I let her know exactly what my intentions were.

She was slow to catch her breath. Her dark brown eyes looked on me with lust, but also with what seemed to be a myriad of other emotions.

“What’s wrong? I know you want this as much as I do.” I tried not to sound annoyed, but it’s next to impossible not to sound like an asshole when my dick is hard enough to pound nails and I’m expected to have higher brain function.

Livvie eyed me warily. Sadly, it was an expression I’d come to know very well in our time together. She could probably tell I was annoyed and it was scaring her. Carefully, she set about adjusting her dress and slipping her breast back into it. She couldn’t seem to stop fidgeting, and with every movement it became obvious she was pondering her next actions.

Then, with her gorgeous tits no longer in view and her racy dress smoothed down to reflect a more demure appearance, she spoke.

“I want to ask you a few questions, Caleb, and I need for you to be completely honest with me. Can you do that?” She looked toward me with her sad brown eyes.

She had me in a precarious position and I was willing to do whatever it would take to make her happy again. I wanted the opportunity to taste Livvie’s happy tears again.

“Ask me anything you really want to know. But only if you think you can handle the answer.” I couldn’t stress my point enough. She couldn’t ask me for honesty and then hate me for following the rules. Well, she could—but it’s a shitty thing to do to a person.

“Okay,” she said resolutely. “You drive and I’ll ask my questions.”
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