A BITTER NIGHT

Aidenn grimaced as Philip grasped her forearm and led her roughly towards a closed door. Her palm still stung from the blistering slap she had inflicted upon his face. A few moments later she was shoved inside the room, which was sparsely furnished with a built-in bunk, a small nightstand, an oaken desk and a large trunk engraved with curving letters. Studying them closely, she remembered a large tome that her scholarly father had tried to explain to her long ago. He had patiently tried to enlighten her that those mysterious characters made up the Arabic language. Arabic! What was this Lord Wellesley doing in England then? She was yanked out of her deliberations by the feel of the chafing ropes that Philip was tightening around her.

"Don't try anything stupid wench," he growled softly near her ear as he tied off the complicated-looking knot.

"Bastard," she hissed back, trying to blink away tears of hatred "you will pay...you will see what will happen once they learn of my disappearance. They will hunt you down and once they do, they will slaughter you."

"Ah, I have infinite faith that they shall try but I shall be ready."

"My father may appear to be a weak and bookish man but I assure you Lord Wellesley, I am the single, most important thing in his life and he will not rest until I am back where I belong."

"But have you considered, Lady Stanhope, that this is exactly what I am after?"  

"You are using me as bait?" she asked softly, her eyes narrowed dangerously as realization dawned upon her. "You are using me as bait!"  

"Very good, my dear," he mocked her.

"Damn you, you bloody whoreson! I shall kill you!"

"Quite a dirty mouth there, love." His index finger traced the outline of full pink mouth.

He left her standing in utter confusion and strolled languidly to the desk, where he poured himself a glass of port.

Aidenn glanced around frantically for something –anything –that would inflict a measure of pain upon his mulish person. She spied a small blade, almost insignificant really, lying casually upon the night table. It would suffice. Silently, as his back was turned Aidenn picked up the switchblade and launched upon her captor. She raised the knife to stab upon his shoulder and hesitated –but only for a minute. She brought it down and in an instant of painful regret she heard sink into the corded musculature of his left shoulder. She heard a swift intake of breath on his part. After that, the entire room blurred past her, as he whirled around and threw her upon the bed, pinning her down brutally. His anger radiated from him in livid surges. The stupidity of what she had done dawned upon her violently.

"I grow weary of you insipid little games, lady."

His mouth was harsh and punishing as devoured hers, his tongue thrusting in with torrid brutality. He seemed unaware or more likely uncaring of her indignant cries, as he continued his assault. Finally Philip wrenched away and glared at her, as she lay beneath him, breasts heaving, mouth slightly parted and eyes filled with wrath. Damn, but she was a tempting armful.

"Try anything like that again, and I shall-"

"What?" she demanded, "Rape me? How disgraceful of you, my lord, to abuse a woman while she cannot defend her self!"

"Fear not my icy maiden, I have no designs upon your frigid body. You are quite the cold and passionless bitch and I like my women pliant and passionate." Philip's voice regained it chilly languor, "I was about to suggest that next time you perform another one of your futile stunts, I shall place you in the care of my sailors –my sex-deprived, lustful sailors, to be more precise."

Aidenn did not speak, she simply watched him vigilantly with hatred shooting malicious sparks from her azure eyes. His body slid off hers momentarily, while he grabbed a length of rope lying on the floor. With that he bound her feet together also, taking extra care to tie another impossible knot.

"You will be provided with food and water. The journey will last roughly two weeks. See that you behave yourself."

He turned on his heel and walked out the door. Aidenn heard the lock click resolutely and only when the heavy footsteps retreated away from the door, did she curl up on the bed and cry.