Losing Sight of the Charity Case

Chapter 2

Keely opened her eyes. As usual, it was useless since all she saw was black. But judging by her position, she knew she was lying down on somebody else's lap. It also felt as though she was in a car…

"Dan?" she called out.

"Yes, it's me," the deep alto voice replied. "You fainted, Keely. I was worried so I took you home."

"Did anyone notice?" Keely asked quietly. She felt her bodyguard take her hand and squeeze it.

"No one," he whispered back. "I did it as discreetly as I could."

Keely sat up, with Dan's help, and nodded. "Thank you."

"Don't mention it."

Karen had taken her off her position… and replaced her, Karen's very first child, with a charity case! How could her mother do this? Keely quickly went over her head as to what logic lead to the business empress' decision. She could not think of any. So why…

Tears started forming in the young girl's eyes and she angrily brushed them away before they fell. She has never cried!

"I knew I should've been perfect," Keely whispered bitterly. "What did I do wrong? Wasn't I close enough? Maybe I should've tried harder…"

She felt Dan's hands cover her own ones. "Keely, listen to me. If there is anyone perfect in this world, it is you."

"No!" Keely cried. "If I am perfect, why did she replace me?"

The rest of the trip was silent. It was obvious to Dan that Keely took the replacement to heart.

Something bothered Dan as he Kyle kept giving him meaningful glances. Turning his head to the side, Dan looked behind the car and noticed a black Mercedes with tinted windows so it was impossible to see the people inside. He glanced at Kyle through the rearview mirror. Kyle nodded his head.

A car had been following them since about ten minutes ago.

Dan gave Kyle the signal for 'speed up'. He did not want to scare Keely. That was the last thing she needed. To both his and Kyle's relief, the car following them did not speed up and eventually, it disappeared from sight.

Soon enough, they reached the St. Johns-Marks mansion. Keely got off the car on her own, head held high. She was going to keep her pride, damn it. She would not show weakness – not to anyone.

"I'm going upstairs now," she told Dan coldly. "If anyone asks, I'm asleep. Do not let Karen see me."

Dan gave a start. That was the very first time ever that he heard Keely address her foster mother in a scathing tone. He watched as the young girl rode the elevator, back straight, chin up. He admired her for being so strong willed. No one who knows Keely Marks well pity her for she did not deserve pity but respect.

Keely shut her door close. She didn't bother with locks since she knew that no one would dare to trespass in her room. Kicking her shoes off, Keely felt straight for her bed and then threw herself on it. Almost at once, tears stared cascading.

I'm not supposed to cry, she thought in self-hate. I never have! I shouldn't start now! B-But… Even Edward's arrival hadn't threatened her place in Karen's empire. But then this sickly boy comes along and steals her position. What happened? Was she losing her touch?

Keely's ears perked when she heard arguing voices. There were two distinct voices: one soft and the other, deep. The deep voice was Dan's. The other one was inaudible and so, Keely did not know who it was.

To her surprise and bewilderment, her door slammed open. She instinctively turned her head towards the direction of the door and sat up.

Is it Karen? Did Karen just…

No, Karen would never just come into Keely's room without permission. But then again, before this evening, Keely never thought that Karen would kick her out.

"So Keely Marks is human after all," a dry drawl rang throughout the room. "Who ever would have thought that she actually has tears?"

It was him! Him who had stolen what was most important to her!

Keely glared at the direction of the voice. "Snake!" she spat. "Acting all charming and kind when all you wanted was to laugh at my face when the announcement that you stole my position was made!"

For a second, there was no answer and then, "Leave."

At first, Keely thought Sasha was talking to her until Dan spoke.

"But-"

"Leave."

"Dan does not answer to you!" Keely almost screamed. "He is staying right here!"

Sasha, however, ignored her. "Leave if you don't want to answer to Mrs. St. Johns-Marks later. She gave me permission to be here."

Keely could feel Dan's reluctance. She then heard the door close. Dan left.

"I hate you!" Keely exclaimed. "Leave me alone!"

She heard his footsteps as he approached the bed. Before she could react, he grabbed her chin and tilted her head up.

Keely gasped. No one has ever touched her before! No one!

"Don't act so high and mighty, little princess," he said very quietly but the warning was screaming at her. "After all, you are also a charity case. You have used your charm to get your position but it's not going to work on me. I am different."

Keely glared and ran her hand up the arm with the hand that was holding her. Then, swiftly and with astounding precision for a blind girl, she struck him across the face.

As soon as she did it, Keely's eyes widened in horror. She quickly shut her eyes, expecting to be slapped back. But to her tremendous shock, she heard laughter coming from the younger man.

"You are a spitfire, aren't you?" he said, amusement in his voice. But that quickly changed as he dropped her chin to grab her shoulders instead and hoist her up. Keely found herself kneeling on the bed in front of him.

"Never do that again," he said firmly. "You've had your days of glory. Now, it's my turn. Don't worry, sister-dearest. I'll make sure to give you a hefty sum for your past works. After all, I am your very first charity case."

"I hate you," Keely cried, close to tears once more. "What's going to happen to me now?"

"What else is going to happen to you?" Sasha replied with mocking surprise. "You'll be just like other girls – going to school and such. Your mother obviously thinks you've been lacking your studies."

Keely's eyes widened. "But I get good grades!"

Sasha's hands had already shifted position from her shoulders to her cheek and hair. Keely absently leaned on the hand stroking her cheek, thoughts swiftly processing information. Sasha smiled, knowing she did not know what she was doing.

"I'm surprised Keely Marks holds the word 'good' in her vocabulary," Sasha commented lightly. "Look at it this way: I get excellent grades."

Keely jerked in attention. She saw the difference.

"You see, sister-dearest," Sasha replied. "I'm close to perfect without even trying. You, on the other hand, have to always try your hardest. See why I replaced you? I'm better than you."

Keely pushed herself away from Sasha, her whole body quivering in rage.

How dare he?!

"Out," she commanded. "Out!"

Sasha smirked as he watched the enraged girl in front of him. "Don't I get a goodnight kiss?"

"No," she hissed, eyes dark with anger.

Sasha's smirk only widened. "I'll have one anyway." With that, he swooped down and pressed his lips to hers. He pulled back just in time before Keely could give him another resounding slap. "Goodnight, my Keely."

"I am not yours!" she almost screamed.

Sasha paused. "Don't be too sure," he said quietly. But Keely's sharp hearing heard it despite the distance.

She was instantly filled with dread. "W-What do you mean?"

"Goodnight Keely." With that, he was gone.

Keely clenched her fists. What he said…

Her heart dropped to the pit of her stomach.

Is Karen… actually giving her away?

No… No, it can't be… No… No. NO!

"NO!" she cried. More tears and sobs erupted as she buried her face on her bed.

Could Sasha own more than just a position?

Does he now own her as well?

"Papa," Keely said in a weak and helpless whisper, her imagined physical appearance of Bartholomew Marks in her mind. "Mother doesn't love me anymore…"

I'm just another little blind orphan like before…