"Wake up," A voice called out to Emily. "Wake up!" Someone was shaking her and it was making the horrible pounding near her head that much worse. She felt something sharp poke into her right arm and her eyes snapped open. Ryan was standing in front of her, his knife pressing into her arm. At first, nothing clicked. Not Ryan standing in front of her, not the knife in her arm, not even the pain. Then, when she continued to stare at him like a deer in headlights, he slapped her hard across her face and that's when everything came rushing back to her. She remembered changing her clothes and walking into the kitchen for something to eat. She even remembered the dark shape she had seen from the corner of her eye. She had thought it was a just trick of the light. What a mistake that had been. And then she finally registered that the pounding she had been hearing beside her head was actually her own head. It was vibrating in the agony of the pan that Ryan had crashed into her head. She opened her mouth to say something, anything, but discovered that she couldn't. Ryan had tied a cloth around her head, shoving it into her mouth, rendering her speechless. A small bead of red popped out of her arm, an arm that was pulled back. She moved her hands, only to find out that they were tied also; tied behind her back around the chair she was sitting on. The only things that were free were her legs. She pushed against the rope around her hands, whimpering in fear.

Ryan laughed. "That's right, you bitch. I've got you right where I've got you." He brought his face inches away from hers, his brown eyes staring into her green ones. "You really didn't think that I'd just let you go after causing me all that hell did you?" He slapped her again then, her head falling back.

"Of course I knew who you were. I knew it the instant I saw you. You may have changed your hair and put in contacts but you still look the exact same. Not what you were hoping for, right?" He ran his finger across the knife in his hand, walking in a circle around her. "I just thought maybe you'd forgotten. About that night. But, of course, you hadn't. And then you were stupid enough to accuse me of sexual assault. Come on, for a slut, you're pretty smart. You really didn't think you'd win that trial, did you?" She tugged at the rope again. She wished with all her might that she could turn back time. She would've listened to Tristan, she would've stayed right where she was. Instead, she had to be a stubborn, foolish idiot. How the hell was she going to get herself out of this?

"It really was excellent that you managed to find Tristan. It was somehow a work of the Gods, don't you think? That you would magically fall in love with my very own cousin. He led me right to you. To be honest, when he invited me over, I was very close to refusing. Why would I want to spend an hour or two with that insufferable fool that I call family? But thank goodness I came; how would I have found you again if I hadn't? We were meant for each other you and I." Ryan said in a calm voice. "You've always been mine, ever since that night at that party. And you'll always be mine. Only mine." Then, with no warning, he sliced his knife across her arm. She cried out in pain, but the sound was muffled by the cloth. "The one thing I truly and greatly want to do is to rape you again." Emily's eyes widened. He couldn't, he just couldn't. "I want to feel myself inside you again as you cry out in pain."

This man was really and truly sick. He was a monster! He couldn't be for real. He could probably have any girl he'd like, but he chose to rape her? Why was she cursed like this? Why couldn't she just live a normal life? She couldn't be raped by this beast again. She had just managed to put herself back together again, because of Tristan. If he raped her it would completely destroy her. She would never be able to become whole again.

Tristan. How she wished she could see his gorgeous face one last time before she died. How she wished she could hear him tell her he loved her one more time.

"But sadly," he continued, "I can't. When Tristan comes over to see you, he'll find you dead. And when the hospital takes you, they'll check for any signs of rape." Emily exhaled a breath of relief, a breath she didn't know she had been holding.

"But," he sneered, his cruel eyes boring into hers, "I can be tempted."

Emily yanked at her ropes in horror but they wouldn't come free. Her breathing had begun to come in shallow gasps.

"Why are you trying to escape? Scared?" Ryan growled out. "Don't be." He placed the very edge of the bloody knife on her cheek. Emily squeezed her eyes shut, fearing the pain that would follow.

"Open your eyes, bitch." She kept them closed. He grabbed a handful of hair and jerked her head back. Her eyes sprang open and he smiled. He smiled a cold, terrifying smile and then he took the knife and he pierced her skin. He ever so slowly pulled it across her cheek. Emily bit down on the cloth not willing herself to give him the pleasure of gasping. But then he traced the line he cut into her cheek back to where he had started from, quick and fast. She nearly screamed in agony. Then, right beside it, he did the exact same thing, as if an animal had clawed at her face. But Ryan was worse than any animal. So much worse. Tears sprang into her eyes but Emily willed them down. Please, she thought, Tristan, I need you. I love you, help.

He put his hands on the chair hands, his face inches from hers.

"Let's try something, huh?" He asked. She shook her head, knowing even before she did it that he wouldn't care what she said. He moved the cloth in her mouth down to her neck and before she could even try to scream, he placed his vile, repulsive lips onto hers. She clamped down her lips and he raked his teeth over them, biting hard onto her bottom lip. Her mouth opened unwillingly and he shoved his tongue in, moving it around and exploring the inside of her mouth. She closed her mouth again in disgust and moved her head to the side, causing Ryan to growl. He fisted her hair in his hand and tried kissing her but she wouldn't open it again. Anger flared in his eyes and before Emily could do anything, before she could even think about the consequences, he smashed his knife into her left leg. She screamed and she dug her nails into her hands, but Ryan paid no attention. He just settled his mouth onto hers again and kissed her; if what he did could be called kissing. She gave up fighting him and reluctantly let him do what he wanted while she squirmed in pain. The knife was still lodged into her leg, and with every move, the pain got worse. When she groaned, Ryan mistook it for a moan. As if she would actually be enjoying this. As if anything he could do was pleasurable. He finally tore his lips off of hers, and she breathed in fresh air, so glad to be away from his revolting mouth. It had tasted like stale gum and old cigars. She spat out the horrible taste right at Ryan's shoes. Ryan snarled and somehow, in the blink of an eye, found the dreaded pan again. He cursed at her and then the pan met with her ribs again and again and again and Emily felt a pain worse than anything she had ever felt before. The pain was so torturous that she began to black out again. The last thought that went through her head before she passed out was another plea to Tristan.

If only he came in time.

---

Tristan had felt worried all day long. Ever since he had left Emily at the firm a nagging voice kept telling him at the back of his head that he should go straight back and get her, even if he had to carry her on his back. But he told himself that it was nothing. The worst was over. But even as he, himself, went to work he still couldn't shake it away. He picked the phone up several times, wanting to call Emily, but put it back down, not wanting to seem like an overbearing freak.

So he tried to forget about it, engaging himself in the problem at hand: creating a three-floor recreational facility. Soon, the worrying was just a faint feeling at the back of his mind. After a couple hours, he was very pleased with the nearly completed draft. Now he just needed to make it a reality. He wiped the sweat off his brow with the rolled-up sleeve of his arm. At that moment, his cell phone rang. It was Lenny, one of his old friends from college. He was inviting him over for a cold beer or two, just to catch up. Tristan accepted. It took him only ten minutes to drive from the office to Lenny's. They were both a bit far from town. Tristan found his house and knocked on the door. Lenny opened it about five seconds after, grinning from ear to ear.

"Tristan! Glad you could make it!" Lenny caught him in a huge bear hug. Tristan had forgotten how much this guy loved hugs. "Come in, come in! You've met my wife, Galleria." A tall, pleasantly plump woman with bright, red hair and friendly blue eyes greeted him.

"Nice to see you again, Galleria," Tristan smiled and shook her hand.

"Right back at ya," She replied happily. Lenny escorted them to the kitchen, sitting Tristan down onto a midnight black stool, and handing him an ice cold beer to drink. He took a swig, feeling instantly refreshed as soon as the liquid went down.

"So how's it been going?" Tristan asked.

"Great, really great!" Lenny replied enthusiastically. Tristan had forgotten about that too. Lenny was a genuine, happy soul. He was pretty nice to be around but sometimes you could get sick of him if you were around him itoo/i much. "We redecorated the house, bought a new car, and we're trying to conceive a baby!"

"Lenny!" Galleria scolded although she didn't look at all mad. Suddenly, the nagging feeling that Emily was in danger was back. But this time, it was so much stronger. It was as if something was pulling Tristan to her, something inexplicable. He unexpectedly felt an intense surge of pain flow through him. He stood up abruptly from his seat, knocking the beer over.

"Oh!" Galleria exclaimed. "No worries, I'll clean it up."

"I've got to go," Tristan said, knowing deep inside that he should have listened to the voice all along.

"Why?" Lenny, asked confused. "Where do you have to be?"

"I've got to go," Tristan repeated once more, turning around and running straight towards his car. He slammed the door closed, putting the key in the ignition as fast as he could. He burned rubber as he backed out of the driveway, nearly knocking a garbage can over.

Emily was in danger. The pain that ran through him was no coincidence. Emily was hurt, or even worse, still being hurt. He knew it like he knew the back of his hand. He just hoped he wasn't too late. If she was dead, it would because he hadn't listened to his instincts. Because he had been obtuse and completely stupid.

And he knew that he wouldn't be able to live without her.

Lenny's house was a twenty minute ride to Emily's apartment. Tristan somehow knew that she didn't have that kind of time. So he drove way past the speed limit, hoping to God that there was no cop to stop him. He took his cell phone out of his pocket and called the police, telling them his suspicions. He knew it would take a while before they would actually get there so Tristan drove as if there was no tomorrow. And if something had happened to Emily, there really would be no tomorrow. He dialled Emily's cell phone number. When she didn't pick that up, he tried her home.

No answer.

---

A cold dose of water splashed on to her face. Emily's eyes jumped open. For the second time that day, she woke up to Ryan's cruel face looking at her.

"You're pathetic," He said and Emily flashed back to that night five years that started all this. He had said the exact same thing to her then. Her ribs were screaming in agony and Emily just wanted to curl up in a ball, close her eyes, and never wake up.

She was going to die. She knew it. There was no doubting the look in Ryan's eyes. He meant to kill her tonight, and he meant to take his own sweet time doing it. Emily pulled at her ropes with no emotion, knowing there was no use. But just when she thought there was no getting out of this, she found the silver lining in her cloud. The chair that Ryan had picked was the one chair that was the most broken down than the rest, the one that she knew would break with one crash to the floor. How could she have not noticed this sooner? Emily smiled to herself, realizing what she needed to do, what she needed to try to do to at least have a way of surviving.

"Hey, Ryan," Emily said, provoking him, "do you really think you have a chance of getting away with this?" She needed him angry enough to push her over. She just needed to push the right buttons.

"You're a dumbass, Ryan! You're not smart enough to get away with this. You're just a stupid, dim-witted, fucked up asshole who doesn't know how to pick on people his own size!"

"What did you say?" Ryan's eyes narrowed.

"This is exactly what I mean! Are you deaf? Can you not hear me? Do you need me to speak loudly for you? Alright! You. Are. A. Stup—" But Ryan didn't let her finish. He let out a roar of outrage—so menacing, so terrifying, that it had Emily cowering in terror—and kicked her right in the shin with his hard steel-toed boots.

And she went crashing down to the floor.

The chair fell onto a small glass table and they both crumbled into thousands of tiny and massive pieces. Her tied hands came free of the chair. In an instant, she whipped out her right leg and tripped Ryan and picked up a jagged piece of glass, ripping the cloth into shreds, trying to get it off of her as fast as she could.

But Ryan was faster and he grabbed her around the throat, smashing her head down onto the ground.

"You bitch," He exhaled. As her breathing became more constricted, the cloth finally came undone, freeing her hands. Without thinking, Emily jabbed the jagged piece of glass into Ryan's neck. He grabbed the back of his neck in pain and using his moment of hesitation, Emily rolled out from under Ryan. She tried standing up, but her ribs and her leg wouldn't let her. She fell down instantly. She tried again, setting the pain aside, and managed to lift herself up. Limping, she began running as fast as she could, wrapping her arm around her ribcage in torture. She heard a cry from behind her and threw herself out of the way as fast as she could. Ryan fell to the floor. He got up again, blood streaming from his neck, the murder visible in his eyes.

"You're not getting out of this alive, bitch. I'll do whatever it takes to kill you, you hear me?!" Ryan yelled. Emily knew he would. And she knew she couldn't let him do that. From the corner of her eye, she noticed a glass water container. He charged at her again and she went for the bottle. He was inches away from her when she slammed the container on to his head. It shattered into pieces while one large, rough piece remained in her hand. He collapsed to the floor. The glass piece fell out of her hand and right beside him. And suddenly, not knowing what had gotten into her, she ran for another chair and she slammed his body with it. She hit it again and again until her broken ribs couldn't take it anymore and she fell to the ground beside him. He lay there, unmoving. She couldn't find the strength to get up and call for help. She laid herself back against the debris and closed her eyes. For a moment, all was quiet.

Then, two things seemed to happen simultaneously. She felt a rustle beside her and opened her eyes to see a bloody Ryan rise above her shakily with the large piece of glass in his hand. He growled out at her again and then he brought the glass down into her chest at exactly the same that the door to her apartment banged open and Tristan and two police officers came running in.

"NO!" She heard Tristan yell. Something loud and scary fired, which she guessed to be a gun. Three times the sound echoed in her ears. Ryan's eyes widened incredulously and then he fell back, the sneer on his face still there.

"Emily!" Someone called out to her. The voice was muffled and garbled and she didn't want to try to think about who it was. The pain in her chest was unbearable. She couldn't breathe. It felt as if someone was scraping glass across her body every time; how ironic. And then an angelic face appeared in her vision, blurred by her tears, although she had no idea she was crying.

"Emily!" He yelled again. She felt hot wetness on her face and realized that the angel was also crying. Angels didn't cry did they? He shouldn't cry. There was no need to be sad. He grabbed for her hand, bringing it to his mouth. "Emily, no! Stay with me! I can't lose you, Emily, please. I can't! Please!"

The pain was beginning to lessen now. Other than her chest, nothing seemed to be stinging. But the pain in her chest seemed to be slowly fading away too. Emily smiled. It was all good now. The bad was over. The angel was with her and she felt no agony, no pain.

For the third time that day, Emily drifted into unconsciousness. But this time, she welcomed it. There was nothing to fear, nothing to be wary of. This time, it didn't matter if she didn't wake up. This time, she was in the hands of her angel and nothing on earth could take her away from him.