He couldn't just walk away and expect me to sleep next to him after saying that. I couldn't believe him sometimes. He truly was insane.

The tears dried on my cheeks. Before heading to Blaise's room, I washed all the make-up off my face. I stared at myself for a few seconds, a frown on my lips. I wondered if the me on the other side of the mirror was going through the same thing. Perhaps her name was Taryn with only one N. Perhaps she was still living at home with her parents, contemplating a career. Perhaps she was just about to go make-out with her boyfriend. He would have been her fiance now and she would have been so happy that he'd finally popped the question.

Unfortunately, I was on the dark side of the looking glass. We both had the same full cheeks and the same rock weighing down our ring finger. Our lives were totally different.

I took my time down the hallway, hugging myself as I went. I twisted the knob slowly, stepping in at the same speed. I didn't hide my discomfort when I stepped into his room. Thankfully Blaise was absent. I suspected it was due to the sound of the shower in the next room.

I lay down on the bed, hoping sleep could find me before Blaise could. Just as I was being pulled down, I heard him call my name through the hollow wood door. My eyes drifted towards the towel on his desk chair. My throat tightened up for the umpteenth time today.

He planned this.

I could just bring him the towel, or let him figure out some way to dry off. The latter option could get me a bruise or two, but I didn't know if I wanted to risk what the first could bring.

A year of general obedience made me chose the first option. I grabbed the towel and stuck my hand into the bathroom. "Here!"

"Are you stupid?"

I sighed. Well, it was worth trying. I slipped into the bathroom and stood in front of the shower. The curtain was still closed, leaving me to hesitantly call out his name. When I did, he shamelessly moved it out of the way.

I wasn't a prude, I really wasn't, but I'd never seen a naked man before. I couldn't help the flush that filled my cheeks. I shoved the towel into his hands, focusing to keep my eyes on his face. Remember this is the man who kidnapped you for ransom. This is the man who tried to rape you a week ago. This man has no qualms against murdering anyone, including you. Those thoughts weren't enough to keep my eyes from curiously traveling downwards.

There was a smirk in place as he stepped out and wrapped the towel around his waist. I turned away from it, trying to control my blush.

"You took a shower before you came into my room. You did this on purpose," I said to the door.

"So what if I did?"

Instead of answering I walked back into the bedroom, laying on the bed. I heard Blaise turn on the sink, but eventually that was what lulled me down into sleep.

I woke up a few minutes later, pulled against Blaise's chest. I'd always find myself in this position in the morning, but that's what wasn't woke me up. The lips on my neck did. I looked at him, craning my neck in a painful way.

"What are you doing?"

"I'm sorry, I woke you?"

I didn't reply. I closed my eyes and tried to fall asleep, but then his fingers were tracing circles on my hip and despite the fact that I couldn't stand him, it was distracting. No, it was annoying.

Against my better judgment, I flipped over and faced him. "Can you stop?" I tried to ignore the way his blue eyes almost glowed. I tried to ignore the way his face was shadowed, so I could only see half of his smirk. It wasn't distracting. It was annoying.

He poked me cheek, leaving me to hiss in pain. For a minute he didn't get it then he sat up. "I'm sorry." Well he didn't sound sorry. I turned away from him and closed my eyes.

"You have more mood swings than Edward Cullen," I mumbled.

"Excuse me?"

"Nothing."

He laid back down, pulling me flush against him. This I was used to. I didn't have to worry about that suspicious heat creeping up my neck. I just had to remind myself how terrible he was if he started drawing circles on my hips or kissing my neck again.

We lay in silence, the only sounds coming from our breathing. After a few minutes, I felt him shift closer; his breath fanned against the back of my neck.

The blush returned.

"If you don't piss me off anymore I don't think I'll hit you anymore," he mumbled. If his voice wasn't so deep I would have wondered why he was suddenly taking on this childish tone.

"I don't like that negotiation," I said, glad I didn't have to look at his face.

He ignored my reply. "If you take care of me, I'll take care of you. I know that sounds pretty ridiculous coming from me, but I want you to take care of me."

He hits you. He wants to take your virginity. He murders people. I don't know why I had to keep reminding myself. I knew Blaise was a horrible person. My affinity for fixing people was starting to squeeze it's way out, though. What-ifs flooded my mind. What if I helped him be human? What if he actually liked me, not what my body could give? They were stupid, pointless, and I would forget them in the morning. Now, they were all I could think of.

"You don't need me to take care of you." I tried to edge away, but once he sensed a fraction of movement his arms tightened. I bit my lip, annoyed.

"You need me to take care of you."

"For obvious reasons." I blew my bangs out of my eyes, closing them and begging for sleep.

"It's not my fault your parents didn't love you."

My eyes closed tighter. I bit my lip, hoping the pain would keep the tears away.

"They disowned you. Everyone thinks you're dead."

"Stop, please," I muttered. "Can we just sleep?" My voice was small, weak, quiet. Just like I was.

He shifted on top of me with a speed he usually reserved for whipping out his silver companion. Still laying on my side, I stared at his forearm.

"Look at me." His voice was soft.

I was slow to lay flat down on the bed. I didn't know if he planned for my shoulder to brush against his bare chest. The shock I got from the contact was annoying. I blamed the fact that I hadn't willingly made out with anyone in almost two years. Well, with Blaise as my own option I knew it'd probably be forever.

I stared up at his face, finally noticing that he'd shaved. Resisting the urge to reach out and touch the fresh skin, I simply looked.

He ducked down to kiss me, but I turned my head so he was met with my cheek. I heard him laugh, then lay down beside me. He pulled me up against him once more, arms tight around my waist, and fell asleep.


The screams stopped at noon.

I was eating cereal at the table. A lone frosted flake was floating among the now sugary milk. I stared at it like it was some alien life form. I could have taken the bowl upstairs, but for some reason I was sitting at this table and properly digesting my food as Emery tortured a name out of Joseph.

At first I figured he was letting the man rest, coming up to get some food. I didn't want to see Emery's blood stained sleeves. I was rinsing out my bowl when he came up.

"Tarynn," Emery said, surprise in his voice. When I turned there was no blood on his clothes. His sleeves were damp, there was a fresh cut on his cheek. I wondered where Medina was, but I assumed she was out getting groceries.

"Hi," I said, turning back to place the bowl in the dishwasher. Emery came beside me, dropping a bucket in the sink.

"Can you fill this up? I would ask Medina but she's... not well."

I wanted to say no. Medina not well meant Medina was probably bandaged up and bleeding. Those screams last night were hers, weren't they? I had a good idea what he'd be doing with the bucket of water as well. Despite the fact that he trafficked women, I couldn't help but feel bad for Joseph. He simply captured the wrong girl.

I wanted to know why he withheld that name so bad. I knew what Emery was doing to him in the basement was more than unkind.

I obeyed, though. It was what I had to do in this house. Emery had never hit me, never gave me that perverse glance I once experienced from Blaise and Caleb. He'd never even sent a mean word my way. Things could change like Blaise's moods, though. All I knew from Emery was cold compassion.

The bucket was heavy when I pulled it out of the sink. I went to give it to Emery, but he just motioned for me to follow. I had to hold the metal bucket with two hands, the thin wire handle digging into my fingers. We walked down the stairs silently. The smell of blood and burnt flesh floated in the stagnant air, and I fought not to choke on the suffocating air.

"You were down here all night?" I asked, unable to see how he could do it.

"Medina took over for me for a few hours."

I bit my lip, not saying anything. Had she wanted to?

I stopped at the stairs, holding out the bucket. I didn't want to go farther. Emery didn't seem to care.

"Dump it in that tank."

I dumped the water in the tank. It looked like it could hold a decent amount of fish, but the tank was as empty and lifeless as Emery's eyes.

I was curious, that's the only reason I looked for Joseph.

It was the cliche crime movie scene. A single lightbulb hang above Joseph, who was strapped to what suspiciously looked like a make-shift electric chair. A table against the concrete wall held all types of tools: knives, guns, a flashlight, some lighters, a bucket of clear liquid, and other things I couldn't name.

The man himself was shirtless, showing off old scars and some shockingly new ones. Emery or Medina had etched bleeding words into his chest, ones I couldn't read. He had a black eye, two cuts running down each cheek, and a cracked lip. My inspection had me unconsciously stepping towards him, bare feet cold against the concrete floor.

All of this for a name?

"Why don't you just tell us?" I asked Joseph, voice barely a whisper.

He spit in my face.

I yelped, stepping backwards. Emery looked up from whatever he was doing and walked over, pushing me farther back. I wiped my face, disgusted.

"Don't tell Blaise," Emery said, lighting a match. I watched with a sort of morbid fascination as Emery pried Joseph's mouth open and shoved the fire in.

I ran upstairs when he screamed.


I wanted to talk to someone. Medina was unwell, of course, and Olivia was out of the question. She seemed to be on Caleb's good side lately. Eventually that would change, and Medina and I would be dragging toaster waffles and fruit snacks down to her ever morning.

I didn't know where Blaise was, nor Caleb. They were probably out. Emery was still busy downstairs with Joseph, and I wasn't going to talk to him while he shoved matches in the man's mouth.

So I took a shower. It was midnight and I'd already washed, but I didn't have anything else to do. I didn't care for television. The news was always on, stories on murders and drug trafficking. I always assumed that this was at Blaise's hand, so I couldn't bear to see the result of his handiwork.

I had just finished pulling a shirt over my head when the door opened. I already knew it was Blaise, so I didn't say anything. Plugging the blow dryer in, I went to work on my hair.

It was silent for a few seconds, before a hand came over my mouth. My eyes flew up to the mirror and I saw that the person holding me was not Blaise.

Blaise doesn't spit in my face.


AN: And there goes the last pre-written chapter. Slower updates from now on, unfortunately, but I like this story and intend to finish it. Well, at least you'll get more interesting updates. Feel free to leave a question in a review, I'd love to answer them.