I hardly ever do trigger warnings at the beginning of a chapter because I don't want to spoil anything, but I felt the need to do it for this one. So here it is:

TW: serious contemplation of self harm, thoughts of suicide


Reece's stern voice breaks through my spacing out and makes me jump. I quickly look up at him, surprised to see that he's standing right beside my chair and frowning down at me; I didn't hear him walk up. He watches me for a moment before speaking again.

"You have to eat something," he says, scooting my cereal bowl closer to me.

I lower my eyes back down to the kitchen tabletop where he set the bowl of cereal a few minutes ago. The Fruit Loops are soggy now, turning the milk a sickly green color.

"I'm not hungry," I mutter, repeating the same thing I said when he set the bowl in front of me.

Reece sighs heavily, then suddenly scoots my chair out from the table and turns me to face him, making me jump again from the unexpected movement. He lowers himself down to kneel in front of me to be able to look me in the eye. He stares at me for a few seconds before he speaks.

"Skylar… What did we talk about earlier?" He asks me, his tone low and frustrated. It seems like he's trying to be patient with me, but I can tell he's getting mad.

I gaze back at him blankly, struggling to process what he asked me. We didn't talk about anything earlier. It was just him talking to me. And he told me lots of things. Which thing is he referring to?

"I-I don't remember," I mumble.

Reece sighs again and rubs a hand over his face tiredly.

"I said that you are not going to act like this. You have to snap out of this mood, Skylar," he tells me sternly.

I blink up at him, wondering how he expects me to "snap out of this mood". I can't even think straight right now, how does he expect me to control my emotions?

"How?" I ask quietly, needing him to tell me what to do to make myself act how he wants me to act.

Reece is glaring at me now, but he doesn't look angry. He looks more upset and bothered by my question than anything.

"God dammit," he mutters, standing up abruptly and taking a step back from me. He stares down at me for several long seconds, with that same frustrated frown, but then he sighs again and easily scoots my chair back up to the table. "Just, take a few bites at least," he orders before quickly walking out of the kitchen.

I listen to his footsteps as he walks across the foyer and up the stairs, then I turn my attention back to my soggy cereal. I wasn't lying when I told him I'm not hungry. I'm really not. I don't have an appetite whatsoever and I also feel nauseous. I never feel very good when I wake up after taking those pills, but I feel especially bad today.

I slept late, like I always do after he drugs me. I didn't have any nightmares, since the pills usually keep them at bay, but I woke up crying. I'm not sure if I was crying because of all the random pains in my body or from everything that happened last night; probably a combination of both. But what really made my crying worse was the fact that my hands were cuffed to the bed frame when I woke up.

At some point during the night or this morning, Reece had put leather cuffs on my wrists. They were connected by a chain and he had looped them through the headboard and locked them in place with little padlocks, completely restraining me to the bed. I don't know why I was so surprised to see them. I ran from him yesterday, I should have expected him to make sure that didn't happen again. I guess what bothered me the most was that it was a reminder that things aren't the same anymore.

If I had woken up without the cuffs on I might have been able to pretend that last night didn't happen. I could have imagined it was all a bad dream. That I didn't find out about what Reece was doing behind my back. That I didn't sign myself over to a life full of pain. I could have kept my mind numb and empty, just like it was when I fell asleep, at least for a little while... But I couldn't do that when I saw the cuffs.

They were just a reminder of how fucked up this entire situation truly is. A reminder of what Reece has done to me and how sick and twisted he really is. A reminder of how screwed up I am to willingly decide to stay with him and ask him to hurt me instead of anyone else.

I'm so fucked up. And my life is officially over now…

I wasn't awake very long before Reece came to unlock me from the bed; I guess he heard me crying. He told me he only did it to keep me safe, so I wouldn't run off again and hurt myself. Feeding me more lies to mess my head up even more and make me feel like I'm completely crazy. After he took the cuffs off, he pulled me into his lap and began to gently pet me, making me feel so confused. Why does it have to feel so fucking good to be close to him and have him touch me when it's so very wrong?

Once I was calmed down some and had stopped crying so much, Reece started talking, which just made me feel worse. He let me know that he had thought about what I said last night all morning. He said that he knew we could figure things out, as long as I "stayed willing to the situation". He confirmed that we'll be taking an extended vacation to stay in the condo in California when he gets back from his trip; he's already made the arrangements. He said he thinks it will be "good for us", to be alone and spend some one-on-one time together, only focusing on each other and nothing else. Being away from our friends and family for a while will give us some privacy and time to "sort things out".

The thought of being alone with Reece now, that far away from Sam and Dr. Carmin and everyone else I have grown close to in the past two years, terrifies me. Reece can do anything he wants to me there and no one will ever know. And now that I've gotten some sleep and I'm thinking more clearly, I've realized exactly what I agreed to and just how insane I really am. I honestly can't believe that I made that decision on my own. What the hell was I thinking? What the fuck is wrong with me…?

But I didn't have any other choice, right? This was the only way I could keep Reece from hurting anyone else. I had to sacrifice myself to keep every other boy he would possibly target safe. I have to accept this role. I have been hurt so many times in my life that it only seems fitting for it to end up like this, even if I don't want it to. I can handle what Reece will do to me, as long as I know it saves other boys from hurting and suffering like I have…

I sigh softly and pull my eyes off the table to glance up at the clock on the wall. It's a little after five o'clock now. For the past hour Reece has been getting prepared to leave for his meeting, making sure his things are ready and that my things are packed to stay the night at Dr. Carmin and Sam's house. I've been making him so mad since the moment he woke me up and I haven't even been awake for three full hours yet. He wants me to act normal, like His Skylar is supposed to act, but how am I supposed to do that when everything has changed so much within the past twenty-four hours? Everything I do seems to piss him off. I feel like I can't do anything right for him now… And I hate that upsetting him still makes me feel so bad.

My eyes drift away from the clock to settle on a random spot on the wall, staring blankly at nothing in particular. I feel so strange today. I feel like I'm standing on the outside of my body and looking in. As if I'm watching my own life play out in front of me; like I'm watching a movie. I've spaced out so many times since I woke up that it feels like time is moving without me. It's like my brain has shut down and I'm just running on autopilot now. I feel numb and empty, but also so overwhelmed. My emotions feel like they're spiraling out of control.

Reece wants me to snap out of this "mood" and be who he wants me to be, but I can't make my brain work. I don't know what to do. I don't know how to act, or feel, or think right now. I can't make myself do anything. And my head fucking hurts… I hate this. All of it…

I don't even realize I'm staring at the alcohol cabinet until I refocus my eyes and become aware of myself again. My eyes are glued on that one bottle that I always stare at when I want it, and fuck do I want it bad right now. It would make me feel so much better. It would make me numb to everything around me. And not the bad kind of numb that hurts and makes Reece mad, it would be the good kind. The kind of numb that I always used whenever life got too hard to handle when I was with Dad. Like when he would hurt me so bad that I could barely stand to be in my own body anymore… Yeah, that kind of good numb.

I need it right now. Fuck, I need it so fucking bad it makes my chest ache…

I swallow hard and subconsciously lick my lips. I haven't drank in so long, my tolerance is probably really low. I wouldn't need a lot to get that numb feeling that I'm craving so much... Two big swallows, maybe three. That's all I would need. Then I'll put it back and I won't touch it again. I promise. I'll be a good boy after that. And I'll be who Reece wants me to be… I just need a little bit-

"He's been saying some really odd things the past couple days…"

Reece's voice filtering into the kitchen as he comes down the stairs breaks through my trance. I snap my head forward to look back down at the tabletop, away from the liquor lined shelves, heat rising in my cheeks as if I had been caught staring at something I shouldn't have been looking at. Reece is talking in a hushed tone, as if he doesn't want to be heard, but he's speaking just loud enough for me to hear what he's saying. I wonder who he's on the phone with, but it doesn't take me very long to figure it out.

"It's like he's having a hard time separating his imagination from reality, Chris. He's making up these crazy stories and he claims that he found proof that I'm cheating on him…"

Wait, what…? My eyes widen and I feel my heart drop into my stomach when I realize who he's on the phone with and what's happening. Reece is doing what he threatened to do last night and he's making Dr. Carmin think that I'm going crazy. Fuck!

"Last night it was like he was out of his mind when he took off running from the house. I've never seen him act like this before. It's like he's a completely different person…"

I stare down at the tabletop, my breath coming in short little gasps, unable to believe what's happening. My chance to tell Sam and Dr. Carmin the truth is gone. I fucked up and let Reece get the upper hand in the situation, like always… Now he's making sure that even if I did decide to tell them what happened, they wouldn't believe me.

"I'm just glad I was able to find him and he didn't spend all night outside. Just thinking about what could have happened to him makes me feel sick…"

I have the urge to jump up and run into the foyer where Reece is slowly pacing back and forth as he speaks. I imagine snatching the phone out of his hand and telling Dr. Carmin the truth, like I should have done last night. I could beg him to come get me now and tell him everything that Reece has done to me and all of those other boys. I could get out of this fucked up situation once and for all.

But of course I don't do that.

I don't do anything. I just stay in my seat, my wide eyes glued to the tabletop, my fists gripping the fabric of my pajama pants so hard it's making my fingers cramp. I'm such a fucking coward…

"I wanted to give you a heads up, so you'll know what to expect when you pick him up this evening. Just in case he starts saying some things that sound unbelievable… You're still planning on changing his medication tonight, right? He really needs something to help him feel better and calm his anxiety down... I can't stand seeing him like this…"

I close my eyes and swallow hard as the tears I was trying to hold back roll down my cheeks. I've officially lost my chance to tell my side of the story. And now, on top of that, I'll be drugged to the point of not being able to think… Reece really does want me to be his little doll.

"Great. Thanks, Chris. I really appreciate your help with all of this."

Reece walks into the kitchen a moment after he ends the call. He stops near the head of the table and simply stares at me for a few tense seconds, the only sound in the big room being the clicking of the clock on the wall behind him. I hesitantly glance up at him to see him watching me with a slightly pained expression on his face and I wonder what I look like right now. Do I look as broken and empty as I feel? Can he see that he's completely crushing my will to live and sucking the life right out of me…?

He sighs softly and moves further into the room, stopping to stand by my chair.

"You didn't eat anything," he says lowly.

I keep my eyes on the tabletop again, wishing for the thousandth time that he didn't scare me so fucking much.

"I-I'm n-not hungry… I'm sorry," I whisper pathetically, my voice coming out hoarse and strained in the quiet room.

Reece sighs again and suddenly scoots my chair out from the table like before, making me flinch from the sudden movement. His hand is on chin and he tilts my head back to make me look up at him. He gazes into my eyes for a long time, studying my face with concern creasing his brow.

"You're acting like a little zombie today… It's freaking me out," he murmurs.

I stare up at him, wondering how he expects me to act after everything that happened last night, but of course I don't ask. Instead I avert my gaze and I can't stop myself from apologizing again.

"I-I'm sorry," I mumble.

Reece sighs softly. I glance up at him warily to see him frowning down at me now with that same frustrated expression that he had before he left the room a few minutes ago. I have the urge to apologize to him once again, but I force myself not to, instead lowering my eyes to where my fingers are still gripping my pants legs.

He suddenly scoops me up into his arms to carry me bridal style, which makes me jump and let out a squeak of surprise. I look up at him again to see that he's still frowning as he carries me out of the room and I wonder if he's taking me up to our bedroom to punish me as he begins to walk up the stairs. I guess I deserve it if he is. I really have been making him so angry and upset since I woke up; it makes my stomach hurt just thinking about how much of a screw up I always am…

Reece carries me through our bedroom and into the bathroom instead though, which makes me let out a small sigh of relief. I glance at my image in the mirror over the sinks as he carries me further into the room. I don't look as bad as I did last night. The bruises on my face aren't as dark and the scratches on my forehead and cheek are already starting to heal. My palms and the soles of my feet still hurt, but Reece's careful ministrations from last night seemed to have helped a lot. I guess I'm lucky that I've always been a fast healer... I'm also lucky that he still cares enough about me to help me when I make stupid mistakes.

He carefully sets me on the counter between the sinks like he did last night. He tilts my head back with a hand on my chin again so he can examine the injuries on my face. I meet his serious gaze for a second, but quickly avert my own gaze, unable to look into his eyes right now.

"How are you feeling?" He asks me softly, gently brushing his thumb over the healing cut on my lip.

I assume he's talking about how I'm feeling physically and not mentally, since we've already established that he doesn't like how I've been acting today.

"I-I guess I'm okay," I answer him hesitantly. I honestly don't feel that bad. If he hadn't given me those pills last night I would probably feel even better.

"Good," he murmurs.

He reaches down and carefully removes the bandages from my arms and feet to examine those wounds, then he slowly unwraps my ankle. I see that it's not as bruised as it was before he wrapped it last night.

"How does your ankle feel?" He asks.

I gingerly flex it now that the wrap is off. It's stiff and sore, but doesn't hurt like I thought it would. I'm still not sure though. It only hurt bad last night when I put pressure on it and I haven't stood up at all since I woke up; Reece has been carrying me everywhere.

"Um, I-I think it's better," I tell him quietly, feeling so nervous for some reason, as if I'm being graded on how much I'm hurting.

"Let's see if you can stand on your own," Reece says, sliding his arm around me to help me off the counter.

I lean against him as I test my weight on my ankle, hoping it's not as bad as last night. But I'm pleasantly surprised to realize that I can put pressure on it now and it only hurts a little. I take a hesitant step away from Reece and then another. It seems like I'll be able to walk on my own now too, which makes me feel relieved knowing that I won't have to depend on Sam or Dr. Carmin to carry me around when they come to get me later; that would have been embarrassing. As long as I don't push myself too much, I think it'll be okay.

Reece seems pleased with how I'm feeling, which makes a stupid thrum of happiness flow through me from knowing that I've pleased him in some way. Fuck, I wish I didn't feel like this. It's makes everything so much harder…

"Great, we can get a shower together then," he says with a satisfied smile, before walking over to the shower stall to start the water.

I stay where I'm standing, watching him with wide eyes, but not moving closer. I really don't want to get a shower with him. I don't want to be naked and that close to him right now. When we're together like that he always makes me feel things that push me closer into forgiving him and letting him do whatever he wants with me. I don't want to feel like that right now. I want to be able to be mad at him and hate him for everything he's done and will do to me.

Reece is undressing and his smile fades into a frown when he notices that I haven't made a move to follow him.

"Skylar, come on," he beckons me over to him with an impatient wave of his hand.

I don't obey him immediately. I just stand there and stare at him. I really don't want to do this… But do I have any other choice? After all, this is what I agreed to, isn't it? I agreed to stay with him and let him do what he wants with me… If it's not me, it would be someone else… Right?

I swallow hard and begrudgingly limp closer to him, being careful not to do something that would hurt my ankle; it feels better, but still really weak. Once again Reece seems pleased that I'm obeying him and the satisfied look on his face makes my stomach twist uncomfortably. I feel like I'm betraying myself every time I give in to him so willingly. But at the same time it makes me feel so good to make him happy. It hurts when I upset him and see him look at me with disappointment in his eyes. That's why it's so fucking hard to make myself tell on him or do anything that might make him mad… Fuck, I am so confused and messed up.

Reece reaches out for me once I'm within arm's reach and gently pulls me closer to him. He helps me out of my pajama pants, then carefully takes my t-shirt off. He smiles as he opens the glass door and steps into the big, steamy stall, pulling me along with him and closing the door behind us. His arms wrap around me in a loving embrace once we're under the spray of hot water and I can't stop myself from leaning into his warm body and breathing in his familiar, comforting smell.

I rest my head against his chest and close my eyes, letting the sound of his steady heartbeat soothe me for a moment. For a few seconds I try to pretend that everything is how it used to be. That's it's just me and him, and there's no secrets between us that ruin people's lives… But that brief moment of comfort is shattered almost as soon as it comes when he speaks and reminds me that nothing is, or ever will be, the same between us again.

"You know that I love you, right, Skylar?" He murmurs, his mouth pressed against the top of my head.

I nod numbly, knowing exactly how he wants me to respond to his question.

"And you love me too… Right, baby?" He asks softly.

I swallow hard and nod again, hating that my answer is the truth. I do love him. I love him so much it fucking hurts. Which is why everything is so hard right now…

"I'm so glad that I still have you here with me. Safe and sound in my arms," he says quietly, gently stroking his fingers up and down my back. "I wouldn't have stopped looking for you last night, no matter how long it took me to find you. I would have searched all night if I had to… You know that, right, baby?"

His words have a strange tone to them, which makes me start to feel tense. It seems like he wants me to respond, so I hesitantly nod once again, wondering what he's getting at.

"And if we ever got separated again, I would search to the ends of the Earth for you," he says quietly. "It doesn't matter how far apart or how long we're away from each other, I will always find you, Skylar. I promise… And I will never let anyone come between us, no matter who it is. Because I can't bear the thought of you not being mine anymore, baby… I would kill to keep you as mine, Skylar... That's how much I love you," he tells me softly.

I hold still in his arms, struggling to keep my breathing even and normal. His quiet words sound like a sincere confession of love, but I can hear the threat that lies beneath them. I know that what he's saying is more of a warning than a romantic statement of affection. He's making it clear that I can't get help from anyone; no matter who that may be. He's making sure that I understand that no matter what I do to get away from him or how far I may get if I do manage to get away… It doesn't matter. Because he would hurt and knock down the people who come between us. And he would always be looking for me.

Reece will never give me up… I will always be his. Forever.

I try to hold back the tears that are pressing against the backs of my eyes and making my throat ache. I'm starting to tremble against him and he sighs softly, tightening his arms around me to hold me closer.

"Shhh… It's okay, baby…" He murmurs, sliding his hand up to gently card his fingers through my hair. "I know things seem really confusing and mixed up right now, sweetheart, but I want you to know that nothing has changed between us," he tells me, his voice still steady and calm. "I still love you and you still love me… The only thing that has changed is that you finally know what I need from you now… What I've always needed from you..."

His words feel like a punch to the gut. Hearing him say that I wasn't giving him everything he needed makes me feel sick. Was I ever who he truly wanted…?

"I-I'm sorry." The words escape my mouth in a hoarse whisper as the tears finally fall to track down my cheeks.

Reece sighs softly and quickly tilts my head up to press a gentle kiss to my lips.

"Shhh, it's alright, baby. Don't think about the past anymore, okay?" He tells me, slowly pulling away from the kiss to look into my eyes. "The only thing that matters now is focusing on our relationship and making it stronger. As long as you promise to be who I need you to be, then everything will be fine," he assures me soothingly.

His words don't make me feel any better. They make my stomach hurt and my head pound. The soothing tone of his voice pushes me closer into believing what he says and makes me feel like it's the truth. All I have to do is listen to Reece and act how he wants me to act. As long as I'm his good boy then everything will be fine… But deep down I know that isn't true. It doesn't matter what I do or how I act, he's still going to hurt me. I'm still going to suffer at his hand…

I feel as if there's an internal war waging inside of my head right now. As if my logical thinking is battling against my natural submissiveness and the subconscious need to obey. My instincts are screaming at me to obey him. Do what he tells me to do and then I won't hurt as much, that's how it's always been. Dad beat that knowledge into me and it feels as if it's been ingrained into the very marrow of my bones. As long as I behave, keep my head down, and obey, the pain won't be as bad…

But there's another part of me that doesn't want to bend to everyone else's will. A part of me that seems too strong to even be me. That part of me wants to fight and scream and run. To get away from anyone and anything that could harm me and cause me pain. It's that part that always kept me going after Dad would hurt me, even when I felt like I couldn't go on anymore. It's still there, trying to help me break free, trying to get me to fight back… But I can't.

I just can't. It's too hard. All of it. It's too hard to think, too hard to push back against him… It hurts too much. Everything does… It's so much easier just letting him do whatever he wants with me. Letting my body be used and letting my mind drift away. Being the little doll he wants me to be.

I just want to give up and admit that he won. I can't fight him anymore… I'm so very tired…

He won. I admit it. He got exactly what he wanted from the very beginning. He owns me. All of me: my body and my mind. I'm all His.

Reece's mouth is on mine again, his lips gently coaxing me into returning the kiss. My lips move against his automatically, without thought, and I let my brain shut off and my body take over; it's so much easier when I don't have to think about anything.

He presses me up against the cool tiled wall, a satisfied smile on his lips as the kiss grows deeper and more passionate. I allow my mind to drift away from my body. Enjoying the sensations from the kiss and the feeling of his hands on my skin, while also enjoying not having to feel the emotions that come with the touch. It feels so fucking good just to give in and let him do what he wants for once…

For a few peaceful minutes I float in that pleasurable state of semiconscious, somewhere in between spacing out and being aware of my body. The kiss slowly gets deeper and more rough, as his touch gets heavier and more demanding. He presses me harder into the wall and growls in desire, his teeth nipping my lips and tongue until I can taste blood.

I try to relax, struggling desperately to keep my mind separate from my body. If I can just stay here - right here in this floaty, distant headspace - where I don't have to think or feel or do anything, then everything will be fine. I'll be okay, and it won't hurt as mu-


A cry of pain and surprise is suddenly wrenched from my throat. My mind snaps back to my body so quickly that it leaves me feeling dizzy and disoriented. I'm trying to figure out what happened when I feel Reece pressing a third finger into my ass to open me up for him, his hand slick from the waterproof lube he keeps in the shower stall.

"Unngh… Reece!" I groan, shaking my head and trying to pull away from him.

"Shhh, relax, Skylar," he murmurs against my lips, forcing his fingers deeper inside of me and pinning me harder against the wall.

"Reece, please… N-no," I whimper, still shaking my head. "I-I don't want t-to," I beg pathetically, squirming against him, trying to break free from his possessive grip.

"Skylar…" Reece's voice has an undertone of threat in it. "Be my good boy, baby..."

His words make a loud sob burst from my lips as I continue to shake my head. I hate when he says that! It always makes me think of Dad. It fucking hurts hearing those words murmured to me soothingly, as if they'll somehow make me feel better. And I hate even more that it makes me want to do exactly as he says and be his good boy…

Reece sighs heavily and suddenly yanks his fingers out of my body. He pulls away from my mouth to look down at me, a glare darkening his features. The look on his face makes me freeze and I gaze up at him fearfully, my heart pounding in my chest and my breaths coming in harsh gasps.

"Are you going to act like this the entire time we're at the condo?" He asks softly, his eyes calculating as they gaze into mine.

I blink up at him, a little caught off guard by his question. Before I can even try to think of a response, he leans forward again to gently press his lips to my neck, his warm breath on the skin over my fluttering pulse making me shudder.

"You know, I honestly don't mind if you fight me. I enjoy feeling you pinned underneath me, trying to get free… But don't you think this is going to get old after a while, Skylar? Isn't it exhausting for you? To constantly fight me like this?" He asks quietly, his mouth close to my ear.

His words leave me feeling cold with an overwhelming sense of hopelessness. He's right. It is exhausting. It's so fucking hard to keep fighting. It's always been so hard… So why do I keep trying…? Because I don't want to accept my fate? Because I do want to break free? Because I just want to be happy and feel good for once in my pathetic life? Is that really too much to ask…?

I know it is… at least for me.

I'm so stupid… Why can't I just accept the fact that I'm completely powerless against him and that he's won? Why can't I just give up already? I'm so fucking tired

"N-no… I-I won't… I'm s-sorry," I whisper, before another loud sob bursts from my lips.

Reece sighs again and suddenly picks me up to move us further back into the shower stall. There's a bench built into the back wall and he sets me down, half-sitting, half-lying back on the cold granite. He kneels between my spread legs and leans over me, pressing his lips against mine again to stifle my pathetic tears. The kiss is gentle, but firm and dominating. It's the kind of kiss that used to make me melt, but now only makes me shake in fear.

"Fuck, Skylar," he pulls away from my mouth to look down at me, his possessive gaze raking up my body before settling on my teary eyes. "You just don't realize how beautiful you are with tears in your eyes, baby," he murmurs longingly.

His words make more tears roll down my wet cheeks, even though I try so hard to hold them back. He chuckles softly and leans forward again to capture my mouth in his. I suddenly feel him pressing his cock against my ass and I gasp, trying to turn my head away.

"Re-Reece, wait!" I beg against his lips desperately. "Pl-Please, no- ah!"

He forces himself inside of me with one rough thrust. My head snaps back as I cry out in pain from being stretched open too quickly and my abdomen cramping from the sudden intrusion. The way he has me awkwardly positioned on the bench makes everything worse, making his cock dig into my belly all weird. I hesitantly glance down to see the bulge of his cock in my lower abdomen, but I quickly look away, the sight making me feel nauseous.

"Fuck, you are so damn tight," Reece groans, somehow forcing himself even deeper inside of me, wrenching a pained whimper from my throat. His hand presses against my lower belly to feel himself inside of me and he chuckles lowly. "My perfect, tiny, obedient boy," he murmurs, leaning forward to kiss me again.

He slowly pulls his cock out of me before forcing it back in, making another sob slip past my lips. He smiles devilishly as he picks up a rough, thrusting rhythm, fucking me hard and fast into the bench. I try to control the noises that escape my throat, knowing for a fact that they just satisfy him even more. But it's too hard to stop them because I'm hurting so bad, so I eventually give up. Instead I just close my eyes and try to relax, unable to do anything else expect struggle to breathe through the pain.

Reece continues to fuck me, murmuring praises of how good I make him feel and how perfect I am. I foolishly cling to the feeling of muted happiness that his praise brings me, giving me the only sense of comfort I can grasp onto during this painful moment. It seems like he fucks me for hours before I finally hear his breathing become uneven pants. He hasn't focused on my body at all this whole time, not seeming to care that my cock is completely flaccid and limp against my belly. I vaguely wonder if it's going to be like this all the time from now on. Will he only focus on his pleasure now? Do I even matter to him as a person anymore…?

I breathe out a shaky sigh of relief when I finally feel him cum deep inside of me. He groans in pleasure and holds me down tight against him. His pulsing dick inside of me makes me shudder and I close my eyes as more tears spill freely down my cheeks.

"Fuck, you make me feel so damn good, baby," he rumbles, kissing away the tears from my cheeks before capturing my mouth in another hard, demanding kiss.

I stay limp against him, feeling too weak to even kiss him back now. I practically sob in relief when he finally pulls his cock out of my body, relieving me of the ache between my legs. He sits down on the bench and leans back against the wall, letting out a satisfied sigh of contentment as he pulls me into his lap to hold me. I want to squirm out of his grasp and push away from him, but I feel too tired to do anything except lean my head against his chest.

"You're such a good boy, Skylar," he murmurs, gently stroking my cheek and sliding his fingers into my hair to card the damp strands. "This is exactly what I need from you, sweetheart. For you to be my good boy and let me be in total control," he tells me.

I nod numbly, agreeing with him only because I know what he says is true. I just have to be his good boy. It doesn't matter what I think or feel anymore. It doesn't matter how much everything hurts or how damaged my body may become… The only thing that really matters is satisfying Reece's dark desires, to protect all of his other potential victims… It has to be me…

I'm sitting on the couch in the den now, feeling so very numb and empty. I'm staring blankly at the movie he put on for me, not even seeing the images on the TV screen. After Reece finished fucking me, he washed us both, then dried me off with a warm towel. He carried me into the bedroom and dressed me in some comfortable lounge clothes before leaving me bundled up in a blanket on our bed while he got himself dressed and finished packing his things. Then he brought me downstairs to the den, where he put the movie on for me and left me still bundled up in the blanket, to finish getting ready to leave.

I'm shaking as if I'm freezing, but I don't feel cold; I'm actually very warm with the fluffy fleece wrapped around me. It's because I'm hurting; mentally and physically now. My ass hurts, and my back and abdomen ache. I must have tensed my ankle up in a weird way while he was fucking me because it's hurting again too. My head pounds with a horrible headache, right behind my eyes. Everything hurts… I just want to fucking die

That sudden thought makes me flinch. I blink and look away from the TV, wondering if that statement is true. Would I rather be dead than suffer through this life with Reece? Spending my days as his little fuck toy and plaything, not being able to think or feel or be happy ever again…? I don't know… I just know that I feel so very, very tired…

Reece walks into the room then, looking unfairly relaxed and happy. He has a small cup of water in one hand and something in the other, which immediately makes me feel cold; even with the warmth of the blanket still surrounding me. He stops to stand in front of me and I instinctively recoil away from him, not wanting to feel even worse from whatever drug he's about to force me to take; I feel bad enough as it is.

Reece sighs softly in irritation and rolls his eyes at how I'm acting.

"It's just some pain pills, Skylar," he tells me, roughly pulling my hand out of the safety of the blanket to set the two small tablets in my palm.

I still don't want them… But I'm too afraid to refuse to take them. I quickly toss them into my mouth and swallow them down with the cup of offered water, just to get it over with. Maybe they'll at least make my head stop hurting so bad.

"Good boy," Reece says with a smile, patting me on the head as if I were a dog.

I stare at my lap, wishing I didn't feel so fucking numb. I can feel Reece staring at me, but I don't look up. After a few seconds he sighs again and reaches down to reposition me so that he can sit on the couch beside me.

"Here," he says, pulling something out of his pocket and setting it in my lap.

I stare down at the brand new cell phone lying on the blanket covering my legs with wide eyes, wondering why he's giving this to me.

"It came in the mail yesterday and I set it up for you last night," he tells me. "I let Sam and Dr. Carmin know that your old phone broke and I gave them this number. I already programmed my number, Sam's number, and Dr. Carmin's number into this one. It's only for tonight while I'm gone, so you can call them if you need them before they get here. It's also so I can get in touch with you if I need to. You won't need it once I get back home," he explains. You won't need it at the condo, is left unsaid.

"Thank you," I mumble, continuing to stare down at the device in my lap.

I find myself grimly wishing that I had seen Blake's number before Reece broke my old phone. Maybe I would have been able to remember it and then I could have-

No. I quickly push the thought away, hating how it makes my stomach twist with false hope. I can't think about him anymore. It hurts too much…

Reece's hand is on my cheek and he turns my head to look up at him. His mouth comes down on mine in a gentle, sweet kiss; a stark difference from his kisses in the shower.

"I have to leave soon," he murmurs against my lips, sliding his hand to the back of my head so I can't pull away. "Dr. Carmin and Sam will be here in about an hour, as soon as the hospital Christmas banquet is over… I'll be back as soon as I can tomorrow," he tells me, pulling away some to look down at me. "We'll leave for California the day after I get back. Then it will just be me and you. Exactly how it's supposed to be… Sound good?" He asks softly.

No… I nod my head numbly, answering how I know he wants me to.

Reece smiles and leans forward to give me another gentle kiss. He pulls me into his lap and holds me close as his tongue slips into my mouth to wrap around mine, the kiss getting deeper and more passionate. He finally pulls away after a few minutes, leaving me panting and my eyes heavy lidded. He chuckles softly and presses a kiss to my forehead before carefully moving me off his lap back to the couch.

"I love you, Skylar," he tells me as he stands up. He gazes down at me and strokes my cheek for a moment, an unreadable expression on his face, but then he sighs. "I have to go. I hate leaving you alone like this, but I can't miss this meeting… You're going to be my good boy though, right, baby?" He says more as a statement than a question, that threatening tone hidden under his gentle voice again.

I quickly nod, knowing I have no other option than to obey him and do what he says. Reece seems satisfied with my response and leans down once more to press a kiss to my lips.

"Remember what I told you in the shower, Skylar," he whispers against my mouth before pulling away and straightening. He gazes down at me and brushes his fingers through my hair tenderly. "I'll call you when I make it to the hotel. I love you, sweetheart," he tells me.

"I-I love you too," I whisper back, lowering my eyes to my lap.

Reece sighs again and simply watches me for a few long seconds, seeming like he doesn't want to leave, but he finally takes a step back.

"Be good, Skylar," he tells me again before he turns to leave the room.

I listen to his footsteps as he walks through the foyer and into the kitchen. I can hear him grabbing his bags and things off the table from where he had set them. I hear the door leading into the garage open and close softly, then the sound of his car cranking. After a few seconds the sound of the garage door opening reaches my ears, then the sound of his car pulling out, and finally the garage door rolling back into place. Then I'm alone in the big house, the only sound being the stupid kids movie he left playing on the TV for me.

I sit quietly, still as a statue, continuing to stare down at my lap. My eyes are focused on the new cell phone, now clutched tightly in my hand. I tap the screen with a shaking finger and watch as it lights up. I slide the screen up so it opens to the home screen and I stare down at the little phone icon in the bottom left corner. I tap the icon and it opens to the familiar number pad. My eyes trace over a particular three digit pattern: 9-1-1

I quickly hit the lock button on the side of the phone and toss it away from me to the other side of the couch. What would I even say if I called? I wouldn't say anything, I know that for a fact. I would freeze up and the words would catch in my throat. Because I'm so fucking pathetic that I can't even turn on the man who hurts me and has ruined my fucking life…

I curl up in the corner of the couch and turn my attention back to the cartoon musical on the TV. The characters on the screen look so happy and joyous that it makes me feel sick. I snatch the remote off the table beside the couch and hit the power button, making the screen go dark. I throw the remote to clatter onto the coffee table in front of me before curling into a ball. I tuck my knees up close to my chest and bury my face in them before the loud sob I was trying to hold back bursts from my mouth.

I cry for a really long time. My loud, body wracking sobs are the only sound in the now quiet house. I let all of the pent up emotions from the past few days flow out of me, allowing the agony and heartache to ripple through my body. It makes my chest hurt and leaves me feeling even more empty and numb than I felt before Reece left, but it also feels good in a way to finally let everything out.

I'm still sniffling softly and trying to calm down completely when the cell phone I threw to the other side of the couch suddenly rings loudly and makes me jump. I scramble to answer it, absolutely hating that I hope it's Reece, just so I can hear his voice and let it soothe me. But the name on the caller ID says "Sam Carmin", which makes my stomach twist in anxiety.

I don't want to talk to Sam. I know I don't have much choice in the matter, since I'm about to see him in person, but I still don't want to talk to him. I don't know what to say or how to act. I'm scared that I will say or do something that will give Reece's dark secret away. Part of me desperately wants to tell both him and Dr. Carmin what's been happening, but another part of me feels absolutely terrified when I even think of turning on Reece and betraying him… What should I do…?

I answer the phone before it can stop ringing, taking in a deep breath to try to steady my voice before I speak.


"Hey, Sky."

His friendly, caring voice almost makes another sob burst from my mouth, but I quickly clamp a hand over my lips to stifle it. I suddenly want to tell him everything, just from hearing his voice. But then I remember what Reece told Dr. Carmin and I shake my head hard to push the urge away… They won't believe me. They'll think I'm crazy…

"Sky? You there?"

Sam speaks up when I haven't said anything and I can already hear the worry and concern in his voice. I swallow hard before removing my hand from my mouth to respond.

"He-hey, Sam," I whisper, knowing I sound fucking awful right now, but unable to make my voice sound anywhere close to normal.

"Hey…" Sam sounds somewhat relieved, but I can still hear that quake of worry in the word. "I-I was just calling to check on you… Everything okay?" He asks.

I shake my head and close my eyes, quickly wiping away the tear that escapes to roll down my cheek.

"Y-yeah, I'm fine… I j-just don't feel very good right now," I tell him quietly, my contradictory words hoarse and strained.

Sam is quiet for a moment before speaking again.

"Is it- Are you just feeling anxious?" He asks hesitantly.

I nod, but realize he can't see me.

"Um, y-yeah… That's all it is," I lie.

I hear Sam sigh softly, his sympathy for me so strong that I can almost feel it through the phone.

"I'm so sorry, Sky," he mumbles, his tone making it clear that he knows his words won't make me feel any better, but not knowing what else to say. "We'll be there soon. The banquet is just taking longer than we expected. They invited a guest speaker who took fucking forever just to get to his main speech. We're only staying because Chris is supposed to receive some kind of award, but they haven't even served the first course of dinner yet…" Sam's voice trails off and it sounds like he shakes his head. "I stepped out to the bathroom to call you because I wanted to make sure you were okay for another hour or so by yourself, but if you're not I can tell Chris we need to leave now…"

"No!" I say quickly, a little louder than I meant to, wincing from my loud voice echoing in the big room. "N-no, I'm okay, Sam. Really," I assure him softly, hoping the shake in my voice doesn't give away how not okay I really am.

"Are you sure?" Sam asks worriedly. "It's really not a big deal if you need us to come now, Sky. He can pick up the award later-" he starts to say, but I interrupt him.

"I-I'm fine, Sam. I promise… I'm just- n-not feeling myself right now. But I don't want to make you and Dr. Carmin leave the party early," I tell him. I really don't need the guilt of causing them to miss their important banquet making me feel even worse right now. "I'm fine. I'm just, watching a movie in the den… I'm okay by myself," I assure him again.

Sam is quiet for a moment, but then he sighs softly.

"We'll be there to get you as soon as we can, okay, Sky? If you need us before then don't hesitate to call, alright?" He tells me.

I nod, but force myself to respond.

"I won't."

Sam hesitates again, almost seeming like he doesn't want to get off the phone with me.

"I'll see you soon, Sky. Try to relax, alright? We can talk about how you're feeling and what's been going on tonight. Everything will be okay," he offers kindly.

I close my eyes from the sound of Sam's gentle voice as another tear rolls down my cheek.

"Thanks, Sam," I whisper gratefully. Even if I can't tell him the truth of what's really going on, it feels so good just to know that he cares…

"Call me if you need us… Bye, Sky."

The phone goes silent against my ear and I let it slip from my limp fingers. It bounces on the cushion and falls off the couch, tumbling a couple times before landing facedown underneath the coffee table. I lean my head back against the back of the couch and cover my mouth with my hand tightly before I start crying again.

I feel so overwhelmed. I don't know what to do. I can't think, I can't breathe… Hearing Sam's voice made me remember all of the times in the past two years that him and Dr. Carmin have helped me. They've always cared so much about me, even when they first met me and barely knew me. Now I have a chance to let them help me again tonight, but I'm too afraid to tell them the truth.

What if I tell them about what I discovered and they actually believe me? What if they take my side? Maybe it's not too late, maybe I can still tell them the truth... But what happens then? I know exactly what will happen: I'll get taken away from Reece. That thought makes me feel sick. Even after everything he's done to me, how much he's hurt me, how much I wish I could hate him… I don't want to leave him. I don't. Who would take care of me then? Who would love me like he loves me? Why do I have to love him so fucking much…?

I can't do this anymore... I can't. I can't take the emotional turmoil that's making my brain feel so mixed up and confused. I can't handle the pain that comes with every single emotion that I feel… I'm so ready to just give up and be done with everything.

I stand up from the couch abruptly, teetering on my unsteady legs and weak ankle. I stumble from the den, catching myself on the wall to keep myself from falling as I walk. I don't even realize where I'm going until I find myself standing in the middle of the kitchen. My eyes are drawn to the knife holder on the counter, to the knives I've used countless times to cut up food to make meals for the man that I desperately love with all of my heart.

I limp over to stop in front of the counter and I stare at the black handles, feeling as if I'm in a trance. I reach out and wrap my right hand around one that it know is really fucking sharp and I slowly pull it out of the big block holder. The metal blade glints in the light above the stove as I turn it over in my hand.

I lift up my left hand and look down at the pale skin on my wrist, at the blue and purple veins lining my arm. I've used this knife dozens of times to cut through meat; Reece always makes sure to keep it sharpened for me. It slices through a piece of chicken like butter… One swipe across my wrist and I wouldn't have to feel anything anymore. Nothing... Just a little bit more pain and then it would all be gone. The thought of gaining that relief makes me feel a little lightheaded. I wouldn't have to feel or think or do anything anymore. I would finally be free…

An image suddenly flashes in my mind of Sam finding my lifeless body on the kitchen floor in a pool of blood. I can see the guilt on his face, the crushing realization that he spoke with me right before I killed myself…

The knife slips from my fingers and clatters to the floor loudly in the quiet room, bouncing once before it goes sliding across the tile to stop in front of the fridge. I suck in a shuddering breath before a soft sob slips past my lips. I'm still staring at my left hand, but my eyes are focused on my fingers now. On the silver ring still wrapped around my ring finger. On the symbol of Reece's ownership of me.

I yank the ring off and throw it across the room as hard as I can with a cry of anguish, listening as it bounces off the tiles with loud clinks! I wrap my trembling arms around my middle and shake my head, trying to erase the thoughts of relief, of freedom. I can't escape. Not like that at least. Not in a way that would cause the people around me pain and suffering… I just need to-

I slowly look up from the floor and my eyes settle on the other side of the room where I threw the ring. I glance over at the door leading into the garage, dimly lit inside the big mudroom. He's not here to catch me. And Sam said it would be a few more hours before they get here to pick me up… I look back over at the other side of the room with a new sense of hope for relief. I have plenty of time.

I quickly limp over to the bar that I've never even gotten close to in the past two years of living in this house. I stand on my tiptoes and reach up, carefully wrapping my fingers around the bottle, the one I've stared at longingly so many times for the past few months. I pull it off the shelf with a shaking hand. My fingers tremble as I unscrew the cap. Fuck, I can't wait to taste it. Can't wait to feel that familiar, comforting burn as it slides down my throat…

I pause with the bottle almost to my lips, breathing in the sharp scent of the alcohol. Fuck, this stuff is strong. I pull it away from my mouth and read the label: 80 proof. Shit, I could actually kill myself with this stuff if I'm not careful. I don't want to face the humiliation of Sam and Dr. Carmin finding me so drunk that I can't even stand on my own, so I quickly reach up and grab a shot glass off one of the shelves. I set it on the dark wood of the bar before carefully pouring the vodka into the little glass, managing to only spill a little bit, then I set the bottle back on the counter.

I hesitate for a few seconds before I pick the glass up. I stare at the clear liquid for only a heartbeat, before quickly tilting the glass up and downing the alcohol.

"Fuck!" I slam the shot glass back down on the countertop, coughing from the harsh flavor.

The familiar burn as it slides down my throat is comforting for only a second until the alcohol settles into my empty stomach. The uncomfortable burn in my belly reminds me of so many times in my past, when I would chug cheap alcohol to relieve myself from the pain of a beating from Dad, just to feel it settle in my empty stomach and remind me that I didn't get dinner the night before for pissing him off. I've always been such a screw up… I hate myself.

I quickly pour myself another glass and I don't hesitate this time before downing the shot. Then I immediately down another one after that, before I even have a chance to breathe. I slam the glass back down on the counter and cough again loudly, but then a giggle bubbles past my lips at how ridiculous I'm acting. I'm already beginning to feel a slight glaze over my senses and my lips are starting to get a little tingly and numb. My small giggle turns into a laugh that is loud in the quiet room. It sounds almost hysterical, more like a sob than an actual sound of happiness. I don't know if I'm laughing or if I'm crying, all I really know is that I need the pain to go away. I need some relief from this horrible ache in my chest…

I start to pour myself another shot, but then the sound of the doorbell suddenly chiming through the house makes me jump almost a foot in the air. I knock the little shot glass over and spill the vodka all over the countertop.

"Fuck!" I hiss, quickly grabbing a rag from a drawer to mop up my mess.

I look up from my trembling hands to stare through the kitchen doorway into the dimly lit foyer with wide eyes, wondering who the hell is at the door. Did Reece send Michelle or Michael to come check on me? Shit, I didn't even think about that happening… Wait, no. They're out of state, visiting Michaels parents for the holidays. So it must be Sam and Dr. Carmin. Did they leave the banquet early anyways? Was he really that worried about me? Fuck.

A horrible wave of guilt and shame makes heat rise in my cheeks as I hesitantly step away from the bar. I thought I would have a little bit longer before they showed up. Now they'll know something is up for sure when they realize I'm fucking drunk. Shit!

I slowly limp into the dark foyer, wiping my sticky hands on my shirt. The alcohol is starting to do its job. I feel a little numb and not too worried about them seeing me like this. Maybe they won't ask too many questions. Maybe I'll fall asleep on the way to their house and then I won't even have to say anything to them. They can just keep wondering what's wrong with me, but never find out for sure. Then Reece will come get me in the morning and bring me to California and I won't have to worry about them anymore at all…

I yank the front door open, ready to face their concerned frowns and worried gazes, but I quickly realize that it's not Sam and Dr. Carmin at the door. It's not either of them. It's not Michelle or Michael, or anyone else that I know from my new life… I blink a few times, wondering if my inebriated mind is playing tricks on me.

He was turned away when I opened the door, looking out across the moonlit landscape of the apple orchards, but he quickly turns back to face me when he hears the door open. He looks a little surprised that it's me, almost like he expected someone else to answer the door, but that achingly familiar smile tilts up one corner of his mouth before he speaks.

"Sky… Hey," he says softly.

I just stare at him, completely dumbfounded and shocked, but I finally force myself to speak.


Holy shit.

I am sooo sorry it took me so long to post this chapter. With the kiddo's school starting and work being so busy, I feel like I haven't even had time to breathe, let alone write. But it was killing me not to write, so I finally managed to crank this one out.

I hope everyone enjoyed the chapter! As always, thank you so much for all the wonderful reviews. They really do keep me going. Feel free to drop me a PM if you ever want to discuss the story or ask any questions. Thanks again!

~ Mad Red