He killed Edwardo.
Right in front of me, he simply pulled the trigger and killed that man. Another cop, too. The image of Edwardo’s rounded eyes staring up at me, filled with pain and terror, the way his fingers reached for me, just as he sank beneath the dark surface of the water jumps into my mind. I squeeze my eyes shut, willing it away. Did Edwardo have family who will miss him? Will they ever get his body back to bury him, or will they live the rest of their lives frozen at the point where their loved one vanished without a trace?
Something else occurs to me.
Oh, God, Don killed another cop right in front of me, which means he doesn’t care that I saw.
It means I'm probably next. Unless...I can give him a reason to keep me around. My heart sinks at the thought, but I know I need to keep myself alive until the men come for me.
I'm convinced my men will find me. I don't know where I’ve gained such a bone deep belief from, but it's as real as the air I’m breathing. Even Brody, I believe, will try to find me. Wilder and Asher, though, I think would burn the world to the ground to save me from this man. Between them, they have the skills and the smarts to do so. It means I owe it to them to keep myself alive until they do.
Even if that means playing Don’s sick games.
Even if that means giving Don what he’s always wanted.
My blood curdles at the very thought. The idea of his hands on me makes my stomach churn and my skin crawl. But I realize the possibility isn’t affecting me in the same way it once did. I’m no longer terrified at the prospect.
Can I do it, though? Can I offer myself to a man I find so utterly vile in every way? Well, noteveryway. I hate the fact that I can see how handsome he is, but I can't deny it. I can't deny that as I've grown and blossomed into a woman who understands the pleasures of the flesh, I can see him for the prime example of a powerful male that he is. Physically, at least.
I don't desire him, because everything else about him is trash. His personality, his morals, and his behavior are all the lowest of the low.
To save my life, however? If I closed my eyes, I could simply let myself feel the hard planes of his body. Maybe then I can imagine he is Rafferty, or perhaps Brody. He’s similar in build to those two, I suppose. Not as big as Wilder, but bulkier than Ash. Yeah, like Brody.
This may be a way I can get through it. Pretend he's someone else. Let myself feel some pleasure, despite how wrong it is.
If I don't, I have a horrible feeling he will grow bored quickly and get rid of me.
He likes to be worshipped and adored, but it’s a tightrope you walk with someone like Don. He eventually gets bored of that and moves on to a new victim to give him a whole new sense of power from the waytheyhero worship him. In the beginning I do believe he uses the way women adore him in the same sense a cocaine addict uses the drug. It fills his veins with burning, thrumming energy and gives him power.
I saw it firsthand with my own mother. In the early days, you could imagine they were the most perfectly in love couple you'd ever seen. Of course, if you were behind closed doors with them the way I was, you could see quite easily that it was very one-sided. It was all about Don being the admired and adored God of our house, and my mother being the adoring and admiring little worshiper. He loved her playing that role at the beginning. I think for quite a while there were no other women. Hell, in the beginning, he didn't even turn his attentions on me. After a while, he grew bored of the easy supply of hero worship from Mom and decided to look for a new supply elsewhere.
The way he enjoyed her attentions at the start means I have a window where I can keep him on the hook before he grows bored and looks for someone fresh and new.
I must believe that within this time frame my men will find me.
The wind whips at my hair, and I shiver. It's dark where Don landed the boat, and I keep tripping on stones and rocks as he drags me down the small jetty and onto a beach, overshadowed by great big cliffs. Dawn’s early light isn't reaching us yet, but I pray it’ll be here soon. Hours have passed since I was taken on the boat, but I’ve lost track as to how many. My legs don’t yet feel solid beneath me, and I swear I can still feel the rise and fall of the boat, as though I’m somehow carrying the memory of it in my muscles.
My hope that he might be forced to dock the boat somewhere there are other people quickly fades. He wouldn't want us to be picked up by any cameras operating the coastal roads or marinas, where most boats dock. This way, there are no witnesses to our arrival.
I'm not sure how he intends to get us off this beach because I can’t see a path out, and there is no way we can climb these cliffs. Still pulling me roughly behind him, Don increases his speed, and I stumble to the ground, crying out as my knees scrape against shingle and rock.
“Get the hell up,” he growls.
Yanking hard on the handcuffs, he pulls me to my feet and drags me forward once more. After a few more moments of this, he stops suddenly, and my front slams into his back.
For a second or two, he lets go of me. The urge to run rides me hard, but I know there's nowhere for me to go. After all, the man has a gun, and my hands are cuffed, so escape is highly unlikely. I need to keep my wits about me and use my brains right now. Not do something crazy, like trying to escape when there is no chance of doing so.
Don bends down, and I realize he's rummaging in a dark bag that I can only just make out in the dim moonlight.
He takes out something long and black, and for a second, I panic that he's going to hit me with it. Instead, he clicks a button and a blinding beam of light flashes in front of my eyes before he moves it away and points it down the beach. It's a flashlight, and I breathe out in relief that it’s not something to bludgeon me to death with. Although I'm sure he could use it for that purpose too. Don is nothing if not resourceful when it comes to his violence.
“Come on,” he says gruffly as he starts moving again. “If you keep up, I won't drag you behind me, but you lag or try to run, I'll beat you so hard with this flashlight you won't see anything for a week. And I will simply drag you behind me by your ankles if I must.”
I'm under no illusions whatsoever that these are idle threats. Don is more than capable of carrying out his warnings and hurting me.
As we near the far side of the small bay and reach one of the cliffs, I realize there is what appears to be an entrance to a cave. Oh, my God, no. Instinctively, I stop.
I can't go in there. Memories of the cave back at the island and what happened while I was in there flash into my head. While I enjoyed being with the guys, going through the same thing with Don fills me with such existential dread that I think I would rather Don beat me to death with a flashlight.