15| Compassion and Conversation

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Freddie King was a bastard just like his father and I would hate him until my very last breath. It was a conviction that ran soul deep, filling my bloodstream and tethering to my bones—it was a feeling that encompassed every part of my body, constricting and tightening until I felt like I was going to explode.

Hate was too weak of a word for what I felt, but even still there was something softer that mirrored the loathing I was hiding behind. It grew in my chest every time he looked at me, wrapping around my ribs every time he was near, attaching itself to my heart every time he touched me.

In this moment I hated him with every fibre of my being, and yet—with his mean words and his dangerous threats, I had never wanted anything more than I wanted him.

My feelings were a death wish, plain and simple. He knew it too, it was the reason for the distance he was creating between us. He didn't seem like a man with restraint or a moral compass—he took what he wanted when he wanted it and there was nothing anyone could do to stop him, but with me everything seemed different.

We were running around in circles, my body reacting to him as if it already knew I was his, and if I hadn't made this so difficult in the first place maybe I wouldn't be in this mess.

And maybe I'd never have to face him ever again.

It was a lie I kept trying to tell myself, but he had easily shattered my safety net with one possessive sentence, growling out the words to me with primal intent, telling me that once he had me he'd never be able to stop.

His declaration should have scared me, his words a tornado warning cautioning me against the destruction that was yet to come, but I had turned the alarms into lullabies and I was humming the melodies as I went along.

I ached for him in every place he could touch and I knew that eventually, this game of denying our desires would become futile.

He had known the inevitability of our situation even before I had come to terms with it, and yet he still refused me every chance he got.

My body was betraying me in all its ways, my once iron-clad will melting down with every touch he teased me with. I should have been stronger, but in the grand scheme of things, it was like I had brought a knife to a gunfight.

I wiped away my tears as I took in a shuddering breath, but as I pulled away from the desk he had settled me against, I swore I could still feel the way he had touched me. My hands moved against the memory of it, his strong thighs pinning me against the wooden desk as his hands trailed and teased and taunted. The feel of his leather gloves had been cold against my skin, but then when he had taken them off he had left a fire in his wake.

In this darkened place full of dirty deeds my dignity had been stripped away along with my clothes, and he had watched me as I undressed. He had looked on as his father had dragged his gun across my body, watching each fearful breath I had taken without lifting a finger to help me, and at the end of it all—the icing on the fucking cake— was that I hadn't learnt my damn lesson from the last time he had left me like this.

His reputation preceded him as a well-known womanizer, but when I had basically begged him to fuck his obsession out of me, he outright refused to do the one thing he had wanted from the beginning.

My body felt like jelly as I crouched to the floor, my stomach twisting and turning as I gathered my things from the floor. It was a good thing I hadn't eaten anything this morning otherwise I would have thrown it up already. My hands shook as I redressed myself, the fabric feeling coarse as I dragged it back against my skin. My fingers fumbled with the buttons of my blouse again, the serrated memory of everything I had done to amount to this splintering down my spine.

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