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   Chapter 18 17.

On Her Knees By Chyna McCartney Characters: 19214

Updated: 2018-02-10 18:00

"What the hell do you want?" I seethed, staring at the creature behind me in the mirror. My fingers gripped the edge of the counter top almost painfully.

Marcus was dressed as always, in dark jeans and a black button up shirt. I could hear the sound of his boots on the tiled floor as he shifted his weight. What was different about him though was the look on his face.

His usual smug glare was replaced by an uncharacteristic look of bashfulness. The vampire for once seemed contrite and that made me even more angry with him. It was far too late for him to feel guilty now.

"I came to apologize, " he said, his deep baritone reduced to a whisper. He ran his hand through his short, dark hair angrily as if was frustrated with himself.

Not that it mattered to me though. I didn't want anything to do with Marcus. I didn't care if he had suddenly repented of his evil ways. He could go to hell with all of it-- literally.

"I don't want your apology, " I replied, turning on my heel and heading for the door. Of course, I suspected that he wouldn't just let me leave like that but still I'd tried anyway.

One cool palm, gripped my upper arm and pulling me backward until my back was flushed against the front of his chest.

I winced at the sharp pain from the pressure on my gauze covered wounds.

"Please..." he whispered in a broken voice, his other arm slithering around my waist, pulling me tighter. "Just listen to me. Let me explain myself."

Against my will, hot tears began to run down my cheeks. I was angry, so bloody pissed at him and in so much pain too. On both an physical and emotional level. I was drained, having been strung up and dragged to the very limits of my endurance by the man who now held me to his body. The only word to describe what I felt was pain-- on every imaginable level and I wanted, no needed to be away from Marcus.

I was here because of him. I'd nearly been apart of some sadistic snuff film because of him. I'd been beaten nearly to death because of him. He was the thing I detested most in this world at the moment and I struggled in his arms, trying to pry myself away from me.

"Let me go, " I demanded through my tears. "I don't want to hear anything you have to say."

"I never meant to hurt you, " he pleaded and I could feel his cool lips brushing against my throat. "It was not suppose to happen that way. Give me the opportunity to redeem myself."

The soft brushing of his lips against my skin turned in wet kisses and I froze under his touch, his arms tightening around me as he tried touch every inch of the exposed skin of my throat and collarbone.

He was evil personified, of this I was convinced at this very moment. No normal person- human or otherwise could possibly be this mercurial. I could still hear the anger in his voice from the awful evening- a memory that would every be burned into my subconscious along with the pain that accompanied it. Yet now, he manages to seem so filled with guilt and consumed with a need to make things right.

His intended means were a bit more than irrational, however. He must be out of his mind if he thought that this was anyway to make amends.

I held still, knowing that my injuries made me even less capable of putting up a decent fight than usual. "Haven't you had enough? Haven't you toyed with me enough?" I asked, my tears still falling.

"Toying with you? No. Do not think of it that way." He responded against my skin. "I can not bring myself to leave you alone." His fingers rubbed at my waist over the thin sackcloth in small circles and with each caress, the heat from my anger increased in intensity within me.

Sensing the tension in my stance, he spun me around his arms and looked down into my eyes.

"I wish you would not fight me, Teryn. You are so foolishly intent on disobeying me but things would be exponentially more enjoyable for you if you would only submit. I can take care of you."

"And you think that's what I want? To be your ward? Do you really think that I want to be taken cared of?"

He flicked a few strands of my hair from across my shoulders and I automatically lent away from him, as far as I could while still being trapped in his embrace." All of you human girls want to be protected; to feel safe."

"And you honestly believe that after all you've done to me, I could possibly feel safe with you?!"

A look of pain briefly crossed his face as I spat those words at him. Within the blink of an eye, Marcus had be pinned up against one of the tiled walls, with his arms forming a cage on either side of my body.

"I'm not going to hurt you, " he growled, frustrated.

"Bullshit. You're not capable of anything else; not compassion, not guilt. Not even a single morsel of remorse. Even now you're not sincere in this."

"You don't believe me? Do you need proof?" he questioned, smirking now.

"There's the real Marcus, " I hissed shoving at his chest. "You play the game really well, do you know that?. You might have even had me fooled if I didn't know what you really are; what you really want."

"And you know what I really am?" the vampire sneered, leaning impossibly close to my face.

"Get off of me, Marcus." I knew it was a bit to late to start resisting; I was already trapped but still I tried. Twisting my head to the side and away from him.

My resistance only seemed to fuel his advance however; the look in green eyes was feral. I flinched when his hands slapped the wall on either side of head with force, the sound of it echoed in the empty room. This had turned into another game of cat and mouse with him. He wasn't as sorry as he claimed-- I could see that in his eyes. He wasn't sorry that he had hurt me. He was sorry that his actions had

lly angry."

"You don't need to worry about me, Antonio." I told him, a bit embarrassed that he seemed so concerned.

"Of course I do, child. I do not wish for you to be hurt by this place. Never in my six hundred years had I been so furious-- especially over the well being of human. But no one was as frustrated with your condition as your Mr. Grey, I'm afraid."

"You've met him?"

Antonio gave the barest of nods, gazing at me with interest as he tried to gauge my reaction. "Yes. I believe that everyone here has met your client. Once he learned of your condition, he came here everyday, wanting to know if your healing had progressed. Marcus and the others grew tired of having to pry him away from your motionless body but Armand would not deny him the right to visit you.

Although, I have never seen a vampire act in such away. It was like a modern day reenactment of Romeo and Juliet, minus the precarious suicide on his part, of course. He must be very fond of you."

"Maybe." I responded, masking the smile that threatened to split my cheeks.

"Yes... It was a curious thing." Their was an undertone of suspicion in his voice. Although his words said that he was dismissing the topic, his voice spoke differently. He was interested in the truth behind mine and Giovanni's relationship and though he seemed like a decent man-- someone whom I might grow to trust, I wasn't about to take that risk.

Instead, I moved over to one of the shelve of books, absentmindedly running my fingers across some of weathered spines. It was merely an action to distract both Antonio and myself from the topic of the feelings Giovanni and I shared for each other. But one book in particular caught my attention.

Written on one of the brown leather spine in elegant gold calligraphy were the words, "Of our Beginnings: The Lore of Origin and Survival.

"What's this?" I asked, tapping the leather.

Antonio appeared beside me, pulling the book free from the shelf. "Ahh, the Fons et Origo: the source and origin."

"The source of what?"

He smiled. "My kind, of course. Right from what we perceive to be the very beginning, although some things are bit obscure. The earlier recountings are transcribed in Latin but I would me more than happy to translate it for you."

I nodded, the curiosity winning this time. "Read it to me."

Antonio reached out and caressed my cheek with his hand. "There it is, " he mused. "That wonderful glint in your beautiful eyes. Still so curious; still so hungry for the things you do not yet know. We have not lost you yet, little bird."

I couldn't help but grin at him. "Never."

"Sit, sit." he gestured animatedly toward a new edition to his dimly lit office: a black leather chair, much like the brown one that sat behind his large desk.

Like a gentleman, he pulled it out for me. "I had it brought in especially for you, should you come to visit me again."

I sat down on the cool leather, careful not to put any pressure on my back. "You really hoped that I would come back?"

"Of course I did." Antonio knelt in front of me, supporting his weight on the balls of his feet as he took one of my hands in both of his. The child-like glee was gone from his eyes, replaced solemn sincerity. "I am not like the other members of my species. I do not spend my lifetimes moping in dark corners and taking advantage of those weaker than myself. I desire to be in the company of like minded people: human or otherwise. I have desired that for a long time and now, here you are."

" And you think that we're alike?"

"I could not possibly know if you and I are the same. As you have pointed out before, I am not that familiar with you." He placed a delicate kiss on the back of the hand he held. "But you are nothing like anyone here and that is of most significance to me."

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