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   Chapter 20 19.

On Her Knees By Chyna McCartney Characters: 19872

Updated: 2018-02-10 18:16

The days passed quickly, partially due to the strange sense of confidence I felt after my last meeting Giovanni and finally, the day of the auction was upon us.

Armand's joyous mood regarding the coming events was a bit more palpable. I woke to find a dozen vampires crouching in the shadows near our beds. They did not move or speak, but stood as still as statutes in the dark until the other girls had all woken up, startled by the perceived threat. One by one, the men slinked toward our beds and coaxed us to stand, leading the way down a hallway that we had never journeyed down.

The pulse sped up as I walked, fearful of this unknown destination. The fear seemed almost misplaced when we got there, however.

The room we stepped into was large, the size of a community swimming pool with small candles lining the walls. Large, ivory bathtubs brimming with bubbles bath water that was nearly sloshing over the sides.

"Armand trusts that you will enjoy this." Said a low voice from the cluster of vampires that had moved to stand behind us in the room. "It may after all, be the last time you have the privilege of a bath. So by all means, luxuriate."

The men glided, like a small flock of vultures toward the exit and the eleven of us were left in silence.

We must have stood there for at least 10 minutes: Melanie and Bailey both huddling close to me on either side of my body and glancing suspiciously around the room.

I suppose you could say that we were all waiting for the proverbial 'other shoe' to drop....

Waiting for some creature to leap out from some unseen corner and declare that it wasn't so. Given what we had endured here, even this, the privilege of being clean seemed too good to be true.

The prissy blonde, Cassidy, was first to break the silence. "Oh for goodness sake!" she exclaimed, stomping over to one of the filled bath tubs and untying the strings at the bodice of her dress as she did.

"Its just a fucking bath, for crying out loud. It's not like they would dissolve acid in the water or something."

"Some of us aren't as confident in these vampires as you are, Cassidy. Bailey retorted, sounding rather exasperated.

"It only makes sense, Bailey. You make sure your products are the best condition. You wouldn't accept or even buy a dirty, used Givenchy bag, wouldn't you?"

Bailey's face fell and she opened her mouth to speak but before the words could leave her lips, the smug blonde raised one dainty hand. "Oh, wait. You've never had the privilege of owning such an accessory have you?"

Cassidy triumph expression said that she was confident that her assumption was right and the look on Bailey's face, declared that indeed, the blonde girl was. Her pale cheeks were inflamed as her hands balled into fists at her side. She looked about ready to lunge at the other girl but my grip on one of her wrists prevented that.

"No, Bailey." I cautioned, close to her ear. "You have to chose your battles."

Cassidy smirked conspiratorially. "Yes, Bailey. Listen to the lesbian. I'm not the one you want to pick a bone with."

It took all the restraint in my body to keep from snarling at the little troll. She sauntered over the tub as she undressed seemingly unperturbed by any reaction we might have had to her comments. Her arrogance aggravated me the most.

"I intend to take advantage of this even if none of you will, " Cassidy declared, pulling the sackcloth over her head and tossing it to the ground. Her naked hips on back in full view of everyone in the room, as she stepped into the bathtub.

Most of the other girls followed suit, stripping and settling into the warm water with collective sighs of satisfaction. Both Bailey and Melanie looked up at me as if to find an answer; as if they needed my approval to enjoy the privilege of cleanliness.

I shrugged, releasing Bailey's wrist. "What could it hurt?"

Bailey nodded, needing no further encouragement and settled into her own bath. Melanie, however, looked more than a little reluctant; constantly fiddling with the hem of her dress as if she was embarrassed.

"Its okay, " I told her. "Its just a bath."

"I know, " she whispered. "But its just that I'm not comfortable with all this.."

"With bubbles?" Even to me that concept sounded absurd. Yet the uneasiness in her grey eyes looked genuine enough that I waited for her response.

The tiny girl laughed weakly, giving the hand she was clutching a faint squeeze as she avoided making eye contact with me. "Of course not. It's just this room, its not like the other bathroom with the stalls. Everything is so open here..."

It clicked for me then. Given the trauma she'd endured in her past and the mention of the room being exposed, her anxiety made sense. "You're not comfortable stripping down.." The way I said it made it sound more like a statement of fact than a question.

Melanie nodded, her head bent in what I perceived was shame. "I've never been naked in front of anyone since..." Her soft voice trailed off. There was no reason for her elaborate. I knew what she meant.

She hadn't been naked in front of anyone since Mr. Ross abused her as a child..

"I understand, " I attempted to reassure her. "You have nothing to worry about. No one here is watching you."

That at least, was the truth. All the other girls, including Bailey and Cassidy sat languidly in their baths, their heads resting against the porcelain edge with their eyes closed in an expression of contentment. The utter silence and stillness in the room in fact, was a bit unnerving.

"You have nothing to be afraid of, " I reiterated, eyeing an unoccupied tub directly across from the one we stood in front of. I pointed to it. " I'll take that one right over there and I promise, I won't even look."

I could swear that I heard Cassidy snicker behind me at that.

"Okay, " Melanie agreed with a giggle.

With our backs to each other, we stripped do

s my feet would carry me and into our large bedroom. There was no one here and I collapsed onto my knees in front of my bed. Soundless sobs racked through my body as I wrapped my arms around my torso, trying to hold myself together. It felt like I was falling apart. Like I was crying bits and pieces of myself onto the sheets in front of me.

This pain was immense; yet another major let down in my life. Just like that, I'd lost my third parents. I cried for my loss. For the evil that the Allens had done to me and for all the other girls who had suffered the same fate as I had because of the Allens' partnership with Armand. The tears wouldn't stop flowing.

I heard footsteps coming toward me some time later but I didn't look up. I felt oddly detached from everything at the moment.

"I summoned you to tell you that I had changed my mind about you. Or rather, that someone had changed my mind about what I intended to do with you." Armand said in a soft voice from somewhere behind you.

My anger resurfaced knowing he was there. I heard the sound of his shoes against the concrete as he came closer.

"He made an offer that no sane man would or could refuse." he continued, his voice getting closer and closer as he stepped forward with every word. "And I, being a sane man, did not." I could almost feel him behind me.

"Do you wish to know what the terms were?" There was soft tug at a few of my curls and I snapped. Before I could think rationally against the idea, I sprang to my feet and lunged at him, one hand balled into a fist and ready to make contact with his perfect face.

Of course, it was futile. He caught my wrist with little effort. The softening of his eyes as he looked down at my tear stained face was the only thing that was contrary to his usual bored expression.

"You should not mourn for them. Such things as family; friends; lovers. They are bound to be temporary. Foolish things to chase after since they will not last. Do not waste your tears on them."

'Let me go, " I seethed, tugging on his grip on my arm.

'Why should I? So that you can crawl into some corner and waste away? I think not. Denise and Darrel made their bed, as you humans say. They knew what they were doing; what they were risking. And they did have an alternative choice. We always do. I have seen people in worst positions than your foster parents, avoid doing the things they know are inherently wrong.

This was there decision. It is a pity you should suffer for it. "

"And what does that make you? You who benefited from their evil?"

He chuckled darkly. "A business man. Despite what you might think of me; whether I am a monster or not in your mind, you can not deny that about me."

I opened my mouth to protest, but knew he was right. He was a businessman-- in the business of doing real evil, but a businessman nonetheless. I hated that I was here, but my tears would change nothing. My hatred for him for would change nothing. My mind flickered back to the plan Giovanni and I had developed days before. That was what was important at the moment because that could change something.

"Let me go, " I repeated in a monotone, purging myself of all emotion at this point.

"As you wish, " he complied and I stumbled back a little at the sudden release. "I will allow you to get ready, then. "

"Ready for what?" I asked as he turned to leave.

"To meet your, Mr Leonard Grey." he called over his shoulder as he left. "We have come to a new agreement. You will not be auctioned off this night. Your ward Melanie will of course still be apart of tonight's events as will the other girls but you belong to him now."

My knees buckled and I sat down on the bed, dazed. Giovanni had bought a new contract with me... He wouldn't be there at the auction tonight..

"The plan.." I breathed to the empty room. Everything Giovanni and I had planned to do was hinged on him being there tonight.

What were we going to do?

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