tagNovels and NovellasForced to Change Ch. 17

Forced to Change Ch. 17

bySimoneLisbon©

Chapter 17

I paced back and forth across the cramped bathroom floor. I was trapped and confused. She frustrated me. I'd caused her to have a dissociative episode by tying her up. The look of terror on her face caused a barrage of unknown emotions. I felt guilty, so guilty, that I'd triggered her.

"Get a grip," I said to my reflection in the mirror. It was the wrong thing to be focused on. Once I saw something I didn't forget it, ever. Seeing her naked body, up close, unlocked a part of me that didn't belong in this situation. Her naked body flushed and writhing was like torture to my libido. Watching Katie so closely, close enough that I could smell her and touch her, felt both right and wrong.

I went straight from ogling her to concern. Her wrists were bruised and rubbed raw. She'd managed to twist her hands in such a way that the cord cut into her. She just wanted her hands free, but she didn't even try to get away. She managed to get one arm free on her own, but instead of running she'd had a mental break.

I shook my head to throw off the haunting look in her eyes. Her features had twisted, and then an unsettling serene calm claimed her face. I could see her, lost in her head in a way that took me two hours to get her back. This wasn't going to work. I'd triggered her. I felt more like a monster than killing anyone had ever made me feel.

Carter. Carter was dead and I'd also lost my only leads on Jorge and Noel Riaz in six years. Was it possible Katie knew why Carter wanted her dead? No. I'd watched her. I knew her. She'd survived so much and yet she was damaged in a way that I understood intimately. I could let her run and follow her. It would be a better way to handle this until I killed the others.

Find and kill. If I could just kill the brothers, I could finish it. It wasn't revenge. It wasn't that I wanted to kill them because of the way they had hurt her. I could finally leave her alone, sure that she'd never be hurt by them again. No, the plan was to kill her when it was done. All of this had to end. I needed to tie up every loose end. The only way for me to live through this mess was to finish it.

In the last ten hours I'd had every opportunity to end her life. Yet I couldn't do it. Instead I wanted to protect her. I'd killed Carter to protect her. Another mistake? Was it poor judgment? Was Katie manipulating me?

I started the shower and slowly undressed. I didn't think I could face her again and I hoped she'd leave while I showered. Why had Carter wanted her dead? I balled my hands into fists, my fingernails cutting into my palms. How had Jorge and Noel Riaz disappeared before we stepped one foot on the compound? The world would be a better place without them in it. I swore that was my reasoning and that Katie wasn't a factor. I was on mission and I could do the job I'd been paid to do. Yet everything I'd planned to do was falling apart. I didn't know how to fix it, fix her, fix anything.

Why did I touch her scars? It wasn't part of my job, the job I'd been screwing up all this time. Carter had made similar marks on my legs, back and arms. Katie's abuse was worse but I knew exactly what kind of pain she'd been subjected to from my experience with Carter.

At the time it had made perfect sense. I had to know what true pain was to effectively inflict it on others. It was why I was so good at my job. I knew exactly how much pressure, what material created those kinds of marks. I knew exactly how much pain a body could take until a person wanted to die. Until they would rather die than experience it again.

My breaking point wasn't easy for Carter to find, but he found it. Just once—once was enough for me to learn what I needed to do. How had Katie been punished there over and over for six months and survived? That was what I didn't understand about her. How the hell was she still alive?

All her marred skin was there, calling to my fingers like a siren's song. It needed to be traced, touched, felt, caressed, fingered; each and every mark, so beautiful and ugly at the same time. I'd seen the pictures of her, her skin a fresh road map, the evidence of her torture, at the time when her back was still bruised and newly scarred.

Nothing was quite like the heat of Katie's flesh. The way the skin puckered, or was ropy under the worst of the marks. Some were so soft, others a bit rough and hard. I looked down at my hand. I was stroking myself without even realizing it. Why should touching her elicit such a feeling, or any feeling in my body? I turned the water temperature down, hoping the chilly water would cool off my libido.

I knew I couldn't have Katie, not in the way I wanted her. Not in the way she needed. She hadn't had any sexual experiences that were safe and consensual. Every touch had been violent, brutal rape. Was I sick for wanting to get lost inside her body, the way so many other men had? She wouldn't want that. She couldn't want it, not from me.

I turned the water all the way cold, trying to silence the erotic thoughts running through my mind. I felt sick as I washed, my hands glazing over my own damaged skin. I didn't have time for this, whatever it was, with Katie. I had to get moving, safe, away.

Where to go now was a good question. I'd burned the rest of my bridges by taking out Carter. Carter had been right about one thing. I couldn't have her no matter how much I wanted her.

Paul Donnelly Sr. sent us into Cantana to rescue Katie. That's what the money said in the aftermath. Carter had said to kill her, although Donnelly's instructions were to rescue. It was too much money for just a retrieval mission, and usually following the money leads to the answers, but this time, nothing.

I was no closer to that answer than I'd been six years ago, when I started to question Carter's motivation. Could Jorge Riaz have been the real client? Had Carter lost it enough to try to return Katie to Jorge? There was still a huge disconnect on how Katie fit into everything.

Carter had contradicted himself for the last time. A lot of the older ones like Carter had been through war. It changed them. Assassin is a job where over time it's easy to go insane, even if you're already insane going in. He could have lost it, playing out a hallucination of some mythical enemy. When that happens, retirement. I could hide until I figured out Carter's agenda, whether it was imaginary or real.

I finished cleaning up, turned off the water, and stepped out of the shower. I toweled off, my mind racing the entire time. I had to come up with a plan, a course of action based in fact, not driven by assumptions and reaching conclusions.

What I needed now was to stop thinking of Katie and her body, her voice, her face, at every moment. Somehow, locking myself in a car with her all day, driving randomly, didn't seem like a good plan. Of course, it was the only thing I had come up with so far.

I went over the way I'd answered the questions she'd asked while I stared in the mirror. "I'm a very bad man and I've done a lot of bad things," and "...they want to kill me because I know where the bodies are buried and I helped kill them." What was I trying to do there, scare her? She needed a reality check. I wanted her to realize how evil, how dark I truly was inside. As crazy as Carter was at the end, he'd spoken a lot of truth. I'd wanted to kill her since the moment I met her and maybe if I told her that then she'd be afraid of me.

She hadn't flinched at a single admission I made. Maybe she didn't believe Carter. The only thing she had reacted to was what I said about her meaning something to me. Why did I admit that? Was it true I didn't know? I felt my erection returning as I thought about her. It was enough of an answer to make me uncomfortable. I stared at the mirror and decided I could use a shave.

Chicago was out; we couldn't head there even if I wanted to because I ditched her car just off I-94. I assumed whoever might be chasing us would think we went somewhere in Illinois. Maybe that was too obvious. I was second-guessing my every move.

I had a house in Georgia. It could easily be used as a safe house. Were any of my places safe? Safe, like the damn cabin back in Michigan. That was CJ and Carter, though. Carter. I hoped it had just been Carter and his mentally deranged, paranoid mind.

The place in Georgia should be safe enough. Georgia was better than just driving in circles. I'd set the whole thing up with cash years ago. It should still be a good hideout. We were almost out of cash, and I could put us there in less than a day. Wasn't that just as obvious, anything along I-75? Still, it was a better plan than just driving to nowhere in particular. I dressed quickly and returned to the bedroom.

I don't think I really expected Katie to still be in the room until I laid eyes on her again. If I were her, I would like to think I would have run. I would have gotten away from myself as fast as possible and never looked back. That wasn't Katie, though.

It was there again, the familiar calm of watching Katie, with her big brown eyes, soft caramel skin and long, curly black hair. I don't think I realized until this moment how much I needed to be able to just look at her. I shook my head as I stared at her pouty lips that never seemed to smile. My entire body sighed as I watched her. She was smiling.

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by Anonymous09/14/17

Wish the stories were longer.

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