The Reluctant Journey Ch. 08byDarlin92©
Ok, I know that the non-consent thing in this chapter is kind of a stretch, but all of the other chapters are posted here, so here you go. I hope you enjoy and thank you for all of the wonderful comments.
Blake Denizen had invested in a stress ball when he'd finally broken his phone from throwing it across the room in frustration repeatedly. Cain Malcolm was going to get his way. What was fucking new. Golden boy had always breezed through life while everyone else had to work for what they had. Eli McAllister was wrapped around Cain's manicured little finger. Blake had received a letter that formally acknowledged his complaint and assured him that it had been dealt with accordingly. Cain probably hadn't even received a proverbial slap on the wrist. No, he had probably had a real good fucking time laughing it up with the General of the Army. They'd probably found the whole thing real fucking hilarious over a game of golf. As always, Cain would get his way. Blake squeezed the yellow smily face ball in his fist until his knuckles turned white.
Every time he'd had to talk to the son of bitch he'd wanted to scream. Cain had come in with his hostage girl to fix everything up with a real big fucking smile on his face. It had nearly driven Blake mad to have to be cordial with the prick. Cain, on the other hand, had found it extremely amusing to rub it in Denizen's face the entire time they'd had to work together. He didn't out right say anything, but he didn't have to. His perfect pretty boy face did all the talking for him with the infuriating arrogance that showed there so openly. He thought a lot of himself. The aggravating thing about it was that everyone else seemed to think a lot of him as well. It didn't seem fair that Cain should have money and looks. He had never had to even lift a finger and women opened their legs wide for him. How the asshole had any friends was beyond him. No he knew why he had friends, he had money. That's what it had always come down to, money, and Cain had been born with an abundance of it.
Everyone at the snobby school he'd been forced to go to had flocked around him and his brother. Blake didn't really care for the brother one way or the other, but Cain had always gotten under his skin. As soon as Blake's dad had made him transfer to the big shot school to go with their new big shot money he'd hated nearly everyone there, but Cain had caught his eye especially. Cain was the hot shot of the school and he knew it. He'd looked down on Blake the moment he'd gotten there. He was the king of the snobby superficial bitches that spent their mommy and daddy's money left and right. The money that his own father had been so proud of had embarrassed Blake throughout high school. It was never enough with the rich. Everyone strove to be like the Malcolm's and Blake was the furthest away from that goal. He'd gone from the in crowd of his own school to the scum under Cain's foot.
Cain actually had the nerve to shove his military position in Blake's face, as if he'd earned anything. Blake had worked his ass off to get his position and Cain didn't do shit and was ten times as powerful. Blake ran a unit and Cain was one step away from running the entire army. Blake was proud of how far he'd come and Cain had laughed in his face.
'Ah ah ah, that's General Malcolm to you, director'. Cain's voice replayed in Blake's mind once again. He squeezed his ball furiously. Cain was going to win. He would win like he'd won his entire fucking life. No! Not again! He would not lose to Cain Malcolm again. He was going to ruin that snarky prick's life if it was the last thing he ever did.
It didn't take him many phone calls to various friends he'd made over the years to find people who might be mad at the general. He smiled at the name he'd written down and underlined.
"Well well well, I think it's time we give Mr. Vincent Dutari a call." Blake said to himself, smiling for the first time in weeks.
Malia couldn't stop thinking that she should have stopped Cain from leaving. She didn't know what to say to him. His story had actually made her cry. She could vicariously feel the overpowering guilt that he must feel daily. He thought that it was his fault. That one moment that he'd surprisingly shared with her had shaped his life so completely. It had changed a hurt selfish teenager into an overly responsible man. But he was more than just responsible, he was living his life to make up for his past. She knew that he would never consider that debt paid. Before she knew Cain she had thought that he had no sense of honor or nobility. She'd thought that he would have done whatever he needed and wanted to do to get the end result he desired. Recently she'd come to know that his sense of honor was deeply ingrained, and when he'd violated it he didn't take it lightly.
She should have told him that it wasn't his fault. He wouldn't agree with her of course, but she felt he needed to hear it all the same. She didn't have time to think of the words before he'd left the house. He'd told the entire story straight-faced, though she saw the deep emotion lurking in his eyes. The memory had been haunting him for a long time. She could see the events play through her mind like a tragic movie.
She could see the lost teenager lashing out at his stifling family life that was dominated by public appearances. She could see how his strong pride would cause that rebellion to escalate, as he would die before he would back down. She imagined that his father had been very similar in temperament, causing a volatile mixture. She saw the pain there, when he talked about his father's death. He'd loved the man and she knew it had devastated him, no matter how aloof he may act. But Cain's pride was what kept him together. She saw the young man spiraling out of control as he refused to grieve for a man he'd openly hated, a man he'd loved.
It was this weakened state that had finally broken the pride that had been holding him together. She saw things as Cain would. He had continued to act selfishly, even after the death of his father. He'd therefore caused the death of a friend and the lifelong irreversible injury to his own brother. She knew what had been a terrible accident wouldn't be seen that way to Cain. A tear streamed down her face as she saw the scene in her head. Now Cain was running through the woods, trying to run from his own memories. She should go look for him. She didn't know what to say if she were to find him. He wouldn't accept any comforting words she had to offer, even if she could come up with any words to say. She couldn't sit in the recliner anymore, she needed to do something.
Malia walked into the kitchen. She would make him dinner. She started going through the cupboards and refrigerator to prowl their contents. She wasn't sure what he liked to eat. She didn't actually know how to cook anyway. Hopefully this would be a thought that counted type of thing. An hour went by and she was pacing back and forth from the kitchen to the living room. Every time she passed the window in the living room she looked for Cain. She'd made spaghetti because it seemed like a fairly safe bet that he would like spaghetti and it was simple enough for her to figure out. The silver pot of meat sauce sat covered on the stove next to the pot of pasta. She couldn't do it anymore. She'd already changed into a pair of sweat pants and a t-shirt, as well as undergarments. She put a pair of tennis shoes on and walked out the front door. She didn't know how she was planning on finding him but she couldn't pace around anymore.
The sun had started to go down and the woods were darker than the front yard she'd been meticulously scanning. She slowed down as soon as she reached the trees. How was Cain running around in the dark, he would run into a tree or something.
"Cain," she yelled. She wanted to get out of here. She could have turned around and went back into the house but now a reel of worst case scenarios was running through her mind at warp speed. Cain could have been attacked by wild animals, or he could have fallen on a rock and hit his head, or someone could have assaulted him. She tried to physically shake the paranoid thoughts out of her head. Cain wasn't fragile or weak by any means. She shouldn't be worrying about him, but he wasn't in the best state of mind and he shouldn't be out here like that. She continued to walk and call out for him, though she didn't yell as loudly as she could. It seemed risky to her for some reason. She felt a large plop of water hit her cheek, followed by another on her forehead nearly immediately after. Fantastic, it was raining. She started to walk a little faster and yell a little louder. She didn't even know if she was going the right way. There were tons of foot trails that wound through the forest for miles around Finn's cabin.
It seemed to go from a grayish dark to a pitch black much too quickly. Malia was jogging now and yelling his name at the top of her lungs. The heavy cover of trees had kept most of the rain off of her, but it started to rain harder. It seemed like she was soaking wet in less than a minute.
"Cain!" Malia's voice was starting to become frantic. She couldn't see the path anymore and even if she wanted to turn back she wouldn't know which way to go. This had to be the stupidest idea she'd ever had. Cain was probably sitting in the recliner back in the living room watching a TV show. Hopefully he would come looking for her. Malia heard a deafening crack much too close for comfort. She thought she might have felt the ground shake with the vicious thunder. She stopped and closed her eyes. If she didn't get her emotions under control quickly, she was going to start panicking. She breathed in and out as she heard more thunder crash through the night sky. She only felt minimally better when she opened her eyes again. She called out again and again as she walked quickly through the underbrush. She'd definitely abandoned the path. She tried to look around but it was pouring rain and she couldn't see anything but trees. As the thunder and lightning became more frequent and intense she felt the panic overtake her. She turned completely around and started to run. She needed to find the path again. Didn't lightning strike trees? There were probably wolves and bears in these woods. She could feel the paranoia rising. She screamed when she unexpectedly ran into what felt like a tree, except the tree fell when they made contact.
"Jesus, Malia!" Cain yelled to be heard over the thunder and rain.
"Cain?" Her voice was filled with relief that completely masked over the pain of hitting him full force. She'd knocked him down, luckily only on dead leafs and dirt. She was already laying on him fully so she hugged him in relief.
"I found you. oh my god I thought I was lost. Why didn't you answer me!" She yelled at him.
"I did!" He yelled back. She let go of him and looked up at his face, he looked angry. "What the hell are you doing out here?"
It was strange to have a conversation lying on top of someone so she rolled off of him and stood up. He groaned as he stood. He'd completely caught the brunt of the fall, and she'd been running pretty frantically, she hoped he wasn't seriously hurt. She was only sympathetic until his words finally sunk in. She had been out here looking for him and he was yelling at her? "What do you mean what am I doing out here?" She yelled, all of her fear easily turing into anger. "I was looking for you, you ungrateful bastard."
"Ungrateful? What the fuck am I supposed to be grateful for? I had to come into the woods in a fucking thunderstorm to find you! Why would you leave the path?" She'd scared him, but he'd scared her too and she was tired of him lashing out at her to deal with his emotions.
"Do you think I meant to leave the path? In case you haven't noticed, it's pouring rain and pitch black out here!" She yelled back.
"So why are you out here?" He spoke as if she were incredibly stupid.
"I already told you!"
"I told you I was going for a run. Why would you come look for me?" He'd stopped yelling, but it sounded like he was actively trying to speak calmly.
"I was worried okay!" She yelled when she couldn't think of any plausible lie.
"Don't start pitying me, little girl!" He was yelling again. "I'm not some broken thing you need to comfort, do you hear me? What I told you changes nothing!" He grabbed the tops of her arms as he spoke directly down into her face.
Malia didn't believe him. He was panicking even more than she had been a few moments before. His stubborn pride was being threatened and he needed to reestablish his power. He wouldn't let her see him hurt.
"You're right! I shouldn't pity you! You're so god-damned irritating that you don't deserve me to worry about you, but I did anyway! So just get over it. And quit telling me nothing has changed, because as far as I can see it, nothing is the same! We had sex Cain! Then you called off the deal with Tristan, and told me your big secret story! Yet you keep telling me that nothing has changed, everything has changed!" She was breathing heavily as she expressed her irritation.
After a couple of minutes of her trying to catch her breath he lifted her chin up with his index finger. She couldn't see his face very clearly. "Malia this isn't a happy ending kind of thing. I'm not going to fall in love with you." He said it full of pity, trying to avoid hurting her feelings.
"I don't recall asking you to!" She tried to push him away but he resisted, still looking down into her face.
"I just don't want to give you the wrong idea." He was making things worse, he thought of her as a little incompetent girl.
"Cain, do us both a favor and stop worrying about my feelings okay?" She stepped closer until her entire body was pressed lightly up against his. "I promise you, you aren't nearly as irresistible as you think you are." She smiled up at him and pushed firmly away. This time he let her go. "Which way is the cabin?" She asked as she turned away from him.She was freezing and water continuously dripped down her face as the rain poured.
"I don't know." He answered simply. She turned to look at him quickly.
"What?" She desperately hoped that he was joking.
"You heard me. I was following your obnoxious screaming through the woods. It didn't give me much time to leave a trail of breadcrumbs." He didn't sound like he was joking. Malia felt her stomach sink like a rock.
"Cain you know these woods. Please tell me you're joking." She wiped rain from her eyes.
"I don't really know these woods." He looked around the trees as there was a map dangling from one of them. "I don't live here after all."
"You went running through the woods! How did you get back to the cabin then?" She was starting to panic again as the lightning lit up both of their faces momentarily.
"Well, since I didn't decide to travel into the woods in the fucking dark, I could keep track of the paths I was taking. I definitely didn't leave the path and run through the trees screaming like a banshee." Cain said accusingly.
She ignored the verbal jab to placate her rising panic. "Do you mean to tell me that we are lost in the woods in the middle of the night in a thunderstorm?"
"It looks that way." She'd subconsciously moved closer to Cain again. "I suggest you pick a path, looks like we're going with trial and error here." Cain shrugged at her nonchalantly.
"What?" She looked at him like he'd grown an extra head.
"I don't see any other way we're going to make it back. Choose." He motioned at the path they were on.
She didn't know which way would lead them back to the cabin and which would lead them further into the woods. She'd been off the path for a while before he'd found her. Neither direction gave a slightest hint, as they both looked quite formidable. She chose to continue forward and hoped she wouldn't come to regret the decision. They continued to walk through the rain for what felt like a long time. Cain was simply following her silently. She could feel her nerves winding tighter and tighter as they continued to walk in silence. She finally stopped and turned around to face him.
"Did we go the wrong way?" She asked accusingly.
"How should I know?" He replied defensively
She gritted her teeth in frustration. "Well what do you think? A little input would be nice here." She sighed. It had stopped pouring rain, though it continued to drizzle.
"You mean to say that you don't want to be in charge? But all throughout the day you were doing everything you could think of to show me just how powerful you were. My computer and bookshelves will surely quiver in fear when they see you again. Not to mention the poor soldiers from lunch. You wanted to be in charge, so lead."
She glared at him suspiciously as he continued with his gloating speech. "Did you do this," she motioned to the woods around them, "to prove that you have power over me?"
"Now how would I do this? How would I know that you were going to be stupid enough to run into the woods, after I told you where I was going, in the middle of a thunderstorm, right as it was getting dark?"
She wished she could see his face clearly. She wasn't good at reading his facial expressions, but maybe she would be able to tell if he were lying about this. "Do you know where we are?" She asked, still highly suspicious that this was another power play.
"I already answered that question." He replied irritated. "I suggest you pick a direction and start walking if you want to get to the cabin tonight.
Malia was cold, wet, and tired. Her mental facilities were running thin. She walked over to a large tree and sat on the ground at the base of the trunk. Cain stood over her looking down at her.
"What are you doing?" He asked incredulously.
"I'm leading. At ease troop." She snarled up at him.
"Cute." He replied unamused. "Stellar leadership skills. It's a wonder I haven't given you the reigns before now."
"I'm cold and tired of walking." She closed her eyes. The rain had finally stopped.
"As leader you should know that wearing wet clothing for an extended period of time is just asking for skin breakdown and infection." He sounded so proud of himself at her failure to lead. She was going to wipe that satisfied look off of his face. She didn't want to focus on the situation they were in, so she decided to try and have some fun. Her previous fear and adrenaline had drained her body and she was feeling almost giddy.
"Well then scout, take 'em off." She ordered. She folded her arms behind her head on the tree trunk in a faux relaxed posture.
He crossed his arms across his chest making his muscles especially prominent in the wet t-shirt that clung to his powerful frame. "An epic misuse of power." He chastised.
"Ah, not so epic. I've seen worse." She looked at him accusingly. "But what can I say? I learned from the best. Now strip." She attempted to mimic his authoritative tone but felt that there was no comparison.
He smiled. She could see his straight white teeth even in the dark.
"Oh, so I'm supposed to listen to you? Like you listen to me?" He laughed cynically. "No I don't have to. You have no hold over my life." He used an annoyingly high pitched voice to mimic her.
"I do not sound like that."
"No?" He grinned arrogantly.
"No." She stood quickly and felt a little dizzy, but she righted herself on the tree trunk. The clouds had cleared and the moonlight made him more visible to her. He really was sexy. His hair was wet and spiky. His shirt clung to his impressive body, leaving nothing to the imagination. Her fingers itched to run across those imposing muscles. She walked closer to him. She shouldn't want this but she just couldn't bring herself to feel bad about it. She couldn't see a reason to keep fighting the attraction she had to him. She wasn't a virgin anymore, she thought with a little thrill. "So this is where I rip the shirt from your body and show my dominance?" She was close to him now. He wasn't smiling anymore which gave her a dose of feminine pride. She moved her hands up and played with the hemline of his t-shirt. She was pretty certain that she couldn't rip it in half, so she didn't try. She looked up at him, hoping he would obey her. She could feel heat pooling between her legs especially well since the rest of her body was cold and clammy.