Velvet Roses Ch. 11byvirgofemme©
**So just to let you all know, this chapter will be quite dark and angsty. Now I'm sure you guys are probably thinking-okay...so what else is new??-but I still thought I would give a warning. A fair level of violence, included Attempted sexual assault will be included in this chapter.**
Jeneda woke to the feel of something silky being dragged along her torso, and as it languorously continued its way up towards her chest, she opened her eyes.
The feel of a warm breath against her cheek brought her attention to her lover's smiling face, and as her eyes shifted to the rose he held in his hand, she saw that he was caressing her body with the crimson petals.
"Hey," she drowsily said, and as his lips pressed to hers, she eagerly returned his kiss.
As they parted from the oral embrace, her attention shifted back to the flower in his hand, and as he lazily dragged the petals against her left nipple, she arched her back and released a soft moan.
He gave her left breast the same attention, grazing her peak with the velvety edges of the rose until it pebbled from the stimulation. Then languorously, he slid the flower downward so that it drifted along her stomach.
Her abdomen flexed from the sensation of the satiny petals against her bare skin, and as he brushed the rose sensually against the tender flesh between her legs, she turned onto her side and murmured, stretching her body in a luxurious arc.
This sensual movement didn't go unnoticed by Dane, and in one swift, smooth motion, he was on top of her, pressing soft, wet kisses against her neck as the tip of his erection prodded eagerly between her legs.
"Mmm, still a little sore," she softly said, yet despite her words, she involuntarily bumped her hips against his.
Noting the contrast between her statement and the movement of her body, Dane lifted his eyebrows, then gave her a little smile.
"It's a good kind of pain."
"Ahh, I see." His smile widened. "We were quite active last night, weren't we?"
"That's because you couldn't keep your hands off of me."
"Correction. *You* couldn't keep your hands off me."
She grinned, then looped her arms around his neck. "I don't wanna do anything today except hang out in bed with you."
"Sex, food and sleep. Sounds like a perfect day to me."
He leaned in, closing the distance between them, and as his soft, flat tongue explored the depths of her warm mouth, she moaned, drowning in the kiss. The parting of their lips was accompanied by a luscious wet pop, and as she gazed at him, she saw that there was a question in his eyes.
"What?" She asked.
He slid off of her and positioned himself so that he was laying beside her body, then looking her straight in the eyes, he said, "I wanted to ask you this last night, but I never really got the chance, so I guess I will now."
She waited for him to continue.
"You remember that day I was outside your apartment and saw you sitting with some guy in his car?"
"Who was he?"
A moment of hesitation preceded her words. "He's a friend."
"Where do you know him from?"
"Does it matter?"
"I'm just curious."
She really didn't want to tell him, but knowing that being secretive would only drive them apart, she decided to just come out with it.
"He's Vincent's son."
Stunned into silence, he blinked a few times before finally finding his voice. "Oh. Are you two really close?"
"We grew up together, so he's basically like a second brother to me."
"I see." He fell silent and averted his eyes, seeming to contemplate the words that she'd spoken. Then directing his attention back to her, he asked another question. "So I'm guessing he doesn't know what I did."
"No, of course not. The only thing I told him is that you're my ex-boyfriend."
"Ex?" His eyes filled with disappointment.
"I mean you *were* my ex. Obviously we're back together now, but at the time we were still broken up."
He nodded. "Look, I know this is tough for you, and it probably makes you feel really weird keeping this huge secret from him..."
"It's more than that," she interjected. "I feel horribly guilty, too. Like I'm betraying him. Now that I think of it, I'm betraying the entire family. His brother, his grandma, his aunts and uncles, not to mention my dad. If he found out, it would destroy him."
The thought alone filled her with uneasiness and she rolled over onto her back, staring up at the ceiling. Dane blew out a heavy sigh, and for a moment they both lay there without saying a word. Then finally the silence was broken by the sound of his voice.
"If you wanted to tell Vincent's son...I mean if you ever decide that this is too much for you to handle, you know I won't be upset at you, right?"
She turned her head to look at him. "I'm not telling him."
"But if you wanted to-"
"No, It's not going to happen," she firmly said.
He scooted closer to her, wrapping his arm around her waist, then locking his eyes with hers, he spoke. "You're too good for me. I really don't deserve you."
"Yes you do."
She tangled her fingers into his soft hair. "You told me last night that you were mine, and that nothing would ever change that."
He nodded and said, "I did."
"Then stop talking like this. We're together for a reason, and what's done is already done, so stop persecuting yourself."
"That's easier said than done."
"Maybe so, but you deserve good things as well. Everyone does."
"You're wonderful." He placed a gentle kiss on each of her eyelids, then in a voice filled with excitement, he said, "I have something I want to give you."
He leaned over the edge of the mattress, flashing his cute little butt in the process, and after retrieving something from the pocket of his coat, he settled back onto the bed, resting his back against the headboard.
Jeneda shifted from a reclining position and sat up, tucking her legs beneath her as she anxiously waited to see what he held in his hand. His palm opened to reveal two silver rings looped through black cord. Both were engraved with an identical symbol, and as Jeneda's gaze lingered on them, she fell into stunned silence.
"They're devotion rings," Dane softly said. He picked up the cord that held the woman's band, allowing it to dangle in front of her eyes. "The symbol on it is the Kanji character for loyalty."
"One of the three scripts used in the Japanese language." He slipped the necklace over her head, then looped the black cord holding the man's ring around his own neck.
He took both of her hands in his, and gazing into her deep brown eyes, he spoke. "You've sacrificed a lot for me. Kept my secrets, endured unnecessary pain..."
As his voice drifted off, he briefly lowered his eyes, as if merely speaking the words filled him with sadness. Then allowing his attention to rest back on her, he continued.
"You're risking your relationship with your family and friends, and even though you say you're doing it because you want to, I still can't help feeling guilty about it." He gave brief pause, swallowing thickly before continuing. "You've done all of this so selflessly, without me even asking you to. And I want you to know that I really appreciate it."
"I know you do, Dane."
He lifted his large palm to caress her cheek, then allowed his thumb to stroke the pad of her lips.
"You inspire me," he said.
"To do what?"
"To become a better person."
Reveling in his sensual touch, she stared back at him, her gaze lowering to rest on his lips, and as she leaned in closer, so did he. The oral embrace they shared was soft and languid, tongues sliding against each other in a sensual caress. He gently pushed her onto her back, and as he positioned his lean body on top of hers, she arched toward him in delicious anticipation.
Their kiss deepened, and as his hand slid sinuously along the tender flesh of her inner thigh, their lips moved together with increasing urgency, as if the kiss they shared would be their last.
* * * *
Cold prickled Jeneda's skin, raising the hairs on her partially exposed arms and legs, and as she glanced at her digital alarm clock through sleep blurred eyes, she saw that it was nearly seven p.m. Seeking the warmth of her lover's body, she rolled over onto her side and reached out to pull him closer, but to her disappointment there was nothing but an empty space next to her.
Her eyes then drifted to the half empty pizza box that sat on the bedside table, and she was reminded of the meal that she and Dane had shared earlier that afternoon. She pushed the tangled sheets off her body then got out of bed, and after slipping into her silk robe, she exited the bedroom.
The faint scent of cigarette smoke drifted into her nostrils as she headed for the living room, and as she saw that the window was halfway open, she poked her head out and glanced out onto the fire escape.
Since his back was facing her, Dane was oblivious to the fact that Jeneda was watching him, and as he continued to look out on the street below, puffs of cigarette smoke swirled past his face.
His shoulders jumped slightly, and as he turned to face her, she saw that guilt was written all over his features.
"Oh, hi. Sorry if I woke you. Guess I should have gone downstairs to smoke."
"It's okay." She lifted the window higher, and after climbing out, she sat on the ledge with her feet resting against the metal deck. "You smoke?" Though it was clearly a rhetorical question, she still sought an answer from him.
"Occasionally. I'm gonna quit, though."
"Promise?" She asked in a tone that was more filled with worry than bossiness.
He put the cigarette out with the heel of his boot and nudged it over the side of the metal walkway so that it fell to the ground below. Then he stepped closer so that he could slip his hands around her waist, and looking her straight in the eyes, he gave an oath.
He tilted her chin up in preparation for a kiss, but just before his lips touched hers, he suddenly pulled away.
"What's wrong?" She asked.
"I stink of cigarettes."
"It's okay, I don't mind."
"Yeah. A little nicotine breath won't kill me, will it?"
She grabbed him playfully by the collar of his sweater, pulling him down to her level so that his mouth was only inches from hers, and as his tongue glided along her bottom lip, she gasped at the warm sensation and closed her eyes.
Their lips moved achingly slow, tongues tangling provocatively, and as he expertly probed her warm cavern she groaned, losing herself in the wet heat of his mouth. It took the sudden stillness of Dane's lips for Jeneda to realize that something was wrong, and as she broke the kiss to look into his eyes, she noticed a tall, ski mask clad figure standing directly behind him.
"Well, ain't this romantic?" The unwelcome observer said in a dark, gravelly voice.
Jeneda's orbs widened in horror as she realized he was pressing a gun against Dane's head, and she opened her mouth to scream, but it was promptly cut off as a gloved hand clamped over her mouth.
Before she could even process what was happening, she was yanked backwards through the window, and as a strong hand snaked around her waist, she was forcibly pulled back into her apartment.
Wriggling fiercely against her faceless captor, she utilized every bit of force to squirm out of his grasp, but his inhuman strength kept her bound tightly against him.
Desperate to free herself, she bit hard into the leather of his glove, but this only resulted in her captor clamping his hand over her mouth even tighter.
As helpless as a ragdoll in the hands of an unruly child, Jeneda was half-dragged towards her bedroom, and upon arrival, she was flung onto the bed. Her body bounced from the impact as she landed face down, yet despite her disorientation from being so roughly handled, she still made a go at escaping.
Filled with panic, she scrambled clumsily across the bed, but before she could reach the edge, a hand gripped her by the neck, slamming her flat against her back.
Unable to let out more than a surprised squeak, she stared fearfully up at her captor, but with the room still dark, and the intruder wearing a hooded sweatshirt, she was unable to make out his face. Yet neither of these things mattered, because as he spoke, his identity was revealed.
"You lied to me, bitch. You betrayed my family."
Although his hand was still wrapped around her neck, it didn't stop her from trying to speak, but all that came out was a strange croaking noise. This only seemed to infuriate him more, because he tightened his grip, then spat out some more words.
"You must think I'm really stupid, huh? You really thought I wouldn't find out what your boyfriend did?"
His larger frame straddled hers, pinning her against the mattress as he retrieved a coil of rope from the pocket of his sweatshirt. He yanked her arms painfully above her head, then bound her wrists to the headboard with the speed and agility afforded him by years of service in the military.
She cried out as he did it, wincing as the fibers from the rope cut into her flesh, then gazing at his hooded face, she pleaded with him in a shaky voice.
"Adrian, please. I never meant to hurt anyone, that wasn't my intention."
"Shut up! Lying won't get you out of this."
Having effectively immobilized her, he got off the bed, then switched on the bedside lamp. He then bent down and retrieved a combat knife that was tucked in his boot, and after setting it well out of her reach on the end of the bed, he reached into the pocket of his sweatshirt.
Along with a roll of duct tape, he also pulled out a handgun, and after setting them next to the bowie knife he'd brought along, he poked his head out of the bedroom and yelled.
"Yeah?" Came a gravelly voice from the front of the apartment.
"What the fuck is taking so long? Hurry up and get that piece of shit in here so we can do this."
"I'll be right there."
Adrian turned back around to face Jeneda, then walked closer to her. He came to a stop on the side of the bed where she was sitting, and as he looked down at her with a murderous glare, she shifted nervously on the bed, struggling helplessly against the rope that tightly secured her wrists to the headboard.
"I thought you said Daniel was in prison."
"He was just released a few days ago. Got out early for good behavior." A nasty sneer curled his lips. "I guess you can imagine how surprised my baby brother was when I filled him in on the latest events."
A nervous swallow preceded Jeneda's words. "Someone told you about this. Who was it?"
"No one told me."
"Then how did you find out?"
"You leave your window open at night, and people tend to overhear things."
"So you were spying on me."
"You're damn right I was," he sharply retorted. "I heard everything your boyfriend said, and I know exactly what he did."
"Then you know that he didn't kill Vincent, and that the whole situation wasn't his fault."
"You think that makes a difference to me?" His eyes glinted with fury and his jaw tightened. "He's a filthy piece of scum that dumped my dad's body like garbage."
She said nothing in return, only looked away in shame as he continued to speak.
"You fucking whore," he spat.
The venomous word caused Jeneda to turn her attention back on Adrian, her eyes narrowing to slits as she stared him down.
"Yeah, that's right. I called you a whore, because that's what you are." A brief pause followed his words. "My father treated you like his own daughter, and how do you respect his memory? By fucking the guy that assisted in his murder."
"I knew nothing about it when I first met Dane. He didn't tell me until we were already a couple."
"And yet you still continued to see him, knowing full well what he'd done."
Filled with shame, she hung her head, feeling sadness and fear and remorse all at the same time. "I'm not proud of myself, and I know it was wrong of me not to tell you, but I never meant to hurt anyone. I swear."
"No, of course you didn't. You just hoped that we would never find out."
Rendered speechless, she focused her eyes on the wall, and as silence stretched on, she felt her body tense under his stare. She could feel his energy enveloping her, so intense it was nearly stifling, and although she wasn't looking directly at him, she could tell that his hands were fisted at his sides.
Her stomach was cramped with tension, and with each breath she took, her breathing grew more uneven. She was almost too scared to even speak, but there was a question she was seeking an answer to, so she asked him in a quavering tone.
"How did you get inside my apartment?"
"You father gave me a key a few months ago. He wanted me to have it in case of emergencies, so I could look in on you." His eyes were hard and glinted with fury. "Speaking of your father, does he know about your dirty little secret?"
"No, I haven't told him."
"Yeah, I figured you didn't. Guess I'm gonna have to be the one to give him the news."
Turning her attention back on him, she said, "Please don't, It'll break his heart."
"No shit It'll break his heart." His voice had risen even higher. "But he still deserves to know, doesn't he? Or would you rather just continue lying to him, allowing him to believe you're his good little girl?"
"I never lied, I just didn't tell him."
"You're right, it was wrong of me to call you a liar." Adrian's words were rife with sarcasm. "You just *neglected* to give him the information that would solve his best friend's murder case."
"I didn't know how to tell him. I knew it would destroy him, and-"
"No, don't you lie. Don't you dare fucking lie!" His voice held a warning, and he stepped even closer to the bed, looming over her smaller form. "You didn't keep the truth from your dad out of concern for his feelings. You did it to protect your boyfriend."
Spittle flew from his mouth, landing on her cheek, and as she stared up at his glowering face, she saw that it had reddened with anger. Never before had she been in the presence of someone so filled with rage, and although she knew he had every right in the world to be angry with her, it still scared her like hell seeing this other side of him.
Yet despite her frightened state, she knew that she needed to explain herself, and as she opened her mouth to speak, words tumbled hurriedly from her lips.
"Yes, I wanted to protect Dane, I admit it. But don't you think I felt bad about it? I felt horrible, and disgusting, and like the world's biggest liar, and I knew I was betraying you all, but I never meant to hurt anyone."
"Bullshit! You had the chance to do the right thing, but instead of looking out for *us*, who are supposed to be your family, you chose instead to protect a stranger."
"I was caught in an impossible situation," she said in a hysterical, almost pleading voice. "I was scared and confused and I didn't know what to do."
Although the words she'd spoken came straight from her heart, they sounded lame and phony to her ears, and she was left feeling even worse than before she'd said them.
"You didn't know what to do?" A harsh scoff passed Adrian's lips. "What about turning him in? Didn't that ever cross your mind?"
"It did, but I couldn't bring myself to go through with it."
"That's right, because you were protecting him, and clearly he's the most important thing to you," Adrian said. "Well I hope you enjoyed your last night together, because he's gonna pay for all the pain and suffering he caused my family." His bluish gray eyes went even colder as he added, "And so are you."
He pulled a dirty rag out of the pocket of his hooded sweatshirt, then stuffed it into her mouth, effectively gagging her. The taste was nauseating-oily and sharply pungent like gasoline, and as the harsh scent entered her nostrils, she gave into several dry heaves.