Outside, I rub my chilly arms while waiting for Kristoff’s orders. He barks a command to Peter and a few minutes later, I hear an engine running. Someone wraps a thick, black coat around me, the smell of aftershave filling my nostrils. Kristoff’s husky voice sounds so dangerously low, as his cool breath washes over my earlobe. “We’ll be home soon.”
I hear the car engine die down, yelping as I’m being lifted off the ground, over a strong shoulder. The blindfold falters slightly, enabling me to catch a glimpse of the muddy puddle directly underneath my head. I grip Kristoff’s rough forearm instinctively, trying to find a comfortable balance. Car doors pull open and I’m hoisted onto a plush, leather seat and pushed to the extreme, Kristoff coming in after me and the door slamming shut. I take a deep breath and breathe in the mix of new leather and Kristoff’s aftershave. There’s no doubt about it. We’re in his car.
“Will you at least tell me where you kept my uncle? I’m scared.” I blurt, not projecting my fear in my tone.
His fingers secure the blindfold around my eyes carefully. “Relax, princess. It’s no more your duty to worry about him.”
What? Is he really kidding me right now?
“You said it yourself that you’re not an honest man. How do I take your words for it? You may have even killed him already for all I know.”
“You know, princess, one good thing you should be thankful for is your beauty,” I gulp, waiting for him to continue. “You’re such an angel to behold and for some fucked up reason, my dick is refusing to budge. Be grateful I have an interest in you otherwise dear old Uncle Pat would’ve been dead thirty minutes ago.”
That’s all he says to get me to shut up. He starts conversing with Peter who’s been listening to our exchange all these while. They’re talking in a coded language I don’t understand, and soon I get bored of listening. Turning towards the window, I try my hardest to see through the blindfold, but it’s impossible. The material is black and thick so I might as well be trying to move a push through a brick wall. I sigh, then focused instead on trying to process the current events. I was supposed to give Uncle Patrick his gift and take him out on a dinner date an hour ago. I’d looked forward all day for that particular moment I’d walk in and surprise my uncle. But I’d been the one to get the surprise instead.
Now, I have no idea where they put him and I’m seated, being driven alongside a man who’s only interested in my body. What’s to be expected of me? Can I make it through this alive?
The thought of being a sex slave makes me shudder.
I don’t try to start up a conversation with Kristoff again, and I certainly don’t bother asking him why the car suddenly stops. The entire place is illuminated by darkness and I flatten my palms against the windows, a dreadful feeling enveloping me. Kristoff offers no words of consolation as he drags me across the seat to him and climbs out. I’m worried that no one around seems to have questions about why he was carrying a blindfolded, bare-footed, resisting woman. Doesn’t he have neighbors around? Or are we in the middle of nowhere?
He continues his discussion with Peter as he carried me in his arms like a child into an air-conditioned area. I wrap the coat around me even tighter and sink deeper into his chest.
We stop just as I hear the ding of an elevator and Kristoff mutters something before stepping forward. The entire ride up was silent, safe for the sound of Kristoff’s steady heartbeat against my ear. For someone as thoughtless and ruthless as he, I’m surprised to note that he has a beating heart instead of stone after all. Can I say the same for all monsters? Because the monsters I know didn’t possess one, but Kristoff is a cold-blooded monster no matter how anyone else puts it.
The elevator stops and the doors slide open. Slowly, he takes off the blindfold and pulls me forward, gesturing around. “Welcome to your new home, princess. Beautiful isn’t it? It’s yours for a month.”
I sift my gaze around the huge, shimmering interior in awe. Is this a joke? It’s even bigger and more luxurious than I had anticipated.
Everything, from the fancy beige couches pooled in a spacious circle at a corner, to the humongous flat-screened television screams money and luxury. I move to stand in front of the TV, cringing at the sight of my messy reflection. It’s a new Titania that stares back at me and she’s sad, broken and uncertain about the future.
“You can admire everything later. Right now, I want you in your room,” Kristoff orders gruffly.
I clench my fists, not pleased as all at the way he’s bossing me around. Turning sharply to him, his face is inscrutable, his lips curled into an adorable frown I’ll have swooned over if he wasn’t a beast and my captor. I’m still trying to get used to his startling presence and the dangerous aura he exudes. His heated gaze can snap my neck in halves.
When I don’t obey his instruction, he sighs and rolls his eyes. “What did I tell you about being stubborn, princess? It’s not going to help either of us. Please cooperate.”
Grudgingly, I amble toward him, taking a sharp glance around once more, searching for an alternative exit. Surely, he wasn’t foolish to make the elevator the only exit down. There has to be a staircase hidden somewhere.
I’m quiet as he leads me down a long hallway with bright white walls and eleven closed doors. He opens the first, turns on the light and urges me to enter. It’s a plush, master bedroom decorated with everything in riotous shades of pink. I take one step in, horrified, then turn back with a whimper as I stare past him, through the open door, wondering when next I’ll see the light of day apart from this room? When next I’ll be free to go back to the café and see Margot, Estelle and all my friends again? When next I’ll hold Uncle Patrick’s hands as I cheer him on to take his medication?
“P-Please Kristoff,” I sniffle, then swallow hard, my tears falling faster than waterfalls. “Please don’t trap me in here.”
“I’m not trapping you,” he grunts without emotion. “You’re not staying here alone. Ally will be up with you in a minute. She’ll be your companion. I want you to relax, have a bath, eat, play dress-up for a while and wait till I get back.”
He says It as if it’s the most logical thing for a girl who doesn’t know where the hell her uncle is, or how he’s faring, to do.
“You can tell Ally if you need anything,” he adds after a few minutes’ silence. “She’ll be more than thrilled to help you out.”
“B-But,” I rush to hold the closing doors. He scowls, irritated.
“Can you let me speak to my uncle at least? I won’t take long. I just want to hear his voice.”
“Stop being annoying and get the hell into your room. Now,” he growls.
Face burning in embarrassment, I drop my hands and step back, watching the door close and hearing the lock turn. This time, I let the tears fall harder down in torrents, blurring my vision, a scream lodged in my throat, struggling to come out. I’m helpless and angry just like Belle. Kristoff is a much hotter beast, but surely twice as much heartless.