Chapter 10

She had no choice but to make a run for it. Serena wrenched her arm free from Darien's deadly grip and made a dash in the opposite direction with Rini firmly secure in the safety of her arms. Serena sprinted from corridor to corridor, managing to maneuver her way through the heavy crowd. The airport doors were only a few feet away now. Within a few short steps, she would be free of this nightmare. She could find another airport to take her daughter home.

But as she was about to make her way through the exit -- almost home free -- an airport security guard grabbed her. "I'm sorry ma'am, but you're going to have to come with me," he told her in a calm, but commanding tone. Out of the corner of her eye, Serena noticed a picture of Rini in his hand.

Everything went down hill from then on. The man practically dragged her through the length of the central corridor of the airport – people stopping to see what the commotion was all about –and taken to a bland empty room with a large metal table and pushed her and her child into a chair. It was at that moment fear took a firm hold of her wildly beating heart. She rocked Rini rhythmically in her arms in an effort to calm herself.

After a long wait for the inevitable, she dozed off to the soft rhythm of her gentle rocking motion. She woke to the less comforting sound of the door opening slowly. Two silhouetted figures stood on the threshold.

"Are you sure," the shorter of the two questioned.

"Yes, I am," the taller one gave answer. Serena recognized the taller man as Darien and her grip on Rini tightened considerably.

"Would you please escort her to the car?" Darien asked the other man who had brought her in. The guard motioned for Serena to hand Rini over to him, but she turned away from him, ignoring the request. The guard stepped forward and was about to forcefully rip mother and sleeping child apart, but was held at bay by Darien's firm hand on his shoulder. "Don't bother, just get them both to the car would you please?" The stress evident in his voice, but she couldn't care less about what state he was in now. She had no other choice but to willingly cooperate and allowed herself to be taken by the guard.

She was surprised when she was escorted to one of Darien's cars. She assumed that the guard was taking her to a police car. She noticed that Diamond was in the driver's seat. He didn't bother to look at her, so she was left to the conclusion that he was angry with her. She decided not to worry about who liked her and who didn't. The guard opened the passenger's side door. As she took her seat she asked the guard about her ex-husband, but just had the door slammed in her face.

Diamond activated the automatic locks in an attempt to minimize any risk that she would even think about escape and started the car. "The child lock is on as well, so don't try anything funny." Diamond warned in a matter-of-fact-tone.

"I wouldn't think of harming Rini," Serena said taken aback at the mere suggestion she might, looking down at her sleeping daughter, unable to hide the sorrow in her eyes, "Where is Darien?" Serena asked.

"He has to find the car you stole and drive it back to the mansion." He hesitated for a moment before continuing, "Once we arrive, you are to wait in the study for Darien. You are not to leave the room until Darien arrives and deals with you properly." His words stabbing her, making her feel as small as an ant in his presence. She wanted to rebut him, defend herself, and her actions, but there truly wasn't a point. He wouldn't believe her no matter what. So she sat there in silence until the manor came into view. Her gut began to twist in an impossible knot, and her lungs became constricted, forcing her to gasp for air. She was terrified; there was no other way to put it.

Diamond stopped the car in the driveway and opened the door for Serena. She had no idea how much Darien had told him, but by the looks she was getting, she was sure it was enough to make him hate her.

The minute she set foot inside Rini was snatched from her arms by Jessie. Serena was about to retrieve her daughter, but Diamond, who proved to be quite the strong fellow, quickly grabbed her before she could do so -- allowing Jessie to take Rini away. He dragged Serena kicking and screaming to the study, and boy did she scream. She came real close to biting him several times. He was lucky in that his quick reflexes had served him well. She didn't stop screaming even after he locked her in the study.

She lashed out at the door, hoping that she had enough force in her shoulders for it to give way. When that didn't work, she settled on continuing her tirade --- screaming out the worst vulgarities that popped into her head. She cursed them all to hell, and cried. She cried out all her frustrations for dear life. It seemed hours before she had tired herself out to the point where she simply curled up in front of the door, hands and feet marred with dark bruises resulting from her failed attempts at kicking down the door.

That's how Darien found her when he finally arrived. Her large doe eyes glared at him with hatred. But his face did not give away a thing, his stoic manner, as unyielding as ever. It suited him though, since she pictured him as a completely heartless man. He closed the door, locking it once again and placed the key inside his breast pocket. He walked past her, taking a seat at his desk. "Serena, darling, get yourself up off the floor. We have much to discuss and you look rather pathetic lying there." His voice had a tinge of exhaustion laced through it. It displeased her that he had the gall to treat her like a spoiled child.

She picked herself off the floor, making sure she caught his eyes when she spoke. "I see you've finally figured out who I really am." She spat, "took you long enough."

He remained silent for a moment and she was almost relieved to have bruised his enormous ego. But that was until he started laughing, and not just a light chuckle. He laughed uproariously. "You think I didn't know," he said regaining his composure, but her shock only served to increase his amusement, "Serena, I knew who you were the moment I laid eyes on you. You really think I would forget my own backstabbing wife. Not likely!"

"You mean…ex-wife," she retorted, placing emphasis on the word, ex, hoping to make a point, "and I am not the backstabber. You lied to me from the moment you said 'I do' so don't pretend to be the victim here."

"Is that what you think you are, Serena…the victim? If I remember correctly, you were the one who left me and your own daughter to fend for ourselves."

That was the last straw -- she snapped. She could have torn her hair out at that moment, and almost did as she burst into tears, screaming at him every insult that entered her tired brain. She repeatedly called him a liar as she crumpled to the floor once again -- completely ashamed that she had again allowed him to affect her to this extent. He let out an aggravated sigh as he watched her display.

He stood up and looked upon the distressed woman before him. "You obviously aren't well enough to have an adult conversation right now Serena. I'll allow you some rest."

He moved to the door, unlocked it before approaching Serena, and easily hefted her from the floor into his arms, carrying her bridal style out the door and into the hall. She struggled weakly, not having enough strength to fight him.

She protested as he took her to the nearest bedroom and deposited her upon the soft mattress. "We will continue this later this evening. You are not to leave this room, and any other attempt to kidnap my daughter will lead you to the nearest jail. Are we clear?" He spoke to her firmly. She used the last of her remaining strength to slap him across his face -- hard. Her hand began to pound from the force of the blow. She was fully satisfied to see his jaw clench tightly in what she took as either anger or pain -- maybe both. It would definitely leave a mark for the rest of the day.

He left her there. Slamming the door with such force, she felt the bed shake. She sighed as she heard the sound of the key in the lock turn from the outside. She wasn't surprised in the least by this.

Serena felt utterly depleted and truly powerless. She had no choice but to take his advice and sleep away her exhaustion, and hopefully feel refreshed when she awoke.

When she did open her eyes several hours later, she woke to the sight of Darien sitting on the edge of the bed examining her dark bruises. She wanted to snarl at him with the intention of scaring him away, but settled on pulling her limbs out of view. She was relieved to find that she actually did feel refreshed, and she was gradually regaining strength, but she was still somewhat groggy from sleep.

"Why did you come back?" He whispered, catching her eyes with his.

"I came back for my daughter. Why else would I come back?"

"It was you who left her…what gives you the right to come back after so many years."

"What right," she shrieked, "Are you seriously asking that of me right now after

All the lies you and your mother fed me."

"Don't bring my mother into this. She has nothing to do with this."

"Nothing to do with this," Serena quoted exasperatedly, "Are you that blind, Darien? She has everything to do with this. You both manipulated and lied to me."

"Where the hell are you getting all of this from? Have you gone completely insane?"

"If I'm crazy, it's only because you and your mother made me that way."

"Serena, I am tired of your nonsense, and it's honestly getting old."

Tears began to streak down her flushed cheeks. She was at a loss as to what to say. He acted as if he was completely innocent. His large hand took hold of her face as his thumbs wiped away her tears. "Serena, I just want to know the truth. I won't judge you in the least, I promise. But I need to know why you left…not only me, but our daughter behind."

She pulled away from his gentle touch. Concluding it wasn't she who had gone mad -- it was he.

"The truth is exactly what I would like to know. Don't twist things around, Darien, asking me why I left. When you were the very one that wanted me gone. I missed my daughter's life because of you. She doesn't know anything about me because of you. All your employees think I am the scum of the Earth, because you made it that way."

"Oh please! They think your scum because you childishly left your family behind. You didn't even take the time to look at her, you simply hightailed it out of there."

"I THOUGHT SHE WAS DEAD!" Serena screamed out.

Darien's complexion suddenly paled drastically. He seemed shocked. "I thought… I thought…" she choked out between sobs, "You two lied to me," she huffed out, taking another deep breath before continuing, "Told me I killed her."

"Was it the doctors who told you this?"

"No, I believed your lies before I could talk to any of the medical staff."

"I never lied to you! Now who was it that told you Riana was dead?" he yelled, completely un-composed. This must have been the first time she had ever seen him this way.

"Your mother," she answered, observing his reaction. He looked at her with a look of complete disbelief. She didn't care whether he believed her or not. All she wanted was to hold her daughter in her arms. There was too much time wasted already and so much, she wanted to make up for time after all this.

"This doesn't make sense," he mumbled, but she wasn't listening. She didn't care about what he had to say anymore.

He promptly left her alone, a state she knew only all too well for the last four years or so. She did the only thing she could, cry herself to sleep.

When she woke, a meal was set beside her bed on a tray. She didn't have an appetite at all, but forced herself to down a few mouthfuls. She had a feeling she would need the energy.

After a while, she heard the sound of the door unlock, and was surprised to see it was Darien. She had been expecting it to be one of his servants coming to take the leftovers away to the kitchen downstairs. "You hardly touched it," he said, fingering the plate.

"I'm not all that hungry."

"How are your bruises?" He questioned, eyeing her curiously.

She didn't bother to glance at them. "They are just fine," she answered, staring up at the ceiling, "How long will I be a prisoner here?"

"That all depends on you, Sere."

"Don't call me that. I think we've outgrown all those endearments. I have a name and you have a name. Let's just leave it at that."

"As you wish," he said in a neutral voice and sat on the bed, "You have violated my trust." Serena scoffed, but he chose to pay no mind to her antics. "You should have come clean a long time ago."

"Really, you think so. Then maybe you shouldn't have played along with the charade if you knew it was I. Why did you go along with it anyways?" She looked straight at him, an eyebrow arched knowingly.

"I was curious," he answered her honestly, allowing himself to relax a little more on the bed, "My ex-wife, whom I haven't seen or heard from in about four years suddenly appears as if out of nowhere on my doorstep, and, if you will forgive me saying so, in a very bad disguise. You piqued my interest. You seemed perfectly harmless at the time. So, I decided to wait until you revealed yourself. Little did I know? You were never planning to show your hand. Only kidnap an innocent little girl from the only home she's ever known."

"I wasn't kidnapping anyone. I simply wanted the chance to raise my daughter. Have her know who I really was, that I loved her, despite all the lies her father has told her about me. I loved her and I mourned her everyday. She was always in my thoughts and in my heart."

"Contrary to what you might believe, I did not feed my daughter lies about you, Serena. There was nothing to mourn about all along. As you are aware, your daughter has been with me the entire time, and is, and has always been in perfect health. I honestly have no idea how you got that idea into your head that she was otherwise..." he sighed exasperatedly and pressed on, "Look, I don't want to fight with you. I don't want to keep you from Riana, and I certainly don't want to keep you locked up in this room forever. So, let's negotiate. What do you say?"

"Do I really have a choice?"

"No, not really… so just sit there and listen to my conditions," he straightened and began to read what Serena thought ironically to be -- her rights, "You are not to leave this house with or without Riana. You are not to be with Riana alone; someone is to be with you at all times. Last, but certainly not least -- she is not to know your identity. You must keep up the façade you created, until this situation has been sorted out."

"And when exactly, pray tell, are you planning to sort out this situation," Serena responded, appalled by his so-called conditions.

"When I see fit to take care of the situation," he said dismissively and went on, "I have to feel I can trust you, Serena."

"And if I refuse," she challenged, her head bowed as she covered her teary eyes from his view, "If I refuse to keep up my façade."

"I don't see why you wouldn't want to. You're damned if you do and damned if you don't. Rini won't understand why you lied to her for so long, nor will she understand why you left her. You'll lose her trust. You need my help to break it to her, Serena. And since you started this, you might as well keep it up for a little while longer. It's only temporary, Serena, I promise -- just until we figure out a better way to break it to her."

With these words, she sighed resignedly and closed her eyes .She had no choice; Rini wouldn't come to terms with this without Darien's help. There were too many out side influences. Rini wouldn't believe a word she had to say. Tears gathered beneath the sheaths of her eyelids. She opened her eyes, glaring straight into Darien's dark orbs. "Okay."

Hello everyone! I just started college. It's great.Well thanks for all the support and a special thank you to my editor. I gotta finish packing so much love to you all.