Warning: I usually do one of these per story, but I feel I should give you a heads up for this chapter. If you have triggers, then tread with caution, please. As stated before, Bella will not be the victim of rape, but that doesn't mean it won't get ugly or uncomfortable. It's horror/suspense after all.
I don't have a forum or anything to discuss my fics on, but if you want to talk to me about something then you can find me on Twitter (the link is on my profile).
I apologize for mistakes you encounter. I'm nowhere near the vicinity of perfect.
Huge thanks to Livie79, the angst-loving author of many great stories, including Glycerine, her current work in progress. You should check it out. Niko0921/Shamatt is a wonderful, wonderful lady. She gives me insight from a reader's POV. I'm very grateful for these two.
I'm also thankful to you. I can't tell you that enough.
Sold to the King
His grip never weakened as he pulled me to his side. He was much taller than me, a good foot over my frame. Cologne stung my nostrils and had to turn my head away from him just to breathe without gagging.
Jasper, half-way up the staircase, looked back only once before disappearing on the landing. He must've taken the pounding in my chest with him because I no longer felt my heart. Nothing remained inside me after he spoke to me in the shower. Before, tinsels of hope helped me fight, helped me believe, but the shine left. "Everything is in order, then, Lord Aro?" Royce asked.
"Of course." Aro clapped his hands together. His tone was extraordinarily cheerful, the way it had been when I first arrived. A facade for his guests. However, I knew his real temperament, his disturbing nature through our conflicts and the few instances when Jasper's tongue slipped farther than he wanted. If I'd only known before I struck a deal with him. I misjudged him. "We've prepared the suite just how you like it. And if there's anything you need, anything at all, then please don't hesitate to ask."
"I'm sure everything will be to my liking, it usually is." Royce squeezed my hand a little tighter. We walked through the second story halls alone. He seemed quite capable of finding the room, and I assumed he passed through them several times before because no one would be able to decipher that maze without having prior knowledge of it.
He kept me locked at his side and his nose would ghost over the top of my head, tickling the strands of hair when he disturbed them. He inhaled and each time he did, he would hold the air inside his chest for several moments. A chill fingered its way from my shoulders to my hips.
While he freely enjoyed my scent, I became increasingly disgusted from his. Even without breathing, the claws of the odor clug to my nostrils until it found its way to the back of my throat. When I swallowed, I could taste the bitterness. Then, I noticed something else there, too. A stink more faint than his cheap cologne, but no doubt the reason why he had bathed in the concoction. Royce King smelled of putrid, rotting flesh.
When we reached the room, he pulled a key from his pocket. Inside, it was overdone and underlit. Gold sheets were wrapped over the bed and gold, flower-pattern paper hung just above the white, horizontal molding connecting all four walls. A crystal chandelier hung low from the center of the room, but provided scarce light. Even though the gold trim made the space appear luxurious and well-cared for, it changed when I looked closer. The wallpaper had chipped away and peeled in some areas, the corners of the ceiling had dark rings stretching into the center of the room. No matter the attempt, they would would never mask the old and brown. Rotting bones would never be disguised as anything else, no matter how elaborately adorned. The only beauty would be from the window in the far corner, but even that had been covered with dingy drapes.
Royce closed the incredibly thick, heavy-looking door. The key plummeted into the hole and the echo of the locks turning over dissipated quickly. His intense stare found me again. I had already stepped away from him. "I've been told you bring great burden to Aro," he said, slipping off his black, formal jacket and I caught another whiff of his cologne as he slung it over the stiff, white chair next to me.
He took a step, and I took one as well, away from him. I thought he meant to reach for me, but instead he picked up a silver plate on the table next to the chair and held it out. "Strawberry?"
I didn't know what to expect. The uncomfortable air was thick and silenced me. I gave a timid shake of my head.
He smiled, displaying the for-sure sign he wasn't human. "He said nothing of you being shy, though."
"Shy people don't cause trouble," I said, and began to feel the cold of the room soak into my core.
He set the plate on the table. "So, you're not shy?"
I didn't respond, but he knew the answer. He slid his thumbs under his black suspenders and pulled them from his shoulders. "I'm glad to hear it. Quite frankly, Miss Swan, I've never cared for limp fish." The straps dangled at his side, and I felt my entire body begin to tense and tremble from adrenaline, nerves or the cold. "Most of the meat in this house is just that. You can imagine my excitement when I heard about you."
"What were you promised from me?" I asked.
"Deals with Aro are never made in stone. Because I'm a loyal customer, and because I'm rich"—his mustache twitched—"I can do what I like. I simply pay for the damages afterward."
Damages. "I'm sure Aro would be upset if you hurt me," I said, and wanted to laugh to reassure myself. Surely, Aro didn't intend for him to hurt me, especially since he took me from Edward when he couldn't control himself. I meant something to Aro. I could bring him money, Jasper said, but he'd also mentioned Aro thought frequently of my death.
His fingers touched the top buttons of his cream shirt, and he pushed them through the tiny openings, revealing dark hair spilling from beneath a white undershirt.
"The gracious Lord brought your death to the table of offers. If I am to kill you, and it has yet to be determined, then I am to pay him for his loss."
My stomach twisted. He continued to unbutton his dress shirt until he reached the bottom, then he pulled the tucked-in tails from his black pants. A wide, gold chain around his neck caught the light, and my trembling became more obvious, as did his intent.
My back shuddered. I wanted to curl inward, and began to, but straightened then collapsed then straightened again. I had to keep my composure, but the air in my lungs left and entered with such force I felt I would faint. My forearm bumped into the dresser behind me as I continued to back away, putting as much distance between us as I could. Movement to the left distracted me, and I glanced at the mirror attached to the dresser. I barely recognized the hollow face staring back.. My hair didn't have a sheen in the candlelight and my eyes were dull. I'd become like the other girls, like Rosalie and her lifeless hair, or Alice and her dark, flat eyes; signs of malnutrition, poor care and hopelessness.
Royce appeared, his body resting behind mine. He gave a reflection where there was supposed to be none. Another myth come and gone. "You're trembling, dear girl," he whispered into my ear and I coughed, choked on an exhale with panic and revulsion. He looked down and leaned in closer to my shoulder, touching his lips to my skin, his hands resting on my hips. I cringed and pulled away, closer to the corner of the room, closer to the head of the bed and nightstand. Trapped.
"Don't touch me!" I sneered, feeling more repulsed than I ever thought I could. Even with the distance I'd put between us, my stomach still twisted because nothing would stop him from advancing if he wanted.
"You should say please," he said, his smile appearing once more, and he began to trace my steps. I could feel teeth on my neck, cold breath snaking across my skin as fog would across the ground on a damp morning. Those things would come if he were to step closer. There was enough space between us, just enough to roll across the bed before he could reach for me, but his arms shot out and caught me before I made a move. His hard palms pressed into my shoulders, pushing me inward and holding me tight.
My throat clenched around the scream spilling from my insides. "No!" My throat was instantly hoarse, scratchy and wounded. I fought the vice-like push of his hands, and this caused him to grunt and growl, but not in frustration. He smiled. I felt the burst of tears.
"Now, now," he said over my gasps and objections. "Do what Mr. King asks of you and I won't have to give Aro all my money!"
A cool wave of rot coated my face, causing me to stop breathing instantly. I turned my cheek to him then I pushed away, enough to deliver a swift knee to his crotch. He released me and as soon as I was free I rolled over the bed to the other side. He cupped himself, eyes wide and mouth open with shock or pain.
I scuffled to the window, fighting the heels from my feet. My eyes burned with tears, my cheeks cold from the trail they left on my skin. The pane was warm to the touch when my palms flattened against it. It had the same type of bronze latch in Aro's room. I'd studied it well the night we struck a bargain and I knew exactly how to manipulate it. My fingers had just begun to unbuckle the tight metal from it's place when I felt the pull on the back of my head.
Fingers twisted into my hair and pulled me back from my escape, but sent me crashing right back into it. The sound was the first thing I heard; the slight shatter of glass, the way a rock would chip a thick pane. Then the intense throbbing and knife-twisting agony on my skull, my forehead. Once more. The sound louder that time, resembling more of a break.
My vision blurred, and I wanted to reach up and cover the open wound. A voice coated my mind. Don't touch it. My head lulled back with the tight grip as a trickle inched down the center of my face.
Cold embraced the back of my body, and I found myself against the warm glass, my hands attempting to hold my weight from bearing into the cracked window.
"You think you're special, don't you?!" His voice was so loud in my ear, his weight pressing into me too hard. The hot breath from my mouth fogged the nighttime view. "I could buy and destroy a hundred of you."
Cold and warm. Back and front.
Ripped away from the window, he pushed me. I reached for his hold on my hair to keep from stumbling, but he shook me free, throwing me onto the end of the bed. The golden room was a haze, a drip of dim light and sheen, and I felt I could melt into the bed, dissolve completely.
I began to push myself up from the silk and soft. My arms were jelly, and I could barely hold my weight through the pain and blur.
"A defiant little fish." Weight bore down on me, a large hand splayed between my shoulders, cold skin constant and harsh. My arms faltered, the air escaped my lungs and he crushed me. I groaned and shifted, coughed and cried as a stone-like finger traced my wet jaw.
"I have ways of making you submit," he whispered into my ear. "I have no gifts like my brothers, but..." a slight jingle caused me to freeze, to pause my useless struggle. Through the thin material of the dress, I felt a touch come and go at my waist. Combined with the jingle and the motion he performed, it didn't take long to figure out what he was undoing. "Leather has worked well in the past."
"No!" I began to scream, but his instant weight worked the air from my lungs, taking the length of the cry with it. He was too strong, crushing."No!" I panted. He would bruise me, make me bleed and ignite the fire under my skin.
His terrible weight was gone, setting my breaths free, but the cost of breathing was high. He took up my wrists and pushed them into the air. Knife-twisting agony clawed through my arms and shoulders. I screamed incoherently, my face half buried in the comforter. He bound my wrists together with his thin belt behind my back and pulled so tightly I thought it would break my skin. Tears further blurred the golden room. I pushed off the wooden floor with my toes, hoping to catch a hint of relief from the grinding, twisting pain in my flesh.
I wanted to fight so badly. I wanted to rip free from the bond and escape the room through the window. I'd fall two stories and definitely injure myself, but I didn't care. The pain from the fall would subside, would be worth the freedom. The pain he would inflict would be until I died. Royce King, like all the others—regardless of how morgue-like and weak his appearance, was stronger than I could ever hope to be. I would never overcome him, never escape. The declaration became so heavy I felt I wouldn't be able to stand it.
A tear rolled onto the comforter, and the material soaked it up, forcing it to reach outward and darken until it couldn't widen any farther.
I convinced myself into believing in an idea I could never hope to achieve. I denied the truth for so very long, masked it by parading around like a powerful entity, when I wasn't any different than the other girls. My shield didn't deflect their strength.
My teeth gnashed. A hiss escaped between my lips when he leaned into me again, but slight relief came when he dropped my wrists to my lower back. He replaced pain with pressure, but didn't relieve the fear of feeling it all over again. "You want to know another thing Aro never told me?" His lips were at my ear and his overwhelming odor stung my nose. "How incredibly stunning you are."
I felt a smile on his lips, and the cold breath haunting my cheek. The end of my dress was hiked up, then stone touched the back of my knee and began to climb. I shut my eyes, squeezed them tight. I could only hope to find a happy place, then thought maybe I should react harshly so he'd kill me. If he killed me I could finally be rid of monsters.
But even in my forced darkness, I found no reprieve. His fingers crept higher on my thigh.
I would never be the same. Another tear.
"This room is occupied!" He shouted.
An explosion ripped into through the room, accompanied by the sound of shattering wood! I thought the walls had caved and the house had been turned to ash. Surely, I was dead. The cold stopped. The pressure disappeared, and no longer a burden on my lungs. I breathed deeply. Alive. I turned my head to the door, toward the source of the noise.
But, there wasn't a door, that much I could see through the overwhelming cry that had blurred my vision. A figure stood between the shattered frame, and through my tears it took a moment to see who darkened the doorway, but when I blinked them away, my breath stole again.
Will update soon. I post a teaser in the Sneak Peek campfire on A Different Forest on Mondays, if you care to check it out. Until then, have a good weekend/week!