I feel guilty about what happened to Ethan and don’t want to see the accusation in his eyes.
His fingers brush over my skin right above the wound, making me glance down.
It really doesn’t look that bad.
He lets go of my arm, and my heart sets off at a maddening pace when he brings his hand to my face. He takes hold of my chin and nudges until I’m forced to look at him.
For a couple of intensely awkward seconds, I don’t know where to look, and my eyes jump from his chin to his mouth to his eyes. My insides quiver and tighten, and it’s not because I’m scared.
I’ve never experienced such strong emotions before. Everything from guilt to compassion to wonder. Chance is an incredible human being, and he affects me deeply.
“You’re right,” he murmurs, “it’s not too bad.”
He doesn’t step away or let go of my chin. The quivering inside of me spreads through my body, and I clench my hands into fists.
Suddenly, he says, “It’s not going to get any easier. You’ve made it this far. Very few do.” His eyes lock with mine, making my heart skip a beat. “Stay away from Idris. He’ll hurt you. Kenzo is safe.”
He pulls away and turns to leave.
“And you?” The words rush from me before I can stop them.
I wish I could take them back when Chance closes the distance between us in two steps. He’s standing so close, it’s suddenly hard to breathe.
His eyes bore deep into mine, and unable to stand still, I begin to fidget with the hem of my shirt.
“In the forbidden lands, there’s no good and bad, Jai. There are only those who are strong and those who are weak. The strong survive, and the weak die. It’s as simple as that. Idris will break you, and Kenzo will make you strong. But if you’re wise, you’ll stay away from me because I get a feeling I’ll make you weak.”
His words send shockwaves through me and make a frown form on my forehead
“That’s not true,” I argue. “I jumped across rooftops because of you. I’ve never run so fast in my life.” I give him a pleading look. “I’m alive because of you.”
He looks exhausted as he asks, “Remember I told you there will be a lot you have to learn on this side?”
I’m hoping he’d be the one to teach me.
Suddenly, Chance grabs hold of my shoulders and yanks me against his chest until I feel every one of his muscles press against my body. He lowers his head, and I stop breathing completely. His warm breaths fan over my face, and I realize I’m still not scared. There’s only the nervous anticipation bubbling in my chest.
His face darkens with anger. “Feelings make you weak, little girl,” he growls.
I flinch at the tone of his voice, and before I know what’s happening, his mouth crushes against mine.
Zero. Brain. Activity.
A dizzying wave of pleasure pools in my head, and I gasp for air. The instant his tongue slips into my mouth, something primal takes over.
My left hand finds the back of his neck, and the other grips his shirt. Somehow I manage to kiss him back even though I’ve never done it before.
Overwhelming feelings, I can’t begin to describe, explode in my chest.
Suddenly, he pulls away, and the dark expression on his face as he glares down at me clears my mind instantly. It feels as if I’m spiraling down a black hole when I realize I didn’t stop him from taking my first kiss.
“Lesson one,” he hisses. “Just because I saved your life doesn’t mean I won’t kill you.” He shoves me backward. “Lesson two. Nothing will stop a man from taking what he wants, and you, little girl, are a rare commodity any man would love to own. Never leave yourself vulnerable like this again.”
The blow to my heart is pure devastation, and I can only watch as Chance stalks out of the bathroom.
I’m bombarded with shame, disappointment, and a sense of betrayal. My trembling legs can’t hold my weight, and I sink to the floor, horrified by what just happened.
Chance just kissed me, and it meant nothing to him. It was his way of showing me how gullible I am.
It hurts so much.
When we were jumping over the buildings, he told me to trust him. Now he’s telling me the opposite.
I don’t understand.
Maybe he did it because he wanted me to hurt as much as he does?
I cling to my last thought because it’s the easiest reason to accept. I can’t deal with the fact that Chance might be like most of the other men who won’t hesitate to use my body for their own pleasure and force me to have babies.
No. Chance isn’t like that.
He protected me in more ways than one during our journey from the ecocity to the ward. He helped me. He kept me safe. He even comforted me on the platform.