Idris tilts his head. “Did you want someone else to choose you?” A smirk lifts the corner of his mouth.
I glance at Chance, but his facial expression gives nothing away.
Knowing what’s expected of me, I mutter, “I’m honored Chance chose me.”
Having had enough, I glare at the men before I walk out of the dining room and head to the drill zone.
“What the hell was that?” Chance snaps behind me.
I start jogging down the path. “Should I be thankful Idris choked me?” When I hear Chance coming up behind me, I increase my speed. “Just because we shared the night doesn’t mean I’m not angry with what they did last night.”
“Jesus, this again,” he snaps, his anger matching mine. “It’s the way things are done here. Either you accept it, or you’ll break.”
He veers off at the one entrance, but I keep running. The arena fills with noise as everything falls into place. When I look to see what Chance is doing, my feet come to a faltering stop.
My lips part with shock as I watch him reach into a bag of balls.
How can he do this after the night we shared?
He tosses a ball to his right hand as his eyes flick to mine. “Don’t look so surprised. I warned you I’m going to train you hard.”
Was I mistaken to think he was nice, that he cared about me?
The ball looks as light as a feather as he holds it, but I know how heavy it is.
“You also said you wouldn’t hurt me,” I remind him.
“Unnecessarily,” he corrects me. Giving me an impatient look, he says, “I caught you when you jumped. Not once did I let you fall. You need to start trusting me, little girl.”
It’s back to little girl again.
Chance gestures at the equipment.
“You’re going to jump the scaffolds, then climb down the rope. You will not fall,” he orders. “And you’re going to trust me that I won’t hurt you.”
Ha. Easier said than done.
Shaking my head at him, I run toward the section where the scaffolds are. I refuse to look at him as I jump to the first one, and I’m confused when no balls are flying my way.
The second scaffold swings forward, and I get ready. As it comes back toward the first one, I dart forward and jump.
This time a ball flies past my face, missing my head by mere inches.
I land, crouching down, my heart racing up to my throat. The scaffold bangs into the first one, and I get a glimpse of Chance. He walks in the direction of the entrance to my left.
Seizing the opportunity, I run and jump, not taking into account that the third scaffold is swinging forward.
The next ball flies past my right shoulder. It smacks into the chain as I land too close to the edge. I scramble back and duck low to catch my breath.
The instant I get ready to jump, a ball whooshes past my chin. I miss the opportunity to jump, and the scaffold smacks hard into the fourth one. Vibrations shudder through my body, but I get up and launch myself forward. Another ball whizzes past my shoulder again, but I land in a perfect crouching position.
“This should be interesting,” Idris suddenly says from where he’s standing at the archway. Aaron and Jasper are behind him.
“Move it, Jai.” Chance shouts, and I know this time he won’t miss.
Bracing myself, I lunge forward and jump. As the fourth scaffold comes closer, I pull my arms and legs into my chest to make myself a smaller target. A ball smacks against my hip right before I land on the platform, throwing me off balance.
Unable to stop the motion, I slip right over the scaffold and stretch my body, gripping the rope at the last second. I swing through the air, my heart thundering in my chest.
“Don’t you fucking dare fall,” Chance orders.
I tighten my grip on the rope and manage to lock my legs around it.
“Hold,” Chance instructs.
Crap. This is hard.
“Hold,” he shouts.
My fingers burn, and the rope scrapes at my neck. I pinch my eyes shut and use every bit of my strength not to slip down.
Relieved, I let go and land feet first. A sharp pain shoots up my ankles and calves, and I sink to the floor.
“Not bad, Jai,” Idris mutters. He looks at Aaron and Jasper. “That’s how it’s done, newbies.”
I get up and look at Idris as he walks out of the arena. When I turn my attention to Chance, he looks proud. “You’ve gotten good at jumping the scaffolds. Over to the grid.”
I beam at the compliment and jog over to the grid.
Chance pulls a rope closer to us. There are straps at the end of the rope, and he holds it open. “Step into the harness.”