“Yes,” I breathe.
“Using only your hands, like you saw me do earlier, climb across to the other side.” I hear Chance, but my eyes are glued to Ruth. “Jasper! Focus.”
My eyes snap back to Chance’s face, and seeing the look of warning, I nod.
Just do as you’re told. You can’t save Ruth even if your heart breaks for her.
Don’t let Chance down in front of Idris.
The metal is cold as I tighten my fingers around it again. I suck in a deep breath of air, then move my left hand to the next bar. My body swings, and I spread my legs to try and stop the motion.
“Good girl,” Chance murmurs.
I reach for the second bar and hang for a moment. I almost lose my grip, my fingers red and my arms shaking.
Ruth lets out a shrill scream as she slips over the first scaffold. When she falls, I hear the same thudding sound as when I fell.
Get up, Ruth.
Clenching my teeth, I swing to the next bar. My hands are sweaty, and it’s hard to hold on.
“Up. Up. Up!” Idris bellows.
I lose my grip, and my bare feet slap hard against the floor. Giving Chance an apologetic look, I ask, “Again?”
He shoots Idris a glance. I can’t see what he sees, only his reaction to it. His lips are set in a hard line, and he doesn’t look happy.
“This way,” Chance says, and I follow him to the open space in front of the grid. My arms are too tired to climb the grid now.
Please, not the grid.
“Kenzo told me you slapped him.”
“Do you guys discuss every little thing I do?” I ask, unable to keep the frown from forming on my face.
“He said we should work on it,” he says, ignoring my question.
Chance turns to face me, a predatory look tightening his features.
I step away from him. “What are you doing?”
“I’m going to attack you.” He starts to move in a circle around me. “How are you going to stop me?”
Stop Chance? Be serious.
I let out a sputter of laughter. “I’m going to run?”
Ruth shrieks behind me, and as I glance over my shoulder, Chance pounces on me. His arm wraps around my neck, ripping a startled squeak from me. My hands come up, my fingers digging into his forearm. He squeezes until I can feel the pressure of his arm on my throat.
“Stop me,” he growls in my ear.
I couldn’t stop Kenzo or Idris. How can I stop Chance?
I gasp for air as he tightens his hold, and my head presses hard against his chest. My feet lift, and I feel for the floor with my toes.
“You’re stronger,” I gasp.
“Really? You’re not even going to try?” he taunts me, and his arm squeezes some more.
Chance won’t hurt me.
I suck for air, and a strangled noise escapes me. It turns into a cough, and I claw at his arm, but it’s useless. My heart pounds in my chest, and I clutch at his arm.
He won’t choke me like Idris did.
He wants me to figure this out.
“Come on, little girl,” he chuckles.
I feel Chance tap his fingers against my side.
Without thinking, I swing my elbow back with all my strength and slam it into his ribs.
When he releases me, I gasp for air.
“Good girl,” Chance praises me.
I’m still catching my breath when he takes hold of my arm and ducks forward. My body flies into the air, and I’m thrown over his shoulder.
My back slams down onto the concrete floor, and I struggle to breathe from the pain flaming up in my side.
I think I broke a rib.
Ruth shrieks, and I couldn’t care less at the moment.
Chance crouches next to me, shaking his head. “We have a lot of work. Get up.”
“I get it,” I mutter as I push myself up into a sitting position. “You can hurt people just as much as Idris can.”
Climbing to my feet, I glare at Chance.
“Use that anger to defend yourself, little girl.”
I dart forward and swing a fist at him, but he easily slaps my arm out of the way.
“If we’re attacked, I’d like to know you can defend yourself. I know you can do better than that.”
Fuck this shit.
I run and jump onto Chance’s back, wrapping my arm around his throat. “Brace yourself,” he chuckles before ducking and sending me flying up and over his head.
I land with a thud on the floor, letting out a groan. As I sit up, I scowl at him. “It doesn’t matter what I do. You’re stronger.”
“Everybody has a weakness.”
I climb to my feet, and only able to think of one, I dart forward. I bring my knee up and manage to slam it against Chance’s thigh. Jumping away before he can catch me, I taunt him, “Oops. I missed.”
He lets out a bark of laughter. “As long as you know you’re massaging my cock later.”