| Helena heard her door close softly but didn’t bother to turn around, nor did she even bother to ask how he’d gotten through the locked door. She could feel him behind her; his presence enveloped her like a fog. A knot formed in her throat and her heart began to pound but she swallowed the fear. Instead of showing any reaction she continued to type away at her thesis. Helena had been expecting him all evening since their little encounter in his room when he’d caught her snooping through his belongings. Leave it to her roommate to choose this night to spend with her boyfriend.
Minutes ticked by and neither spoke a word. The only sounds in the room were her typing and the noise from the party going on in the first floor common room. She’d expected him to speak by now and his silence was unnerving. Although she could probably try and scream out for help, something within her prevented it.
“Go away, Julian,” she said finally, trying her best to sound nonchalant, “I’m in no mood to deal with you.” The young woman was tired of his games, tired of playing along. This had gone on long enough, and she somehow had to end it. She held her breath as her words were only met with silence. Doing her best to keep her hand from shaking noticeably, Helena continued to type. The only response to her words was the hollow moan of the wind outside where a storm was brewing.
“What were you thinking tonight, Helena?” His velvety voice was barely raised above a whisper, but it held a note of deadly irritation.
Helena sucked in a deep breath. “At what point?” She attempted to keep her voice at an even, conversational tone. “I think a great many things, you know.”
“Don’t fuck with me, Williams,” he warned.
Helena glanced over her shoulder with a genuine expression of annoyance on her pretty face. She hated how he always addressed her by her last name. Helena’s composure almost faltered when her eyes fell upon him.
Standing in the center of her room with all the aloofness of a tom cat, arms crossed over his bare, muscular chest, he was bathed in the light of her sputtering vanilla scented candle and the glow of the computer monitor. He was dressed only in black jeans and a rumpled black shirt hanging open to the waist. His feet were bare and damp from having crossed the grassy courtyard between the men’s and women’s dorm halls. The candle flame reflected in his gray eyes eerily, his full lips twisted in anger. His shoulder length hair fell over the right side of his face and shimmered like spun gold. The pale blue light of the computer monitor exaggerated his paleness. He appeared wraith-like in the gloom. Helena half expected ethereal organ music to emerge out of nowhere and accompany the scene.
She compelled herself to look away, and even managed a desultory roll of her eyes as she did so. Yes, she was frightened, terrified to be precise, of the man she suspected to have had something to do with the bizarre murders around campus. But he was undeniably beautiful, and if she did not turn away she knew she would go to him. He was halfway across the room but her body reacted as if he were standing directly behind her.
“Okay, I won’t,” she blurted out. At least she had managed to sound emotionless, even as her heart pounded in her ears.
“Obviously you need to learn some respect.” His voice was cold, dry.
Lightning flashed outside, punctuated by the rumble of thunder. Helena started slightly. Praying he hadn’t noticed, she attempted to call his bluff. “Sure. Right. I need to be punished. You are going to kill me. Blah blah blah.” His threats when he’d noticed she was following him around had convinced her that he indeed was the killer, or at least one of them. But no one would believe her. He was the son of a state senator, she needed proofâ€¦ but becoming his next victim was not the proof she’d had in mind.
Encouraged by the ensuing silence, she continued, “I’ve heard this all before, Julian. Really, if you were a girl you’d be labeled a tease.” Once again she turned her head to peer at him over her shoulder through her tangle of sable curls. He hadn’t moved, but his face registered the shock he felt over what she’d said. Emboldened by his confusion she whipped her head back around and waved him off with an imperious flick of her wrist. “Get out! I’m too busy for your games.”
A shriek of pain escaped her as her hair was seized and her head pulled back, forcing her to gaze into his wrathful countenance. Something cold bit into the tender flesh of her throat and she froze, her eyes widening. Her body turned to dead weight as the reality of the situation flooded her consciousness. Another bolt of lightning invaded the sanctuary with brilliance. With a crackle of thunder rain began pounding upon the window, drowning out all other ambient sound.
“Games, are they, Williams?” From the sound of his voice she would have believed he was teasing her if she couldn’t feel the blade biting into her neck. Uncontrollable shivers coursed her body. “Seems I’ve been a bit too soft on you.”
“Stand up,” he ordered. But before she could move to obey he was dragging the young woman to her feet with the pressure on her hair, the blade still digging into her neck. Her legs had all the strength of dried grass as she willed herself to stand. When Julian kicked the chair from between them, smashing it against the wall as a simultaneous crack of thunder swallowed the sound, she fell back against him with a gasp. Forced to release the handful of curls, he now supported her with his arm tightly around her torso, pinning her arms to her sides. The blade still pressed at her throat, though the force behind it was not as intense.
Julian’s breath caressed her cheek as he looked down at her. She closed her eyes tight, shutting him out of her mind; fearful he would see the truth of her feelings that lurked beneath her terror. Withholding that truth, which even she herself had only begun to acknowledge, seemed to be her only weapon at the moment. There was nothing she could do about his awareness of her fear, she was sure he could sense it, as a predator smells the fear of his prey. Predator. Prey. The acceptance of what their relationship had become offered Helena no comfort.
Pressing his smooth cheek against her forehead he squeezed her tightly to him. “A-are you going to kill me?” she whispered. A lock of his hair had fallen over her face, and she realized he smelled like the sweet fragrance of spring carried on the breeze of late winter.
“M-m-m-mâ€¦ perhaps,” he murmured, nuzzling his nose against her cheekbone. Julian’s tenderness was disconcerting. “You’ve already concluded I am a killer, it’s what I am supposed to do, isn’t it?” Helena felt herself consumed with the feeling that she was falling away from herself, that her consciousness was leaving behind her rational side. She fought to hang on as he tickled her cheek with feathery kisses. “But you know, I haven’t yet decided.” A sound somewhere between a chuckle and a growl emerged from his throat.
Another clap of thunder startled Helena and she jumped. Her computer shut down as the power went out just then. Below on the first floor she could hear the partiers hooting and booing in protest. Only the flickering candle flame now lighted the room.
Breathe, Helena, she instructed herself. You can find a way out of this. Doing her best to ignore the sensations his kisses aroused in her as he trailed his lips across her face, the young woman glanced about until her eyes found the one thing she’d forgotten. A metal letter opener lay on her desk right next to the assignment she’d been working on. It wasn’t much, but it was something and was only a mere arm’s reach away. If onlyâ€¦
Julian’s lips found hers, and though what remained of her cogent mind screamed out in protest, she gave herself unto that kiss. His mouth was so gentle as it played over hers. The world around her faded into the background and for a moment all Helena knew was Julian’s lips. Involuntarily, she whimpered into him as she opened her mouth to accept his tongue.
Now! Her mind shrieked out as she felt the arm that wielded the blade move away from her throat. He must have felt her tense because just as she was about to clamp her teeth down on Julian’s tongue he jerked his head back. Although she’d not managed to cause him any pain, she had managed to startle him and seized the moment. Ignoring the disappointment she felt in the lost contact, she smashed her elbow into his ribs with all her remaining strength. He roared in pain and outrage, and the dagger fell from his hand, hitting the floor with a clatter.
Helena leaped forward grabbing at the letter opener, but her legs tangled in her long white nightdress and she fell to her knees slamming her chin on the edge of the desk and cracking her teeth together. For a moment the pain obliterated her consciousness and all went white. Before she could recover Julian pushed her to the floor, his knee in her back. Grabbing her at the tender spot on her wrist between arm and hand he squeezed hard causing her to scream and her hand to unwillingly release the weapon. He flicked the instrument away with his hand sending it skittering across the bare floor to where it stopped beneath a nearby bureau. Helena realized all was lost. Weak and sobbing, she allowed herself to be dragged into a standing position by the wrists he held together in one strong hand.
“Stupid fucking bitch,” raged Julian through his clenched teeth between labored breaths. “What the hell is wrong with you?” She didn’t answer, but inclined her wet face away from him, her eyes shut tightly.
This wasn’t the way he wanted it, the way he’d played it out in his mind ever since the first time he’d met her and seen the beauty she attempted to hind behind unruly hair and baggy clothes. But he’d discovered that Helena Williams always found a way to make things more difficult than they really needed to be.
“Tears won’t help you, Helena,” he said softly, using the tip of the dagger to turn her face toward him. “Look at me.” She obeyed, and he momentarily lost himself in the beauty of her earthy brown eyes. Then he leaned forward and tasted the tears from her face.
Oh God, is he insane? Acceptance of her assumed fate gave the young woman a new, strange sort of courage. “Just get it over with quickly, please,” she murmured.
Raising an eyebrow, Julian smirked. “Get what over with quickly?”
“When you kill me, do it quickly.” She’d stopped crying and stuck her chin out bravely. “You’ll honor a last request, won’t you?”
Julian laughed, a sound that made her knees quake. “ I told you I haven’t decided if I’m going to kill you or not.”
Helena was confused. She was sure he’d come to kill her. “But-.”
“Do you want me to kill you?” He asked the question in the same manner one would ask how many sugars she wanted in her tea.
“Of course not!” Helena hated being patronized, and even in this dangerous position she was in she became irritated. It was an odd feeling, but everything she’d experienced thus far in relation to Julian Osborne was odd.
“Okay then,” he said, caressing the line of her jaw with the blade, “you’ll have to do several things for me.”
She swallowed hard, trying to clear the lump from her throat. “Such as?” The force with which he restrained her hands was causing her fingers to go numb. When she wiggled them, trying to ease the discomfort he clamped down even tighter, thinking she was trying to escape him again. The pain made her grimace.
“Well, for starters you’ll have to apologize for that little erâ€¦ outburst.” He drew an imaginary line across her throat with the tip of the dagger.
Closing her eyes she whispered, “I’m sorry.”
“What was that? I couldn’t quite hear you.” When she opened her mouth to repeat herself, he cut her off. “Look me in the face, Helena, or I might not believe your sincerity.”
Looking into his silvery gray eyes she said, “I’m sorry, Julian.”
He smiled. “Now kiss me and I will accept your apology.”
Leaning up on her toes Helena kissed him on the cheek.
“No, no.” He became frustrated. “Like you mean it.” To emphasize his directive he pulled her against him. She shuddered at the sensation of his body through the flimsy cotton of her gown. His face came down to meet hers and she willingly offered her lips to him. Her mind was spinning; cognitive thought once again becoming a near impossibility. Their tongues met and Julian groaned softly.
When the kiss broke he whispered, “Very nice.” For some reason Helena believed him.
Believing her penance to be complete, Helena attempted to move away; uncomfortable with the way her body was betraying her. Julian maintained his grip on her. “Where do you think you’re going?”
“That’s just your problem, Williams, you think too much. We are not finished yetâ€¦” he whispered softly, nuzzling her cheek.
“What do I have to do now?” she asked in a hoarse voice, trying to make sense of what was happening to her. How could she make sense of something so illogical?
“You are going to please me,” he purred into her ear sending a wave of chills over her skin.
“Er, umâ€¦ how?”
Julian sighed and closed his eyes for a moment. “Really, Williams, even you can’t possibly be that naiveâ€¦ I’m sure you’ve done it with that computer geek friend of yours plenty of times!”
“I’ll do nothing for your pleasure!” she barked out and began to struggle but the prick of the blade on her back stopped her in mid-movement.
“See, that’s where you’re wrong. It’s all about my pleasure, it is I who do nothing for yours.”
Backing away a step without releasing his captive, Julian sliced through the shoulder straps of her nightgown. The insubstantial piece of clothing floated to the floor.
Exposed and nude before her enemy, Helena felt the last of her dignity had been stripped away. Shrieking, the young woman made a last attempt at freedom. With a jerk she pulled from Julian’s grasp, but she was unable to run, her legs would not move. Tears came again to her eyes and she did the only thing she could think of. Wrapping her arms around herself, she tried in vain to hide her body from his eyes. She’d never been naked in front of a man before.
Summoning up the last of his patience, Julian calmly informed her, “If you fight me again I will change my mind about killing you. Do you understand?”
“And stop trying to cover yourself,” he murmured, his appreciative eyes sweeping over her curvaceous form. “You’re beautiful.”
Beautiful? He was complimenting her now? No one had ever called her beautiful before. She didn’t want to believe him, but she could not think of any reason he should lie. He could easily throw her to the floor and rape her, there was no logical reason for him to try and make her feel good unless he actually meant it. Nothing made sense anymore.
Dropping her arms to her sides, she stood there with her eyes closed, listening to the pattering of the rain on the window. A cool breeze found its way in through the tightly closed window and wafted over her body, tightening her nipples.
He swept her hair away from her face and putting a thumb under her chin, tilted her face up. “Lovely,” he crooned and then his mouth was on hers again. The hand wielding the dagger crept around her back, though he did not threaten her with the blade, it was merely there. With the fingers of his free hand, he touched the tender skin of her neck just below her ear, sending out shockwaves of sensation. Down, down his fingers crawled over her silken skinâ€¦ over her shoulder, across her chest to where it found a breast.
Taking a nipple between his fingers he gently stroked it. She gasped and wrapped her arms around his neck, pushing herself into him, silently demanding more. He complied by slipping his hand down to the sensitive cleft between her legs.
Except for her own explorations of herself in the dark of night, she’d never been touched there before. Pulling back, she shook her head. “No, Julianâ€¦ I can’tâ€¦ I don’t
want-.” She didn’t want him to find the evident truth that lingered there.
But his fingers had already invaded her private place.
“Sh-h-h-hâ€¦ yes you doâ€¦ you’re so wet for meâ€¦” His voice had dreaminess in it, something she’d never expect from him. Stroking her softly, he summoned a pleasure that seemed to burn from her very core. Helena buried her face against his chest, moaning and unconsciously rocking her hips against his hand.
A finger slipped into her and she moaned loader. “Oh, Godâ€¦”
“You want me don’t you?” he whispered, his lips and breath grazing her ear, intensifying the pleasure.
“Yes.” She realized she could not deny it any longer, to him or herself. Although her brain screamed out in protest her body behaved as if it were under a magic spell. She wouldn’t run now, even if she thought she could escape.
“Tell meâ€¦ tell me what you want.”
“Iâ€¦ want â€¦ youâ€¦” she managed to say between moans, covering his neck and chest with tiny kisses.
“What else do you want?” She couldn’t see the look of rapture on his face.
Helena instinctively knew what the correct answer wasâ€¦ she knew because she felt it. “I want to please you,” she said, running her hands through the cool silk of his hair, frowning slightly as he removed his hand and the pleasure stopped.
“Mm-hmm, and you shall.” He guided her to the bed and she lay down watching as he removed his own clothing, trying not to blush as she saw his penis for the first time. She reached for him, wanting to explore his body, but he pushed her down to the bed. “I didn’t give you permission to touch me,” he informed her.
She frowned, confused.
“Yet,” he added. “You’ll earn that right one day.” Then, spreading her legs, he knelt on the bed and tasted her virginal sex. Helena groaned loudly at the feeling of his mouth on her, licking and suckling. She spread her legs wider, hoping to give him easier access to her pleasure center. Raking her fingers through his hair, she attempted to convey without words how much she enjoyed his mouth on her.
“Oh,” her voice held a disappointed tone as Julian pulled his mouth away. “You stopped!” she complained, petulantly playful. He appeared amused by this and chuckled.
He slithered up across her body, positioning himself above her. When he kissed her she could taste her own fluids on his mouth, the aching in her body intensified. She ran a hand over the smooth, taut flesh of his chest, marveling in the alien feeling of the man’s body.
“It’s time for your lesson, Helena.”
“What is that?” she asked distractedly, tracing the striations of his muscles with her fingertips. Leaning up, she kissed one of his nipples and felt a shudder pass through his body. She smiled at his reaction, but her smile faded quickly and she froze when he pressed the blade to the side of her neck at her jugular. In her lust she’d forgotten about it. Fear and desire converged, heightening her senses. Looking into his eyes she saw no anger there and she relaxed, slightly.
He smirked down at her. “I have to teach you the rules, so we are going to play a game.” When her face registered fearful interest he continued. “Your pleasure only exists for my pleasure, and your focus will never be on your own. Understand?”
She nodded. “I think soâ€¦”
“Put your arms down and keep them there,” he ordered. She dropped her hands from the exploration of his chest, and though he still craved her touch he went on to explain the rules. “You are not to move at all, or show any signs of pleasure. And keep your eyes closed. If you do not obey, I will cut you. Got it?”
She closed her eyes and nodded.
Rising up he kneeled between her legs. Julian gazed down at her, entranced with her loveliness. He thought she was beautiful just as she wasâ€¦ naked, compliant, her expression apprehensive yet impassioned. Goosebumps appeared and disappeared on her skin. She shivered.