I woke to hear a collection of voices. I rubbed my eyes with the heel of my hand. Without my glasses everything was blurry. The room was dark, but a stream of light was coming in. The door was cracked open, and Ben was leaning out of the door. He was using the door and his body to block me from sight.
“I can’t believe I didn’t come here with you,” a female voice said. It sounded like an angry Bethany. “You’re acting like an idiot, Oliver.”
“I’ve made my decision,” Oliver said.
“No you have not,” Bethany said. “We’ll talk to Dr. Alexander in the morning.”
I sat straight. She’s not happy that Oliver is deciding not to sell me. Ben must have heard me moving because he looked over his shoulder. He closed the door a little more. I knew I should get up and go back into my own room, but I needed to know what they were saying.
“There’s always next year,” Ben said.
“He has a short attention span, he won’t care about buying her next year,” Bethany said. “He may not even be alive.”
“Her surgery was only a couple of weeks ago,” Oliver said.
“And now you know what you are doing,” she snapped. “Your next patient will survive.”
I could hear Oliver let out a deep breath.
“Let’s go back to our room,” Oliver said. “We’ll talk more about this in the morning.”
They all said goodnight before Ben closed the door. We were surrounded by darkness. My hand fumbled over the nightstand until I found the lamp. It provided the room with a faint glow. Ben sat on the bed. His jaw was clenched and his lips were pressed into a tight line.
“Do you think she’ll make him sell me to Gregory?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” he said. “He doesn’t have much of a spine.”
I squeezed my eyes shut. I had let myself fully into a false sense of security in the past few days. I thought I would be going back to Canada and Ben and I would be escaping. I never considered Bethany changing Oliver’s mind.
I didn’t realize I was crying until Ben wiped the tear off my cheek. He pulled me hard against his chest. I clung to his shirt and I continued to cry. I hated that I was crying, but I could not stop it. He rubbed my back and pressed his lips against my temple as I cried into his chest.
“I’m never going to see my family again,” I said.
“I promised you we would be getting out of this together,” he said. “I’m going to make sure that you get back to Canada.”
He pulled me away from his chest and cupped my face with his hands. I took in a sharp breath to control the tears.
“Do you trust me?” he asked.
“Yes,” I said, ignoring everything that Candace had told me.
Ben’s lips spread into a smile. He wiped the remaining tears off of my cheeks.
“I promise we’ll get out of this together,” he said. “I can’t lose you. You honestly mean so much to me.”
“Ben-” I started to say as I pulled his hands off of my face.
“No, Diana,” he cut me off. “I love you, okay? I love you so much and I cannot go back to Canada without you.”
My chest tightened when he said those words. I wanted to tell him he was wrong, but I didn’t argue with him. He was my last little bit of hope. I didn’t respond but gave him a faint smile.
Ben’s smile somehow got larger and he pressed his lips against mine. I didn’t push him away, but instead, I brought my hands up to his chest. He deepened the kiss and put his hand on my thigh to pull me onto his lap.
Part of me wanted to pull away, but most of me was enjoying it. His hands slipped under my shirt as he started to kiss down my neck. I curled my fingers into his hair.
I gasped as Ben rolled us over so that I was lying on my back. Ben propped himself up on his elbow, and he still had a wide smile plastered across his face. I bit down on my lip to stop myself from giggling. He moved a strand of hair off of my face. He was close enough to me that his face came into focus and he was not blurry.
“You’re so beautiful,” he told me.
He leaned down and kissed me again. The heat rushed up to my cheeks. Ben smirked as he kissed my neck. I tilted my head and gave him more access as he trailed his lips down to my collar bone. My smile grew as his fingers ran under my shirt and along my skin.
He pulled my shirt up over my head. I instinctively covered my chest with my arms. Ben grabbed my wrists and pulled them away pinning them against the bed. He crashed his lips against mine. We tore each other’s clothes off and spent the night together.
I woke again to a series of voices coming from the hallway. These ones sounded more feminine and I thought I even heard a giggle. I opened my eyes to see the sun pouring into the room.
My heart pounded when I saw that I was lying across Ben’s bare chest. His head was turned to the side and his hair was a tangled mess. His eyes were closed and his chest was slowly rising and falling. I tried to sit, but I felt his arm tight around my waist. I peeled his arm off of me and placed it on his chest. He stirred in his sleep but soon settled down. I slid off of the bed and grabbed my pajamas off of the floor. I changed into them before I went back into my room.
I grabbed a dress out of the closet and went into the bathroom. I hopped into the shower as my mind raced with the thoughts of last night. I enjoyed it, but I could not believe I did it. I had to pretend that it was like those few drunken one-night stands that I had at university.
When I got out of the shower, I tied my wet hair back in a bun, slipped on the dress, and put on my glasses. When I came out of the bathroom I saw Candace in my room. She had on a silk robe and her blonde hair was twisted back into a clip. A long white gown was hanging on a hook on the back of my door. Candace was holding the bottom of the dress out and inspecting it. She looked over her shoulder and let go of the dress.
“Good, you already showered,” she said. She took the dress off of the door and put it over her shoulder. “Come with me.”
“Where?” I asked.
“My room,” she said and then grabbed my wrist. “Come on.”
She pulled me out of my room and down the hallway. A few of the doors were open and I could see people I’ve never seen before in the halls. There were a few of Gregory’s servants running around.
In Candace’s room, Jane was sitting on her bed. Her red curls were wet and soaking the collar of her shirt. Two more white gowns were spread across the bed. A large bowl of fruit was sitting on her nightstand.
“Jane, I told you to go dry your hair,” Candace said.
Jane jumped off of the bed and took a strawberry out of the bowl.
“Hi, Diana,” she said with a large smile before going into the bathroom. She closed the door. The sound of the hairdryer filled the air.
Candace let out a deep breath and set my dress down on the bed next to the others.
“She drives me nuts sometimes,” she said. “You haven’t left your room in a few days.”
“Have you been watching me?” I asked.
“Not much goes on here that I don’t know about,” she said. “I just hope that you haven’t been getting cozy with Ben.”
“I talked to him about Alexis,” I said. “He didn’t want to tell me about her because he was afraid that I would kill myself.”
Candace scoffed as she rolled her eyes.
“You’re smart, Diana,” she said. “I doubt that you are actually believing what he’s saying.”
“I don’t know who to believe.”
The bathroom door flew open and Jane stuck her head out. Her mane of hair was large from being blow-dried. Candace glared at me as she walked past me and into the bathroom. I followed.
Candace’s bathroom was much larger than either Ben or I’s. She had a stool in front of the sink and mirror. There was a large bathtub to the side. Jane sat on the stool and Candace ripped the brush through her hair. I sat on the edge of the tub.
“Do you think Ben will try to kill me?” I asked.
Jane’s jaw dropped and she turned to face me. She winced as Candace’s brush got caught in her knots.
“Why would you think Ben would want to kill you?” Jane asked.
“What do you think about Ben, Jane?” Candace asked.
“I like him.” Jane shrugged her shoulders. She straightened her back and Candace continued to brush her hair. “He’s nice.”
“Do you remember Alexis?” Candace asked.
“Yes, she came here once.”
Candace reached out and grabbed the straightener off of the edge of the sink.
“What do you think about her suicide?” she asked.
“It was sad,” Jane said. “I talked to Ben about it last year. He said that she was so upset about not being able to see her family. Ben said he always tried to cheer her up, but it never worked.”
“Cheer her up?” Candace smirked. “More like trying to stick his dick in her.”
My heart dropped. Jane chuckled.
“He never did that,” Jane said.
“I know,” Candace said. “She never let him. That’s why he killed her.”
“You’re being ridiculous,” Jane said. “Ben would never kill her.”
“What do you think, Diana?” Candace asked. “Have you said no to Ben yet?”
“Excuse me?” I asked.
“Ben has obviously tried to make his move on you,” Candace said. “How did he react when you turned him down? If you even turned him down.”
My stomach twisted and a wave of nausea hit me. I couldn’t say anything about what happened last night. She would be furious and would tell Gregory or Oliver about what happened.
“No.” I shook my head. “We haven’t done anything.”
“Really?” she asked. “Your bed was still made this morning. It didn’t look like you had slept in it.”
“I made my bed before taking a shower,” I said. I struggled not to let my voice waver.
Candace gave me a skeptical look. Luckily, Jane moved the conversation to gossip she heard from the other subjects at breakfast this morning.