Bleeding Heart

By: Alannah Carbonneau

Feeling like a child, as I often did when Calix spoke to me with such condescending dominance, I moved with hunched shoulders into the closet. Slipping my feet into a pair of white flip-flops, I moved to join him in the bathroom.

Feeling uncertain when I spoke, my voice was low. “Why are swimming in the lake when you have a pool?”

“Because I want to swim in the lake.” He answered and I knew it was the end of our discussion.

Grinding my teeth, I followed Calix through the house to the patio. The night air wasn’t particularly cold, but it wasn’t warm either. The idea of swimming in the chilly water of the lake had my teeth chattering loudly by the time we’d covered the patio’s lengthy stone distance.

Calix turned to face me with a deep frown. “You’re cold?”

“Yes.” I nodded. “You’re not?”

“No.” He moved to close the distance between us, pulling my hand into his. “Come.”

“Calix,” I protested against my better judgment. “I really am cold. I don’t want to go in the water.”

“It’ll be warmer than you think.”

I doubted that. “There’s critters in there - I don’t want to swim when I can’t see the bottom.”

“You can’t see the bottom in the daylight either.”

“I haven’t swum in the lake.” I informed matter of fact. “But I can see the bottom in the day.” I added on a mumbled breath. “At least, I can see the bottom from where I would swim.”

“Stop arguing with me, love.” Calix sighed. “It’s pointless.”

I tensed. Yes, I knew arguing with Calix was pointless. He had proven, countless times, how very much he didn’t care.

Chapter 3

I tried to ignore the warmth of Calix’s hand holding tight to mine, as we walked along the expertly manicured stone path leading from the grand patio to the lake. I tried not to think of the rough sensation of his callouses on my soft skin, or the way his thick fingers linked through mine, spreading them apart in a way my body was beginning to know. I hadn’t spent all that much time with Calix, but my body was beginning to recognize him the way I once thought I would know the man I would spend my life with - my prince.

When I closed my eyes, I saw Calix’s face. When I fell into dream, my moments were spent beneath the man who held so much of my life and happiness in his damning palm. Throughout the days I spent without him, I’d caught hints of his scent when I least expected, and I’d find myself thinking of him, aching for him. There was no explanation or logic in the way my body and mind had been tricked by this cruel, manipulative man - there was just the fact that I had been tricked, and although I was angry with him and so desperately hurt by him, the fact remained - my heart had somehow entered into the equation. It was the undefined variable, the unsolved X, and the answer.

I was beginning to believe I really would spend my life with this man - my captor. But he wasn’t my prince. He wasn’t my white knight, but rather, he was a dark spirit on a dark stallion and I was in his prison, never to find release.

I had a feeling that even if I were to find bodily release from Calix, I would never be free of him. The man was a part of me now. As much as I wanted to fight that fact, it was the truth. He had taken so much from me - stolen so many of my firsts - things I was saving for only one man. I doubted, that before my time with Calix McKnight was through, I would still own my innocence. I mean, what kind of monster would my captor be if he didn’t steal the one thing I valued most?

Looking up from the stone, my eyes travelled over the man who held me firm in his inescapable grip. Seeing him here, in front of me, leading me to a lake as though we were lovers out for a night swim made my heart throb in aching beats. I couldn’t help but think of the last time we were together. I had been so close to giving him everything. I had been so close to allowing this monster of a man inside my body, begging him to take me, body and soul, as he had once predicted so confidently that I would.

And then he had shattered everything inside of me. The little hope I had held onto fled when he admitted his reason for stealing me. Then he’d left me - going away to work after he’d only just come home. He’d left me alone with only our last moments to chew over, for six days. Yes, he’d called, but I hadn’t wanted to talk over the phone. I was saddened by the history that led us to this place. My father had murdered Calix’s parents. In my mind, there was no hope for us. Even if I did spend my entire life as Calix’s wife, loyal to his forcible ways, he would never love me. Even if I allowed my heart to walk its own foolish path and fall for this man - I just knew there was no way he could love me in return.

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