Traded(6)By: Rebecca Brooke
“Dominic, get the fuck out of my sight before I let Brock here have a shot at you.”
His eyes widened and he scrambled for the door, leaving one very scared woman in his wake. Brock watched him leave, then turned back to me. “What now?” he mouthed.
I waved my hand at him, giving him the signal to take a break, and seconds later the door closed quietly behind him. I walked over to the woman who had become my responsibility for the next three months.
How the fuck do I get myself into this shit?
Her eyes were downcast. I reached for the bag in her hand and the second my fingers brushed hers, she flinched. “Let me have your bag, then we’ll get you something to eat.”
Thankfully, we were in a club box and had a chef catering to our every whim, otherwise the poor girl would be stuck with ballpark food. Good, yes, but she’d had a rough enough day. She let the bag go and I set it on the ground next to the chair I’d been sitting in. I pulled another chair close. I didn’t want her to think her only choice was to stand until we left.
I would have taken her home right then if I didn’t have another client to meet with. It wasn’t often that I dealt with two in one night, but I wanted more time in the restaurants and doubling up here made that easier. Besides, I had some arrangements to make. She didn’t move, and remained rooted to the spot.
“Elena, wasn’t it? Come and sit down.”
When she still didn’t move, I rested my hands lightly on her shoulders and waited to see her reaction. She flinched but didn’t push my hands away and I guided her over to the second chair.
I didn’t blame her for not trusting me. Even though I could only surmise as to what she’d been through, the grass on my side of the fence was no greener; of that I was certain. As much as I’d tried to steer clear of this life, it had claimed me—at least for the moment, and staying alive in this life meant becoming someone I didn’t like. When I thought back on the things I’d had to do to make it, it made my stomach roll. And that was coming from someone who grew up the way I had, knowing the things I did. I was not a good guy. She was right to be wary. I would never hurt a woman, but she didn’t know that. She was surviving the only way she knew how.
Just like me.
“Are you hungry?”
Finally she looked up, her big brown eyes haunted and shimmering. She shook her head. “No, thank you.”
For most women, I would see that as them throwing a fit because they hadn’t got their own way but from the small glimpse I’d had of the way Tolley treated Elena, I knew this was instinctive. She would respond to orders and directions. After tonight, we’d work on getting over that, but for now though I was willing to give in. It reminded me of the way my uncle had treated my aunt, at least until my dad got hold of him. No motherfucker was going to treat his sister that way. Dad raised my brother and I to respect women. He said men who didn’t would get theirs. Seeing Uncle Dave in his wheelchair, a permanent fixture, was enough to convince me of this fact.
“Elena, I’m guessing this is not what you expected when you came here tonight. Hell, this isn’t what I expected, but you need to eat. You’re here for the next three months. You can’t starve yourself until Dominic comes back for you.”
“If you want me to eat, I’ll eat.”
Once again, she made it clear if I said jump, she’d answer how high. That shit was going to end, starting tomorrow. “I’ll get you the menu.”
“Menu?” For half a second she looked interested in something besides her own misery.
“Yes, menu. This is my personal club box. We have a chef to prepare meals outside of the normal ballpark food.”
“I’ll have whatever you’re having.”
I shook my head. “No. You’ll pick what you want to eat.”
The menu sat on the table next to my scotch. The fifth I’d poured was definitely not going to be enough. I handed her the menu and walked over to the bar. I didn’t need a bartender to pour me a scotch on the rocks. The ballpark made sure to keep my favorite, Glen Livet, on hand. Pulling out the bottle, I watched Elena scan the menu like she wasn’t sure what she was looking at.
“Would you like something to drink?” I gestured to the bar when she looked my way. “You name it, I have it.”
“Oh, Dominic says I shouldn’t drink. It makes me crazy.”
“Well, Dominic’s not here, and I don’t think one drink is going to make you go wild and start dancing on tables. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’ll help calm your nerves.”
“If you think I should.”
Permission again. What the fuck did he do to her? “I do. If you don’t normally drink, how about a glass of wine?”