Millions Page 2

I had no values left. No honour. No one to fight for. Nowhere to be.

I was alone and figured I might as well be alone with him.

Parking in the designated bay, I turned off the engine and hauled my ass from the car. Pressing a button on the wall, automatic chocks rose from the floor, and wedged around all four wheels to prevent it from slopping around in a storm.

Placing the key in the cabinet with its neatly organised hooks for all sorts of toys on board, I raked both hands through my hair and sighed.

My job as a chauffeur is complete.

Not that Elder ever asked me to do such tasks. I just found memories couldn’t find me as easily when I put other’s needs above my own and only thought of what I could do for them rather than myself.

A piece of hay fluttered from my hair, reminding me what I got up to while Elder did unspeakable things to Pim.

I didn’t know the woman’s name. I hadn’t seen her face. All I remembered was she wore a mask that looked like a spider’s web with morning dew twinkling on silver thread. Her dress kept up the illusion with silver panels and iridescent beads.

It wasn’t often I craved companionship, but after a dance or two, she’d offered to give me a tour—even though she didn’t know the place any better than I did.

We’d ended up in the stables, fucking like rabbits while a horse watched from the next stall. We didn’t undress; we didn’t ask to see each other again. We both knew we were using the other for mindless company and parted with a grateful kiss, happy in the knowledge we’d eased some of the mutual pain in each other.

I should climb into the elevator and head to my quarters. I should wash off stable sex and sleep so I was ready to kick Prest’s ass in the morning.

However, I wasn’t ready to be captive to the ocean just yet.

I wanted land beneath my toes for a little longer. I wanted to be free and not trapped inside when the clawing of my past found me and made me wish I’d died the same night as my future bride.

Stepping toward the open garage door, I pressed the button to close and lock it behind me, then traded yacht for wharf.

Stars glittered above.

Clear nights like these made me crave a cigarette. I’d broken the habit years ago—partly through choice but mostly through lack of funds. I knew it was better to be smoke free, but tonight I craved the tingly taste and sickly rush of nicotine.

With no drink to keep me occupied and no one to distract me, I prowled the wharf, spying a few empty crates piled high as a house against a warehouse.

Perfect.

I could climb on top and be unseen, free to study the Phantom with her pretty lit windows and suffocate beneath my thoughts instead of burying them deep down tight.

Kicking off my dress shoes, I allowed some of my past from street living to ease into my bones as I launched myself up the crates. It only took a few seconds and a few precisely placed jumps to scale the crates and end skyward.

My heart rate didn’t change as I reached the top and sat heavily.

The Phantom was indeed pretty from this angle, swooping up like a dark sea goddess ready to decimate any who tried to destroy her. The world settled, the night quietened, my breathing was the only thing disturbing ultimate peace.

And that was where she found me.

As she always did.

The woman I loved and the unplanned pregnancy that killed her. I let the past take me; I allowed the merciless hate for the unborn baby who’d stolen her to drag me deep, and didn’t hear the arrival of war.

Down and down I fell, cringing against the last moments of blood and heartbreak. Wincing against the burn of tears and lamenting all over again at how I could give my very soul to someone, yet remain living when they left this earth with it.

I didn’t indulge in my pain often. I hated self-pity and despised self-blame.

But tonight, after watching true love happen for a man I dared call a friend, I was fucking gutted—reminding me all over again of what I’d lost and he’d gained and just how different we truly were now.

No longer the same.

My ears filled with ghost-voices and ethereal-shouts. Of my begs for the doctors to do something. Of my threats when they failed. Of my curses when I was left with nothing.

So obsessed with my agonising memory box of torture, I missed the first gunfire.

And the second.

The ra-ta-ta-tat of bullets morphed with the slap of gentle currents and crack of rigging as boats rocked on water.

My fingers grew slippery with past-shed blood. My mouth wide with historical screams. My lungs empty for air, desperate to die to find her and stubborn enough to continue breathing despite the daily agony.

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