Mark helps me off the boat, and we make our way into the hotel. “I don’t have my key,” I tell him, glancing over at the front desk.
“We don’t need one.” Mark hits the elevator button, and when the doors slide open, I get on with him. “I want you to pack quickly and get dressed. Don’t forget your passport.”
“You really think he won’t let me leave?” I look over at him.
“I’ve never seen him not get something he’s wanted in all the years I’ve worked for him.”
“You make him sound…” I can’t even find the words because they don’t seem right. That doesn’t sound like the man I’d spent the night with. The man who took my virginity. Made love to me like I was the most precious thing to him in the world.
“Cold? Manipulative? He’s one of the richest men in the world. How do you think he got that way?”
As the elevator doors slide open, I point to my door, and Mark pulls out his wallet and inserts a black key in the door, unlocking it.
“Even put you next to his private suite.” He shakes his head as he enters the room. I glance over at the only other door in the hallway, before following him into my room, where he grabs my suitcase and starts throwing things in.
I just stand there feeling completely numb.
“I don’t understand,” I mumble more to myself, but Mark stops packing and looks up at me.
“You didn’t check in last night, so I got worried. I reached out to Kenton, knowing you were staying at one of his hotels. I thought maybe it was just a coincidence.” He walks over to the nightstand, grabbing more of my stuff and tossing it on the bed next to my bag. “He couldn’t be reached, and the hotel couldn’t find you. So I started thinking. He asked about you a lot. Not sure how I didn’t catch it, but almost every time I saw him he’d ask.” He shakes his head like he can’t believe he didn’t see it before.
“So I made Neil dig,” he says, and I know what that means. Neil can find anything, and I do mean anything. “And he found a fucking lot.”
“What?” I step towards him, wanting to know what my other brother found.
“He checks all your social media religiously, saves the freaking pictures. Hell, I even think he’s taken a few of his own. Then when I guess that wasn’t enough, he went further. Set it up to get you down here, and I’m guessing that didn’t work either.”
No it didn’t. Every time I talked to him, I shot him down because of who I thought he was, and I was wrong. Oh-so-wrong, but now I’m confused about what “wrong” is. First, I thought I was wrong what he was some billionaire playboy and now I have no idea.
“So he sets up this little island plan. He was escalating quickly, and I didn’t know what else he would do, the lengths he’d go to to have you, so we thought we’d just take you back ourselves before he did something crazy.”
He wouldn’t have had to do anything else. I was his. Well, I was an hour ago. Now I don’t know anything.
“Has he done this before?” Was this some game? Was some of it real? Or was nothing at all?
“Yes,” my brother snaps, making my stomach drop. I feel like I want to throw up, tears burning my nose. “I've seen him do it a hundred times when I worked with him in business deals and so on. He’ll do whatever it takes to get what he wants. He’s cold and will stop at nothing. Though I didn’t think he’d go to the level of lying. He might be a fucking shark, but he still always played by the rules.”
“I meant, has he done this with women before.”
Mark turns to look at me, zipping my bag up. “Women?” he asks, like he doesn’t get my question. I don’t know why I need to know this, but I do. I really don’t give a shit about what he does at work. This coldness he’s talking about doesn’t sound like the Kenton I’ve come to know.
“Yes. With women.”
He throws my bag over his shoulder and gives me an odd look for a second. I can feel the tension pulsing through my body as I wait for him to tell me. “I need this, please.”
“Yes.” The one word makes a tear slip free. It takes everything in me to not release the sob that is sitting in my throat. “Can we talk about this in the car on the way to the airport, Maddie? I wasn’t lying when I said I don’t know what he’s doing. I’ve never seen him go this far, and I don’t know what he’ll do next, but what I do know is that he has some kind of obsession with you.”
I just nod, not knowing what else to do. I slip on the shoes and shorts Mark left out for me while packing and grab my purse. I feel nothing. I’m just numb. But a tiny part of me, hidden deep, wonders that if he’s done this to get me, what would he do to keep me?
A man can go only so long before he breaks, and that’s exactly what’s happened. It’s been two months. Two fucking months since I’ve touched her or even seen her, unless you count the pictures I have. That’s it. I thought I wanted her before, but now after having touched and tasted her, I can barely breathe without her. Hell, I can’t seem to do anything at all.
I just don’t fucking care what I have to do to get to her. Even if it means ripping down her own front door.
I walk towards her front door, a door I know all too well. I’d sat my ass on her porch for a few days before Mark threatened a restraining order and still she hadn’t come out. But I’m not even sure she knew I was out here.