Mias stared at Elle's sleeping form beside him. She hadn't moved all nighthe knew because he hadn't moved all night either. He was still lying back against the headboard, watching her steady breathing and enjoying the rise and fall of her breasts beneath her lacy white bra. He had stripped her out of the gown she had been wearing, wanting her to be comfortable as she slept, confused as to why he cared about her comfort at all. His grin widened as her chest rose, deciding that caring about whether or not Elle was comfortable had to be the best damn idea he ever had.
Sunlight poured through the open window, a slant of light cutting across the bed and Elle's creamy white legs. Mias adjusted himself on the bed, and Elle shifted slightly before going still once more.
She would be awake soon, and Mias was suddenly aware that he had been lying on the bed in his clothes. He tried to smooth the wrinkles in his slacks and shirt, sighing with frustration when he realized not only was he a wrinkled mess, but his black pants were covered in lint from the comforter.
Not wanting Elle to see him looking like a vagrant, Mias climbed out of the bed and crept across the room to the bathroom. He closed and latched the door quietly, shocked when he saw his reflection in the mirror.
Not only were his clothes wrinkled and covered in lint, his eyes were bloodshot and his chin covered in dark stubble. His hair was a wild mass of dark tresses which hung forward over his eyes. His stomach clenched at the resemblance he saw, and he anxiously dipped his hands into the washbasin and smoothed his hair back from his face. He shaved before stripping out of his clothes and grinned at his reflection when he thought how Elle would react to finding him laying beside her in nothing but his drawers. His mind turned over several scenarios of how Elle would respond to his boldness, each one ending with Elle in his arms.
He tossed his clothes into the corner and strode back into the bedroom, eager for Elle to wake up so they could have a little fun. He stopped dead when he saw that his bed was empty. He glanced around the room, feeling a rising panic when he didn't spot Elle. A floorboard behind him creaked and he turned just as Elle smashed a large vase into the side of his head.
"Pervert!" She screamed, her eyes wild.
Mias staggered to the side, his vision blurring as he lost his balance and fell to the floor. He could make out Elle's bare feet through the haze as they padded cautiously towards him. He tried to focus but the side of his head was pounding so profusely he couldn't keep his eyes open. Finally he gave in and let his eyelids slide shut, just as he felt a soft hand against his cheek.
It had taken every bit of strength Elle had to lay in that bed and pretend to be asleep. She had woken up hours before, cracking her eyelids cautiously to find that Mias was sitting beside her on the bed, watching her. The creep was so busy looking at her chest he didn't notice that she had opened her eyes slightly and taken a mental picture of her surroundings. She was in a large bedroom with windows at her left that reached to the top of the vaulted ceiling and were draped in a deep crimson cloth. She could make out the outline of furniture throughout the room, and could tell that paintings hung from the walls, but that was it. She didn't dare open her eyes wider, if Mias saw that she was awake, her chances of getting away from him would be slim at best.
When Mias had finally gotten out of the bed and headed into the other room, Elle took hold of the opportunity and went in search of something she could use as a weapon. When she looked down and saw that she was wearing nothing but her bra and underwear, she flushed with embarrassment which quickly turned to anger. Mias had undressed her.
She tried to ignore the butterflies in her stomach at the thought of his hands on her body, angry with herself for still being attracted to him in spite of everything. She knew she had romantic notions, and had enjoyed the occasional story of romance that started in ways similar to her current situation. But this wasn't one of her novels. This was real life. Mias could be some psycho serial killer for all she knew, and she had to escape. Even if he was the most gorgeous man she had ever seen and every part of her except her rebellious brain wanted to stay in that bed and wait for him to return.
She found a crystal vase full of red roses on a table near the door that Mias had disappeared into, and decided that it would work best for what she had in mind. She didn't want to kill the guy, just wanted to incapacitate him enough that she could make her getaway.
The bathroom door opened suddenly, and Elle ducked into the shadows before Mias spotted her. She bit down hard on her bottom lip when she saw that he wore only a pair of black underwear, unable to stop the heat which crawled up her skin at the welcome sight.
"Stop it Elle! He kidnapped you!" Her mind screamed.
She shook her head, the reality of her situation sinking in. She didn't know where she was or what this guy wanted. Well, that wasn't entirely true. Based on his current state of undress she had a pretty good idea of exactly what he wanted. And the cocky grin on his face made it clear to Elle that he expected to get it.
"Oh he's gonna get it alright!" Elle thought angrily, hot tears burning her eyes.
Her grip tightened around the vase as she crept forward out of the shadows, the vase shattering into a million pieces as it made contact with the side of his head.
The second Mias hit the ground Elle was overwhelmed with guilt for attacking him. She knelt down cautiously beside him and was relieved to see that he was breathing steadily and his pulse seemed normal. She absently caressed his cheek, and surprised herself by running her fingers through his thick hair, amazed by the softness of it.
Elle had the sudden urge to kiss him. He was out for the count, so he would never know. So what was the harm in it? Elle shivered, unable to tear her eyes away from Mias' handsome face. Without that devilish grin and those magnetic eyes watching her, he seemed so vulnerable. She imagined that he carried some great weight inside him, for even in his unconsciousness his eyebrows were knitted together with worry. Elle couldn't help but wonder if his arrogant demeanor was just a mask for some deeper feelings, some great cross which he bore alone. Her heart began to ache for him, and the urge to kiss him grew stronger by the second.
Mias groaned, turning his face closer to where her hand rested on his cheek. Elle pulled her hands away from his face quickly and got to her feet. He was waking up, and her foolish musings had drastically narrowed her window of escape.
She had to focus. That man had a way of distracting her, even when he was unconscious.
The sooner she made a break for it, the better.
She found her dress draped over a chair on the other side of the room, and tugged it on hastily. She grabbed her shoes and tucked them under her arm, knowing that she would be able to run faster on bare feet. She threw open the bedroom door and ran down a long hallway which was lined with large oil paintings and suits of armor. Moments later Elle reached a grand staircase which led down to an entryway that was twice as big as her apartment.
She rushed down the stairs, holding her dress up to her knees to keep from tumbling forward down the steps.
She took a few moments to catch her breath once she reached the large front doors, listening for any sounds from upstairs. She could her nothing over the pounding of her heart and the ticking of the Grandfather clock a few feet to her right. Deciding that it probably wasn't a good idea to wait around and see if Mias was going to wake up, she stepped out into the bright sunlight of the morningand nearly collapsed.
"Where the hell am I?" Elle murmured, staring out across a field of wildflowers. She walked forward cautiously, awed by the beauty that the sea of wildflowers gave as the wind rolled over them. A road snaked through the field, disappearing over a hill in the distance, and Elle was certain that if she chose that path she would be completely exposed. She decided that her best plan was to head for the forest which bordered the field to her right, and hide there until she could make for the road which she hoped would lead her to civilization.
"ELLE!" Mias roared from somewhere above her. She stepped back from the manor, looking up at all the windows, expecting to find Mias glaring down at her.
But she didn't spot him, which worried her more because that meant he was probably on his way down to find her.
Elle dropped her shoes and took off running into the field, hoping that she could reach the forest before Mias saw which way she went. She kept her speed up, holding the skirt of her dress around her waist.
She was several feet from the wall of trees when she dared a glance behind her. She saw Mias coming down the front steps just as her foot caught under a lifted tree root. She stumbled forward with a cry, falling face first into a pile of dead leaves.
Her skirt was in a tangle over her head, and she struggled furiously, certain that Mias had seen her and was already barreling full speed towards her across the field.
She heard laughter somewhere behind her, or perhaps in front of herin the dark confines of her skirt she couldn't be certain where the sound had come from.
"You look like you could use a little help," the voice said once its laughter had subsided.
The skirt was pulled away from her face and she was met with two mischievous green eyes.
"Love the underwear, by the way." He said with a wink.
"Umm, thank you." Elle said awkwardly, struggling to her feet. Was she in some alternate universe where she was surrounded by perverts?
"I only mention it because, well, I haven't seen any like that before. Ladies around here wear the long knickers, and they don't really breathe, as they say. And those one's you have on well, they're quite tiny and, I would imagine, quite comfortable." He said as he helped her to her feet.
"Okay then," Elle laughed nervously. She glanced at her rescuer for the first time and had to stifle a string of profanities with her hands when she saw him.
She had to be dreaming. Elle looked him up and down several times. Fur on his arms and legs. Antlers. Hooves. Ears like a deer.
"What the hell are you supposed to be?!" Elle managed to ask.
He hit himself on the forehead. "Where are my manners? The names Abernos. And you are?"
Elle shook her head. "I don't want to know WHO you are; I want to know WHAT you are. Did I walk through a wardrobe or something?"
Abernos frowned. "Huh?"
"Elle!" Mias shouted.
Elle whirled to find that Mias was walking through the field towards the wooded area where she now stood. She ducked down behind a fallen tree, relieved that he couldn't see her thanks to the density of the trees.
"You know I'm going to find you, sweetness. It's only a matter of time!" Mias called, sounding almost playful.
Abernos stood dumbly and watched Mias' advance.
"You know him?" Abernos asked, glancing down at Elle.
Elle rolled her eyes and grabbed his arm, tugging him so that he knelt beside her.
"Be quiet!" She hissed. "That guy kidnapped me. I need your help. I have to get out of here. Is there a town nearby? I need to get to a phone so I can call the police."
Abernos blinked. "What's a phone?"
Elle let out a sigh of frustration and peeked over the fallen tree to see where Mias was. He was several yards away, and to her relief he was no longer coming in her direction. Something in the trees further down must have caught his attention, because he quickened his pace and disappeared into the brush.
"How far are we from town?" Elle whispered to Abernos, who was watching Mias intently.
"Not far. Maybe a few hours walk," he said. Something registered in Abernos' eyes, and he gave Elle a serious look. "Wait
are you the Elle he's looking for?"
"Try and keep up Abernos," Elle said impatiently. "Which way to town?"
"That way." Abernos pointed towards the trees where Mias had disappeared.
"Figures." Elle said dryly. "Do you think you can distract him for me, Abernos?" She asked hopefully.
"I don't know," Abernos said, rubbing the back of his neck anxiously. "I'm not exactly Mias' favorite person in the world."
Elle took Abernos by the shoulders. "Please. I really need your help."
"Alright," Abernos sighed.
Elle threw her arms around his neck and before she could stop herself she planted a kiss on his cheek. Abernos grinned shyly at her and turned so red she couldn't help but giggle.
"Well isn't this a lovely picture," Mias grated. "Am I interrupting?"
Elle swore under her breath when she saw Mias coming towards them through the trees. The side of Mias' face was an angry red, and Elle could see a few spots where the glass had cut into his skin. Elle bit her lip anxiously, wondering what he was going to do to her.
"You and I need to have a little talk," Mias ground out, his dark gaze falling to Elle.
"We have nothing to talk about," Elle said, tilting her chin up defiantly. "I'm going home."
"Stay back!" Abernos shouted. He jumped in front of Elle heroically. "She has asked that I take her to town so that she can find a police to call the phone, or
something to that effect." Abernos added weakly.
"Is that so?" Mias said, taking a few steps forward.
Elle rested her head against Abernos' back, hoping that some harm wasn't about to come to him. He seemed sweet enough, despite his fixation with her underwear.
"Yes, that is so," Abernos croaked.
"And what if I were to tell you that if you don't get out of my way I'm going to rip your head from your shoulders and hang it over my fireplace?" Mias asked casually.
"She's all yours," Abernos said nervously. "No hard feelings, I hope?"
"Wh-what?" Elle cried when Abernos stepped away and pushed her towards Mias. "Abernos you coward, what the hell do you think you're doing?"
Abernos shrugged. "I've grown quite attached to my head, thank you very much. And as nice as Mias' living room is, I don't really want to have a permanent view of it from above the mantle."
Elle turned to run but Mias had her around the waist before she could get away. She fought him furiously, kicking her bare feet at his legs and hitting at his chest and arms with her fists.
He lifted her easily off her feet and she was thrown over his shoulder as though she were a sack of potatoes.
"Put me down!" Elle screamed, pounding her fists against his back. He grunted with each hit, but didn't loosen his grip on her even a little.
Mias walked back towards the manor, jostling Elle slightly as he maneuvered through the field.
Elle lifted her head to see that Abernos was leaning against a tree watching the scene with an amused expression.
"What are you grinning at?" She yelled. "Next time I see you I'm going to kick your mythical ass! I'd like to see you smiling then!"
Mias' laugh rumbled against her chest. She tried to wiggle free of his grip around her legs, which Mias responded to by loosening his grip so much that she fell forward slightly. She cried out, fisting her hands into the back of his shirt to keep from falling. Mias laughed again before pulling her up onto his shoulder once more.
"Listen psycho," Elle shouted. "People are going to be looking for me. So I suggest you let me go before you make things any worse for yourself."
Mias continued on in silence, which angered Elle even more.
"By the way, this whole alpha male, manhandling the girl routine is really starting to piss me off!" Elle said hotly, resorting back to kicking her legs and punching Mias' back.
She continued her tantrum all the way into the manor, before Mias dumped her in a heap on the sofa in his living room.
Elle leapt up and rushed for the door, Mias pushing her back so that she fell onto the couch.
Elle crossed her arms and blew at the strands of hair which hung in her face.
"You're very cute when you're angry," Mias laughed, taking a seat on the chair across from her.
Elle glared at him, which only seemed to amuse him more.
"I should have hit you harder," Elle muttered.
A hurt look flashed across Mias' face before he covered it with a devilish grin.
"I had no idea you liked to play rough," Mias teased, leaning forward. "This new revelation is very exciting."
Elle frowned. "You just stay on your side of the room buddy, or you'll see just how rough I can get." Elle bit down on her bottom lip, embarrassed by how it sounded. She was definitely not trying to be coy or flirt, but by the look on Mias' face, all he heard was a cloaked invitation.
"I'll take my chances," Mias said as he stood and walked the few feet towards her and took a seat beside her on the couch.
Elle scooted away as far as she could before her back was pressed against the arm of the couch and she could go no further. Mias closed the gap between them and placed his hand on the arm of the couch so that Elle was boxed in.
He ran his fingers along her jaw before tucking her hair behind her ear. His hand burned a trail along her neck and over her shoulder, trailing down her arm and then coming to rest on her hip.
"Kiss me," he commanded.
Elle wanted to. Badly. She had wanted to kiss him the night before on the dance floor. She had nearly kissed him earlier that morning, even though every part of her screamed that she shouldn't. She didn't even know him, or how he had gotten her here. Hell, she didn't even know where 'here' was.
Mias closed his eyes and leaned closer to her, but instead of giving him the kiss that she so desperately wanted to give, Elle slapped him as hard as she could and tried to push past the arm that kept her from escaping the confines of the couch.
Mias took her firmly by the shoulders and turned her to face him.
Elle shivered when she looked into his eyes. Even after she had knocked him out and run from him, even after she had kicked and hit him, he still seemed amused by her actions. But now, all of the amusement was gone from his expression, and Elle knew that he was pissed. And she was in trouble.