Home > Pride (The Elite Seven #2)(3)

Pride (The Elite Seven #2)(3)
Author: J.D. Hollyfield

“No, sweetheart. Just driven. Goal oriented, if you will. And to teach the most important lesson of all, I need you.”

She’s fucking crazy. I don’t need her. I’ll get out of this place and find my sister. We’ll run away. I’ll keep us safe until I figure shit out.

“So, what do you say?”

“I ain’t helping you with shit. Tell me where my sister is!” My rock-hard fists slam against the table again, catching the attention of a few visitors and inmates.

Lillian’s demeanor doesn’t change. She brushes fake dust off her hands. “You know, it has to be hard for poor Evelyn. With you being stuck in here. Her being bounced around from tragic foster home to tragic foster home. Especially with the horrible conditions of the one she’s in now. I would hate for anything to happen to her.”

I jump to my feet and reach over the table. My hand wraps around her cold flesh, and I squeeze. I’m all too quickly ripped off her, fighting to kill her right there, while she holds her neck, catching her breath. “You fucking bitch! I’ll kill you if anything happens to her!” My body ripples under the restraint of the two heavy guards.

Lillian gets up and grabs for her purse. “It’s a shame we couldn’t come to an agreement today, Mason. Maybe a few months in a new facility will have you seeing things differently. Until then, think about my offer.” With that, she turns and walks out. I explode, thrashing to free myself and run after her. Stab her eyes out with my fingers until she tells me where Evelyn is. But an electric shock stabs me in the back, suspending every nerve ending in my body, and I fall to the ground.

“Don’t fucking hurt her!” I howl, but my voice is missing the fight from just seconds before.

Lillian’s heeled shoes disappear through the doors, and a large set of black boots I’m all too familiar with come into view. My favorite guard. “Get his paperwork in order. State pen should teach this pretty boy to mind his manners.” And then his boot strikes, sending me into the blackness of oblivion.

Six months later…

Louisiana State Penitentiary

“Walk faster, boy.” The guard lunges his shoulder into mine, and I stumble but catch myself before my face meets the cold concrete. Even the dim lighting in the hallway hurts my eyes from being in confinement for the past six months. As I walk down the dingy corridor, away from solitary, my heart begins to race, hoping I’m finally being released. Maybe it’s Evelyn. Please let it be my sister. I pick up my speed, the knot in my stomach tightening with each step as we gear toward the visiting area.

After leaving, Lillian marked me as a danger to myself and others. She even went as far as forging paperwork, claiming some sick assault allegations against me. I was transferred out of Juvenile Correctional to the Louisiana State Penitentiary. Basically, one hell to an even bigger hell. They kept me in solitary for six months. My keeper’s recommendation. It could have been longer, but I lost count of the days after that.

That left me alone with my thoughts.

I spent my days thinking about Evelyn. Was she okay? Does she know I’m trying to come for her? Is she fighting? Will she even be the same little sister I remember from months ago? I was never a praying man, but I found myself begging the man above to keep her safe.

I spent my nights thinking about Dahlia. Her emerald green eyes that shine with laughter and love. The way she threaded her soft hands through my hair and talked about life at our old school. Stories of past friends. Visions of our future. I dreamed about getting the opportunity to show her my tattoo. How she’ll tell me she loves it and me. Does she know what happened? Why the fuck hasn’t she come to visit? She would wait for me. She loves me. She has to.

As time ticked by, my mind struggled to process. I found myself talking to my sister, but I knew she wasn’t there. I saw Dahlia and told her to hold on and wait for me. I fought my mind, confused between what was real and not, but I was so desperate for human contact. I missed the sound of Evelyn’s charismatic laugh. Our talks. The warmth of her embrace when she hugged me for no reason but to show me love. I missed the intimate touch of Dahlia. Being so near to her, the smell of her skin on mine as we fucked. Made love. I was on the verge of losing my mind completely. I pushed myself to stay afloat through the rough sea between real and illusion. But too many times, I would fail, the weakness would drift in, and the tears would fall.

At my lowest point, a sick part of me even begged for Lillian. Just to hear her tell me my sister was okay. Everything was going to be okay.

But none of that happened.

So, I forced myself to fight through it.

I used my body as a coping mechanism. Worked my muscles any way I could to build my strength physically, even if I was losing it mentally. Months of torture and darkness consumed me.

And then, one day, Lillian returned.

“Well, look at you. Keeping busy I see.” She smiles, sitting down across from me. She looks the same. Black fitted dress. Hair pulled back into a tight knitted bun. “How are you fairing, Mason? Aside from your workout regimen, which I must say, is a nice improvement.”

I lift my hands and thread my fingers together, placing my conjoined hands on the table. “No thanks to you.”

“Well, sometimes you have to learn the hard way. Your actions have consequences. I’ve returned to give you another chance. This is no place for you. You can leave here today with me. It’s simple really. You’ll give me complete ownership of you, and I’ll give you what you want—to know where your sister is.”

“I already told you, I’m not yours to own. You some sick bitch who gets off on kids? Or is that just your husband?” Her Botox-injected forehead may not move a muscle, but I don’t miss the twitch of her upper lip. Her eyes squint, making her appear more like the snake she is.

“I’d watch your tone with me. I’m the one who holds the cards here. And I wouldn’t refer to yourself as a kid. You’re very much a man now. Six months away from nineteen.” Her slithery eyes examine me from top to bottom, causing the minimal food in my stomach to churn.

“Why’re you doing this? I have nothing you want.”

“That’s where you’re wrong. A lost boy who has nothing to lose. No aspirations in life. Just a troubled kid who is well on his way to spending the rest of his life in a place like this. You see, I want to be your savior. Your God, in a way. Offer you a life you would never have otherwise. What would you say to a scholarship to one of the most elite schools in New Orleans? A future? In return, you belong to me.”

“To do what?”

“Well, that’s the most enticing part of all, Mason. You don’t get to open the box before deciding whether you want the gift or not. Did Eve know the consequences of eating the apple before she took that savory bite?” She resembles every bit the evil serpent, her beady eyes smiling back at me as her tongue slides out and licks her bold red lips.

“You’re fucked up. And sick.”

“Yes, yes, I may be, but my future isn’t the one on the line here. Yours is. Oh, and let’s not forget your poor sister. Have I mentioned the struggle we’ve had trying to find her a safe home? The foster families nowadays. Just in it for the money. They do need to do better background checks on sex offenders and drug addicts.”

I erupt from my chair, but before I have the chance to dig my fingers into her neck, two guards rip my arms behind my back and cuff me, restraining me. “You bitch! I swear, you can’t keep me in here. I’ll find a way to get out of here.”

“Good luck with that. But I should advise you, it’s your poor, fragile sister who needs it. How long do you think she’ll last in those unsafe living conditions? Do you know how high teenage drug overdoses are nowadays? So sad, I must admit.”

I pull at my restraints, tearing at my skin. But nothing compares to the pain tearing through my heart at the thought of my sister with a needle in her pure skin. My stomach turns, and bile threatens to expel from my throat. “Why?”

“Because I can. That’s the most honest answer, right? You have no authority. No rights at this point. I can keep you in here forever if I truly wanted. That’s the perk of being your designated counsel. If I see you unfit, you’ll rot in here.”

“Why, though? What’d my sister and I ever do to you?”

Her smile falls a smidge, but she masks her hate. “Your sister is just like the rest—willing and able to let married men into their beds. For that, she should be taught a lesson. You, on the other hand…I see potential.”

My vision blurs red. My hands shake behind me, and the rumble inside me threatens to burst through my chest. “My sister didn’t let your husband into her room. She would never have allowed that unless she was being forced.”

Her shoulders raise in a careless shrug. “My focus is not on her. It’s on you. It’s what I want from you.”

“And what the fuck is that!” I bark.

“I want you to run a secret club for me. Be the face behind an elite organization.”

“You fucking kidding me?”

“Not at all. I wouldn’t spend so much time and effort on a loser such as yourself if I didn’t feel you had the potential to be molded into my perfect pet.”

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