Home > Secrets Vol. 5 (Secrets #5)(7)

Secrets Vol. 5 (Secrets #5)(7)
Author: H.M. Ward

All I can think is too slow, I’m too slow. My lungs burn. It feels like I can’t breathe. I want to scream, but I have no voice. It’s like a nightmare, where I can’t run fast enough. My heel hits the floor hard and I slip. Frantically, my arms swing as I try to regain my balance. In that moment, Edward catches my elbow and rips me back. I jerk to a stop and whirl around, my robe swirling at my hips. His fingers dig into my arms and it feels like he’ll crush my bones. Edward’s face is twisted with rage. His eyes are narrow and dark. Without warning, Edward releases me and throws me into the wall.

My head hits the plaster hard, but I don’t feel it. Adrenaline is pumping through me. I should be able to toss a dumpster like a superhero, but I can barely stand up. Terror courses through my body, consuming me whole. It makes my movements erratic, like I can’t decide what to do or when. I twitch against the wall, and then try to go for the front door again. Edward blocks me. He uses his body to pin me in place, this time guarding his assets more carefully.

“When are you going to learn, Anna?” he growls at me. Edward’s knee pushes between mine, parting my robe. A sob bubbles up my throat, which seems to make him smile. He grips my wrists, slamming them to the wall above my head. I can’t move.

I take a few breaths to steady myself and intend to scream FIRE at the top of my lungs, hoping James is home and that he can hear me over the TV. Last time James heard me scream, he came running. But before I can exhale, Edward’s massive palm covers my mouth. I scream into his hand. I use my free hand to try and pry him off of me, but he doesn’t move. I don’t know what to do. I writhe beneath him, trying to break free. I can’t stand it. My heart is racing so hard that it’s going to explode. I don’t think. I act. I listen to the crazy girl inside my head that’s telling me to bite down and lock my jaw. I listen to her when she says to take my nails and shove them straight into Edward’s eyes.

I bite and scratch. Edward yells, and shoves me hard. I’m flung across the hall and land hard on my hip. I don’t look back to see him pressing his hand to his eye. I don’t want to see the blood on his palm. I taste the coppery tang in my mouth. I know I made him bleed. I round the corner on my hands and knees and go to the kitchen to look for a weapon. Backing myself into the corner, I grab a knife off the counter. I’m standing by the time Edward enters the room. He comes at me again, even though there’s a knife in my hand. It’s the big, sharp one that Emma uses to cut up chicken. I don’t want to kill Emma’s brother with her chicken knife, but I don’t know what else to do. Part of me thinks he’ll stop, but the more feral part of me senses that he’ll never stop.

I clutch the knife harder. “I swear to God, I’ll stab you. Stay the f**k away from me!” I yell at him, spitting his blood out onto the floor when it leaks into my mouth as I speak. A streak of his blood must be smeared across my face.

Edward laughs, like I’m a child and he can do whatever the hell he wants. “You really intend to cut me?”

“You really intend to rape me?”

His jaw drops. Edward manages to look insulted. He steps toward me and presses his hand to his chest. “Rape you? That’s what you think this is?”

“Yes, you crazy f**king bastard,” I growl, aiming the tip of the knife at his heart. I wonder if I should be aiming for his stomach, but I don’t move. My elbows lock. If he comes at me… Oh God.

He talks to me like I’m a child, too naïve to understand his intentions. “Anna, darling, put down the knife and we can talk about this. You obviously can’t tell, but I wouldn’t let anything happen to you. You’re mine. I intend to keep things that way.” He steps toward me. Lifting his hand, he says, “Give it to me, now.”

I press my body backwards, but hit the cabinets. The draw pulls bite into my bare legs. I’m pretty sure my robe is hanging open, but can’t look. I don’t move. Edward’s eyes lock with mine. He moves towards me. He’s too close. I jab the knife at him when he’s within an inch of me.

Edward stops. He lifts his hands like he surrenders. “Anna, please. You know me. You know I wouldn’t hurt you.”

“Then leave.” My arms are starting the shake, but my hands hold onto the knife like my life depends on it.

“I can’t do that,” he growls. “I can’t let you continue to act this way. Give me the knife or I’ll take it from you.”

“You’ll have to kill me first—”

Edward rolls his eyes, “You are so damn dramatic.” He lunges at me.

I don’t want to stab him. He’s my best friend’s brother. It makes my arms turn to jelly when he slams into me. I hear him scream, but I don’t know why. Edward grabs my wrist, but I don’t let go of the knife. The blade is streaked with crimson. I watch it as Edward slams my hand against the counter, forcing me to drop the blade. It clatters as I watch in horror. Then, Edward reaches to pick it up. My pulse is pounding in my ears. My mind is screaming at me to run, while every muscle in my body is corded tight and bursting with panic.

I press myself against the cabinets and slip past him as he twists to grab the knife. I’m almost out of the tiny kitchen, but Edward grabs me. Pulling me into his arms, he turns me to face the counter top and presses the knife to my neck. It’s already slick with blood. I suck in air and go still in his arms. If I move, he’ll slice my throat. I know he will. Tears roll down my cheeks and I can’t stop them.

Edward hisses at me as he slams my head down on the counter. The knife resumes the position, pressed to the side of my throat. I feel his h*ps press against my bottom and feel how much he wants me. I sob, and beg him to stop, but he doesn’t. I hear the zipper on his jeans slowly open.

I try to scream, but can’t. His weight on my back makes it so I can barely breathe. I babble incoherent pleas as my eyes blur with tears. He doesn’t answer me. Instead I feel my robe being torn away and my legs being forced apart. He presses himself against me, and stays like that for a moment. The feel of him against me makes me want to vomit. My mind flips on again, and I stop begging him to let me go. I sniffle as thoughts fly through my mind. I try to think of any plan to escape, but nothing is within reach. I can’t hit him. The way he has me pinned is going to make me pass out. I can barely breathe. Edward’s arm is crushing me facedown into the counter. His leg is between mine, holding them open and the knife is at the side of my throat.

Edward’s voice fills with triumph. I feel something warm and slick from him slip onto my side. Out of the corner of my eye, I see a trail of red drip from his waist and onto mine. I must have cut him with the knife before. The wound on Edward’s side is deep and a steady stream of blood flows from it, but not enough to stop him.

“This is for your own good, Anna.” He sounds like he’s enjoying this. I can almost see the smile on his face. He leans harder on my back and I feel the pressure increase, and all the air is forced out of my lungs.

I try to scream, but can’t. Tears overflow from my eyes and soak the counter. I open my mouth and try to yell, but it’s barely a whisper. I tense and close my eyes, not wanting to be here, wishing to God that this isn’t happening. I tune out his voice, not wanting to hear his words. He gloats that he’s won, that he knew he’d have me in the end. I’m aware of his hands on my body, touching me in ways he shouldn’t, as the world goes fuzzy at the edges. Blood pools under my face and gets in my eye. I don’t blink. I don’t writhe. He has me and there is nothing I can do. My heart feels like it has exploded. My body starts to go numb. His hand is on the back of my head holding me to the counter, while he leans harder on my back with his elbow. My arms dangle lifelessly at my sides. If he lets go, I’ll fall to the floor.

When he moves his hips, I want to cry, but can’t. No breath fills my lungs. I sag under him as he gets ready to push into me. Just as Edward’s about to rape me, the knife disappears. Then the arm that’s crushing my ribs is gone and my head falls to the side. I hear his voice—Cole—as I slip to the floor. I lay on my side and my eyes flutter open. One is caked with blood and won’t focus.

It is Cole. I blink slowly, trying to focus. Cole disarmed Edward and is beating him. Edward is on the floor in front of the refrigerator, covering his face with his hands. He doesn’t fight back. The knife is lodged in the wall next to the door way. Blood drips down the wallpaper in tiny red beads.

It takes me a moment to realize what’s happening. It feels like time is moving so slowly. Cole’s fist connects with Edwards ribs. Blood is everywhere—on Edward, on Cole, and on me. My robe is ripped any laying next to my feet. I want to reach for it. I want to cover myself, but it looks like Cole is going to kill Edward. Every time he punches him, Edward’s head slams back into the fridge. Blood is flowing from a head wound and from his side where I stabbed him.

I push myself up and feel like I’m going to hurl. Before I fall, I catch Cole’s arm as he’s about to swing another punch into Edward’s battered body.

“Stop,” I manage to choke out. The muscles in Cole’s arms bulge. I try to hold Cole back, but can’t. I start to fall, and lean into Cole.

When he sees me, the expression on his face is filled with fear. “Anna,” he breathes, pressing his hands to my face. He pulls me to him and kisses my face. “I thought—” his voice catches. “I saw you on the counter, and him on top of you. There was so much blood. I thought he…”

Tears steak my face. I can’t stand the look in his eyes. I lean against his chest as I speak. “He didn’t… I’m okay. He didn’t stab me.” I lean all my weight against Cole. After a moment, he supports me so I don’t fall over and pulls back to look at my side. Cole presses his fingers against my skin, wiping away the blood. “I’m not bleeding.”

Before Cole has a chance to respond, the door flies open. Two cops come in with their weapons drawn. The whole thing looks wrong. It appears that Cole is the one who attacked, not Edward. They move between us, pulling me away. They give me a blanket and I realize that I’m shivering, even though I don’t feel cold. They mutter something about shock and call for an ambulance.

They move through the apartment quickly and spot Edward laying on the floor in a puddle of blood. They sit me on the couch and one officer stays with me. He speaks to me, but I can’t focus. I pull the blanket tighter. I hear Edward’s voice and fear shoots through me in a cold burst.

“Miss,” the officer says again. Slowly, I turn my face and look up at him. I squint, trying to focus, “Do you know what happened?”

“Yes,” I rasp. Everything feels like it’s happening in slow motion. Every time I hear Edward’s voice from the other room, I crawl out of my skin.

The cop watches me squirm on the couch, pulling the blanket tighter to my throat. “Which one of them gave you that bruise on your cheek?”

I’m falling apart inside. I can’t hold myself together much longer. My voice shakes as I speak. “Edward. He hit me. He wouldn’t leave. He tried to…,” I choke on the words, but can’t manage to force them out. I stare unblinking at the kitchen wall. “Cole came and saved me.” I look at the cop. Tears start to flow again and leak out of the corners of my eye. My voice is barely a whisper as I start to shiver uncontrollably. “I need Cole.”

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