A Gift from the Goddess Book Two – Chapter 8

“Alright, a little game sounds fun,” I finally replied. ” But you’ll be disappointed to learn there is no ulterior motive in talking to you. You’ve just piqued my curiosity, is all.”

I tried to laugh it off but Kieran didn’t seem to notice as he immediately set his drink down, his expression turning serious as he looked me over. Almost as if I could feel him scrutinising every little detail about me.

But that confident look of his… It took all I had to just calm my heart down, the nervous thumping inside becoming so loud that I was worried he’d hear it.

For a man who could seemingly read me so well… could he really pull this off?

“Your eyes give you away a lot,” he started, leaning forward enough that I could still hear him as he spoke in a low voice. “Don’t get me wrong, they’re very pretty, but they also betray you.”

At this proximity, his scent was beginning to overwhelm me. His compliment wasn’t helping either. I’d never been affected by small things like that before, but with him, it felt almost involuntary.

“I think you’re probably reading too much into it,” I replied quietly, smiling. “Besides, I thought you were meant to be guessing my thoughts, not theorising my tells.”

“That’s true….”

He moved in a little bit closer again, and I felt as though I became trapped by his gaze alone, unable to move away even if I wanted to. Which, of course, I didn’t.

No, at this distance, I was helpless to stop myself from thinking about how flawless his features were. How his defined jawline was such a perfect shape that I could easily picture how my head could fit under it, nestled against his neck comfortably.

`Mine,’ that word repeated inside my head, but I bit it back.

“You’re thinking… ‘why am I so attracted to him?” he said, sending a jolt of surprise through me.

But after quickly scrambling to find a logical explanation, I realised it was clearly just a magician’s trick. He was influencing my thoughts with his behaviour so I’d be pressured to think what he wanted me to.

I laughed his guess off and simply called him out on it.

“How incredibly vague yet conceited of you to think so,” I said, amused. “I thought this was a game of guessing my exact thoughts, not giving yourself a backwards compliment.”

However, this didn’t seem to deter him in the slightest and a smirk spread across his lips.
“You’re thinking… ‘why does he make me feel this way?”

I laughed again.

“I just told you that you can’t use ambiguous statements to win. It’s like bogus fortune-telling. It’s not going to work—.”

…And then his hand reached out and touched mine, tracing lightly against my skin. Spreading those sparks through my body that made my breath catch in my throat.

I stared at his hand as he gently enveloped my own, the warmth starting to make me lose concentration.

`Mine.’ That same unrelenting thought kept trying to force itself aloud.

He closed the final bit of distance between us, coming in until he was speaking almost directly into my ear. His scent making it impossible to breathe without his influence. And with one hand holding my own, his other moved to my waist to hold me in place.

“You’re thinking… ‘why does it feel like sparks against my skin?”

In surprise, I sharply looked back up towards him, only I found myself now merely inches away from him. So close, I could feel the warmth of his breath against me.

My gaze trailed down from his eyes until I became fixated on his lips, those thoughts from earlier starting to invade my mind once more. Wondering just what it would be like to feel them moving against mine. To taste what they looked to promise me.

`Mine.’

His hand then moved, coming up until it found my cheek and his thumb started tracing along my jaw. Sending more sparks through me. But the entire time he did that, I was still transfixed on his lips, watching them closely as he continued to speak.

“You’re thinking… that you want to kiss me.”

I closed my eyes a little as the pleasure of his presence started to sweep me away. Letting myself relax into the touch that made me feel so many emotions all at once.

I was giving myself over to him and there was nothing I could do. Nothing I wanted to do. Like a spell, he had me now completely at his mercy.

`Mine… mine….’

When he moved in closer, so close our lips were almost touching, I felt as a shiver went through my body. Tempting me to make the first move, as if promising me water after years of thirst.

I wanted it… I wanted him… and I finally felt that last piece of restraint melt away.
I started to give in, my own hand moving forward to touch him….

…But just as I was about to make contact, his words stopped me.

“…Mine…,” he whispered. …And it was enough for reality to kick back in. I quickly took a step out of his grasp, hugging my arms to my chest in horror.

“…How did you know that?” I demanded. “How could you possibly know that?! Out of every single word you could possibly say, you somehow manage to say that exact one?”

Kieran held up his hands to calm me, but it did little to soothe my fear.

“Relax,” he said. “It’s not a big deal. I can explain.”

But it didn’t feel like a light matter. It felt far from it.

“You didn’t answer me,” I said, gritting my teeth. “I asked how you knew that. How you knew any of that …..”

It was then that I started to think over everything that had just happened, taking a moment to realise just how crazy the whole encounter was. Something that was so batshit insane that I could only come to one conclusion.

“…Did you drug me?” I asked in a hushed voice.

He had to have. My feeling of illness and lack of control, my inability to make rational decisions. All of it could only be explained by one thing.

I quickly looked over to where my drink was and eyed it warily. It didn’t explain my initial reaction, but perhaps he’d also done something to me back when he disarmed my dagger.

“…What did you do to me?!” I asked again.

His eyes went wide, clearly not expecting me to say it … or maybe not expecting me to realise the truth. Either way, I didn’t trust him.

“Wait, what? No!” he said, offended. “Just calm down for a second.”

He tried to move closer but I instantly matched his step backwards.

“No! Don’t touch me!” I warned.

This caught the attention of a few people around us, briefly turning their heads to what the commotion was. Their faces filled with confusion and intrigue as they fed off the drama unfolding. Acting as if they were social vultures.

“…Raven,” Kieran hissed, grabbing back my attention. “Give me a moment to explain.”

But the last time I let him freely talk to me, he almost made me succumb to a state of unknown. A state where I had no control. And, in my life, control was everything. He should be lucky that his attempt of drugging me didn’t accidentally result in his death, because that was the true worst-case scenario here. Unleashing that creature could have ended in a massacre.

“…Raven.”

“No…,” I whispered. “No… I’m not doing this. F#ck it.”

No amount of punishment would be worth that risk. Not to mention that this man was clearly mentally ill if he could so easily drug a woman and then have the audacity tell her to calm down.

My father be damned, I was done. The way I saw it, this was going to end in disappointing him regardless.

I snatched my purse away from the counter and immediately started walking to the exit as fast as possible. Slow enough to not draw attention by onlookers, but still quick enough that I felt assured he wouldn’t be able to chase me without looking suspicious.

“Raven,” a deep familiar voice called out, sounding from somewhere behind me.

But I kept walking, refusing to meet the eyes of my father who I knew was watching me leave.

Internally, I was constantly checking myself as I made my way home via a taxi. Checking to make sure I didn’t randomly pass out or show other side effects of the drug. Telling myself over and over again that all I needed to do was get home and sleep it off.

And yet, the biggest side effect I was feeling wasn’t fatigue or drowsiness, as I would have expected. No, it felt almost like… loneliness. As if something was hollowing out my chest the further I travelled away from the event. A string tying me to what was waiting for me there.

…Or ‘who’ was waiting for me.

I shook off the thoughts instantly and gritted my teeth.

Whatever he gave me, I’d never seen anything like it. A drug with such a specific yet fast chemical reaction that it didn’t seem possible. A scientific breakthrough, for sure.

I did my best to distract my mind as I arrived back to my bedroom. Doing everything I could think of to stop myself from feeling the effects. But, ultimately, there seemed to be no escape.

And even as I slowly drifted off into sleep, there was still only one thing on my mind as I slept that night….

Kieran.

I awoke the next day feeling slightly better than when I’d gone to bed. And though the thoughts of him still lingered, I felt as though the whole thing wasn’t as fresh.

Perhaps it would take another day or so before the effects wore off completely?

I could only hope. This feeling of infatuation was dangerous.

“Raven,” a voice said suddenly from my door, breaking my thoughts.

I recognised it immediately.

Gavin.

“Please… I’m not feeling well enough for training today,” I yelled back. I was far too tired from the whole ordeal and just wanted a day to fully recover.

But as the door swung open anyway, revealing that it wasn’t only Gavin alone… I knew instantly what it meant.

“Morning Raven,” my father said. “Did you sleep well?”

Oh… no. No. No. No….

“…Please… please don’t do this, sir,” I said, panic starting to rise in my chest.

Gavin held his hand out, presenting me with the familiar handcuffs I would be required to wear.

“Please, father, no,” I begged again. “I was sick last night. I’m sorry. I’ll make it up to you, I swear.”

“Raven… don’t make this more difficult than it needs to be,” he said. “You know the rules. I already gave you another chance and you seemed to throw that back in my face. Embarrassing me in the process, no less. We don’t accept that sort of behaviour here.”

Gavin started walking towards me and I quickly scooted backwards until I was up against the headboard.

“No! No… no, don’t,” I pleaded.

“Hold your hands out,” he instructed, ignoring my cries.

But when I still refused to budge, Gavin reached forward and grabbed my hands, placing the cuffs on them accordingly. I tried to squirm away but there was nowhere I could escape.

“Time to go,” he simply said.

…And I realised then that they were really going to go through with this.

It had been years since I’d last undergone punishment. Years since I’d made such careless mistakes. Yet, even knowing what was ahead of me, I still made choices that would lead me here.

I made that choice last night, knowing the repercussions.

…Did I regret that now?

“Please… I’m sorry,” I said over and over, a tear falling down my cheek.

When was the last time I’d cried? Truthfully, I couldn’t entirely remember, but I quickly tried to brush it away, knowing that my father didn’t like it when I acted like a child.

“Raven, we’re going now,” Gavin repeated.

He reached out and grabbed my arms, attempting to pull me forwards, but I kept trying to evade.

“Stop resisting!” he hissed.

It was several more moments before he finally lost patience. When I still showed no signs of complying, he moved to my waist instead and hoisted me up over his shoulder.

“NO! No, please don’t!” I cried. “Please….”

I didn’t deserve this. I hadn’t done anything wrong. It was him. He drugged me.

It was all his fault.

With nothing else I could do, I looked up and over to the one voice that could put a stop to this. To the one person who could make this end right now.

…And I met his cold eyes.

“Please… papa, I’m sorry. I can be better, I swear.”

I could fix this. I could make it right. I just needed some time and some fresh air. Figure out a new strategy and I could get him what he wanted. Whatever he wanted.

I was still his raven, after all. I was still useful.

I could still help.

…But I was met with only silence and a stony stare.

When it was clear that no reply would be given, Gavin took this as his cue to leave, and began walking us out of my bedroom and down the hallway. And with every step he took, I squirmed and screamed out to my father. Hoping that deep down he would take pity and help me.

“PLEASE! PAPA! Please…,” I cried.

…I just needed to be better.

“PAPA!”

…I would do better.

“I’M SORRY!”

…But, soon, only my screams remained as they echoed through the house…

Echoing until they were finally only heard within the soundproof basement walls.

The basement where my punishment would begin.

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