I wake up feeling more drained than I’ve ever felt in my entire life. The bed is a mess. I was clearly thrashing around all night, dreaming of Titus. Even at home in my sleep I can’t get away from him.
For the first time in a long time, I feel lost. So many questions. What am I going to do about my company? What am I going to do about Titus? Do I sell to him or take Chuck and Bradley’s deal? Or do I stick it out a little longer and search for something better?
Maybe a miracle will happen. But probably not.
Leaving my robe, I get out of bed and head into the kitchen to start some coffee.
Maybe I’ll just stay in and take a mental health day—
“Look at that ass.”
“Oh my God!” I practically jump out of my skin at the sound of the stranger’s voice and whirl around to see Titus sitting on my couch with his feet up on the coffee table.
“It would look a lot better if it was nice and red.” He grins, showing me the palm of his hand.
“How did you get in here!?” I blurt out as I crouch down behind the island to hide my nakedness.
“Put the desk clerk’s son through college.” He shrugs and gets to his feet. He’s wearing a tight T-shirt and a pair of grey sweatpants that show off every line of his bulge, a blatant reminder of his incredible size. “You didn’t answer my calls.”
“Um, I don’t have a phone, d!ck!” I snap back. “It got ruined in the long walk home last night through the fvcking rain!”
“Walk? What are you doing walking when you’ve got a driver?”
“There was a – never mind that,” I stammer. There’s no way I’m going to admit to him my real reasons for doing what I did.
“That was a nice exit you made. Acting like a big shot. Pretending you were storming out of my office.”
He’s inhuman. Why is he acting like there’s nothing wrong between us? Does he not realize that what he did to me was wrong?
I can barely even look at him, but I force myself to. He’s not going to have control over me anymore.
“As romantic as this is,” I say sarcastically, “you need to leave. Now.”
“Nah.” He shakes his head. “I don’t think I will.”
It’s my apartment, but I want to get the fvck out of here. Forget a mental health day.
“I’ll leave, but you’re coming with me.”
This just cannot be happening. Titus seems to operate in a fantasy world where his reality is everyone’s reality. And I guess it makes sense. Being a billionaire myself, it’s incredible how many doors open for you and where your money can get you. I guess being a panty-melting hunk on top of all that could make you believe you were the ruler of the world.
“I’m not going anywhere,” I tell him. “Except to my room to get some clothes.”
I know he’s already seen me naked, but that doesn’t matter. He’s not seeing it again unless I let him. I race as fast as I can into my bedroom and into the walk-in closet, which I lock behind me.
“Ha!” I laugh at the door. “Can’t get me now, big man! You might as well just leave now because I’m not coming out!”
I expect some kind of retort. Maybe just an arrogant laugh. But there’s no response from Titus. I listen, but there’s not even a sound.
Did he actually just leave?
“Oh!” I leap back as something hard slams into the door from the other side. “Titus!”
The wood around the latch splinters. The doorframe begins to break from the wall.
“Titus, are you insane!?”
All it takes is another blow for the door to completely give way. Titus bursts into the walk-in like a bull, his face smug and eyes blazing.
“You really should get a panic room.”
“What the hell!?” I shout. “You’re paying for that!”
“Oh no,” he laughs, rolling his eyes. As he advances on me, I snatch an empty hanger and hold it out in front of me like a sword.
“Stay away from me!”
Titus bursts into laughter. “Or what, gladiator? You’ll hang me up with your dresses?”
I’ve always felt small compared to Titus, but right now I feel like an ant. Trapped in my own apartment, with no way of contacting the outside world and no way of escape, I’m completely at his mercy.
Part of me just wants to run. Escape. Get the hell out of here. But another part is dying for him to make a move.
Just take me. Touch me. Make me submit. Please give me one tiny ounce of the bliss you gave me before…I need it…
“What do you want?” I whisper. “Going to fvck me again?”
Titus stares, and for a moment, I’m sure he’s going to move in and become my master once more. His eyes scan me up and down without shame, pausing on all my most private bits. He’s seen them all before. I don’t know why it makes me blush, but it does. Then he shakes his head.
“No. No, I don’t think I will.”
My heart sinks at his answer. I feel like a teenager who’s just been rejected by her crush.
“Put some clothes on,” he says casually. “We leave in ten.”
And with that, he turns and leaves the room through the door he just destroyed.
“Wait, what?” I race after him and grab him by the wrist. “Leave in ten? What are you talking about?”
Titus glances down at my hand and smiles. “Better watch where you put those. Maybe I will fvck you. The plane will wait for me.”
“Plane?” I gasp. “I’m not getting on any plane with you.”
“Sure you are. We’re taking a little vacation. You need one.”
He’s right. But on the other hand – what the fvck? Again, he looks me up and down, and I realize I’m still naked. Just touching him on the wrist has my body going crazy, so I quickly let go and take a step back.
“I’m going to go get dressed,” I say slowly. “And when I come back, you are going to be gone. Okay?”
Titus chuckles. “Sure.”
I walk away from him, covering my butt with both hands until I get back to the walk-in, then quickly slide into some jeans and a T-shirt. It’s pretty obvious he’s lying, and it’s quickly confirmed when I go back out and find him waiting in the kitchen.
“Casual Chanel,” he remarks. “Not sure I like it.”
“Oh, so you want to tell me what to wear now?” I ask.
“Go back and put on a skirt and a cute top. Something sexy.”
“Oh, and some lingerie underneath?” I counter.
“Don’t bother with the lingerie. Or panties. I’ll just be taking them off anyway.”
This is insane. Does he not remember what he made me do last night? I might go along with something like this if he was actually sincere, but this is just another power play. He’s trying to butter me up so he can get ahold of my company, and I’m not about to let him.
“No,” I reply, crossing my arms. “I’m not changing, and I’m not going anywhere with you.”
Titus frowns and gives me a look I’ve never seen before. It’s scary, but not like I’m afraid for my physical safety. It’s almost like he’s confused, and I’ve never seen anything like that in him before.
“What is your deal?” he asks.
“What do you mean?”
“Why are you being like this? I’m trying to do something nice for you, and you’re being a pain in my ass.”
“Something nice?” All I can do is repeat his words. My head is spinning so fast I can’t even grab hold of one of my own thoughts.
“I called your office and explained you’d be out,” he continues. “And I planned everything. So why are you making this hard on me? I mean, I know we have our thing, but come on.”
Yeah. This is a mind fvck, but I’m pretty sure he isn’t doing it intentionally.
“Titus,” I say slowly, processing as I speak. “I’m not falling for this.”
“Falling for what?”
“Your little romantic attempt to get ahold of my company.”
“Is that what you think this is?” he asks.
I shrug. “What else could it be? You were pretty clear about how you feel about me last night.”
Again, that look like he doesn’t understand me. Have I gone crazy and stepped into an alternate reality where last night didn’t happen?
“What the hell are you talking about?” he asks.
“You threw me out of your office!” I blurt out, fighting back tears. “You wanted to shame me in front of your whole staff!” But it’s no use. The tears begin to fall, and this time, I don’t even care. I’m a broken woman. Used, abused, and discarded. My life is in ruins, and it’s only going to get worse when I lose everything I’ve built. “I was stupid to think you actually cared about me…”
I expect him to just walk out. Even for a monster like Titus, dealing with a hysterical woman is too much hassle. Crying, I lean against the counter and wait for him to leave. But he doesn’t. In fact, he comes right over to me and wraps his arms around me – not like a master, but like a boyfriend. And to my surprise, I let him.
“I do care about you, Chanel. Why do you think I did those things I did to you?”
“I-I don’t know,” I sob, trying not to let myself give in to his touch.
“I was giving you what you needed, baby. You needed to relinquish control, and you didn’t even know it.
Baby…did he just call me baby?
My skin goes hot. I’m blushing. Every time I think I have a handle on him, Titus pulls a 180 on me. He’s completely unpredictable and infuriatingly right.
“I’m sorry if you thought I don’t care about you.” He steps closer and takes my hands in his. There’s strength there, but he’s being gentle for the first time. “Nothing could be further from the truth.”
My mind is telling me not to trust him. But my instincts are screaming at me to let go. Put myself in his hands once again and see where he takes me.
He’s my enemy, but also my salvation. I need him now more than ever, and he knows that. He isn’t here to destroy me; he’s here to save me.
Titus squeezes my hands, and I start to melt for him. I know, even if I tried to resist, that I’m going with him today. So I do the only thing I can do. I nod my head and say, “Okay.”