For the first time ever, I was complete, wondrously happy and achingly content.
That’s it then? I have no say? I fissured, hurting beyond comprehension. Q was too spineless to do this himself. He ordered his staff to remove me like an unwanted pet. I laughed morbidly. I’m to be put down like some rabid poodle. It might be best if I was shot. How would I cope with everything?Franco chuckled. Hardly, esclave. You’re going home.
Home. The word didn’t conjure happiness and belonging anymore. It was foreign and bleak.Q cast me back to a world I never wanted to return to. Tossing me out like the unwanted Christmas present.Mrs. Sucre squeezed my shoulders, before dropping her hands and pushing me toward Franco. Go, now. Put this all behind you.
I dashed to Suzette, capturing her hands. Eyes flashed to mine; her pity made my heart bleed. I don’t want to go, Suzette. Running away was a huge mistake. You’ll explain to Q and let me stay, won’t you? You keep saying I’m good for him. That he’s a better man than I know. I want to be worthy, Suzette. I want to stay and hear his story.She unlatched my fingers, stepping back. I know, Tess, but it’s too late. Q brokered a deal with the police. No charges will be brought against him if he sends you home. This is the only way.
My heart ached so much it hurt to breathe. That was how he got the police to stay away. Giving me up to save his own ass.
No! I can’t go. I want to stay. I need to stay.If I hadn’t known what kind of punishment I’d get for it, I would have burst out into tears. I felt more stupid and ashamed the longer I stood there, but I couldn’t say anything. I couldn’t move. My tongue had swelled up to twice its usual size behind my clenched teeth. The thoughts buzzing around my head were light and edged with a strange milky quality. My eyes could barely focus now.
The laces are all wrong. His other arm wrapped around my left side, until there wasn’t an inch of his body that wasn’t pressed up against mine. Something new rose in my throat, and it tasted strongly of acid.The tables around us had gone completely quiet and still.
My silence only egged him on. With no warning, he picked up the bin of boots and flipped it over, so dozens of boots scattered across the length of the table with a terrible amount of noise. Now everyone in the Factory was looking. Everyone saw me, thrust out into the light.Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong! he sang out, knocking the boots around. But they weren’t. They were perfect. They were just boots, but I knew whose feet would slide into them. I knew better than to screw it up. Are you as deaf as you are dumb, Green?