Suddenly, I can hear him groaning against my ear and feel him getting even thicker and longer inside me. His cock is pulsing and jerking deep within me, and I know that he found his release as well.

In the aftermath, he rolls off me and gathers me to him, holding me close.

And I cry in his arms, seeking solace from the very person who is the cause of my tears.

Afterwards, my mind is foggy, my thoughts strangely jumbled. He carries me somewhere, and I lie limply in his arms, like a rag doll.

Now he’s washing me. I’m standing in the shower with him. I’m vaguely surprised that my legs can hold me upright.

There is blood on my thighs. I can see it mixing with the water, running down the drain. Also, there’s something sticky between my legs. His semen, most likely. He hadn’t used protection.

I might now have an STD. I should be horrified by the thought, but I just feel numb. At least pregnancy isn’t something I have to be concerned about. As soon as I got serious with Rob, my mom insisted on taking me to the doctor to get a birth control implant in my arm. As a nursing assistant at a nonprofit women’s clinic, she saw far too many teenage pregnancies and wanted to make sure the same thing didn’t happen to me.

I’m so grateful to her right now.

While I’m pondering all this, Julian washes me thoroughly, shampooing and conditioning my hair. He even shaves my legs and armpits.

Once I’m squeaky clean and smooth, he shuts off the water and guides me out of the shower.

He dries me with a towel first and then himself. Afterwards, he wraps me in a fluffy robe and carries me to the kitchen to feed me.

I eat what he puts in front of me. I don’t even taste it. It’s a sandwich of some kind, but I don’t know what’s in it. He also gives me a glass of water, which I gulp down eagerly.

I vaguely hope that he’s not drugging me, but I don’t really care if he is. I’m so tired I just want to pass out.

After I’m done eating and drinking, he leads me back to the bathroom.

“Go ahead, brush your teeth,” he says, and I stare at him. He cares about my oral hygiene?

I do want to brush my teeth, though, so I do as he says. I also use the restroom to pee. He considerately leaves me alone for that.

Then he takes me back to the room. Somehow the bed now has fresh sheets on it, with no traces of blood anywhere. I’m thankful for that.

He kisses me lightly on the lips, leaves the room, and locks the door.

I’m so exhausted that I walk over to the bed, lie down, and instantly fall asleep.

When I wake up, my mind is completely clear. I remember everything, and I want to scream.

I jump out of bed, noticing that I’m still wearing the robe from last night. The sudden movement makes me aware of a deep inner soreness, and my lower body tightens at the memory of how I got to be that sore. I can still feel his fullness inside me, and I shudder at the recollection.

I am sickened and disgusted with myself. What is wrong with me? How could I have just lain there and let Julian have sex with me? How could I have found pleasure in his embrace?

Yes, he’s good-looking, but that’s no excuse. He’s evil. I know it. I sensed it from the very beginning. His outer beauty hides a darkness inside.

I have a feeling he’s only begun to reveal his true nature to me.

Yesterday I had been too frightened, too traumatized to pay attention to my surroundings. I’m feeling much better today, so I carefully study this room.

There is a window. It’s covered by thick ivory shades, but I can still see a little sunlight peeking through.

I rush to it, pulling open the shades, and blink at the sudden bright light. It takes a few seconds for my eyes to adjust, and then I look outside.

The bottom drops out of my stomach.

The window is not hermetically sealed or anything like that. In fact, it looks like I could easily open it and climb out. This room is on the second floor, so I could maybe even make it to the ground without breaking anything.

No, the window is not the problem.

I can see palm trees and a white sandy beach. Beyond it, there is a large body of water, blue and shimmering in the bright sun.

And about as different as possible from my little town in the Midwest.

I’m cold again. So cold that I’m shivering. I know it’s from stress because the temperature must be somewhere in the eighties.

I’m pacing up and down the room, occasionally pausing to look out the window.

Every time I look, it’s like a punch to the stomach.

I don’t know what I’d been hoping. I honestly hadn’t had a chance to think about my location. I’d just sort of assumed that he would keep me somewhere in the area, maybe near Chicago where we’d first met. I’d thought that all I had to do in order to escape is find a way out of this house.

Now I realize it’s far more complicated than that.

I try the door again. It’s locked.

A few minutes ago, I had discovered a small bathroom attached to this room. I used it to take care of my basic needs and to brush my teeth. It had been a nice distraction.

Now I’m pacing like a caged animal, growing more terrified and angry with every minute that passes.

Finally, the door opens, and a woman comes inside.

I’m so shocked that I simply stare. She’s fairly young—maybe in her early thirties—and pretty.