24 July 2024

05 – Safe and sound

Cold. Hunger. Thirst. Blood. Screams. More blood. Jacob Seed’s voice, sometimes encouraging, sometimes punishing. More blood. Suffocation. And finally, fresh air.

Completely disoriented, alone in the night, the deputy dragged herself with difficulty to a road, hoping to find a vehicle. Luckily, a pick-up truck stopped and the driver invited her to get in, holding out his hand to help her into the passenger seat. He looked at her in shock. Obviously, she looked creepy.

— What are you doing in the middle of the forest at night, Miss ?
— Jacob Seed had me.
— Holy crap ! Damn it ! You all right ?
— Yeah, I will be, thanks.
— You want me to drop you off at the clinic ?
— No, no, I’m fine. Thank you, though. At Fall’s End, could you ?
— Of course !

She felt intense fatigue but still could not fall asleep. She didn’t feel safe and couldn’t afford to fall asleep until she was.

After half an hour, Fall’s End’s lights appeared through the windshield. She played out the next events in her head. She would go to Spread Eagle… No. Not to Spread Eagle. I don’t want a crowd forming around me. I need to rest.

She visualized the little house next to the bar that the resistance had put at her disposal for the time of her stay. Someone else’s house, a family that had been kidnapped by Eden’s Gate, or had joined it voluntarily, who knows. In any case, this shack had a home in name only, as it was cold and impersonal. I don’t want to be alone, not tonight. Her thoughts returned for a moment to the cult. How about…? Yeah, not the most amazing idea, but I don’t feel like doing anything else. There is only one place where I will feel safe from Jacob tonight.

—  Could you please keep going ?
—  You’re not stopping at Fall’s End anymore ?
—  I have something to do first. It had gone out of my head.
—  All right. Where do you want me to drop you off ?
—  Seed ranch, please.

The old man gave her a worried look, but considering the determined tone she had used, he thought it wiser not to intervene.

She thanked him with a friendly wave as the vehicle pulled away into the night. Well, hit or miss !

She gathered her last bit of strength to drag herself to the property fence, where two henchmen intercepted her. After a quick search, they dragged her to the front door. One of them started yelling.

—  Mr. Seed ! John !

In a few moments, the door opened on the Baptist, visibly irritated that his men were disturbing him so late in the evening.

—  What’s going on ?
—  Look what we found wandering around your property !

The man shifted to give his boss a free view. His mouth twisted into a scowl when he saw her. The other henchman was holding her at arm’s length, she looked exhausted and was covered in blood and dirt. Jacob, damn it…

—  Bring her to me and go back to watching the area.
—  But, John, she’s dangerous…
—  I’ll be fine. Look at her, in her condition we risk nothing.
—  But…
—  Don’t question my orders or you’ll have to deal with Joseph !

The cultist bowed slightly in submission and, after supporting the policewoman to the front door, he and his sidekick both hurried out of Seed’s sight.

—  Damn, wrath. What the hell are you doing here ? Are you injured ?
—  No… it’s Jacob… he released me… I have no place to go… I thought… I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have come !
—  Stop your bullshit. Come in, hurry !

She hesitated for a moment and then, staggering, approached the threshold and tried to crouch down.

—  What the hell are you doing ?
—  I’m taking my shoes off.

He grabbed her by the arm and pulled her inside.

—  Don’t give a shit about your shoes ! Come in, right now !

Once in the living room, she staggered once more. The Baptist supported her to the couch, where he helped her sit down. Damn, she’s floating in her clothes…

—  When was the last time you ate something ?
—  I don’t know… it was… the last time was here. Scrambled eggs.

He clenched his fists. It’s been 5 days… Jacob’s training is effective, but he sometimes overdoes it !

—  You’re shaking.

He grabbed the plaid neatly folded on the couch arm and wrapped the deputy in it. He ran his hand over her cheek.

—  You’re bleeding…
—  Not my blood… I’m so cold. I’m tired. I want to sleep.
—  Don’t move. I’ll get something to warm you up.

He got up to put two more logs in the fireplace and headed for the kitchen. He returned a few moments later with a bowl of soup and a cup of tea.

—  Here, this will make you feel better. Wrath ?

She had fallen asleep in the position he had left her in. He gently shook her by the shoulders to wake her up, unsuccessfully. He knelt down to untie her laces and remove her boots. He hesitated a few moments. She’s the enemy, John. What will Joseph say if he finds out you helped her ? On the other hand, he blames you when you bully her. It would be hypocritical if he blamed you.

He picked up the deputy’s inert body and threw it over his shoulder, as he would have done with a flour bag, then headed for the stairs. Funny, that slight feeling of déjà vu…

* * *

Where am I ? Am I dead ? Where is Jacob ? As soon as she managed to open her eyelids, she felt secure. She was in a bed, a comfortable bed. Her heavy, aching body did not want to obey her. She was reassured, however, when she saw her hand sticking out of her sleeve. I’m dressed, no one has abused me. It was daylight, but despite that she felt unable to get up. She was exhausted. She tried to gather the fragments of memories which remained to her. John. I’m at the ranch. That was all that mattered to her. Comforted, she let herself fall back into a deep sleep.

She was woken again, this time by a gentle hand shaking her shoulder.

—  Hey, wrath. Wake up. No more sleeping in !

She painfully opened her eyes, dazzled by the sun’s rays already high in the sky. She painfully turned around to face her interlocutor. John Seed was sitting on the edge of the bed, a smile on his face. His drawn features and crumpled shirt testified of a short night. She opened her mouth to articulate in a broken voice.

—  I hurt all over. What did you do to me ?
—  I didn’t do anything to you. You stink too much for that !

She swept her eyes over the bed. It was stained with dirt, as were her clothes and the inside of her palms, which she looked at briefly. Shocked, she tried to stand up, but he held her by the shoulders.

—  Eh, slowly ! Your stomach is empty, do not go there too hard.
—  I’m sorry for your bed !
—  Don’t worry about it, I’ll clean it. Try to get up gently, I’ve made you some breakfast.

Nauseated by the thought of a meal, she placed both hands on her stomach.

—  I’m not hungry.

He frowned sternly.

—  You have to eat, deputy. You haven’t eaten anything in five days.
—  But I swear I’m not hungry. I feel sick just talking about food. I need a shower.
—  Okay. I’ll help you up if you promise me that after you wash up, you’ll eat.
—  If you want. Whatever.

He bent over her to help her up and supported her to the bathroom. As soon as he pretended to let go of her, she staggered, ready to fall over. He sat her down on the tub’s edge.

—  Obviously, you’re not going to make it. I’ll shower you.
—  No way !
—  What do you want to do, then ? You can’t stand on your own !

She blankly stared at the tile floor. I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to be touched. I want to stand on my own.

When she didn’t have an answer, he took the initiative.

—  Here’s what we’re going to do : I’m going to run you a bath. Then I’ll get out of here, and you can call me when you’re done. I’ve asked my men to get me some clean clothes for you. I’ll bring them to you. Is that okay for you ?

She nodded silently, her eyes still fixed on the floor. The Baptist turned on the hot water faucet and placed the plug in the bottom of the tub. He grabbed one of the many bottles stored on the shelf and poured a few drops into the water. As the tub filled and a pleasant warmth filled the room, he offered his support once again.

—  Do you want me to help you take off your clothes ?
—  No !
—  As you wish.

He grabbed a towel and washcloth from the shelf and placed them on the tub’s edge, then headed for the door.

—  John, wait !
—  What ?
—  You’re not bathing with me ?
—  No, deputy. Call me if you need anything. I’ll get you some clothes.

He gently closed the door behind him. He felt relieved that she hadn’t accepted his help. Even though she was still pleasant to look at, he would not have been pleased to lay eyes on her in this state.

He undid the sheet and bed covers, which were covered with dried mud and blood, and took them to be washed. Holy shit. What the hell did she do to get so dirty ? Did he make her crawl through an obstacle course ? The sound of running water stopped as he finished removing the last pillowcase. The bathtub was certainly full. He knocked on the door.

—  Can I come in ?
—  No !
—  I must take your clothes to the laundry. I won’t look, I promise.

After a few moments, she weakly answered.

—  Okay.

He crept into the bathroom, careful not to direct his gaze to the tub. At least she got in. He quickly picked up the clothes she had dropped on the floor and immediately left the room.

She felt relieved as soon as he closed the door. She sat curled up in the tub, arms around her knees, the warmth of the water vaguely comforting her body up to her shoulders. Jacob’s trial had affected her far more than she wanted to let on.

Cold. Hunger. Thirst. Then blood. So much blood. Their blood, the blood of the resistance members, the Whitetails. You shot them. Jacob made me do it by getting inside my head. Maybe, but in the end, you were the one who pulled the trigger. Their deaths splattered on your face. Silent tears flowed from her eyes, down her cheeks to mingle with the blood and dirt stained water around her body.

After twenty minutes that seemed interminable, the Baptist decided to check out what she was doing. He gently knocked on the door. There was no answer. He ventured into the room, looking cautiously toward the tub. Did she go back to sleep ?

Damn, what a color of water ! He approached her and gently shook her by the shoulders. She flinched in shock, shaking off all the dirt around her.

—  Hey, it’s me deputy ! It’s just me !
—  What are you doing here ?
—  I came to bring you some clean clothes and help you downstairs for breakfast.

He gestured to the pile of clothes he had placed on the shelf. He noticed the towel and washcloth still neatly folded on tub’s edge.

—  It’s okay, I am grown up enough to manage.
—  Oh well. Did you wash up ?
—  Shit. Yes.
—  No, you didn’t. Don’t lie to me. Your hair is stuck with dried blood. The water is disgusting. I’ll empty it and help you clean yourself up.
—  No ! Don’t touch me, please !

She had raised a pleading and frightened look at him. He shrugged.

—  You have to wash yourself. I’ll run clean water, and we’ll let the old one run out at the same time. I’ll take care of your hair, and you clean your body. Is that okay for you ?

She seemed to hesitate for a moment, then nodded. I don’t really have a choice.

—  Good. I’ll lean over to you now, just to pull the plug, okay ? I’m not touching you.

Another silent nod. He rolled up his shirt sleeves, turned the hot water faucet, removed the plug and grabbed the shower head and turned it on.

—  Tilt your head back.

She complied without flinching. Oh my God. What a nice feeling. The warm water on my head, my shoulders, my back… The Baptist slid each of his hands through her hair in turn to lift it off her head.

He turned off the water, grabbed a bottle from the shelf and poured some of its contents between his palms. He began to gently rub the deputy’s scalp with his fingertips, scraping away the remnants of dirt and blood. He then stretched his phalanges in her lengths, until the points.

It’s so nice to have someone take care of me. It hasn’t happened to me in a long time. But this is wrong, so wrong. If the resistance knew, they would never forgive me. Yet none of my friends in Hope County have helped me like this, until now. Anyway, I’m in no position to rebel. For now.

Against all odds, a feeling of relaxation came over her at the gentle touch of the Baptist’s phalanges on her head. She surprised herself to moan, eyes closed.

His fingers still in the deputy’s hair, John smiled at the sound of the satisfied sigh. He had seen her muscles relax and the stress leave her little by little. His own stomach was screaming for food, yet he had eaten dinner the night before. He wondered how she could pretend not to be hungry. She absolutely had to eat something. Now.

—  You still haven’t washed, wrath. Hurry up, or I’ll do it.
—  Don’t you dare touch me !
—  Ah, you’re coming to your senses. Good.

He grabbed the washcloth and threw it into the water in front of her, splashing her face in the process.

—  Don’t make me say it again, or you’ll regret it.

Without granting him a glance, she seized the sponge in a resigned way and began to rub her shoulders, while the Baptist was busy rinsing her hair.

After a few moments, he felt she had done the bare minimum and turned off the faucet. She remained curled up in the tub, fearing his gaze as the water slowly trickled out.

—  I’m not looking.

As if to back up his words, he unfurled the towel and wrapped it around her, then embraced her to help her up. She was still staggering, but her face had regained some color. He sat her down on the edge of the bathtub and handed her the clean clothes.

—  Get dressed, I’ll wait for you in the bedroom. Don’t hang around, I’m hungry.

Once he was out of the room, she looked at the clothes on her lap. The outfit consisted of a gray cotton indoor jogging suit, it looked comfortable. The pants and sweatshirt were matched with a branded boxer. She smiled. I’m sure those boxers belong to him, I’d be surprised if his henchmen wore that kind of thing. She painfully put on the clothes and went in the room with a feverish step.

He was waiting for her, sitting on the bed. She scanned the scene. No trace of her passage remained on the fresh and clean sheets. He’s efficient ! As soon as he saw her, he got up to join her.

—  Are you kidding me, wrath ? You didn’t dry your hair…

She looked up to the sky. Please, leave me alone. He pointed to the bed with a stern look.

—  Sit down.

She complied. He went to the bathroom and returned immediately with a new towel. He vigorously rubbed her head and her hair until he was satisfied with the result. How picky he can be ! He took another minute to untangle her lengths with a comb.

—  Good. Now we can go eat.

* * *

She found herself sitting at the kitchen counter, just like the time she had spent the night at the ranch. It was loaded with food. He had prepared scrambled eggs, cut bread, poured her orange juice and tea, but she had no appetite. He was busy at the gas stove, which gave her a bit of a break.

The sound of crackling oil soon echoed through the room, along with the smell of roasting. What is he cooking ? Bacon ? Oh my God… She was suddenly shaken by spasms and a violent urge to vomit, but nothing came out of her empty stomach. The Baptist turned around just in time to see her spread her jaw wide, a stream of bile running from her mouth. He rushed to her to wipe her lips with his sleeve.

—  What’s going on ?

She looked up at him in terror.

—  He gave me some… meat.

Very precise memories came back to her now. Jacob had starved her, but he had also thrown her a bowl of raw flesh on the third day. She had pounced on it, and when he was sure she had swallowed it all, he had smiled cruelly and said, in a soft voice, “At least those Whitetails did you a favor once”.

She had another convulsive fit and sobbed.

—  He made me eat human flesh.

The Baptist stared at her in disbelief. I can’ t believe Joseph thinks I’m the crazy one ! He clenched his fists. Apparently, Jacob was not sparing himself from having fun with the recruits, while he himself was watched relentlessly by the Father, and the slightest deviation was immediately blamed on him. Coming back to the present moment, he tried to divert the subject.

—  Would you prefer a vegetable soup ?

She nodded silently. He removed the eggs and bread from the table, quickly heated up the leftover soup from the night before and served it to her. She forced herself to swallow a few spoonfuls. At least it tastes good. When she put the spoon down, he looked at her sternly.

—  No, wrath. I’m not giving you anything. Finish that bowl.

She opened her eyes in surprise. What gives him the right to order me around ? An idea crossed the Baptist’s mind. Perhaps if he occupied her mind, she would eat mechanically. Innocently, he asked her.

—  How about a “Power of Yes” game ?

Resigned, she nodded, her eyes fixed on her soup bowl.

—  Well, I’ll start then. Feeling better ?

She nodded.

—  I think the game rules state a clear “yes” or “no”, no other answer.

She looked up at him and said in a low voice.

—  Yes.

He gave her an encouraging look before continuing.

—  Do you enjoy this soup ?
—  Yes.
—  Fine. I made it myself. Will you finish your bowl, to honor it and please me ?
—  Yes. But not to please you, just to get you off my back.

The ploy seemed to work. She had started to slowly eat again.

—  Are you still tired ?
—  Yes.
—  You can rest here as much as you like. But after that, you’ll run off to meet your little resistance buddies. I have work obligations, and babysitting is not my thing.

She looked up at him. Seed’s eyes were sparkling with playfulness. He made her smile slightly. Ah, I like that better. If you’re smiling, all may not be hopeless.

—  Are you finished ?
—  Yes.
—  Great. Do you want to get some warmth in the living room, near the fireplace ?
—  Yes.

He got up to help her move, but the soup had given her some strength and she stood up on her own. Her legs were still cottony, but at least her head had stopped spinning and she was standing on her feet. He stood cautiously behind her, ready to catch her if she fell, as she made her way to the living room.

She slumped into the sofa, gazing at the fire dancing in the hearth. He sat down next to her.

—  What do you want to do ?

The deputy shrugged her shoulders. Her gaze unconsciously went to the library, filled with books from floor to ceiling, which did not escape Seed’s notice. He got up to reach the shelf.

—  Shall we read a book ?

She nodded. He pretended to take his time selecting the book. Actually, the choice was already made. He grabbed a thick white leather book with a golden cross on its cover and sat down next to her.

—  Let me do the reading for you. Make yourself comfortable.

She didn’t seem to want to comply. He could see that she was not warmed up, the skin of her thin wrists showing a blatant goosebump. He lay down in the length of the sofa, back wedged against the armrest. He brought back his legs on the couch and bent his knees.

—  Come here. Sit down between my legs and lean on me.

She fixed him, dubious. He drew her authoritatively to him and placed her shoulder blades against his chest, forcing her to curl up between his thighs and rest her head on his shoulder. She grunted in displeasure, but he ignored her little rebellious act. He seized the plaid and covered their two bodies with it. He took the Book of Joseph and opened it before her. He read in a low voice.

The messenger is often attacked for delivering bad news
You will hear a great deal about me :
People will tell you that I am a liar, a cheat, a conman
A mad man, and even a murderer.
People will tell you anything and everything
Because I am the bearer of bad news,
Because I am the messenger…”

She quickly let the softness of Seed’s voice wash over her. She now felt serene, calm, quiet. The words did not make sense to her, only their rhythm rocked her. The pleasant warmth emanating from John’s chest had quickly warmed her still aching back, and the embrace of his arms cradled her shoulders in a cozy way. I feel so good. Hold me to you forever. She jerked at the thought — No, pull yourself together ! —  and she fell into a deep sleep.

As he was reading, John felt her relax more and more. Now her chest rose and fell very slowly, her breathing barely audible. His own eyelids were beginning to feel heavy. He hadn’t slept much or well last night, on the same sofa. He had spent some time wondering. Why had she come to him ? Why hadn’t she asked the resistance for help ? He then had replayed for many hours the treatments Jacob was giving to his recruits, wondering which ones she had “benefited” from.

Even though he didn’t care about her fate, his self-pride made him want to be the only one who could inflict bad treatment on her. In fact, he congratulated himself on having led her on since she had shown up at the ranch last night. She had obeyed obediently. He was in control, as always.

He placed the book, which suddenly seemed heavier than usual, on the sleeping deputy’s belly. He hugged her with both arms. You are mine, it is simply to establish my power on you that I’m holding you against me. He suddenly realized how pleasant the situation was. Oddly enough, he also felt calm and serene, a setting that he had never experienced since his childhood. A surprising desire took him. He slowly approached his lips to the sleeper’s hair to kiss it gently, then fell into Morpheus’ arms.

* * *

When she opened her eyelids for the third time that day, the deputy had to think again to situate herself in time and space. Ah yes. John’s ranch. God, I’m so hot ! It took her a few seconds to realize that they had both fallen asleep on the sofa, one against another, and that he was hugging her. Her gaze went to the open book on her stomach. Damn, Joseph’s book ! This dirty manipulator does not miss any  opportunity !

She released herself with precaution from the plaid, delicately removing the Baptist’s arms not to wake him up. She got up silently and headed for the kitchen. How hungry I am !

Standing in front of the refrigerator, she carefully examined each shelf. It was well stocked with various leftovers, fruits, and vegetables. He takes care of his health. Too bad the adage of a healthy mind in a healthy body doesn’t apply to him. She chuckled at the thought. Resuming her careful examination, her gaze fell on a plate with half a chicken on it. Thinking back to Jacob, she winced. She finally opted for a glass box containing already cut vegetables.

She gasped as she closed the refrigerator door. She was so shocked to find Seed standing there that she dropped the dish, which shattered on the floor, spilling its contents on the kitchen tiles.

—  Oh, you scared me ! What an idiot !
—  I can see ! I caught you red-handed !

She shamefully looked at the ground and began to pick up the broken glass. Seed bent down to make her stand up.

—  No, don’t worry about it, we’ll take care of it later. I’m starving too. Now move over, if you step on this I’ll have to treat you again.

She smiled. Sometimes he had a real talent for defusing embarrassing situations. Almost as great as he was at making uncomfortable ones worse. He opened a cupboard and took out some canned green beans.

—  Is that okay ?

Still smiling, she nodded happily. They both sat down at the counter, side by side. Seed took two forks from the drawer and handed one to her, before dipping his into the can he had just opened.

—  Bon appétit !

She couldn’t stop smiling. Why does he make me laugh like that ? He looked at her out of the corner of his eye as she took her own turn at biting into some beans. It’s the first time she’s ever smiled like that. I think I kind of like it.

They quickly finished their frugal meal, which had been good enough for the deputy whose stomach was not ready to accept more food too quickly. John got up from the table.

—  I have to shower, I haven’t been able to do it yet today. Can I leave you alone, you’re not going to do anything stupid ?

She gave him a sad look.

—  What ?

She stared at the floor, embarrassed.

Now she has something embarrassing to tell me. Come on, spit it out !

—  What is it, deputy ?
—  Please, don’t leave me alone. Can I come with you ?
—  In the shower ??? Is she out of her mind ?
—  Yes. I don’t feel clean yet. Liar. But it’s the only way I can justify asking.
—  Uh, well, okay. If you wish. Come on.

He held out a hand, which she took to follow him as he headed for the living room stairs. She stopped in the middle of the stairs, out of breath.

—  Are you all right ?
—  Yes, I’m just feeling a bit dizzy.
—  I’m not sure it’s a good idea to take a shower right now. You’re obviously not fully recovered.
—  I’ll be fine. I want to take that damn shower with you !

He waited to let her catch her breath. She painfully got up and finished climbing the stairs that led to the room. They went in the bathroom, where the Baptist began to undo his vest’s buttons. She remained motionless, watching him.

—  Stop looking at me like that, wrath. It is embarrassing ! It turns me on.

John Seed can feel embarrassment, first news.

—  Are you going to take your clothes off or just watch me ?

Confidence had returned to her. She took off her sweatshirt, her sweatpants, without batting an eyelid. She wore nothing but the underpants she suspected of belonging to him. He devoured her with his eyes.

—  Still so pretty, even some pounds lighter.

She blushed.

He had removed his shirt and was calmly detaching his watch to put it on the edge of the wash-hand basin, just like the bunker key. When he turned to face her, she noticed with horror that a huge bandage was hiding the left side of his lower abdomen. She could not help questioning him.

—  What is it ?
—  Oh, that ? Nothing, my tattoo got a little infected.
—  The lust one ?
—  Yes.

Noticing her worried look, he added.

—  It’s just to protect it from dirt.

He took down his jeans and boxer in one shot, with no embarrassment. As she remained motionless, he addressed a smile to her.

—  Don’t be shy. I already saw all that there was to see. I’ve even tasted it.

Gathering her courage, she quickly removed her underwear and entered the bathtub, where he joined her. She turned to face the wall so she wouldn’t have to face Seed’s gaze. What a stupid girl ! What did you have in mind when you proposed this shower together ? She felt him leaning in close to her.

A second later, a pleasant warm water stream was drenching her back. She sighed. She couldn’t get enough of this sensation that seemed to purify both her soul and body. The Baptist pushed her gently.

—  Hey, can you give me some space ? The whole spray is on you.

She shyly shifted to make room for him. He grunted.

—  No, not like that. Come close to me, so we can both enjoy it.

She did not have time to protest that he had already passed his arm around her and attracted her to him, placing his palm on her stomach. For the second time of the day, she found herself snuggled up against him, her shoulder blades stuck to his chest. Only this time, we are naked. A feeling of embarrassment invaded her, reddening her cheeks. He moved behind her. What is he doing ? A clicking sounded. Ah, he’s opening some shower gel bottle. Phew. He abandoned her waist to make the product foam in his palms, in front of her. She observed his hands covered with tattoos. I love his hands. Lay them on me. No ! What am I thinking ? Oh, damn it.

She shyly raised her arms to put her hands on John’s, still lathering the product. He paused, surprised. What’s she doing ? I thought she wanted to avoid any contact. He casually resumed his operation and spread his hands, obliging her also to spread hers. He approached her ear with his lips and whispered.

—  Do you want me to wash you ? I want to touch you so badly.

She shyly answered.

—  Yes, please. Touch me.

He slowly moved his hands towards her to put them on her belly, and began circular gestures, sliding gently towards her hips.

—  Does it feel good like this ? Fuck, I want her so bad. Oh boy, contain yourself.
—  Yes.

He moved up her sides. Damn. He could definitely feel her ribs. He gently massaged her forearms and biceps, going up to her shoulders. She shyly murmured.

—  I believe that I am clean, thank you. We must stop before it goes too far.
—  Already ? Don’t you want me to wash your back a little ?
—  Okay. I didn’t get to do it this morning.
—  Move forward a little.

Disobeying, she turned around to face him. He gave her a questioning look. She moved closer until their chests were pressed together.

—  Well, what’s happened since that morning when I wasn’t supposed to come near you at any cost ? Is it the green beans ? If she keeps this up, I won’t be able to control myself.
—  This way you can put your hands behind my back. To get some product on me.
—  Yes, of course, why else ? Does she want me to touch her ?

He complied. She buried her face against his chest and stretched her arms behind him to embrace his neck. He tightened her against him. Shit, I cannot hide it anymore. She felt him hardening against her belly. She did not react. It’s kind of flattering. Does It mean I’m not so horrible to look at ? I haven’t seen myself in a mirror since I got back.

She reached for the bottle of gel and poured some between her palms, still around Seed’s neck. She laid them on his shoulder blades, massaging to lather the product. She moved away from him and slid down his shoulders and arms, gently rubbing his skin. When she reached his wrists, she broke the touch to better rest her palms on the Baptist’s hips.

She alternated the massages between his sides and his chest, carefully avoiding the bandage. She lifted her gaze to stare into his eyes as her hands shamelessly traveled down his belly, until she reached for his erection, which she confidently grabbed.

—  Wrath… if you do this, I’ll have to fuck you. Oh, how rough, just saying that.
—  John… Oh, how inappropriate. How exciting. Take me ! Oh, shit ! Did I just think that out loud ?!?
—  What ?

She stared into the Baptist’s eyes, before answering, very slowly and articulating each syllable.

—  Make love to me, John. Now. I want you. I need you.
—  Hold onto me tight, wrath.

She complied and threw her arms around his neck to clutch it. He tackled her against the wall and seized her thigh, which he raised to make her pass her leg around him. He brutally sank in her, tearing off her a surprised shout. He stopped.

—  Does that hurt ?
—  Would you like it to hurt me ?
—  I would love it.
—  Then yes, it is painful. Hurt me more, John.

He penetrated her again, hitting her hard with his hips. She gasped as her nails dug deeper and deeper into the Baptist’s shoulders. How good it is, to feel alive and desired. He may be a huge asshole, but he’s a good fuck.

Seized by a sudden dizzy feeling, she weakened under Seed’s assaults. He barely held her back as she nearly collapsed.

—  Hey, deputy, what’s wrong ?
—  I’m just feeling dizzy.

He stepped back to turn off the shower and grabbed her by the shoulders to sit her down on the bottom of the tub.

—  What are you doing ? Don’t stop now, please !
—  I’m adjusting.

He turned on the hot water faucet and plugged the drain. The water quickly rose. He sat back down in the tub, half lying down, and held his arms out to her.

—  Come over me.

She complied and impaled herself on him as he grabbed her sides to lead her. She moaned. In the water, the contact was more honest, she could feel every inch of Seed’s skin.

—  Am I hurting you again ?
—  No… no, John. It’s just…
—  Just what ?

She blushed.

—  I feel you better than last time.
—  I do too.

Thrilled by his answer, she ventured to make an inappropriate remark in turn.

—  You’re filling me up. Did I really say that ?
—  Do you like it?
—  Yes.
—  I like it too. Do me a favor. Let yourself go this time. Come for me.
—  Make me come, John.

He brought his hands up to rest on her breasts, drawing another moan from her.

—  I’m not going to hold out much longer, wrath. Tell me what I have to do to please you.

She looked at him in surprise. What should he do ? I never asked myself that question. Her eyes rested on the tattoo marking his chest.

—  Say my name.
—  Dana…
—  Oh John…
—  Dana…

She grabbed the Baptist’s hands that were still caressing her breasts and pulled them away to intertwine their fingers. Seed intensified his pelvic thrusts. She took support on his palms to carry out movements against his hips, sinking him more deeply and quickly into her. A fulgurating orgasm struck her without warning, tearing a huge smile to her partner. She twitched uncontrollably. Her perineal contraction offered a disordered massage to Seed, who grunted while spreading in her.

Out of breath, she collapsed on him, her face against the Baptist’s shoulder. He too struggled to regain a normal breathing rhythm. They stayed that way for a few minutes, recovering from their emotions, fingers still entwined.

Seed released himself from the deputy’s embrace to cut the tap, the bathtub being filled to the brim. She had remained against him and had pressed her lips in his throat and the fingers on his neck. He gently put his hands on her ribs to lift her up and pull himself off her. She gave him a regretful look.

—  What is it ?
—  I would have liked to remain still against you.
—  I am not going anywhere. Turn around, lie down on me.

She followed his instructions and lay down against him. They were now in the exact position they had fallen asleep in earlier, on the sofa. Seed wrapped his arms around her and stroked his hands from her breasts to her navel, kissing her hair.

She sighed and turned her head to face him. He is so gorgeous. She ventured to place a quick kiss in his beard. He looked surprised. She backed away. Shit, what did I do ? Against all odds, he seized her face with one hand to bring her closer to him. She moaned as their lips came close to one another.

Muffled noises from the floor below made both of them jump.

—  What’s that ?
—  Someone’s knocking on the door !

Seed reached out to grab his watch from the sink ledge.

—  Shit !
—  What ?
—  It’s past five o’clock ! It’s Joseph ! Get dressed and stay in the room. Don’t come out under any circumstances !
—  But, John…
—  Do as I say, hurry up !

He rushed out of the tub, throwing a towel around his waist. He headed for the bedroom where he quickly pulled on a pair of jeans and a clean shirt, which he made sure to button all the way up. Fucking tattoo, one day someone will see it !

When she reached the room, he was already gone. She put on the tracksuit the henchmen had put at her disposal, for lack of having recovered her own outfit. She stuck her ear to the door to try to perceive what was happening on the lower floor.

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