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Chapter 7

•Evangeline•

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"You are free to do whatever you want," Bianca told me.

My mouth fell open and I was out of words. I didn't know how to react. No one had ever said those words to me. Hearing her words, I brightened up a little despite still mourning my parents' death.

I was free to do whatever I wanted...

When I was locked up in my room I used to think about all the things I'd do when I'd get out of there. Now that I had the chance, I had no idea what I wanted to do first. I looked around, taking it all in.

I have been living here at my dad's friend's house for four days now and everything has been so surreal. I have never lived this life before, there is a single lock on the door that is for me not for anyone to lock me inside.

I don't really have anything to do, I roam the gardens in the morning just like I always wanted to, it was nice to feel the sunlight on my skin. There is a huge library in the house, it has so many kinds of books, the kind of books I have never seen before or read about.

But I still didn't want to stay here, I wanted to go back to my home. I wanted to live my life independently now, maybe go to college and get a job or something.

Suddenly it felt like I had so much to do in so little time!

I jumped up in Bianca's arms. "Thank you! Thank you! Thank you so much!"

She laughed and hugged me back. "You should thank Nikolai"

I pulled back, my stomach sank just as his name slipped from Bianca's mouth. For some reason, he intimidates me... he intimidates me a lot. Maybe, he just had the kind of personality that scares people. He is dark and brooding and his eyes are murderous. His eyes scare me the most.

"I will when I'll see him..." I replied, fumbling with my fingers.

"Now, I need to go back to my place, my boyfriend is going crazy without me" she laughed. "You sure you will be fine, kid?"

I nodded eagerly. "Mhmm..."

The last thing I needed was more supervision.

Giving me one last short hug, she walked out of the room. My stomach grumbled, and I realized I hadn't had lunch today. I descended the stairs and went to the kitchen.

I hadn't seen many kitchens in my life before but I know this kitchen is something out of the ordinary. It was huge and all day long, the kitchen staff was available if a person needed anything. Even if I asked for the weirdest meal on the earth, they would somehow make it for me but I wasn't going to ask for it. Right now I just needed a snack.

"What would you like, ma'am?" the elderly woman asked.

"Um, do you have a bag of potato chips?"

The entire kitchen staff looked at me as if I have grown two heads. Suddenly, they all dispersed and started to rummage through the cabinets, they all seemed alarmed.

"It's okay if you don't... I'll have a sandwich instead"

They let out a breath of relief and whipped up a sandwich for me in under ten minutes.

"I'm so sorry for the chips, ma'am. We'll have them in the kitchen by tomorrow"

I smiled. "It's fine..."

With my sandwich in one hand and a drink in the other, I went straight to the library. I pushed open the door and set my sandwich and the drink on a table, the table was perfectly set by a very comfortable armchair.

I started searching for the perfect book to pass my time. I needed another activity, tonight when I'll go to Nikolai to thank him. I'll ask him if I can go back to my house, so, I could finally start my life.

I finally found a good book and went to settle on the armchair. I started reading as I ate my sandwich.

I was almost ten pages into my book when the library's door clicked open. My attention shifted towards the door as two men entered. They were talking among themselves, they hadn't noticed me yet. My gaze followed them as they walked further in.

Then I noticed that one of those men was Nikolai, he was the one who was walking ahead while the other one followed. They disappeared from my sight and went to the back. Although the nosy part of me wanted to go see what they were doing but the cautious side of me stopped me.

Shaking my head, I shifted my attention back to my book but my focus has been lost now. I was more concerned with the presence in the library than my book. A few seconds later, I heard the footsteps coming back from wherever they went.

I moved around in my seat as nervousness crept up, what if he saw me here and got mad at me?

When they appeared in my eyeshot again only then did they notice me. Nikolai halted and then a frown appeared on his forehead.

Uh oh! He's mad, isn't he? I think he is.

He looked at me the same way as before like I was an odd creature out of this world and he was appalled by my presence.

A whistle came from behind him and my gaze went to the man in the back. He seemed to be in his late twenties with dark black hair, green eyes, and a slight smirk over his face.

The man behind Nikolai appraised me up and down and then his eyes settled on my bare legs, where they lingered. Uncomfortable under the scrutiny of their gaze, I shifted in my seat. I tugged my dress down to hide my legs. The dress was short, almost every single dress Bianca has bought for me was quite short. They all ended over my mid-thigh, leaving most of my legs bare.

Nikolai put his hands in his pockets and strolled toward me. He stopped when he was at the foot of the couch. I slightly pulled my legs more into myself, so they won't touch him.

Both of his big, inked hands landed on the armrests on either side of me. I clutched my book a little more tightly and held my breath.

He was so close that his smell lingered in my nose, he smelled like outrageously expensive cologne, it was so clean and masculine. I just couldn't describe his smell in any other way.

"Look at me," he said in his authoritative tone.

I'm pretty sure that any person will do whatever he wants them to do whenever he uses such a tone. Unable to not listen to him, I looked up.

His jet black hair mopped over his forehead contrasting beautifully with the bluest eyes I have ever seen. It was the first time I was looking at him from this close, I took in every single feature of his. He had a really sharp bone structure, the dark stubble only added to his good looks.

I may not have seen many people in my life before but I know Nikolai was one good-looking man.

"How long have you been here?" he asked, his voice deep, so gravelly low, and rough.

An unwanted jolt traveled to my stomach, was it fear?

"Did you follow us?" he asked

I frowned at that and immediately shook my head. "No, I didn't... I was reading my book"

"Hm..." A low masculine hum.

His eyes then traveled down my body while mine stayed on his face. His eyes dropped to my chest, and then towards the book resting on my lap before they settled back on my face.

He leaned in and tilted his head to the side. I felt my heartbeat in my throat. Is it even possible to feel your heartbeat in your throat? He leaned in until his mouth was by my ear and his stubble pricked into my cheek. Involuntarily my eye closed and I breathed in his amazing smell.

"You are sitting in my chair" he whispered, his warm breath fanned my ear and the side of my face.

Blood rushed to my cheeks, nose, and ears with embarrassment. I should have asked for permission. I shouldn't have barged in here like I owned the place.

I opened my mouth to say something but words had abandoned me. How can this happen to a girl whose whole life has been spent reading books? How can words betray me like this?

He chuckled, like very deeply and darkly. The sound of his chuckle traveled between my legs. How can one feel someone's laugh in their stomach? I gasped as I felt a throbbing down there... between my legs.

How the hell?

The feeling was so foreign and odd and it nearly took my breath away. Nikolai finally leaned back and faced me, looking me in the eyes while his nose was almost touching mine.

"I..." I swallowed to help with my parched throat. "I'm sorry, I didn't know..."

With his thumb and his forefinger, he gripped my chin. "Do you know what happens to girls who find themselves alone in a room with a man like me?"

My breathing seized, and my eyes went wide, my lips parted ever so slightly. My skin burned from where his fingers were touching me, I have never felt this way before. It felt good but not good, I just couldn't understand it. A tantalizing bolt traveled between my legs and I tightly closed my thighs together. My throat dried up, I chewed on my bottom lip to come up with an answer

And then my eyes fell on the man leaning against the bookshelf behind him. He had crossed his arm over his chest and had a full-blown smirk on his lips as he watched us.

I mustered up some courage and breathed out. "But we are not alone..."

Nikolai raised an eyebrow like he was not expecting me to answer him. His eyes lit up with dark amusement as if he found my answer extremely funny or stupid, I wouldn't know. His grip on my chin tightened, and he tugged my face closer to his. My skin burned underneath his touch, I could feel the heat emitting from my ears, and every single part of my body.

"Do you want to find out? I could send him out..." he asked, amusement lingering in his eyes.

Find out? Find out what? The way he said it, scared me. No, I don't want to find out what he does with girls when he is alone with them. It sounds terrifying and my knees were getting weak with each passing second.

With little courage I had left, I shook my head. "No..."

He laughed and his hand left my chin. He stood back to his full height, giving me one last. He stepped back and turned to leave. The guy standing behind him winked at me, giving me a full-blown smile.

Uneasiness seeped into me as Nikolai walked towards the door. I needed to talk to him. I wanted to thank him for everything and also I wanted to ask if I can go to college or back to my home.

Not knowing what to do, I blurted out his name. "Nikolai!"

It was the first time, I had said his name out loud.

He halted immediately, his shoulders squared. I don't know why but saying his name like that felt wrong, very wrong. He turned to face me, all the amusement disappeared, and his facial expression turned dark and menacing.

"I... Um... I need to talk to you..." I said, playing with the book in my hand.

He stilled for a second and kept watching me like a hawk. "Tonight... my office..."

I nodded and looked down at my lap, waiting for him to leave.

The guy who was with him laughed. "Goodbye, Evangeline"

He knew my name, I didn't know his name. I finally looked at him and gave him a little smile back. "Bye..."

Nikolai gave his head a gentle shake before they both turned and left the library. I finally let go of the breath I was holding in. There was just something about Nikolai that scared me to death but he also didn't seem that bad. I don't understand him but then again I don't understand most of the things around here.

Gosh! I'm such a freak.

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