Cole and I are sat in the window, enough space between us both that we may as well not be sat together at all. The stars in the sky are almost non-existent, and were replaced by hazy outlines of small distant shapes. Those balls of cotton that arose during the day shifted into streams of ash and soot in the sky, hiding the moon in its glory behind them. The moon fights to shine down onto the earth, but the clouds hide it, giving the streets a tinted ominous glow.
Every now and then my glance shifts to Chance slumped in his wheelchair behind the front desk. I can feel Cole’s heavy stare upon me whenever I look at Chance. It’s as if he’s jealous of the attention. My nails dig into the palms of my hands.
“Don’t you think it’s about time we talk?” I turn to Cole and raise my chin, challenging him.
He looks at me with a grin lurking on his face, “about what?”
Something changes on his face, but I can’t tell what it is. All I can tell is that he’s accepted my challenge. He’s not going down without a fight.
Cole raises his eyebrow, “what about me?”
I look behind me. Lyra is asleep next to Chance, her chest heaving up and down with every sharp intake of break, but her breathing is nowhere near as sharp as Chance’s. Now I know that it’s impossible for them to hear our conversation, I switch my attention back to Cole.
“So,” I begin, “what’s with all this cryptic talk about secrets?”
Cole hesitates, and then says “it has nothing to do with you, unless you want to go into a conversation about what you’re hiding.”
My jaw drops, “excuse me?”
“Oh come on Blaire,” he says, “it’s so obvious that there’s something you’re not telling us all.” My nails dig deeper into the palms of my hands, so deep that I wince as a trail of blood trickles down my fingers.
I raise my chin stubbornly, “I don’t know what you’re trying to say.”
“I’ll tell you what I’m trying to say,” Cole leans in closer, and I push my back against the slither of wall behind me. The chill sends shivers down my spine. His hand reaches up and caresses my cheek, and I flinch, suddenly aware of how dangerous Cole might actually be.
“You are a liar,” he chuckles to himself, as if laughing at a joke he just made. I stay still as his hand moves slowly along my jaw line and down onto my neck, where his fingers try to move down further. In an instant I snap back into reality, and I grab his hand and yank it away from my body, pushing him backwards with my feet. Cole somewhat growls and lurches towards me, but I launch myself off the windowsill and down onto the floor with a sickening crunch.
The world spins at my head hits the floor, but my arms force myself up onto my elbows. Lyra and Chance are still asleep, which means that I am on my own. On my own with Cole.
Without warning I feel two cold hands grabbing my arms and pulling me onto my feet. I lunge forwards, aiming to get out of his grasp and wake Lyra and Chance, but Cole’s strong arms wrap around my stomach and wrench me backwards towards the door. I pull at his fingers, but it’s no use. He’s too strong.
From now onwards, everything becomes unclear. I’m dragged outside into the cold autumn air, my feet dragging on the floor and creating a horrible scraping sound. My bones ache from when I hit the floor in which feels like hours ago, but was only a matter of seconds before I was yanked through the door like a piece of meat. I am about to pass out when my back is forced up against the cold brick wall, sending a searing pain through my body.
“You should always speak the truth, princess,” Cole growls, and slips one of his hands onto my neck, and the other on my hip. For a moment I let him, my mouth agape and my eyes stinging with tears of fear. It is only when his hand begins to move downwards that I dive my nails into his hand on my neck, causing him to break away for just a second. Although it is not long, I take the opportunity and dive underneath him and around the side, so his back is facing towards me.
It doesn’t take much more time for me to run back into the options, swinging the door closed behind me and moving one of the desks in front of the door so that he can’t get back in. When I’m sure that he’s not going to get in, I collapse with my back to the door, and cry until there are no tears left in my body.