A Billion Vendettas

By: Jessa York

He grabbed the needle from the man, and turned to me.

I brought my knees up, and pushed my feet against his thigh. “Maxim, no, please no,” I said, already out of breath. The sight of the needle brought back horrible memories of my last kidnapping.

“It’s a tiny needle, you won’t even feel it.” He frowned at me, and forcefully took hold of my upper arm.

“No!” I screamed at the top of my lungs. My arms and legs flailed around in distress. There was no way I was letting him give me that damn needle.

“Your men shot me up with something last time, and I was sick forever.”

I could feel the hot tears begin streaming down my face as I continued pushing him away.

I wasn’t sure whether crying would help me win Maxim over, or not, but right now, I couldn’t stop. “And I had a concussion for weeks. Please, no shots.”

When I felt his grip on my arm loosen, a sudden wave of relief washed over me.

And then, my lungs decided to freeze.

Another surge of panic seized me, and I started gasping for air.

It felt like I’d never be able to breathe again.

“What the fuck?” Maxim spat out as I put my feet on the ground, and bent over. I tried everything I could to calm myself, but nothing seemed to work.

I could feel hands working on the rope around my wrists, and I hoped and prayed he was undoing me.

Finally, my hands popped free, and my shoulders sagged forward. I imagined being on a warm beach in Italy.

With Nick.

Me in some scandalously small bikini, and him in board shorts. We were both lying on white, chaise lounges as we held hands.

I concentrated on the sun’s hot rays penetrating into me, warming me while the sound of the ocean’s waves lapped in the near distance.

Maxim’s agitated voice yelled out in the background, but I did my best to tune him out.

It wasn’t like I could respond to him anyway.

I still felt as though something constricted my ribs—and realized it was the bodice of my dress.

I needed it off.


I sat up—managing to keep my eyes closed. My hands slipped to my back, and I hoped I could somehow undo the multitude of tiny buttons.

Then I remembered how it had taken Giselle long, restless minutes to do them up in the first place.

There were billions of the little suckers.

I needed help.

“Off,” I mouthed with barely a sound, “now.”

One minute I felt tight and claustrophobic.

The next, I heard a loud ripping sound.

And then—freedom.

I could finally draw in a deep, wonderful breath.

At first, I wanted to gulp in as much air as possible, but I knew that would be a mistake. I’d just go right back into a panic loop.

Instead, I focused on slowing my breathing.

When I finally opened my eyes, Maxim was still beside me. His eyes were fixated on my chest.


I peered down at myself, and realized I couldn’t really blame him.

The wedding set I’d bought was amazing.

My strapless, white, lace bra pushed my breasts up, making them look even larger than they were.

The matching garter belt, thong, and stockings completed the naughty outfit.

Even I’d stared at myself when I tried it on in the wedding boutique in Italy. I was stunning, and I knew it.

I spotted my once beautiful dress lying in a large heap in front of me. The dark, red, dried blood contrasted greatly against the stark white.

Quickly, I wondered how Maxim had managed to get me fully out of the dress in a flash.

“Vete,” Maxim said, and waved off the tall, gawky man standing beside him. I instantly noticed the needle in his hand.

The syringe was still full.

He hadn’t used it on me.

Suddenly, it was like my lungs fully opened up now, and I could finally take a long, deep, cleansing breath.

The man walked away, and I shut my eyes for a second and thanked the heavens above they hadn’t drugged me. That really would have added insult to injury.

“What happened?” Maxim asked me in a matter-of-fact voice. Not even a touch of sympathy in it.

“I don’t know. I think they’re panic attacks, I’m not sure,” I responded, just happy to be able to breathe freely again.

He turned more fully to me. “What do you mean, ‘you don’t know?’” he asked, scowling at me. “Haven’t you been to a doctor?”

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