A Billion Vendettas

By: Jessa York

I needed a shower.

Part of me didn’t want to do anything Maxim had asked—and he’d definitely ordered me to clean myself up.

The rational part of my brain knew that if I didn’t take care of my wounds now, they’d likely get infected.

And I doubted Maxim would take me to a doctor here.

I undid my bra, and garter belt—and everything else that Nick was supposed to be removing from me right now.

On what was meant to be our wedding night.

At the moment, and for the foreseeable future, he was an entire country away.

Not to mention the fact that he probably didn’t have one clue as to where I was.

My perfect, wedding night lingerie laid in a heap on the floor.

The bottoms of the stockings were ripped, and dirty. Those were garbage.

However, the bra, I’d keep.

Louise was more endowed than I was—well, with her implants, anyway.

There was no way that her bras would fit me comfortably.

If she’d even let me borrow one, that is.

I scooped up my bra, and tossed it on the counter, then chucked everything else into the trash basket.

The shower was stocked with shampoo, and soaps, so I padded inside and turned on the water.

My hair had dried blood on it and needed a good, solid scrubbing. Even under these horrible circumstances, I still appreciated the hot water running over my skin.

I didn’t want to take too long—in case Maxim came in and decided to join me.

But, I also wanted to soak in the little comfort I was feeling for the first time since I’d been kidnapped.

It took me a while to wash my hair, and get my makeup off.

When I was finally finished, I stepped out and grabbed one of the yellow towels on the rack for my hair, and one for my body.

I used a fluffy, pink washcloth to clear the steam away from the mirror, and saw my face looked even worse.

At least the dried blood was gone.

My swelling seemed to have doubled, though.

And, my mascara refused to yield to ordinary soap and water.

I shuffled through the drawers and found some makeup removing wipes. The same ones that I used.

I remembered Louise bringing me over a pack of them, declaring how they were the greatest thing on Earth.

When I went to swipe one underneath my eye, it pulled at the thin skin there.

“Ow,” I said, then frowned down at the wipe in my hand.

It was bone dry.

Which was more than odd.

These things would stay wet for months.

Hmm, maybe it was an old pack, or Louise had found something she liked better.

I turned the tap on low and held the wipe under the water.

It worked like a dream, and in no time, I was mascara free.

I rifled through a few more drawers, and cabinets to find any kind of antibiotic ointment for the cuts on my face.

I found a half-used tube, along with some instant cold packs. The kind that didn’t need to be in the freezer.

I thought that was an odd thing to have in your bathroom, but I could more than use one right now.

It might help to stop the throbbing.

I thought about looking for pain relievers. At the moment, getting dressed was more of a priority.

So, after I applied the ointment—which made my swelling look shiny, and gross—I went in search of some yoga wear to slip on.

I poked my head around the corner, hoping Maxim hadn’t come to visit in the meantime.

The coast was clear, and I hurried to Louise’s closet.

I chose a matching, black yoga set, and quickly put it on. Then, I found a baggy sweater to zip up over top.

For the first time since Maxim had shown up in the dressing room at church, I felt halfway human.

I activated the cold pack, and held it to my nose, hoping it might dull the pain a little.

Louise’s closet was large, with many drawers, and shelves. I wanted to snoop some more, but the sound of the bedroom door opening up caught my immediate attention.

I scrambled out of the closet, wondering if it was Louise, or Maxim, or both.

My heart nearly beat out of my chest as I quickly thought about what I’d say to my former BFF.

I watched the large door handle move up, and then the door creak as it swung open.

Maxim strode in. He was carrying a dark, wooden tray, with deep, ornate edges.

After he set it on one of the dressers, he turned to me.

And frowned.

“Fuck, you look even worse.” He walked up to me, and roughly grabbed my chin in his hand.

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