Torn:Dark Legacy Duet, Book 2

By: Natasha Knight


That first moment when I fully submerge is always my favorite, when my head goes under and the water is cool and refreshing and the only sound I hear is that gurgling of water.

I take long strides, staying beneath the surface as long as possible, reaching the other side before I come up for air and dive back in.

This, to me, is my escape. It was the same at home, going into town to the rec center with its pool, indoors in winter and to the lake in the summer months. I wonder if I can swim in the sea here.

After too many laps to count, I break the surface, out of breath, and grab hold of the wall at the deep end. I lean my chin on my forearms and look out at the sea.

I know not to swim in the canals of Venice proper, but I must be able to swim out here. We’re far enough away.

I lift myself out of the pool, water gliding off me as I swing one leg out, then the other. I stand and I turn to find my towel and freeze.

Gregory is straddling the chair next to the one where my things are, elbows on his thighs, fingers intertwined, chin resting there.

He’s watching me. His hair’s wet and he’s changed his clothes, so I assume he’s had a shower.

“You’re a strong swimmer.”

I have to walk by him to pick up my towel and I do, quickly, but he grabs the towel and pulls it back before I reach it.

“Can I have my towel, please?”

He lets his gaze openly run over me and I look down too. The suit is a pretty shade of deep coral and even though it’s the most modest one, it’s still like wearing my underwear in front of him.

He holds out the towel.

I take it, let it fall open and wrap it around me.

“Why are you here? I thought you had work to do.”

He leans back, looks up at me.

“I like watching you.”

I don’t expect that, and I turn to go because I don’t know what to do or say. But he grabs my wrist.

“Sit.”

“No.”

He tugs. “Sit with me.”

“Let me go,” I say, looking down to where he’s got hold of me.

“I don’t bite, Helena.”

I meet his eyes. Dark, not as dark as Sebastian’s though. His have specks of turquoise in them.

“Just for a minute,” he says.

He must feel my resolve slip away.

I sit on the edge of the chair beside his and hug my towel close. I look stiffly ahead.

He relaxes back, puts his hands behind his head and even with my back to him, I can feel him watching me.

“I was there when he found you, you know.”

I glance back at him. “I know.”

“You were pretty out of it.”

“I saw you there.” I remember that clearly. I don’t know why. “Where was it?” I ask, realizing I don’t know. I never asked.

“In our building, the one where you met Joseph Gallo, the prick.” His face hardens a little at the mention of the attorney’s name and it makes me curious.

“But I was there. It’s beautiful.”

“Above ground, yes. The room where she kept you has been flooded too many times and can’t even be used for storage anymore. You’re lucky, actually.”

“Lucky? I don’t think I’m lucky.”

“When it rains heavily, that room becomes a swimming pool.”

I meet his eyes, which are serious. “She knew that?”

“Of course she did.”

“Could I have drowned?” I shudder at the thought of being trapped as the water fills up.

“It’s only flooded that badly twice.”

Still. Once is all I’d need.

“I don’t understand your relationships. I mean, she’s your mother.”

He looks off in the distance momentarily. When he turns back to me, he’s still unreadable.

“Motherhood wasn’t ever anything but an obligation to Lucinda. She gave my father sons, as was required of her. That’s all.”

“But Ethan, she loves him.”

“Don’t mistake control with love,” he says, looking at me again. “Ethan is easily manipulated.”

“What happened to him?”

“That’s a story for Sebastian to tell.”

I remember how afraid of Sebastian Ethan was. How he wouldn’t touch me even at the risk of his mother’s wrath.

“Did Sebastian hurt him?” I ask.

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