3hree is WAR

Rating:

Status:

Mature (18+)

Ongoing


Synopsis



Characters

In Order of Mention/Appearance


Lee Kaia (Original Character)

Female Lead/Protagonist


Notes


Kittens,

This is an oldie but goodie. It still needs to be finished…

Kpop Kitty, 2016


Table of Contents


The concept of loving someone was foreign to Hayden. He’d grown up without a mother to show him compassion, without a father to teach him respect, and without a family to correct his faults. It may sound strange, but it was the truth that Hayden was alone. In a way, his very existence was cursed; and yet, he was blessed. He had never struggled to survive, never gone without.

His father was the Chairman and CEO of Aberdine Corp.; a cognitive, neurobiological, and genetic research facility based out of Minato, Japan and his mother was a local idol named International Model of the Year for two years running. When his parents passed away, Hayden had inherited his father’s company and the couple’s stocks and bonds; as well as the life insurance payments on his mother, father, and fraternal twin brother. Overnight, he’d become the richest five year old in the world and he would never want for anything again. At least, not anything that money could buy.
Bored with life, Hayden turned sixteen and assumed leadership over Aberdine Corp. The company had continued to thrive even after the death of Hayden’s father, Roland Lance Aberdine, and had surpassed an annual revenue of $2.46 billion.  Two years later, countries across the globe partnered with this revolutionist, creating what is now the leading pharmaceutical company of the 21st century. To Hayden, it was just another game to occupy his time; the employees, nothing but pieces on a chess board.

Now leaning into a mahogany chair in the New York branch executive suite, Hayden took a moment to breathe. Flashbacks of this afternoon’s meeting pounded behind his eyes, trying to break free from his mind. Apathy, a state of indifference or the suppression of emotions such as concern, excitement, motivation, and passion. The psychiatrist had prattled off the definition as easily as his secretary now poured coffee.  She glanced up at her boss with a mixture of concern and frustration before exiting the office, leaving him to his thoughts. He swung around in his seat, turning to face the city skyline. 
At times like this, his office did little to comfort him. It was a shame, really, since he’d paid a pretty penny for a professional from Shanghai to redecorate, instilling contemporary Feng Shui into his hostile environment. His office was certainly extravagant but it was all imagery. He needed it to appear perfect, just as he needed people to believe that he was flawless. If he didn’t maintain his facade then the eternal game he was constantly playing would cease to be amusing. He now closed his eyes, taking in the scent of a nearby aromatherapy candle, and allowed his thoughts to wander.

The “good” doctor had claimed that he irrevocably suppressed his emotions in order to survive the loss of his family, as well as the stress of running a multibillion dollar corporation. When he’d denied her statement, she’d insisted that he was mourning the loss of his parents and “other half”. He’d laughed; he hadn’t meant to but before he’d realized what the feeling in his chest was, before he’d been able to stop her from seeing his face lit in amusement, the sound had escaped.

The woman had been damn shocked too. Her face blushed crimson and she’d struggled, futilely, to regain control of her emotions. Instead, she’d ended up bent over her desk with her skirt around her hips, begging for more of what he had to offer. It was pathetic and he now scoffed at the thought. Women were useless and far too easy to manipulate. They all wanted the same thing and, if it suited his whim, he would give it to them. First, they sought physical gratification without the complications of constraints. Then, when they realized that their feelings had developed into something more, they tried to bind him into a relationship in which he refused to contribute. Women were far too emotional; their complexity exasperating him beyond compare. 

Hayden easily tossed away his thoughts, opening his eyes to take in the setting sun. It was summer and the days were long. Judging by the violet skies outside, he ventured to guess that it was around 8:30 pm. He didn’t bother glancing at his white gold Rolex in confirmation. He was in no rush to leave the office so instead he rested, focusing on a memory that was over thirteen years old. The memory was so lucid that he could have sworn it was just yesterday. It had been the last night he’d seen his family alive, and it now consumed his body.

Hayden’s brother, Clayton Lance Aberdine, had recently joined their mother in a photo shoot for some international clothing line and the launch party was set for that evening. Hayden had been invited to join in on the festivities but he had insisted that such events did not suit him. His mother, Anaka Noelle Aberdine, had giggled playfully and agreed to let him stay home with their maid, Rosalee. His family knew that the reason Hayden refused to go was because he and Clayton had, once again, been fighting. They also knew that once he had decided on something, as stubborn as he was, no one would change his mind. Anaka supported his willfulness and often told guests that it encouraged his individuality; after all, he would one day lead a company with over 8,000 employees. Hayden was the first born and with that came great responsibility. His mother had every intention of seeing that he enjoyed being a child, before the stress of adulthood consumed his life.

Now preparing to leave, Hayden watched his mother from the bottom of the staircase. She looked so beautiful, kneeling next to Clayton in a crimson, silk evening gown. She’d been at the top of the modeling industry for over ten years and some claimed no one would ever be able to surpass her. She adjusted Clayton’s bowtie and tilted her head to inspect her handy work. Jet black curls lay pinned atop her head, exquisite jewels holding them in place, and a few wisps had escaped to cling to blushing cheeks. Hayden’s brother listened intently to their mother as she rattled off various names of guests that would be attending.

Hayden watched the scene bitterly, resenting Clayton. No, it wasn’t resentment. He despised his brother. It was natural, or so Hayden believed, but he had never understood why his brother loathed him in return. Hayden knew the cause of his own anger. Clayton, the spitting image of their mother, was always being fawned over by their family and friends. Hayden did not care for the attention itself but, instead, was angered by the fact that they were not identical twins. He wanted his mother’s appearance, delicate and gentle, and detested his brother for stealing that away from him as well. Clayton was selfish, always taking what he wanted for himself, even if it belonged to Hayden. It was childish, really, but that did little to change the facts. His brother was a thief, robbing Hayden of everything he desired.

Anaka smiled at the pouting child, so warm and gentle that he had rushed forward to grasp her free hand. He’d begged her to stay but she’d lovingly insisted that it was their responsibility to go and reminded him that he was welcome to join them. He’d refused, not allowing himself to be lured into attendance, although he desperately craved his parents’ attention. His father descended the staircase, ruffling Hayden’s hair as he walked past. Joining his wife at the door, the couple looked back at Hayden, as if giving an opportunity for him to concede, before marching out into the winter chill. 

Smiling slightly, Hayden brushed his hand through his hair, thinking about his father. He knew his jealousy spawned from his brother’s appearance but he also felt pride that he, alone, took after their father. It was contradictory if he thought about it, but Hayden never stopped to consider what truth might lay there. His father was the kindest man he knew and anyone you asked would say that he was also handsome beyond compare. He was British-American with gold locks that naturally fell around a masculine face. His emerald eyes spoke of wisdom and trust, and feelings Hayden no longer understood.

Hayden loved his father. Hayden loved his mother. He wanted them to be happy and he wanted to please them. Deciding to apologize to Clayton when they returned that evening, Hayden waved once more as the car smoothed its way down the driveway. He watched his parent’s figures through the back windshield until he could no longer see the car through the falling snow. That was the last time he ever saw his family.

A few hours later, they were reported missing. Guests testified that they’d never arrived to the party. The police investigated with little results only to later discover their vehicle well outside the Tokyo area. Officers claimed that his parents’ had been the victims of a carjacking and stated it was just a matter of time before their bodies turned up. 

He was sent to live with the Co-Chairman of his father’s corporation but Hayden quickly realized that the man was more interested in his inheritance than in the helping him to cope with the loss of his family. Hayden returned to his father’s birthplace, New York City, to live with his family’s maid while he educated himself on international business. He separated himself from the world and its deceitful people, deciding that a person’s only value was in his wallet or the skills he had to offer.

Glancing out at the now darkened sky, Hayden returned all attention to the overly cluttered desk, sparing only a quick glance at the tickets in the corner. His flight was scheduled for 7 am tomorrow morning and he was already dreading the 12 and a half hours cramped into the plane. He stayed focused on the task at hand but, in some dark corner of his mind, he acknowledged the psychiatrist’s erroneous observation. He was not apathetic. He was cold and calculated, resenting the world for its betrayal. His mask was perfect though. No one could possibly imagine that the only thing he desired was complete destruction. He would sabotage everything and, when nothing was left, he would crumble with this prison of a company.
Lisanna glanced at the clock once more, trying to muster the energy to return to work. Her break had been over for almost five minutes and yet she had not moved from her position in the break room. It was Sunday and she had a million things to do upon returning home. Her three page essay on Commerce in the United States was due the following morning and, so far, she’d only managed to write her name on the paper. She wanted to cry. Glancing at the clock once more, she sighed. If it was possible to stop time, Lisanna would already have willed the night to freeze, giving her much needed time to finish her report.

Lisanna stood and shoved the paper in her bag before tossing her belongings into her employee locker. She could no longer hide from reality. It was her responsibility to serve the back of house tonight and she knew she would be missed if she disappeared for too long. Exiting the room with a loud yawn, her coworker glanced over sympathetically.

“I sat you another one, Lisanna.” The girl muttered, small curls bouncing around a petite face and silver eyes. “Some hot shots in room 102. Real creeps, if you ask me.”

Lisanna smiled and nodded. It was no surprise that the guys came off as creeps. The rooms in the back were for politicians, executives, and yakuza; in terms, the elite and dangerous. “I appreciate it, Saya. I know it must have been uncomfortable for you but I’ve got it now. Why don’t you take a break?”

The girl bowed slightly in thanks before bounding down the hallway and out of site. Lisanna sighed once more before grabbing another tray and making her way back to the VIP section of Casa Le Blanc, a restaurant located in the Roppongi district of Minato. What the associates referred to as “back of house” was an area at the rear of the restaurant made up of four soundproof “booths”. It was tucked away into a dimly lit corner of the restaurant, providing their elite clientele much needed privacy.
 
Lisanna hated working the rooms, considering the clientele that frequented there were pompous, arrogant elitists who believed society beneath them. Lisanna would never have agreed to work it but the tips were above par and she was currently desperate for funds. She’d run away last spring after her pathetic excuse for a father had stumbled into the house. He’d been out drinking again, the stench of liquor clinging to his every breath, and this time he was not alone. He’d brought over three of his friends and they all insisted she “entertain” them. She knew she would not get away with simply serving tea to their guests so she’d run, and never looked back.
Since then, Lisanna had turned 17 and been desperately working to support herself. It had been going smoothly until two months ago when she was mugged on her way home. Her money for her rent had been in her bag and she ended up losing out on $600. She’d honestly thought that the man was going to take more than her purse but, in the end, he’d ran away leaving her trembling on the ground. Lisanna brushed past her manager, ignoring his casual smack on her ass, and glided to greet her guests. Lisanna paused outside the room, steadying her tray on one hand and reaching to open the door. Before her fingers could wrap around the handle, she heard an elder man hiss violently, “That brat. He dares to arrive late after calling us out at this hour?”

Another guest laughed and the sound caused hairs to stand on Lisanna’s neck. “He’ll pay for it soon enough, Bisclow. Be patient.”

Lisanna pushed aside her discomfort and sashayed into the room, placing hot sake before each of her guests. It was only the two men she’d heard from outside and she knew that a third was on his way. Wishing desperately that there had been at least one woman within the group, she moved to place menus before each of them with a friendly smile. Lisanna hated men and desperately wished that she’d chosen to work the floor tonight instead of putting herself through the torture that was sure to follow. 

As if sensing her discomforting thoughts, Bisclow reached forward to grasp her wrist and Lisanna let out a feral sound of defense before reigning in her desire to pierce him with the steak knife. “I would greatly appreciate it if you could release me.”

“How about you give yourself to me, girlie?” He asked bemusedly and Lisanna felt his grip tighten as he pulled her closer to caress her lower back. 

Lisanna’s eyes narrowed dangerously as she once again considered stabbing the man. Knowing she could not afford to lose her job with rent right around the corner, Lisanna fisted her hands in her skirt and forced another smile. “I beg your forgiveness but I must decli…”

The man threaded his hand in to her hair and yanked her head back with a vicious pop. Lisanna flinched and bit back her voice, tears threatening to spill over. She would not allow herself to show weakness. Not to this man, or any man for that matter. She never had. No matter how bad things had gotten, she’d never shown her fear to the bullies of the human world.

“I must return to work or it will cause problems for my coworkers.” Lisanna gasped, her voice strained with effort against the pressure on her throat.

“If you leave, I will be the one causing problems.” He purred near her ear before forcing her to the floor in front of him and fumbling with his zipper. “Besides that, I have already paid your boss for your services.”

Lisanna silently cursed herself for trusting that perverted lecher after he’d already made unwanted advances on her, but she’d had no choice. He’d offered her the position without hesitation and she’d needed the money. She was definitely paid well, but this was not a part of her job description. Damn it all to hell if she got fired. Struggling to free herself from this man’s grasp, Lisanna scanned the room frantically.

“Don’t worry, baby doll, you’ll be well compensated. Hell, you might even enjoy it,” The man behind her chuckled. 

The sound was cut short and Lisanna heard him gasp for air. She could not see the man behind her so she scanned her attacker’s face for some hint of what was happening. What she saw there terrified her. His eyes had gone wide and his mouth hung open, trembling slightly at whatever he saw. Before Lisanna could think to pull away, her hair cascaded over her shoulders as he released her and she stood to run away, ramming hard into the chest of a third party. 

Glancing up nervously, Lisanna’s heart nearly stopped. Her body shook and she wondered if it was in fear, as it clearly was for Bisclow, or in amazement as the man before her invaded her vision. Her cheeks flushed as she took in the beauty before her. At first glance his features were extremely masculine but upon closer inspection Lisanna felt that there was something soft and delicate about his face. He was stunning, really. His eyes were a deep green and currently reflected his anger and disappointment. Raven locks tumbled around a face truly sculpted by the gods and Lisanna could tell, through the silk button up, that his body was made to match.
Lisanna’s knees wobbled and gave out, causing her to fall into his arms. He supported her without paying any mind. His gaze was focused on the man cowering before him. His eyes narrowed, silently daring him to speak, and a whimper filled the room. After what seemed like an eternity, the Adonis of perfection looked down, meeting Lisanna’s gaze head on. His cold eyes widened and he pulled her body closer, the smell of him intoxicating her senses. 

“Are you hurt?” 

His voice was pure addiction and Lisanna shuddered against him. “I am alright.”

He gently pushed her away, scoping her over and noting her tousled hair and bruised wrist. His head spun back to the heap of a man trembling before him and he motioned for the scum to disappear. 

“You know how this works. I’ll give you three hours.” He barked, glancing at the unconscious form of the old man’s companion. “Take him with you.”
The man nodded once before grabbing his friend and dragging him from the room. He skittered from the restaurant, the limp body a dead weight that now slowed him down. They needed to flee. The danger was apparent. For an instant, as the image of perfection stared after them, Lisanna pitied the fools and what was to come for them.

“Your name?” He purred as he picked her up, causing her to squeal and struggle. Ignoring her efforts to escape, he crossed the short distance and tossed her on a couch in the corner. “I’m Hayden.” 

“Lisanna. Lisa. Whichever you prefer.” She mustered as he marched over to a nearby seat and straddled it, facing her.

“Anna?” He whispered and Lisanna blushed before nodding her approval. “Well, I apologize for my men, Anna. They will be severely reprimanded.”
Lisanna struggled to focus on what he was saying but found her mind wandering, something about him mesmerizing her with every move he made. His hands rested on the back of the seat as he watched several expressions play over her face. His gaze made Lisanna more restless than his appearance. It was like his eyes, deeper than the colors of the forest, could see into her very soul. The thought terrified her.

Lisanna had been known to captivate men’s attention but she highly doubted a man of his stature would be taken with a mere waitress. Lisanna sighed and Hayden’s eyes focused on the parted lips, pink and moist.
“Would you lik…”

Lisanna cut him short, jumping from her spot and bowing respectfully. “Thank you for saving me and I apologize for any inconvenience I have caused.” 

Hayden smirked, amused by her mannerisms, and stood to bow in return. “Not at all. I hope that this will not affect you’re evening.”

Lisanna shook her head fiercely, black curls tumbling wildly as her head turned. “I really must return to my duties but I invite you to return in the future. We would be honored to treat you to a free meal, if you would allow us to do so.” 

Hayden stared at her bemused expression as she tried to make sense of her thoughts. “I mean to invite you back, for the inconvenience of course. I’m not asking you to come back and see me or anything.” 

Lisanna’s face reddened with obvious embarrassment and Hayden placed a hand over his mouth to hide the playful grin tugging at his lips. He couldn’t help the sudden urge to make her even more flustered. “So, you don’t want me to come and see you again?”

Lisanna looked horrified. “I did not mean it that way. If you would like to come back on a night that I am working, I would be happy to serve you.”
Hayden laughed, a husky sound that caused places on Lisanna to tighten in response. His voice was warm, like caramel, and for a moment she imagined him whispering her name in her ear. 

“I really must be going,” She stated breathlessly before rushing out the door without another word, leaving Hayden staring at the empty doorway.
Finally motivating himself to leave, Hayden exited the back room only to pause outside the door when he immediately spotted Lisanna. Despite having just been ruthlessly attacked, she was floating around the room greeting guests. Hayden’s eyes narrowed as he watched men shamelessly flirt with her. To make matters worse, this naïve girl was completely oblivious to their advances.

Hayden growled deep in his throat, a possessive sound that vibrated his chest. Slamming his fist into the wall, he fought to control the emotions welling up inside him. He did not understand what he was feeling but he knew what he had to do. If Lisanna could not defend herself then he would do it for her, even if it meant locking her away in a cage.
Lisanna’s feet dangled from where she now rested at the bar. She sighed. Hayden had, once again, been on her mind. To be honest, he hadn’t really left there. He’d somehow engrained himself into every thought she’d had for this past week, making it extremely difficult to focus on anything other than the man who’d saved her. His image was burned into her mind; his touch still scorched her skin. He consumed her being. Not because he had seemed like a prince on a white horse when he’d rescued her, which he had, but because he seemed to be everywhere lately. 

Since the incident, he’d returned to visit her at Casa Le Blanc half a dozen times. She’d also run into him at the library twice that week and she could have sworn that she’d seen him at the grocery store, but she doubted a man of his stature would be shopping at the local SaveWay. Of course she hadn’t known who he was, or how wealthy he was, until yesterday. 

Lisanna’s shift had been almost over when she’d realized he was there. He was in a booth at the window; staring into the outside world. Her coworkers crowded around a nearby station, their attention centered on this man only. They were practically drooling and Lisanna shook her head in disappointment. She understood the fascination but felt that their behavior was shameful. The girls excitedly chattered and the noise made its way to Lisanna’s ears as she’d made her rounds, checking guest’s glasses and getting the necessary refills. 

She heard the eager gossip, telling of fortunes beyond Lisanna’s wildest dreams. He was rich and desired and he damn well knew it, she thought bitterly as she pushed away from the bar and began cleaning her workstation.   She’d seen his casual wink at the girls, causing them all to squeal in delight.

Lisanna busied herself, paying no attention to the many men who were scoping her body as she worked. She despised men. She figured if she paid them no mind then they would get bored and lose interest. Lisanna paused, glancing at her wrist. The bruises were almost gone but the memory was still fresh. His arms had been muscular, his body chiseled. Her heart fluttered at the thought of his touch, wondering what it would feel like to be taken by that man. Blushing furiously, Lisanna shook her head. She’d done it again. The queen of chastity had taken a sudden interest in sex and it was disturbing her.

Rushing from table to table, she smiled eagerly as she spotted her relief for the evening. A young waiter bounced over and bowed respectfully. Lisanna giggled and motioned for him to stand. “I told you, Alex, you don’t have to be so formal with me.”

The boy, Alexander Harold, smiled. “It’s the least I can do since you got me this job. I was starting to worry I wouldn’t make tuition this month.”
Lisanna was aware of his predicament. Alex was her junior at Takahiro Private Academy in the Shibuya ward of Tokyo. Being one of the top educational institutions in the country, tuition had only gotten more expensive over the last ten years and most students struggled to make payment, even with their parent’s funding. Alex didn’t have the backing to pay for school. His situation was similar to hers. He’d run away from home, although she did not know the details of why, and he was currently fighting to pay his own rent and tuition every month. Lisanna admired him for his hard work and dedication. She’s been accepted into Takahiro on a scholarship so she could only begin to imagine the sacrifices he made in order to survive the harsh reality of the world. Lisanna shook her head and smiled gently.

“It’s not like that. You’d have gotten the job regardless. I just sped up the process.”

Alex watched her for a moment before losing to reason and reaching forward to brush her cheek. Lisanna blushed but didn’t flinch away as Alex feared she would. He knew how she felt around men. He’d watched his mother suffer through the same harassment. Their country wasn’t exactly known for women’s equality and most men believed they owned women. Alex had sworn, when he met Lisanna, that he would treat her like a princess. He would move slowly and take the time to make her fall in love with him. Now watching her flushed expression, he knew it might be impossible to be patient. Her lips parted, probably to speak, but before Alex knew what he was doing, he’d leaned in to kiss her. His lips were inches from hers when reality stepped in.

“Don’t even think about it.” A voice growled, somewhere near his ear and he spun around as one of their regulars walked by. He knew him, and now Lisanna did as well. Hayden Rolland Aberdine had been appearing in the restaurant a lot recently and now Alex knew why. Hayden came to Lisanna’s side and stared down at her, his height overwhelming the girl. Lisanna was short, standing at 5’ 4”, and next to this man, she looked beyond petite. Hayden had to have been 6’ 4” and he had muscles sculpted into every inch. Lisanna, on the other hand, was small with a tiny waist and decent curves. She looked so frail next to him. Alex moved to pull her away, hoping to put some distance between the two before him, but hesitated as Hayden glared in his direction.  Alex stood paralyzed by Hayden’s stare. The man before him would have no qualms about killing him, and he knew it. Unconsciously, Alex took a step backward. 

Glancing down at Lisanna in amusement, Hayden smirked. He could tell by her expression that no thoughts of this little boy invaded her mind; she was captivated by him, as she had been the first night he’d met her. She gazed into his eyes with longing as he brushed a few strands of hair away from her face.

“You’re off now, right? Would you please accompany me for the evening?” 
Hayden wasn’t used to asking for things, he took what he wanted. This time, however, he knew that he would have to be careful. Lisanna had built up her defenses and breaking past them would be a challenge. Hayden relished in the thought of the chase.

Lisanna hesitated, unsure of how to answer and unable to think clearly. She did not want to be alone with the man who made her feel as if her body were mush. She trusted her feelings as little as she trusted the male gender. Her body screamed for his touch, her head and heart yelled at her to run. Lisanna nodded slowly, her thoughts completely incoherent, and slipped out of the black apron. 

“Alex, I’m sorry about this. I’ll talk to you at school tomorrow.” 

Hayden’s eyes narrowed dangerously. Classmates, huh? That would be the first thing he changed. Walking from the restaurant, Lisanna at his side, Hayden strolled over to a red Porsche parked in the tow away zone and opened the passenger door. Lisanna eyed the vehicle in apprehension. 
“On second thought…” She mumbled, taking a step away from the car. Hayden held out his hand and forced a smile, slightly aggravated by her trepidation. Lisanna scanned the vehicle once more and took another small step back. Hayden’s eyes narrowed and he reached out to take her wrist into his own, pulling her forward with a small tug.

He could feel her body tremble against him and he closed his eyes, reigning in the anger that threatened to burst free. She was terrified and his temperament bounced between hostility towards men, who had made her this way, and disappointment that she saw him as a threat.

“Would you please trust me?” He asked huskily in her ear, his breath tickling her flesh. 

“I-I c-c-can’t.” She stuttered words tripping over her heated breathing. Her body sought relief from him, called out to him begging for his hands on her. She shivered at the knowledge and tried to free herself from his grip.
Hayden sighed and picked the girl up, placing her gently in the seat and reaching across to buckle her in. Lisanna trembled and looked at him pleadingly, begging for escape. This chagrined Hayden more than he understood. 

Lisanna certainly had her reasons for fearing men but he had nothing to do with the cruelty men displayed. He had been kind to her and, in his mind, patient. He wondered bitterly why she rejected him but quickly reset his thought process. This was nothing more than a minor setback. Both players pieces where at the start and his first move was to break past the pawns around her. Slamming the door, Hayden rounded to the driver’s side and hopped in. He started the vehicle and took a deep breath before glancing at the now pale Lisanna. “I would never hurt you. Please believe me.”

Lisanna nodded while her body continued to shake against the plush seats. Hayden turned his attention to the road, heading towards their first destination. He knew that he could succeed in taming her, it would just take time. Reaching across the seat, he slid his hand into hers and waited for her reaction. He expected her to shriek, flinch, or pull away but instead he felt her body relax and he glanced over to see her watching him carefully. It was progress, he thought. 

Lisanna’s breathing eased and he sighed in relief. Although she seemed tamer now, the tension in the small car was so thick that Hayden was tempted to pull over on the street to talk her off this cliff she’d driven herself into. They drove in awkward silence, Lisanna’s eyes never leaving his face. He was not sure if she was looking for something in him or if she was merely plotting his demise. Pulling into a large parking lot, Lisanna peered away in order to take in the massive mall that lay before them. Hayden watched contently as her eyes widened like a kid in a candy store and she smiled for the first time since he’d taken her.

“Have you been here before?” Hayden asked and Lisanna shook her head, beautiful locks grazing over silky, cream flesh. Hayden walked to the passenger door and opened it, holding out his hand to assist her in standing. He was shocked when she took it and stepped gracefully from the car. Her eyes were lit in wonderment and he felt pleased that he had chosen correctly.

Walking side by side into the mall, Lisanna glanced around quickly, taking in everything around her. Running up to a window filled with multicolored jewels, Lisanna eye’s glittered in excitement. “They’re beautiful.” She muttered unconsciously and Hayden smirked before dragging her into the store. 

“Pick something out.” He ordered while motioning for an associate to assist.
Lisanna walked slowly around the display, ignoring the prattling of the noisy salesman, and eyed every cut of gem. Finally settling her gaze on an opal butterfly set, Lisanna looked at the uniformed gentleman and spoke inquisitively, “May I try it on?”

The man nodded and pulled the pieces out, setting them on the glass counter and watching as Hayden took the necklace and slipped it around her neck. Standing behind her, he brushed her hair aside and fumbled with the clasp. His hands on her neck made her body heat in places she desperately tried to ignore. Finally latching it closed; he spun her to face him and stared in wonder. 

Lisanna was a natural beauty, not needing make-up or accessories, but jewels clearly suited her and now she was absolutely stunning. Lisanna glanced in the mirror and smiled gently before reaching to remove the chain. Hayden brushed her hand away and glared at the now entranced salesman. 

“We’ll take the complete set.” He barked to the man who immediately rushed to gather everything necessary, clearly having heard the threat in Hayden’s voice. Lisanna looked at Hayden in shock and confusion before coming to some realization and laughing. 

“I’m sure she’ll love it.” She hummed and Hayden tilted his head in question. “Your girlfriend.”

Hayden laughed. The sound was pleasant and Lisanna found herself laughing with him, even though she had no idea what was funny. Hayden shook his head and grabbed the bag from the man. “They’re for you.”
Lisanna’s face smoothed into an expression of disbelief and she set the bag down before moving to remove the necklace. “I have no reason to accept.” She said firmly while Hayden moved to grab her hands.

“You have no reason not to.” He barked and she frowned. She wanted the jewelry but didn’t want to take advantage of his kindness. He clearly felt responsible for what had happened that night and now he was trying to buy forgiveness.

“I am not angry.” She said softly, her expression gentle and caring as she eyed Hayden. “Even if I was, it was not your fault. You saved me. You don’t owe me anything.”

Hayden stared in wonderment. This woman honestly believed that he was only trying to make up for last week. He debated whether she was slow or naïve.  Suddenly realizing that he could work this to his advantage, he faked hurt. “I will not be able to sleep if you refuse to let me make this up to you. It was my men who caused this and I will only continue to feel guilty if things stay this way. Accompany me around today and let me pamper you for the inconvenience. It will put me at ease.”

Lisanna sighed and glanced at the set. “I cannot let you spend your money on me.”

Hayden was irritated; not only with her comment, but with his own disbelief. Women usually were more than ready to be showered with gifts. He had never met someone who’d refused his hospitality. “I have money to spend and nothing I want. Why should I not spend it on someone who will benefit from it?”

Lisanna eyed the pieces once more, knowing that she would regret the consequences that were sure to follow. She dropped her head in defeat. “You are not going to back down on this, are you?”

Hayden smiled triumphantly and shook his head. “I always win.” He mumbled playfully before realizing that he was actually joking with her. He felt good, laughing beside her, and it scared the shit out of him. 

“Let’s go,” He mumbled, reigning in his emotions as he turned to walk away. Lisanna grabbed the bag beside her and chased after him, sliding her hand in to pull out the small butterfly earrings. Slipping one into each ear, she smiled up at Hayden from beside him, her eyes whispering thanks you more than her words.

They made several stops throughout the mall, chatting and walking contentedly, before finally coming upon an expensive looking dress shop. Lisanna tried to guide Hayden away but he nudged her forward, a female associate rushing forward to assist them. The woman tossed a quick glance at Hayden who nodded in return and then she dragged Lisanna to the dressing room where items already lay waiting. 

Sitting on a couch in the corner near the rooms, Hayden leaned back and closed his eyes. He knew he needed to be more careful. Lisanna was not like most women and that difference in her enticed him. She was intoxicating and, if he was not careful, he would end up drunk. He knew that this feeling in his chest was not love. He was not capable of loving another. He was merely fascinated by her unconventional behavior. 

Lisanna cleared her throat to gather his attention and smiled as his eyes widened. A simple black cocktail dress now clung to her delicate curves and draped gently over her hips. Thin straps and a low swoop front revealed the flesh he’d found himself fanaticizing about for the last week. Lisanna spun in a circle, the dress fluttering as air danced around her, and he could have sworn for a moment that his heart stopped. Hayden stood slowly; carefully adjusting his navy slacks so that no one would see his member begging for release. He walked up to Lisanna and eyed her over once more. 

“Do you like it, Anna?” He asked and she nodded. Hayden turned to the associate, tossing his hand in a small gesture of dismissal, before making to leave. “Now, all we need is to pick up your new shoes and you’ll be all set for this evening.”

Lisanna’s eyes widened. Had he really just said for this evening? She thought he had to talk so she’d come but suddenly Lisanna felt as if this were a date. Her head swarmed with thoughts, unsure of how to react. Glancing back nervously as they walked from the store, she wondered why they had just left without paying. Now thinking back, she realized that he hadn’t paid for the jewelry either. 

“Is it okay to just leave with the stuff?” She asked and he nodded absentmindedly before pointing to one of many nearby signs. Lisanna walked to the board and read the small print carefully. Owned and operated by Aberdine Corp.

“You own the mall?” She asked in astonishment and he nodded as if everyone should have one at their disposal. Lisanna couldn’t help wondering for a brief moment if she had involved herself with someone extremely eccentric, and possibly demented.  Lisanna returned from her wandering thoughts and rushed to catch up to Hayden, all the while debating her situation. It was beyond strange to her. This man, who clearly had so much to offer, was wasting his precious time to repay her for something which he had not caused.

Hayden guided her into a small shoe store and waltzed right up to the counter, picking up a box that had been placed in anticipation. Upon opening it, Hayden revealed the most beautiful pair of heels that Lisanna had ever seen. He knelt before her, lifting each foot in concession, and removed her plain jane flats. Sliding the heel over her soft skin, he strapped up each lace and stood to examine the outfit as a whole.  The elegant new lace-ups matched her dress perfectly and she looked beyond breath-taking. Customers in the store stared, the scene before them like something out of one of those sappy romance movies. Lisanna stared down at him; her heart thumped madly against her body. Nothing made sense to her anymore. She was not in control and she feared she was slowly losing herself; being consumed by the man before her. 

Hayden stood and held out his hand to her, Lisanna slipping her fingers into his without pausing to think of her hatred, of her fear. She followed after Hayden once more, being guided from place to place. She would never understand the life of the elite but at least, for now, she got to experience that which every girl dreamed of. 

She would understand though. Hayden had already decided that he would give her the knowledge, the experience, and the life she deserved. This was only the beginning. If Hayden had to, he would steal her away in order to achieve his goals. She would be his princess, locked away from the cruel world, never leaving her tower. She already belonged to him, she was merely unaware. The game had already begun.
The sun had begun setting, a delicate glow cast across the hood of the car as they pulled into the small lot of the waterside restaurant. Hayden looked pleased with himself, leading Lisanna’s graceful form through the large double doors and over to a waiter who quickly escorted them to the back of the restaurant where a wooden dock looked out over the sea. The gentleman held a menu to Lisanna but Hayden brushed it away and placed their orders, not allowing her a chance to even glance at the menu. He honestly doubted she would order anything but water if she saw the prices. 
Lisanna should have been aggravated by his behavior but instead she found his domineering attitude extremely sensual. She watched with mild amusement as the manager of the restaurant came out and made a scene of greeting the elitist across from her, handing over his “best bottle of bubbly”. The man bowed out and Hayden turned his attention to the beauty before him. 

“Do you own the restaurant as well?” She giggled and he shook his head as he poured a glass for each of them. Hayden passed the flute across and watched as Lisanna hesitated.

“I’m underage.” She mumbled beneath her breath and Hayden scowled playfully. Of course, he had already known that. He knew almost everything about her. He’d had his best team investigate her thoroughly, gathering information he could use to win her affections. He needed to know her in order to control her. He had honestly been surprised when he’d learned that she was only seventeen but he cared not. Even laws were made to be broken and no one would dare to stand against him.

“Drink,” He said firmly and then he added, “No one will bother you here.”
Lisanna lifted the glass to her mouth; his gaze focusing intently on the glossy lips that hugged against it. She allowed a small bit to play on her tongue before scrunching her face. “It’s strong.” 

Hayden laughed and raised his glass to toast. She tapped her glass against his and sipped the bitterness once more. “I have never had alcohol,” She admitted timidly and he smiled. She was too cute for words so Hayden simply watched her. Lisanna faced the water, drinking the champagne while watching the sun drop below the horizon. It was unlike anything she’d ever experienced, sitting in the warm glow of sunset. 

Before long, the waiter returned with their food and lit several tea lights floating in the glass centerpiece. It was beautiful and Lisanna’s eyes sparkled against the candlelight. She turned her attention to her food, desperately trying to ignore the consistent gaze of Hayden’s eyes. Her head was cloudy, from the day as much as the emptied glass in front of her. She finished off the filet and lobster without some much as a glance at her companion. She knew he was still watching her. She could feel the intensity of his gaze pressing into her skin. As Lisanna’s eating slowed, the waiter appeared to deliver their dessert, compliments of the house. The site before made her mouth water but she hesitated eating the art before her. Lisanna glanced at the waiter and he smiled sexily as he explained.

“It is the chef’s specialty, created specifically for Mr. Aberdine.” 

Lisanna nodded and the waiter excused himself before Hayden spoke. “You will like it. Its New York style cheesecake topped with zinfandel marinated diced strawberries and rum based chocolate glaze. The cream is handmade with vanilla extract and cocoa to create the perfect chocolate mousse.” 
Lisanna eyed the cake once more before diving in, every bite melting in her mouth. Hayden did not eat. Instead, he watched Lisanna. He watched her lips part, watched her slid the fork slowly from her mouth, savoring every bite. Her expressions were so natural and sexy and Hayden shifted in his seat to remove some of the pressure against his groin. She was just too cute. She had completely forgotten his existence, captivated by the sensation currently assaulting her taste buds. He knew that she was intoxicated but he wasn’t sure whether it had been the champagne, the food, or the events of the day that left her in a world all her own.

As the night died down, and the dessert ran out, Lisanna turned her attention back to the man before her. His eyes were so focused and the intensity scared her. He was still watching her, as if anticipating something. What, she did not know. His gaze made her unsteady and she grabbed the bottle, pouring herself another glass and downing it quickly. She tipped the bottle once more and Hayden reached out to steady her hand, removing the bottle from her grasp. 

“I want you to be able to think clearly,” he stated calmly and she pouted slightly before nodding in compliance. Hayden stood and took her hand, leading her off the deck and onto the private beach that lined the restaurant. He kneeled before her and removed each shoe, kissing lightly at her calf before setting her foot into the cool sand. They walked along the shore, Lisanna stumbling slightly each time the waves crashed at her ankles. She stumbled forward and Hayden caught her in his arms, her body naturally fitting in to his. He held her there, her back pressed firmly into his chest. She smelled good, sweet and seductive. The wind lifted her hair causing it to play at his chin. He let his arms fall to his sides and moved to walk ahead only to be assaulted by the sound of her squeal. Spinning around, he found her sitting in the surf and laughed. She’d fallen into the cold water and now sat drenched and sputtering. He choked on his laughter, watching her flustered face darken.

She barely looked like herself. Her hair was damp from a crashing wave and her face was flushed in embarrassment. He laughed, more than he ever had in his life. He hadn’t meant to but seeing her so bothered had really made him happy. She scowled and even that pleased him as he knelt to pick her up. Instead of assisting her to her feet, he was shocked when she swiped his legs out from under him causing him to crash into the water with her. He growled, but the sound was playful and amused. How could he be angry? Not when she was there, giggling like some smitten school girl. He splashed her, cutting off the warming sound and causing her to give him an “oh really” look. She returned the favor, tossing handfuls of water into his face. He launched forward to steady her hands and she dodged, teasing him with every move of her body. They wrestled like children, uncaring of the time or place.

Lisanna stood and tottered her way to shore, trying to escape, but Hayden was quicker and he managed to tackle her into the sand. He pinned her to the ground and then feared he’d gone too far. Her expression changed so quickly that he had little time to register what she was feeling or what he should do. The spiritedness left her eyes and her face flashed to fear, anger, and shame before settling on… what? What was that look in her eyes? He couldn’t tell what she was thinking or feeling and the realization terrified Hayden. 

Lisanna squirmed slightly before relaxing into the sand. She knew not to fight back. Men enjoyed the chase. If she struggled, he would pursue. And he would win. Men had the strength to take what they want. She’d known that all along and yet she’d gone with him, this man. Why was it that she wasn’t terrified? Why was she not making an excuse to be released? Why was she waiting for him to do more? Lisanna’s thoughts were so jumbled. Was it the champagne?  She wasn’t sure but she knew she had to stop him. She went to say something, to tell him to let go or get off but instead the words that escaped her lips shocked her.

“Kiss me.”

Hayden wasn’t sure he’d heard correctly. The sound was so gentle, he wondered if it had been the wind. Or maybe it was his imagination. That would make more sense. There was no way this goddess before him would willingly submit to him, not so soon. He couldn’t fathom the possibility. He must of been hearing things. But then why, why had she closed her eyes expectantly? Was she waiting for him? Hayden’s thoughts dissipated as he watched her perfect lips, plump with cotton candy lip gloss. He wondered what they felt like. Hayden wanted to know. He needed to know. Hayden inched forward slowly, waiting for her to stop him. To look up at him in fear. To struggle against him. She made no move, just stayed motionless beneath him. 

His lips met hers with such a gentle caress that Lisanna had to open her eyes to see if he really had kissed her. He was there, waiting for some reaction, his face inches from hers. Lisanna had no idea how to react. Her head was spinning and her mind was screaming. She blushed and closed her eyes once more. That was all the invitation Hayden needed. He kissed her again, her body trembling against him. He slipped his tongue out to caress her bottom lip, begging for entry. Lisanna had no idea what she was doing but she invited him in. Instantly, the feeling swept over her. It was like magic. 

His hands were all over her but she barely noticed. His kiss was amazing. Her heart was racing and her breath started coming in soft pants. He leaned back to take her in. She was absolutely exquisite. Her hair was still damp and it now lay tousled around her heated gaze. Her breathing was short and ragged. He wanted her. He’d never been so turned on by a single woman. His hand trailed its way through her hair to her neck where he lingered, knowing he could no longer hold himself back. He slid the pad of his thumb under the edge of her dress and watched as she shivered, waiting expectantly for his touch to explore further. He obliged, finding the hardened nipple beneath her dress and gently skimming over it. She moaned. The sound itself brought him to the edge and he leaned forward to capture her mouth again. He’d be damned if he’d let an inexperienced child affect him so. He’d make it so she could no longer stand. Ensure that she could no longer breathe without him. He’d devour her whole being, consume her whole life. 

Lisanna whimpered and Hayden was dragged forcefully back to reality. There were tears in her eyes and he knew she’d had too much, too soon. He kissed her once more, a gentle soothing kiss, and stood. Taking a moment to breathe, and will his throbbing cock to settle, he helped her to her feet and guided her back towards the car. As they walked, silence bore down on Hayden’s conscience. Tears streamed over her delicate cheeks and he feared he’d blown his chance straight to hell when Lisanna finally spoke.
“I was scared of the car, not you.”

It was then that he understood. He should have known from the investigative report but he’d failed to grasp the emotional factor involved. Lisanna’s mother had died protecting her after a drunk driver had collided into their vehicle. The woman had shielded her daughter from the impact, using her own body as a cushion. Lisanna had been trapped in her mother’s cold arms for over an hour when the paramedics finally found the vehicle. 
He suddenly felt sick. He had assumed that she was scared to be close to him or scared to be trapped in a car with any man, but he never would have guessed that she still thought about such a thing. Grabbing her, he forced her into his arms, trying desperately to will her pain and fears away. She struggled to free herself but ended up surrendering to his grip, small sobs escaping for the first time since she was a child. 

Hayden released her as her cries subsided, sliding his hand into hers and leading her the remaining distance to his car. He hesitated with his hand on the glass, staring at his own monstrous appearance. He’d hurt her, in more than one way. He usually would not allow himself to be affected by such things, but she was different. She evoked different emotions. 

“Are you still scared?” He asked and was relieved when she shook her head lightly. Opening the door he turned to face her, meeting her gaze head on. “I’ll take you home for tonight.”

Lisanna nodded knowing in her heart that this was the end. She would not see him again. What pathetic excuse for a woman would ruin the greatest night of her life by breaking down, not once but twice. Her head dropped in shame and embarrassment. She’d wanted him but she was afraid. She knew nothing about the adult world and she doubted seriously whether she could even please such a man. No, she was more scared that she wanted to please this man. Her body was sacred to her; something that she kept unattainable for any man. Men were known to use and abuse women and she had no desire to suffer the same fate. She met his gaze again, firm and determined. “Thank you for this evening.”

Hayden smiled, a playful wickedness settling his lips. “I’m letting you off for tonight but I will see you tomorrow. You can thank me then.”

Lisanna shook her head, trying desperately to find her voice. She wanted to tell him that she would not see him again. She wanted to tell him to stay away. Her lips trembled and he reached forward to run the pad of his thumb over her mouth.

“So sexy.” He mumbled and Lisanna blushed, turning away from his touch. Hayden’s hands cupper her chin, turning her face back towards him. “Look at me, Anna. Don’t ever look away.”

He’d left her no room to argue. Lisanna gazed into the intense inferno she saw building behind his eyes. He held her captive once more. She was a prisoner and the thought terrified her. She stepped back, keeping her focus on him as she placed a hand on the door. He opened it for her and watched as she quickly slipped into the passenger’s seat. She wondered now why she was going along with every word that this man said. She told herself that he’d left her no choice but the truth was she’d chosen. She’d agreed to see him again. This was getting dangerous and Lisanna knew it. She needed to cut off all ties with this man. If she didn’t, Lisanna knew that her entire world would dissolve. Her individuality would become his and her mind and body would be consumed. She would have to do what she did best, run away and never look back.

***

Lisanna eyed the dress, now dripping a puddle on her closet floor. Her new shoes lay beside her bed and she had tossed the jewelry on a nearby desk. The objects were proof that she had not dreamed up her crazy night. 
Hayden had dropped her off almost two hours before and she’d immediately stripped before climbing into bed, letting alcohol and exhaustion sweep her under. Now she’d awoken to the beginnings of a migraine, her world swaying slightly. She gripped the edge of the bed and rolled to her side, fighting tears as her mind tormented her with images of him. 

The ice cold water had done little to cool her nerves, soaking his own clothes so that they sculpted his muscles. His body was perfect. She imagined it now, his arms enclosing her body and holding her against him. She could hear his heart beat in his chest, felt it accelerate as he’d leaned in to kiss her. She’d felt him go stiff against her, the length of him pressing into her thigh. His hands had played lightly at her midriff, teasing circles around her belly button. His kiss had been pure addiction, giving yet taking more than she knew she had. 

She stared at the ceiling, trying to reign in her hormones, desperate for relief from the heat building at her core. Her nails trailed lightly across her skin, teasing the naked flesh above her knees. Goosebumps covered her body, her skin crawling with excitement. 

“Hayden,” she whimpered, her body losing control. She burned with need, wanting him so desperately. Images continued pouring into her mind as her fingers trailed their way up her thighs and hesitated on the most intimate of places. She couldn’t understand what was happening to her. Was she still drunk? Her nails scraped gently and she moaned, embarrassed by the sound that had escaped her. 

“This is all his fault,” she growled to no one. He’d made her feel sexy and desired. She’d wanted to make him feel the same but she’d been lost. No, she’d been swayed by emotions and she’d fallen into man’s game. She could not allow this to continue. Her resolve was set, her mind made up. She sat up and moved her sleek form across the room to drag a jogging suit from her drawer. She figured if she was going to be unable to sleep, she might as well make the most of it by doing something productive. 

Lisanna ran out into the night, the cold air clearing her head and allowing her to try and sort through her thoughts. She bounced down the steps and stretched at the bottom before setting off at a slow jog. She would wear her body down until she could no longer fight sleep. Perhaps then she would not dream of his hands on her skin.
Hayden had been practically beaming with excitement all day. It was more than unusual and a few associates could have sworn they saw the beginnings of a smile playing at his lips. The people at his Tokyo branch hadn’t known how to react. He’d never been a man who shared his emotions and many argued whether he had them. Even more shocking had been when Hayden had bounded out the door early claiming he had an important meeting. There was nothing on the schedule for that afternoon and the rumors quickly filled the office of the boss’s “new mistress”.
Hayden climbed in the car and sped towards his destination, knowing full well that he’d caused the office mockingbirds to gossip more about his private life. He cared not. They were mere pawns in his game of chess. Looking at the clock he smiled. Only fifteen more minutes and she’d be off. He had been honestly looking forward to seeing her again. The thought had scared him at first but now he had taken a new approach on the feelings. He might as well enjoy her fluttering about before he clipped her wings. That thought alone calmed his beating heart and reminded him that love was for saps. He could possess her body, and even her heart if he so desired, without giving her his. 

The drive was long and tedious, causing Hayden to shift irritably. He simply wanted her here now. He did not want her to be so far away. He knew he would have to move faster in order to get her right where he wanted her, by his side with nowhere to go but into his arms. The thought thrilled him, sending tingles of pleasure through his system and causing him to have needless thoughts about a real relationship, love, and romance.
Pulling up outside the familiar restaurant, Hayden climbed from the car and slipped on his sports coat. He’d order this suit yesterday while Lisanna had been distracted and he fully intended for her to be slipping him out of it by the end of the night. He glanced into the back seat of his car and chuckled to himself while staring at the bags scattered everywhere. He hadn’t meant to buy so much but when he thought of dressing her like a doll and playing with her, he couldn’t stop himself. Hayden ran a hand through his hair, brushing it away from his face, and headed inside. 
The shop was quiet and empty, even for a Monday afternoon. Hayden sought her out, scanning the room impatiently to find his toy. He did not see her, however, and this annoyed him to no end. Heading over to a nearby waitress, Hayden tapped her shoulder lightly and smiled. It wasn’t the smile Lisanna would have been used to but, rather, a cold calculating smile used to get what he wanted. The girl didn’t seem to notice and her face turned scarlet as she stared at the man.

“If you’d be so kind as to tell me where Lisanna is, I would greatly appreciate it.”

The girl nodded, her eyes locked on him. “Lisanna called out this morning.”
Hayden frowned, a twinge of worry sweeping over him as he thought she might have fallen ill from being soaked last night. “Is she sick?”
The girl shook her head, completely captivated to this man before her. “It didn’t seem like she was. She apparently said that she won’t be coming back, although no one knows why.”

Hayden’s gaze darkened, his expression becoming extremely dangerous, and the girl flinched away. Hayden looked around once more, spotting his new target. Marching over to the boy from yesterday, Hayden watched as Alex measured him up. 

“Lisanna’s not here.” He barked as Hayden came to a stop in front of him.

“Where is she?”

Alex smirked and Hayden’s hand tightened into fists. This cocky bastard was antagonizing him. Hayden glared at him as the room filled with an aura of death. “I want an answer, you stupid fucking brat. Where is Lisanna?”

Alex’s body was tense, fear threatening to take hold. This man was crazy. He could see it in his eyes and the knowledge did little to comfort him. He had no doubt that this man would kill him if he got the chance but Alex refused to back down. “She’s not here.”

Hayden nodded. He knew that he wasn’t going to get a straight answer. Pausing for a moment to clear his head, Hayden decided to head to her house. She had to come home eventually. He debated socking the kid once before he left and decided it wasn’t worth the effort. Hayden moved swiftly from the building, leaving Alex to his devices.

Alex plopped into a nearby seat and let all the tension flow from his body. Pulling out his cell phone, he quickly dialed Lisanna’s cell and waited patiently for her caramel voice to sing in his ear. She answered, sounding a bit breathless, and waited for Alex to speak.

“Are you out, yet?”

Lisanna nodded, although he could not see her do so, and replied softly, “Yes.”

“The guys will make sure you are safe. Take your stuff straight to the house and make sure you don’t leave their sight.”

Lisanna said nothing but he knew she would not argue. She had shown up on his doorstep last night, drenched in sweat and tears, and asked that he meet her first thing this morning. She had said she needed to talk to him but wasn’t ready to do so just yet so he’d agreed to meet her without even stopping to consider that the two were ditching school. 

They’d met at a local library and tucked themselves away in a dusty corner. She’d cried on his shoulder without saying a word for over an hour. He knew she must have been severely distraught, allowing a man to see her pain. He’d had no idea what was wrong with her but he wanted to help. 
Finally, she’d explained that she was terrified of Hayden. She claimed that he had some supernatural hold over her but Alex could see the truth. She was falling for Hayden and Alex had to ensure he got her away before she did something she would regret. Guys like Hayden wouldn’t stay entertained for long and she’d be crying for different reasons if he were to let it go on. Alex had something that he could do to help. He invited her to his place and officially introduced her to his two roommates, Sean and Daman. They had all sat down to discuss the situation and had agreed to move her in with them. The three had set out to gather her things while Alex had headed into work early. 

Lisanna finally hummed in acknowledgement and Alex hung up. He knew that the longer he stayed on the line with her, the more he would want to go back to her. Now was not the time to be engraining himself into her life. She was distraught and needed someone she could trust, a friend. Alex let out an exasperated sigh before turning his attention back to his work at hand. It would be fine. He would protect her.
Hayden was beyond infuriated. Upon arriving at Lisanna’s apartment, he discovered that she had packed up her few belongings and left earlier that day. Not only had she run but, according to her neighbors, she’d been with two men. Hayden’s blood boiled at the thought. He suddenly wished that he would have put a leash on her sooner. It was not finding her that would be a problem; he was just aggravated that he had to waste his time with such a meaningless task. 

As he returned to his vehicle he pulled out his cell, dialing his friend at the police station to put out an APB on Lisanna. The girl was truly foolish to think that she would be able to escape that easily. Did she think that this would discourage him? She had just upped the stakes and he would not fold. If anything had come of this, it was simply his overwhelming desire to move all pieces into checkmate. She would be his and, now, he no longer had to be nice about it.

He hopped back into the car and pulled out a manila folder, opening it hastily. Skimming through the pages quickly, he found what he was looking for and entered the information into his GPS. The address on record was a local private academy for the elite. The instructional institution was second only to his own school, Roland International Academy. He knew well of the facility and had been honestly shocked to learn that Lisanna was one of two scholarship students on center. It was not an easy feat to receive such an honor and Hayden had been impressed by her intelligence. Now, it was different. The school was a nuisance to him and he intended to correct the problem.

He started the car, engine purring to life, and headed to capture his next piece. It would be an easy enough task to schedule a meeting with their Board of Directors but Hayden was impatient and decided to go straight to the top. Lisanna was his and he would not have his pet trying to sneak away.

As he drove onwards, he was overwhelmed with emotions; resentment towards the world for allowing her to run, anger at Lisanna’s betrayal, and hurt. The latter was an emotion new to him and he shied away from exploring it further.

He arrived at the school a short time later and was greeted at the gate, having called ahead to ensure the headmaster would be available. A security officer guided him to Chairman’s office and excused himself while Hayden made his intentions known.

“As I said briefly on the phone, I need your assistance with something Mr. Reynolds. One of your students here has caused a great deal of problems for my company and we feel that she needs a more structured environment in order to correct her rebellious ways.”

The man stared at Hayden with wisdom beyond his years. “Rebellious, eh? Lisanna?”

“Nothing major. Just some minor incidents we hope to resolve.”

“Boy, do you think me a fool?” Reynolds asked, his voice scratching against the strain of age and, perhaps, an oncoming cold.

“I assure you that is not the case. We have the purest of intentions for Ms. Vanders. We simply feel that she would be better suited at Roland International Academy. Of course, she will be granted a full scholarship into our program and we will make it worth your while to assist in removing her from yours.”

Mr. Reynolds smiled in amusement and understanding. “If you truly feel that she will benefit from your “program” then I will consent. I do not expect reimbursement, however. I merely wish to see Lisanna’s situation improve. She is a good kid and if you think that you are truly able to provide for her then our school will, of course, step aside. However, I wish to make one thing clear. If this backfires on you, which it surely will, you must not take it out on that child.”

Hayden nodded in agreement, unsure of what the man meant or how it would fall apart. He stood and both men shook hands before Hayden turned to leave.

“Please let us know if we can do anything to assist in her transition into your school.”

Hayden nodded and turned back to offer the man a smile before exiting the office and returning to his vehicle. The headmaster would surely call Lisanna and inform her that her scholarship had been revoked. He knew that she would be devastated but he was prepared to accept the consequences of his actions. He headed out, calling the station to update himself regarding the whereabouts of his precious doll. The police had yet to find her but Hayden cared not. She had no home, no school, and no job to support herself. She would need him and she would seek him out.
Hayden drove his car home, debating the situation and possible solutions while wondering desperately what else was in store for him regarding this temptress of fate. He knew that in a matter of hours he would know her location and could not wait. When he saw her next, she would need him. Of course he’d oblige, but he’d make her beg first. The plan was flawless, or it was in his head. He never would have expected what would happen next. 
Lisanna had truly disappeared. She had never owned a bank account so there was nothing to trace and her cell must have been prepaid. Hayden wasn’t even sure now if the Headmaster had informed her about her scholarship. He should have waited at the school, he thought bitterly as he paced around his office. Hayden was starting to believe that the police department was useless when it dawned on him where she’d gone. It was so obvious that he should have known all along and he cursed himself for being so dimwitted. 

A week after he’d put out the report, he’d called his friend once more and gave him the necessary information to find her. A few hours later, his buddy called him back with an address and some pertinent news. Lisanna’s name had just popped up at Normanth East High. Instead of seeking his help, she’d run to a new school. Feeling dangerously close to losing control, he called to discuss the matter with the principal. This time, however, things did not go according to plan. He was transferred to the world’s most belligerent headmaster who refused to cooperate with Hayden’s “childish whims”. 

Hayden’s scowl darkened into murderous intent and he tossed his phone across the room, into the opposing wall. He now tried to place when it was that people started believing they could stand against him. Feeling as though the world needed a lesson on respect, Hayden marched out to the garage and proceeded to race against his thoughts towards Lisanna’s new school. He would wait for her all day, if he had to. When he saw her though, he would snatch her up and take her away. He would bind her to him in any way he deemed necessary, making sure that she could never again leave his side. That was his desire; however, fate is not so kind as to play man’s games.
The entire situation was absurd, Lisanna thought to herself as she followed around the Student Council Vice-President, Takashi Imoto. She’d lost her scholarship over a part-time job she no longer had. Apparently, according to the dying geezer at her old school, working throughout the school week was prohibited for scholarship students. Lisanna felt bitter. If that was the case then she should have at least gotten a warning. Instead, she now walked through the halls of Normanth, delinquent central.

She’d heard the rumors about this school, as had most of the country. Tuition was ridiculously cheap but, in exchange, they accepted students who had nowhere else to go. In terms, they were students who were prone to violence and aggression. Their Student Council President was supposedly no better, having been kicked from every school on the coast. They said he was more like a gang leader than the President and he was seen, more often than not, on the roof of the school with some variation of woman. Lisanna worried about her safety, taking in her surroundings with disgust. 

The walls were covered in graffiti and, despite it being class time, students littered the hallways. Lisanna couldn’t help but think it looked like a zoo and smelled like a barn. She saw a few females here but they were all barely dressed and Lisanna noted that the ratio was greatly distorted. 
“Excuse me for asking, but I was wondering where all of the female students are.” 

The boy paused, glancing over his shoulder at her and Lisanna suddenly felt very afraid. The smile that crept over his face was sarcastic and his voice was cold as he spoke to her, treating her like she was beneath him. 
“What do you mean, princess?” He asked sarcastically, tacking on the nickname out of spite.

Lisanna refused to be intimidated and she glared back at him. “I mean, why are there so few female students?”

“We have them, mostly sluts and tramps who’d run out of boys to sleep with at their previous schools. Is that what you are? A slut?”

Lisanna couldn’t stand his tone, or his comment, but the fact was she believed he was being honest about their behavior. The girls she’d seen thus far had been flirting shamelessly with ten guys at once or perched on the laps of some man like a prized trophy. “How many are there?”

Takashi shrugged and turned to continue the tour. “I’m sure you can count them on your two hands,” He stated but Lisanna debated the validity of his statement. 

They passed the Student Council room and turned up a narrow flight of stairs, Takashi insisting that she greet their President immediately. Upon arriving on the top landing, the boy’s attitude before her changed completely. Pulling off his glasses and tucking them in his back pocket, he stripped off his coat and loosened his tie. Instantaneously, his attitude was gone, as well, and he smiled back at her with amazing enthusiasm. 

“Welcome to Normanth High School,” He chimed as he opened the door for her, sunlight flooding into her eyes. Lisanna stepped forward, blinking against the brightness, and spotted a group of students sitting on the roof. They all glanced up in surprised until Takashi popped his head around the door and bounded in. 

“I found a new one.” He beamed, rushing over to a sleeping mass beneath the uniform coat and plopping down beside him. “This is our Student Council President, Lance.” He boasted as he leaned against the surrounding gate and sighed. 

“Yo, Lance. I found a little lost kitten downstairs.”

The mass stirred, pushing himself off the cement with a yawn, and pulled his jacket off to reveal sun dyed hair and emerald eyes that shone with excitement. Lisanna stared, unable to remove her gaze from his face. He was as pretty as a woman and yet there was a masculinity to him that drew her. He watched her, and she could feel his gaze. He was sizing her up and, while she knew that she should be angry, she hoped she looked her best. Apparently he liked what he saw because he stood and moved towards her. Stopping a short distance in front of her, he smiled and extended his hand. 
“Lance,” He remarked, his voice rough and sexy, a silver ball flashing as he spoke.

“Lisanna,” She replied, taking his hand and smiling warmly.
“So, you’re Anna?” 

Lisanna nodded slowly, suddenly feeling a strange sense of familiarity. Shaking aside her strange thoughts, Lisanna eyed him over once more. He wasn’t really her type, not that she had a type, but he truly was beautiful. His skin was tan and his hair was blackish brown. It was shoulder length, pulled in to a ponytail against the back of his neck.  She guessed that too many hours on the roof had led to his outdoorsy appearance and that his hair had once been as dark as night itself. 

She could picture it in her mind, as if she’d opened the pages into a story about how he’d once been frail with a weak constitution and now that his health had improved he enjoyed basking in the sun. She blushed, realizing that she was totally staring at him in a daze, and noticed the group watching her intently. 

“I’m really sorry.” She apologized with a deep bow and he laughed, the sound so warm and pleasant that she found herself wishing to hear it again. “It’s been a long week. I’m usually not so scatterbrained.”

Lance nodded in agreement and motioned for her to take a seat. They sat on the roof and talked for hours. Lance told her what he knew about her, having already seen her record, and she told her the little she knew about the school, basically rumors that she’d heard. He admitted to the school being a bit out of control and stated that it was the Student Council’s responsibility to maintain appearances that allowed them to control the rowdy students. 

Takashi had jumped in at that point to apologize for his cruelty earlier, explaining that he was known as the Executioner of the Council. His responsibility was to instill fear into the students and to carry out orders regarding the punishment of the delinquents. Lisanna couldn’t really understand how the system worked but she listened, trying to absorb as much information as possible. 

Later, Lance had introduced the group one by one. Lisanna now munched on a sandwich the President had given her while trying to remember everyone’s name. Takashi was the easiest to remember, as he’d been the first one she’d met, and he was the Vice-President. Talking to him was Erica Grynovish, a German exchange student who would be leaving in two weeks. Beside them were Ryan and Riana, the twins, who were the adopted children of the Principal. Alone in the corner was Aidan Hughes, the Student Council Treasurer and school loner. He had a bit of an attitude problem but apparently he was a genuinely nice guy. Of course, next to her was the school’s President and resident heart throb, Lance Michaels. 
Lance had been prattling away about the school’s rules and regulations which were clearly never followed, not even by the Council themselves, but Lisanna was too absorbed in her thoughts to listen. Lisanna’s attention was suddenly drawn back as she heard her name. 

“Excuse me.” She muttered and he smiled at her.

“It’ll be fun and none of the guys on center will dare to touch you if you agree.”

Lisanna stared at him in bewilderment. She had no idea what he was talking about but she hated to admit she hadn’t been listening to him at all. Conceding to her own belligerence, she nodded hesitantly.

“You will?” He chimed and she nodded more distinctly, taken in by his enthusiasm. “So how about we ditch tomorrow?”

Lisanna’s eyes widened in horror. “Ditch? Like as in cut class?”

Lance nodded before laughing. “What did you think I meant?”

Lisanna shook her head firmly and the students all joined in laughing. Takashi leaned closer and asked her incredulously, “What do you think we’ve been doing today?”

Lisanna was shocked. She’d kind of assumed that since she was with the Student Council that she would be alright but she should have known that this group would willingly miss class. She stood to storm away and Lance snatched up her wrist, pulling her down gently into his lap.

“It’s alright. It’s not like we’ll get in trouble. This school is probably a little different than what you’re used to but as long as you arrive for exams and pass, they don’t care if you fail to attend your classes.” He whispered softly into her ear and she was once again overwhelmed by the similarity. His voice was different, as was his body, but she felt the same in this man’s arms as she had in the others. She squirmed and his arms wrapped around her waist, holding her firmly against him.

“Nope,” He sung playfully. “I refuse to let you go.”

The action didn’t frighten her, as it normally would have. Instead, she found it strangely adorable. He was like a little kid craving for attention. Lisanna leaned into him and closed her eyes. “So, where are we going?”

Lance glanced down at her and smiled. “On our first date.”

Lisanna’s body tensed and she rubbed her temple, fighting an oncoming headache. So that was what she’d missed. Was she an absolute idiot? No, not an idiot. Clearly she enjoyed digging her own grave. 

Lance could feel the change and he quickly set to reassure her. “We can go wherever you’d like and eat whatever you want. It’s all about what you want.”

Lisanna thought about it for a moment and then nodded in consent. She’d never really dated someone and she really had no desire to but she figured if she ever wanted to try it, this was the perfect guy. Although his appearance might give some people the wrong impression, he seemed genuine enough and was gentle and childish. They would probably have a lot of fun and, for whatever reason, Lisanna felt safe with him.

“Let’s go.” She hummed and Lance smiled, kissing her forehead.

Lisanna had no idea that as she rested in Lance’s arms outside her school gate, at that very moment, an extremely agitated Hayden was waiting to crush the world around her.
As the bell rang, signaling the end of Lisanna’s first day, Lance took her hand and guided her through the hallways towards the front gate. He hadn’t been kidding about maintaining an image, as he’d changed his attitude and demeanor before leaving the comfort of the roof, and she now walked beside a much more intimidating figure. His appearance hadn’t really changed much, he now wore a tie that had earlier been cast aside, but he exuded an aura of power. They walked through crowded hallways, a sea of people parting to let them pass. 

It was evident that the group was always together and Lisanna imagined it looked like a scene from some mafia movie where the boss and his minions marched, slow motion, towards the enemy. Lisanna walked beside Lance, equal if you will. Hovering slightly behind them, Aidan and Takashi surveyed their surroundings with acute awareness. They seemed like bodyguards more than friends and Lisanna giggled slightly. Taking up the rear, the twins and Erica chitchatted away, looking completely unfazed by anything. It was strange, but Lisanna guessed now that she’d gotten herself involved with a very eclectic group.

As they approached the front gate, Lance reminded Lisanna to meet him at the park across the street in the morning and to dress casual. She nodded and Takashi called out, stopping the group to chat really quickly before they left.

“I’d say we should all go to the theme park or something, but I’m sure you guys would like to be alone.” Takashi pouted slightly and Lance shrugged. 
“I don’t mind if y’all come, if Anna doesn’t mind.” He replied, glancing at Lisanna in anticipation. Lisanna smiled, pleased that he was willing to let them join in their activity, and nodded cheerfully.

“That sounds like a blast,” She chimed. Turning to leave, Lisanna froze and unconsciously clung to Lance’s arm. “Is there another exit?” She mumbled under her breath, so soft Lance almost missed it.

“Not really, just some cut in the fence.” He muttered, watching her with concern. Lisanna took a step back, preparing to bolt, as the door to the car in front of them opened and he stepped out.

“Hayden.” She muttered under her breath and Lance followed her gaze.

“Anna,” He called firmly and Lisanna flinched, more disturbed by the fact that seeing him had caused her heart to race and places on her to tighten in response than the fact that he was very clearly angry. Lance scowled at the figure. Taking Lisanna’s hand in his, he looked at the rest of the group before marching on, ignoring this man’s existence entirely. They walked through the gates and immediately turned, heading down the road without a glance back. 

“Anna,” Hayden called again and she hesitated, coming to a complete stop with the group surrounding her. His growl filled her ears, making her feel like a small child. “Don’t ignore me.”

Lisanna looked at Lance, her eyes pleading for him to help her. He wasn’t sure what to do. He looked at his friends and motioned for them to continue without him. They conceded and headed off, hugging Lisanna and tossing glances back to the man in the Porsche. He was now leaning against the hood of his car, one foot propped against the fender, waiting. Lance turned to Lisanna and smiled, reassuring her that everything would be okay. She believed him.

Walking towards the car, Lisanna eyed Hayden over. If she’d thought that Lance exuded power then she was sorely mistaken. Hayden controlled his environment as if it were simplistic. The students still filtering from the building averted their eyes and cowered away from his presence. Lisanna should have known that she couldn’t hide from him and she wondered, for a second, if she’d merely wanted him to chase her. The second he spoke she knew that wasn’t the case. She had wanted to free herself from what this could become.

“You moved in with Alex?” He growled and Lisanna nodded timidly.

“You enrolled in this shithole?”

Lisanna nodded once more, wanting to argue that this place wasn’t so bad but fearing his unrelenting temper. She felt Lance’s hand tighten around hers and she watched nervously to see if Hayden had noticed. He’d noticed. His gaze narrowed and something behind his eyes flashed. Was that red in his eyes or the reflection of his car? Lisanna slipped her hand from Lance’s and stepped forward.

“A lot happened over the last week. I was kicked out of school so I had to quit my job and look for a new place. Alex needed roommates so it worked perfectly. Then everything was hectic while I looked for a new school. I’m sorry I blew you off.” She rambled and his anger boiled over.

“Lies,” He remarked, his voice flat and dangerous.

“I had no way to tell you what’d happened.” She continued and he pushed off the car, taking a step towards her. Lance launched himself in front of her and glared at the man before him.

“Move kid.” Hayden barked.

Lisanna pushed Lance gently aside and stared up into Hayden’s face. Hayden watched her carefully, waiting, but she said nothing. Finally breaking, Hayden grabbed her wrist and pulled her forward, lowering his face to hers and growling, “You lie. You quit before you were kicked out.”
Lisanna instantly knew. “You had them revoke my scholarship all because I didn’t show up for your stupid date?”

Hayden was too occupied on Lisanna’s face to notice her free arm shoot out, blocking Lance from attacking. She was going to get this out, damn it. Hayden laughed sadistically, the sound causing Lisanna’s eyes to widen in fear. 

“I could care less that you skipped on our date. Hell, I don’t care that you quit your job, moved all your shit, or even ran to another school instead of asking me for help. No matter what, you will still be mine. I will still find you. What I care about is the fact that every time I track you down, your acting like some prostitute looking for her next client.” He spat, now glancing to the man beside her.

Tears welled up in Lisanna’s eyes and Lance stared at the scene before him with disgust. She swallowed hard against the lump forming in her throat and stared back at him with every ounce of anger she could muster. “I hate you.”

Hayden smiled, grabbing her wrist and pulling her up to his face, kissing her without a single emotion besides contempt. “Hate me, then. As long as I can consume your every thought, I don’t care if you damn me to hell.”
Lance had had enough. His expression darkened in response and his voice lowered to match the raging tension around them. “Well, well. I see you haven’t matured at all, bro.”

Hayden’s nails dug into his palms as he faced the boy head on. The realization struck him and he was overwhelmed with confusion. He knew that face all too well. He only wondered now why he hadn’t realized it sooner. The boy was the spitting image of his mother. “What’s your name?”
Lance smiled sarcastically. “You still haven’t realized? Clayton Lance Aberdine, your beloved little brother.”

The air became cold as the tension became practically visible and Lisanna took a step back as she realized it as well. She had noticed the similarities before but had no reason to suspect what was now laid before her. She’d never known. The truth was, she realized, she didn’t know either of them at all. It had been less than two weeks since Hayden had uprooted her world and she’d only met Clayton today. 

It only made sense that she knew nothing about them yet that realization made he feel very alone. The fact was it still hurt. For whatever the reason may be, she felt as if she’d known them forever. Standing as the outsider now, Lisanna realized how truly naïve she was. She took a step back and bowed. 

“I can’t do this. I will have to talk to each of you later. For now, I wish to be alone and I would rather you two take the time to think.” Lisanna turned and marched away, both men staring after her in disbelief. 

She’d brushed them aside so easily and now the situation had been defused instantaneously. It was as if their anger had nowhere to go. Hayden and Clayton glared at each other before turning their separate ways. As Hayden climbed into the car, he swore he heard Clayton mutter under his breath but then he was gone. Clayton turned the corner, wishing things were as simple as out of sight out of mind, and punched the brick wall lining the pathway. 

His bastard brother was back, and he had his eyes set on Lisanna. All Clayton could think was how pathetic that guy was, knowing only how to forcibly take what he wanted. If he didn’t get his way then he retaliated, with words and childish actions. He pitied the fool but the fact was that Hayden had insulted Lisanna, and that was unforgivable. 

His brother would pay, and Clayton would be the one to make him, even if it meant protecting Lisanna from herself. He’d seen the way she reacted to Hayden and it honestly concerned Clayton. Lisanna was consumed by emotions, childishly infatuated, and she was terrified by what she felt while being mesmerized by his power. Clayton would not let her see Hayden again. He would be the one to protect her.
Coming Soon!