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Tormentor Mine(89)

By:Anna Zaires

She hurries out of the kitchen, and I stand there, unable to breathe, feeling like I just got knifed in the gut.

Fuck, that smile… That smile was everything.

For the first time, I understand why I feel this way around her.

For the first time, I realize how much I love her.



* * *

By Sunday morning, I feel better and decide to go see my parents. I’ve visited them only once since Peter’s return, as I’ve been busy with my stalker and worried about exposing them to danger. However, I’m now increasingly convinced that Peter wouldn’t arbitrarily hurt them. He values family too much to do that to me.

As long as I comply with his demands, my parents should be safe.

My mom is ecstatic when I call her, and we make plans to go out for a sushi lunch. When I inform Peter about that, he nods absentmindedly and types something on his phone.

“What are you writing?” I ask warily.

“Just telling my guys that I’ll be in today, after all,” he says, putting the phone away. “Why? Did you want me to join you?” His gray eyes gleam as he looks at me.

I laugh. “No, I think the bit where the FBI storm the restaurant to capture one of their most wanted might be a bit of an appetite spoiler.”

Peter doesn’t smile back, and I realize he’s serious.

“You… you’d come out with me in public?”

“Why not?” He lifts his eyebrows coolly. “I met you at Starbucks, didn’t I?”

“Well, yeah, but that was before. I mean—never mind.” I take a breath. “I guess you’re not afraid of being seen in public?”

“I wouldn’t parade in front of your local FBI office, but I can go out for an occasional lunch or dinner if the place is scoped out beforehand, and I can make sure there are no cameras.”

“Oh.” I chew on the inside of my lip as I pick up my bag. “Well, maybe we can go out for dinner later this week…”

“But not today,” he says, and I nod, feeling awkward but not knowing what else to do. There’s no way I’m introducing George’s killer to my parents.

It’s bad enough I just offered to go out to dinner with him.

“Okay, then. I’ll see you when you get back,” he says, and I slip away before he can suggest anything else—like matching tattoos or a beach wedding.

This is total madness, and the craziest part is that it’s starting to seem normal.

I’m getting used to having Peter in my life.

* * *

At lunch, I inform my parents that I decided not to sell the house. I already told them two weeks ago that the lawyers’ offer fell through, so they’re not particularly surprised to hear about my decision. In fact, they’re quite pleased, given that the house is only a twenty-minute drive from them while my new apartment would’ve been at least forty-five minutes away.

“It’s a lovely house,” Dad says, pouring himself a little platter of soy sauce. “I think the whole apartment thing was an overreaction. You’re young, but years go by fast, and at some point soon, you might want to think about starting a family. You know, get out there and meet a man—”

“Oh, stop it, Chuck,” Mom snaps at him. “Sara has plenty of time.” Turning toward me, she says in a softer voice, “You take as long as you need, darling. Don’t let your dad push you into anything. We are glad you’re keeping the house, but that doesn’t mean we expect you to produce grandkids anytime soon.”

“Mom, please.” It’s all I can do not to roll my eyes like I’m still in high school. My parents are doing the good cop/bad cop thing with me, likely in the hopes of planting the “go out and meet a nice man” suggestion in my mind. “If I’m on the verge of producing grandkids, I promise you and Dad will be the first to know.”

Mom gives Dad a beatific smile. “See? She’ll go out there when she’s ready.”

“Right.” I busy myself with prying apart my wooden chopsticks. “When I’m ready.” Which, given what’s happening in my life, might be never. Or at least not until Peter gets bored with me—something that looks increasingly unlikely to happen soon. If anything, I think he’s even more fixated on me now, his gray eyes watching me with a peculiar light that sends warm shivers down my spine.

Before I can analyze why that is, the waiter brings out our sushi boat, and my parents ooh and aah over the artfully arranged fish, sparing me from more of their not-so-subtle machinations. I wish I could tell them the truth, but there’s no way I can explain Peter without terrifying them out of their minds.