Not A Moment Too Soon

 

 

Chapter 1

 

Ravati stood there in the living room, chewing her gum, and crossed her arms in front of her chest, wondering what her dear ol’ uncle had in store for her now.  She’d stolen a car the previous night and ended up ditching it in the nearby river.  The cops caught her and threatened to send her to Juvenile Hall, but her Uncle Steve had pleaded with them to let him make the punishment.  Ravati blew the bubble out before popping it, sucking it back in her mouth, and rolled her eyes.  She had a black bandana wrapped around her head, tied in the back with her long, black hair in a braid that hung down her back. 

 

Her outfit consisted of a tank top that showed off her bare stomach and her belly button ring that had a red dice on it, showing off her Devil Child tat that was in Old English lettering on her right hip.  Her pants were black and cargo, chains hanging from them with little handcuffs, baggy, and hugged her hips nicely along with her black steel toed boots.  She had a black choker with silver necklace around her neck and around ten wristbands on each wrist wither nails painted black.  Her eyes were decked out in black and red eye shadow and eyeliner, making it have a flame pattern and black lipstick painted her lips, accentuating her rather pale skin nicely, since she was never out in the sun.

 

“I am SICK and TIRED of bailin’ yer ass outta trouble, Ravati!” Steve said angrily, using her full name which he only did when he was angry with her.  “What the HELL were ya thinkin’?  Stealin’ a damned car?  And then, and THEN, fuckin’ bailin’ out and leavin’ it in the damned river!?!?!?!” His face was red with rage, a vein showing on his bald head, looking dangerously close to the breaking point.  “What the Hell are ya doin’ with yer life, Ravati?  Besides hangin’ out with a bunch of trouble makers and gettin’ yerself into scrapes ya can’t get out of?”

 

“It’s called having fun, Steve, you should try it sometime.” Ravati retorted, making it sound like the most obvious thing in the world, and sighed in boredom as she took her gum out and placed it on her finger, staring at it broodingly.  “And don’t fucking call my friends trouble makers!  They’re the only ones who TRULY understand me, you fuckwad!” She snapped, having a short temper.

 

“Well it royally sucks to be you, Ravati because yer gone!” Steve snapped back.  “I just got off the phone with a buddy of mine and he’s agreed to take yer trouble makin’ ass for the summer.  Show ya what it means to be treated like a damned convict since that seems to be what the Hell you’re wantin’!  Get yer ass upstairs and pack right now!” He ordered, pointing, not pleased with her tone at all.

 

“I’m not going fucking anywhere, you asshole!” She shouted back at him, refusing to show any fear, and placed her hands on her hips, not moving an inch.  “You wanna kick me out?  FINE!  I’ll just stay with one of my ‘troublemaking’ friends as you so BLUNTLY like to call them, Steve!” She was getting sick and tired of her uncle always treating her like a child when she was twenty one years old.  She just couldn’t find a place of her own because her best friend wouldn’t get up off of her ass and look for one for them.

 

“Wrong, Ravati.  You’ll do this or spend yer summer in the county lock up!” Steve countered.  “You’re leavin’ bright and early in the mornin’ so I suggest ya go pack yer things and get a GOOD night’s rest because it’ll probably be the last one ya have this summer!  NOW GET TO STEPPIN’!” His tone left no room for argument.

 

“I FUCKING HATE YOU!!” She screamed at him, her midnight blue eyes blazing with rage, and stomped upstairs to her room, slamming her bedroom door shut so hard, the hinges rattled.  She started swiping things off of her dresser and actually punched the wall, not at all bothered by the throbbing pain it left, and finally collapsed on her bed.  She felt the tears sting her eyes, but quickly blinked them back, not believing her uncle was sending her away somewhere.  She whipped out her cell phone and dialed her best friend’s number, hoping she wasn’t still sleeping.

 

“What?” Angel, short for Angelica, answered brightly, sounding bright eyed and bushy tailed.  Her natural hair color was brown, but at the moment, it was an icy blue that matched her eyes.  She had the same eyes as her brother, both inheriting them from both of their parents.  Though that might have been the fact that she and her brother, John, had spent the night bouncing off walls from a little experiment involving caffeine and the Dextrin they borrowed off their mother.  “JOHN!  Put it down!”

 

“Fuck me, what are you two doing NOW?” Ravati asked with a laugh, completely forgetting about her moronic uncle downstairs, and laid back on her bed, rubbing her stomach, and stared up at the ceiling.  “You two didn’t do the caffeine and Dextrin mix without me, DID YOU?”

 

“Erm…Well you see…”  Angel cleared her throat.  “We heard over the CB what’cha did, nice by the way, and got bored.  Mainly John’s fault though.” She groaned, watching her brother flinging her CD’s across the basement they shared as their living quarters or the Cell as they liked to call it.  “We got a whole other bottle with your name on it, Rava.  Wanna do somethin’?”

 

“Rava!” John dived onto his sister’s bed, reaching over to put his girlfriend on speakerphone. 

 

“Heygirlwhat’sup?I’mreallyhyperrightnow!” He said in a rush of words that blended together.  John and Angelica were siblings, always getting into trouble, but each other always bailed the other out.  They were close.  John had short brown hair with piercing sky blue eyes and he was built nicely for his age.  Maybe one of the reasons why Ravati was so attracted to him in the first place.  They dated on and off for a few years, currently dating now, but it would change because Ravati refused to settle down with anyone.  She liked to live her life free and refused to be tied down by a boyfriend, even though John was just like her.  They both wanted to grab life by the throat and choke it for all it was worth.

 

“I noticed, Johnny boy!” She started laughing, her eyes instantly filling with rage again as she sat up on the bed, one hand planted on the comforter, and held the cell as she stared at her black nails, chewing on her gum again.  “Yeah, about that…” The laughter died out of her voice, causing her to sigh heavily, and rolled her eyes as she growled lowly.  “Fuckwad is sending me away for the summer…”

 

“WHAT?” Both John and Angelica roared.

 

“Where the fuck is he sending ya too and why?” Angel demanded angrily.  “What a fucking prick!”

 

“Wantustocomeoutthereandchangehismindforya?Huh?” John asked in another rush of words, having way too much caffeine inside of him mixed with Dextrin at the moment.

 

“No because you know how he is.  Fuckin’ uptight motherfucker….” She growled more under her breath, raking her nails against her comforter, and crossed her leg over the other while studying her nails more.  “Apparently the courts were GOING to send me to the country prison for the summer, ya know, to TRY and teach me a lesson?” She started laughing incredulously.  “But I guess fuckwad called some punk friend of his up and I have to stay with him for the summer.”

 

“When are you leaving?” Angel asked, frowning as she watched her brother.  “Um hold on, Rava…” She rolled off the bed, smacking him upside the head.  “Leave the Dextrin alone, you junkie!”

 

“Ouch!  I was putting it away!” John protested, no longer talking a mile a minute.

 

“Sorry 'bout that.  Anyways…” She went back to the conversation with her best friend.

 

“That’s fine.  I wouldn’t sweat nothin’.  I’m sure it ain’t too far from here so it’s not like I can’t sneak out and whatnot.” Ravati smirked as she walked over to her window, staring out of it, and started giggling when she seen her uncle outside drinking a beer by his pool.  “Fuckwad is pissed.  So yeah anyway, this won’t change what we got planned tonight, RIGHT?” There was a sadistic edge to her voice as she closed her curtain and walked back over to stare in the mirror, at her reflection.  “I mean, if I’m gonna have ONE more night of freedom, I might as well go out with a BANG!”

 

Angel giggled, her sweet voice sounding innocent though anyone who knew her would say otherwise.  “Yeah, we’re still on for tonight.  Who ya want to snag you up from the road?  Us or David?”

 

“Fuck Dave!” John shouted, hurling another CD.

 

“Ignore John, he’s coming down off his little high.” Angel sighed exasperatedly, almost regretting allowing him to join her in mixing the caffeine with the Dextrin.

 

“I don’t wanna know what Davey boy did to make Johnny say that.  Yeah, after fuckwad goes to sleep, I’ll call you.  Lata woman!” She then snapped her cell phone shut just as a knock sounded at her door, causing her eyebrow to rise, and crossed her arms in front of her chest as she slid her cell in her back pocket.  “What the fuck do you want, Steve?  If you haven’t noticed, I hate your fucking guts right now.”

 

“Change of plans, hope you’re packed.” Steve arched an eyebrow, noticing she wasn’t.  “You have ten minutes to have yer shit in gear and be ready to go, hear me?  We’re leavin’.”

 

“WHAT?” She roared, throwing a book at him out of pure rage, not believing what she was hearing.  “You said in the fucking morning!  Why do we have to leave now???”

 

“Because I fuckin’ said so!” Steve caught the book, opened it, and tore it right down the middle.  “That’s the bottom line, Ravati.  Now get yer stuff packed!” He ordered, his tone even.

 

“Man, fuck you!  I’m not going anywhere with you, fuckwad!” She shouted back at him, knowing her plans for that night were cancelled, and felt like tearing her uncle’s heart out of his chest and crushing it in her hand.  “I’m not going, fuck you!  You said tomorrow morning!”

 

Sighing heavily, Steve picked up her duffel bag and started stuffing clothes into it, ignoring her shouts when he tossed in underclothes.  He added her personals before zipping it up and tossing her over his other shoulder. “Plans changed.  You’re goin’ today.” He said firmly, carting her downstairs.

 

“LET ME DOWN RIGHT FUCKING NOW, FUCKWAD!  YOU CAN’T DO THIS TO ME!!” She screamed at him, kicking her feet wildly as he dragged her out of the front door, causing her to beat on his back wither fists, not believing he was doing this to her.  No tears fell from her eyes, refusing to show him any pain, and when he set her down on his feet, she kicked him hard in the shin with her black steel toed boot.  “I’m not going!!”

 

Steve groaned, rubbing his shin, tempted to turn her over his knee and paddle her ass.  Finally, he hobbled over to the truck, smiling slightly, knowing if she tried that shit where she was going, she’d probably get a belt to her ass.  “In the truck, Ravati.  Now.” He ordered, pointing toward it.

 

“Fuck you.  You’re going to have to physically drag my limp, dead carcass in that truck because I’m NOT going!!  You said tomorrow morning and you packed MY shit, which isn’t right!!  Fuck you, I’m not going.” She crossed her arms in front of her chest defiantly, shaking her head back and forth, glaring hatefully at him.

 

Steve rolled his eyes before picking her up again and planted her into the passenger seat of his truck, buckling her in as well.  “You want to act like a damned baby then yer goin’ to be treated like one.” He got in besides her, clicking on the child locks so she couldn’t get out then put the automatic window locks on, having been through the loop before.  He handed her the bag he packed before putting his truck in reverse and pulled out of the driveway.

 

“God I fucking hate you!  I can’t stand you!  I’m twenty one years old and should be able to live MY life the way I fucking want!” She shouted at him, shaking her head back and forth, and dragged her sunglasses out of her pocket, slipping them on.  She wiped away any tears that spilled down her cheeks, refusing to show him or this asshole she was being forced to stay with for the summer any weaknesses.  They only fell down the cheek that wasn’t facing her uncle.

 

Steve ignored her, more than used to her outbursts, and turned on the radio, tapping his fingers to the country music that played.  He frowned when she turned it to her favorite station and turned it back to his.  “Knock it off, Ravati.” He said warningly, blue eyes narrowing.

 

“What the fuck ever, STEVEN.” She snorted with a roll of her eyes beneath her shades and crossed her arms in front of her chest, staring out the window, not saying another word to him.  She couldn’t believe he was getting bent out of shape just because she’d gotten caught stealing a car.  Well, not technically caught, but the cops found it in the river nearby.  She growled, deciding to pound Jason within an inch of his life when she seen him for leaving her stranded with the entire blame for it.

 

Steve was silent for the rest of the ride, reflecting on Ravati’s actions for the past several years.  The girl had only gotten wilder and more out of control with each passing year.  Now he was waiting for a phone call saying she’d been busting committing an armed robbery or something to that measure.  Any day now, he was sure.  He wondered what happened to his sweet, angelic niece, and had a feeling he knew what changed her.  He sighed when he seen his best friend’s ranch come into view, a slow smirk beginning to spread across his lips.

 

“This is it.” He announced, pulling into the blacktop driveway that was connected to what looked like a huge ranch.

 

“Great grand fucking wonderful.” She muttered under her breath, leaning her head against the glass window, and sucked her cheeks in when she seen the huge ranch before her.  The guy had to be loaded, that much was for sure, and rolled her eyes when Steve cut the engine.  They lived a half an hour away from each other so she could still go out that night.  She’d have to make a phone call later on after getting away from her uncle and this guy she was being forced to stay with for the summer.  Once the truck stopped, Ravati slid out of it, slamming the door shut with authority behind her, and swung her bag over her shoulder, staring at the ranch before her. 

 

Great, what the fuck had her uncle gotten her into now?

 

Chapter 2

 

“Mark.” Steve greeted when he seen the screen door to the ranch open, a man around six foot nine walking out.

 

“Steve.” Mark nodded, his green eyes covered by a pair of black sunglasses.  He quickly covered the ground between them, not even looking at Ravati, and shook his friend’s hand, grinning slightly.  He stepped back, reaching up to tighten the bandana on his forehead.  “I got a nice little room all set up fer her in the shack out back.”

 

“How fucking wonderful.” She replied sarcastically, rolling her eyes behind her own pair of shades, not at all intimidated by this man.  She’d seen worse on the streets as she placed her hands on her hips and shook her head.  “You sent me with this, fuckwad?” She questioned and started laughing as she slowly slid her shades off from her eyes and stared at both men with intensity in her midnight blue orbs.  “Thanks, but no thanks.  I’m not fucking staying here.  Hell fucking no.”

 

Mark arched an auburn eyebrow, looking at Steve, who just nodded and slowly removed his own shades, looking her up and down blatantly with intense emerald green eyes.  “I hope ya brought some real clothes, kid.” He said in his deep baritone, not bothered in the slightest.  “Cause yer bout to get real dirty.”

 

“Get real, gramps.” She snorted back at him with another roll of her eyes and placed her hands on her hips.  “The name is Rava, not fucking kid, moron.  I’m twenty one years old, I’m not a fucking kid.  I’ve probably seen shit that would put you in an early grave.” She snorted again before staring back at her uncle.  “I can’t believe you’re making me do this, but that’s fine.  After the summer is through, don’t expect me to come back to your place cause I’m fucking moving OUT!”

 

“Good!  Then you can bail yer own ass outta trouble!” Steve threw up his hands exasperatedly, not knowing what to say anymore.  “Good luck with her, Mark.” He said finally before leaving, shaking his head in disappointment.

 

Mark turned his undivided attention to Ravati.  “Not a fuckin’ kid, huh?  You look and act like one.  You want to be treated like an adult?” At her curt nod, his upper lip curled into a slight sneer.  “Then you’d best grow up.  Grab yer bag and follow me.”

 

Sighing and knowing she had no choice in the matter, Ravati grabbed her bag and hoisted it over her shoulder, following him out back, hating the fact the sun was baking down on her.  She had a sinking feeling she knew what she was going to be doing the entire summer and hated her uncle even more.  She still couldn’t believe he was doing this to her, after everything she’d been through, what did he HONESTLY expect from her?  Losing parents at the tender age of fourteen isn’t exactly the best gift for a teenager.  She shook her head, pushing those thoughts out of her head, and sneered at the shack before her.  “You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me, right?” She knew he wasn’t and felt the rage building inside of her even more.

 

Mark pushed open the small, weathered door and stepped inside, hunching to do so.  He pointed to an electric lamp on the wooden crate besides an army cot.  “Yer light, I would’ve given you an oil lamp since it’s not as harsh, but yer uncle informed me you have some pyro issues.” He snorted, stepping back out.  “You got two minutes to change, then yer gettin’ to work.”

 

“Fucking great.” She muttered under her breath, not believing this was happening to her, and shook her head as she sat down on the bed.  She changed out of her clothes, not wanting them to get ruined, and changed into a pair of black cotton shorts, leaving her black tank top on.  She took her jewelry off along with her wristbands, hating her uncle even more for doing this to her.  She shoved everything aside and knew she couldn’t call her gang until after this Neanderthal was through with her for the day.  “This fucking blows goat balls.” She groaned, keeping her bandana on, refusing to give that up.

 

Mark was waiting with a bucket and shovel when she returned.  He thrust them into her unwilling hands before walking off, aware she was following by her muffled curses.  He halted in front of a wooden gate.  “I keep cows in there.  I’ve got’em in the barn fer milkin’ so while they’re bein’ tended too, you can clean out the pen.” He said, looking down at her.

 

“Oh HELL no!” She shouted, throwing the bucket and shovel down at his feet.  “Fuck you, man.  I’m NOT doing that shit.  Fuck that!” She refused to do it, shaking her head back and forth, and felt sick just by the stench alone.  “You might as well call that good ol’ Sheriff Layfield up because I’m NOT doing this shit!  Uh-uh, fuck you.”

 

“Good ol’ Sheriff Layfield and I spoke this mornin’ prior to yer arrival.  As long as I don’t actually leave any marks on ya, yer mine this summer, kid.” Mark opened the gate and shoved her through it, tossing the pail and shovel in after her.  “So why don’t ya cut the shit?” He smirked slightly.  “I’m expectin’ this done within the hour.”

 

‘Jason, I’m going to fucking murder your ass when I get out of this Hell hole.’ She promised silently, glaring icicles back at this prick, and started shoveling the cow shit in the bucket.  It took her exactly forty five minutes before she finished and she looked exhausted already.  She leaned against the pool, pressing her forehead to the shovel, and sighed heavily when another one took a shit.  “Goddamn it!” She shouted at it, wanting to kill it and fry it up for breakfast, but thought better of it for the time being.  An hour rolled on by before Mark came out to check her status and she was finished, throwing the shovel and bucket at him.  “Finished, asshole.”

 

Mark stepped back, letting them both fall to the ground.  “Clean this mess up and ya can toss the shit over there.” He pointed to what looked like a compost heap.  “Then meet me in the barn…” He didn’t look back as he strode into the barn.

 

Ravati sighed heavily as she walked over, cleaning the mess up as he instructed, putting it the corner he’d pointed at, and finally headed out.  She wasn’t covered too badly, but it was enough to make her want to vomit all over this jackass.  She made it to the barn and spit on the ground, the taste in her mouth, and couldn’t wait until that night to get her revenge on Jason.  She was going to call her gang up as soon as this fucker went to bed, which if she knew any better, he was a farmer so he probably went to bed before the sun went down.  “What?”

 

Mark was standing in front of a stall, staring inside.  He glanced at her, arching an eyebrow before gesturing her forward.  “One of my horses gave birth this mornin’.  Fine little colt.  That,” He paused, pointing down at the ground.  “Is the afterbirth.  Hope you brought yer shovel cause it needs buried out near the fence to the back of the house.”

 

Not able to take it anymore, Ravati actually ran out of the barn, throwing up whatever she’d ate that morning for breakfast, and actually dropped to one knee.  She couldn’t believe what this man was forcing her to do and felt like gouging his eyes out as she coughed more.  The cow shit she didn’t mind, but burying something like THAT was almost her undoing and she hadn’t even been here an hour!  “God I fucking hate you, Steve.” She whispered, wishing her parents were alive, and finally managed to stand up on shaky legs.

 

Mark sighed, following her out of the barn, and watched her heave.  He ran his hand over his head, staring down at her.  “You ever worked a garden, kid?” He asked, deciding she needed something a little bit different to do.

 

“No, can’t say that I have, asshole.  Why?” She coughed more, holding her stomach, and knew she wouldn’t be able to hold much of anything down for the remainder of the day.  “I can’t bury that.  I’ll end up throwing up all over your precious property.” She meant what she said and felt ill again as she sucked in a deep breath, trying to calm down.

 

“Cause you’ve just been put on garden detail.  I noticed ya got a weak stomach.  With that damned make up ya wear, I don’t know why.  Ya look worse with them black lips then that slop back in the barn.” Mark replied evenly, leading the way around the ranch.  He stopped in front of a large garden.  “Hose is over there if ya need a drink.  Ya know the difference between weeds and actual plants?”

 

“Man, fuck you!  You shouldn’t be concerned with how much make up I fucking wear!” She defensively spat and sighed heavily when she seen the garden before her, tears filling her eyes, and immediately blinked them back as they dried up.  “Yeah, my mother and I used to plant roses…” She trailed off and cleared her throat, rubbing the back of her neck awkwardly.  “You want all the weeds picked out right?  Plant where the weeds are picked out?” She knew gardening well and could handle this.  Even though it brought back some sore memories for her.

 

“Garden is already planted, it’s just gettin’ overrun with weeds.  I’m a busy man and sometimes there just ain’t enough sunlight in the day.” Mark replied.  “I got business to attend to down at the west end of the property with the fencin’.  You can do this fer the rest of the day and watch the thorns.”

 

“Lovely.” She muttered under her breath, rolling her eyes, and sighed as she cracked her neck before beginning at the far corner of the garden.  It was a nice sized garden as Ravati started picking the weeds out, wincing when a thorn stabbed her.  She knew she would probably end up with prick marks all over her, but that wasn’t her main concern.  She was trying to hold in her emotions as thoughts of her mother went through her mind.  “I hate you so much, Steve.” She whispered and continued picking the weeds out, shaking her head.

 

Mark returned around sunset, looking tired.  He’d spent the afternoon and evening repairing the damaged fence, still having plenty more to go.  His hands were covered in splinters, but that didn’t faze him too much.  He studied the garden and nodded, grunting his approval.  “You hungry, kid?” He asked, glancing at her.

 

“No, am I finished now, asshole?” She demanded, standing up in the garden, finishing half of it through the day, and placed her hands on her hips.  Her knees were covered in dirt along with her hands and even some on her face, staring at him with absolutely no emotion in her eyes.

 

Mark studied her thoughtfully, taking in her filthy appearance before nodding.  He turned on the hose, picking it up and sprayed her down, ignoring her screams.  “You wanted to spend the summer in jail remember?  This is just like it is there.” He said, sounding amused before shutting it off, not worried since it was always warm.  If not unbearably hot.  “G’night kid.  Light’s out in ten since yer not hungry.”

 

Ravati coughed, after being drenched with freezing cold water, and slowly made her way out of the garden.  Her makeup was running down her face as she stumbled into the shack, landing on her knees.  She cursed since that cold water hurt because of all the pricks she’d gotten stabbed by and felt like dying at the moment.  She shook her head and walked over to her bed, flipping out her cell phone, and seen she only had a little battery juice left.  She flipped it open and dialed Angel’s number, letting her know what was going on for that night.

 

Angel watched as John and David glared at each other, apparently gotten into another fight, and sighed before going back to scribbling on a pad of drawing paper, her headset on, listening to Korn.  They’d spent their day pretty much playing duck and dodge the sheriff, who seemed to think John and David were up to something.  She raised her head, flipping them off, and reached over to grab the phone, “Cena Morgue, you stab’em, we slab’em.”

 

“Dude, I don’t have much time to explain, but my uncle brought me here early.  I’m here right now and I just fuckin’ had the worst day of my life!!  I’m about a half an hour away from my uncle’s, right down the country road.  You need to come and get me FAST!” Ravati whispered harshly, keeping a look out for that asshole, and sighed heavily as she tore her bandana off her forehead, throwing it in the bag.  “I’m going to murder Jason for this!” She whispered harshly, her tone deadly.

 

“We’re two steps ahead of ya, Rava.  We’re on our way so be ready!” Angel hung up, looking at the expectant guys.  “She was moved early and is pissed.  Let’s go snag her.”

 

“Put on some clothes first.” John stated, staring at what his sister was wearing.

 

“WHAT?” Angel looked down at her black mini skirt and sleeveless belly shirt.  “Dude, it’s fuckin’ hotter than Hell out there!”

 

“David…” John sighed, shaking his head.  “Fuck it, let’s go grab Rava.” He led the way out, hoping his girlfriend wasn’t too pissed off.

 

Ravati was changed into her regular clothes, knowing she probably stunk to high heavens, and would take a shower at Angel’s house.  She redid her makeup, making it even darker than before, and grabbed her bag, hoisting it over her shoulder, and peeked her head out from the shack.  When she seen all the lights go out, she smirked.  “See ya later, asshole.” She whispered under her breath and hid in some bushes nearby in case that asshole woke up or something.

 

Angel flicked off the radio when they approached the place.  “Jesus…what a hick.” She whispered, watching as David shut off the lights.  “Rava, where ya at girly?”

 

“Here she comes.” John pointed, barely making out her form in the darkness that surrounded them.

 

“HADES, PAIN, PANIC, ATTACK!” Mark roared, stepping out onto the porch, clad in nothing, but a pair of blue jeans, a shotgun in hand, the light on over him.  The yard lights started flicking on.  The hick had a decent system.  His eyes narrowed, seeing the car and took aim, clicking the trigger back, and fired a warning shot.

 

“GIRL, GET YOUR ASS IN HERE!” John shouted in a panic, opening the car door for Ravati, wondering if this guy she was staying with was right in the head.  He was shooting at David’s car!

 

Chapter 3

 

Ravati felt her eyes widen in shock by the gun Mark had and immediately shouted at her friends, “GET THE FUCK OUTTA HERE!” She didn’t want David’s car getting shot up as she ran out of the bushes, groaning since her muscles were sore, and began making a run for it when a dog suddenly attacked her.  She screamed out in fright and tried fighting the animal off, not believing how strong it was.

 

“Oh FUCK!” David shouted, his brown eyes widened, and jaw dropped before hauling ass out of there before the dogs could attack them.

 

Mark shook his head, firing another warning shot, knowing Ravati was perfectly safe.  Hades would only hold her in place, not do any damage until the second command was given.  He strode across the yard.  “Hades, down.” He ordered, reaching down to lift her up by the scruff of her neck like she was a dog.  “Nice try, kid.”

 

“Get the fuck off of me, you asshole!” She shoved him away from her and actually punched him in the  mouth, stumbling back on the gravel, and screamed when the dog pounced on her again.  “Get the fuck off of me!!” She kicked the dog in the head, causing it to whine out, and spit blood out of her mouth from where the dog scratched her.  “Don’t fucking touch me, gramps or you’ll get hurt.” She threatened coldly, not blaming her friends for hightailing it.

 

“Hades, fetch.” Mark said coldly, not appreciating being punched.  Certainly not approving of her kicking his dog either.  He watched as Hades’ teeth clamped down around her pant leg and dragged her towards the ranch.  Mark watched as Ravati tried to hop on one foot before falling back onto the grass, being dragged and followed her, the gun resting against his shoulder.  “Kick him again and I’ll let him tear out yer throat.”

 

“GET THE FUCK OFF OF ME!” She cried out, tears of pain in her eyes as her nails dug in the ground, not believing what this prick was doing to her.  She wanted to kill him, but his dog was evil, just like him.  When the dog finally let her go, she was in the house, having hit her head on the gravel on the way in, so she had a nice knot on her forehead.  She coughed out and winced at the throbbing pain his dog caused.  She ripped open her pant leg and felt more tears stream down her cheeks by the teeth marks and the blood spurting out of them.  “YOUR DOG WILL BE PUT TO SLEEP FOR THIS, ASSHOLE!!” She screamed at him.

 

Mark rolled his eyes, locking the door behind him, and shooed Hades off to join Pain and Panic.  He took the shells out of his shotgun before placing it in the gun cabinet, pocketing the shells before getting a first aid kit out of the cupboard.  “Keep dreamin’, kid.  He’s a guard dog and yer friends were trespassin’.  He did his job.  Or at least that’s what I’m plannin’ on tellin’ the sheriff.  Not my fault you were tryin’ to run.” He replied, kneeling in front of her to examine the wounds.

 

“Get the fuck away from me, asshole!” She snarled at him dangerously, backing away, and coughed more as she crawled on her hands away from him around the floor.  “I said get the fuck away from me!  I don’t want your fucking help!  Just let me go back to my fucking shack outside!” She didn’t want to be anywhere near this man right now.  This monster.  She felt the tears streaming down her face from pure pain her leg was giving off.  “Fuck!”

 

Mark rolled his eyes and grabbed her by her good leg, dragging her back to him.  “Knock it off, kid and no, yer not goin’ back to the shack.  Yer bunkin’ in here from now on.  Try to run and the dog’ll have ya for a snack, got me?” He had already started cleaning the wounds with an antiseptic pad, now pouring peroxide on it.

 

“OWW FUCK ME!” She screamed out, clawing on the floor as the peroxide began bubbling, and couldn’t believe he was actually putting her in his house.  “God I fucking hate you!  And the name is RAVA for the FINAL fucking time!  Do you want me to keep calling you asshole or can we get on a first name basis?” She spat, screaming out again when it began throbbing, and knew she was officially in Hell.

 

“You can call me Mark, RAVA.  But I think I’ll call ya Vati instead.” Mark said, finally putting some Neosporin on the wounds before wrapping it in gauze.  He wrinkled his nose, arching an eyebrow at her.  “You stink to high heaven, girl.  I wouldn’t recommend a bath or shower, but try a sponge bath.” He said, getting to his feet.

 

“Fuck you, MARK.” She spat back at him, slowly getting to her feet, and winced as she gritted her teeth.  “Maybe I stink to high heaven because SOMEONE didn’t allow me a proper bath or shower earlier, but that’s fine.  Fuck it, I’ll soil your precious bedding, wherever the fuck you’re gonna put me.  Probably the basement, right?” She rolled her eyes, snarling under her breath, and glared down at the dog, who watched her every move.  “Your fucking dog touches me again and I’m snapping its neck in half.” She threatened.

 

“By the time you get done, you’ll be shredded by the other two and if you don’t do somethin’ bout the way ya smell, I’m bathin’ yer ass myself and I promise ya won’t like it none.” Mark threatened right back, narrowing his eyes a little at her.

 

“Well point me in the fucking direction of a bathroom with a shower or tub and I’ll more than happy be as clean as a fucking whistle, prick.” She shot back at him, crossing her arms in front of her chest.  She dropped to her knee when her leg began throbbing, causing her to punch the floor with her bare fist, not caring if she broke her knuckle or not.  She was used to punching walls, faces, and anything else she could get her hands on whenever she got pissed.

 

Mark rolled his eyes, scooping her up roughly in his arms, and carried her to a bedroom, then to the attached bathroom.  “I’m just down the hall and don’t try sneakin’ out either.  The alarms will go off and the dogs will attack instantly, and they’ll be after yer neck.” He cautioned.  “G’night.”

 

“Yeah, whatever prick.” She snarled back at him and slammed the bathroom door shut before peeling out of her clothes.  She stepped inside the shower and turned the sprays on as hot as she could stand it.  She was in there for a good hour and a half before finally stepping out, wrapping a towel around her body, tucking it in between her breasts, and walked out to retrieve her bag.  She frowned when she couldn’t find it and jumped out of her skin when his voice sounded behind her, causing her to tremble with anger.  “Where the fuck is my bag, Mark?” She demanded, tightening the towel around her, refusing to look at him.  She never looked at anyone without her mask on, which was her make up.

 

Her bag dangled on the tips of his fingers, hand outstretched before him.  “Right here.” Mark’s eyes raked over her, arching an eyebrow.  “Afraid to look at me without them raccoon rimmed eyes, Vati?”

 

“Man, fuck you.” She spat, snatching her bag away from him, and kept her back to him as her soaking wet black hair clung to her skin on her back.  “They’re not raccoon eyes, moron.  It’s called make up and I happen to fucking enjoy wearing it, alright?” She stated through gritted teeth, not believing the audacity of this prick.

 

“Make up is meant to enhance the natural beauty, not cover it up.” Mark replied.  “But if ya like hidin’ under that shit, be my guest.” He folded his arms over his chest.  “I called the sheriff to inform him bout yer little friends comin’ on out.  There’s goin’ to be an order placed on’em to keep’em away for the rest of the summer.”

 

“Gee thanks for telling me that, prick.” She retorted with a roll of her eyes, pulling out her sleeping clothes, and threw them on the bed.  Then, she dug through her bag, finding her toothbrush and hairbrush as she tossed her bag to the floor.  Her leg was killing her, but she was glad the gauze wrapping hadn’t come off her leg.  Though she knew she’d have to change it.  “Is there anything else you need, dickhead or can I get dressed in private?”

 

“I don’t know…you might try somethin’.  Maybe you need searched first.” Mark drawled, looking dead serious as he stroked his goatee.  At the look on her face, he smirked.  “Don’t flatter yerself, kid.  It was a joke.  See ya bright and early.” He chuckled before walking out, closing the door behind him.

 

A few days passed and Ravati was sore, exhausted, not to mention injured behind belief.  She had bruises all over her arms and legs from helping Mark finish with the fence after finishing plucking the weeds out of the garden.  She had sunburn that looked like it blistered her skin, but it wasn’t as bad as she’d thought.  She would either peel or have a nice tan from it, something unusual for Ravati.  Her leg was throbbing from where Hades bit her, but she kept it wrapped up tightly, not wanting it getting infected.  So here she was, lying in bed, staring up at the ceiling, her muscles aching and throbbing with pain. 

 

Not to mention it hurt to even move with her sunburn.  So this was what Hell was like.  She shook her head and slowly sat up, wincing, having just gotten out of the shower.  She was wearing a black spaghetti strapped nightgown that went past her knees.  She couldn’t handle anything else, not even her cotton shorts because it hurt her too much.  She winced, squeezing her eyes shut, and took a few deep breaths before finally managing to stand up from the bed.  She needed a glass of water, her mouth incredibly dry, and limped over to the door, needing to lean against the wall for support since her leg was pulsating with pain.

 

Mark was sitting at his kitchen table going over the bills, looking tired himself.  He looked up when he heard Ravati, frowning when he seen her limping, taking in her sunburned skin and sighed.  He pushed aside the bills and stood up, walking over to the cupboard over the sink.  He rifled around in it for a minute before pulling out an unopened bottle of Ocean Potion Burn Relief Ice, gesturing to the chair he had formerly occupied.  “Grab a seat, Vati.” He said, studying her.

 

“I’m in here to get a glass of water and then I’ll be out of your hair.” She stated, wondering what the Hell he wanted, and kept her face away from him since she wasn’t wearing makeup.  She bit back a cry of pain and just hissed out as she leaned back against the counter, her body racking with pain.  The last thing she wanted to do was piss this prick off so he could torture her some more, and finally felt the throbbing in her leg subside for the moment.  She shot the dog that bit her leg a vicious glare, which was sitting underneath the kitchen table, and wanted to shoot that dog for biting her.

 

Mark rolled his eyes.  “I’m not 'bout to let ya be droppin’ from a damned heat stroke, Vati so sit down!” He placed a hand on her back between her shoulder blades and none too gently guided her into the chair.  Once she was seated, he poured a generous amount of the Ocean Potion in his hands.  “This is going to sting for a minute, then it’ll feel better.” He said, rubbing her burnt shoulders and arms.

 

Ravati squeezed her eyes tightly shut, hissing out in pain, not believing this man was purposely trying to hurt her.  To torture her.  Was this what her uncle really had in mind for this summer?  She wanted to shoot him too as she hit the table, her black hair covering her face, and slowly opened her eyes when the stinging subsided.  “You enjoy torturing me don’t you.” It wasn’t a question and she knew it.  That’s fine, I’ll do my time and then get the fuck out of here.” She crossed her arms in front of her chest, her long black hair down from the braid, pooling over her shoulders and down her back in damp waves.

 

“Yeah, torturin’ yer punk ass is an added bonus to havin’ ya under foot all summer.” Mark replied sarcastically.  “Look…if you WANT the blisters then fine, be my guest, but you’ll still be out there workin’.” He turned her around, next putting the lotion on her face, making sure to steer clear of her eyes.  “I’ve got sun block in the bathroom cupboard, start usin’ it.  I’ll find ya a hat to start wearin’.  How’s yer leg?” He asked while rubbing the lotion in her face.

 

“Man, get the fuck off of me!” She shouted at him, pushing him away from her face, and stumbled from the chair, wincing as she gripped the counter, her face contorted in both pain and rage.  “I don’t’ need your fucking help!  My leg hurts like a bitch, but I’ll deal with it.” She spat, her back to him again, and hissed when her face started stinging like her arms had earlier.  This was Hell.  She was officially in Hell.

 

Mark snarled angrily, not appreciating her attitude, especially when he was trying to help her.  “If you don’t want me to bust yer ass, I’d sit back down!” He said, his tone leaving no room for doubt.  “It’s obvious ya ain’t takin’ care of yer damned leg and it’s probably infected, so sit down and shut the Hell up!”

 

“What the fuck do you EXPECT my leg to do, prick?  Be all better in three days?  Those were deep gash wounds, you moron!  It’ll take at least a week for them to heal properly!  So just take your torture medicine and leave me the fuck alone!” She shouted at him, not caring if she was signing her own death certificate, and decided she didn’t want any water as she started limping out of the kitchen.  “Fuckin’ asshole.” She muttered under her breath.

 

Mark shook his head, shoving her down onto the couch.  He growled threateningly when she went to move, fetching the first aid kit.  “It’d look a damned sight better if you’d keep it clean, Vati!  Look…it’s fuckin’ infected! Do you want to lame yerself?” He grabbed her leg, sitting on the couch beside her, and pulled it onto his lap, studying the angry red marks.  “Great…HOLD STILL!”

 

Chapter 4

 

“That fucking hurts, you asshole!” She shouted at him, screaming out in pain when he started pouring peroxide on it, and actually felt the tears streaming down her face.  It was too much pain as she buried her face in the cushion, digging her nails into the couch, and screamed out more as the peroxide began bubbling madly.  She hadn’t washed it, not wanting to touch it because it hurt her too badly.  She kept it wrapped up while in the shower when she should’ve been letting the water and soap clean it.  “GODDAMN IT STOP IT!” She screamed out again, punching the couch, knowing if she punched him, he’d probably knock her out with his size.

 

“No, you wanna be a jackass and not take care of yerself…this is what happens.” Mark replied coldly, taking a cleaning wipe and rubbed the nasty looking scab off the wounds, growling and moving so he was straddling her, his back to her.  “KNOCK IT OFF, VATI!” He bellowed.  “It’s goin’ to fuckin’ hurt for Christ sakes!” He winced, seeing the pus and sighed heavily.  Kids.

 

“GET THE FUCK OFF OF ME!!” She screamed out in pain, more tears streaming down her face like two rivers.  That’s how bad it hurt as she dug her nails further into the couch, coughing uncontrollably.  She’d kill for a shot of Jack right about now as he cleaned her leg, screaming out in pain, and finally buried her face in her arms, her entire body trembling from the intensity of the pain.  Ravati wasn’t the type of person who cried often, not even with injuries, and she had a high threshold for pain.  But this was beyond her limit as she cried harder, knowing she couldn’t fight him off, and wished someone would put a bullet through her head.

 

Mark finally let go, the wound raw and bleeding, which was a good thing since it’d help wash out the infection.  “I need a drink.” He muttered, getting off of her and raked a hand through his hair.  He walked into the kitchen, got down a bottle of Jack Daniels from over the fridge and poured two shots, carrying them out in one hand and the bottle in the other.  He handed her one and shot his down, at the same time pouring some of the whiskey over the wounds, sterilizing them better then peroxide or alcohol could.

 

Ravati screeched out when he did that, more tears streaming down her face, and started crying so hard, her chest was heaving dangerously.  She could barely breathe as her face was buried in her arms, and knew she probably left holes in his couch from how much scratching and clawing she’d done.  Her black hair covered her face, which was tear streaked, and wished John was there to protect her.  She hated her uncle for doing this to her, for leaving her here with this madman, and hoped he died a slow and painful death.  She coughed more, her entire body racked with pain, but her leg hurt the worse.

 

Mark poured himself another shot, now sitting in a recliner, staring at her.  He knew she was in some serious pain, but it served her right, not taking care of herself better.  “You’ll spend tomorrow in here.” He said finally.  “In shorts and leave that ankle uncovered.  Let it get some fresh air, you can dust or somethin’…but I want ya cleanin’ it regularly throughout the day, warm water and soap, got it?”

 

“Fuck you!” She spat, her voice full of pain and sorrow, coughing a little more, already having downed her shot of Jack.  She needed it to deal with this amount of pain she was currently in and wished for another.  A whole bottle actually.  That’s what she needed.  “God I fucking hate you.” She cried out when it began stinging again and gripped the couch even more before slowly sitting up, not able to do it as she collapsed back down.  Mark had done a number on her with cleaning the bite marks and her body was too weak to move at the moment.  ‘My uncle is paying DEARLY for this!’ She promised silently, flames of rage in her midnight blue eyes.

 

Mark looked her over, reaching over to grab her glass and refilled it, pushing it on her.  “I don’t care if ya hate me, Vati.  Yer not here to be my friend.  Yer here to pay for what ya did.” He said grimly.  “So the sooner ya learn to start listenin’ AND take care of yerself properly, the better off we’ll both be.”

 

“Whatever, you don’t know a fucking that happened-” She stopped herself and shook her head, managing to pull herself up from the couch, and downed the shot, not even wincing as the liquid burned down her esophagus.  She had her knee bent, her forehead resting on it, while her injured leg was lying prone on the couch, which had a towel underneath it so the blood didn’t get on the furniture.  “Forget it.  It’s not important.  I’m getting the fuck outta this town as soon as I get out of this Hell hole.” She promised darkly and leaned back against the couch, trying to think about anything except her pain racked body.

 

“That’s yer business.” Mark replied, capping the bottle and stood up from the recliner.  He walked back out to the kitchen and put the Jack away.  “All I know is this summer yer stuck with me and it’d be a helluva lot easier on ya if you’d get over yer damned attitude problem.  You fucked up, deal with it and accept the consequences.”

 

“I don’t have a fucking attitude problem, Mark.  This is who I am and I’m not changing for nobody, especially the likes of you.” She stated heatedly, her leg throbbing more, and actually had to set the glass down on the table before she crushed it in her hand.  That’s how much pain she was in, but she refused to allow anymore tears to fall from her eyes.

 

“Suit yerself, Vati.  You’re the one who’s gonna suffer, not me.” Mark replied, setting the security system on the house, his back to her, blocking her view.  “Go to bed.  You’ll be busy again tomorrow.” He turned to stare at her, his green eyes unreadable as he scrutinized her.

 

“I’ll fucking be busy until the last day of summer.” She stated knowingly and shook her head before slowly scooting off the couch.  As soon as she put pressure on her leg, she went down, crying out in pain, and punched the floor as she sighed heavily.  When Mark went to help her up, she shoved him away.  “Don’t fucking touch me!  You’ve done enough damage to me for one night.” She pressed her forehead to the floor, trying to get the pain to stop.

 

“Damage?  You wanna see some damage?  Would ya like to see what happens when ya don’t take care of yerself, Vati?” Mark demanded, hands on his hips, glaring down at her.  “Face it, kid.  You need somebody to knock some damned sense into that thick-headed skull of yers.  Now, are ya gonna let help ya or ya plannin’ on crawlin’ like a damned dog?”

 

“Go fuck yourself!” She hissed angrily and managed to get on her foot, hopping over to the steps past him, and had to stop because of how much pain her leg was in.  She took a deep breath, sucking it up, and tried the stairs, hopping up one step.  Ravati had never been in this much pain as the tears began falling, knowing she was showing weakness, but right now, she couldn’t help it.  The amount of physical pain she was in, not to mention emotionally, was more than she could take as the tears fell on the steps as she hopped up the second step, keeping a firm grip on the banister.  She would show this prick that she didn’t need his help, no matter how hard it was or how much pain she was in.

 

Mark sighed when Ravati lost her balance and caught her before she could fall down the stairs to the floor, pulling her back against him.  “You need help.” He said gruffly, pulling her up into his arms princess style.  He quickly carried her up the stairs to her bedroom, using his foot to nudge open the door.

 

Ravati crossed her arms in front of her chest, refusing to look at him as he carried her into her room, and placed her on the bed gently.  She winced when her leg brushed against the comforter and angrily wiped her tears away from the pain.  “Thanks.” She muttered, raking a hand through her black hair, and sighed heavily as she leaned back against the pillow, keeping her leg from hitting the comforter.  At least the wounded part of it.

 

“Welcome.” Mark replied gruffly, looking her over.  “Hold on, I’ll get ya some aspirin.” He disappeared for a few minutes, returning with a glass of water and two aspirins.  “Here.” He held them out to her, waiting to see if she’d taken them or tell him to shove them up his ass.

 

Sitting up a little more, Ravati sighed as she took the pills from his hand and the glass of water, downing them both, and sighed as she leaned her head back against the headboard of the bed.  “Thanks.” She said, her voice a little softer this time, and nodded in her appreciation to him before running a hand through her hair, looking down at her injured leg.  “What time do you want me up tomorrow morning, Mark?” She quietly asked, the edge in her voice gone, and closed her eyes, placing a hand on her stomach.

 

“Nine at the latest.” Mark answered, which was three hours more than usual.  The only reason he was doing it was because of her leg and sunburn.  “The cleanin’ supplies will be left out or ya along with a chore list.  You’ll be inside all day which will help those burns.  Make sure ya apply that Ocean Potion shit on ya.  It’ll heal ya faster.”

 

“No, I don’t want pity from you, Mark.” She replied, her voice holding that heat in it again, and glared up at him with those icy midnight blue eyes.  “I’ll be up at six.” She crossed her arms in front of her chest, not wanting him feeling sorry for her.

 

“It ain’t pity, Vati so don’t go gettin’ ideas in yer head.  You ain’t any good to me if yer not rested or healthy, so take the extra three hours.” Mark stated, his voice calm though his eyes flashed dangerously.

 

“I’m not getting any fucking ideas in my head, moron.  I don’t need the extra three hours because I hardly sleep, not that it’s any business of YOURS.” She spat, rolling her eyes, and bit back a hiss when her leg began throbbing again.  “I should be let go because of this bullshit.” She gestured toward her leg, her arms crossed in front of her chest.  “If it wasn’t for your attack dog, this would’ve never happened, jackass.”

 

“If you and yer punk friends hadn’t tried pullin’ a fast one that woulda never happened.” Mark argued, his voice dropping a few octaves.  “And no, you shouldn’t be let go.  Shit happens.  Deal with it.  Welcome to the real grown up world, Ravati.”

 

“Grown up world?” She echoed and scoffed.  “Old man, you have NO idea what kind of shit I’ve been through.  You have no idea what you’re even talking about.  You better just keep your hands off of me and your dogs at bay or else I’ll start fighting back.  Don’t think for one second I can’t defend myself because I damn sure can!” She shouted at him, getting defensive, not believing the audacity of this prick, and stared up at the ceiling, refusing to look at him.  He made her sick.  Physically sick.

 

“Vati, I’m not hurtin’ ya so if you swing at me, I’ll knock you on yer ass so hard, yer head will spin.  Try runnin’ and the dogs will have ya.  I already warned you about that.  As for what you’ve seen, I could care less because obviously, it wasn’t enough or else you’d stop actin’ like a damned child.  By the end of this summer, you’ll either have learned somethin’ bout respectin’ yerself and others or you’ll just stay the way you.  A punk kid.” Mark snorted, shaking his head.  “What a waste…” He stormed out of her bedroom, slamming the door shut behind him.  “Hades, stay.” He ordered on his way downstairs to the kitchen.

 

Ravati just rolled her eyes, not believing a word that came out of his mouth, and sighed heavily.  She knew the dog was outside her door and growled under her breath, knowing she was stuck here for the next three months.  “God this fucking sucks…” She whispered harshly, rolling over on her side, and winced at her leg, wishing this nightmare would end already.  She knew this was just the beginning though.

 

Mark sighed, returning back downstairs to his bills and sat down, this time with the Jack Daniels in front of him.  He raked a hand through his hair, going over the numbers before him, sighing heavily.  Ravati had given him issues at every turn though once he managed to get her ass focused, she was a decent worker.  He supposed that was due to her wanting to ignore him and shut him up.  He shrugged his shoulders, rolling them back before pulling off the t-shirt he wore, tossing it behind him before downing another shot.  One way or another, by the end of the summer, she was going to learn some damned respect even if he had to beat it into her head.

 

When the clock struck six that following morning, Ravati was up, wearing a pair of blue cotton shorts with a white tank top, knowing it was going to be a hot day.  She limped around, having to stop every few minutes to stop the throbbing in her leg, and breathed through the pain.  She knew it was going to be a long, grueling process to heal it back, but she had to take care of it,.  She didn’t want her leg cut off or anything.  Sighing, Ravati turned the water on in the bathroom and screamed out in pain as soon as the soap hit the flesh gashes, causing tears to spill down he cheeks.  She’d have to do this three different times that day and felt like cutting her leg off herself.  Anything to stop this amount of pain.  After she was finished, Ravati patted it dry and walked out of the bathroom, wiping her tears from her eyes, and went to see what Mark had planned for her that day inside the house.

 

Mark was leaning against the counter, watching Hades, Pain and Panic chow down on their breakfast, sipping his own coffee.  He was dressed for another day of repairing fences, the last stretch to do, thank God.  He heard Ravati upstairs and shook his head, grinning in spite of himself.  Stubborn little girl.  He glanced at the table, where he’d left her a list as well as a basket of cleaning supplies.  Mark finished off his mug, set it down in the sink, and called Pain and Panic, leaving Hades behind to baby-sit. 

 

“Don’t be too rough on her.” He said, chuckling softly when Hades just cocked his head to the side, looking innocent.

 

Chapter 5

 

After the pain subsided somewhat in her leg, Ravati limped out of the bedroom and looked at the stairs before her.  Tapping her chin in thought, she smirked and decided to go another way.  She planted her butt on the banister and slid down it, landing on her foot with ease, and sighed when she seen the cleaning supplies.  She glared at the dog that bit her, knowing Mark kept him behind to baby-sit her, and felt like killing him for that.  She raked a hand through her black hair, which was in a low ponytail, and wiped the remaining tears from her eyes as she arrived in the kitchen at the cleaning supplies.  “Fuck you, mutt.” She spat at him when he growled at her, rolling her eyes, and took the supplies with the list, beginning to do her chores he left for her to do.

 

As if understanding her, Hades followed Ravati around the house, watching every little thing she did.  Occasionally growling when he seen something he didn’t like.  Such as when she got way too close to Mark’s bedroom door.  He planted himself before her, baring his teeth threateningly until she backed away.  Nobody was allowed in his master’s bedroom and he’d been trained to block intruders from entering.  Ravati was no exception.

 

“Mutt, the fuckin’ list says to clean ALL the bathrooms!  Now fuckin’ move your ass!” She ordered angrily, dropping the bucket, and crossed her arms in front of her chest, not believing the audacity of this dog.  She even was stupid enough to wave the list in his face and sighed heavily when he just growled at her more.  “FINE!  When Mark comes back and sees I didn’t clean his fucking bathroom, I’m going to blame it on YOU!” She winced when a shot of pain went through her leg and actually collapsed, not catching the wall in time, and growled.  “Damn it!!”

 

Hades stared at her for a minute before walking over to stand in front of her, staring at her like she was retarded.  If dogs could’ve rolled eyes knowingly, he was doing it at the moment.  Hades snorted, nudging her arms up before resuming his place, helping her up.

 

Sighing heavily, Ravati reluctantly used the dog as a leaning post, stumbling to her feet, and shook her head back down at him with a raised eyebrow.  “You’re definitely one of a kind.” She managed to bend down, staring into the eyes of this dog that attacked her, and held the list out to him.  “Can I please go clean your master’s bathroom so I don’t get my ass chewed out later for it?” She asked, wondering if she was crazy.  Maybe she was.  She honestly didn’t know at this point.

 

Hades growled out again, nudging her towards the stairs.  A definite no.

 

Mark snorted, plucking the splinters out of his hands as he walked towards the house, having finally finished.  He tossed them into the compost heap, wincing at his bloodied hands.  Wondering how the fuck barbed wire had gotten wrapped around his posts.  Shaking his head, he walked inside and halted when he saw it was clean.  Wondering where the body was.

 

“GODDAMN DOG!” Ravati’s voice bellowed, limping angrily toward the stairs, and slid down the banister, refusing to even try them.  She managed to make it to the kitchen, Hades on her ass, and planted the list down on the counter.  “You can fucking thank your mutt here for not allowing me to go clean the last bathroom of this Hell hole!” She snapped, growling when the dog started hissing at her, and crossed her arms in front of her chest.  “He wouldn’t let me go in the last room, which I assume is yours, so don’t chew my ass out for it because I did everything else on that fucking list!”

 

Mark arched an eyebrow, looking back and forth between Hades and Ravati.  “I honestly didn’t think you’d try to do my bathroom, Vati.” He said finally.  “My room is off limits so…Thank you though.” He smirked when Hades nudged her hand.  “Other than that, how’d it go?  I see ya’ll didn’t kill each other.” He observed.

 

“You said ALL the bathrooms on that fucking list, Mark!” She snarled back at him, her face going red, and felt like dying at that moment as she cleared her throat.  “From now on, why don’t you pinpoint exactly WHICH bathrooms you want me to clean or whatever rooms so that I don’t get into another spat fest with your mutt here.” She suggested coldly.  She was pissed.  She couldn’t believe this asshole and actually stumbled back when the dog nudged her hand.  “Don’t fucking touch me, mutt!” She hissed, her midnight blue eyes narrowed.  “I’ve had just about enough of your shit today to last me a fucking lifetime and a half!”

 

Hades whined, snorting like he was exasperated and wandered off to a corner.  Yawning loudly, his mouth opened wide before curling up and lying down on his bedding.  Looking like he’d had a seriously rough day.

 

Mark looked at Hades, green eyes twinkling before looking back at Ravati.  “What the Hell did ya do to my dog?” He demanded sternly.

 

“I didn’t do fucking anything!” She shot back, her eyes widening in disbelief, and planted her hands on her hips.  “That fucking dog followed me around ALL day and when I didn’t do something right, or not something he liked, he fucking growled at me!  He would NOT leave me alone even to clean my leg or use the fucking bathroom!” She shrieked, pulling the ponytail holder out of her hair, and raked her hands through it hastily.  “Your dog is to blame, NOT me!”

 

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, kid, I was just pullin’ yer leg!” Mark held up his hands, taking a step back to give her space.  “You did a damned good job on the house, Vati.  Now let me see yer leg.  He wouldn’t let ya clean it?” He groaned, turning to wash his own bloodied hands in the sink.  “Let me tend to this first then we’ll have a look…” He reached for the Jack Daniels, holding it out to her.  “Come here…” He held up his hands, telling her silently to pour it on them.

 

“No, I did clean it, but your fucking dog wouldn’t leave me alone to do it by myself.  He even licked it, fucking cocksucker.” She growled menacingly at the dog before taking the Jack from him, raising an eyebrow, and then looked down at his bloody hands.  “You want me to waste Jack on your fucking hands?  Are you crocked in the head?” She exclaimed, rolling her eyes when he nodded, and smirked before opening it up and poured half the bottle all over them.

 

Mark winced, a low guttural hiss escaping him though he didn’t pull his hands away.  When she stopped, he let his hands sit, the liquor running off of them.  “Thanks.” He said gruffly, patting them dry with a clean towel, studying them.  Fucking fence and barbed wire.  “Now…let me see yer leg.” At the look on her face, he shook his head.  “I ain’t goin’ to touch it, I just wanna look.”

 

Sighing, knowing he’d force her to sit down anyway, Ravati nodded as she walked over and sat at the kitchen table.  She raked her hands through her hair, thoroughly exhausted, and sighed.  “Your dog is a fucking tyrant.  Worse than a goddamned three year old.” She muttered under her breath as she winced at her leg, wishing it would heal up already.

 

Mark nodded, kneeling down in front of her, gently raising her leg up onto his knee.  He gently felt the skin around the wounds, feeling for extreme heat.  Signs of the infection not changing and smiled slightly when he saw it was looking better.  A definite improvement over last night.  “Hades knows his place and how to keep others in theirs.” He said finally.

 

“I noticed.” She crossed her arms over her chest and watched him look over her leg, wincing and hissing out in pain when he hit a sore spot, and sighed as she hit the table when another shot of pain ripped through it.  “Did I clean it to your satisfaction?” She asked sarcastically with a roll of her eyes, sighing heavily.  She wasn’t wearing her usual heavy makeup, just simple black eyeliner.  Knowing there was no point in wearing it while she was here wince it would either end up running down her face or being smudged somewhere.

 

“Actually, ya did.” Mark answered, looking up at her, studying her intently.  “You look nice with just the light make up, Vati.  I can actually see the color of yer eyes.” He commented softly, gently putting her leg back down.

 

“I figured there’s no point in me wearing it while I’m here.” She finally said, after getting over the initial shock of the compliment, not having had one in a long time.  She leaned against the chair, her elbow on the table, and ran her hand through her hair while her leg throbbed after he touched it.  “Glad I did something right.” She was referring to cleaning her leg, even though Hades had licked it earlier, which hurt like a bitch, but she wasn’t going to mention that factor.

 

Mark grunted, getting to his feet and glancing at the mutt in question, shaking his head.  He walked to the refrigerator and pulled out the steaks he’d gotten out the night before to unthaw, tossing them onto the counter before grabbing himself a beer.  “Hungry?” He asked, not even looking at her as he busied himself at the counter.  He might have had her clean, but he wasn’t dumb enough to ask her to cook.  She’d probably poison him.

 

Sighing, Ravati stood up from the chair, wincing as she gripped the wall, and breathed through the pain as she shook her head.  “I suppose you want me to fucking cook now, right?” She asked bitterly, not liking that idea one bit, but this was her prison for the next three months and Mark was her warden.  “I’m gonna tell you right now, I don’t cook.  I don’t know how.  I can do the house cleaning and whatnot and even outside work, but cooking is not down my alley.”

 

“I’m the only chef in this house, Vati.” Mark said wryly, not trusting her near his cutting knives either, moving so his hip was blocking the drawer.  “You can just grab a seat at the table and chill out, yer leg is probably killin’ ya.” He finished prepping the steaks before pouring the beer on them, setting them in a baking dish before popping them in the oven.

 

“I’m not hungry.” She said, standing up from the chair, and sighed heavily when Mark pushed her back down on it.  “What the fuck?  You’re going to force me to eat now?” She was getting tired of this shit, not able to make her own decisions, and felt like pulling her hair out at that moment.

 

“When was the last time ya ate?” He demanded, glancing at her, not surprised when she shrugged.  “Yer eatin’ and if ya puke it up, I’ll rub yer nose in it like ya were a puppy, got me girl?” Mark leaned against the counter, staring at her broodingly.  “Yer goin’ to fight me on everythin’ aren’t ya.” It wasn’t a question.  “You know yer summer would go a helluva lot easier if you’d just accept all this and deal with it.”

 

“I have fucking accepted it and I’m dealing with it, but it’s a LITTLE hard to do when I can’t even walk properly because of YOUR stupid dog!” She shouted back at him, her anger flaring off the charts, and stood up abruptly from the chair.  “You can force me to do a lot of things, old man, but you’re NOT forcing food down my throat!  Stick it up your ass.  I’m going to take a shower and going to bed.” She started limping out of the kitchen, ignoring the pain in her leg.

 

Mark was behind her quicker than a man his size should’ve been, his arms wrapping around her waist, pinning her arms down.  “Listen to me well, Vati, yer not starvin’ yerself on my damned watch.  You will SIT DOWN AND EAT and you WILL keep it down, you hear me?” He hauled her ass back to the chair and sat her down in it.  “Hades!”

 

Hades was instantly over, sitting down in front of her, resting his head on her knee, looking adorable, but they both knew better.

 

“This is fucking retarded.  I’m not fucking hungry, you asshole!” She snarled, raking a hand through her hair, and glared down at the dog, who just stared back at her.  “I can’t believe you’re forcing me to sit here with your stupid mutt.  You’re such a prick.” She spat, hating this, not believing he was actually forcing her to eat when she wasn’t hungry and crossed her arms in front of her chest defiantly.  “I’m not eating.  Fuck you.”

 

“Oh you’ll eat.” Mark said cheerily, now stuffing two potatoes in the microwave.  “You see, if ya don’t, I’m gonna sit on you and shove it down yer throat, and then when ya hurl it up, I’ll force feed that to ya too.  Now…are you going to be difficult or do I need to get rough with ya?” He glanced at her, noting Hades was now sitting erect, sensing the tension in the room.

 

“You won’t do a fucking thing to me, you prick!” She shouted back at him, turning her face to stare at the table, and cracked her knuckles, ready to fight for her life if necessary, like always.  “You try one fuckin’ thing on me, old man and it’ll be the LAST thing you fucking do.” She threatened, meaning every word that came out of her mouth.

 

Mark ignored her, not worried about her threat.  It clearly showed in the way he carried himself.  He was silent as he finished the meal.  Finally, he set the table for two as well as setting out two cold beers.  He then laid out the food, setting down opposite of her, and arched an eyebrow.  Daring her to disobey him.

 

Ravati crossed her arms in front of her chest in defiance, sucking her cheeks in, and arched her own eyebrow at him.  “I’m not eating.” She said slowly, wanting to make it crystal clear to him that he didn’t have entire control over her decisions, and glared down at Hades, who still had his head on her lap.  “Mutt, don’t you have a fuckin’ toy to chew on or something?” She was getting annoyed with this dog as she raked a hand through her hair, not even taking the beer.

 

Hades stared up at her, then looked longingly at her food, whining softly.

 

“Uh-uh, get away.” Mark ordered, looking at his dog warningly.

 

Hades shot Mark a clearly exasperated look before walking off, disappearing out the dog door to join Pain and Panic.

 

“Now,” Mark focused his attention back on Ravati.  “Unless you want me crammin’ that food down yer throat, yer gonna eat.  I’m sure if I looked I could probably count yer damned ribs.  EAT.”

 

“Go ahead, try it and see what happens, Mark.” She challenged, shoving the plate of food away hastily, refusing to eat it.  “You can’t force someone to eat, you fucking moron and no, you can’t see my fucking ribs, but that’s none of your concern.  I’m here to work for you and do your little chores around this Hell hole.  That’s it!  You shouldn’t be concerned about my health or anything else.” She leaned back against the chair and sighed heavily, her leg not throbbing, but it was sore.

 

Mark shook his head, pushing away from the table.  He picked up her plate of food and dropped it right in her lap.  “That right there is a waste of food…just like you, Vati.  A waste.” He said, pulling her chair out from the table.  “Go on, get yer ass to bed, you’re back outside tomorrow.” He growled, frustrated beyond belief.

 

“Great grand fucking wonderful and thanks, I already know I’m a waste.” She spat back at him, throwing the plate to the floor off of her lap, and limped out of the kitchen, ignoring that pain that shot through her leg.  She leaned against the wall as she breathed in and out harshly, tears building in her eyes, and managed to make it to the staircase before slowly starting up them.  It hurt to hear him say that she was a waste, but that was fine.  Ravati knew she was, which is why she took life by the throat, and squeezed it.  She didn’t care if she lived or died.

 

Mark watched her limp up the stairs, knowing she was in a lot of pain, but it sucked to be her.  If she didn’t care about anything or anybody then fuck her.  He growled, picking everything off of the table, and throwing it away.  He had the entire summer to turn this punk girl into a woman.  Someone who respected herself and others.  He’d be damned if he didn’t get the job done either. 

 

After a shower and cleaning her leg, more screaming following, Ravati finally slid into bed and curled up into a tight ball.  She finally allowed the tears to slip down her cheeks as she pulled the comforter tighter to her, her black hair framing her face and splayed on the pillow.  Ravati didn’t cry often, but after everything she’d been through in the past few days, she needed a release.  Mark was trying to break her down and deep down, she knew he was doing it slowly, but surely.  In truth, Ravati hardly ate, focusing most of her energy on alcohol with her friends, but she never did drugs.  She never would either.  Her thoughts then went to her deceased parents, making her cry harder, but she kept it silent, not wanting Mark to overhear her.

 

Mark stalked outside, walking over to a long tarp on the ground, and pulled it back, revealing his underground swimming pool.  Something he didn’t use very often.  He stripped off his shirt, taking a swig of the glass of Jack he’d brought with him before setting it down on the edge of the pool and dived in.  Not caring that his jeans had just gotten soaked.  He needed something to cool his temper down.  He seen something in Ravati.  She could have made something of herself, but she had no ambition.  “What a waste…” He muttered, doing a backstroke.

 

Chapter 6

 

The alarm clock rang six A.M., but Ravati was already up.  She slammed her fist down on it, dressed in a pair of cotton shorts with a tank top, her usual working outfit, and stared at the floor.  She had her leg wrapped up tightly, after washing it, not wanting it getting infected with whatever Mark had planned for her.  She pulled her hair back in a ponytail, turning it into a bun, and slowly stood up from the bed, squaring her shoulders.  She refused to let this cocksucker get the better of her as she limped over to the door and walked out, prepared for a long, grueling day.

 

Mark was drinking his customary cup of coffee, waiting for her.  He was dressed for the day as well.  Blue jeans, denim vest, boots, the normal.  He smiled grimly when he seen her, his tired green eyes hidden behind his shades.  Having spent most of the night doing laps in the pool, cooling off his temper.  “I hope you remembered to apply sun block, Vati cause we’re goin’ out ridin’ today.” He said coldly.

 

“Lovely.” She muttered, not responding to his sun block comment as she rubbed the rest of it in that was on her arm, and crossed her arms in front of her chest.  She didn’t care about his cold tone, knowing he was pissed at her, and shrugged it off.  She was here to be his little slave until the summer was up and then after that, she was gone and back to her old ways again.

 

“I got some news fer ya if yer interested.” Mark drawled out, studying her intently.  “Bout yer little punk friends.  But…” He shrugged, pausing.  “We got work to do so it don’t matter now does it?” He snickered at the pissed off expression on her face.

 

“What the fuck are you talking about?” She demanded, planting her hands on her hips, rage spitting out of her midnight blue eyes.  “Tell me right fucking now, old man!” She ordered, snarling back at him when he snickered more.

 

Mark turned around to stare at her.  “Tell ya what…if you REALLY want to know…you’ll eat dinner with me tonight.  Deal?” He arched an eyebrow at her, willing to make a compromise.

 

“Fuck you!!” She shouted at him, not believing he wasn’t going to tell her about her family, or as close to family as she was going to have.  “Fine, I’ll find out another way.  Lead the fucking way, asshole.” She stated, refusing to eat dinner with him, which is the primary reason why she hadn’t ate last night.  She wanted nothing to do with this prick and the sooner he learned that, the better off they would both be.

 

Mark shrugged.  “Suit yerself…just thought ya might be keen on findin’ out where yer little girlfriend is and what almost happened to her…And yer boyfriend, well…” He snorted, leading the way out the door.  “Guess you’ll just have to wait till the end of the summer and hope he’s back won’tcha?”

 

‘John.’ Ravati thought and limped past him, not showing the pain in her face because it was contorted with pure rage.  “Don’t fucking get involved in my personal life, prick!” She spat once they were outside, crossing her arms in front of her chest, and glared hatefully at him.  “My life is no business of yours.  I’m here to work, not for a fucking shrink or to talk about my problems.  Just lead the way and tell me what needs to be done.  That’s all I want to fucking hear from you from now on.”

 

Mark shrugged again, leading the way to the barn.  “Fine, have it yer way.  Just thought you might be a little bit interested…especially since two outta three of yer friends are locked the fuck up.  The third on the way.  But…it’s none of my business, right?  Hell, you’re next most likely.” He opened the doors, bolting them so they’d stay that way, and walked over to where he kept the saddles and bridles.  “Hope you can ride.”

 

Ravati felt her heart drop in her stomach when she heard that come from his mouth about her two friends, wondering who it was.  She knew one was probably David, especially with his temper and whatnot.  She pushed it aside, refusing to allow him to get the better of her, and raked a hand through her hair.  “I’ve never rode a horse before so you better find something for me to do because I’m not killing myself on one of those things, asshole.” She spat back at him, clearing her throat, and stared at the ground, a worried expression on her face, but she hid it well.

 

“Hmmm…then you’ll ride with me.” Mark decided, leading his favorite brown and white stallion, specially bred for a man his size, out of his pen.  He made soothing noises, stroking the horse on his nose before guiding him over to Ravati.  “He don’t bite.” He said, sounding annoyed before saddling the horse, making sure everything was in place before setting an already packed saddlebag in place.  He put his foot on the stirrup and hoisted himself up, reaching a hand down to her.  “Let’s go.”

 

Sighing exasperatedly, Ravati reluctantly gave him her hand, allowing him to pull her up, and winced when her leg hit the side of the horse.  She scooted herself so she was at least somewhat comfortable, knowing she’d be sore just from this alone later that night, and raked a hand through her hair.  She pulled it out of the ponytail, deciding to leave it down for now, and kept her head lowered, not believing she was doing this.  Not believing her uncle forced her into this predicament with this asshole.  ‘This fucking blows.’ She thought angrily, her thoughts going to her gang, and hoped at least Angel was okay.

 

Mark chuckled, having placing her in front of him, wanting her to get a real experience from this and not hide against his back.  He took the reins in his hands and guided the horse out of the barn and into the meadow, going at a steady trot for now, heading for the woods.  Once they cleared the gate, he spurred into a gallop, grinning when Ravati gripped the post, and shouted, “Hold on, kid!”

 

“The…name…is…fucking…Rava!” She shakily said, due to the fact that her ass was bouncing up and down on the saddle, and groaned, knowing damn well she was going to be sore definitely.  She felt like she was going to be sick when he finally stopped around an hour later, her hair looking like something out of a horror movie.  “Jesus fucking Christ…” She growled, her face pale, and felt Mark get off, but she couldn’t move.  “I think I’m gonna be sick.” She held her stomach and sucked in a few deep breaths of air before pulling her hair back in a ponytail, not looking down.

 

“Motion sickness.” Mark observed, reaching up to easily grab her by the waist, and help her down, letting her lean against him.  “Take a few deep breaths.” He advised.  “A few mind ya, too many will make ya dizzy.” He stared down at her.

 

Nodding, Ravati didn’t argue as she leaned against him, taking only a few deep breaths, and winced when her leg started throbbing again.  “I think I’m good…” She started to walk and instantly stopped before dropping to her knees, feeling her head spinning, and knew she’d taken too many deep breaths.  “Fuck…”

 

Mark sighed, stooping down to pull her up again, kneeling down before her, placing her hands on his broad shoulders so she could rest against him, now studying her leg.  “You need to exercise it a bit, keep it workin’ so it don’t lock up on ya.  I had plans to mark trees today fer loggin’, but…looks like you ain’t going to be much use to me.”

 

“No, don’t.” She pushed away from him and leaned her head on a nearby tree, taking a few more deep breaths, and finally felt the nausea disappear.  “I don’t want to be pitied.  Just tell me what the fuck you want me to do, old man and I’ll do it.” She coughed a little, cracking her knuckles, refusing to allow him to help her.

 

Mark shrugged, getting into the saddle bag, and tossed her a can of red spray paint.  “Any tree that looks dead, mark an X on it.” He instructed, turning loose the horse, knowing he would stick around the area and graze.  “Can you do that without markin’ my woods up?”

 

“Man, fuck off.” She spat at him, snatching the can of spray paint from his hand, and raked a hand through her hair.  “I only do that shit when I’m not in the presence of the fucking law or whatever the Hell you are, so don’t worry your fucking head about it.  I won’t do anything.” She assured him heatedly before limping off down the trail to start marking up trees that looked dead to her.  Whatever the fuck that meant.  How the Hell could she tell a dead tree from a live one?

 

Mark followed her, looking more than amused.  “Jesus Christ Vati, what DO you know?” He demanded, showing her the difference between a live tree and a dead one, spraying an X on the dead one.  “Girl…we got some work ahead of us.” He didn’t just mean the woods either.

 

“I know how to hotwire a car in less than three seconds.” She shot back at him with a smirk, placing her hands on her hips when he glared at her, and shrugged her shoulders.  “Hey, you fucking asked!  What do you expect me to do?  I’m not a nature girl, moron.  I hate nature actually, but I’ll deal with it until this summer is through.”

 

“Hot wirin’ cars…that’ll really be a good skill to have in prison.” Mark snorted, shaking his head.  “Tell me Vati, you got any plans for the future?  Besides the obvious fuckin’ up yer life bit…” He viciously marked another tree.

 

“I told you, my personal life is none of your fucking business, old man so just fucking drop it already!” She shouted back at him, getting pissed beyond belief, and limped over to a tree, marking it with a red X, feeling a twinge of guilt enter her heart as she looked at the poor tree before her and sighed as she shook her head.  It wasn’t her problem.  This was her life and if he didn’t like it, then he could just let her go.  Though, she knew it wasn’t going to happen until the summer ended.

 

Mark was silent as they worked, not even bothering to call for a stop for a lunch break, tossing her a canteen of water for her meal.  She wanted to starve herself?  She could live off of water.  He leaned against a tree, sighing heavily.  He hated this kind of work, but the dead trees needed to be removed to give the saplings room to grow.

 

The day went by incredibly slow and by the time it ended, Ravati was beat and dead on her feet.  She didn’t show it though, just kept moving, her leg throbbing from how much walking she’d done that day.  She knew Mark was doing this on purpose, but she didn’t care.  She’d take her punishment, like always, and live through it to live another day.  Ravati raked a hand through her sweaty hair, the woods giving no relief to the humidity, and she’d finished off her canteen of water.  That’s all she really needed to survive was water, but she could feel herself feeling sick from not eating.  Maybe after the jag off went to bed, she’d make herself a sandwich or maybe even some soup.

 

Mark didn’t say a word as they rode back up towards the barn, this time keeping it at a slow trot, his own legs tired.  He helped her down and waved her off.  “Go on, you done well today.” That was as close as an actual, meaningful compliment as he was getting with her.  He raked a hand through his hair, sighing heavily.

 

Ravati didn’t say a word to him and limped into the house, slamming the screen door behind her, and headed straight upstairs.  She let out a scream when she opened her bedroom door and seen it torn to shreds, followed by staring down at the other two dogs that hadn’t attacked her, but her friends.  “YOU GODDAMN FUCKING ANIMALS!” She screeched, limping over to them, kicking at them with her free leg.  “I’M GONNA FUCKIN’ FRY YOUR ASSES UP, MOTHERFUCKERS!!”

 

Mark froze when he heard screaming coming from upstairs, followed by Pain and Panic running down the stairs yelping.  He stalked upstairs and stood in her doorway, frowning at what he seen.  “Did you kick my dogs?” He demanded, upset with what the mongrels had done to her room, but not about to let her beat on them either, having a feeling she’d gone off.

 

“NO!  YOU’RE GODDAMN LUCKY I DIDN’T EITHER!” Ravati screamed at him, her face contorted in rage, and raked her hands through her hair, not believing what his dogs had done.  Everything was torn to shreds, but not her clothes, thank God!  The comforter, the pillows, everything else, and Ravati wondered what the fuck had she done to deserve this.  Sure, she’d stolen a few cars and done other bad shit, but did she REALLY deserve this?  Yes.  She knew the answer to that question and felt herself become sick from it.  “I fucking hate YOU and your goddamn MUTTS!”

 

Mark folded his arms over his chest, leaning in the doorway, cool green eyes raking in the damage again.  Finally, he stared at her, as usual not looking the least bit bothered by her outburst.  “You know…you have an awfully nasty mouth, Vati…” He drawled, stroking his goatee, taking a step towards her, suddenly looking dangerous.  “I think we oughta do somethin’ bout that.”

 

“If you touch me motherfucker, I’ll make you EAT my fist and I’m dead serious on that!” She spat at him, not backing away, and ignored the throbbing in her leg as she got in her fighting stance.  “Come on, I can take a beating as well as anyone.  Throw one punch and I swear to god, I’ll have you down on the ground in three seconds.” She wasn’t afraid.  She’d taken men down bigger than him in her life and wasn’t afraid to get rough, especially when he was threatening her.  “I mean it, Mark.  Don’t fucking touch me.  I’m here to be your worker for three months and that’s it!”

 

Mark shook his head, genuinely not afraid of her.  He knew she could probably hold her own against guys his size, but he wasn’t most guys.  Ignoring her flying fists, he stalked across the room and tossed he rover his shoulder, grunting when he felt her go to town on his back, and carried her into the bathroom.  He turned on the sprays and set her down on the floor none too gently.  He grabbed her bottle of shampoo and started squirting it on her.

 

Ravati was too shocked to say anything as she immediately got under the water, getting the soap out of her eyes, and growled, not believing he actually did this.  “Thanks, but I could’ve taken a shower without your fucking help, asshole!” She spat at him, wincing at her leg, and coughed a little as her white tank top clung to her upper body like a second skin along with her shorts.  She’d gotten a nice tan going and the water made it come out even more as she slowly stood up from sitting in the shower, glaring hatefully at him.

 

Mark was mildly taken aback to find that this little girl had a very womanly body.  He shook his head and stalked out of the bathroom, heading downstairs.  He shooed the dogs outside.  Grabbing himself a beer, Mark sat down at the table, taking two long swigs of it.  The summer just got a little more interesting.

 

Chapter 7

 

Ravati blinked the water out of her eyes, wondering what the Hell had gotten into him, and shook her head before turning the shower off.  She shivered a little, peeling out of her wet clothes, and put them over the shower before wrapping a towel around her body.  She then changed the bandage of her leg, having enough of a shower for that day since the water had been freezing cold, and hissed as she washed her gashes out.  After that, she stormed downstairs, wearing nothing, but the towel, and planted her hands on her hips.  “What the fuck was THAT about?  Did you EXPECT me to be thrilled that your fucking mutts tore up the room I’m staying in and some of MY personal belongings?!”

 

Mark looked at her, blinking before standing up, pushing away from the table.  “I expect you to act like a damned adult about it, Ravati!” He growled gruffly.  “Go put on some fuckin’ clothes, this ain’t a goddamn whore house!”

 

“Fuck you, prick!  You’re the one who set me in that fuckin’ shower!” She then turned on her heel and stomped upstairs, her leg throbbing, but she completely ignored it.  She shook her head as she looked at her destroyed room and slammed the door behind her before changing.  She decided on a pair of pajama pants with a tank top, not wanting to stay inside right now, and limped downstairs barefoot.  Her hair hanging loosely down her back and over her shoulders.  “Hey warden, I’m going outside for some air.  I’m not being stuck in this fucking house the entire summer, prick.” She crossed her arms in front of her chest, wanting to be as far away from him as possible.

 

Mark had spent the time she was in the shower banging his head against the table, telling himself she was just over being cradle bait, which was a big flat no in his book.  Also, she was his best friend’s niece.  Another major no.  When she came back down and gave him lip, he forgot all about the woman thing and his mind automatically registered her for the snot nosed little punk she was.  “Then I’m comin’ with ya.” He announced.  “You can’t be trusted.”

 

“Mark, honestly, where the fuck am I gonna go?  My friends are in jail or god knows where else and I have a pretty good idea that the sheriff would pick my ass up even if I DID try to make a fucking run for it.” She couldn’t believe she couldn’t even go outside for ten minutes by herself just to get some air and some of her emotions out.  Her room was destroyed as she raked a hand through her hair.  “You need to worry about getting me some new blankets because those mutts completely tore up the ones that are currently on the bed.  “She informed him coldly.

 

“Already got that sorted.” He replied, pushing open the screen door and bowed mockingly.  “You can walk around the yard, whatever, I’ll sit on the porch, but if ya even head towards the gate, the dogs will add on to that wound on yer leg.” He informed her.

 

“Whatever.” She muttered under her breath and limped outside, breathing in the fresh air, and sighed heavily to herself.  She actually walked to the middle of the yard and sat down, drawing her knees up, and buried her face in them.  She wanted to know what had happened to her friends, her family.  They were her family, or as close as it was going to get.  She wanted to know why her uncle just didn’t let the sheriff take her away from him if he hated her this much to do this to her.  So many emotions ran through her and Ravati found herself wanting to cry.  She was trapped with an overbearing prick that worked her from dawn till dusk and was constantly trying to butt into her personal life.  She looked up, feeling a few tears spill down her cheeks, and jumped when she felt a wet nose on her arm  She glared at the dog at first, her eyebrows furrowed, but that quickly changed when the dog licked her tears away on her cheek and whined a little.  It was Hades, the dog who had bitten her.  “What the Hell do you want, mutt?” She asked, her tone soft, and sniffled a little as she brought her hand up to allow him to sniff her.

 

Mark watched from his place on the porch swing as Hades kissed Ravati’s ass and shook his head.  That dog had a split personality or something.  He was loving on Ravati now, but if she made a move to run, he’d go for her throat.  “Great, my dog needs Welbutrin…” He groaned, shaking his head.  His green eyes locked on Ravati, taking in the way she was sitting, and knew she was probably feeling emotionally like shit.  He sighed, raking a hand through his hair.  He’d lighten up on her when she acted like an adult instead of a child.

 

“You’re not so bad are ya?” She softly said to the dog once he allowed her to pet him and smiled.  It wasn’t one of those cocky, arrogant smiles either.  This was a genuine smile that would light up a dark room.  She petted him for a long while and just sat out there, staring at the descending sun that was on the horizon, and sighed heavily.  Ravati knew if she wanted to live the rest of the summer that she had to change her attitude.  She had to just take things with a grain of salt and stop hating Mark because that obvious wasn’t getting her anywhere.  She raked a hand through her hair, wiping her tears away, and slowly stood up, wiping the dirt from her pajama pants, and turned around as she limped back into the house.  “I’m done being outside now.” She softly said before limping past him and headed for the stairs, having become a master at this.

 

Mark arched an eyebrow, following her inside slowly, watching her head up the stairs.  He was curious about the lack of anger or hostility in her tone as well as the fact that she didn’t shoot him a nasty look.  “Vati…ya hungry or somethin’?  I can make you soup if yer not feelin’ well.” He offered, knowing she was exhausted.

 

Slowly turning around to face him, she simply nodded, knowing she couldn’t deny it any longer, and slid down the banister since she’d only made it halfway up, landing on her feet like a pro.  “Soup if you’ve got it, Mark.” She quietly said, running a hand through her hair, and followed him into the kitchen.  Anytime Ravati cried, all the anger diminished from her system, but her problem was she held all of them in for too long.  She hated crying.  It was a weakness in her eyes as she sat down at the table and put her head in her hands, truly exhausted from the past few days.

 

Mark nodded, walking into the kitchen and opened a cupboard.  “What kind?  Chicken noodle, vegetable, chicken and rice…” He started listing them off to her, glancing over his shoulder at her.

 

“Chicken and rice.” She answered softly, her elbows resting on her legs, and rubbed her temple, feeling a headache coming on.  It was from her lack of eating as she sighed, shaking her head back and forth, and wondered what happened to her friends.  The man before her had the answers and she craved to know them.  “Mark, will you…tell me what happened to my friends?” She asked, not looking at him, just stared down at her lap, and closed her eyes, the tears already building in them.

 

Sighing, Mark put the soup on the stove in a pot, adding some water to it before turning on the burner.  He leaned against the counter to stare at her, nodding finally.  “David is in prison for murder.  He got Jillian, she was a police officer.” He raked a hand through his hair.  “John is in the Juvenile Center for escapin’ the jail, breakin’ and enterin’ as well as stealin’ from Glen Jacobs, public disturbance involvin’ some kinda fight and fleein’ and alludin’.”

 

“Christ…” Ravati whispered out, putting her face in her hands, and felt even sicker to her stomach. It didn’t surprise her that David had murdered because the man was a loose cannon waiting to fire.  As for John, Ravati couldn’t believe he actually got sent to lock up and suddenly realized he hadn’t mentioned Angel.  She blinked back her tears and folded her hands together tightly, staring at the wall before her, and cleared her throat before asking, “What about Angel?”

 

Mark shrugged, pouring the soup in a bowl and setting it in front of her, getting her a spoon.  “She’s spendin’ the summer with yer Uncle.  She was caught the night they all tried runnin’ and wound up spendin’ the night in jail.  There was some kinda incident and Steve cut a deal with the sheriff and her parents.” He sat down opposite of her.  “So she’s in the same boat you are.”

 

“Lovely.” She muttered, stirring her soup with the spoon, and sighed heavily as she raked a hand through her hair.  “Thanks…for telling me about them…” She trailed her words off and proceeded to eat her soup in silence, taking it slow so she didn’t hack it up, and coughed a little.  She raked her hand through her hair, gripping it, eating with the other one, staring at the table as thoughts ran through her mind.  John wasn’t exactly her boyfriend, more like a boy toy, but they never had sex.  She wouldn’t allow it.

 

Mark nodded.  “I said if ya ate, I would.” He said finally, getting up to pour himself a glass of orange juice, pouring her one, and setting it down in front of her.  “You coulda been in lock up too, Vati.  In some shit hole with a bunch of guys tryin’ who knows what, or in a women’s facility…”

 

“I’ve done time.  It’s not a big deal to me.” She replied nonchalantly, shrugging her shoulders, and finished her soup before pushing the bowl away, rubbing her face with her hands.  “That’s a walk in the park compared to this and my uncle knew that, which is why he sent me here.” She closed her eyes, not believing her gang had finally got caught for their wrong doings.

 

Mark smirked slightly, leaning back in his chair.  A walk in the park compared to this, huh?  That was something at least.  At least some kind of impression was being made on her.  He stood up and walked out of kitchen, crouching down in the living room in front of the fireplace, and soon had a roaring fire going.  He stretched out on the floor, letting the warmth wash over him and soothe his soul.

 

After sitting there for a few minutes, Ravati finally felt the exhaustion wash over her and sighed heavily as she walked out into the living room.  Seeing the fire, Ravati raked a hand through her hair as she limped toward the stairs.  She winced, knowing her leg was incredibly sore from that day’s work, but she wasn’t going to falter in front of Mark.  She wasn’t going to be broken, no matter what he did to her.  She slowly began making her way up them, finally arriving at the top, and headed into her room, sighing heavily at the ripped up blanket.  Just what she wanted to deal with.  “Fuckin’ dogs.” She muttered under her breath and started ripping them off the bed.

 

Mark remembered she needed blankets and groaned, heading upstairs.  He ripped the blankets and pillows off of his bed, these being the only extra ones in the house.  Though she didn’t need to know that.  He folded them neatly before going to her bedroom, knocked on her door before stepping in, setting them down on the stripped bed.  “G’night, darlin’.” He said tiredly, heading back downstairs, having every intention of sleeping in front of the fire.

 

Ravati sighed as she threw the blankets that were shredded in the corner, deciding she’d deal with them tomorrow, and placed the clean ones on her bed.  She crawled underneath the comforter, her door ajar, and closed her eyes, snuggling into the pillow.  Crying always exhausted and tired her out so Ravati wasn’t surprised when she fell asleep almost as soon as her head hit the pillow.  Her last thoughts were of the summer ahead and what lay in her path, knowing she was going to be broken sooner or later by Mark.  It was just a matter of time, no matter how much she tried denying it.

 

~!~

 

Mark studied the garden, leaning on the hoe he’d been using, smiling in satisfaction, seeing the shoots.  He glanced over at Ravati, who was wiping dirt off on her hands, and shook his head.  They’d weeded and fertilized, the compost heap being put to use, nasty work.  “You look like you could use a bath and bed.” He commented, feeling the same way.  “Tomorrow, we’re goin’ to town.”

 

“For what?” She asked tiredly, wiping the sweat from her forehead, and stood up, wearing a pair of jeans since she knew she’d be gardening with an old tank top that she normally worked in.  She walked over and rinsed her hands off, knowing she needed a shower, but she wasn’t really tired, just exhausted, if that made any sense.

 

Mark chuckled softly, shaking his head.  He leaned on the hoe against the house and gripped the wheelbarrow handles in his hands, pushing it back over to its place in the shed.  He cracked his neck, groaning when he felt a crick, knowing that was going to be hurting.  He led the way inside the house, groaning again at how hot and stuffy it was.  “Fuck this…” He growled, peeling off his shirt and walking over to the sink, drawing some water and splashing it on himself.

 

“Why don’t you just jump in the pool?” She asked curiously, leaning in the doorway with her arms crossed in front of her chest.  Surprisingly enough, Ravati and Mark had gotten along the past two weeks.  She even ate dinner with him every night and he was showing her how to cook steaks, which were his specialty.  She honestly didn’t mind it.  It was something new and different.  Her leg was healed up completely, just having a faint scar of the bite marks from Hades, who had also warmed up to her.  As for Pain and Panic, Ravati just stayed away from them, still angry for what they did to her room.  “Or better yet, don’t you have air conditioning?”

 

Chapter 8

 

“No air conditionin’.  I’m rarely inside.” He said, stating what she already knew.  “A swim does sound good though.  Gonna join me?” He arched an eyebrow at her before heading upstairs to rinse in the shower before pulling on a pair of jean cutoff shorts.  He returned with a towel and grinned at her, winking as he walked outside.  Mark tossed aside the towel and dived in.  “Heaven…”

 

Ravati turned around and watched him in the pool, suddenly feeling her entire body engulf in flames.  The man was hot, that was for sure, and she wasn’t denying it.  She didn’t care how old he was.  Age had been great to the man.  She watched his muscles cut through the water, rippling with every movement, and suddenly lost her breath.  “Ya know, a swim doesn’t sound too bad.” She murmured and rushed upstairs to shower, just getting all the dirt off of her, and then came back outside a few minutes later.  She was wearing a black two piece bathing suit.  It was stringed, but left plenty to the imagination.  Ravati wasn’t one to show off her body as she sat down on the edge, sticking her feet in the water, and sighed, her wet hair pooling down her back as she watched him swim.  Maybe this summer wouldn’t be so bad, but somehow, Ravati knew they were going to end up fighting again.  She was just that type of person.

 

Mark surfaced, blinking water out of his emerald green eyes.  He brushed his wet hair back away from his head with both hands, grinning evilly at her.  “Afraid I might bite, Vati?” He teased, smirking at the startled look she shot him.  “Come on in, darlin’.  The water is nice and cool.” He gently splashed her, getting her legs.

 

“I don’t know.  You might be just like Hades.” She countered with a smirk and laughed, a smile on her face as she looked back at him.  “I’m not that much of a swimmer, Mark.” She sighed when he began splashing her and looked around the farm.  She’d gotten used to it and she had to admit, it was beautiful, especially during the sunrises and sunsets.  “Stop splashing me.”

 

“No…” Mark swam up to her, cutting long, powerful strokes, and moved so he was standing between her legs, covering in water from the waist down.  Water pouring off his muscular chest.  He grabbed her by the waist and pulled her in with him, holding her while he moved towards the deep end.  “Not much of a swimmer, Vati, or can’t swim at all?” He asked curiously.

 

“I can swim.  I just don’t like it…” She shivered when the cool water hit her skin, though it did feel great, but that’s not why she shivered.  The feeling of this man’s hands on her hips was causing her body to light on fire, which meant the water wasn’t doing anything for her.  “Mark, let me go.  I don’t want to go in the deep end…” She tried getting away from him, the water covering her to her waist now, the tips of her hair dancing on the surface.

 

Mark arched an eyebrow.  “It might do ya some good, Vati, yer lookin’ a bit flushed.” He peered into her face, studying her.  He stopped though, just half reclined, letting her basically straddle his waist, and stared up at her in the fading sunlight.  “You got a nice farmer’s tan.” He joked, running a hand up her arm.

 

“Yeah, I know.” She grumbled, crossing her arms in front of her chest as she stared down at him, and rolled her eyes playfully.  She was trying to keep this civil between them, knowing this was her uncle’s friend or whatever.  They were both adults though, but still, this man had put her through Hell and back the past almost three weeks.  “Pretty soon, I’m gonna end up looking like you.  My perfect pale skin will be gone.” She started to mock cry and laughed.

 

“Nothin’ wrong with lookin’ like me.” Mark grinned, his green eyes crinkling at the corners.  “My tan is nice thank you very much.” He arched an eyebrow at her.  “You were too pale anyways, darlin’.  Looked like Dracula.” He bared his teeth at her, rolling his eyes dramatically.  “Now,” He gently brushed his fingers against her stomach.  “Maybe I should let ya spend a day tannin’ so it’s even.” He peered up at her.

 

“I don’t do the tanning bit, Mark.” Ravati stated, feeling her stomach doing flip flops as he ran his fingers lightly down her pale stomach, and bit her bottom lip.  She ran her hands down his shoulder, trying to straddle him more so she didn’t topple over into the water, and looked up at the sun descending on the horizon.  Another summer day gone.

 

Mark’s hands automatically moved to her hips when he felt her beginning to topple, moving her so she was nestled against his lap, groaning inwardly.  Wrong move on his part.  He barely managed to keep himself from rising to the occasion, thinking every non-sexual thing he could to calm his ass down.  ‘Steve’s niece…young enough to be your daughter…possibly.’ He thought.

 

“You’re looking a little flushed there, Mark.” Ravati pointed out with a smirk, throwing what he’d said to her earlier on right back in his face, and raked a hand through her hair as she sighed.  Still holding his shoulders for leverage.  “So, what exactly are we going into town for tomorrow?” She asked casually, staring down at him with a raised eyebrow, her black hair flowing over her shoulders and down her back, with no makeup on.  It was just her natural beauty for once.

 

Mark growled when she said that before shrugging, swimming backwards a bit, balancing himself along with her on him with ease.  “I gotta get some feed fer the animals, restock the pantry.  Anythin’ ya need?” He asked, staring up at her, now seeing thanks to the light that surrounded them.

 

“I’ll have to check and let you know.” She softly replied, knowing there was probably some things she needed, and didn’t have the money for it.  Steve probably had given him money for her as she stayed balanced on him, trying to think of anything, but this man at the moment.  She hadn’t realized how simply delicious he looked and feeling him brush up against her as he moved was almost more than she could take, but she hid it well.  She’d stopped the cursing too, or at least tried to make an effort out of it, but still didn’t talk about her life.  He kept pushing her, but she just couldn’t do it, especially with her parent’s death.

 

Mark wasn’t even aware he had moved his hands back to her hips, now just floating on the water, his thumbs gently rubbing circles against her skin.  He nodded, knowing she was probably needing some personal items.  She’d been living on what she’d brought since arriving.  “Make yerself a list and we’ll get it.” He murmured, jack knifing a bit, smirking when she gasped as water pooled around her.  “Sorry…accident.” He drawled.

 

“Uh huh, accident my ass.” She muttered under her breath, though the amusement shined in her midnight blue eyes.  The sound of his voice was low a low rumble when he was calm, sending shivers down her spine, and made her blood boil even more.  She honestly never had a better than what she was at this moment and everything that had happened was in her past.  It was almost as if the world had disappeared and it was just the two of them as she shook her head a little, her hair framing her face.

 

Mark reached up to brush her hair back, his fingertips grazing her cheek lightly.  “What’re ya shakin’ yer head for?” He murmured huskily, everything, but the beautiful angel over him flying out of his mind.

 

“Sorry, my hair was sticking to my back and it tickled.” She explained softly, that husky voice once again taking her breath away, and scooted a bit more on him because she was slipping.  Her black hair flowed down her back and hugged her waist.  It was long and she liked it that way, even though she hated keeping up with it.  Ravati would never cut it off, not unless she absolutely had too.

 

Mark growled softly when she shifted, his hands tightening a bit around her hips, holding her still.  “Stop before we capsize or somethin’.” He muttered, gently moving her up higher so she didn’t feel what she was beginning to do to him, his emerald green eyes darkening to a forest green.

 

“I was slipping!” She protested, smiling when he moved her further up, and honestly didn’t mind it.  She wouldn’t be slipping now as she started running water up her arms, the sun once again burning her flesh, even though she wore the sun block.  She then began running her hands up and down his shoulders, rubbing absentmindedly, and felt herself become hypnotized by his eyes as they darkened over.

 

Mark tried to hide the shiver that racked his body, but couldn’t.  He was two seconds from kissing her.  He knew it.  Her strawberry lips were just beckoning to him.  Knowing if he didn’t do something immediately he was going to pull her down against him, Mark gently rolled her off of him, placing her near the ledge so she could grab it, and swam back from her.  “Come on, let’s see ya swim.” He challenged, needing something to take his mind off of his problem.

 

“I don’t swim.  I told you that.” She said, shaking her head, and started heading for the ladder.  She had to calm her racing heart down, knowing they were close to kissing.  ‘Stop it, Rava!  He doesn’t see you like that.  For Christ sakes, the man calls you a fucking kid!’ She berated herself mentally, shaking her head again, but this time, it wasn’t because of her hair.  It was because of the stupid shit she was thinking.

 

Mark frowned, watching her.  He knew she was about to head inside and didn’t, for some ungodly reason, want her too.  “Yer swimmin’ now.” He growled playfully, pulling her into the water, back against him.  “I’ll even get ya some of them floatie things that wrap round yer arms, darlin’.” He teased, his mouth right next to her ear.

 

Ravati shivered as her eyes drift shut for a split second, feeling him whisper that in her ear, and wished he would just end her torture.  Put out the fire he started.  She knew it wouldn’t happen though as she slowly turned around to face him.  “You are so damned pushy!” She exclaimed and rolled her eyes as she sighed heavily.  “Fine, I’ll swim if you want me to.” She took a deep breath and dived under the water, doing a complete handstand, before flipping over, and came up to the surface.  “Wow, haven’t done that in years.”

 

Mark had watched her.  In his gutter mind observing that she was rather flexible and limber before shaking his head.  “When was the last time ya went swimmin’, Vati?” He asked, arching an eyebrow, knowing Steve had a pool.  He treaded water, keeping his distance so he didn’t do something one of them might regret.  He sure in the Hell wouldn’t, but knew she would.

 

“Probably since I was at least seventeen.” She answered honestly, blinking the water out of her eyes, and sighed as she started doing back strokes.  Seeing he was keeping his distance and brushed it off as being nothing.  “I don’t like to swim that often, but this feels nice after what we had to do today.” She made a face at the memory and shuddered.

 

Mark caught that and smiled slightly.  “Yeah, but the vegetables will taste damned good when their ripe.” He told her.  “More so because ya tended to’em and helped’em grow.” He watched her, taking in her somewhat relaxed posture, and make up free face.  She was beautiful when she went natural.  All that make up she wore hid her natural beauty.  Made her look like…well…like a porcelain mask.

 

“Yeah, I’m sure they’ll taste good to you.  I don’t like vegetables except a choice few.” She informed him, swimming over to the ledge, and folded her arms out on it, resting her cheek on it as she closed her eyes.  She felt relaxed with him, especially after spending three weeks, and couldn’t believe how much had happened.  It was rough the first week.  Her getting bitten and everything, but after that little episode in the front yard, she decided she was through with fighting him.  She would do her time and then go back to her uncle’s.  It was weird.  She didn’t even feel hostility towards him anymore for sending her here.

 

“Hmmm…like which ones?” Mark asked, his eyes half closing as he watched her, just floating again.  Life had been pretty peaceful in the past week.  Both having apparently coming to some sort of silent agreement.  “I’d hate to serve ya somethin’ you didn’t like.” Mark slapped his face when he thought, ‘But I do know what I’d like to serve ya.’ He wondered what the Hell was wrong with him.

 

“Broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, and I think that about does it.” She nodded after thinking about it for a bit and turned to face him, her other cheek resting on her hands now, smiling intently back at him.  “What’s the matter, Mark?  You look like you’re going to explode or something.” And she meant that in the most sincere way.

 

Mark groaned, god if she only knew.  “Maybe darlin’.” He agreed somberly, sinking underwater and dropping to the bottom, sitting Indian style for a minute before reluctantly coming up, blinking back water.

 

Ravati wasn’t sure what he meant by that but shrugged it off as she went under water and swam past him to the ladder.  “I’m gonna head inside.” She announced, her black bathing suit clinging to her every curve and body as she wrung her hair out on the deck and wrapped a towel around her body before heading inside.  Not surprised when she found the dogs whining for food and fed them, knowing Mark probably forgot too.  Wouldn’t be the first time.  She then headed upstairs for a quick shower, trying to that man’s body out of her mind and his voice out of her head, but it wasn’t happening as she banged her head against the bathroom wall.  “Stupid…stupid…stupid…”

 

Mark did a few more laps, finally dragging his own ass out of the pool and making his way inside.  He spotted the dogs and groaned, knowing he’d forgotten again, and smiled, knowing Ravati had fed them.  “Lucky mutts…” He muttered, heading upstairs.  He passed her door and hesitated before continuing on to his own room, shedding his wet shorts, and headed into the bathroom.  Mark stared into the mirror before banging his head against it.  “Smooth, man…smooth…”

 

Chapter 9

 

Ravati changed into a red nightgown that went to her knees and it was spaghetti strapped, once again sunburned, and headed downstairs to get something to eat.  Her black hair pooled down her back in damp waves as she sucked in her cheeks, wondering what she wanted, and tapped her chin in thought.  Her thoughts were solely on Mark and for the life of her, she couldn’t get him out of her mind.  She’d even started thinking of furniture, but it always ended up with either a bed, a couch, carpet.  She groaned inwardly and tried focusing on what she wanted to eat.

 

Mark came out of his cold shower wearing just a pair of black cut off sweat pants that hugged his muscular thighs.  He halted when he seen her, taking in her nightgown, then the sunburn, and retrieved the Ocean Potion.  “Grab a seat, Vati.” He said softly, gesturing to the chair.

 

She did as she was told, knowing this stuff really helped, though it stung like a bitch.  She bit her bottom lip and lowered her head, closing her eyes, and tightened her fists, wishing she’d become used to this shit already.  “I put the sun block on, Mark.” She quietly said, knowing that’s what he probably thought, and sucked in a sharp breath when he did her right arm.  “Damn it, that stings!” She hissed out, wanting to go jump in the pool again, her red nightgown clinging to her every curve.

 

“I know ya did, Vati.” Mark winced, rubbing it in as gently as he could.  “But sometimes it ain’t enough…I’ll loan ya one of my shirts tomorrow, it’ll keep yer arms and shoulders covered.  We’ll get you a hat…” He murmured, moving to the back of her neck.  “Could be worse…at least it’s not blisterin’, darlin’.” Mark slowly massaged her, working in the lotion.

 

“No, I like my tank tops.” She softly protested and let out a groan when he started rubbing her neck, licking her lips, and was thankful her hair covered her face at that moment.  His hand felt wonderful massaging her like this, even if he was just rubbing in the Ocean Potion.  She couldn’t stop herself from enjoying it and smiled, loving how he took care of her.  He’d been this way since she’d stopped being disrespectful to him and sighed.

 

“I know ya like’em, but you need to protect yer skin, darlin’.  Skin cancer wouldn’t be a good thing.” He said gently, now just massaging her, working out her kinks.  “How’s that feelin’?” He asked, bending down so his face was next to hers, his breath hot against her cheek.  “Any better?”

 

Soft moans escaped her lips as she nodded, sighing contently, and dropped her head forward, loving the feel of his strong hands on her body.  Anywhere on her body, it didn’t matter.  This wasn’t lighting her on fire though.  It was making her more relaxed as she groaned when he hit a sore spot.  “You should go into the massage field.” She softly murmured, food leaving her mind, and felt shivers coursing throughout her body when she felt his hot breath on her ear and cheek.  Now THAT lit her body on fire.

 

“Mmm…nah….I’ve always been good with my hands, but-” He chuckled softly, moving his hands to her arms, rubbing them gently.  “I like workin’ outside too much to stay indoors, rubbin’ people down.” He gently raised her up.  “Why don’t you go lie down in the living room on the couch and I’ll do yer back.  You’re way too tense, darlin’.”

 

“You don’t need to do that, Mark.” She softly said, staring up into his green eyes, a smile on her face.  She wanted him to massage her completely and couldn’t believe he was actually offering.  When he gently pushed her in the direction of the living room, Ravati couldn’t protest or turn down the offer.  She planted herself on the couch stomach first, her head facing it, and her arms were at her sides loosely.

 

Mark grinned, glad she hadn’t fought him on this, and moved so he was straddling her back, not putting his weight down against her.  He reached down and brushed his fingertips against her back, feeling her nightgown and then her body beneath.  His eyes closed as he slowly started massaging her back with his large hands, working out the tenseness in her muscles.  Hardly believing someone as young as Ravati could have this many knots.  “Damn woman, yer tense…”

 

“That’s from the streets.” She explained softly, groaning when he hit a sore spot and then moaning when it felt exquisite.  It was more good than bad as she closed her eyes, her black hair splayed all around her, and down her back.  Even though Mark had pushed it to the side in order to get her muscles.  The nightgown was thin so she could feel his rough, yet gentle hands all over her back, which made the temperature rise in the room.  She honestly didn’t mind it though and snuggled further into the couch, a contented smile on her face.

 

Mark’s breath quickened when he heard her moan.  That had to be the most erotic thing he’d ever heard.  Ravati had to be the most sensual woman he had ever met and she was a pain in his ass for Christ sakes!  He moved his hands to her ribs, fingertips skimming over her before applying gentle pressure, working out the knots he felt.  “From the streets, huh?” He murmured, his curiosity piqued.

 

“You don’t want to know, Mark believe me.” She said, sorrow in her voice, and moved her head to lay on the opposite side, her hair framing her face as she looked straight ahead.  “I’ve done so many things…” She trailed off, closing her eyes, feeling the tears build in them, and cleared her throat as she coughed a bit.  “It’s just been stressful ever since-” She stopped, shaking herself mentally, and blinked back the tears of pain and heartache she’d felt for the past seven years.

 

Mark had definitely been paying attention, arching an eyebrow when she stopped.  He moved down to work on her thighs, studying her thoughtfully.  “Ever since what darlin’?” He asked softly, in his most patient tone of voice, taking his time with her legs, moving his strong hands down to her calves, tracing the scars on her leg gently.

 

“My parents died when I was fourteen…” There was tension mixed with heart break in her voice as she closed her eyes tightly shut, swallowing hard, and sighed heavily.  “Car accident.  Hit a semi dead on, smashed the car completely…” She had to stop as she sucked in a shaky breath, feeling him rubbing her thighs and legs, and talking about her parents overwhelming her.  “Ever since their death, I’ve kinda…how do I put this…taken life by the throat.  It’s just been…really hard.” She was whispering now, not trusting her voice, knowing it would crack since she was trying hard not to cry.

 

Mark frowned, feeling her pain.  His heart going out to her.  He moved up and rolled her over, staring down into her eyes, seeing she was trying not to break down in front of him.  He moved so he could pull her up against him, wrapping her up in his strong embrace, not saying a word.  Honestly, what the Hell could he say to her?  Nothing that would ease the pain that was for sure, so he did the next best thing.  He was just there for her.

 

Ravati immediately broke down in his lap, burying her face in his hands, and wrapped her arms around his neck, nuzzling it, and allowed the tears to fall.  She’d kept the pain of her parent’s death locked inside of her for so long and was finally releasing it.  She knew deep down she could trust Mark.  The man had gotten her out of a world of trouble with the sheriff after all.  Even though her uncle probably had a lot to do with it.  She couldn’t speak a word, too choked up, and allowed some of her pain to surface.  The last person she’d broken down to was Angel and that’d been a few years ago.

 

Mark gently rocked her back and forth, feeling his heart shatter when her hot tears beat down on his neck.  He rubbed her back in slow, soothing circles, resting his head on top of hers.  He could see why she was the way she was.  She needed closure or something, or maybe just one good break down.  He hoped this would actually help her.  Though at the same time, he could also picture her retreating more into her ‘grab life by the throat and choke it’ philosophy as well.

 

Ravati finally calmed down after a good two hours of crying, feeling exhausted mentally and emotionally.  She just laid her head on his shoulder, silent tears spilling down her cheeks, and closed her eyes.  “I’m sorry.  I’m so sorry.” She whispered before finally passing out in his arms, the exhaustion overtaking her body from the breakdown she just had with him.  Her steady breathing and heart beat told him she was asleep and dead to the world.

 

Mark stroked her hair, carefully moving so he was laying on the couch, her against his chest, and pulled the blanket off the back of the couch down onto them.  He ran his hands up and down her back, finally tangling one gently in her hair, and kissed the top of her head.  “Don’t be sorry, darlin’.” He murmured, hugging her briefly before closing his eyes, not sleeping though.  Too many thoughts swirling around in his mind.

 

~!~

 

Ravati’s eyes slowly fluttered open the following morning, groaning a bit, and rubbed her eyes from the sleep in them as she adjusted to the light that streamed in the living room.  She immediately tensed as her eyes widened when a pair of arms tightened around her and relaxed instantly when she heard Mark’s voice.  She snuggled further back into him, knowing he was still asleep, and wondered what time it was.  Probably later than what they both usually got up at as she yawned, closing her eyes, and turned around so her face was buried in his bare chest.  She hadn’t had a decent night sleep in years until the previous night.

 

“Mornin’ darlin’.” Mark rumbled, his voice husky with sleep, and tightened his hold on her a bit, running his fingers through her hair.  “How’d ya sleep?” His accent was a slow, lazy drawl.  Normally not fully human until he had a cup of coffee in him, but moving would be letting her up and he was too comfortable laying like this.

 

“Better than I have in a long time.” She replied softly, yawning loudly, but didn’t move, not wanting too.  It felt too good being in his arms, feeling him stroking her hair, and smiled as she sighed.  “You do realize it’s probably around nine or even ten in the morning, right?” She quietly pointed out, running her hand up and down his chest soothingly, her head resting on his arm and the pillow.

 

Mark looked up at the clock on the wall, squinting to see it, his vision still blurry from sleep.  “Actually darlin’, it’s eleven.” He murmured, kissing the top of her head.  “But it’s not like we’re in a rush now are we?” Mark asked softly.

 

“No, but don’t I have more work to do for my punishment?” She asked softly, biting her bottom lip, and raked a hand through her hair, snuggling further against him as she sighed.  In truth, she didn’t want to move ever again because waking up in his arms had been the most incredible feeling in her life.  She didn’t even feel this way about John and it both thrilled and scared her.

 

“Hmmm…” Mark drawled out, sounding like he was actually considering putting her to work, but shook his head, chuckling softly.  “We’re both startin’ to be run ragged.  One day off ain’t goin’ to hurt…yer punishment ain’t over, but even in jail you’d get a break or somethin’.” He teased gently.

 

A genuine smile crossed her lips as her midnight blue eyes lit up at him, sighing in contentment, and snuggled further against his chest.  “Thank you, Mark.” She murmured, so glad he didn’t put her to work that day, and felt like kissing him.  That thought had made her cheeks tinge and she hoped her suntan that she’d gotten covered it up as she shook her head at herself.

 

Mark arched an eyebrow, staring down at her, looking a bit more awake now.  “Are you…blushin’, Vati?” He asked, sounding amused.  “What’re ya thinkin’?” He asked huskily, reaching down to caress her cheek with the back of his hand.  “Hmmm?”

 

Her cheeks were on fire now and she knew he could feel it as she turned around from him, chewing on her bottom lip, and stared straight ahead while her back was pressed against his chest.  Though that didn’t stop her from leaning into his strong finger as she blushed harder.  “I was thinking about how much I want to kiss you right now for not making me go to work.” She admitted, not believing she just said that, and buried her face in her hands.  ‘God, shut up, Rava.’ She berated herself mentally.

 

Mark chuckled, the sound a deep rumble from his chest.  He gently rolled her back over, staring up at her pink face.  “Really now?” He smirked slightly.  “Well then woman…kiss me already.” His tone was teasing, green eyes sparkling.

 

“Okay, that’s it.  That’s the last time I speak what’s on my mind.” She stated and sat up from the couch, shaking her head, and raked a hand through her black hair, blinking in surprise when she didn’t feel the same tenseness in her back, and sighed.  ‘I’m the biggest fucking idiot on the planet right now!’ She shouted at herself mentally, shaking her head and cracked her knuckles, a habit she did in the morning.

 

Mark sat up with her, pulling her down on his lap so she was straddling him, her face near his.  “Why Vati?” He asked softly.  “Don’t like what’s on yer mind, darlin’?” He rubbed his hands up and down her sides, staring into her blue eyes.

 

“Mark, you’re torturing me with this.” She pointed out, crossing her arms in front of her chest, and huffed at him.  Though her body was already melting underneath his hands as they ran up and down her sides.  “And no, I don’t like what’s running through my mind right now.” She groaned inwardly, trying to stop herself from talking because she was digging herself further and further into a hole.  “When are we going shopping?” She asked suddenly, needing to get his mind off of what she just said.

 

Mark had immediately stopped when she said she didn’t like what was going through her mind, not about to pressure her into anything or make her uncomfortable.  He let his hands down to rest on the couch and softly replied, “Whenever yer ready, Vati.”

 

Smiling softly back at him, she hugged him around the neck tightly and kissed his cheek.  “There, I kissed you.  I wanted to…thank you for last night.  It’s been a long time since…I talked about it with anyone.” She coughed and raked a hand through her hair before moving from his lap.  “I-I’m gonna go get ready now…” She then darted up the stairs to her bedroom and closed the door behind her, pressing her back against it, and pressed her hand over her heart.  “Good god almighty Christ save me…”

 

“Good god almighty…” Mark groaned, rubbing his face with his hands.  He slowly headed upstairs, needing a cold shower now.  Not believing how close to doing something, anything they’d been.  He splashed the ice cold water against him vigorously, not believing himself.  “She’s a little girl fer Christ sakes, man get a hold of yerself!” He berated himself.  Finally, he got out and dressed in black form fitting jeans, black vest, hair braided and pulled back.  He slipped on a pair of sunglasses before heading downstairs, his steel toed boots echoing throughout the house.

 

Chapter 10

 

Ravati changed into a pair of black cargo pants, chains hanging from them, her normal outfit with the black tank top, but she swapped it at the last minute for a red one that had Devil Child written in black lettering over the front.  It showed off a part of her stomach, revealing her Devil Child tattoo and she put on her wristbands and necklaces, but not as many.  She was still keeping her same outfit, just downsizing it a bit.  She did her makeup, keeping it simple with just thin black eyeliner, but couldn’t stop herself from putting on the black lipstick.  She slipped on her black steeled toed boots and left her hair down, forgetting her bandana, and walked out, ready to hit the local Wal-Mart.

 

Mark froze when he seen the black lipstick, shaking his head.  “Sorry Vati, but ya gotta take it off.” He said gently, but firmly.  “Yer a beautiful woman, ya don’t need to be hidin’ behind that god awful lipstick shit, especially in that color.” He crossed his arms over his chest, not about to go anywhere with her looking like that.  The outfit he could deal with, the lipstick, no.

 

Gritting her teeth, Ravati turned around and stalked back upstairs, grabbing some tissue paper, and wiped it off, not believing she was actually being forced to do it.  She gripped the sink, knowing she had to calm down, and took a few deep breaths before finally walking out.  She walked downstairs, crossing her arms in front of her chest, and glared at him.  “Better?” She asked heatedly, wanting to call him an asshole, prick, something, but nothing was registering in her mind at the moment, which pissed her off even more.

 

“Actually yeah, now ya look like a real woman.” Mark replied, knowing she was restraining herself from going off at him, mildly impressed with her, and lead the way outside.  Shooting a longing look at the garage where he kept his motorcycle and sighed, knowing they’d have to take the truck for the feed he was buying.  Once they were on the road, he glanced over at her and asked, “You done poutin’, Vati?”

 

“I’m not pouting.  I’m pissed off.” She corrected him, resting her head on her hand, and sighed heavily.  She didn’t want to talk to him for fear of her saying something she’d regret later.  She didn’t want to ruin the progress they’d made over the past three weeks.  He was trying to change her appearance though and that just royally ticked her off.  Shouldn’t a person like someone for WHO they are on the INSIDE instead of the OUTSIDE?  Apparently not.

 

Mark sighed, rolling his eyes, and focused on the road, not about to get into it with her.  Not when they’d seemed to cover so much ground.  He gritted his teeth, wondering if she’d ever be able to remove the mask.  Ravati was a beautiful woman on the inside and outside.  He just couldn’t understand why she felt like she had to hide herself like some grotesque cabaret doll or something.  Mark shook his head, flicking on the radio, the silence almost overwhelming.  Knowing he’d say something to fill the void if he didn’t turn it on.

 

The ride to Wal-Mart was made in silence and when they stopped, Ravati didn’t say a word to him, just got out, shutting the door behind her.  She followed him into the store, shoving her hands in her front pockets, and sighed heavily when he grabbed a cart.  She kept her head lowered, her black hair framing most of it, but it didn’t hide her like she wanted.  She hated going out in public without her mask on and hated Mark for forcing her to come out without it.  Her makeup was a huge part of who Ravati was and she couldn’t wait to be rid of him so she could do whatever she wanted again.  When she wanted to do it.

 

Frowning, Mark glanced back at her before pulling her up with him, pinning her between him and the cart.  “Yer beautiful, darlin’.” He murmured in her ear, sensing she was feeling awkward without her face paint.  He halted at the farm and home section, talking to a clerk and placing an order for what he would need for animal feed, leaving her to her own devices at the moment, but aware of her presence.  Definitely aware.

 

Ravati didn’t believe him that she was beautiful, not without her mask.  She shook her head and walked over to look at something, immediately narrowing her midnight blue eyes upon seeing the motherfucker responsible for her being in this predicament in the first place.  “Yo Jason!” She called out, stalking over to him, and planted her feet right in front of him, her fists clenched at her sides, her eyes shooting fire at him.  She felt sick seeing him after what he did to her, but pushed that firmly aside, too pissed at the moment.

 

Jason’s eyes widened when he seen her, looking around like he didn’t want to be caught around her.  “What the FUCK are you doing here?” He demanded in a low, harsh tone.  “I thought you were doing time or something?” He didn’t look happy to see her though he did take in her appearance, a little smirk on his lips.

 

“You’re lucky I don’t fucking pound your ass into the ground for what you did to me, you motherfucker!” She hissed back at him dangerously, cracking her knuckles, that look of fighting instinct coming over her midnight blue eyes as they darkened with rage.  “You won’t EVER do that to me again, you understand me?  I’ll kill you first before it fucking happens again, you dickweed!”

 

“Do what you fucking psycho bitch?” Jason demanded, looking righteously angry, shooting a look around.  “Fucking lower your goddamn tone you little slut.” He hissed.  “You fucking wanted it and we both know it.”

 

That was all Ravati could take as she hauled off, punching him right in the nose, and tackled him the ground, not caring if they were in a store.  “YOU FUCKING PRICK!” She shrieked, punching him relentlessly in the face with both of her fists, tears swelling in her eyes, and wished she had her brass knuckles she always used to carry on her.  “I FUCKING HATE YOU!” She could see nothing, but red right now and didn’t care about the consequences at the moment.  Just messing this boy’s face up for what he did to her.

 

“RAVATI!” Mark appeared out of nowhere, pulling her away, grunting when he started getting kicked and hit.  “Calm down, calm down!” He ordered, wondering what the Hell had happened.

 

“YOU FUCKING CRAZY WHORE!” Jason shrieked, shakily getting to his feet, feeling his nose, and groaned.  It was gushing blood.  “YOU STUPID BITCH!”

 

“FUCK YOU, JASON!  YOU WON’T EVER TOUCH ME AGAIN!” She screamed back at him, fighting off Mark to get to him, tears streaming down her face.  Not caring about anything at the moment, but ripping his heart out of his chest and crushing it in her hands.  “LET ME GO RIGHT FUCKING NOW!” She screamed at Mark, clawing at his arms with her nails.  The rage inside of her exploding, though she felt a grim satisfaction when she seen the blood gushing out of his nose.

 

“RAVATI!” Mark roared, not amused when he felt her clawing the Hell out of his arms.  “Stop it!”

 

Jason was moaning in pain, trying to stem the blood flow.  “Stupid fucking whore!” He spat viciously.  “Quit running your goddamn lying, little cock sucking mouth!”

 

Mark’s green eyes narrowed, not having a damned clue what was going on, but not liking how this punk was talking to Vati, tempted to unleash her.

 

Her entire face went pale at that moment, causing Ravati to start physically trembling in his arms, and broke out of Mark’s grasp as she took off out of the store.  She almost got ran over by a car, but she didn’t care, needing to get as far away from that prick as possible.  Tears streamed down her cheeks as she finally collapsed on the ground on her knees, wrapping her arms around herself, and stood up as she walked the rest of the way back to the truck.  She knew she was going to get reprimanded for this and honestly didn’t care at the moment.  Visions of what had happened flowed through her mind as she screamed and dropped to her knees by the truck, beginning to punch the asphalt with her fist, the anger pouring out of her.  Not caring if her fist busted open and blood was covering it.

 

Mark had dropped everything to chase after her, ignoring the people who stared, shoving some out of his way.  He frowned, surveying the parking lot before making his way to the truck.  He seen her on the ground and rushed to her, grabbing her to stop her from hurting herself further.  “Vati, stop!  What’s wrong?  What happened?” He pulled her up against him, concern and worry evident in his tone.

 

“GET THE FUCK OFF OF ME!” She screamed out, shoving him away from her, and wrapped her arms around herself as she hit the side of the truck harshly.  Nobody would believe her and she wasn’t about to open up to Mark, knowing he was going to punish her worse for this.  For lashing out when she had every right in the world, but yet, nobody knew about it.  Nobody knew the real story and that just pissed her off even more.  She didn’t care as she flexed her fist, not bothered that it was probably broken.  She’d punched the asphalt a good twenty times or so as she raked a hand through her hair with her good one, gripping it tightly.

 

Mark growled, snatching her up and almost literally tossing her into the truck.  He had been trying to help her, not maul or hurt her.  He locked the doors and windows, not about to risk her jumping and peeled out of there, heading for home.  “What the fuck was that all about?” He demanded gruffly, not looking at her.

 

“None of your fucking business!” She shouted, wiping her tears away along with her eyeliner, refusing to look at him as she kept her eyes glued on the window.  She was going to pay for this, but it was worth it.  It was worth seeing that bastard bleed for what he did to her.  For what she was going through right now with Mark.  What her body was going through and how much pain she’d been in both physically and mentally.

 

“None of my business?  You just fuckin’ jumped a guy, broke his damned nose and it’s none of my business?” Mark snarled, his upper lip curling in anger.  He gunned it home, speeding along the dirt road.  “Don’t give me that shit, Ravati.”

 

“I had my reasons, alright?” She stated heatedly, raking a hand through her hair, not caring if her hand was dripping blood or not.  Her blood was boiling and her anger was taking over every other emotion in her body at the moment.  She had her reasons because the guy hurt her and forced her into this predicament.  She wasn’t going to tell Mark or anyone what happened, knowing the sheriff would never believe a word that came out of her mouth.  Nobody would, Ravati wasn’t that stupid or naïve.

 

Mark remained silent even after they reached the ranch, dragging her inside and shoving her down on the couch, pissed beyond belief at the moment.  He retrieved the first aid kit.  The damned thing had seen more use in the time she’d been here than in the past year he’d owned it!  “Hold still…” He growled, kneeling in front of her, gently wiping the blood with a wet washcloth before using a pair of tweezers to pick out the gravel.

 

She just sat there, her arm crossed in front of her chest, while her other one was extended.  She was silent, anger still coursing throughout her body at the moment, and when he went for the alcohol, she jumped off the couch, hiding her hand behind her back.  “No, I’m not going through it again, Mark!  I’ve been through fucking enough with you as it is!” She ran up to her room and slammed the door shut when he went to pour it, locking the door, and then ran into the bathroom, locking that door too.  She immediately ran the scalding hot water over it, crying out in pain.

 

Mark followed her, going double time when he heard her cry out in pain and broke down the bedroom door when he found it locked.  “Vati?” He tried the bathroom and growled, shaking his head before ramming his shoulder against the door, catching himself when it gave way.  “What the-NO!” He lunged at her, pulling her hand out from under the scalding water.  “Yer gonna make it worse!”

 

She ripped her hand out of his grasp, tears of pain and anguish flowing down her cheeks, and held her hand tightly to her as she started crying harshly.  “Please don’t do it…Please Mark…” She couldn’t deal with the alcohol again, the last time had almost killed her.  She knew this time it probably would as she coughed out, sniffling, her midnight blue eyes pooling with tears.  She’d just ran it over the scalding hot water for a second before he busted the door down.

 

Mark seen the tears in her eyes and nodded, swallowing hard, looking down at her hand.  “I won’t alright?  Just come down and let me tend to that, Vati.” He said softly, reaching out for her.  “Come on, darlin’…I promise I won’t use liquor on it, okay?” His tone was soft and pleading, asking her to trust him.

 

Ravati nodded as she slowly stood up from the floor, holding her hand to her chest, and walked with him back downstairs.  She raked a hand through her black hair as she plopped down on the couch and held it out, letting him tend to it, tears of pain streaming down her face since all of her anger had deteriorated.  “Fuck!” She hissed out when she accidentally flexed it and leaned back against the couch, sweat pouring down her neck.  She sucked in a sharp breath when he began plucking the remaining asphalt pieces out of her hand.  “Damn!”

 

Mark winced, using the rag to clean her fist again.  “Well…you flexin’ it is a good sign.” He murmured, gently guiding her into splaying her hand out, flinching when she hissed in pain again, and studied the damage.  Swollen, bruising, still bleeding, skin torn…yeah, she’d done a number on herself.  Mark sighed, placing a towel under her hand before pouring peroxide over it, bending down to blow on it when he seen it bubbling.

 

“Christ!” She hissed out in pain, leaning back against the couch, though him blowing on it made it feel a little better, not much though.  She’d done a number on it and was shocked she hadn’t broken it with how hard she’d punched the asphalt.  She sighed heavily, tears still in her eyes, and licked her lips as she leaned her elbow on her leg.  Pressing her good hand over her forehead and bent her head down, shaking it back and forth.  She didn’t regret decking Jason, but she did regret messing her hand up.

 

 

Mark was quiet while he put Neosporin on the wounds, wrapping her fist in gauze before taping it in place, leaning back on his heels to stare at her.  “I’m not askin ya again, Vati.” He said finally.  “If you ever wanna talk 'bout what happened today, I’m here fer ya, no questions asked.” He reached out to cup her chin, gently making her look into his green eyes.

 

“I know I’m in trouble so just tell me what to do and I’ll do it, Mark.” She replied, staring back into his eyes.  She felt a single tear fall down her cheek before slowly standing up, holding her hand at her side as she raked a hand through her hair.  “I’ll go change.” She whispered and started up the stairs, knowing he was going to push her to her limits for what she pulled at the store.

 

Chapter 11

 

Mark had to ask himself if he really did come across as that big of an asshole.  Yeah, he was hard on her, he admitted it, but she needed it.  Though right now, punishment wasn’t what Ravati needed.  She needed something else, like a damned hug.  He got up and followed her, scooping her into his arms, and carried her upstairs, carrying her into his bedroom, not bothering closing the door.  They were the only ones there.  He set down on his giant, four poster bed, cradling her in his lap.  “Why the Hell would I punish you, Vati?” He softly murmured, holding her close to him.

 

“Because of what I did at the store.”  She shakily answered in a whisper, not trusting her voice at the moment, and didn’t expect Mark to be this comforting towards her as she swallowed hard.  “If you only knew…why I did it, you’d understand.” She buried her face in her hands, tears streaming down her cheeks, not able to hold them in any longer, and stood up from his lap after breaking his grip.  Wrapping her arms around herself, Ravati walked over to stare out the window, her head lowered in shame.

 

Mark raked a hand through his hair, loosening it from the braid, and sighed, staring at her.  “Why don’t you tell me, Vati?” He suggested gently.  “I’m not goin’ to hurt you, or punish you for whatever ya say or don’t say.” He promised, his green eyes telling her he meant it.  “Vati…darlin’, you got to let someone in.”

 

“You won’t believe me.  Nobody will believe me.” She stated, wincing at her hand, but that was the furthest from her mind at the moment, allowing more tears to fall down her cheeks.  “I don’t just lash out because I feel like it.  There was a reason behind what I did.  He deserved everything I did to him today and more, Mark.” Her voice took on a deadly tone filled with sadistic edges.

 

“Obviously there had to be a reason, darlin’.  I can’t imagine why you’d just attack someone like that if there wasn’t.” Mark replied, no trace of sarcasm in his voice, being completely serious.  “And why wouldn’t I believe ya, Vati?  You won’t know till ya try me.”

 

He had a valid and logical point there.  Her problem was she didn’t trust anyone, not even Angel, completely because that was the type of person she was.  She took a deep, shaky breath, knowing she had to let someone in and she had a feeling, something inside of her telling her to make it Mark.  She didn’t pull away from the window and rubbed her arms up and down as she lowered her head. 

 

“Fine, I’ll tell you.” She slowly turned around to face him.  “Do you know that car that was found in the river?” When he nodded, she could already feel the tears streaming down her cheeks.  “I got rid of it because I didn’t steal it.  He did.  The guy I punched today.  His name is Jason.  He stole that car and we took a drive in it.  We drank some liquor, the whole partying, drinking driving thing going on, ya know.” She laughed bitterly, rubbing the back of her neck, and turned around to look out the window again.  “He got me so drunk that I couldn’t think straight.  To the point where I allowed that son of a bitch to rape me.  He fucking raped me, Mark.  In THAT car and that is why I put it in the river.” She actually felt her knees drop as she held onto the window ledge and buried her face in her hands.  “He forced me to do so many things…” She couldn’t go on and began pounding the ground with her fists.  “GODDAMN IT!”

 

Mark was on his knees besides her, catching her hands, not letting her hurt her injured fist anymore.  Now he felt like finding that little bastard and ripping his head off.  He let her smash her other fist against his chest, staring down at her, pain for her in his eyes.  Finally, Mark wrapped his arms around her, pulling her against him.  “It’s not yer fault, Vati…It’s him.  He’s the one who did it, not you, darlin’.” He whispered.  “He’s the one who should feel ashamed baby, not you.  Not you.” He stroked her back gently while cooing to her soothingly.

 

“I didn’t know what he was planning or else I would’ve never gone.  When I get drunk to the point where I can’t walk a straight line, I get sluggish and can’t fight that well, which is why I don’t drink often, except with Angel, or did anyway.” She explained through her tears, stopping her punching, and wrapped her arms around his neck as she completely broke down, burying her face in the crook of it.  “I thought I could forget.  I thought I could do it, but I can’t.  I just can’t, Mark.  When he called me a cock sucking little whore or whatever, he wasn’t blowing smoke.  He forced me to do that too…” She began sobbing violently, her entire body trembling against him.

 

Mark made a mental note to take his shotgun, find this Jason kid, and blow his balls off.  Then shoot him in each limb until he reached his head.  Then, he’d put a hole through that fucker’s own little cock sucking mouth.  “Forced ya, darlin’.  Yer not anythin’ he called ya, you’re not.” Mark tilted her head back, staring down into her blue eyes, brushing away her tears with his thumb.  “Forgettin’ ain’t going to make it better, Vati.  You gotta face it head on and beat it.  Don’t believe anythin’ he said.  You’re better than him, you’re innocent here.  It’s not yer fault.”

 

“Y-You actually believe me?” She managed to ask, swallowing hard, the tears shining in her blue eyes.  She’d done a lot of crazy shit in her life.  A LOT.  She was innocent this time though.  She’d gone through three weeks of pure Hell; though some of it wasn’t too bad, and she couldn’t believe that she’d just opened up to Mark like this.

 

“Of course I believe ya, darlin’.” Mark whispered with a puzzled look in his eyes.  Like he couldn’t understand why she would ask him that.  “I saw what ya did to him.  Heard and seen yer pain…and I'm seein’ it now.” He captured another tear on the tip of his finger, cupping his hand around it.  “How do you want to handle this, Vati?” He asked gently.

 

“The sheriff isn’t going to believe me, Mark.  Nobody is going to believe me because of how much shit I’ve done.” She slid from his lap again, wiping her tears away, and wrapped her arms around herself.  “I just want to finish my time here and then handle that prick on my own.  He’s got a nice blade waiting for him.” She promised darkly, cracking her knuckles on her good hand, knowing she couldn’t do it on her bad one, and raked a hand through her hair.

 

“Yer Uncle would believe ya, darlin’.” Mark said gently.  “You know he would, he loves you to death.  Are you goin’ to tell him 'bout this?” He knew she probably wouldn’t, but wanted to encourage her too.  Though, he wouldn’t force the issue.  “And forget the knife; I got a shotgun with his name ALL over it.”

 

“My Uncle will say that I’m lying just to get out of trouble, Mark.  He won’t even believe me.” She stopped pacing and looked back at him, raising an eyebrow, and actually had to smirk as she crossed her arms in front of her chest.  “Now who’s being the bad influence?” She couldn’t wipe that smirk off of her face if her life depended on it, knowing Mark had deadly intentions for Jason and so did she.  “I like my knives, much easier to work with.  Much easier to slice the fucker’s head off.”

 

“I prefer the whole splatter effect.” Mark replied, getting to his feet, his green eyes flashing dangerously.  He smiled grimly, liking the mental picture of seeing Jason going flying back with a shotgun wound to his stomach, which would be a gaping, smoking hole.  “And I think Steve would, but its yer choice.”

 

“I’m not telling my Uncle.  He won’t believe me.  Never has so why should he start now?” She retorted with a bitter laugh and sniffled, wiping the remaining tears from her eyes, and actually felt her heart skip a beat at the dangerous look that flashed in Mark’s green eyes.  “So now you know what REALLY happened.” She raked her hands through her hair in frustration and looked down at her hand.  “I’m so glad I broke his nose.  If he’s smart, he’ll leave town because when summer ends, I’m going to fuck him up royally and bury his body in the woods somewhere.”

 

“Actually…it’d be better to chop his ass up and feed him to the dogs.” Mark replied absentmindedly, catching the look on her face, and smirked wickedly.  “I was young once too, darlin’, with a wild streak of my own.” He sighed, squaring his shoulders, pushing the murderous thoughts out of his mind for the time being.  “How’s that feel?” He gestured toward her fist.

 

“Never better.  Every time it throbs, I know I made that fucker’s nose gush blood.” She replied calmly and smirked at his comment about the dogs.  “You’re not that old, Mark.  You don’t look it anyway.” She just put her foot in her mouth again.  ‘DAMN IT, RAVA!’ She thought angrily, wanting to slap herself, but knew that would give it away even more as she sighed heavily.  “The rest of the summer will be worth what I go through just so I can get my hands around his neck.”

 

It wasn’t the best time, but Mark couldn’t stop the grin from crossing his face.  “Really?” He raised his eyebrows innocently.  “You sure ‘bout that, Vati?  I think I got some gray hairs and I know I’m wrinkled and weathered.” He drawled, smirking at the blush on her face.  “You look so damned cute when ya do that.” He shook his head, looking around the room, realizing suddenly he’d brought her into his bedroom.

 

She was standing on guarded territory and was expecting the dog to come in here at any second and growl at her as she smirked back at him.  “Whatever your age is, you look damned good for it, Mark.  I mean it; age has been awesome to you.  You’re one of the lucky ones.” She leaned her head against the post of the bed and sighed heavily, adverting her gaze to the floor.  “I think I freaked him out today with my appearance.” She had to laugh.

 

Mark wasn’t about to reveal his age to her.  That was guarded too.  He arched an eyebrow, looking her over.  “Screw him.  You looked beautiful today, Vati, you still do.” He told her honestly, raking a hand through his hair, dropping down onto his bed with a sigh.  He reached out to take her uninjured hand, pulling her so she was standing between his legs, and pressed his forehead against her stomach.  “Don’t let anyone, not even yerself, tell ya otherwise.”

 

“I’ll try not to.” She whispered in reply, surprised that his forehead was pressed against her stomach, but she didn’t mind it.  Her fingers began having a mind of their own, running them gently through his locks, loving the silkiness it gave off.  She sighed heavily as she leaned down, kissing the top of his head before lifting his head up to stare into her eyes.  She crouched down to be eye level with him before speaking again.  “Thank you.  For believing me.  You don’t know how much it means to me that you actually believe me with what happened.”

 

Mark shrugged, cupping her face in his hands, staring into her blue eyes.  “Don’t thank me, Vati.  I saw what happened today.  I’d be a fool not to believe ya.” He murmured, his scalp tingling from her playing with his hair.  ‘Now AIN’T the time to be thinkin’ like that, moron!’ He scolded himself, not aloud of course.

 

Ravati smiled softly as she pressed a soft kiss to his forehead and then nose before slowly standing back up and sighed heavily.  “You’re the first person I’ve opened up to in ages it seems.  I haven’t even opened up to Angel this much.” She sounded almost in disbelief and wrapped her arms around herself as she leaned against him since his arms automatically went around her, which she didn’t mind either.

 

“It’s good that ya opened to someone…” Mark murmured, rubbing her back gently.  “Keepin’ all that bottled inside, I can’t even begin to imagine…” He stood up, skimming his hands up her ribs.  “How bout we go downstairs and relax darlin’?  You can kick back on the couch and I’ll cook somethin’ fer ya, if yer hungry that is.” He offered softly, wanting her to relax.

 

“No, I’m not really that hungry, not after that, but I would like to spend time with you.  I’m gonna go change really fast.” She kissed his cheek before he could get another word out and rushed to her room, closing the door behind her, and bit her bottom lip before peeling out of her clothes. 

 

She slipped on a whitish silver nightgown that went just above the knee and it was spaghetti strapped.  Not in the mood for anything more.  She brushed her hair out, seeing it got tousled in the fight.  She then washed her face and checked her hand, making sure it was alright before finally walking downstairs barefoot.  She smiled, seeing Mark in the kitchen, and walked to the door, staring out of it, wrapping her arms around herself.  It was a beautiful summer night, like so many they had in Houston.  Ravati closed her eyes as the breeze slowly blew through her hair, which was down, pooling and framing her waist perfectly, through the screen door.

 

Mark was making a pitcher of tea, foregoing his nightly shot, thinking it would be really, seriously inappropriate all things considered.  He put the pitcher in the refrigerator to get cold, now in just his jeans.  His habit was always having been to go shirtless if possible.  He walked over behind her, smiling when he felt the breeze, and studied her hair.  Something that was one of the major factors in what had started attracting him to her from the beginning.  She had gorgeous hair.  “What’s on yer mind, Vati?” He softly asked.

 

“You and how much you’ve helped me in the past three weeks.  I can’t explain it.  I just…you’ve done a lot, Mark.” She was leaving it at that, not wanting to go into detail about how he’d changed her appearance and her entire outlook on life.  Though, that still didn’t stop her from wanting to slit Jason’s throat because of what he did to her.  Who could blame her though?  She ran a hand through her hair, pushing it to the side, making it look like she had an arch on the top of her head as she rubbed the back of her neck.

 

Chapter 12

 

Mark reached out and took over, his fingers deftly working out the knots and tensions, knowing today had been rough on her.  More than rough.  “Yer all knotted up again, darlin’.” He murmured, sighing almost sadly, regretting that she had suffered because one man had been a greedy, cruel jerk.  “I could draw you a bath if ya like…”

 

“No, I just want to relax with you.” She replied, moaning softly as he started massaging her neck, and smiled as she turned around to stare up into his emerald green eyes, stroking his face with the back of her hand.  “You’re a sweet man.” She whispered and walked over to the couch, sitting down on it, and brought her knee up, resting her chin on top of it.  “What’s on your mind, Mark?” She asked softly when he kept staring out of the screen door, like she’d been prior, and wondered what was going through his brain at that moment.

 

“Hmmm?” Mark turned to face her, shaking his head, and smiled apologetically.  “Sorry darlin’, spaced out there fer a second.  I was thinkin’ bout you if ya wanna know.” He admitted quietly.  “You’ve changed a lot since comin’ here…and ya changed me too.”

 

“How did I change you?  I’m sure you weren’t always that brute I met when I first got here?  I mean, I was really hard to deal with, still am, but nothing like I was those three weeks ago.” She softly explained, smiling a little at him, and remembered when he came out with his shotgun that night she was trying to escape as she sighed.  She actually wondered if he would’ve shot at her friends, but couldn’t blame him.  She didn’t hate Mark or her uncle anymore because the past three weeks had been amazing.  A little rough at first, but after that, they were amazing to her.

 

“Actually, yeah, I’m pretty much a brute twenty four, seven.” Mark admitted, smiling down at her.  “I could make a career outta it if it were a valid job.” He arched an eyebrow, studying her face, and leaned back against the couch, wrapping an arm around her shoulder.  “Now you look like yer spacin’ out, darlin’.  Care to share what’s on yer mind?”

 

“I was actually thinking about my first night.  You walk out with your shotgun and everything.  Now that I look back on it, I can’t help but laugh.” She started laughing genuinely, snuggling into his side, loving the feel of him holding her in any position.  Though, she didn’t like it when Hades attacked her, but she’d deserved it for the way she’d treated Mark.  This was his property and his land after all and she’d disrespected it.  She’d learned a lot about respect in the past three weeks and grew to truly respect Mark.  Even more so now that he believed her with the Jason situation.

 

“Well…I didn’t know who they were, but it didn’t take much to figure what the Hell they were here for, especially with the headlights off.” Mark shrugged his shoulders again, smirking down at her, and bent down to kiss the top of her head.  “I’ll give ya credit though, if I hadn’t let the dogs out, ya mighta almost made it to the gate.  But not much further than that.  At night, the spikes come up unless I turn’em off, which I did that night.  I was out to scare them away, not strand’em here.”

 

“That’s understandable.” She moved to sit in his lap, feeling much more comfortable in this position, and sighed.  “I hope you don’t mind, but I just really need to be held right now.” Her voice was near pleading as she wrapped her arms around his neck and buried her face in the crook of it. 

 

She wanted to feel his warmth surround her and smiled when it did, knowing he enjoyed these moments with her as much as she did with him.  She was never going to forget this summer as long as there was a breath left in her body.  Mark held her against him, burying his face in her hair, inhaling her beautiful scent.  After maybe an hour of sitting with her, he moved so they were lying on the couch, gently placing her between him and the back of the couch.  Cocooning her in though he wasn’t smothering her and draped his arm over her waist, rubbing her back tenderly, his eyes studying her face.

 

Ravati sighed as she snuggled further against him, enjoying this contact with him, and reached her hand up, caressing his rugged, handsome face.  She couldn’t take it anymore and reached up, brushing her soft lips against his, dying to know how they’d feel.  She was shocked when she went to pull away only to have Mark pull her closer and therefore, deepened the kiss even more.  Ravati instantly melted into his arms, moaning softly in his mouth, and ran her hands up and down his bare chest, loving how his muscles rippled beneath her fingertips.  She’d never in all her life been kissed like this.

 

Mark hadn’t meant to pull her to him.  He’d meant to let her retreat, but what he meant to do and what he did were two very different things.  He gently pulled her against him, coaxing her mouth open and immediately tasted her, groaning in the back of his throat.  He slid his tongue alongside hers, teasing her.  Tasting her.  Exploring crevices and recesses, his hands still gently rubbing her back.

 

Ravati’s senses were reeling as she gripped his chest, rubbing his side since they were sideways, and wasn’t surprised when Mark pulled her on top of him, splaying her body on his.  Her hair pooling around them in a curtain as she continued to kiss him.  She couldn’t get enough of his mouth, his taste, everything about this man lit her body on fire, age or not.  Age wasn’t a big deal to her because she’d gotten to know the person inside.  She’d gotten to know Mark and found herself enjoying being around him.  She knew this was wrong.  That she should stop, but she didn’t want too.  She just wrapped her arms around his neck and pressed their foreheads together, never breaking the kiss as her legs rested comfortably between his thighs.

 

Mark groaned when he felt her nestled between his thighs, her legs brushing against his already throbbing cock.  He broke the kiss when they were both breathless, planting open mouthed kisses down her throat.  He groaned, burying his face in the crook of her neck, trying to control the sensations, desires and emotions that were coursing through him. “Vati…tell me to stop.” He murmured against her neck.  “If you want me to stop, speak up, darlin’.” Mark didn’t want to frighten her.  Not after what had happened to her with Jason.

 

She couldn’t speak as she melted completely against him, the feeling of his tongue and lips on her heated skin almost too much for her to take.  This was her uncle’s best friend and he was lighting her body on fire.  Ravati could only moan, no words audible from her mouth, and leaned further against him.  Her nightgown had rode up her thighs, pooling around her waist as her hands ran up and down his shoulders, arms and chest.  She just drifted her eyes shut and allowed fate to take its course, like she mostly did with her life.  Knowing deep down this was meant to happen.

 

Mark grunted, feeling her melt against him, and pulled her against him, wrapping an arm around her and pulled her off of the couch, capturing her lips in his.  He pulled her legs around his waist before kneeling down to pull the hide-a-way out, already made up and with a nice cushy mattress on it.  Not about to do anything more on the suddenly too small couch.  Mark laid her down flat on her back, lying on his side against her still kissing her, running one hand up and down her stomach.  Always trailing just a little bit lower with each downward sweep.

 

Ravati smiled softly against his lips, moaning more the further his hand traveled down, and broke the kiss, needing to catch her breath.  She looked up into his eyes before kissing him again, trailing her lips down his jaw line to his strong, muscular neck.  “This is wrong.” She whispered softly, her voice clearly telling him not to stop, and ran her hands up his chest to his shoulders and arms, finally traveling to his back and up, entangling her fingers in his hair.  He felt too wonderful for her to even consider wanting him to stop.  Nobody could hear them for miles and her uncle never had to know about this.  She knew deep down Mark thought of her as nothing more than a child, but she wanted this too badly to push him away.

 

Mark stared down into her eyes, his fingers resting just over her panties.  “It’s only wrong, Vati, if ya don’t want it.” He whispered softly, brushing his lips against hers.  “So if you don’t want this, now would be a good time to tell me.” He murmured, pressing her forehead against hers, letting her know what happened next was in her hands.

 

Suddenly, flashbacks of what Jason did to her went through her mind, causing her to bolt upright, and stopped his hand from inching lower, tears pooling in her eyes, and began to tremble.  “I can’t do this…” She whispered out finally, almost choking it out, and entwined their fingers together.  “I’m sorry, Mark, but I can’t.” She then ran out of the living room and upstairs, taking two at a time, and slammed her bedroom door shut before collapsing on her bed.  Tears streamed down her cheeks as she cried her heart and soul out, knowing she’d lead him on, and he probably hated her for it now.  “I’m sorry…” She choked out, burying her face in a nearby pillow, and curled up in a tight ball.

 

Mark groaned softly and rolled onto his back, having honestly expected that.  What the Hell had he been thinking?  Doing those things to her, especially after what he had just found out?  Mark slapped his face, knowing she probably hated him right now and decided to give them both some time to cool and calm down before going up to find out how bad he had hurt her.  “You fucked up Calaway.” He muttered, folding his arms under his head.  “Christ Vati…I’m sorry.”

 

No matter how badly she wanted it, she couldn’t get the images of what Jason had done to her out of her mind.  It was like a permanent plague and she felt sick to her stomach, still tasting him in her mouth.  She shuddered violently, the tears pouring harder, and jumped when it began thunder storming outside.  That was ANOTHER one of her fears.  She HATED thunderstorms, even though rain soothed her.  She jumped when the lightening flashed violently across the sky, causing her body to tremble, and buried her face in her pillow hard.  Wishing Mark was holding her at that moment.

 

Mark cursed when he heard the thunder, getting to his feet, and walked over to the window.  He loved storms, but he didn’t like the lightening too much, even if it was beautiful in a deadly way.  He shook his head, watching the dogs bolting towards the barn, and glanced towards the stairs.  Sighing, he bolted the windows and doors before heading up the steps to do the same upstairs, finally halting outside her door and knocked gently.  “Vati?”

 

Ravati heard Mark’s voice and shakily called out, “C-Come in…” She buried her face back in the pillow, jumping out of her skin when thunder rumbled throughout the sky, shaking the foundation of the ranch, and started covering her ears.  She absolutely hated thunderstorms, the sounds of them, especially the lightening.  That’s probably what scared her most followed by the rude thunder that followed.  She didn’t even hear her bedroom door open as she clutched her pillow like it was her life support, wishing the storm would stop.

 

Mark frowned, staring at her, realizing she was scared when she jumped every time thunder rumbled or lightening flashed throughout the room.  He quickly crossed the room to sit on the floor beside the bed, reaching up to stroke her back.  “Hey…it’s alright, just a little thunderstorm.” He soothed, his voice low and reassuring.

 

When another clash of thunder rumbled, Ravati was instantly on the floor, curled up in Mark’s lap, and trembling in fear as she clung to him.  “I’m sorry about earlier.  I know I kissed you first.  I’m not sorry I did it, just sorry of how it turned out.” She bit her bottom lip, feeling his arms wrap around her, and jumped when another clash shook the ground, causing her to bury her face in his chest, the tears stopped, just the trembling didn’t.

 

“Hey, don’t worry about it, Vati.  I knew better.” Mark soothed, holding her gently in his arms.  He kissed the top of her head.  “Yer not ready and I don’t blame you, darlin’.  I just hope yer not mad with me fer takin’ ya that far when ya weren’t ready fer it.” His voice was low and apologetic, regret at the thought he might’ve hurt her obvious in his tone.

 

“No, I’m not mad at you at all.” She whispered softly, staring up into his eyes, and sat up as she brought his face down to hers.  “You didn’t hurt me or make me kiss you first.  I did it on my own, Mark.” She pressed her forehead to his and sighed, jumping when another clash of thunder rumbled, causing her to tremble against him as she took a few deep breaths to calm down.  “God I fucking hate storms…” She grumbled.

 

“I just hate the lightning.” Mark admitted, chuckling at himself.  He held her a little tighter so she couldn’t jump anymore, mildly concerned something valuable might get damaged.  “I’ve got hot chocolate downstairs if you’d like to venture down fer a cup.” He offered, trying to take her mind off of what had happened earlier as well as the storm.

 

“Hot chocolate in the middle of summer?” She questioned, raising an eyebrow up at him, and started laughing at the look on his face.  “No offense, Mark, but I’m hot enough as it is…” She immediately regretted saying that as she shook her head, raking a hand through her hair.  ‘GOD, SHUT UP, RAVA!’ She screamed mentally, smacking her forehead with her hand gently.

 

Mark laughed, pressing his forehead against hers, rubbing his nose against hers.  “Yer blushin’ again, darlin’.” He teased gently.  “Not that I’m complainin’ mind you.  You look awfully damn cute when ya do it.” He chuckled when she did it again, running his fingers through her soft black hair.

 

“I think my cheeks are going to melt…” She bit her bottom lip while he ran his fingers through her hair and sighed, the storm forgotten as well as earlier as she snuggled against his chest.  “You’re a sweet man, Mark.  I really hope someday you find a woman who is lucky enough to have you.” She murmured, closing her eyes, and enjoyed the warm contact between them.  Mark thought of her as a kid and she didn’t blame him.  It bothered her, but she could never say anything about it, not wanting to ruin their good friendship they built over the past almost month.

 

“Any woman who’s unfortunate to shack up with me has got to have a temper to match my own.” Mark replied good-naturedly.  “I’m a brute.” He peered down at her; pretty sure he had a good idea who that woman was.  “Of course, long…gorgeous hair is a plus too.” He added, still playing with her long black tresses.

 

Ravati heard that and didn’t say another word.  She just sat in his arms, trembling with the storm, and closed her eyes.  It was over about two hours later and she’d fallen asleep on Mark.  He lifted her up and placed her in bed, covering her up, and she felt him kiss her forehead.  As soon as the door shut, Ravati’s eyes opened as she stared at the ceiling, seeing the rain’s reflection on it, and sighed deeply.  He was trying to change her.  It wouldn’t happen and she wasn’t going to allow it.  This wasn’t her.  This wasn’t the Ravati she knew and she hated the fact that she’d actually opened up to him about her parents and the rape.  “No more.” She vowed, turning on her side and closed her eyes. 

 

Tomorrow when she woke up, she would be the old Ravati, not the wimp she’d been tonight.

 

Chapter 13

 

Mark hadn’t slept a damned wink.  Instead, worried about Ravati and about his livestock, spotting the lightening comfortably close to the barn and house.  He sighed, raking his tousled hair back from his forehead, sitting at the table, his morning cup of coffee before him.  He took a sip, the bitterness shocking him awake and groaned.  After yesterday, he felt like a total jackass.  Though maybe now Ravati would open up and become the person outside he knew was hiding on the inside.

 

Ravati was up before six o’clock struck, dressed in her usual workout clothes, which was a pair of black cotton shorts with a tank top.  She’d worn the same thing, washing it every night, not wanting to ruin anymore of her clothes.  She scoffed at the thought and walked over to the mirror, picking up her black eyeliner, and proceeded to do her makeup.  It wasn’t much, but it would suffice for now until she got out of this place.  Her eyes were decked out in heavy black eyeliner as she set it down and nodded in approval.  She pulled her hair back in a low ponytail and wrapped a bandana around her head, tying it tightly, and walked out, heading toward the kitchen.

 

Mark grunted when he seen Ravati, his green eyes taking in her clothes.  They were normal.  Then the heavy black eyeliner that made her beautiful eyes look like two damned piss holes in the snow.  “Mornin’ darlin’.” He murmured finally.  “How’d ya sleep?” Mark studied her intently, wondering what was going on in her head right now.

 

“Like shit.” She answered lowly, pulling her bandana down a little more, and walked over, getting a glass of water, and downed it before setting the glass in the sink.  “But hey, I’ll survive it.” She shrugged nonchalantly and crossed her arms in front of her chest as he stared at her.  “What the fuck are you staring at me for?  Take a picture, it lasts longer.” She rolled her eyes.

 

“I’m starin’ at a punk kid.” Mark said coldly, his suspicions confirmed.  The ones he’d shoved in the back of his mind.  If that’s the way she wanted it, so be it.  He stood up, slipping on his shades.  “We’re repairing the barn roof so I really hope yer not afraid of heights.” He informed her, not waiting for her reply and walked out of the house.

 

Ravati just shook her head and walked out of the house, following him to the roof, and looked up at it.  She placed her hands on her hips and nodded.  This wasn’t too bad, though the sun was going to bake her ass alive.  She sighed to herself, knowing he wasn’t going to go easy on her.  She’d been right.  He thought of her as nothing, but a punk kid and if that’s the way he was going to see her, then why shouldn’t she act like it?  ‘I’m not changing for no one.’ She thought and walked over to him, seeing him getting everything ready, and didn’t say a word, just waited for him to instruct her on what to do next.

 

Mark set the ladder against the barn, a utility belt wrapped around his waist.  He held one out to her, when she didn’t take it right away, he shoved it against her.  “Follow me.” He grunted, leading the way up the ladder.  He didn’t bother helping her, just walked across the roof, navigating the bad parts.  “Watch yerself.” He called back over his shoulder, finally settling himself at the peak.

 

Ravati just rolled her eyes and climbed the ladder with ease, the utility belt around her waist, and did as she was told.  She had no choice.  This was her prison and Mark was the warden.  Sweat already coated her body as she got on her knees, flexing her injured hand a little, and started hammering the new tiles on after ripping off the old ones.  They threw them down in the grass and worked in complete silence.  Ravati had nothing to say to him, knowing if she did, it wouldn’t be anything nice.  She’d been close to sleeping with him last night and even made the gesture in kissing him first.  She felt sick to her stomach, but ignored it and continued to work, pushing everything out of her mind for the time being and focused on the task at hand.

 

Mark wiped sweat off his now bare chest, the hot sun beating down on them mercilessly.  He tossed another shingle to the ground, looking at what they’d done so far.  He grunted, moving down so he was near the edge of the roof, leaning over to check the edging.  Mark glanced back over his shoulder at Ravati and shook his head.  What a goddamn waste!  The girl was never going to pull her head out of her ass.  Even after everything she had said last night.  She’d only gone right back to her old ways.

 

Ravati wiped the sweat from her forehead, having a sinking feeling the sun block wasn’t going to help her any, but she’d deal with it.  She’d dealt with his dog tearing her leg almost completely off and now her injured hand.  She was a tough bitch and that’s the way it was going to stay, whether anyone liked it or not, including Mark.  She hated herself for being so stupid and letting her actions run away with her.  Her life was just that hers and the sooner Mark realized that and left her alone, the better off both of them would be.  She tore another shingle off, replacing it with a new one, hammering it on.

 

“Let’s go get a drink of water.” Mark said finally, calling a break.  He knew she had to be dying of thirst; they’d been working all morning.  He treaded across the roof, looking back to watch her rise and follow.  He stood back as she climbed down the ladder, holding it steady for her.  Though, he wasn’t surprised when she ignored him.  Shaking his head, he strolled over to the hose, not impressed with her attitude and held it out to her, the water hitting the ground at her feet.

 

Ravati just cupped her hands and took a few sips, the cold water relieving some of the heat, and pulled her bandana down a little more.  She turned around, pulling the hair tie out of her hair and put it up in a messy bun, keeping it off her back, and cracked her neck along with her good hand.  She wasn’t speaking a word to him, having nothing to say, and honestly, she didn’t want to talk to him.  She’d been here three weeks and he’d tried changing her, which wasn’t happening.  It’d be a cold day in Hell when she did finally change back to that wimp and puppet she’d been the past few weeks.  The thought caused a sneer to curl her lip.

 

Mark seen that sneer and shook his head, rolling his eyes.  “Care to share what’s on yer mind, Ravati?” He demanded, not surprised when she gave him a look.  “Fine then, darlin’…how bout we just cool down that attitude of yers then, hmmm?” He put his finger over the nozzle and blasted her with the hose, not letting up when she slid in the grass and landed on her ass.  “You done actin’ like a damn snot yet?”

 

“FUCK YOU, MARK!” She shouted, coughing as he kept hosing her down with a sprays, and tried getting up on her feet, only to be knocked by down with them.  This asshole was really stepping over the boundaries with her and she was about to fight back.  “TURN IT OFF!!” She ordered in a shout, coughing, trying to keep the water from hitting her face.  Even though she could already feel her makeup running down her cheeks.

 

Mark didn’t stop until that shit was off of her face, leaving her red, but looking scrubbed clean.  He finally tossed the hose aside, turning it off and glared down at her.  “Nice to see yer damned eyes, Ravati.  For a while there, I thought you were wearin’ a mask.” He sneered, watching as she got to her feet, noting her body posture.  “I’m not that punk kid you beat down.  Swing at me and I’ll knock you on yer ass.” He warned.

 

“Fuck you!  This is who I am, Mark!  This is me, Rava, the toughest bitch you will ever meet!  You don’t like it?  Tough fuckin’ shit, deal with it!” She spit out some water, dripping from head to toe, her midnight blue eyes, spitting fire back at him.  “That makeup I wear is a part of who I am.  What ya see is what you fucking get, prick so DEAL WITH IT!”

 

“So who you are is some walkin’ poster board for America’s Most Fucked Up, huh?” Mark replied, clenching and unclenching his fists.  “Yer summer ain’t over yet, Vati, it’s just beginnin’, you best remember that.” He pointed towards the barn.  “Now get to steppin’, you got some work to do…my little convict.”

 

“Will do, fuckin’ warden.” She spat back at him, ringing the water out of her tank top, which was clinging to her every curve along with her shorts at the moment, and climbed up the ladder.  She finally made it back up, replaced her utility belt, and began ripping shingles off, replacing them with the new ones.  That’s all she was to him was a punk kid and his little toy to play with for the summer.  ‘I’m doin’ my time and gettin’ the fuck out of here.’ She thought, hammering down the new shingle.

 

Mark shook his head, smirking slightly.  He pulled a lounge chair out to where she could see it, but out of throwing distance so he wouldn’t be a target of anything she might’ve cared to toss.  Mark settled down with a beer in hand, shade over him, looking relaxed.  He watched her through his shades, shaking his head.  Hell, if he was the warden then his job was to make sure she worked and didn’t escape.

 

Ravati worked the rest of the day, finishing off the first side of the roof, and could feel her bandana drenched in sweat.  She finally threw the hammer down, not able to take it anymore, and rubbed her eyes, still stinging from earlier with the hose.  She couldn’t believe Mark had actually stopped helping her and hated him even more than what she did when she first got here.  ‘Fuck him.  He can go to Hell.’ She thought angrily, picking up the hammer after taking a small break, and began hammering more shingles, feeling like she was about to fall over, but refused to show any weakness.  She’d done that enough the past three weeks.

 

Mark removed his sunglasses when the sun started going down, getting to his feet, and walked over near the ladder.  “Haul yer ass down here, convict.  Time for you to get yer ass to bed.  Another BUSY day tomorrow.” He called up.

 

“Whatever, WARDEN.” She shot back at him, throwing the hammer down, and took her belt off before climbing down the ladder.  She hopped down when she knew it was a safe distance and stumbled back, shaking herself mentally, and flexed her injured hand, which was throbbing at the time, but she could care less.  Her midnight blue eyes were cold as ice as she stalked past him and into the house, not soaked anymore due to the sun baking her like she was a cake.

 

Mark followed, grabbing her by the wrist, and pulled her into the kitchen, flicking on the light.  He ignored her and pulled her away the gauze from her fist.  “Now…you got an option.  Either ya sit here at the table and clean it properly or I’ll clean it MY way.” He shot a pointed look at the Jack Daniels behind him.  “You run upstairs and I’m followin’ with the dogs and the liquor.”

 

Ravati snatched it out of his grasp, glaring spitefully back at him, not showing the same fear she had or the tears, refusing to do it.  She grabbed the First Aid kit and unwrapped her hand, not surprised to find it swelling, bruised, red and there were little scabs beginning to form where the pieces of asphalt had been plucked out.  She closed her eyes and took the peroxide, dousing it, and winced a little.  She knew he was enjoying seeing her in pain, but she wasn’t going to let any tears fall from her eyes.  She then took the wipes out of the kit and began scrubbing it clean, biting her bottom lip hard and finally put Neosporin on it to keep it from getting infected.  After she was finished and let the air on it a little, she wrapped it up in gauze tightly.  Not to the point of cutting off circulation, but enough to keep it covered as she put the kit back where it was. 

 

“Happy now, asshole?” She asked heatedly, holding up her wrapped hand, knowing he’d watched her do everything.

 

“I’m thrilled to pieces.” Mark replied sarcastically.  “Now…I remember ya sayin’ ya didn’t know how to cook.  I think it’s high time ya learned.  So run yer ass upstairs, shower and change, skip that shit you call makeup.  You got fifteen minutes, yer not back here by then, I’m comin’ after ya, understand me?”

 

“I’m wearing it, Mark, whether you fuckin’ like it or NOT!” She shouted at him and ran out of the kitchen, up to her room, and slammed the door shut.  She growled furiously, ripping her clothes off, but didn’t tear them as she hopped into the shower.  She washed her hair and body before stepping out, changing into a pair of black pajama pants with a black tank top that showed off her Devil Child tattoo.  She brushed her hair and pulled it up in a ponytail, not wanting it getting into whatever the bastard was forcing her to cook.  She wasn’t changing her gauze, knowing it would be alright, and put on more eyeliner before walking out of her bedroom.  She’d taken exactly fifteen minutes as she walked into the kitchen, her arms crossed in front of her chest, glaring at him.

 

Mark was waiting, freshly washed himself, in a pair of black jeans, his hair hanging down around his shoulders in wet waves.  “I coulda sworn I told you to leave that shit off…” He growled dangerously.  “If you want to look like some sort of slut on yer own time, that’s fine.  But yer not on yer time, yer on MY time.” He snarled, tossing a wet paper towel at her.  “Fuckin’ wash that shit off now.” He ordered angrily.

 

 “Fuck off, asshole.  I’m not washing it off.  Deal with it or cook your own damned food!” She hissed dangerously back at him, throwing the wet paper towel down on the floor, and crossed her arms in front of her chest defiantly.  He wasn’t going to change her and he wasn’t going to force her to give up her makeup.  It was part of her.

 

A HUGE part of her.

 

Sighing, Mark picked it up and walked over, pulling her against him roughly.  He held her arms trapped between them and proceeded to wipe away the makeup, not phased with her struggles though she’d been dangerously close to kneeing him, which pissed him off even more.  When he was done, he shoved her towards the kitchen and ordered, “Get your ass in there now!  And whatever the Hell you make, yer eatin’!”

 

“FUCK YOU!  I’M NOT EATING SHIT, YOU COCKSUCKER!” She screamed at him, shoving a chair in his direction, not caring if she scared the shit out of Hades, and couldn’t believe he’d actually done that to her.  She hated him even more now as her entire face went red and that’s the only color she saw.  “Don’t fucking touch me again, Mark or I will make you regret it.” She snarled through gritted teeth and stormed out of the kitchen.  When he grabbed her upper arm, she swung back and clocked him right in his nose, like she did Jason, causing him to release her instantly.  She’d hit him with her injured hand too, but she was too pissed off to care at the moment.

 

Chapter 14

 

Mark groaned, holding his nose.  “Hades, attack.” He ordered, feeling the blood gushing from it, and gingerly felt for a break, breathing out through his mouth gratefully when he found it was alright.  Mark watched as Hades jumped onto Ravati, pinning her to the hardwood floor, his paws on her shoulders, those dangerous jaws very close to her throat.  “You ready to act like a damn human and not some little troll?” He asked casually, using his bandana to stop the bleeding, sounding nasally when he spoke.

 

“Go ahead, Mark.  Have your mutt rip my throat out.  I don’t give a fuck anymore.” She spat back at him, not showing fear, and didn’t tremble as she stared straight into the dog’s brown eyes.  She would rather die than change for this asshole.  She didn’t wince when his claws dug into her shoulders, not caring at the moment, more focused on this dog’s chops wanting to tear her to shreds.   Mark asked for it when he grabbed her by the upper arm.  She wasn’t taking anymore shit from him.  She was here to fucking WORK, not become his little puppet to change.  Ravati refused to let it happen as she closed her eyes.  “I should’ve never told you anything and kept my fucking mouth shut.  God I fucking hate you so much right now, Mark.” She added viciously, no emotion in her voice, but she meant what she’d said.

 

“Why do you hate me, Ravati?  Because for once in who knows how damned long you weren’t afraid to show yer true self?” Mark demanded, towering over her and Hades, green eyes staring down at her piercingly.  “Because ya opened up to someone, cried in front of someone.  Is it me ya hate, Vati, or yerself for showin’ weakness?”

 

Her midnight blue eyes locked on his.  “Both.” She stated evenly, trying to move, and sighed when the dog put more weight on her as she shook her head.  She wasn’t going to show any weakness, never again, not in front of this asshole.  She closed her eyes and clenched her fists tightly, wanting to snap this dog’s neck in half, but knew if she did, the others would kill her.

 

Mark called off Hades, dropping down so he was kneeling over her, one leg on either side of her.  Though, he didn’t touch her, just stared into her blue eyes.  “Yer goin’ to spend the rest of yer life hatin’ yerself, Ravati, ya know why?  Because yer human and humans are weak.” He shook his head, moving away from her.  “Hide it inside if it makes ya feel better, wear yer paint as a security blanket.  One day, you’ll wake up, though it’ll probably be too late by then.”

 

“Thanks for the philosophical knowledge, asshole.” She spat back at him and stood up on her feet, dusting herself off, and glared at him.  “You can cook your own damned meal tonight.  If you touch me again, I might break your precious nose next time.  Night dickweed.” She then stalked out of the living room and up to her bedroom, slamming the door shut so hard, the walls shook, and sat down on her bed.  Hitting that fucker hurt like a bitch as Ravati shook her fist, groaning in pain, and swallowed hard as she tried getting the throbbing to stop.

 

Mark shook his head, stalking up the stairs.  He retrieved his tool chest from the closet before throwing open her door.  It didn’t take long to have the screws stripped and the door off its hinges, tossing the door to the side.  “Now…either you’ll come back downstairs with me and finish yer chores like you were told, CONVICT or I’m gonna do somethin’ that shoulda been done a long fuckin’ time ago.”

 

“Fine, I’ll cook your stupid meal for you, but I’m not eating and you’re not making me or I’ll fuckin’ punch you again.” She threatened, standing up from the bed, and shook her head a little before stalking past him.  She slid down the banister, not wanting to take the stairs, and walked into the kitchen, planting her hands on her hips, and sucked her cheeks in tightly.  “What the fuck do you want me to make, asshole?”

 

Mark smirked slightly, pointing to the refrigerator.  “There’s a roasting chicken in there, already unthawed.  You’ll need to reach yer hand up its ass and pull out the innards, wash the bird then pat it dry.” He leaned back in the chair he was sitting in, drumming his fingers on the table.  “Then you’ll stuff it and whatnot.  One step at a time and I hope ya ain’t got plans tonight.” He looked amused.  “Because this is gonna take a few hours.”

 

“You’re such a fucking dickhead.” She spat and shook her head as she pulled her hair up in a ponytail with her black holder, having taken it out after the scuffle she had with Hades, and brought the chicken out. 

 

Step by step, she took the innards out and then washed the bird, patting it dry.  That alone took an hour because she could only use one hand.  After that, she took the stuffing out of the fridge and proceeded to stuff the bird, using one hand again, not believing he was forcing her to do this.  To make his meal, the cocksucker.  She hated him with a passion.  The stuffing took another hour before it was finally completed.  She washed her hand again before finally preheating the oven at the degrees Mark instructed and slid the bird in.  She then turned around and stared out at the night, refusing to stare at her warden.

 

Mark nodded approvingly, now drinking his second beer of the night, Hades resting beside him while Pain and Panic were sleeping in the living room.  “Good…now you can clean up the mess ya made.” He gestured to the trashed counter.  “After that, you can make some mashed potatoes.  They’re already peeled so you just have to scrub’em, put’em in a pot to boil and let’em go till they’re done.” He was looking amused as he sipped his beer.

 

Ravati didn’t say a single word to him, but she shot him a deadly glare before getting started.  She cleaned off the counter, all the mess she’d made, and then brought the potatoes out.  After scrubbing them and putting them in a pot of cold water, she turned the burners on and sighed.  She was exhausted mentally, emotionally and physically and had a feeling her night was a long way from being over with.  This summer was going to go by excruciatingly slow for her, but she’d handle it.  She always did in life and she’d do it again.  She cleaned up her mess as she went and finally walked back over, staring out at the night again, and not saying one single word to Mark.  She refused to egg him on further, knowing he was enjoying every second of this.

 

Mark was silent, drinking his beers until he knew the chicken was done.  He instructed her on how to mash the potatoes, adding butter and milk, nodding again when she viciously worked the lumps out, knowing she was tired.  He then had her set the table for a formal dinner.  “Looks really good, Ravati.” He commented, inhaling the scent, and making an approving noise from the back of his throat.  Mark watched as she returned to looking out the door before snapping his fingers, shoving it all onto the floor and shouted, “Boys, dinner time!”

 

Ravati heard that and that was all she could take.  She turned around and literally flipped the table over on its side before shoving Mark in his chair and smacked him as hard as she possibly could across the face.  Tears were streaming down her cheeks she was so pissed off, her entire face reddened, and screamed out at the top of her lungs, “DON’T YOU EVER ASK ME TO COOK FOR YOUR SORRY ASS AGAIN CAUSE IT’S NOT FUCKING HAPPENING, YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE!” She then ran out of the kitchen, leaving him to clean up the mess, and stalked into her bathroom, slamming it shut behind her.  She locked it and proceeded to start punching the wall with her injured fist as hard as she could, not caring about anything at the moment.  Just releasing her anger.

 

Mark didn’t move, his face stinging from the blow.  He watched as Hades, Pain and Panic fell onto the food, gobbling it up.  He shook his head and walked into the living room, settling down on the couch and closed his eyes.  She was cleaning it up first thing in the morning.  She wanted to act like a criminal; he was going to treat her like one.  Mark shoved aside the twinge of guilt and sighed, groaning, not wanting to feel bad for her.

 

After releasing all of her anger and seeing the blood seeping through the gauze wrapping, Ravati finally fell to the floor on her knees and clutched her stomach tightly.  She’d done a lot of bad shit in her life, but she didn’t deserve that.  That was too cruel and it made her sick to her stomach.  She slowly stood up and cried out in pain when she flexed her hand, knowing it was broken.  It had to be after how many times she’d punched the wall.  She’d actually put a dent in it and broke the paint as more tears streamed down her face.  So this is what she got for being herself, huh?  That was fine.  Ravati wasn’t going to allow him to break her as she walked out of the bathroom and laid down on her bed, holding her hand tightly to her body.  She closed her eyes, allowing the silent tears to fall.

 

Mark tensed when he heard something upstairs, cocking his head to the side.  Frowning, he stood up and headed upstairs, halting in the doorway of her room, seeing as how the actual door was lying against the hallway wall.  He seen a small shiver course through her and knew she was crying, which made him feel even guiltier.  Mark cleared his throat and stepped inside, his eyes widening when she looked at him, spotting her cradling her hand.  “What’d you do?!?

 

“Get the fuck out right now!” She shouted at him, wiping her tears away hastily with her free hand, and when he went to grab her, she kicked him in the stomach hard.  “Get the fuck away from me!” She shouted at him and ran into the bathroom, slamming the door behind her and locked it.  She backed up as the pain intensified in her hand and wished she would’ve bolted out of her bedroom door.  There was no window in this stupid bathroom!  She wiped her tears away as they kept falling, shaking from head to toe, and when she flexed it, she cried out in serious pain, “FUCK!”

 

Mark groaned, straightening up.  Ravati was a feisty, strong bitch, he would definitely give her that.  He heard her scream and sighed, breaking down the bathroom door for the second time since she’d come to stay.  He saw the drops of blood on the floor, his gaze moving to his dented wall then to her fist.  “Ya broke it you damn fool.” He said, though there was no anger in his tone.  “Come on, I’ll take ya to the hospital.”

 

“Fuck you!” She spat hatefully, cradling it against her chest, and turned her head away from him as she sucked in a sharp breath.  “I’ll fucking deal with it on my own!  I’ll clean it and everything!  Just get the fuck out and leave me be until tomorrow, you asshole!” She wasn’t going to a hospital, hating them with a passion, and coughed a little as she raked a hand through her black hair with her free hand.  She refused to look at Mark and cradled her hand closer to her, her eyes daring him to fuck with her right now.  She would end up hurting him and herself more, but at least she’d get a couple good licks in.

 

“You broke yer hand.” Mark said, not about to let this little girl bully him.  He grabbed her about the waist and tossed her over his shoulder, carrying her downstairs and set her down on the counter.  “You like beatin’ yerself up, Ravati?” He demanded, angry with her for being so stupid.  “You like pain?” He grabbed the Jack, ripping the gauze away, and poured it over her hand, wincing when he seen how fucked up it was.  “Christ Vati…” Mark studied her hand, ignoring her screams of pain.  He braced himself before quickly straightening out her fingers and gently pulling, hearing a sickening sound that made his stomach lurch.  Though now, they weren’t bent at messed up angles.

 

Ravati screeched in pain when he did that and tried to get away from him, but it wasn’t happening.  “STOP IT!!” She screamed out in pain, coughing and felt the tears stream down her cheeks freely, not believing he poured the Jack on her hand.  She doubled over and pushed him away from her, not believing what a monster he was, and brought her knees up to her chest as she cradled her hand to it.  “I FUCKING HATE YOU!  LEAVE ME THE FUCK ALONE, YOU MONSTER!!” She screamed out, coughing more because her chest was heaving harshly, and buried her face in her knees.

 

Mark ignored her, kneeling down in front of her.  He firmly pulled her hand back out, staring down at it.  “Knock it off, Ravati!  If you don’t let me tend to this now, it’ll heal wrong and then we’ll have to re-break it…with a hammer.” He cocked an eyebrow at her.  “Just to reset it properly.  Now is that what you want?”

 

“Leave me alone…” She whispered out, her anger disappearing from crying so hard, and wrapped her free arm around her knees, crying harder.  She couldn’t believe he was hurting her like this when she’d dealt with broken hands before.  She hated this man so much right now, especially after what he did to her earlier with the food she made.  She just sat on the counter, refusing to look up at him, and allowed him to do what he had to do.  Ravati knew she had no choice in the matter and he was going to do it his way.

 

Mark was quiet, doing what needed to be done, feeling like he was going to be sick at any moment.  He’d tended to worse wounds then this before, but for some reason, the fact that it was Ravati who was being hurt, made him ache.  “There…Let me set it.” He got up and rifled through the kitchen drawers, finally making her a splint for her hand.  He taped her hand in place before wrapping gauze around it, wincing when he seen the tears.  “Vati…”

 

“Don’t.  Just fucking do it.” She whispered out harshly, burying her face in her knees, and allowed him to set her hand up in a splint.  She had to admit, he did a damned good job, better than any hospital could, and wished the throbbing would stop.  It was mostly from the Jack he’d poured on it, which she hated him for because she’d pleaded with him prior not to do that.  She knew he did it to hurt her and felt like throwing up at that moment.  She didn’t know why, but for some reason, her heart filled with more pain when he did it.  She sighed heavily and allowed him to finish, keeping her face in her knees, sniffling uncontrollably and sobbing quietly.

 

Mark sighed, knowing she was pissed with him for the Jack Daniels.  He’d done it because he didn’t want to scrub her hand, not seeing it broken, the Jack was actually kinder.  He helped her to her feet, guiding her to a chair.  “You want somethin’ for the pain, Vati?” He asked gently, deciding he needed a stiff drink and retrieved a bottle of scotch, something he rarely drank.  He took a shot before offering it to her.

 

“No, now leave me the fuck alone.” She stated heatedly, standing up from the chair, and walked out of the kitchen, sniffling a little as she raked her good hand through her hair.  When was he going to learn to just leave her alone and allow her to do her time without ticking her off?  She wanted to be left alone and he wasn’t getting the picture.  She looked down at her door and scoffed with a roll of her eyes and stepped over it before going to her bed.  She laid down in it, cradling her broken hand to her chest, and allowed more tears to fall from her eyes, wishing the pain would stop.

 

Mark shook his head, heading upstairs with the scotch in hand.  He bypassed her room without even looking in, closing his own bedroom door shut behind him.  He got undressed and dropped down onto the bed, leaning back against the pillows, drawing the sheet up to his hips before taking another shot.  His green eyes fastened on the ceiling in thought.  “Damn it, Vati…” He groaned, wishing she’d just let him in.

 

Chapter 15

 

Three weeks passed and Ravati’s hand was healing well.  Mark had forced her to stay inside, saying she wasn’t any use to him outside, and instead did house work.  Hades left her alone for the most part, which she was glad for, and raked a hand through her hair as she sighed heavily.  She was on her hands and knees scrubbing the living room floor with a bucket and scrub brush, keeping off of her broken hand.  It was healing nicely, a couple more weeks and it would be fully healed.  Ravati healed broken bones fast, but it was still in the splint as she shook her head.  She was wearing a pair of her black cargo pants, black makeup on around her eyes, not caring what Mark thought.  They barely spoke words, except him instructing her on what to do. At night, she would end up crying herself to sleep, but at least it wasn’t in front of him.

 

Mark came into the house at the end of the day, looking dead on his feet.  He’d finally done something he’d been putting off for a while, going out to pasture and bringing in the bull.  He had to do it today because he was selling the fucking evil tempered bastard, tired of having to repair fences.  He ignored Ravati, stepping over her, a hand on his side.  ‘Fuckin’ moron.’ He berated himself mentally, reaching for his all-time favorite antiseptic, Jack Daniels, and set it down on the counter.  He pulled off the muscle shirt he wore, groaning when stretching widened the gash.

 

Ravati didn’t look up at him, knowing he was probably healing himself with that stupid Jack, and bit back a snort.  She finally finished the floor and sighed heavily, standing up on her feet, and carried the bucket and brush into the kitchen.  She felt her eyes widen a little when she seen the huge gash on his side, feeling sorry for him, knowing he was probably in pain.  She quickly masked it though and poured the dirty water out, placing it in the spot where it was supposed to go, and headed out of the kitchen.  She just wanted a shower and bed, not in the mood to eat, and definitely not in the mood to deal with her warden.

 

Mark, at the moment, could have given two fucks less whether or not she wanted to deal with him or not.  He tipped his head back, his long auburn hair cascading down his back, having come out during his battle with the steak, closing his eyes.  “Vati, would you please grab me a towel?” He asked softly before she could leave.

 

Sighing heavily, Ravati reluctantly walked to the closet and retrieved a clean towel as she walked back into the kitchen, handing it to him.  “Here.” She said in an even tone, not looking at him, her eyes locked on the floor, refusing to look at him.  Ever since that night she broke her hand, they both kept their distance…well she did anyway.

 

“Thanks.” Mark grunted, holding it to his side.  He pressed his forehead to the cupboard, not believing how lucky he’d been.  He’d gotten slashed which was a relief because if he hadn’t jumped, he would’ve been gored.  Mark finally pulled the towel away and looked down, knowing this wasn’t going to work.  He’d never manage and glanced at Ravati.  Well…she hated him so this should make her day.  “Know how to sew by any chance?”

 

“Excuse me?” She actually looked up at him with those widened midnight blue eyes and looked at the gash on his side.  “That needs stitches, Mark.  You can’t sew that by yourself!  You-” When he just shot her a look, Ravati sighed heavily and nodded.  “Yeah, I know how to do it.” She finally said, raking a hand through her hair with her free hand, and looked down at her broken one.  “How am I going to do it though with this?” She waved her splintered covered hand in his direction.

 

Mark groaned, knowing she was right.  “I can’t drive like this and I’m not about to let you drive either.” Mark said, frowning.  He closed his eyes, thinking, knowing she would need both hands.  One hand to pull the torn flesh back together and held it while sewing, which is what he couldn’t do himself.  Mark finally shrugged and folded the towel into a neat square, holding it against the gash with his elbow, and retrieved a roll of duct tape.

 

“Stop it, Mark.” Ravati ordered, taking the duct tape away from him along with the towel and examined the wound. 

 

She sighed heavily and turned around, ripping the splinter off, and threw it to the floor as she winced.  Some of the smaller bones were still broken, but she could handle it as she looked up at him.  She seen the look of disbelief in his eyes and held her hand up, shaking her head, telling him silently not to argue with her.  She retrieved the sewing kit and sterilized the needle with Jack and peroxide before getting started as she sat him down in a chair.  “Hold still.” She ordered, getting on her knees before him, and licked her lips before beginning the task at hand.

 

Mark flinched, but didn’t make a sound, his breathing even as she sewed him up.  The Jack stung like a bitch, especially since he’d already sterilized it once, but then again, he deserved it after all the times he had done it to her.  “Fuck…” He hissed, unable to refrain when the thread knotted and she gave it an impatient tug.  Mark hung his head, hair hiding his face, which had gone pale.  “You’ve done this before.” It wasn’t a question.

 

“Yeah, I have.” She responded simply, keeping her focus, and kept threading the needle in the skin, tightening the gash together, holding it in place, and finally finished as she tore off the rest of the string with her teeth.  “Don’t move.” She ordered and retrieved the first aid kit from the shelf, opening it up and seen there was plenty of gauze in it.  She straddled his lap and opened it up, tearing it with her teeth, and started wrapping the roll around his muscular frame, not believing the size of this man.  “This will keep the wound from getting infected, especially if the threads don’t hold in place.” She explained simply, her tone even along with her voice.

 

“The way you kept tightening it, I’d be damned surprised if the thread didn’t somehow bond with my skin.” Mark replied, his voice low, eyes down watching her tiny hands.  He groaned softly, shaking his head before looking around, needing to distract himself.  “House looks great, Vati…” He winced again.  “How’s yer hand feelin’?”

 

“It’s healing.” She replied in a monotone voice and kept wrapping the gauze around his body, knowing this was going to take several times to get it done.  She didn’t care what had caused this, but she wasn’t about to sit back and watch him hurt himself when she couldn’t do the same thing.  His pain was her pain, though Ravati would never admit it as she kept working, her arms going at a steady pace.

 

Mark felt a little uncomfortable just sitting there, with her straddling his lap, and neither of them talking.  He knew she wasn’t interested in conversation, but at the moment, he could use the distraction.  “Sold a nasty son of a bitch of a bull.  New owners came to pick his ass up today so had to wrangle him in.” He explained.  “Bein’ the lumberin’ mountain I am, I didn’t move fast enough when the son of a bitch charged.” He laughed softly at himself.

 

“Smooth.” She replied, blinking a little, and kept working, her hands going a little faster as she sighed, finishing up the first roll.  She groaned, realizing something, and unwrapped him, finally grabbing the Neosporin, and applied it to the wound, sighing when he winced.  She rubbed it in as gently as she could before starting the wrap again, not believing what an idiot she’d been to forget that part.  She was actually relieved to know Mark hadn’t been trampled to death by the bull, but hated how she had to treat him.  ‘He’s done it for you, just do it for him.’ She thought, knowing she owed him this, and kept wrapping.

 

Mark hadn’t been happy to find out he had to sit there and suffer some more under his wench’s hands, knowing he was a big man so it was obviously going to take her some time.  “Smooth ain’t the word I’d be usin’.  More like damned fool.” He said softly, finally catching her hands in his when she’d finished, being gentle because of her broken hand.  “Thank you, Vati.”

 

“Welcome.” She muttered and slid off of his lap, slipping her hands out of his, and raked her good hand through her hair as she sighed deeply.  “You’re not going to be able to work for a few days until that threading hardens.” She informed him in that same monotone voice, her eyes once again glued to the floor, knowing he wouldn’t want to see her ‘mask’ she wore.  She was just a punk kid in his eyes and it wouldn’t change because she refused to change herself.

 

“I know that.” Mark murmured, knowing this meant they’d be seeing a lot more of each other over the next few days.  He normally spent from sun up to sun down outside while she cleaned the already spotless house.  Mark stood up carefully, wincing when he actually pulled his side.  “Oh damn…” He grunted, bracing one hand on the table.  He didn’t even look at the stairs, not about to even think it, and slowly made his way to the living room, carefully positioning himself on the couch.

 

Ravati sighed heavily as she walked over and grabbed a pillow, putting it under his head, and then sat on the edge of the couch as she untied his boots, sliding them off.  She didn’t look at him as she did this, her hair hiding her mask.  “I’m going to make you some soup.  What kind do you want?” She quietly asked, standing up, and was already walking into the kitchen, unable to hear him from the living room as she searched through the cabinets.

 

Mark arched an eyebrow, wondering what this was about, briefly speculating if she was going to try to poison him.  He wouldn’t put it past her.  He’d made her life a living Hell.  Then again, at the same time, he wasn’t hungry so at the moment, it wasn’t a problem.  “No thanks, darlin’.  I’m not hungry.” He said softly.  “Why don’t ya grab yerself somethin’ though?”

 

“I’m not hungry.” She simply responded and walked out of the kitchen, leaning against the doorway, her head lowered, and sighed.  “If there’s nothing else you need from me, I’m going to head upstairs for a shower and bed.” She quietly said, no emotion in her voice, and started up them, needing to get rid of the disgusting feeling of that cleaning scrub and water off of her.  Hades had bumped the bucket and splattered her with it earlier.

 

Mark watched her go before raking a hand through his hair, shifting to a more comfortable position, and instantly regretted it.  He groaned, grabbing a pillow and buried his face in it, not believing how damned bad that hurt.  It hurt worse now that it was stitched up then when it had happened.  “Ah Christ…” He muttered, glancing towards the stairs, and sighed deeply, his mind suddenly wandering to the woman up there.

 

Ravati stripped out of her clothes in the bathroom, since her door was still off the hinges, and stepped inside.  She winced at her hand, but it wasn’t that bad, so she knew the bones were healing within it.  She finished up, washing her hair and body before stepping out, wrapping a towel around her body, and rung her hair out.  She walked over to the sink and brushed her hair and teeth before heading out.  She looked at her doorway, seeing Hades whining, and knew Mark was in trouble.  “I’ll be down there in a sec.” She whispered to the dog, which just nodded his head once, and trotted off as she changed.  She wore a pair of silk red pajama pants with a black tank top on that was spaghetti strapped.  She then wrapped her hand up in medical tape, knowing that would hold the bones in place, and headed downstairs, her hair pooling down her back in damp waves.  She seen he was in pain and immediately got the aspirin, handing him two pills with a glass of water a few seconds later, being silent.  Her mask was washed off since she was getting ready for bed.

 

Mark stared at the aspirin, hating to take anything unless he really needed it, but when she nudged the water in his hand, he sighed and popped them in his mouth, sipping the water.  The second she turned away, he spat them out.  He’d just deal with the pain, preferring a stiff shot for the pain then the aspirin.  “Thank you, darlin’.” He said softly, studying her face.  She looked so damned beautiful when she was natural.  He just wished she could see it as well.

 

“Welcome.” She muttered and took the glass from him, setting it on the counter, her hair framing her face, and flowing down her back as it quickly began drying.  She ran the water, pouring the soap in, and swished it around before starting to do the dishes.  Another one of her chores that was on the list.  She was exhausted after scrubbing the floors, but her body wasn’t sore anymore like it had been before.  It was toughening on her and she had a wonderful tan going all over her arms and face, chest, anywhere her clothes didn’t cover was tanned a nice gold.

 

Mark frowned, hearing what she was doing, and shook his head.  “Hades, fetch.” He ordered in a soft murmur.  Hades trotted out to the kitchen and gently tugged on her pajama pants, pulling her away from the sink and into the living room.  “Don’t worry 'bout’em, Vati.  If yer tired, and ya look it, why don’t ya have a lie down?”

 

“No, I’m going to do them so they don’t fucking pile up on me.” She explained, her voice carrying an edge, and swatted the dog from her pants.  “Don’t Hades, these are my silk pants and I don’t want your slobber on them.” She crossed her arms in front of her chest, and stared over at Mark intently.  “Can I get back to doing my chores or do you need something else, warden?” She asked impatiently.

 

“Yeah convict…I-” Mark stopped himself, shaking his head in disappointment.  “Never mind, go do yer chores.” He muttered, closing his eyes.  He could be as nice to as he wanted, as nice as possible, and she’d still throw it back in his face.  Hades whined, nudging Ravati towards the couch with his nose.

 

Groaning in frustration, Ravati walked over to the couch and stared down at Hades with a glare.  “What?  What do you want from me, mutt?” She raked a hand through her hair, her other one taped up heavily, and shook her head.  “What the fuck am I talking to you for?” She turned her attention to Mark.  “Your dog won’t leave me alone.  He keeps nudging me in here for some reason.” She sounded both annoyed and confused and gasped when the dog nudged her to land on top of Mark.  “Oh shit!”

 

Mark cursed, catching her automatically.  He buried his face against her, fighting back the pain that crashed over him.  “Christ almighty…HADES!”  Looking like he was grinning, Hades bolted, leaving them there alone.  “Vati, I’m sorry, don’t know what got into him…” Mark muttered through clench teeth, trying to get rid of the pain.

 

“Christ, are you okay?” She exclaimed, knowing she landed right on his side, and cringed when he started making those guttural sounds from his throat.  Ravati sighed heavily as she shook her head, trying to move, and winced when her head began throbbing.  “God, we’re all busted up.  I don’t know what’s gotten into that mutt either.” She grunted, her legs right between his.

 

“He’s a pain in my ass.” Mark muttered, slowly wrapping an arm around her waist, holding her still.  “Mind not movin’?  Yer killin’ me here, Vati.” He said, finally opening his eyes to look at her.  “What’s wrong?  Yer hand?” He groaned more.

 

“What the fuck do you want me to do?  Lay on you for the rest of the night?” She demanded, her eyes widened, and winced when he hissed out in pain.  She groaned, knowing she had no choice, and relaxed on top of him, her head on his chest.  Her hands were on his shoulders as she sighed heavily.  ‘Damn dog!’ She thought angrily, wanting to rip Hades apart for this.

 

“Am I really that damned bad?  Look at it this way, yer my blanket.  We’ll tack it onto yer list of chores.” Mark joked, trying to keep the pain from his voice.  “Just lay still fer awhile.  Let me get halfway out or somethin’ then ya can run.  I don’t want you to suffer my presence any more than ya have too.” He sounded weary, his voice tinged with something akin to sadness.

 

“No, you’re not that bad.” She whispered softly and closed her eyes, feeling a twinge of sadness enter her and sighed heavily.

 

Chapter 16

 

She’d treated him badly over the past three weeks and Ravati knew it, but he’d thrown it right back at her.  She scooted up a little further, burying her face in his neck, and allowed the silent tears to slide down her cheeks.  She was broken and knew the only person who could fix her was Mark.  In truth, Ravati felt disgusted with herself putting that dark shit on her eyes, knowing it was really her mask to hide from the outside world.  Her heart clenched painfully in her chest at the thought of him thinking of her as nothing more than a punk kid and wanted to run away from him right now, but she couldn’t.  She didn’t want to hurt him anymore than what she already had.

 

Mark sighed inwardly, wondering if another breakdown followed by a total shift in attitude was coming.  Not sure if he could really deal with that again.  He felt her tears and slowly, carefully wrapped his arms around her, his fingers gently trailing up and down her back.  “Darlin’, what’s wrong?  I didn’t mean to make ya cry.” He murmured, sounding saddened.

 

“Why do you want to change me so badly, Mark?” She finally whispered out, the pain evident in her voice as her walls began breaking down, crumbling.  “I know I’m just some punk kid to you so why do you care what I look like?  Why do you want to change me?” She had to know the answer to these questions and didn’t even bother moving to wipe her tears away from her eyes.

 

“Yer not a punk kid to me, Vati.  Yer a woman…” Mark assured her, she was all woman, he already knew that.  “I’m not tryin’ to change you.  I’m just tryin’ to bring the real you out, darlin’.  That makeup, yer attitude, and outlook on life…I don’t honestly think that’s you.  The woman here, now, the way you are.  Yer soft, natural, I’ve seen ya smile.  Laugh, drop the mask for seconds at a time, that’s who ya are, Vati, you just need to see that…Like I do.”

 

“I hate it.” She admitted openly, sniffling a little, but never moved, not wanting to hurt him, being cautious of his injury.  “I hate wearing that shit.  I did it because I was so confused about what was happening.  Nobody, not even my uncle, has shown me what you have in the past six weeks, good and bad.  I don’t know why I…act the way I do.  I guess I was scared to open up and let you in because I know after this summer is over with, I’ll lose you.  I guess that’s the story of my life though, huh?” She laughed bitterly and wiped her tears away from her eyes carefully.  “I get close to someone and then I lose them.” She started crying harder, squeezing her eyes tightly shut.

 

Mark knew she was making a referral about her parents, maybe even her friends, and felt his heart break for her.  “Darlin’, yer not about to lose me.” He assured her, moving a hand to gingerly touch the back of her head, staring down at her.  “I’m not goin’ anywhere, even after the summer is over.  I’m goin’ to be right here for ya, Vati.  I promise, darlin’.”

 

“That’s a big promise to keep, Mark…” She whispered, feeling more tears sliding down her cheeks, and landed on his neck and collarbone as she snuggled further into him.  She’d been promised a lot of things in her life, only to have them broken, so she didn’t want to put her whole heart into what he just said.

 

“I generally keep my promises, darlin’.” Mark whispered back.  “I can’t promise ya somethin’ ain’t goin’ to happen to me, cause nobody can ever promise that.  But I CAN promise that as long as I’m kickin’ and breathin’, I’ll be here for ya, no matter what.”

 

“I need you, Mark.” She softly said, no edge or sassiness in her voice, just genuine hurt and desperation.  “I want to stop being broken.” She started crying harder, her entire body trembling against him, and buried her face in his chest, her walls finally crumbling down around her heart that she’d put up.

 

Mark stroked her back gently, slowly so he wouldn’t aggravate his side.  The first major hurdle had just been jumped.  “You’re already on the mend, darlin’…” He murmured, his heart breaking when he felt her trembling.  “It’ll take time…time and patience, but yer not goin’ to be alone, Vati.  I’ll be with you every step of the way.”

 

“Nobody understands me the way you do.” She whispered, running her hand up and down his arm as she closed her eyes, taking a few deep breaths to calm herself down, and sighed shakily.  “I’m sorry for the way I’ve been acting lately.  I deserved everything I got.  I was such a bitch to you.” She coughed a little and snuggled further into him.  “Thank you for caring so much and not giving up on me.” She whispered near his ear as close as she could get.

 

Mark didn’t deny it.  She did deserve everything he’d given her.  Though, he could have been less harsh on her about it.  “These past few weeks has been understandable.  I treated you worse than a criminal.  They have some rights and I didn’t even acknowledge yers.” He admitted, resting his head against hers.

 

“I deserved it.  I treated you badly and this is your house.  I’m sorry, Mark.  I’m so sorry.” She whispered in apology, crying harder, and slowly lifted herself up, scooting her body up on him, making sure not to hurt him, and settled down again as she sighed in contentment.  “You should try lying down on your side facing me so that way your side has less pressure on it.” She softly advised and began getting up.

 

Mark gently moved her, rolling himself at the same time, wincing slightly, but relaxing when he felt everything was good.  Afraid he might’ve ripped the stitches though he had a feeling she’d done them good and tight.  “Quit apologizin’, we were both wrong.” He said, draping an arm over her waist.

 

Ravati smiled softly and nodded as she turned her head and kissed his lips before turning back around.  Entwining their fingers together and pressed them over her heart as she yawned loudly. “Night Mark.” She whispered, snuggling her body further into him and sighed in contentment as she allowed sleep to claim her tired and exhausted body.

 

Mark exhaled the breath he’d been holding, feeling his throbbing side, and focused on the pain, willing it to subside until it was nothing then a dull ache.  He stared down at Ravati, lowering his head to kiss her gently.  “G’night darlin’.”

 

~!~

 

A week had passed since Ravati opened up to Mark and they’d gotten along famously.  She smiled as she looked in the mirror, not even wearing the makeup, having thrown it away, except her black eyeliner.  She was wearing a pair of blue jean shorts with a red tank top, and her hair was down to her waist.  Her hand was healed for the most part, still felt a little stinging every now and then, but other than that, she was never better.  Mark was healed too, having stayed off his feet for four days straight until he couldn’t take it anymore.  Ravati protested him to do so, but Mark promised her that everything would be fine.  She slipped her white tennis shoes on and bounced out of the room closing her door behind her.  Yes, Mark had put it back on for her after she opened up to him.

 

Mark was downstairs, enjoying the nice light breeze, the doors and windows tossed open.  He had just thrown on a pair of cut off denim shorts.  He was examining his side, a mug of his coffee on the counter before him, and a glass of orange juice on the table for Ravati when she came down.  He shook his head, he was going to have a lovely scar.  He smirked, served him right for messing with an angry bull.  “Mornin’ darlin’.” He greeted when he seen her, smiling softly.  “Yer lookin’ gorgeous.”

 

“Thank you.  You’re not looking so bad yourself, handsome.” She greeted cheerfully, her midnight blue eyes sparkling, and grinned when she seen her orange juice set out for her.  She walked over and kissed his cheek before looking down at his side, nodding her approval.  “That’s lookin’ much better.” She commented softly and picked up her orange juice, taking a sip of it, and sighed.  “Such a beautiful day out.”

 

“Yeah it is.” Mark agreed fully.  “Feel like goin’ fer a ride today?  I’ve been itchin’ to get my motorcycle all summer and ride, but things have been kinda hectic.  You know how to ride?”

 

“I’ve never drove a motorcycle, but I’ve rode one before, ya know, in the back.” She smiled and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, taking another sip of her orange juice, and frowned when she suddenly looked at his gash.  “Are ya sure you should be going out riding with that still healing?” It was healed for the most part, but there was still some left to go.

 

Mark arched an eyebrow, looking devious.  “I’ll be alright, darlin’…cause yer gonna drive.  No time like the present to learn.” He smirked at the look on her face.  “Afraid of a Harley?  I promise it won’t bite ya.”

 

“B-But I don’t have a license for it!” She protested, fear clearly shining in her eyes, and bit her bottom lip as she downed the rest of her orange juice.  “Can’t I just ride behind you, Mark?” She asked, scared at the thought of driving a motorcycle.  “I mean, I don’t have the cleanest record and if I get caught…”

 

“Darlin’, anyone who sees me ain’t bout to pull us over, come on…” He arched another eyebrow at her.  “Tell ya what.  How bout we stick to the yard and you can learn how to do it out in the meadow?  This way, we’ll avoid yer dirty record.” He was teasing her.

 

“You’re not gonna let me get out of this are you?” She groaned when he shook his head and cracked her knuckles, wincing a little at her hand, which was still sore, but it was healed.  “Alright, lead the way, old man.” She teased and giggled when he growled at her as she darted out the sliding glass door.

 

Mark followed a bit slower, shaking his head.  “C’mon ya little wench.” He growled, acting all gruff though they both knew it was an act.  He led the way to the garage, grabbing the bottom of the door, and slid it up, groaning.  “Remind me to steer clear of Big Macs.” He joked, stepping back to let her see his Harley.

 

“Will do.” She replied teasingly and felt her eyes bug out of her head as she shook her head.  “Hell no!  No, I’m not doing it!  No way, do you want me to die?!” She exclaimed, fear entering her voice and eyes and shook her head.  “Mark, can’t we do something else?” She was chewing on her thumbnail and sighed heavily when he just gave her a reassuring smile.

 

Mark straddled the Harley expertly, not minding the twinge in his side.  “Come on, get on.” He waited until she was behind him, her arms going around his waist before revving the motorcycle and shooting out of the garage, turning down the lane toward the meadow.  Mark winced when her grip tightened, knowing he’d probably just startled her and came to a halt, turning dirt as he did.  “Now, yer turn.”

 

“Can’t we talk about this?” She pleaded with him once more and grumbled when he kept her on the bike.  She swallowed hard, and put both of her hands on the throttles, taking a few deep breaths to calm down, and looked up into his green eyes, showing him just how terrified she was at the moment.

 

Mark was sitting behind her now, his body pressed against hers, and reached out to help her steer, his arms against hers.  He told her what to do, laughing when they shot off only for her to break almost instantly, putting his feet down.  “Whoa darlin’!  Two wheels here so careful!” He chuckled.  “Try again, Vati.”

 

“I don’t know how to drive one of these things!” She argued and laughed with him when he began chuckling.  “This is not funny, Mark.” She tried not to laugh as she revved it up and jumped, not expecting the engine to roar that loud, and pressed her hand to her heart.  “I think I just had a heart attack…”

 

“Yer doin’ fine.  There ain’t nothin’ to crash against out here unless ya manage to make it all the way to the woods.” He gestured way off and started over again.  This time explaining to her what she was doing and showing her, gulping when she took off again.  Waiting for that jerk to follow from her hitting the brakes.  Mark opened one eye and exhaled with a sigh of relief when she didn’t.

 

Ravati had a bright smile on her face as she started driving the motorcycle, steering it, and squealed in pure exhilaration.  “This is so much fun!” She called out over the engine, feeling the wind flowing through her long black hair, which was down, and smiled when Mark’s arms wrapped around her.  She snuggled back against him as she kept her eyes peeled ahead of her, but that didn’t stop her body from melting into his.

 

Mark smiled when he felt her melt against him, the smile broadening when he seen she was still paying attention to what she was doing.  He was sorely tempted to test that, but didn’t.  Instead, he squeezed her gently against him.  He heard her laughing happily and chuckled, a deep rumble from his chest.  “Havin’ fun?”

 

She nodded, that smile never leaving her face and sighed peacefully.  “I’ve never felt this…exhilarated before!” She called back to him, still keeping her eyes focused on the meadow, and steered the bike again, leaning further back against him.  She wondered what it would be like to ride in the back of him, but didn’t want to find out yet.  She was having too much fun learning how to ride a motorcycle at the moment.

 

Mark pointed to a wide trail through the woods, frowning when she approached it then rolled to a halt.  “What’s wrong, darlin’?  If yer worried 'bout them trees, just go slow.  There ain't that many curves so…” He rubbed her shoulders gently, encouraging her to continue.

 

“You really trust me to go on the trail?” She asked, looking back at him, a hesitant smile playing on her lips.  The last thing she wanted to do was crash his motorcycle and swallowed hard at the thought of it happening.

 

“I trust ya to do yer best.” Mark replied, kissing the top of her head.  “If yer worried 'bout the bike, don’t be.  It’s insured and accidents happen though I’m sure you’ll do fine.” Mark moved so his face was pressed against hers.  “If you really don’t wanna do this Vati, I’m not goin’ to force ya.”

 

Biting her bottom lip, Ravati looked down and then at the trail before revving the engine of the bike and nodded.  “I’m gonna do it.  I can’t fear it.  There’s nothing to fear, but fear itself and as long as you’re with me, I can conquer anything.” She stated with a confident smile and slowly began going down the trail, nature surrounding them, and a wave of peace washed over her.

 

Mark relaxed again, going to point out a hole in the trail, guessing something had dug it up, and grinned when she avoided it before he could say anything.  She was a natural.  Mark enjoyed the ride.  Enjoyed being out in the woods.  With her for company and gently stroked her stomach with the palms of his hands while she drove down the trail on his motorcycle.

 

Ravati smiled as she leaned further against him, enjoying the contact of his warm hands against her stomach as she rode, avoiding holes and even a log that was sticking out.  She loved riding the motorcycle and knew she’d have to get herself a bike one day.  She grinned at the thought, knowing it could happen, and finally arrived back at the meadow.  She went through the entire trail and came out an opposite side as she sighed, a contented, relaxed smile on her face as she leaned forward and then back against Mark, stretching her back a little.  “That was absolutely amazing…” She softly said, never having a feeling quite like it before.

 

Mark nodded, moving his hands down to her outer thighs, rubbing them gently.  “Glad you enjoyed it.  You did great out there.  Maybe tomorrow or somethin’ we’ll go out on the road, how’d that be?”

 

“Alright, that sounds good.” She softly said with a smile and finally stopped the motorcycle, putting the kickstand out, and leaned against Mark as her hair flowed over her shoulders and down her back.  “It’s so peaceful out here.  I haven’t felt this way in a long time.” She gently admitted and closed her eyes when another breeze blew through her black hair.

 

Mark grinned, glad she was relaxed, the change in her very obvious.  “Mmm, how bout we make somethin’ for dinner?  Somethin’ that don’t require the oven, relax for an hour or so, then when the sun starts goin’ down build a bonfire?” He suggested thoughtfully.

 

“That sounds wonderful.” She whispered softly, liking that idea a lot, and started the bike back up again as she smirked back at him, her midnight blue eyes glittering in the sun.  “Hold on, old man.” She giggled and proceeded to drive back to the garage.

 

Chapter 17

 

Mark waited until they were both on their feet before gently pulling her against him.  “Old man huh?” He growled threateningly, his green eyes shining with amusement though, trying not to grin when she nodded.  “Listen here woman…” He groaned when she cocked her head slightly, her body language enough to tell him she was being sarcastic with him.  “Yer such a wench, Vati.”

 

Ravati giggled softly as she raised an eyebrow up at him curiously.  “Well damn if I’m such a wench now, then what will you think of me when I do this…” She then pulled his face down and gave him the most heart stopping, passionate, soul searing, lip burning kiss he’d ever experienced in his life before finally pulling back and ventured inside the house, her laughter flowing in the air behind her.

 

Mark shook his head, trying to clear the fog that entered his brain, blinking.  He took off after her, catching her in the kitchen.  “Now yer a damned wench.” He murmured, hands around her waist.  He lifted her up and set her on the counter, bending down to kiss her passionately, coaxing her mouth open and tasted her, his hand skimming her sides.  When he felt her arms go around his neck, he gently caught them.  “Wench.” He murmured, kissing her hands before winking at her and walking into the living room.

 

 

“Tease!” She hissed back at him and hopped off the counter, stumbling a little, and shook herself mentally.  The kiss she’d gave him knocked her for a loop, but that one just doubled it as she blinked several times.  She finally managed to make her way into the living room and smirked as she leaned in the doorway, raising a curious eyebrow up at him.  “What are you doing?”

 

Mark looked up from his spot on the floor where he was doing pushups.  “What does it look like?  Focusin’ my attention on somethin’ that don’t drive me crazy.” He answered in a joke, gesturing for her to come closer.  When she did, he grabbed her leg, moving her so she was straddling him, and pulled her down.  He grinned when he felt her weight on his back and resumed his pushups, his muscles flexing against her.

 

“You, sir, are rotten and evil.” Ravati stated and giggled when he started doing pushups with her on his back, shaking her head, and smirked wickedly.  She bent down and began trailing kisses down his back from the nape of his neck all the way down to where her crotch was.  Being flexible had its perks.  “Still able to focus, sweetie?” She asked sweetly, a serene smile on her face.

 

Grunting, beads of sweat began forming on his forehead as Mark kept pushing himself up and down.  Though it wasn’t from her weight added to his workout.  It was what she was doing to him.  “Yeah, I’m still pretty focused, darlin’.” He drawled out, wondering just how flexible she was.

 

Ravati laid out flat on his back, her legs bent so her feet were in the air, and began trailing her hands up his sides, further into his chest, and began moving them up and down.  Caressing him.  Feeling his smooth flesh beneath her fingertips.  She loved how his muscles rippled beneath her touch and enjoyed driving him up the wall.  “Still focused, old man?” She teasingly asked, never stopping her administrations.

 

Mark groaned inwardly, knowing if she didn’t knock that off, he was going to be focused alright.  Focused on making passionate love to her right on the living room floor.  “Keep it up with that ol’ man shit, woman and see what happens.” He growled playfully, the muscles in his arms bulging as he dropped down again.

 

Ravati giggled softly as she began kissing the nape of his neck, moving his hair to the side, and moved her hands further down his chest, rubbing his stomach in gentle, slow circles.  Barely brushing her fingertips against his wound that was on his side, not wanting to hurt him.  She loved this contact.  They’d fallen asleep together and woke up in each other’s arms, but never went all the way.  Yet.

 

Mark groaned again, this time out loud, and dropped to the floor, rolling over so he was lying on his back, her straddling his waist.  “I surrender, darlin’.  You have officially distracted me.” He said, capturing her hands in his, raising them to his sensual mouth to gently kiss each of her fingertips.

 

Her midnight blue eyes glistened down at him as she leaned down and kissed his lips softly.  “I knew I could do it.” She giggled and bit her bottom lip when he began kissing her fingertips again, not believing the incredible sensations coursing throughout her body at the time.  “What are you…planning to make for…dinner?” She breathed out, her heart rate quickening.

 

At the moment, Mark wasn’t planning on dinner.  He wanted to skip right to dessert.  “Hmmm…what’re ya hungry for?” He asked finally, caressing her thighs with his massive hands.

 

“Mmm something hot and juicy.” She moaned out softly, loving the feeling of her thighs lighting on fire beneath his touch, and felt her eyes darkening as she stared down at him, a smirk forming on the corners of her lips.  “How bout…” She leaned down, pausing briefly, her lips mere inches from his.  “Those delicious, mouthwatering steaks of yours?” She whispered seductively, her hot breath on his mouth, but their lips weren’t touching.

 

Smirking, Mark reached a hand up to pull her head down, smashing their lips together.  He kissed her until she was breathless.  “Somethin’ hot and juicy comin’ up, darlin’.” He replied, winking at her before sitting up, her still on his lap.  “Though if yer really hungry, yer gonna have to move.” He smirked again, reaching out to brush his finger against her swollen lower lip.

 

Ravati smiled softly as she nodded, kissing his lips one last time before standing up from the floor, her ass swaying in his direction, giggling wickedly on her way to the kitchen.  They teased and tormented each other throughout making dinner.  Stealing kisses.  Just enjoyed each other’s company.  The dinner consisted of Mark’s famous steaks with her baked potatoes and vegetables that dripped in butter.  They brought the food outside, seeing how beautiful it was, and set up a blanket.  Mark lit the torches, keeping the bugs and mosquitoes away before beginning to build the bonfire while Ravati got the plates ready.  She’d slipped into a midnight blue nightgown that had silver lace trimmings and her hair was down, pooling down her back, and brushing against the blanket below. 

 

“Mark, your food is getting cold.” She told him, shaking her head as he tried to get the fire going a bit more.

 

The fire was already going.  Had been all night.  Made worse by her nightgown.  He finally sat down on the blanket, picking at his food a moment before eating, not really all that hungry.  He took his time, watching her, groaning inwardly when he seen her tongue flick out to catch a drop of butter on her lower lip.  This woman was going to be the death of him.  He shook his head, finally setting aside his empty plate and reclined back on his elbows, watching her.  He reached out to take a lock of her silky, black hair, rubbing it between his fingers, and murmured, “Yer gorgeous, Vati.”

 

She was licking A1 sauce from her thumb when she looked down at him, a smile on her lips, and shook her head.  “You’re a crazy man…” She giggled softly before taking a bite of her vegetables and frowned when she seen he hadn’t ate hardly.  “Mark, why aren’t you eating?” She softly asked, concern evident in her voice.  This man NEVER turned down a meal and when he did, he was either sick or something was bothering him.  She’d noticed that over the past almost two months of staying with him.

 

Mark arched an eyebrow.  “Huh?  Oh…just not hungry, darlin’.” He replied, moving his gaze off of the fire and onto her, his emerald eyes a deep green color instead.  He slowly sat up, leaning towards her and gently kissed the corner of her mouth, his tongue darting out to catch the drop of butter from her vegetables.

 

Ravati smiled, her cheeks tingeing red, and bit her bottom lip as she stared into his eyes.  Her breath caught in her throat by the color they took on and immediately looked down at her plate, suddenly not hungry anymore.  She shoved it away before leaning up on her knees and trailed her eyes up and down his muscular chest before her.  She licked her lips and ran her hands up and down it, testing him out.  Wanting to see what he’d do next.

 

Mark’s eyes closed halfway, his muscles flexing under her touch.  He just rested his hands on her waist, his thumb moving against her in slow circles, not wanting to startle her off.  Part of their  problem last time had been he was too demanding.  Too greedy for her.  Instead, he’d just see what she was going to do.  Fight or fly so to speak.

 

Ravati smiled softly as she stood up on the blanket, her bare feet squishing against the soft material, and proceeded to clean the mess up.  She disappeared into the house, putting everything away, and then came back out a few minutes later to join him on the blanket.  “Sorry, but I don’t want food anywhere on my body except in my mouth.” She explained and lowered herself on the blanket on her knees, staring into his eyes, and gently ran her fingertips down his handsome face, a content smile on her lips.

 

“Why not?” He replied devilishly.  “I can think of some foods that’d look scrumptious elsewhere then yer mouth.” He grinned, letting her know he was only playing with her.  Mark caught her hand, squeezing it before pulling her down so she was sitting between his outstretched legs, her back to his chest.

 

“I’m sure you can.” She murmured in response and brought her knees up, crossing her ankles, and sighed as she stared at the fire, leaning her chin on her knees, and ran a hand through her hair absentmindedly.

 

It was amazing how much one person could change another the way Mark had Ravati.  She’d grown a newfound respect for life and wanted to live it to the fullest, but in a non-troublemaking, law-breaking way.  She didn’t want to break laws anymore and drag herself deeper and deeper into the holes she’d created for herself.  She was actually thinking about asking Mark to move in after the summer ended, but that was a long way off, especially with her uncle.  It didn’t matter what Steve thought though because this was her life and her decision and she wanted to be with Mark.  The only question was:  Did he want to be with her?

 

Mark sighed contentedly, resting his head on top of Ravati’s.  “What’s on yer mind, darlin’?” He murmured, moving so his mouth was hovering right over her earlobe.  Curious to know what she was thinking about.

 

Ravati closed her eyes as she sighed and dropped her head forward, laughing a little, and shook it back and forth.  “About what’s going to happen after this summer ends.” She quietly responded, being honest with him, and leaned further against him.  Loving how his warmth always surrounded and comforted her as she ran her fingertips along his arm.  Ravati had never opened up to a person as fast as she did Mark and she didn’t regret it because he was the most understanding man she’d ever met in her life.  He understood her and believed anything she said.  He was perfect in her eyes.  A brute at times when she needed him to be.  Other than that, he was a sweetheart.

 

Mark frowned, wondering if she wanted to leave.  Of course she did.  He’d been a jackass to her for the past two months.  He sighed.  One month left.  “What bout it?” He asked in a low voice, holding her tighter against him, wondering if he’d get life in prison if he kidnapped her.

 

“I don’t want it to end.” She whispered, closing her eyes as the tears built in her eyes, and took a shaky breath as she pressed her hand to her forehead.  “I know it was hard at first, but it’s been wonderful mostly and you’ve been amazing.  I know when it ends I’ll have to leave and that’s what I was thinking about.” Ravati had made a point to speak what was on her mind, for the most part, because she knew Mark would never judge her for what she said.  That’s another thing she loved about him.

 

Mark’s heart skipped a few beats, hearing her say that, and gently turned her so she was straddling his lap, her legs around his waist.  “I don’t want it to end either, darlin’.” He admitted, staring down into her eyes, reaching out to run a finger down the side of her face.  “You…don’t have to leave, Vati.  You could stay on.” He whispered, wanting her with him always.

 

“Y-You want me to stay here?” She asked hesitantly, staring back into his emerald eyes, and smiled tearfully when he nodded his head right away.  She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him softly, their chests pressed together, and cupped his face in her hands as she pulled back after becoming breathless, pressing her forehead to his.  “I never want to leave.  I want this to last forever if it can.” She meant what she said as she leaned into his soft touch when he caressed her face and sighed.

 

“Nothin’ lasts forever, darlin’…but we can sure as Hell give forever a run for it’s money.” He replied, rubbing his nose against hers, stroking her back with his hands, running one up then the other repeatedly.  “So you’ll stay then?  If ya need time to think about it, Vati, I’d understand.” He tried to keep the hope from his voice, wanting nothing more then for her to stay.

 

“That’s the other part I was thinking about.” She admitted, feeling her cheeks tinge red, and lowered her head a little as she laughed shakily.  “I was going to ask you if I could…move in here with you after the summer ended.” She whispered that last part out, raking a hand through her hair, and swallowed nervously, wringing her hands together in front of him, trying to get her mind to stop spinning from that kiss.

 

Mark reached out to place two fingers under her chin, tilting her head up.  “Look at me.” He ordered huskily, staring into her blue eyes when she reluctantly did.  “I’d move ya in tomorrow if that’d make ya happy, darlin’.” He whispered, leaning forward to brush his lips against hers.  “Anythin’ you want…”

 

“Anything I want?” She quietly asked, wanting to clarify what he just said, and smiled widely when he nodded in agreement.  She ran her finger down his chest and back up again as she let out a shaky breath, her midnight blue eyes darkening at the sight of the firelight glowing off his chest.  “Then I want you to make love to me, Mark.” She whispered out, her tone holding reassurance and need.  She needed this man more than anything she’d ever needed in her life.  Jason was completely gone from her mind, no memories coming back to haunt her.  It was the perfect night.  The stars glistening above them.  The fire roaring beside them and it was just the two of them together.

 

Mark was stunned speechless, staring at her for a moment, wondering if she was serious.  He seen the look in her beautiful blue eyes and started to fall into them, reaching out to pull her up against him.  “You sure?” He rumbled huskily, tracing a finger down the side of her face.  When she nodded, Mark bent down and captured her lips in a sweet, tender kiss. 

 

A kiss that promised a million things. 

 

A kiss that was passionate as well as gentle.

 

Chapter 18

 

Ravati instantly wrapped her arms around his neck as he guided her down gently on the blanket, which was very comfortable.  Soft moans escaped her lips as Ravati felt Mark coax her lips open with his tongue and instantly gave him the invitation, gave him the access.  She let out a throaty sigh when he began exploring her mouth, reaching and searching every crevice of her mouth.  Her senses reeled as she ran her hands up and down his shoulders, massaging them gently, and moved lower to his arms.  Loving how they bulged with every movement.  The man was chiseled out of stone like a Greek God and fit the build perfectly, not an ounce of fat on him.

 

Mark broke the kiss only when they both needed to come up for air, licking his lips and inhaled through the nose, staring down at her.  Damn, she was beautiful.  The firelight washed over her, bathing her in warm hues, reflecting off her black hair.  It was enough to take his breath away again.  “Exquisite…” Mark purred, leaning down to kiss the hollow of her throat, moving his fiery kisses across her shoulder.  Gently pulling her arm up, his goatee tickled against her skin as he worked his way up her arm towards her hand.  Finally, he gently held her wrist, kissing her palm before trailing his tongue up to the tip of her index finger, drawing it between his lips and raked his teeth against it before kissing her palm again.  Starting the erotic process all over again.

 

Her midnight blue eyes slowly drifted shut, the feeling of his tongue, lips and teeth mixed with his goatee, brushing against her fingertips, causing Ravati to do a full body shiver.  She sat up on the blanket, her hair pooling down her shoulder and on the blanket below, and opened her eyes.  She wanted to watch him do this as her blue eyes instantly darkened, matching the sky above them.  Her breathing had quickened along with her heart rate and she was finding it hard to think straight.  She let a moan escape her strawberry lips as her head tilted back, her eyes closing once again, just enjoying and feeling the incredible sensations that were coursing through her veins and body at the moment.  It was the truly the most erotic thing Ravati had ever felt and experienced.  Knowing tonight was just the beginning and shivered in anticipation of what Mark had in store for her.

 

Mark chuckled softly, her moans lighting his body on fire.  His blood was molten lava coursing through him.  He trailed kisses back across her collarbone, shoulder and to her other arm, repeating what he just did, groaning with desire.  Just kissing Ravati was threatening to do him in.  He ran his strong, work roughened hands down her sides, feeling her nightgown against his palms, and just under that her satiny skin.  Mark slid down her body, his face brushing against her as he sat on the edge of the blanket, raising one of her delicate ankles up to his face, his green eyes boring into hers.  He firmly kissed the instep of her foot, his fingers massaging just below her toes.

 

Ravati was laying down on the blanket again, her black hair splayed all around her, staring back into his eyes, not able to pull away.  He had the most beautiful eyes on a man she’d ever seen as she sucked in a shaky breath.  Just the intensity was causing her entire body to come alive and moaned as she bit her bottom lip.  His goatee against her skin was sending tremors throughout her.  Her arms were lying prone on the blanket, her fingers splayed as they rested on the satiny fabric below.  Her chest was rising and falling rapidly, loving this man’s hands on any part of her body, including her feet.

 

Mark kissed his way to her ankle, never stopping in rubbing her feet, his fingers brushing against her arch, falling hopelessly in love with her body.  He hadn’t even made it to her other zones yet!  He moved onto her other foot, paying it the same attention he had it’s mate before running a hand up either of her legs, gently urging her to roll over.  When she did, he leaned down, kissing her calves, smiling when he felt her muscles tighten then relax, reaching up to brush his knuckles against her inner thigh.  He kept his hands on the outside of her nightgown, for now just wanting to explore her.  Get to know her body inside and out.

 

A contented sigh escaped her lips as Ravati’s eyes closed, laying prone on her stomach, and moaned as his hands traveled up further.  His strong, muscular hands moved up from her inner thighs to her ass, gently giving it a squeeze before continuing upward.  His knuckles grazed her sides before massaging them gently, methodically, causing her mind to spin out of control.  She purred in pure joy at the things this man was doing to her body as her arms were bent, pressing against the blanket below, and bit her bottom lip when he began traveling those hands across her back.  If Mark didn’t love working outside so much on his farm, she would definitely direct him to be a masseuse as her eyes drifted shut.  The sensations being too wonderful.

 

Mark leaned over her, gently brushing her hair to the side before kissing the nape of her throat, moving slowly to her shoulder blade, raking his teeth against her soft flesh.  Moaning against her skin.  He could easily become addicted to just kissing her body.  Mark ran his thumbs along her spine, smiling when he seen her shiver.  Finally, he trailed the tips of his fingers down to the bottom of her nightgown, bunching it gently in his hands, and slowly pulled it up, his eyes darkening more.  Impossibly so when she arched up her body up, helping him.  Once the nightgown was off, he placed a gentle hand between her shoulder blades, stopping her from rolling over.  He leaned down and starting from the top of her neck, he kissed all the way down her spine, his hands lightly skimming her thighs.  Occasionally running one down her inner thigh and upwards, but always sweeping away before reaching her sex.  He groaned softly because he could feel the heat radiating from her.

 

“Mmm Mark…” She moaned out softly, the administrations he was performing on her body taking her breath away. 

 

She felt his fingers brushing her inner thighs and shivered, not able to suppress them.  It was too overwhelming and intense for her not to.  She moaned again when his hands moved to her bra strap, which was midnight blue, and unclasped it with a flick of his wrist, letting the straps slide from her body and land on her sides.  She shivered again when his goatee brushed against her soft skin, causing tremors to course throughout her body, and wished he would stop teasing her like this.  She licked her dried lips, her mouth becoming dry, and completely melted, her body becoming putty in his hands, and laid there prone.  Clad in her midnight blue matching panties as the moonlight shined down on them.

 

Mark finally let her roll over, seeing the look in her eyes, knowing it was reflected in his own.  He then perused her body, licking his extremely dry lips, taking in her pert, rosy nipples, her tanned and toned abdomen, panty covered sex.  “You are beautiful, Ravati.  Inside and out.” He murmured, meaning it truly.  Her outer beauty was matched and then almost put to shame by her inner beauty.  Mark hovered over her, brushing his lips against her, his hands skimming her bare sides, moving up to cup her breasts, molding them in his hands, rolling her nipples between his thumb and forefingers.

 

Ravati moaned in his mouth, her arms snaking around his neck, pulling him closer to her.  Her world was quickly spiraling out of control as his lips left hers, breathing heavily, and sucked her lower lip into her mouth when she felt his hands massaging her breasts.  Kneading them, she groaned and arched her body into him.  Her hands ran up and down his chest, over his broad, muscular shoulders, and down his rippling back, loving the feeling of his muscles twitching beneath her touch.  She immediately tilted her head up as soon as his lips descended on her neck, nipping and licking her tender flesh while she caressed him.

 

Mark growled low in the back of his throat, feeling her touch on his back, his muscles flexing underneath her.  His mouth left her neck and descended on a rosy nipple, his teeth grazing it before soothing it with his tongue.  Mark moved to her other breast, laving attention there, not about to leave any part of her body neglected.  He reluctantly moved away from her pert breasts, promising himself he’d have to devote an entire weekend to just kissing and exploring her body all over again, and moved so he was resting between her legs.  He nuzzled his face against her panty covered crotch before brushing his knuckles against her, chuckling softly when she jumped.

 

“You alright up there, darlin’?” He asked huskily, his forest green eyes boring into hers.

 

“Y-Yeah, what are you doing?” She breathed out, not trusting her voice at the moment, and had a feeling she knew what was coming. 

 

Her suspicions were confirmed when she felt his huge thumbs hook into the elastic waistband of her panties, sliding them down her tanned legs, and Ravati could already feel herself soaking for him.  She gasped when he began kissing her inner thighs, his goatee causing those indescribable sensations to course throughout her body once more.  Her legs draped over his shoulders as he pulled her closer, bunching the blanket a bit beneath her, but Ravati didn’t mind.  They were miles apart from anyone and she knew nobody would be able to hear the screams that were surely to come out of her mouth with whatever Mark had in mind.

 

Mark inhaled her sweet scent, his tongue, as if on a mind of it’s own, flicking out to taste her and groaned.  One taste of her essence had him instantly addicted.  He ran his hands to her hips, tugging her even closer, his eyes moving up her body to her face, wanting to watch her while he pleasured her.  Pleasured himself.  He lapped up her juices, deciding he could live alone off of this sweet ambrosia, before slowly running the tip of his tongue around her clit, paying the swollen nub attention, his hands holding her still when he felt a quiver rack her body.  Then, he trailed his tongue down her wet slit, parting her folds until he reached her hot, wet hole, dipping his tongue inside of her, curling the tip against her wall before pulling it back out.  Doing this repeatedly, her moans turned him on to unimaginable heights.  Mark groaned, finally thrusting his tongue inside of her, her sweet juices coating his tongue.

 

Her soft cries echoed throughout the night as the fire roared beside them, causing her body to take on a golden glow.  Ravati gripped the blanket beneath her, nails digging into the fabric, not waning to hurt Mark by pulling on his beautiful auburn mane.  She loved his hair too much, but with how much teasing he was doing at the moment, she would for sure rip it out of his skull.  “Mark!” She cried out in pleasure, her walls instantly wrapping around his tongue as soon as it thrusted inside of her.  They were like a vise as she writhed beneath him, the feeling pouring over her body and causing her temperature to rise to new heights along with the ecstasy she was feeling at the moment.  “Harder!” She commanded breathlessly when he kept thrusting at a slow, methodic pace, teasing and tormenting her to no end.  “Mark please!”

 

Mark wasn’t one to disappoint a lady and especially not this angel underneath him.  He propelled his tongue in and out of her, brushing the tip of his tongue against her G-spot.  He moved a hand over the smooth flesh of her hip, rubbing her clit with a gentle, but steady finger, feeling her oncoming orgasm building to even greater heights.  Wanting to feel her cum.  Wanting to taste her essence.  He heard her crying out his name again.  That one word the sweetest music he had ever heard and increased the tempo even more, encouraging to let go.

 

Ravati couldn’t take it anymore, the feeling of his tongue brushing against her sweet spot repeatedly and the little hair on his goatee on her pussy lips every time he’d thrust inside of her, too much for her to take.  She buried her hands in his silk tresses, gripping them a little, trying not to hurt him, and finally arched her body as she came hard.  Her hot juices poured from her body as she screamed out his name, knowing nobody could hear her, and collapsed back on the blanket.  Perspiration coated her body as it glistened in the firelight as she stared up at the sky, the stars glittering like her midnight blue eyes, and placed a hand over her thudding heart.  Trying to calm it down along with her sporadic breathing.

 

Mark licked her clean, catching her juices on his tongue, not wasting one precious drop.  He planted a firm kiss against her clit before moving up so he was hovering over her, bracing his weight on his elbows and gazed down at her flushed face.  He leaned down and brushed his lips against hers as he murmured against them in a low rumble, “You taste delicious, darlin’.”

 

Ravati could only blink up at him, her breathing still too heavy to speak, and moaned out breathlessly when he brushed his lips against hers.  She ran her hand down her face and sucked in a deep breath, slowly exhaling it out, and laughed softly at the shivers that coursed throughout her body.  Her midnight blue eyes never left his as she watched him shed his clothing, which was his jeans, and couldn’t believe how huge he was.  She was starting to wonder if he could even fit inside her tiny frame.  They were damn well going to try as she pulled him down to her and kissed him softly before pulling back to press her forehead against his.

 

“Take me, Mark.  I’m all yours forever…” She breathed out pleadingly, wanting him to end the fire that was threatening to engulf her body whole.

 

Mark was wondering himself if he’d be able to take her without splitting her in two.  She was so small.  He rubbed the head of his cock up and down her swollen pussy lips, teasing her clit before positioning himself.  He wrapped her arms around his neck, an arm moving underneath her to pull her against his chest.  Feathering kisses over her face.  Slowly, Mark pushed the tip of his cock inside of her, hissing as he stopped, feeling how tight she was around him, and he wasn’t even that far in, sweat beading on his forehead. 

 

“Christ Vati, yer so damned tight…” He grunted out, his breath catching in his throat.

 

Ravati winced a little as she took slow breaths, knowing that was the only way to get through this without completely tensing.  If she tensed, it would hurt more, especially with Mark’s size.  She tightened the grip around his neck more, entangling her fingers in his hair, and felt him slowly inching himself inside of her.  Felt her walls expanding around his throbbing cock to accommodate his size.  A burning sensation began coursing throughout her body, including her walls, but that was from them stretching around him to the limits. 

 

When it finally subsided a few minutes later, Ravati finally moved her hips, the feeling of him inside of her being almost more than she could take, and gasped out, “Move!  Move please!  Take me!” She was pleading, begging him as she lowered her body on the blanket, smiling when he followed suit, and bent her knees up, her feet planting firmly on the blanket, and groaned when he went deeper with her new position.  “Christ…”

 

“Damn…” Mark choked out, his breath ragged as he slowly slid into her.  He withdrew until just the tip remained before gently plunging back inside of her, his hands caressing her body.  One second on her arms, the next her calves, fingertips dancing over her smooth skin.  He set up a steady, rhythmic pace, not wanting to hurt her, letting her body adjust to him.  He gritted his teeth, slinging his hair back over his shoulders, staring down into her beautiful dark with passion blue eyes.  When she urged him on, he rode her harder.  Though, he didn’t break rhythm, just added more to the dance.

 

“Yes, oh yes!!” She cried out in pleasure as he thrusted in and out of her harder, but kept the same pace.  She didn’t mind as long as he kept driving it home inside of her at this rate.  Sweat was pouring off of her body due to the mixture of the summer’s humidity and what was transpiring between her and Mark.  It was almost as if the heat was heightening their desires for each other that much further.  Ravati ran her hands up and down his chest, his shoulders, and down his arms.  She trailed them back up, exploring with her hands while he took her, raking her nails lightly down and up his back, encouraging him to quicken the pace of this sultry dance.  “Mark…” She moaned out his name, sounding like a beautiful angel was singing it, and drifted her eyes closed as she sat up.  He kneeled back on his heels, never sliding out of her, and wrapped her legs around his waist as she arched her body back, her hand planted firmly on the blanket.  Her hair trickled down her back and over her shoulders as she held onto his shoulder for dear life with her free hand.

 

Mark bent down to kiss her throat, sucking and nipping her tender flesh, growling huskily from the back of his throat.  The different position making her feel even more tighter around him, which was almost impossible.  He snapped his hips up into her, pounding her into sweet oblivion, her cries and gasps of pleasure telling him he was literally hitting the right spot.  He tipped her back a little, bracing her on his arm, and moved his fire ridden kisses down her chest, tugging gently at a rosy nipple with his teeth, inhaling her scent deeply.  Trying to calm himself a little.  Wanting to make her feel everything he was.  Wanting to return the pleasure she was giving him.

 

Ravati could only lean against his arm as his lips and tongue assaulted her body, exploring it even more, and couldn’t believe the incredible sensations flowing throughout her.  She closed her eyes, picturing Jason for just a split second, and trembled, but it faded as she opened her eyes and stared back into Mark’s making her smile.  She was overcoming her demons as she gripped his arms for dear life, her nails digging in a little, and whipped her head back as she felt something building inside of her.  Her second orgasm.  She finally couldn’t take it anymore and let go.  Let everything pour out of her body as her juices soaked and coated his cock, wrapping tightly around him in a warm, hot cocoon.

 

“Mark!!” She screamed out, her entire body shuddering as another orgasm crashed over her, rolling right into the first one, not giving her time to recover as she dug her nails in even further.  Milking him for everything he was worth and more.

 

The combination of her screaming his name and another orgasm washing over her sent Mark over the edge and headfirst into his own orgasm.  He grunted, thrusting one last time, burying his cock deep in her pussy, cumming over and over again, filling her with his seed, splashing against her back wall.  He could feel her walls spasming around his throbbing cock and gritted his teeth, pressing his forehead against hers, breathing erratically, his hips snapping forward again, shooting off a second time.  “Ravati, fuck!” He gasped, coughing a little before burying his face in the crook of her neck, his entire body tingling, shivering.

 

Ravati shrieked out his name when she felt him explode, which ran right into the ending of her second orgasm, and made it just a full blown wave of passion and ecstasy that crashed over her.  She trembled against him as she felt his face bury in her neck, and ran her hand through his hair, trying to calm him down.  They were both breathing so hard, they were wheezing.  That’s how intense and powerful their climaxes had been as Ravati coughed, trying to get her breathing back to normal, and took a few deep breaths, letting them out shakily.  She held onto Mark for dear life, clinging to him, refusing to let him go as her body kept getting wave after wave of tremors.  She wasn’t cold either.

 

Mark rolled onto his back, holding her against him, listening to the crackle of the fire behind them compete with the sounds of his thudding heart.  He ran his fingers through her hair, calming himself down, feeling her shivering on top of him, knowing she wasn’t cold because he was doing the same thing.  They were both recovering from how insanely intense their love making had been.  He inhaled deeply, willing his heart to calm down, not wanting to die just yet, feeling like it would burst out of his chest at any minute.

 

“Are you alright?” He asked in a husky whisper, kissing the top of her head.