Embracing the Devil (The Continuation)
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Rebecca... Once, my heart longed to soar, but he shackled my desires, plucking my dreams like feathers from a wounded bird. Then emerged my rescuer. Through a trail of crimson, he sought me out. Love courses in his veins, a fervent desire to liberate his captive Angel. Yet, how can I take flight anew when my wings lie shattered? Artemy... The battle rages on, a war of love and torment. If he believed he could shatter her and fade into oblivion, he miscalculated. I'll hunt him down, shattering him as he did her. A solemn oath to my Angel guides me. I vowed to grant her flight... I swore to salvage her very soul. And my promises are unbreakable, unwavering as the night.
The journey back home was a whirlwind, a rush of relief after what felt like an agonizing eternity. The weight of impending madness seemed to lift as the wheels sped along the road. Conversation eluded us, the car a silent sanctuary for our thoughts.
In that confined space, my gaze remained fixed solely on Rebecca, my concern etched deep into every stolen glance. Her stillness, her unconsciousness, bore down on me like an unbearable weight. I longed for any sign, any flicker of assurance that she was safe.
Yet, she remained motionless, locked in an unsettling slumber.
My hand reached out to her, a gentle caress intended to coax her back to consciousness, to reassure myself that she was truly here. But her unresponsiveness sent shivers down my spine, a gnawing uncertainty clawing at my peace.
Finally, the car rolled to a halt. Without hesitation, I swung open the door, carrying Rebecca's limp form in my arms. Brayden approached, his intent to help clear in his eyes, yet I walked past him, her fragile form cradled tightly against my chest.
He wouldn't take her from me again. The effort I exerted to hand her over before felt insignificant now. Despite the pain that shot through my leg like fire, I am fine – Rebecca needed me, and I wouldn't let her go.
Her presence was my lifeline, the assurance that she was shielded within my embrace.
Despite the throbbing pain in my injured leg, I pressed on, ascending the stairs with determination. My room's door stood ajar, revealing Nona awaiting our return. As I crossed the threshold, she moved towards me, her eyes filled with empathy and concern.
"Avim has already informed us. I've prepared the tub," her voice held a comforting edge, her focus shifting to Rebecca as she drew nearer. The sight of my beloved Rebecca elicited tears in Nona's eyes, her affection and compassion palpable. "My sweet child," she whispered, a mixture of sorrow and hope intermingling in her voice.
Wyatt's practicality pierced the moment, advising that Rebecca be cleaned before any further examination. I acknowledged his words, moving past him and into the bathroom. The bath awaited, and I settled down, holding Rebecca on my lap.
Nona assisted in removing the tattered remnants of clothing, exposing her fragile form. Delicately, I unwound what was left of the torn dress, my fingers trembling as I worked.
Nona's voice, soft but persistent, urged me to let her handle the task while I dealt with my own injuries. The idea was met with an immediate refusal. There was no space for anyone else in this moment – only I could care for Rebecca, tend to her wounds, offer her safety.
She was mine to protect, mine to care for.
After months of yearning, I finally held her close, an unyielding grip that refused to let go. The pain in my leg seemed secondary to the overwhelming need to keep her within my arms.
"Artemy," Nona's voice carried a mix of understanding and concern, though she respected my resolve.
Standing with careful tenderness, I eased Rebecca into the waiting water, my leg's protest registering as a distant ache. Ignoring the pain, I concentrated on her, the warmth of the bath embracing her chilled form.
Nona knelt beside her, her hands swift and gentle as she washed Rebecca's hair. The water turned murky, a poignant symbol of the trials she had endured. The scent of it invaded my senses, a stark reminder of the horrors she had faced.
My heart ached with a torrent of emotions – regret, guilt, and a fierce protectiveness. The anguish I felt for her plight was overwhelming; I wished desperately that I could undo the pain she had suffered.
Uncertainly, my fingers traced her skin, her body speaking of the ordeal she had endured. The swell of her stomach beneath my touch left me breathless, a mixture of emotions swirling within me.
This was not a scenario I had imagined. Questions multiplied in my mind – how had she survived this? How had she endured?
With trepidation, I reached out, running my fingers lightly over her stomach, the tightness and rigidity unearthing a maelstrom of emotions within me.
"Artemy," Nona's voice held a touch of concern, pulling me from my thoughts.
I shifted my gaze to find Nona's eyes fixed on me, a sense of expectation lingering in her expression. The tinge of sympathy etched on her face caught my attention, yet I averted my eyes and redirected my focus to Rebecca.
Dispensing soap onto my palm, I hastened to cleanse her legs and back, urgency driving my actions. Upon completing the task, I gently lifted Rebecca out of the water, her form dripping with moisture.
In swift motion, Nona drained the soiled water from the tub, creating space for me to carefully place Rebecca back within. My hands resumed their task, meticulously washing away every trace of grime and filth that clung to her skin. Water cascaded over her, rinsing off the last vestiges of soap. Once she was thoroughly cleansed, Nona enveloped Rebecca in a towel, cocooning her still figure.
Drawing in a pained breath, I rose to my feet, gathering Rebecca into my arms once more despite the discomfort in my injured leg. Limping into the bedroom, my eyes met the figures of Wyatt, Brayden, and Avim standing by the bedside.
Brayden's gaze shifted to my wounded leg, his features contorting with frustration. "Wyatt, Artemy's leg needs attention. He's losing too much blood."
"I'm alright," I ground out, easing Rebecca onto the bed. I wrapped the towel more securely around her and pulled the comforter up, sheltering her fragile form.
"Boss, let me tend your wound first," Wyatt proposed, moving closer behind me.
A surge of anger that had been simmering within me erupted. "We don't have the luxury of time for this!" My voice reverberated with frustration.
"You're bleeding out! You can't help Rebecca in this state!" Brayden retorted, his eyes ablaze with fury. I turned my gaze to Wyatt.
"Ensure her safety. I need her to be safe. Mend her," I instructed firmly.
"But, Boss—," Wyatt started.
In a burst of movement, I lunged forward, gripping his collar and lifting him off the ground. "Did you not hear what I just said?"
He swallowed hard, his affirmation coming as a nod. I released him, watching as he straightened his shirt. How could they assume I'd prioritize my own wound over Rebecca's immediate care?
My attention shifted to Brayden, who shook his head in exasperation. "Wyatt, do as he says. He won't listen otherwise. Focus on Rebecca."
Brayden retreated to the bathroom, leaving me facing Rebecca once again. Wyatt positioned himself by her bedside, one knee beside her. His hand lingered on the towel that covered her, hesitating to unveil her form. He met my gaze, his expression thoughtful. "Boss, if I may? With your consent, I need to assess the extent of the damage."
My fists clenched at my sides, torn between my discomfort and the necessity of the situation. The prospect of another man seeing her vulnerable body stirred a storm of conflicting emotions, but I recognized the urgency.
Wyatt awaited my permission, and in that moment, anger wrestled with practicality. Instead of giving in to the urge to lash out, I stood motionless.
A touch on my arm redirected my attention, revealing Brayden holding a towel. "Secure it around your wound. It'll slow down the bleeding for now."
Bending down, I swiftly fastened the makeshift bandage, ensuring it held the bleeding at bay. Satisfied with its placement, I moved to the other side of the bed.
From my peripheral vision, I observed Brayden and Avim exiting the room discreetly, leaving us in solitude. Nona remained by Wyatt's side, her features etched with the same concern as before. While her tears had dried, her face conveyed weariness and sadness.
Lynda's ordeal had already taken its toll, and now Rebecca's plight added another layer of despair. Climbing into bed beside Rebecca, I drew her close, molding my body around hers. For a fleeting moment, I embraced her, imprinting her fresh fragrance into my senses.
A resolute stare was exchanged with Wyatt before a nod of agreement was offered. Nona positioned herself at Rebecca's feet, her hands tightly entwined in her lap. Redirecting my focus to Rebecca, I watched as Wyatt cautiously peeled back the comforter and towel, exposing her delicate form.
An audible inhale escaped him, a furrow forming on his brow as he observed the bruises marring Rebecca's pale skin. I too had been avoiding the sight, dreading the evidence of her suffering.
Deep, purplish bruises adorned her limbs, some faded while others appeared more recent, likely just a few days old. Scrapes marked her knees and elbows, perhaps from the unforgiving ground. The skin bore signs of roughness, a testament to the harshness she had endured.
As my gaze remained fixed on her form, a rush of uneven breaths filled my lungs, their rhythm faltering as I observed her battered body. An ominous hue of deep purple marred the side of her left leg, while an unsightly shade of green began to creep over one of her arms. Evidently, this bruise was a recent addition, perhaps no older than a week.
Further inspection revealed an array of minor cuts tracing patterns across her skin. Her face bore traces of bruising, yet it fared markedly better than the rest of her.
One peculiar detail stood out: her stomach, a canvas untainted by bruises. The expanse from her chest to the curvature of her abdomen displayed an unblemished, pale complexion. It was as if the front of her body had been left inviolate and untouched by the violence.
How Rebecca managed to shield this part of herself in her current state remained a mystery to me. All I knew was that I had found her alive, her breath a fragile t
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