Eli was right, no one touched her. In fact, they avoided her like the plague. Antoine had been killed and his body disposed of, everyone was aware of that fact. Eli had followed through with his threats. Now, the “house rule” was set in stone.
Carly gradually returned to her daily routine and slowly regained her composure. As much as a prisoner could.
Now that the physical threat was gone, what bothered her were the stares of another kind. Specifically, from Eve aka Miss Fashion Week. Carly could discern that every single human being in the building now thought that she was sleeping with Eli. Since she couldn’t go out and say “No, I’m not sleeping with him he just killed a guy because he said he would. He did all of this pro bono”, she just let the rumors continue. This resulted in Eve’s visible hostility towards her.
The approach Eve took to bullying her was childish. She would come into the kitchen when Carly was cleaning and spill wine on the floor. She would remark on Carly’s looks, calling her short and ugly. They were so laughable, in fact, that Carly at first didn’t think much about it, until she remembered that Eve had a gun and was very good at using it. And if there was one person that would disobey Eli’s house rules, it would be Eve.
Shit, why did I get out of one problem only to be dumped into another?
Carly tried to come up with a solution. Eve hates me because she wants to sleep with Eli, and everyone thinks Eli is sleeping with me…so, if I get them to have sex, problem…solved? Uhm, but asking for hot dinner is one thing, asking him to sleep with someone else is probably too much to ask. Hmm, or is it?
Carly decided that it couldn’t hurt to talk to Eli about it. A few days later, Eli ran into her at her afternoon reading spot in the sad garden. Though, her routine of reading a book in the sad garden was predictable, Carly wasn’t sure if Eli had come with the intention of talking to her. After chatting about some books he recently read, she brought up the question, “Hey, can I ask you something?”
“Why don’t you like Eve?”
Carly was almost proud of her direct attack, because Eli was a little taken aback. If there was anything Carly was good at, it was detecting discomfort in men when it came to talking about sex. If circumstances had been different and all of them were in college, Carly would have given both of them a good lesson in Flirtation 101 and they would not have been in this mess. Instead now she had to take matters into her own hands. Bitch, watch me do this.
“What do you mean?” Eli’s answered.
“You know she likes you.”
“Uh-huh.” Eli’s sad in typical fashion . It was his equivalent of a “So what?”
“So, why not? Like, doesn’t every guy wanna sleep with every hot girl?” Carly raised her hands and made a big “why not?” gesture.
She was so comfortable and relaxed in her gestures that she swore she saw Eli smile behind his beard again, “You know Miss Eve is a killer. I’m not sure I want to be on the wrong side of her bed.”
“True, but ok, let me put it this way. Like, for guys, sex is just sex, right? It’s not like, oh, you have sex with this gal and all of a sudden you’re stuck with her forever! Sometimes it can’t hurt to have sex that is just because… Like – hey – why not have a little fun night and if nothing works out you can part ways? Surely, you think she’s hot and all that!” She paused and decided to kick it up a notch, “Unless you’re worried that you’re not up to par or something.”
He raised an eyebrow, “You’re trying to get me to do something I don’t want to do. Why?”
Fuck, he’s too good. He can tell. Carly slumped her shoulders, “Uh, fine, it’s because Miss Eve hates me and is bullying me like we’re 13 yr olds, except she has a gun, and I don’t want to step on her toes on a bad hair day. I think she just wants to fuck you. So, if you do, she’ll probably stop going after me. Please, just once!”
Carly could tell by the tone and facial expression that Eli was embarrassed, “I can’t believe what I’m hearing. This is ridiculous.”
“Hey, you said you’re going to protect me! This is for the sake of protection!” And frankly I have no idea why Eve is attracted to a crazie like you, but I guess like crazies attract.
“Fine, I’ll go talk to her.”
“No no no no no! No talking, no talking!” She hurriedly stopped him, “You don’t understand girls AT ALL! She is like 13 yr when it comes to emotions. If you go talk to her and tell her to stop, this is going to have the EXACT OPPOSITE effect and she’s just going to super trash me after this!”
They were standing much closer now, and Carly was suddenly a bit stunned as she looked into Eli’s eyes. It didn’t look like the eyes of a killer. It just…looked like the eyes of someone who was embarrassed, “Then what do you want me to do?”
Carly felt further emboldened tuzla escort by his discomfort, “I just told you! Have sex with her, once. Or twice, or more if you feel like it.”
“OMG,” Carly’s face showed desperation, “You’re like the stubbornest dude ever! Do you have to wait until everything goes down to life and death and then you will act?”
Eli pressed his temples, “OK, OK, I’ll think about this.”
A horrifying thought came to her mind, “…please tell me you’re not gay?”
“No.” Eli sighed, “Eve is a difficult individual and, I dare say, hard to deal with, when she puts her mind to something. I try to avoid conflict with her.”
Ohhhh, so it’s your strategy that’s preventing you acting like any normal horny guy who would say yes to shacking a hot girl. Got it. Carly rolled her eyes, “Yes, Eli, I would be very grateful if you can peacefully resolve my situation.”
Eli shot a glance at her, “You know, everyone thinks we’re sleeping together.”
Now it was Carly who blushed. She took a step back and laughed uncomfortably, “Yeah, cuz people are dumb. But I guess it works.”
“If it serves its purpose, then I wouldn’t change it.”
“Huh, you are a weird guy.” Carly forgot to keep this thought to herself and said it out loud instead.
“If you say so.”
“What made you the way you are today?” She was suddenly channeling Matteo, figuring out the psychological probing may still work on Eli, given how often he now let his guard down. She waited to see if Eli would bite the bait.
He didn’t. “Are you trying to Freudian your way to my psyche?”
“Not so much. But just genuine curiosity. Like, you know I’m from California. I know you’re from somewhere in the US, too. But I can’t tell where.” She decided to be relentless, since she was realizing that while he could see through all her inquisitions, he could be worn down, “So is it like east coast? west coast? mid-west?”
He stared at her, but she didn’t back down. “All over.”
His answer, however brief, encouraged her. He’s opening up! Progress! “All over? So you stayed in a lot of places as a kid? Why? Was it because your parents’ jobs?”
“No, I was given up at birth. I moved through a lot of foster care.”
Holy shit. No wonder you’re a sick individual. This world is truly a crappy place for you.
“I’m sorry to hear that.” she said.
“Why? I’m not sorry. It’s just the way life was and I figured out what I was good at early on.”
“I’m good at beating people up.”
Carly rolled her eyes, not even bothering to shield her thoughts, “And that is why your foster parents didn’t want you. What a surprise.”
He wasn’t hurt by that comment. “I wouldn’t call my foster parents saints by any degree. There were one or two good ones…but I didn’t fit into their larger family.”
“Then what did you do when you grew up?” Carly was curious if he’d continue.
Surprisingly, he did. “I joined the military. It suited me.”
His answer lined up with the gossip, but what Carly couldn’t believe he’s letting on this much, “But then you left, why?”
“I was disillusioned.”
“Wait, you left the military to join… mercinaries because…somehow…it’s less…delusional?”
“To some extent, yes.” Eli made it clear that he was ending the conversation.
“Wait, wait, one last question.” As she stared at his face, she burst out another thought, “How old are you?”
“OK, OK.” Carly nodded.
“Why?” Eli apparently was not satisfied with her nodding.
“Well, it’s just, uhm, you look older than that. But I guess your upbringing would naturally result in you looking a lot older.” She stared at his beard, “You know what? It might just be the beard. It’s what hipsters use to look older and ages them in a strange way.”
Eli said nothing, but he seemed amused by the remark.
After dinner, Carly returned to her room and tossed in her bed. Replaying Eve’s actions and Eli’s words in her head, it occurred to her there was more to Eve’s desire to bed Eli. It was perhaps Eve’s way of asserting hierarchical superiority. If Eli slept with Eve, Eve would have considered herself to have successfully conquered him. And Eli, who was adept at understanding hierarchical struggles, was not letting Eve win. And because everyone believed Eli was sleeping with her, in Eve’s eyes, Carly had become the roadblock in her pursuit to bed anyone she pleased.
This is a conundrum indeed. It seems like there’s no good way out. One of them would have to eventually yield, and since neither would, they may eventually end up shooting at each other. And me along with it!
A few days later, Carly ran into Hans in the dining room. He was clearly preparing for his next mission and looking at google maps routes.
“Is this one going to be difficult?” She tried to ask as indifferently as possible.
“The route, not so hard.” Hans appeared focused, “But this time I’m working tuzla escort bayan with both Eli and Eve, and I’ve never worked with both of them at the same time.”
Her eyes widened. Her heart started pounding with the thought of impending doom. One of them is going to die!
“Let me go along!” Before she could think, she had uttered those words.
“What?!” Hans was startled, “You know you can’t g!.”
“In his room.” Hans told her the number.
She went as fast as she could to Eli’s room. He was clearly surprised to see her at the door.
“You can’t go with Eve!” Was all she could say.
“You asked for a solution, I had to come up with one.” He confessed this was his plan.
“No!” She shouted, “I don’t want you to be killed…or kill Eve. I don’t want anyone to be killed.”
“That’s a naïve thought indeed.”
“It doesn’t have to end in death. Why does it always end in death?” Carly said painfully, “At the very least…let me come with you in the car.”
“You know I can’t do that. But I appreciate the offer.” Eli said, “I told you I’m very good at this. I’m not going to die.”
“And you won’t kill Eve.” Eve was not Antoine, who, even with the horrible crime he committed, she was not sure deserved death.
“I will try.”
The three of them, Hans, Eve, and Eli left shortly after. Carly could not do anything that night. As the apartment residents dressed up to go out to town or went to bed, she walked around the sad garden in the cold darkness back and forth. She didn’t know when they’re supposed to return but she would wait until they do.
Maximus passed by her. “You are waiting for them?” he mused, “Which ones are you hoping to come back alive?”
He was always joking about deaths. Usually Carly either laughed with him or shrugged it off, but this time she could not participate in the humor.
“Ohhh,” Maximus continued his killer jokes, “You know, I’m a type O blood. If you run out of blood, come knock on my door, OK?”
Then finally there was commotion at the door. George could be heard shouting orders near the gate – the gate she was not allowed to approach lest she wanted to be shot. Nevertheless, Carly ran toward the gate just in time to see the car doors open. Eli walked out with a limp arm from the driver’s seat. Eve could be heard cursing in the backseat.
“Hans!” she shouted.
Eli motioned to the passenger seat where a lifeless corpse lay, “He’s dead. He was shot through the head. Eve is shot in the thigh; you should try to help her. I had to drive.”
Carly set to work on Eve. Though she bled quite a bit, the thigh wound was not severe and with some cleaning and stiches, she would recover. Eve was quiet throughout the treatment. When she was done, Eve blankly said, “Thanks.”
Carly calmly replied, “Sure.”
Eve paused a bit, “You should go check on Eli. He was shot too, though not badly.”
She found Eli in his room with Maximus having some difficulty helping him out of his blood-soaked clothes. Carly cut away the clothing and inspected the wound. It was a lucky graze by the shoulder creating a minor laceration that she easily fixed up.
“What happened?” she asked quietly.
“Just your everyday night shift with occasional fatal hazards.”
“That’s not funny. Hans is dead.” She lowered her head.
“Don’t get emotionally involved. It’s part of the business. He chose this life and he knew the risk. He wanted to make lucrative sums of money doing dangerous jobs. Sometimes it pays off, most of the time it doesn’t. ”
“And what about Eve?”
“Well, I saved her ass. Literally dragging her shot ass into the car. So she owes me.” Eli said, then added a snarky remark, “Saving her life is probably a better deal than fucking her.”
Carly trembled, “How are you even joking at this time!”
“It’s my dark sense of humor.” Eli continued, “Keeps me going every day.”
Carly shook her head, “I can’t deal with you.”
The next few days, Eve was confined to crutches – which Carly had purchased – due to her leg injury. With Hans dead, George was forced to temporarily halt taking in new jobs as he scrambled to find another high-quality, life-daring driver. With less work, the apartment filled up with employees having little to do besides watch TV, drink, play cards, chat, and spar. There was a building tension in the air as both Eve and Eli were out and the number of bored trigger-happy misfits increased by the hour.
Carly braced herself, and before long Zak had already called her to fix up several brawls happening in the dining room and gym. But it kept happening, and eventually George got sick of the babysitting and told everyone to go back to their rooms as they were being grounded until mealtime. A few quiet ones stayed in the dining room to play cards.
Then, as she was cleaning up the dining room mess the misfits had created, Eli walked in. His beard was gone. She saw his face and stared escort tuzla at him with her mouth wide open.
Hiding under the beard was an angular face with a deep set of green eyes that were now beaming. His hair was cut short and styled back. She later found out was Maximus’ doing. With all the facial hair removed, Carly could see that he had the right set of firm lips to match a strong angular jaw. Due to the shoulder wound, he wasn’t wearing a shirt, and above his low cut jeans his lean and muscular body looked like it had been carved like a Greek statue.
Carly was stunned.
What…is…going…on…here?! How…is he suddenly looking so fucking hot?! Isn’t this the same guy I had just wrapped up in bandages? How did I never notice his face…his body…I guess I never thought to look, did I!?
Carly stood there with her eyes blinking, not even noticing that those pair of glimmering green eyes were getting closer to her, until he was literally standing in front of her. She could reach out and touch his abs. Why am I even thinking about abs right now?! Carly found her head tangled in a mess. It was as if someone had temporarily dimmed down her “prisoner survival mode” and turned up “Carly the college party gal mode”. She didn’t even know it was possible for both modes to co-exist. She had looked at every man with fear of being assaulted for so long, she didn’t know it was possible for her to look at a man and appreciate his physical attractiveness. Strangely, it made her feel more alive.
“Where’s everyone?” Eli looked around and asked.
“George…kicked them back to their rooms cuz they were noisy.” Why am I stuttering!?
“I see. Why are you looking at me like that?”
“Because you shaved your beard!”
“You’re the one who told me to shave.” He said matter-of-factly.
“I didn’t tell you to shave, I just suggested it, uh, would make you look younger.”
“And did it?”
“Uh-huh, yeah.” Carly nodded, and also for some reason also made you look like Ryan Gosling times Chris Hemsworth! With those looks, you could’ve gotten a job as a model and wouldn’t have had to kill people for a living!
Her heart was racing for no apparent reason. Well, no reason other than the fact that he was so close to her. Carly had no doubt that if he had been in her class at college, she would’ve done anything – literally anything – to get a piece of him. Yup, she was that shallow a girl in college. She did mature a bit, but guess old habits die hard.
“Good.” He felt his shaved face with his non-injured hand, “It feels weird though. I’ve had the beard for a long time.”
And it served you absolutely no purpose. Nada. Don’t ever do it again. Carly swallowed, “Uh, you, want, something to eat?”
“Yeah, but I kind of want pancakes.” He wondered, “Can you make you pancakes?”
Eli asked so casually that Carly didn’t know what to say besides “Uh, sure.”
She made him pancakes and found some honey as a substitute for maple syrup. Then she watched him eat the pancakes with some difficulty, because he only had one working hand, dripping honey over his face and trying to lick it off his fingers. Carly never knew a guy eating pancakes could look so hot. She found herself staring at his long fingers and tried very hard not to think about how having those fingers running up and down her body would feel. Or how it would feel to have those strong arms embrace her and feel the heat in their bodies. She was a petite woman at 5’3″ and Eli was a foot taller. She had always been attracted to tall guys with broad shoulders and an athletic muscular build, even better when they had attractive faces. She now realized Eli fit all of those criteria.
Carly fought hard in her head to shut off the erotic images inside her head. She needed to survive, and ogling at her abductor was not going to get her out of the place. She was also struggling to understand why Eli was suddenly acting so casually, asking her to make pancakes as if they were just two roommates sharing an apartment.
Maybe…you think that now that you’ve saved me twice, I owe you and I should sleep with you now. Carly suddenly thought, and that finally knocked her out of her dreamy mood.
No, Eli, the only way you can ever truly save me, is if you let me go. But you won’t. And if you won’t, no amount of mercy is enough for me.
Didn’t I also think Kurt was sexy and all that? What did that bring me to? Nothing. Now Carly felt ashamed that she even thought of Eli as attractive.
She wondered if Eli had noticed her stares, but he had been looking down at his food the whole time. When he finished, he spoke, “I told Eve.”
Carly blinked, “What?”
Eli kept his voice quiet so others in the dining room couldn’t hear, “I told Eve that I was not sleeping with you and she needs to quit her silly behavior.”
“Oh…OK.” Carly was not quite sure what to say.
“She’s not going to bother you anymore.” Eli got up to leave, “Thanks for the pancakes.”
Carly saw him walk out of the dining room as her mind was once again entangled in confusion. He had made it clear that he wasn’t asking for any sexual favors in return. He just…helped her because she asked.