Chapter 16 - A Mistake (19)
Elena became terrified by his actions and desperately tried to get away from the man, but his grip on her chest was so strong that it ended up ripping the front of her dress. Out of options and overwhelmed with anger, Elena began to pull his wet hair with all her might, holding it as tightly as she could and twisting it mercilessly until he let her go.
Elena had yet to have the chance to process the trauma of the day by crying alone in her room, and now she was faced with this unsettling behavior from an ignorant mercenary. Her eyes welled up with tears that soon spilled down her cheeks.
Eventually, the man let her go. However, he immediately got up from the water without giving her any time to breathe and lifted her in his arms, making his way to the bed and throwing her on it.
“What do you think you’re doing, you monster?!” Elena burst out in anger.
She tried to kick him in the chest as he pushed up her skirts, but he simply grabbed her foot and smirked. “A little resistance is cute, but if you go any further, you’ll be the one to suffer.”
Elena panicked. She didn’t know what in the world was happening. The man continued to roll up her dress with her ankle in his hand. Elena resisted with all the strength she had and shouted, “I’m here to hire you, not to sell my body. Don’t touch me!”
Gareth paused momentarily. “What?”
“I said I want to hire you. I heard that you offer your own terms of employment, but I wanted to at least negotiate,” Elena said, her face ghost-white. She had come all the way here in desperation, but her heart was now pounding uncontrollably from his sudden actions.
Gareth narrowed his eyes and stared at her pale calf. Elena took this as a chance and attempted to kick him in the chest again. This time, he could not evade her and ended up getting hit.
Angered, Gareth leaned forward, crushing her with his weight. “You want to hire me?” he snarled.
Elena struggled not to reveal her fear even as she was crushed. “I know that Logan is afraid of you. The people and I want to stop Logan’s attacks. So, sir, tell me your terms of employment,” she said, speaking more formally now that she had somewhat regained her composure.
Even so, she unconsciously tried to get away from him as she spoke since his naked body pressed against her was so unnerving. Elena gathered all her courage to remain focused and stared at the man. “Let me up, sir, and tell me your terms of employment,” she repeated.
A faint, unexpected smile appeared on Gareth’s full, sensual lips. He raised his upper body as if he would stand up, and Elena quickly moved to try to get out from under him. However, Gareth leisurely grabbed her by both wrists and pressed her roughly against the bed again. “Terms of employment? Okay, I’ll tell you now. How about you cut the ridiculous act and sleep with me? I’ll think about it then.”
Elena glared coldly at the man. “How rude. How about you stop being delusional, Gareth?”
At her words, Gareth got up swiftly and picked up the shirt next to his sword. He put it on, obviously annoyed, as he said threateningly, “Your goal in the first place was to sleep with me. Why don’t you start being honest?”
“No. I’ve never wanted anything like that.” She had already gotten off the bed and was now striding to the door. She turned around and glowered at Gareth, saying clearly, “All I wanted to do was hire you, and that’s why I wanted to negotiate. I only offered you a meal and a night’s sleep because you saved my life today. I don’t know what you have seen or experienced until now, but don’t think that I’m the same. I’m not that kind of woman.”
“You’re that kind of woman once you step into this room,” Gareth retorted.
Elena reached her hand back to the doorknob and, not wanting to back down, replied, “The only man who can hold me will be my husband, so stop talking nonsense and think of your terms. I can provide you with some medicine in exchange. Have that in mind while you’re thinking.”
“Shut up,” Gareth replied.
Elena stared at him. Even just sitting on the edge of the bed, he was threatening. Her lips trembled at the sight.
“How about you stop talking nonsense? I see you have a bad habit. You acted like you would give me everything, and now you’re talking about your husband? Ha!” Gareth stood up with only a shirt on, and Elena couldn’t stop her eyes from traveling down to where she could clearly see his desires. Her eyes caught sight of lush golden hair and the way his shirt jutted out from his intense need, and she let out a quiet, fearful gasp.
Gareth clearly noticed her gaze, and lust began to fill him once more. “I said I’ll think about the terms if you sleep with me,” he repeated.
“You’re crazy,” Elena spat out.
“Then do you think I’ll be normal? A mercenary like me?” Gareth asked as he approached her.
“I see that I won’t even be able to negotiate with you. I had the wrong idea about you,” Elena said quickly.
Gareth finally realized he had mistaken Elena’s words about providing a night’s sleep now that he saw her trying to leave. The woman had simply meant providing a bed, but he had thought that meant she was going to give her body to him. He had interpreted her words the same way he had always done until now. Unable to believe what had just happened, Gareth let out an empty laugh.
Elena watched him as he did. He looked naive for a moment, which was an expression she had not expected from him. He was rude, full of delusions, and violent… but his short laugh strangely stuck with her.
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Lantern Against the Wind
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