Unreal - Page 8

“Not . . . cruel?” the stranger repeated in disbelief. “He abuses you, keeps you prisoner . . . Are you saying you enjoy that?”

“Not all of it, no,” Shelly admitted. “But much of it is pleasurable.”

The stranger shook his head. “I don't see how you can't hate him for what he's done.”

“Should I?” Shelly asked. “Perhaps I should,” she concluded after a moment. “He has certainly done wrong by me, but hating him seems a bit excessive.”

“How can you even say that?” the stranger asked in tones as bewildered as they were demanding. “Is it that you feel sorry for him or something?”

“A little,” Shelly further admitted. “As I have already said, I have not decided how I feel about it yet.”

“Well I didn't feel sorry for him in the least even before he tried to knock my brains out!” the stranger said hotly. “And I certainly don't feel sorry for him now! He's a . . .”

“Monster?” Shelly finished sweetly for him. “I thought I was the monster. That is the way this story is usually told, is it not?” She deliberately tilted her head in the way she had noted the stranger found particularly disturbing.

Rather than answer in words, the stranger just stared at her with the look of an animal caught in a trap.

“You certainly keep looking at me like I am one.” A slow smile appeared upon Shelly's lips. “When you are not looking at me like my father does when he wants to 'play' with me, that is.”

“Um . . .” As he stammered, the stranger seemed unable to find a place he felt safe to allow his eyes to linger for more than a second.

“This is not the time or the place for that in any event,” Shelly said primly, dousing his thoughts even more effectively than a bucket of cold water. “My father will not stay asleep forever, and I still have to decide what to do.” Shelly eyed the stranger with considering eyes, and it felt good to be the one doing the considering for a change. “Pity . . . I have never known anyone else's touch but his, and I am curious what the differences would be.”

This thought, coupled with Shelly's open appraisal of him, seemed to again distract the stranger for a moment, but his fears quickly proved stronger than his lust.

“What's there to decide?” he wanted to know with more than the hint of an apprehensive tremor in his voice.

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