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’’I don\ care if they know I want you to be happy.’’

’’You\ e not a bastard, 927. You belong to me.’’

He grinned. ’’That is right, Candi. It is just us. That makes it perfect. Don\ let them hurt you or make you cry again.’’

’’I won\ .’’

Chapter Five

Candi clung to Hero and she wasn\ letting go. Her wrists did throb, but it was worth it to be pressed against her male, his arm around her. The feel of his hot breath fanning her neck tickled a little, but she had no complaints. She blindly reached for his hair, needing to run her fingers through those silky strands. They were wet, but she didn\ care. He groaned when she did, giving her better access when he leaned his head closer to her.

Time could never move fast enough in her experience, but she suddenly wished it would just stop. She wanted to enjoy that moment forever. 927 was alive and they were together. It seemed too good to be true. She panicked. What if she was still back in the asylum, experiencing some drug-induced delusion? It had happened before when they overmedicated her.

She dug her fingernails into his shirt and fisted his hair. He growled a warning and she eased her hold. 927 lifted his head, frowning with displeasure, his dark gaze also revealing his puzzlement.

’’I\m making sure you\ e real,’’ she admitted. ’’Life is so cruel. I half expect to wake up and find myself still locked inside that room.’’

His other arm suddenly pressed against her ass, holding her up. ’’What did they do to you?’’

’’It doesn\ matter. Nothing does but this, being with you. Please just let me hold you. Please?’’ She\d beg if that\s what he needed to soothe his pride. Pride didn\ matter when it came to him.

He twisted his head, glanced back, and then sat on the bed. He shifted her a little so she was firmly planted on his lap. She adjusted her legs, keeping them wrapped around his waist, and buried her face against him. She breathed him in, enjoying just being close to him. He was solid, big, warm and alive.

One of his arms loosened from around her ass and she tensed, worried he\d try to untangle them. He didn\ . Instead he reached up and stroked her hair down her back. She relaxed. He nuzzled her head with his cheek.

’’You feel so delicate. I\m afraid I\m going to hurt you.’’

’’I\ll gain weight,’’ she promised. ’’I know I\m bony, but I\m tough.’’

’’What did Doc Trisha say?’’

He was worried about her health. It meant he cared. ’’She didn\ find anything alarming, but I\m underweight. She said to eat lots, get some sunshine and tell her if I have any problems.’’

’’You said she ran tests.’’

’’Everything so far is fine.’’

’’When do all the test results come back?’’

’’A few days.’’

His silence stretched but she didn\ mind. He held her and stroked her hair, his fingers playing with the strands. It felt heavenly. She was touch starved. He eventually began to explore other parts of her, running his palm over her sides, and then down to her hip, wrapping his hand there as if to test her bones.

’’I\m fine,’’ she assured him.

’’I should feed you.’’

’’I just ate. I\ll get sick if I force food into my stomach while I adjust to regular meals. I\m not used to it.’’

He growled, his displeasure clear. He released her hip and wrapped his fingers around her upper arm, exploring her shoulder on that side. She really enjoyed it when he lowered his hand and slid it between the shirt and her skin, running his palm over her spine. She arched into him, pressing her breasts tighter against his chest. He froze and sucked in a sharp breath.

’’Careful,’’ he rasped.

’’What am I doing wrong?’’

’’Nothing. Don\ push against me that way.’’

She lifted her head and he jerked his back. They peered at each other. ’’Why not?’’

He glanced down between them at her breasts and growled softly. ’’You\ve gotten bigger in one place.’’

’’My breasts grew.’’

She felt no embarrassment. It was 927. He\d been there the first time she\d gotten her period. He\d actually known it before she had...

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

927 sniffed at her and flipped her onto her back on their mat. Candi thought he\d lost his mind when he suddenly bent forward. He grabbed her legs, parted them, and shoved his face right against her private area. He sniffed, and then jerked back. He looked confused, but stood and turned to stare up at the camera.

’’She\s hurt. Send in someone. There\s blood.’’

Evelyn took her out of the cell and explained a woman\s cycle. She gave Candi pads and sent her back to 927. She repeated everything to him that she\d been told. 927 helped her figure out how they were to be worn since they had loops and a belt to go around her waist.

Christopher came in later that evening. He was angry and demanded that she be taken to another cell. The order traumatized Candi. She fought him. She just wanted to lie down with 927 on their mat. Her tummy hurt and 927 had been distracting her by playing with her hair.

Every month after that, she had to leave the cell while she bled. Christopher wouldn\ allow 927 to be around her during that time. She hated being alone in the room next to him, but they learned to tap the walls, to reassure each other that they were okay.

In time 927 had started reacting strangely to her cycle. He\d tell her she was about to start, and then stay far away from her.

’’Come here. I\m cold. Hold me,’’ she pleaded.

He shook his head, twisted his body against the corner and growled.

’’What is wrong?’’

’’They need to take you away now.’’

’’Shush. I don\ want to go.’’

’’You need to.’’


He looked infuriated and turned. ’’This is why.’’

She looked at the front of his pants, stunned. He sometimes got hard in that area in the morning, the bulge noticeable, but it usually went away after he peed. It was afternoon now, and they hadn\ just woken.

’’It happens when you start to smell of blood. Your scent changes and I react. It hurts.’’

Evelyn had another discussion with her. She repeated it to 927. It changed everything. They wouldn\ allow Candi to return to the cell she shared with 927 except during what they called visiting hours. She cried buckets at having to sleep without him. He was enraged. Christopher didn\ want to risk having 927 and her sharing se*. He said they were too young, and he wouldn\ allow it. The technicians would watch them and they were rarely allowed to touch.

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