His Captive

By: Cassandra Dee

But now it’s like it never happened. I’m in the kitchen making coffee, sunlight streaming through the window, everything spic and span. Last night was some kind of hedonistic getaway, a hazy dream from Neverland. I blink again, shaking my head. Shit. It’s gonna take something a lot stronger than tea to get me through the next twelve hours at the office, what with memories of Donegal still flitting through my mind. It’s Saturday, for crying out loud, and yet I’ve been called to the office for some “emergency assignment.”

As I take a tentative sip from my steaming travel mug, breathing in the silence, keys jingle outside the door before Ann-Marie pushes it open.

My sister practically falls inside, bursting with giggles despite the fact that it’s six a.m.

It would be a boldfaced lie to say I am surprised to see her returning from a night out at this hour. This is right up her alley so I don’t even bat an eye at her rowdy entrance. Because Ann-Marie likes to party hard. And her job as a model basically requires it, industry shindigs lasting into the wee hours of morning.

“Good morning, Anna!” she greets me, far more cheerful than I could manage even though I’ve had a full night’s rest.

“Morning,” I reply, eyeing her movements carefully. She seems sober, just really, really happy.

I want to roll my eyes when I realize that despite a full night of partying and God knows what else, Ann-Marie still looks fresh and beautiful.

“Guess what?” Ann-Marie squeals, leaning over the counter to snag a crusted piece of toast. She chomps on it, mouth full, while I look on silently.

“What?” I finally ask.

“I’m engaged!” my sister declares gleefully, unable to keep still. She dances around the kitchen and even bumps her hip against mine to get me to join in the celebration.

But instead of taking her cue, I grab her thin arm and bring her left hand into my line of vision.

There’s nothing on her ring finger, but from the smile on her face you would think she was sporting a ten-carat custom diamond ring.

“Engaged to whom?” I ask, raising my eyebrow as I drop her hand.

Positively overjoyed, Ann-Marie giggles and starts gushing about some guy named Chance.

“I met the sexiest man at the Grand last night. And guess what?” Her voice has heightened to a shrill. “He’s LOADED!”

Hmm, figures. Ann-Marie can spot a rich guy from miles away, it’s her special skill. I’ve seen her poring over GQ and other men’s mags, but the girl’s not looking at the male models or reading the articles. She’s learning about thirty thousand dollar watches and crocodile suitcases, studying up on men’s luxury goods so that when big prey is near, she can pounce

And of course, high rollers are drawn to her as well, Ann-Marie’s got those big blue eyes that she blinks so innocently, paired with legs that go on for miles.

But I keep my thoughts to myself as she shares details about the previous night.

“His name is Chance Morgan,” she trills delightfully.

I don’t recognize the name but that’s no surprise. High rollers aren’t exactly my thing.

“We spent all night just talking and getting to know one another,” my sister babbles. “The connection is so strong between us, Anna. It’s like fireworks on the fourth of July.” Ann-Marie pauses to sigh contentedly. “After our incredible night together, he proposed to me this morning and I said YES!”

Frowning, I have to ask the obvious question. “So you’ve only known each other for one night?”

Nodding happily, Ann-Marie says, “Yes. I’m so in love, Anna. I’ve never felt like this before.”

I watch her, mind spinning furiously, filled with all sorts of catty remarks, but there’s no point. Despite everything, I want the best for my sister. I don’t want her to be married and divorced within a year, all by the ripe old age of eighteen.

So I try to infuse some logic into this situation. She’s not ready to get hitched and take care of a household and man. After all, she can barely take care of herself, I’ve been doing it for her.

“But you barely know him,” I say gently. “You only met last night. Don’t you want to get to know him better?”

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