His Captive

By: Cassandra Dee

~A Revenge Marriage Romance~



CHAPTER ONE


Anna




I’m so tired.

Feet plodding, I cut through the abandoned courtyard of my apartment complex. It’s not exactly nice, there are weeds coming up through the cracks in the sidewalk, the fountain long-since broken and crumbling. And then a skittery sound greets my ears. Oh no, are there rats again? Lester, our super, was supposed to call the exterminator but I guess he forgot.

Because I’m terrified of rats. The worm-like tail and pink, scrabbly feet are so disgusting, giving me the creepy crawlies. So breaking into a run, I dart towards the stairs as fast as possible, hauling myself up pronto. It’s not easy, I’m a big girl, but hey, desperate times call for desperate measures.

Fumbling in my bag, I grab my keys and pop open the door, slamming it behind me. Phew! Leaning back with a sigh of relief, I look around. Escaped the rat army again, thank god. Safe once more.

Flicking on a light in the front hall, I head towards the kitchen to find some food, still breathing hard. There’s probably a TV dinner buried in the back of the freezer, and I guess that’s my meal for tonight. Because there’s no way I have the energy to cook something up.

After digging past my emergency bottle of whiskey, a pack of freezer burned broccoli, and a few pints of my favorite ice cream, the TV dinner looks me in the face. Hmm, chicken pot pie. The picture looks amazing, steamy with a crispy golden crust, but I know it’s gonna taste like cardboard. Oh well, beggars can’t be choosers.

Tossing the cardboard box into the microwave, I lean against the kitchen counter, exhausted, taking in the small layout of the place I call home. The apartment is totally old, borderline historic, but well maintained. At least by my standards.

With its simple layout and hand-me-down furnishings, the place by no means luxurious. But it’s the best I can do on my salary as a secretary. Because I’m not exactly making the big bucks. In fact, quite the opposite, I’m definitely in little bucks land, but that’s okay. I’m grateful for what I have, and besides, it’s clean and cozy. I keep the place spotless, neat as a pin. It’s the only way, when you have such a small home.

But life’s about more than just TV dinners and armies of rats. Because as I look around, the couch beckons, a warm, cozy fleece throw draped over the back. “Anna, Anna!” it sings. “Come to me!”

Don’t you worry, I mentally assure my book boyfriends. I’m gonna get to you tonight, there are no dates lined up for a curvy girl like me, just some pretend romance.

But you know what? It’s okay, I’m dead tired and nothing sounds more relaxing than curling up with a good book and a mug of steaming tea.

Just then, the timer on the microwave dings. Removing the plastic covering completely, I wait for the food to cool. Yum, I’ve always loved eating and as a bigger girl, never shied away from it. I mean, how do those skinny chicks survive? How can they turn away from a hearty meal, something that will warm you up from the inside out? It’s a miracle those girls still have pulses, they seem to live on air only.

But it’s not my business because I’m on the bigger side with Double Ds that jiggle, popping buttons sometimes. And my ass? Holy smokes, it’s embarrassing how it bumps and grinds to an internal rhythm, like I’m always dancing the samba. So yeah, I love my full-figured shape.

But speaking of stick-thin scarecrows, my baby sister shouts from her bedroom right on cue.

“Anna, are you home?” Ann-Marie screeches. My ears hurt from that nails on chalkboard voice, the vibrations ringing painfully in my head. Taking a deep breath, I make myself reply.

“Just got back,” I call upstairs. “Making myself some dinner.”

Instead of inquiring about my day or anything remotely sisterly, her voice is shrill as she yells down the long hallway.

“Have you seen my purple dress, Anna? Did you borrow it? I swear, I saw you wear it!”

Counting to ten, I ignore her because there’s no way in hell that she could possibly think I’ve taken one of her dresses. I probably wouldn’t be able to get it past my shoulders, those scraps of nothing.

Two years younger than me, Ann-Marie is my opposite in every way imaginable. It’s a wonder we share any DNA at all. With her flaming red hair and tall, svelte frame, she’s absolutely beautiful and a real treat for the eyes. But that’s about where it ends because she’s about as shallow as a damn puddle. Her work as a model perfectly suits her, with the constant flash of lightbulbs and fawning audience.

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