I followed as he swiped us angrily through another set of double doors, this one lead to a large room. The walls were covered with padding and the blue floor was kind of bouncy, it was quartered with a red cross that divided the room into large squares. I bounced a little on the balls of my feet; it was obviously some kind of training room.
Bravnica walked to the furthest square discarding his jacket then his jumper to the floor as he went, I followed warily. As soon as my foot crossed the red line of the last square it was swept out from under me. I felt myself falling backwards and braced for the impact but it didn’t come. Bravnica caught me just before I hit. His eyes searched mine briefly before he spoke. “If I were a Kudlak, you would be dead.”
He let go and I dropped the final distance to the floor, landing with a dull thud.
So this is how it’s gonna be.
I rolled to regain my feet, determined to prove myself. We started circling, each waiting for the other to make the next move. Watching for him carefully I kicked off my flats and shrugged out of my cardigan, thankful that I’d worn loose fitting pants and a light top.
He moved again, so fast that my mind was still trying to process his direction when he had me, held securely from behind I had no idea how he’d gotten there. He trapped my arms across my chest with his left hand and used his right to slowly tilt my head back, exposing the delicate skin at my throat. Goosebumps prickled as he lowered his mouth and I could feel the heat of his words as his lips hovered just above my skin. “Dead again.”
It was only a whisper but it sent shock waves coursing through me and I grappled to regain my scattered wits. We were circling again; I could feel the weight of his gaze as it poured over me. A shift that had occurred behind those ice blue eyes, it was subtle but base and my instinct were screaming at me. To do what I didn’t know but at some point his anger had turned to something else. Just as urgent, just as powerful.
I ruthlessly stamped out the memory of how his breath felt on my throat and started to formulate a plan. I figured as long as I let him call the shots I didn’t stand a chance. I needed to put him on the back foot but keep my distance at the same time. He was much more powerful than me and as soon as he had a hold of me it’d be over. Using my legs was my best bet.
I attacked; my sidekick was aimed at his ribs, but ended up being caught in his hands. I let out a growl of frustration to which he responded with a chuckle. My foot still held firmly in his hands I hopped to straighten up, as soon as I had my balance he gave a little tug sending me falling forwards and into his arms. Crushed against his body he looked down at me. My unsteady breath mingled with his and for one crazy delicious second I thought he was going to kiss me, instead he breathed. “Dead.”
I pushed back, annoyed at his game but even more annoyed at myself. Had I actually wanted him to kiss me?
“You’re only proving my point.” We started circling each other again. “This is why I need to train, so that I can protect myself and my family if I need to.”
He shook his head. “You can’t protect them like this.”
Frustrated I lashed out, rushing him with a barrage of fists which he deftly caught, pulling them down he transferred them into one hand to anchor low at my back. The angle caused my breasts to thrust upward and I was painfully away of my breathlessness as my chest heaved against him. I struggled to break free as he walked me steadily backwards and pressed me into the soft padding of the walls. Anger surged and I made to raise my knee but he predicted the move and let the weight of his lower body pin mine. Trapped by my weakness and angered by my own bodies’ want for his I bucked, trying to break free. He growled in my ear. “Not like this Ana.”
He pressed harder and I stilled giving him my best I-hate-you look.
He watched me patiently, letting the silence settle between us before speaking. “You are not built to fight Kudlak.”
My breath was ragged. I knew he was going to teach me a lesson, I just didn’t predict it being this hard to swallow. It was obvious now that Garrick had been pulling his punches.
The back of my eyes began to burn and I looked away, trying to control my tumbling emotions but he used his free hand to tilt my chin so that I couldn’t avoid his gaze.
“Hand to hand they will kill you every time. If you really want to be able to protect yourself and your family you must harness your power.”
He released my hands and eased himself off of me, standing close enough to catch me if I decided to bolt. I didn’t, there was no point. He waited till I looked up, his eyes searched mine out. There was desperation in them, which he didn’t try to hide.
“It’s my job to protect you Ana; it’s your job to run…”