“Pawn,” she says dryly. “The word you’re looking for is pawn.”

Before anymore can be said, the man himself comes into the dining room, the rest of the men trailing behind him. Mia gives Mateo a scathing look he totally doesn’t understand and goes back to the kitchen before Vince can come in.

Mateo frowns at her back as she walks away, then glances at me. I shrug apologetically.

Vince is in the room now, but Mateo’s still looking after Mia, and before I can head that way myself, Mateo barges into the kitchen.

I look to the men, all of them confused by Mateo’s departure, then I make a beeline for the kitchen.

Mia is currently flinging Mateo’s hand off her arm when I walk in, but he grabs her and yanks her out the back exit and into the hall.

Francesca stares, eyes wide, and I feel like sinking through the floor.

“Shit,” I mutter.

Finally, Francesca sighs and looks at me. “If Vince comes in here looking for her… escort him back out.”

“Are they still having a thing?” I ask, confused.

Elise shakes her head, looking a little more annoyed than I’ve seen Elise look. “I wouldn’t call it a thing. Someone should go make sure she’s okay.”

“Why wouldn’t she be okay?” I ask.

Francesca tosses down her hand towel. “I’ll go. Jesus Christ, I hate these dinners.”

My head is spinning by the time all three of them come back. Mia looks agitated, Francesca looks exhausted, and Mateo looks… angry.

At me? Yep, at me.

Mine is the next arm he grabs, hauling me back the same way he hauled Mia a moment ago.

“What the hell are you doing?” he asks.

“I thought she was—I didn’t—”

“Who told you Mia was my ex?” he demands.

“Why won’t you have sex with me?” I blurt.

His mouth is open, ready to argue, but it snaps shut when I ask that.

“I don’t know what I’m doing wrong,” I state, since he didn’t shut me down. “I shouldn’t have said anything, I guess, but… I just wanted to know how to please you, because nothing I’m doing seems to be working.”

Mateo watches me for a minute, his brown eyes probing. “Why are you trying so hard?”

I shrug. “I’m gonna be stuck here, we might as well enjoy it.”

“Just to pass the time?” he asks skeptically.

Looking down at the floor, then back at him, I say, “Well, and I like you. And it seemed like you liked me. But now I’m not so sure.”

“I like you,” he states, as if his word alone should settle the matter.

“Then why aren’t we having sex?”

Instead of answering, he stares at me for another minute and then leaves me there alone, heading back through the kitchen.

Chapter Nine

After the disastrous Sunday dinner, I decide to back off.

Generally, it’s in my nature to stay the course, but I do know better than to keep pushing myself where I’m not wanted. I’m not sure why I’m not wanted, but Mateo made it clear that first night in his office that if he wanted to have sex with me, he would.

So I guess he doesn’t.

It’s a little awkward, but I’ll survive.

Monday and Tuesday pass uneventfully. He still makes me taste his food before he eats it, but I do so like a maid, without flirting. Wednesday night he isn’t home for dinner, and I do notice his absence. Dinner just isn’t the same without him.

The long days and late evenings are starting to wear on me already. I have a break mid-day to spend time with Lily, but we usually only have two hours each evening before she has to go to bed. She talks about Isabella all the time, which is cute, but it’s impossible not to wonder what kind of future we have in this place. It’s finally starting to hit me—I’m actually stuck here. Maria has been here for 20 years—that means I will probably still be here in 20 years.

People keep mentioning Elise leaving, but no one has given any details about why or when. Is there some kind of time served you have to log before you get to leave? Do I have that, or is mine forever, since it’s a punishment? ‘I own you’ would seem to indicate forever, but I can’t be sure.

What will life be like? In 20 years, will Lily be out living her own life, and I’ll be wasting away, making up Mateo’s bed with 35 million decorative pillows? He’ll likely be married by then, and the idea of him marrying someone makes me feel sour.

The rest of the week slips by, and it doesn’t even seem like Mateo notices I’ve stopped coming to give him blow jobs. Granted, he hasn’t requested any, but I’m starting to reevaluate my oral skills if he doesn’t even care.

I’m relieved when Sunday comes again. After last week, there’s no way Mateo will request my presence again. Lily wants to go out, but I don’t know how to tell her we’re not allowed, so we spend the day playing, reading, and watching movies again. I’m starting to get a little stir crazy myself, but I don’t know how to go about getting an escort so I can leave, and I don’t know if I’d be allowed to take Lily.

Source: www.StudyNovels.com