The next morning Kate could barely lift her head from the pillow. She felt like someone had driven over her with a steam roller and then impaled her.
She pushed herself off the bed and swung her feet to touch the ground and stood unsteadily, catching sight of herself in the large mirrored robe. She was unrecognisable, a piece of swollen red, black and blue flesh, on legs. Her stomach was untouched, no criss crossed marks from the crop not fist marks of bruising.
She shuffled to the ensuite and stood in the shower, turning the heat up as high as she could stand.
Ryder came into the ensuite a cup of tea in his hand. “Good you’re up. I’ve made breakfast for you. Our honeymoon begins today but we’ve go to go in half an hour.”
Kate turned to look at him.
“My God, you’re going to need sunglasses, babe.” He said as he turned to leave.
Kate dressed in a tracksuit and piled her blonde hair on top of her head, wet.
She shuffled down the stairs, the best she could.
+ + +
“Good morning, Kate.” Will said breezily as Kate entered the kitchen.
Kate looked at him with her good eye and didn’t respond immediately, then suddenly thought better of it, remembering the night before, “morning.” She said huskily.
Ryder came up behind her and wrapped his arms around her.
Kate winced as he squeezed her. “I told you it would be viral and it is.” He whispered into her ear.
He put the laptop in front of her and played a video of the night before.
Kate watched in horror as the men whipped, fucked, punched and smothered her and then at the end when she was lying unconscious on the floor, spraying their cum over her.
She was immediately nauseas and ran to the sink, bringing up the tea Ryder had brought her.
“Morning sickness.” Ryder explained to Will. “Babe, you need to try and get to the bathroom, we’ve got four of them, you know.”
He got up and ran the tap into the sink to washing her vomit away.
“We’ve already hit the million mark.” He said excitedly.
“What it’s on youtube?” Kate asked exasperated.
“No, silly. It’s on the S&M website, Will runs.” He answered condescendingly.
“We’ll make a lot of money out of this one.” Will added, smiling at her. “Thanks for a good night and making me a rich man.” He leant forward and kissed the top her head.
Kate pulled away as pain seared through her head. She touched it and felt multiple lumps on it.
“I need some pain killers.” She said to Ryder.
“Sorry babe, not while you’re pregnant.” He said cheerily, hitting play on the laptop so they could watch it again.
Kate went and sat in the dark lounge, sinking into the leather lounge, closing her eyes to gather herself again.
+ + +
Fiji was hot and Kate managed to get away with wearing sunglasses and a large floppy hat most of the time.
It was a week before the bruising disappeared. Kate received a lot of sorrowful looks from other women, where the men seemed not to notice her bruises at all.
Kate had spent most of the week away on a lounger, unable to move much. Ryder still demanded his minimum of two sex sessions per day, but they were gentle.
“We won’t do that again until after the baby is born.” He whispered into her ear, one night after they had made love. “But I’m hoping you’ll get pregnant straight way. You’re not getting any younger and I want as many kids as you can have.”
Kate closed her eyes and willed herself to sleep.
+ + +
Thankfully Will didn’t pick them up from the airport, the black cab dropping them off at the front door. Ryder tipped him generously after he unloaded their cases.
Kate had made them both cups of tea and she sat propped on a bar stool, sipping hers while Ryder took the cases up to the master bedroom when he sat beside her Kate said, “Ryder, I need to call my mother. And Ellie.”
“Yeah, I agree. Ellie’s out of hospital, got out last week.” He told her.
Kate’s heart skipped a beat. How did he know, they were both away?
He turned to her, smiling and as if reading her mind he said, “I have my contacts, even in the hospital her boyfriend works in.” He continued to stir his tea.
“So I can call them. Tell them about the wedding?”
“Yes, sure. And the baby.” He added.
Ryder went to his study and unlocked it returning with her mobile.
He handed it to Kate, “don’t forget, speaker.”
Kate flicked through her favourite contacts and selected her mother’s number first.
“Yes, Stanes residence.” A well spoken voice said.
“Hi, is that Harold?’ Kate asked, her voice trembling.
“Yes, who is this?”
“It’s Kate, Kate Morse.” She said, nervously.
“Miss Kate. Are you sure, it doesn’t sound like you.”
“Yes. It is. Is my mother there?”
“Ah, sorry, Miss. She’s flown back to Majorca, some event or something.”
“Oh, I need to talk to her. I’ll try her mobile.”
“Oh, well you can leave a message, you know she doesn’t always leave her mobile on when she’s away.”
Kate nodded, “thanks Harold.”
“Thank you Miss Kate.” The sound of the dial tone after Harold hung up seemed so final.
How could she go away with Kate missing? Kate wondered.
“Oh, well try Ellie.” Ryder said, registering the disappointment in Kate’s face.
Kate went back to favourites and pressed Ellie’s name.
“Hello, Ellie’s phone.” A husky male voice said, jovially.
“Oh, hi. It’s Kate. May I speak to Ellie please?”
“Yeah, sure. Kate, how are you? You have a lot of people worried.” Kate smiled, he sounded so nice and friendly. Then she remembered her mother wasn’t worried, she was on holidays.
“I’m good.” She looked at Ryder, who nodded at her. “Is Ellie there?”
“Yes, sorry. I’ll get her.”
Kate and Ryder listened as footsteps walked along a wooden floor and then Ellie’s voice.
“Oh my God, Kate.” Ellie said breathlessly.
“How are you? Where are you? When are you coming home? When can I see you?” She continued, not taking a breath. “I’ve been so worried about you I even hired a Pr..”
Kate quickly spoke over the top of Ellie, “I’m pregnant.” Kate announced.
“Kate, Kate, that’s great. I think. Is that great?” Ellie stammered.
“Yes,” suddenly tears sprang to Kate’s eyes, for the first time she realised it was great news, “yes. And I’m married.”
“You’re what?” Ellie exclaimed. “Why wasn’t I invited?”
“No one was invited. We eloped, well sort of.” Kate looked at Ryder again who was nodding.
“We just got back from our honeymoon.” Kate continued.
“Oh, Kate. Can’t believe you got married and you’re pregnant. Where have you been?”
Kate looked at Ryder. Ryder mouthed ‘rehab’. They had spoken about what she would tell everyone but he reminded her anyway.
“I went to rehab. You know I was a wreck. I bumped into Ryder again, do you remember him?”
Ellie was quiet.
“Well anyway, one thing led to another, I fell pregnant and Ryder thought he’d make an honest woman of me.” Kate laughed.
“Oh my.” Ellie said breathlessly. “I’m pregnant too.”
“Really? I can’t believe it.” Kate said.
“Yes, not married though. I’m hoping Mike will make an honest woman of me, but he has a big family and you know my family, they would kill us if we eloped. I haven’t told them about the baby yet. We’re still coming to terms with it ourselves.”
Ryder began to make the cut sign across his throat.
“Oh, well, sorry I have to go. But I’ll call again, soon.” Kate said, hanging up.
“Good girl.” Ryder said, moving to her to take the phone. He kissed her on her forehead before leaving to put the phone into his study, locking the door behind him.
Kate sat taking in everything Ellie had said. She felt that Ellie had begun to say that she had employed a PI, she knew Ellie and once she had something in her craw she wouldn’t let it go.
Kate watched Ryder return to the kitchen. He kissed her again and rubbed her stomach before taking her dirty cup and placing it in the dishwasher. She was beginning to develop strong feelings for him. His affection toward her and ability to take complete care of her gave her a secure feeling. He always seemed to know what she was thinking and backed her up, as long as it didn’t interfere with their relationship.
Kate looked out the kitchen window,at the red brick wall of the neighbouring industrial building. Kate shivered inside thinking about leaving the house now. She was happy to stay safe inside and allow Ryder to take care of the outside world for her. And she was having his baby, perhaps once it arrived he would soften and the cruel side of him would disappear with the unconditional love he felt for their child.
No best to let things develop as they are, she was sure everything would be fine.