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Chapter 4 LILY After B41% my shift, I am feeling way too exhausted to go shot drinking with Clarissa. I ask her not to bother coming. I still have to pay my mum a visit at the hospital anyways, and I need to be sober for that. I do everything to avoid thinking about Marco Marcelli’s offer, or the fact that his threat still has me looking over my shoulder. Somehow, that name sounds so familiar…too familiar. So does his eyes, and that accent. I shake my head. Where could I have possibly met such a wealthy man? My palm still stings from when it connected with his cheek, but I cannot bring myself to feel sorry about hitting him. He has a wife for chrissakes! When I arrive at the hospital around eleven pm, mum is still wide awake. Her weak face brightens in a heart breaking smile when she sees me.

I always said I could never forgive my mother for abandoning me to the streets, but once I heard she was dying, every single thought of that nature fiew right out of the window. “Hey, mum.” I lean over and k*ss both her cheeks. “Hey, sweetheart. How are you?” “Fine, mum. How are you?” “I’m feeling better than I did yesterday.” Boy, am I thankful to hear that. After losing all her hair from the chemotherapy sessions and her left breast, mum usually falls into deep bouts of depression. Yesterday was one of those days. After making idle talk about work and my fiance for a few minutes, she informs me that the doctor had said earlier that he would love to see me in his office today. I frown, “Isn’t it a bit too late for that? Shouldn’t he be home?” Mum shrugs, “He said it was important and he would wait up till whenever you came.” Chapter 4 I don’t know why, but my stomach tightens with dread. This week has been hell so far. Something tells me it is just about to get worse. I excuse myself from mum’s company and go in search of the doctor. I find him in his. office, looking through a patient’s chart.

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His dull brown eyes jerk upwards at my light knock. “Come on in, Lily.” He smiles. “Come on in.” His smile instantly puts me at ease. Doctor Hemsworth is one of the few men who restored my faith in the male race with his unique kindness. I owe him more than I can say for his generosity. He gets to his feet in polite courtesy as I enter. “Doctor, how do you? My mum says you wanted to see me?” “Yes, yes, Lily. Why don’t you have a seat.” He sits after I do and takes off his glasses, pinning me in place with a solemn stare. “Lily,” he begins, ” ever since your mum got admitted here and you came crying to me, begging me to treat her and you would pay any way you could, I have taken a genuine interest and liking to you. So far, you haven’t broken your word. You haven’t owed us any debts either.” Unsure where he’s going with this, I smile. “That is because of your generosity, Dr. Hems. But not for your monthly discounts, you and I both know I wouldn’t be able to pay for mum’s treatment.”  བfi fiཾfi འ  He looks away as if in pain. The knot in my stomach tightens further. “About that. You see, the board received an offer to sell the hospital today. A very enticing offer we could not refuse.”

My heartbeat accelerates. “What?” “Yes, Lily. Nothing will change, of course. All the doctors and nurses who work here will still maintain their jobs, only that we are under new directives now.” My pulse thundering, I ask my most dreaded question. “What new directives, doctor?” 15:32 Thu, 25 Jan B· Chapter 4 Doctor Hemsworth heaves a breath, as if unsure on how to approach the subject. “Our new boss specifically directed us to take off every single existing discount on treatments, and there’s nothing I can do about it.”

For a moment, I remain silent, staring unseeingly at the doctor as my world comes crashing down once more. “For all the patients?” I ask quietly. He shakes his head. “That is what I do not understand. The directive only affects your mother.” My eyes snap to his in shock. What the hell? “Excuse me? Why just mum? What did she do?” The hairs on the back of my neck pri ckle with awareness, but I ignore it, focusing on my shock instead. “I have no idea. But this means that instead of the slashed five thousand dollars

per session, you will be paying the normal twenty thousand dollars per session from now on. I am so sorry. I wish I could help.” I stare down at my knotted fingers, willing my tears not to fall. “But why me?” “Like I said before, I have absolutely no idea.” Dr. Hemsworth says in sympathy, “but you could ask our new boss. He’s right behind you.” Startled, I turn sharply to the door. The man who leans lazily against the door frame with a cold smirk on his lips has all the blood draining from my face. Shocked, I sag against my seat. I should have known. Marco f ucking Marcelli. excuse us “Why don’t you doctor?” Marco’s voice filters into the room. My heart gallops wildly against my ribcage as I watch him walk into Dr. Hemsworth’s office like he owns the place.

The good doctor sends another sympathetic look my way, shakes his head and 40%! 15:32 Thu, 25 Jan B – Chapter 4 scrambles out of the office like his tail is on fire. I don’t blame him. Marco’s sharp, icy stare looks like it could freeze the very depths of hell.

“Lily Carson. We meet again.” He leans against the table beside me and I bunch my fingers into fists, willing myself not to react to his close proximity. “Why are you doing this?” I ask through gritted teeth. He meets my narrow eyed stare with a hard look of his own. I sight a red mark on his cheek from when I slapped him earlier and promptly look away. “If you’re doing this just because I refused to wh ore myself out to you, them I am highly disappointed. One would think a man of your standard…a married man of your standard would be below such things.” The corner of his lips lift in a derisive smirk and anger shoots through my blood stream. When he moves closer to me, I try to get up and run but his cold baritone stops me in my tracks. “If you walk past that door, you might as well take your mother with you I will because no longer be harbouring a debtor in my hospital.” Shocked and defeated, I sink back in my seat. He walks even closer and suddenly, I cannot breathe. The doctor’s office is large, but Marco Marcelli easily dwarfs the entire room with his imposing presence, sucking in every bit of oxygen in the process. In a blur, his fingers lash out and grip my chin, sending a jolt of electricity through my entire b*dy. Gone is the handsome stranger who held me while I cried just this morning. In his place is a cold, harsh Italian monster.

“No one has ever refused me before.” He says, his blue eyes darkening. “No

woman has ever said no to me. No one has ever dared to hit me either…least of all a woman.” His hot breath against my face has my entire b*dy tingling with awareness. “I’ve met you for just two hours, but you have succeeded in breaking every single rule in my invisible rule book.” His voice lowers to a cold growl, “and I will not let you go scot-free.” My pulse quickens with the warning signs of fear. This man could hurt me. This man has the power to destroy me. “You problem is with me, Mr. Marcelli. You do not have to get my sick mother involved.” 15:32 Thu, 25 Jan B Chapter 4 His grip on my chin tightens and I let out a gasp at the slight pain. 日≥40%語 “Let me make myself clear. I do not only intend to make you suffer for daring to defy me, for daring to lay your unworthy hands on me. Your family and everyone dear to you will suffer as well. You see, you have started a war which you will never be able to win, cara mia.” I fiinch at the term of endearment. Cara mia proclamation of doom. Coming from him, it sounds like a “Take your hands off me.” I say, trying to keep my shaky voice steady. Something dark crosses his eyes. “You do not get to dish out orders, Lily. Infact, I like you like this…right here…” my breath catches in my throat as his lips suddenly graze lightly across my cheeks, sending an unexpected surge of electricity straight to my core. “Wh…what are you doing?” I stutter. “You try so hard to pretend like you do not want this, like you are not affected by me. But I can see right through your lies, cara. I can see right through you.” I shut my eyes tight, willing my sc at tered nerves to calm the f uck down.

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“I do not want this. You’re married, for f uck’s sake!” He ignores my outburst, concentrating instead on slowly driving me mad as his lips move across my checks, leaving hot, wet trails in his wake. “So if I reach down and slip my fingers across your S**, I won’t find you wet? Wet for me?” I freeze. For a moment, I am pretty sure the only sounds in the room is the thumping of my heartbeat. My frantic eyes dart to the open door. Anyone could come in and see us. Summing up courage, I push against him with all the strength I’ve got and scramble out of the chair. My breath comes out in heavy puffs as I move as far away from the devil in Armani as possible. “What. Do. You. Want. From. Me?” I seethe. He straightens smoothly. His eyes are back to burning a hot sapphire blue. “The time of wanting things from you are over, miss Carson.” He growls. “Now is the time to take, and I assure you, I will be taking a lot.” 15:32 Thu, 25 Jan B Chapter 4 Tears of anger and frustration pri ck my eyes. “But I do not want your offer!” I scream. “Why on earth would you want to throw my sick mother out on the streets? What do want me to do? Kneel down and beg?!”

A stray tear falls down my check and I hastily wipe it away, hating that I cannot control my feelings before this man. Meanwhile, his fingers caress his lips lazily as he stares at me with an intensity that has my cheeks heating. “Actually, yes.” I freeze. “What?” He sinks his hands into the pockets of his pristine-slacks. “Get on your knees and beg me, Lily.” At my narrowed eyed stare, he lifts a brow in challenge. “That is my only offer. If you do not want your mother sent out of my hospital this very instant, get down on your knees and beg me. Make it good.” My heart twists at the empty look in his eyes. Then I realize that he’s not joking. The man really wants me to beg. Never! I lift my chin and stare him down. “I will never get on my knees for you. You can go to hell.” He just shrugs. “I’m about to make a call that would alert the hospital staff to cancel all of your mother’s treatments and take her off oxygen support. If I make that call, there is no going back. Think wisely, cara.” He retrieves a sleek, black phone from his pocket and my heartbeat quickens in panic. When he begins dialling a number from memory, I hold out a hand. “Stop. Please, stop. Stop this!” He lowers the phone by a fraction. 15 32 Thu, 25 Jan EF- Chapter 4 “Don’t waste my time, miss Carson. Any minute now.” 盘米气40% After a few seconds of biting my lips and considering all my options, I come to a conclusion. I have no other choice. I cannot afford to send mum to a new hospital. Not now. I walk slowly forward until I am standing before him, my head firmly lowered.

“I want you to look me in the eyes when you beg me.” My head snaps up and my eyes meet his. I hope he can see all the hatred I feel for him in that one stare. I hate him so much. “And Lily, if I am not convinced by your plea, your mother’s treatments will still be cancelled.” Anger heats my veins. “On your knees, Lily Carson.” He orders. Pain, embarrassment and anger battle for domination within me as I slowly lower to my knees. I try hard to school my features into one of remorse and look straight into his eyes. “Please, Mr Marcelli, do not cancel my mother’s treatments. Please, I’m begging you.” Shame burns in my guts as the man before me smiles coldly. My pulse accelerates when he comes closer. He lowers his frame until we’re face to face, my nerves roiling as I await his verdict. “If you honestly think that this pathetic excuse of an apology makes up for what you’ve done, then start rethinking quickly. Pay your debts by the end of the week, Lily, or your mother will be out on the streets.” Then he straightens and walks out, leaving me on my knees with tears in my eyes. Marco Marcelli is just a monster beneath his expensive disguise. Nothing will ever convince me otherwise. SEND GIFT