Vanquished (The Encounter #3)(9)

Written By: Pamela Ann

Walking out of there and striding towards the elevator, I felt as if something punched me in my chest. Still, I managed to trudge through, pressing the call button and waiting for the lift with a heavy heart.

I had royally f*cked everything up, and I had no one to blame but my deluded self. So much for all the bullshit I had fed myself.

The elevator dinged before me, indicating it had arrived, just as I heard his voice calling out to me. My heartbeat instantly picked up speed as I fought the urge to stay and try to explain myself to him.

I didn’t look back as I hurriedly entered the cart, quickly stabbing the button to take me to the main level of the hotel.

“Isobel!” He caught me in the elevator with nothing but unbuttoned pants on. “If you know what’s good for you, you better start walking back into the suite.” He looked mighty disheveled, but he had never looked sexier in my eyes.

“I know what the repercussions are …” Nervously, I matched his gaze. “I don’t care. Hurt us all. I don’t care anymore.”

Without a word, he placed his thumbprint on the elevator pad, pressing it before the penthouse button began blinking, as if waiting for a command. “You’re not going anywhere, not without my permission.”

Why wouldn’t he just stop this? I was exhausted from arguing.

“Let me go … please.”

“No.” He was unwavering before pressing for more answers. “Why did you lie to me, Isobel?”

I had told him earlier in the bedroom. Did he not hear me? “Because … I’m in love with you; that’s why.”

Something flashed in his eyes as he stepped closer to me while I stood there, waiting for him to engulf me with his presence, with his scent, with his masculinity.

“So you lied to hurt me?” he asked under his breath, halting just as he towered over me magnificently.

I nodded in confirmation. “I can’t take the thought of you with anyone else.”

His eyes reached into my soul, into my heart. “I can’t be with you, Isobel.”

“I know,” I whispered back with a broken smile. His rejection wasn’t new to me, yet it felt as though it was.

“I’m sorry.”

Why did he have to be sorry? No, I wasn’t that petty. I wasn’t going to let him see me fall apart. No.

Trying to fight the tears that were a breath away from streaming down, I begged, “I know it’s over … so please, just end my misery and let me go.”

“Isobel …”

I hysterically shook my head. “I have to go. I can’t—I can’t do this. Please.” Just as I finished uttering the words, I felt his arms around me, holding me close, and I tried to fight and push his chest with all my might.

“Let me hold you at least,” he pressed, tightening his hold around me.

His gesture made me sob uncontrollably. It was as if the floodgates were open and there was no way to shut them.

“Why did I have to fall for you? Why did you make me fall for you, Hugo?”

“I’m sorry … I’ll forever remember you, Isobel.” He kissed my forehead while I clung to him.

’He would forever remember me. Great. That should be some consolation, I supposed.

Nevertheless, this was the hardest good-bye.

One that would surely scar me until eternity.

Chapter Six


Whoever said getting closure was the quickest way to heal a broken heart was delusional. It had been twenty-one days of unbelievable misery, nonstop crying, and sheer neglect of my own well-being. It was so bad I had forgotten what it felt like to be hungry. Maybe it was the bare fact that I hadn’t heard from Hugo ever since he had let me go that night in the elevator, standing back with an emotionless face as the door closed, shutting us apart forever.

If that wasn’t finality, I didn’t know what was. I was reeling from it all—the speedy rate that our relationship escalated and fell flat like a heavy block of ice, shattering like shards before becoming a mere memory that was sometimes remembered, sometimes forgotten. The latter option would be more realistic since he had a lot of women to entertain him, while I, on the other hand, trudged through life at a snail’s pace, picking up the broken pieces and trying to glue them back together. The scars would remain visible, but at least I would be alive and living, not some broken shell of who I was, hoping ’I would one day wake up with the pain finally subsiding and being bearable.

Waking up this morning was no different than yesterday … and the day before that. My days were bleak, uneventful, and beyond monotonous. Releasing a melancholic sigh? I slid off the bed and heavily stomped my way towards the kitchen in dire need of a good dose of caffeine, hoping ’it would give me a little shot of life back into my body.

Chaotically forming my unwashed hair into a haphazard bun, I moved towards the coffee machine, mechanically doing the usual habit of pouring the water into the pot as I measured it until it reached six cups. I released a sigh and barely glanced up when Claire strode past me, heading towards the fridge as she enthusiastically hummed a jovial tune.

“I hope today’s the day,” she muttered, probably speaking to herself.

Choosing to ignore her, I went about my task, scooping coffee grinds before placing them into the strainer. Normally, ’I would make some chitchat, but ever since getting back from that abhorrent event in my life, nothing had been the same.