The Hot Zone

Chapter 8


Zander was finally released from his bindings. He lay on the cold floor in a naked heap, shivering and trying not to whimper. He felt dirty from the inside out. He was sheened in a cold sweat, slicked with blood and semen, some of which was dried and crusted on his skin. The scent of sex and blood was heavy in the air and it made Zander nauseous. He prayed for death or dark oblivion. But when Arroyo crouched down beside him, Zander opened his eyes and glared at him defiantly. He felt broken, but he would not let Arroyo see him break.


"You were such a bad boy, Zander," Arroyo drawled as he stroked Zander's hair off his forehead. Sweat dampened hair. "I hated having to do this to you, but you needed to be punished."


"Fuck you!" Zander hissed, his voice dry and hoarse. He couldn't remember the last time he had food or water. He had no idea how many days had passed. Maybe it had only been hours.


Arroyo's fingers tightened, painfully, in Zander's hair. "You are a slow learner."

Zander managed a crooked smirk. "Maybe you'd better teach me another lesson," he said, knowingly goading Arroyo into taking action. Zander knew that Sonny would keep his word to protect Alexis and the baby. Jason would make sure of it, of that Zander had no doubt. For whatever reason, Jason had taken on a protective role with Zander and he knew it would spill over onto Alexis. And since he was secure in that knowledge, all Zander cared about now was ending this torture. He wanted Arroyo to kill him. Either beat him to death or fuck him to death. It didn't matter anymore, just so long as it was over. And then Zander would finally be free of everything.


"As angry as I am with you...I am also very pleased," Arroyo stated. He smiled at Zander's look of confusion. "Most men would have broken by now...but not you, Zander. You're strong and defiant...I admire that."

"Bullshit. You want me broken and obedient." Zander felt his teeth begin to chatter. He was so damn cold and now he was afraid that his plan wouldn't work. He didn't want Arroyo to be proud of him. He wanted Arroyo to be angry. Furious. To punish him to death.


Arroyo leaned in to kiss Zander, then rose to his feet. "I'm going to take care of you now," he said softly, then he clapped his hands.

Zander flinched as he found himself wrapped in a blanket then lifted into the massive arms of one of the guards. No doubt one who had fucked him, or shoved his cock in Zander's mouth, or both. He wanted to protest but it took all his will power just to hold back his tears and whimpers of pain. A few minutes later, Zander found himself in the bathroom off of Arroyo's master bedroom. He was helpless to resist as the guard ran a bath then put him in it. Truthfully, the hot water felt good, soaking into him and easing away the cold. Zander felt himself drifting off.


When he came awake it was to find himself in bed and dressed in sweat pants and a t-shirt. Arroyo was drawing the covers over him. Zander frowned as he realized the doctor was there as well, closing his black bag. Which meant he must have examined him, but Zander didn't remember it. For that he was rather grateful. He started to drift off again when he felt a pinprick in his arm. Zander's eyes flew open. "No!" he hissed.


"It's all right," Arroyo said, soothingly. "It's just a little something to ease the pain, Zander. Nothing that will hurt you. Sleep now. You've earned your rest."


Zander didn't reply, he simply closed his eyes and let darkness claim him.


* * * * *

Nikolas tapped his hands against the steering wheel. He was waiting in the van for Jason to arrive with Zander. They were at Arroyo's Penthouse and Jason had gone in after Zander. He told Nikolas to be ready to move. Nikolas was as ready as he could be. He still couldn't believe he was doing this. Uprooting his life to go on the run with Zander Smith. It was crazy...insane...but he was ready for it.


In the distance he heard a kind of rumbling sound and Nikolas realized that it was the explosives Jason had brought with him, to provide a distraction. If all went as planned, Jason would be back with Zander any minute now. Nikolas took a deep, calming, breath and told himself that everything would be okay. Zander would be okay.


Just then the side door opened. Nikolas turned in his seat to see Jason laying Zander out in the back. He covered him with a blanket. "Is he okay?" Nikolas asked. Zander looked pale and limp.


"He will be," Jason replied. "Take off. I'll call you." With that he slammed the door closed and was gone.


"Hang on, Zander," Nikolas said as he put the van in gear and drove off. They would reach the first safe house in six hours.


* * * * *


Nikolas carried Zander into the safe house. He had stirred a few times in the van, but never woke up completely. That worried Nikolas more than a little. The fact that Zander felt so light, bothered him as well. Nikolas laid him out on the bed then covered him with the blanket. He brushed a lock of dark hair off Zander's forehead and studied the pale face. Zander looked impossibly young and surprisingly fragile. Not a word Nikolas would have thought he'd ever use to describe Zander Smith. The guy might not be physically imposing, but he wasn't one to ever let that stop him from taking someone on. Zander was fearless in that regard, and Nikolas admired that about him. Right now he was worried.

When his cell phone rang, Nikolas jumped. He dug it out of his pocket and moved into the kitchen to talk. "Hello."

"Did you make it to the safe house?" Jason asked.

"Yeah...we just got here."


"How is Zander?"


Nikolas was quiet for a moment. "I don't know. He's still sleeping. What the hell did Arroyo do to him."


It was Jason's turn for a moment of silence. Then he blurted out the truth. "He raped him."

"What?" Nikolas was beyond stunned.


"There's a bag in the van with ointments, aspirin, antibiotics and stuff," Jason stated. "Use them on Zander as needed. Check him for fever. From what I heard, it was bad. He's torn up. You’ll need to check him."


Nikolas wasn't sure what to say. "I...Fuck. What the hell is going on, Jason? Why would Arroyo do this to Zander?"


Jason sighed. "To punish him. It's a long story. In a nutshell...Sonny sold Zander to Arroyo and the guy isn't going to be happy that Zander is gone. I'll do what I can to keep him off your trail. But he's already contacted people to find Zander. So be careful. Think you can handle it?"


"I can handle it." Nikolas hung up. He went back into the room and found Zander twitching and muttering in his sleep. He pressed a hand to Zander's forehead. The skin was a bit too warm. Cursing to himself, Nikolas went to the van to retrieve the things Jason had mentioned. He couldn't wrap his mind around the fact that Zander had been raped. Once back in the room, he studied Zander and he saw the ligature marks on his wrists.


Nikolas sighed and tugged down the blanket. He froze when Zander suddenly rolled onto his side, curling up a bit. Nikolas waited to see if Zander would stir again, but he seemed to be back in a deep sleep. Ironically, the new position would make things easier for Nikolas. Carefully he pulled up Zander's tee shirt, then he eased down the waist band of the sweat pants, baring Zander's ass. Biting his lip, Nikolas let his hands come to rest on the muscled globes of taut flesh. He eased them open and winced at the red and torn flesh. Jason had been telling the truth. Reaching for the ointment, Nikolas put some on his fingers then he smeared it over the torn flesh, feeling Zander stiffen. It broke Nikolas's heart when Zander started muttering again.


"No…please stop…please stop..."

"Shh..." Nikolas whispered. "It's okay, Zander. You're safe now." Nikolas eased off the bed when Zander seemed to quiet down. He went to pull the sweatpants back into place and smoothed the tee shirt down before covering Zander with the blanket. Then he went into the kitchen to wash his hands. He dried them then rubbed his face. To his surprise his hand came away wet. He was crying for Zander. For his pain. And Nikolas vowed to protect the other man. No matter what. No one deserved that kind of pain.


Moving back into the bedroom, Nikolas eased himself into the chair by the bed and locked his eyes on Zander's still form. He would keep vigil for the night. But he ended up doing more than that when Zander cried out and started thrashing about. Nikolas went to him, hands gripping Zander's shoulders to hold him still, only to feel Zander fighting against his hold, fighting with desperate strength. Nikolas did the only thing he could think of. He pulled Zander into his arms and rocked him. "Shh..." he whispered against the dark hair. "It's okay, Zander. You're safe now. I won't let anyone hurt you ever again." Nikolas meant what he said. And he was relieved when Zander went still in his arms. And when he knew Zander was sleeping again, Nikolas eased him back down against the pillows.

Instead of returning to the chair, Nikolas stretched out next to Zander and closed his eyes. And soon he felt asleep. And he dreamed about making love.
With Zander.



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