I need to turn around somehow, to go back to the cabin and make sure Fred is all right. I am without my wand, without any kind of magic property and I am not yet skilled in the ways of the Veela to conjure anything that would protect him. I gulp in the cold air, feeling it stab into my lungs with every breath. Finally I reach the clearing leading down into the stream and I dart to the left, eager to slip back into the woods back to Fred.
"Gabrielle," Nicholas's voice beckons, hoarse and full of fury. I glance over my shoulder, my hair whipping against my face and I scream as he lunges at me. We fall painfully to the cold ground and he grips my shoulder and jerks me onto my back. I scream again and reach up to scratch him but he grabs my wrists and holds them down onto the ground painfully, his knees straddling me to keep me still. "Stop moving or I shall have to break every precious bone in your body to keep you still!"
I inhale sharply, staring wide eyed up at him as his lips curl over his white teeth. "Get off of me," I rasp, struggling to lift my knee into his groin. "My mere will kill you if you touch me."
"She's given you to me, body and soul," Nicholas replies, his jaw clenching as his hands tighten around my wrist, causing me to cry out softly. "You've whored yourself with common filth, darling. That is unacceptable to me as I am sure it will be to your mother when she finds out what her precious ange has been up to while she has been away. Or did you fuck that baseborn trash right under her nose?"
"Let me up," I plead, my body beginning to shake uncontrollably from the chilled air as well as my fear. "Please don't hurt Fred--"
Nicholas smirks and he shoves my arms up over my head as one large hand takes hold of my wrists. He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a diamond ring, it's beauty marred by the situation and looking at it makes me nauseous. "You beg for his life when you are the reason he will fall to death? You should have known better, ma ange. You were promised to me by your mother, a Veela. Your soul and your body are mine and mine only. He will suffer horribly for touching you."
Tears form in my eyes as my mind begins to imagine horrific images of what they are doing to Fred as I lay here helpless. "I don't belong to you," I whisper. "I will never be bound to you, and I will never marry you."
He shifts quickly, digging his knee between my legs until they part against the dirt. I begin to scream again and I thrash against him as he releases my arms. He lifts me to him recklessly, his hand tugging my wrist toward him as he tries to shove the ring onto my finger. I hear him speaking, binding me to him as I feel my anger and pain overflow within me. I reach up to slap him and the contact of my palm against his cheek stuns him momentarily. He narrows his dark eyes at me and shoves me down again as we begin to struggle. I feel the ring on my finger and I curl my fingers instinctively.
Nicholas snarls at me and I push at him with all my might, gasping as he falls backward, the ring falling from his fingers to the ground. I grab it quickly and stand, running toward the stream. My feet absorb the shock of the icy water as I toss the diamond into the stream and watch it disappear beneath the black surface. I feel satisfaction, relief, and then it is gone as his arm wraps around my neck and pulls me back.
"You ungrateful little whore!" He flings me down again and my head hits the ground, causing me to groan as pain spreads and white shock flashes behind my eyes. I roll onto my side and try to curl up but Nicholas reaches down to grip my forearms painfully. He shakes me violently and I hear him cursing me. "Your punishment for disobedience will be painful and I will see every inch of your flawless body lashed for what you've done." His hands and fingernails dig into me and I simply gasp, breathing heavily at the pain. When my vision clears I see him tugging at his belt as he leans over me. He's watching me with a mixture of rage and arousal and my eyes widen as he unbuttons his trousers.
"No!" I yell, lifting my leg and kicking him hard in the groin. He doubles over in pain, his cry echoing along the base of the trees and I scramble to my feet and wince as I begin to run again, my survival important only because it means I can get back to Fred to make sure he is still alive. But Nicholas' angry yell and the footsteps behind me have me choking back another scream as I know hope is dwindling.