Chapter 3

Her gaze lifted to his once again, and those crimson eyes burned into hers. There was no expression in those eyes. He could have just as easily been staring at a wall. However, there was a depth of knowledge that shown in those abyssal pools of blood.

She realized that she had stopped breathing, and quickly exhaled as she began to walk forward once again. Her eyes stared straight ahead and she strode past him, trying to pretend he wasn't even there. The gaze followed her, and she soon heard his footsteps casually following her.

Seeing as she was being followed, she decided to exit out the front doors rather than the back alley she would normally use. There was no telling what this man wanted, and Lena would much rather not find out.

The air immediately became oppressive as she stepped out into the thick crowd. Dark bodies swirled around her. Everyone was pressing forward to get the best view possible of the mirrored room. Lena only glanced over to see two men glaring at each other in the room. It was always strange to be in the noisy crowd after the death like silence of the mirrored room.

She turned her focus back to weaving through the crowd. Bodies tried to push her forward as she fought to reach the back. There were never people all the way at the back, and she knew that she could get out of the building quickly that way.

The heat and humidity made her begin to sweat again, and she heaved a sigh of relief as she finally reached the back of the crowd.

The man with the red eyes was already standing there staring at her again. Had it been any other situation, Lena would have laughed and asked how the hell he got there so fast. His gaze made her turn cold, despite the heat of the room, and she continued on toward the exit.

She could smell the cool night air wafting into the stifling arena as she approached the exit. She filled her lungs as she pushed her way past the last few people and stepped out onto the pavement. The air carried the hint of leather, and her gaze flicked to the wall next to the door.

He was leaning against the wall gazing intently at her. In her dismay, she actually looked back into the arena and saw that the only conceivable way out was the way she had come. How the hell did he still get out here before she did?

She spun around, causing her heavy wet braid to swing around and hit someone behind her. She didn't pay any attention to the person's protests as she began marching home.

The cheers of the arena began to fade, and between the sounds of passing cars Lena heard the footsteps of the man following her. She shoved her hands deep into her pockets and wondered just what he wanted with her.

The night air was cool and refreshing. She actually shivered a little as the cold wetness of her hair chilled the back of her neck. Her shiver was also induced by the stare that seemed to almost bore into the back of her head.

If he wanted to kill her or rape her, all he needed to do was pull her into one of the many alleys that trailed off of the street. She would put up one hell of a fight, but she was quite sure this man would win in the end.

Suddenly, she stopped. This was ridiculous. She spun around and met the gaze of her new shadow. He was about ten steps behind her, and it didn't seem to faze him at all that she had abruptly halted.

"What do you want?" She half expected him not to answer and to keep standing there staring at her. "I'm waiting for you to die," his voice deep and smooth. With how quietly he spoke, it was a wonder that she could hear him so clearly.

"I beg your pardon?" she arched a questioning eyebrow at him, but he seemed to have no intention of repeating himself. "I'm currently in rather good health, so I don't think I'll just be dropping dead any time soon . . . "

"To be more specific," he cut her off, "I'm waiting for someone to kill you. Then I will kill that person."

She blinked at him several times. Her mouth opened and closed a few times as she tried to form her question, but all she could come up with was, "Why?"

He looked at her as if the answer were quite obvious, then he replied, "Because the bounty on the head of the one who kills you will be much higher than the bounty on your own head."

Ah, bounty hunters. Pit bosses frequently put bounties on the heads of their rivals' fighters. She thought she would be spared that since she didn't work for anyone except herself. Apparently she was wrong.

She looked up at her own personal Grim Reaper and rolled her eyes. "I hate Pit politics. That's why I'm a loner. Well, come on, I suppose you can sleep on the couch." She started forward then stopped again and looked back at him. "Unless of course you intend on standing over me and staring all night as well." She didn't wait for an answer as she rounded the corner toward her apartment complex.

His footsteps hesitated a moment before she heard him following her again. Perhaps she had actually said something he wasn't quite accustomed to.

They climbed the stairs up to the third floor, and she tore a note from her landlord off of her door. Ben had been after her since she moved in. He had even said she could stay here for free if she would sleep with him. She always managed to get rid of him though.

She shoved the key in the lock and pushed the door open. The apartment was modestly furnished. There was just one chair, a coffee table, and a sofa in the living room. Lena gingerly pulled her coat off and tossed it on the table.

Her shoulder was stiff and tender. She flicked on the lights and turned to her unexpected house guest. "Have a seat; make yourself comfortable." His gaze held hers for a moment, and then his eyes finally moved from her to survey his surroundings.

She stepped to the kitchen unit and pulled an ice pack out of the freezer. The sound of him settling onto the couch made her relax instantly. She wrapped a hand towel around the ice pack and stepped back out into the living room. His gaze was back on her once again.

In this new light, she had a much better view of him. Black hair fell to his shoulders, and his leather coat was accompanied by leather pants. There was no real way of telling how old he was. At the very least, he was in his mid twenties. The depths of those eyes hinted that he was much older than that, or perhaps he had been forced to abandon the innocence of his youth. His whole being seemed to exist in those crimson eyes.

Lena leaned against the wall and undid the top two buttons of her blouse to slip the ice pack onto her shoulder. He didn't even blink. She didn't know why she was so shy about him seeing her naked. It did not seem as though he cared in the slightest.

"So," Lena almost flinched as her voice pierced the silence. "If you're going to be my shadow until the moment of my death, can you at least tell me your name?"

He seemed to consider her for a moment before simply saying, "Percival."

She shifted the ice pack and winced. "Well, Percival, I wish I could say I was pleased to meet you, but under the circumstances . . . "

"I would not expect it." A hint of a smirk played on the corner of his mouth. It suited him.

Suddenly there was a shuffling noise from the apartment over head. "Shit," Lena muttered. Ben had heard her. She pulled the ice pack off of her shoulder and glanced around. Her brain was working furiously trying to think of a way to get rid of him.

Half of her just wanted to kick his ass. It would be easy enough and would only take about two seconds, but finding another apartment so close to the Pits would take far longer than that.

Last night she had feigned illness, but tonight he knew that she was well because she had fought three matches. She made a grab for her coat thinking she could slip out the fire escape, and then her eyes fell on Percival.

Her mind churned, and she knew that the slightest gaze from this man could make anyone back down. She quickly unbuttoned her blouse completely and pulled at her tank top, stretching the material to reveal the edge of her bra.

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