Jesse wasn't sure which was worse as she leaned against the tree, struggling to catch her breath and trying not to think of her injuries-- the times he caught her, or not knowing where he was.
No one was that quiet... that fast.
How could she never hear him coming? It didn't make sense.
She was determined not to let him catch up with her again as she stood there, feeling her heart pounding away heavily against her ribs. If he managed to catch her---
No. She couldn't bear to think about it.
Reaching up to absently slip the one remaining strap on her night- shirt back into place over her shoulder, she turned around and peered carefully around the tree, focusing her eyes on the darkness and sweeping her gaze over the meadow, looking for any sign of her attacker, and feeling herself relax only a little bit when she realized he wasn't anywhere in sight.
"Oww..." she groaned softly, sobbing softly as she clenched her right hand flat against her lower abdomen, feeling her knees give out as she let her full weight rest against the trunk of the tree, closing her eyes as she collapsed onto her knees beside the tree and bowing her head against its rough bark as she pressed her hand against her stomach, remembering him kicking her hard and sending her flying only moments before.
"Dear me," his voice rumbled in her ear suddenly, making her gasp and whirl to find herself facing him, leaving her pressing her back against the tree behind her as she found him standing only inches before her, a wicked grin on his lips as his black eyes bore into her wide ones, "Did I hurt you?"
She was trembling all over as she forced herself back onto her feet before him, and as she held his gaze, struggling to get her tongue to function long enough to let her answer him, she knew he realized it as his cruel grin widened until it seemed almost cartoon-ish before her.
"What was that?" he smirked at her, lifting his hand to tap his fingertip against his ear as he batted his eyes at her, mocking her lack of speech, "I couldn't hear you over the sound of your knees knocking together," he grinned, glancing down at her knees before he met her gaze again, his grin widening as he saw her press her knees more firmly together in the wake of his sudden shift in attention.
"...yes..." she managed finally, swallowing hard and feeling grateful for the fact that she'd gotten even that one word out, with all the screaming she'd done during the attack, feeling her body aching still from the fight she'd put up in her futile attempts to force him away from her.
"You can cry if you want," he said as their eyes held, then he suddenly bowed his head low before her, his black eyes burning into hers suddenly from the top of his vision as his smirk widened further still, "In fact, I'd prefer it if you did. The louder the better."
"No..." she managed softly, shaking her head as their eyes held.
"Didn't seem to have a problem with it before," he smirked cruelly at her.
She swallowed hard over the urge to cower before him as their eyes held, searching his gaze with her own.
"You enjoy it," she breathed suddenly, her forehead creasing as he grinned at her words.
"Why wouldn't I?" he smirked at her, stepping in closer before her, and despite herself, Jesse shrank away from him, pressing back hard against the trunk of the tree at her back, and biting back a low grunt of pain as the rough bark bit into the tender flesh of her back, still sore all over from all the times he'd managed to catch up with her that night, throwing her down so many times she'd lost count.
"This is all a game to you, isn't it?" she asked him as she stood there, holding his dark gaze.
He didn't answer her, and it was getting harder by the second for her not to cower before him as he stood there, staring her down with his cold, hungry gaze, the cold, cruel grin on his lips.
"Isn't it?!" she demanded, her eyes accusing as they clashed with his own, and she felt anger shoot through her body at the thought that he was enjoying making her suffer for whatever reason.
"The more I scare you, the better you smell," he purred, reaching out to suddenly take a firm grip on her long, dark hair, making her cry out as he tugged at it hard, forcing her head back.
"No..." Jess panted softly, seeing him lift his hand and seeing him reach out to cup her face in his hands again, her voice breaking in the wake of the screams that had torn from her throat in the not-so-distant past.
Suddenly, he felt something slam hard into his most sensitive areas, and he doubled over, his hands going to the injured area.
An animalistic growl left him as he saw her move to dash past him in her desperate need to get away from her attacker, and, reaching out, he caught her by her long hair and gripped hard, jerking her backwards and making her cry out as she arched her back, lifting her hands to try and pry his hand loose.
"How'd that smell?" she spat through gritted teeth, grunting softly in pain as he tugged hard on her hair at her words, forcing her head back.
"I'm going to make you pay for that," he growled at her, his voice full of warning.
Bringing her head back hard suddenly, she caught him directly in the face with the back of her head, sending him staggering backwards, his forehead creasing with surprise as she turned to face him.
"You'll have to catch me first, you bastard," Jesse managed in her ruined voice, feeling some satisfaction when she saw a trickle of blood trailing down from where he'd bit his lip.
Turning, she took off running again, her eyes scanning the darkness as she fled into the woods without looking back.
Touching the tip of his tongue against the cut on his lip, he allowed a low chuckle as the taste of blood hit his senses, and he lifted his gaze in time to see her disappear behind a tree some distance away, her long, dark hair bannering out behind her as she ran.
"I'm looking forward to it," he purred under his breath, taking off after her once more, his dark eyes glittering with hunger as he went.