Chapter 1: Reborn
“Let me go! Let me go!” Amidst the fiery glow, a beautiful woman was bound by her delicate wrists with chains.
“Oh… dear sister, even if you scream until your throat is hoarse, no one will come to your aid,” sneered Josie Summers. Her posture contorted as she wore a smug and disdainful expression.
Her sister, Belinda Summers gasped for breath, choking on the thick smoke, and coughed twice. “Harley will come. I’m his fiancée. He’ll be here soon enough,” she uttered with conviction.
“Fiancée?” The man, drawn by the sound of his name, cast a scornful glance her way. “How could an ugly woman like you possibly be my fiancée?” He glared at her with disdain.
Harley Rex enveloped Josie in his embrace, gazing at her affectionately. “Josie, let us return. There’s no point in wasting time with this unsightly woman. She won’t survive regardless,” he murmured tenderly.
Josie nodded softly. “Of course, Harley.”
“I will not die here,” Belinda declared, her teeth bared and her beautiful eyes brimming with resentment.
The man she had admired turned out to be the lowest of scum, having an affair with her very own sister.
In a moment of despair, Belinda shut her eyes tightly. If there was an afterlife, she vowed to never let this vile couple take advantage of her again.
During her final moments, a familiar fragrance reached Belinda’s senses—a subtle hint of mint permeated the air around her.
“Wayne…?” Belinda whispered, convinced that it must be a figment of her imagination.
“Don’t be afraid. I’ll get these chains off,” the man reassured, his entire body shielding the girl, ensuring the flames would not harm her. With one hand securing her, he skillfully worked to set her free.
Belinda stared at the man with wide eyes, shocked.
She was the one who’d broken off her engagement with him, sending him spiraling into a manic episode. It ruined his reputation and turned him into a social outcast. So why, in the end, did he come to her rescue?
“I can’t free you… I suppose we’ll die together after all, won’t we?” The man’s voice carried a hint of macabre insanity.
“No! I refuse to accept that. You must leave. Go!” Belinda exerted all her strength, attempting to push the man away with determination.
However, the man grew more resolute, his grip tightening, as if he yearned to pull Belinda closer into his embrace. “Oh, darling… I am not afraid of death. I’m afraid of losing you,” he confessed earnestly.
Belinda’s eyes welled up with tears, her voice choked with emotion. “Very well, then let us remain together for eternity.”
The roaring flames engulfed the two figures, their bodies intertwined as if they were inseparable, refusing to be torn apart.
. . .
As Belinda’s eyes fluttered open once more, her vision hazy and disoriented, she found herself partially submerged in the bathtub, the water concealing her beautiful form.
This scene… Belinda struggled to widen her eyes, a sense of familiarity washing over her.
“Belinda, you can’t leave me. I won’t let you,” declared the arrogant man as he removed the wristwatch from his hand. His eyes glowed with a menacing scarlet hue, exuding a dreadful aura.
“Wayne? Didn’t you…” Belinda trailed off when she saw the man’s sinister expression.
“If you insist on leaving, then I’ll be forced to kill him,” Wayne uttered coldly, toying with a knife. His slender fingers caressed the blade, staining the edge with blood.
Droplets of blood clung to the tip of the knife, gradually trickling down and merging with the water, blossoming into a malevolent shade of crimson.
“Don’t,” Belinda said, reaching out to grip the blade, mixing her blood with his.
A flicker of concern flashed across Wayne’s narrow eyes, prompting him to swiftly retract the knife. “Do you really care for him that much?”
Belinda shook her head vehemently, her heart aching for Wayne. “Wayne, I am not leaving you. I will not go anywhere. I promise to stay with you and your family forever, alright?”
Belinda experienced an overwhelming sense of euphoria in the face of death.
She had truly been reborn, granted a second chance at life!
Thankfully, Wayne had not yet reached the depths of despair in his mental state.
With excitement coursing through her, Belinda rose from the bathtub, but the slippery surface caused her to stumble and fall.
Reacting swiftly, Wayne reached out to catch her, but it was no use. The two of them tumbled back into the tub together.
The contours of his features were exquisitely chiseled, his well-defined silhouette resembling a work of art. His narrow, dark eyes held a depth and intensity that intrigued her.
“Belinda… I will never let you go, no matter what, because you belong to me and me alone. Do you understand?” The man rested against the side of the bathtub, his thin lips tightly pursed, almost resembling a smile.
His intense possessiveness stemmed not solely from his manic state, but… because the woman before him was the sole occupant of his heart.
He was willing to embrace madness and become a demon, all for the sake of Belinda.
And if the world thought him insane, then so what?
Belinda’s nose crinkled as she remembered what this man looked like while he tried to unchain her.
Lost in his eyes, she pressed her hands against his chest.
“Wayne,” she breathed. “I want you…”
This life was her second chance, and she wanted to use it to love Wayne properly. Her body was all she could offer to prove it.
The man’s body trembled and his eyes widened. Did he hear her correctly?
“Please,” Belinda leaned forward and nipped at his lower lip. “I need you.”
That was the first time she’d kissed him…
Wayne’s grip was so tight that his veins stood up on his arms. With the love of his life in his arms, stirring a fiery need in him, his normally strong self-control was quickly evaporating.
“If you say so,” he growled. With a heave, he stood and lifted her out of the tub with him. Water rushed off of their bodies and onto the bathroom floor, but he didn’t care.
The dim light from the bathroom spilled into the dark bedroom when he stepped out.
Seconds later, they were tangled together on the black bed, and Belinda stayed on top of him the entire time.
. . .
In the middle of the night, Belinda gently opened her eyes and found herself in the familiar surroundings of her room. She let out a sigh of relief. Her reincarnation was real after all.
Her eyes welled with sleepy tears and her nose was a bit red, giving her a delicate appearance.
“You… you said his name last night,” Wayne murmured, his hand tenderly cradling her jaw, his voice tinged with raw emotion.
Belinda was taken aback, realizing that she had indeed dreamt of Josie and Harley, but as far as she could remember, she was trying to kill them. She must’ve shouted Harley’s name in anger.
“Wait, Wayne, it’s not what you think. I—” Belinda’s words were cut short as she saw the dejected look on his face.
“Put on your clothes,” Wayne said, tossing her garments haphazardly onto the bed.
She could only nod slightly.
Was he angry at her or at Harley?
Was it only because she’d said his name, or did Wayne still not believe her after last night?
Belinda looked down at her naked body, her smooth skin littered with red marks here and there.
Wayne had been a bit… heavy-handed last night.
Still, he didn’t refuse her.
Even if this was all a dream, it was worth indulging in so far.
Belinda saw him staring at her while she dressed, and her face turned red. “Are you not… leaving the room?”
He snorted. “I saw it all last night.”
Belinda glared with her sparkling eyes, pouting a bit. He wasn’t being nearly as romantic as he was last night.
With a huff, she let it go and put on the clothes.
“Good. Now I need you to stay right here, okay?” Wayne lowered his head to kiss her shoulder blade. His arms snaked around her.
His hand quickly found the hidden mechanism built into the bed, and with a click, shackles emerged from the headboard. Not skipping a beat, Wayne locked the cuffs around Belinda’s slender wrists.
This finally gave him some peace of mind.
He loved her too much to risk losing her.