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Bitter Bargain BL R18


Chapter V The Bonds We Wear



Adrian Hartley quickened his pace as he neared the bank, his heart lifting slightly at the thought of finally reaching the hospital to see his parents.


As he turned the corner, the bank came into view. He took a deep breath, ready to complete the transaction and make his way to the hospital.


But before he could reach the bank's entrance, a sleek, black car pulled up beside him, its tinted windows reflecting the grey skies. Adrian barely had time to register the vehicle before a group of men in dark suits emerged.


“Mr. Hartley,”


Adrian turned, confusion and unease knotting in his stomach.


Why today? he thought.


Of all days, why was this happening now, just when he was so close to seeing his parents?


“Mr. Kane wants to see you,” the bodyguard said.


“I have to go to the hospital. It’s important. I have to pay the bills and see my parents.”


“That’s not possible,” the bodyguard replied curtly.


Before Adrian could protest, the men closed in around him. It was clear they had no intention of listening to his plea.


Surrounded by the towering figures, Adrian felt a wave of helplessness wash over him. He opened his mouth to argue, but a firm hand gripped his arm, pulling him towards the waiting car. The futility of resistance was evident, and with a resigned sigh, he allowed himself to be guided into the vehicle.


“Any news yet?”


“They’ve found him, sir.”


Elliot Kane's head throbbed with the onset of an approaching rut.


The signs had been building all morning, and by lunchtime, the irritation had become unbearable. He knew he had to prepare, to ensure everything was in order before the rut claimed his focus.


His desk was cluttered with documents demanding his attention, but his thoughts kept drifting back to Adrian.


For five years, Adrian had never once failed to be there when Elliot needed him, and now, of all times, he had simply vanished.


Where could he be? Elliot wondered.


His usual calm was slipping, replaced by a simmering anger that threatened to boil over. He had sent a car to fetch Adrian, and now, finally, it was pulling into the mansion’s driveway.


Elliot strode towards the entrance, his gaze narrowing as he saw the car door open and Adrian being dragged out by the bodyguards. The sight of Adrian, looking small and vulnerable amidst the imposing figures of the guards, sparked a flash of something that Elliot couldn’t quite identify – anger, perhaps, or maybe something deeper.


Without thinking, Elliot moved towards them, his steps quick and purposeful. He reached Adrian just as the bodyguards were leading him forward, and with a swift motion, he struck the guard’s arm, forcing him to release his grip.


The guard stepped back, bowing his head in apology, but Adrian’s gaze remained fixed on the ground, his posture one of defeat.


“I thought we had an agreement. You’re supposed to be here when I need you.”


Adrian’s head jerked up at the words, and for a moment, their eyes met.


Elliot saw the same sadness in Adrian’s face that he had glimpsed the night before. The sight made Elliot’s headache worse, a sharp throb that pulsed behind his eyes.


“The contract… I needed to go to the hospital. The payment is overdue. My parents…”


Elliot’s mind was a whirlwind of thoughts. The intensity of his approaching rut was heightening his senses, making everything feel sharper, more urgent.


“There are a lot of eyes on you. Come inside, Mr. Kane,” the butler interjected smoothly,


His presence, usually a source of order, now felt like an intrusion. Elliot’s gaze shifted to the butler, and for a moment, his anger flared at the interruption.


But the rational part of his mind prevailed, reminding him that this was neither the time nor the place for a public confrontation. Elliot grabbed Adrian by the collar, his grip firm but not unkind, and began to pull him towards the mansion. The butler followed, his expression inscrutable as he observed the scene.


Adrian stumbled, his body protesting the rough treatment, but he did not resist. There was a subtle drag to his steps, a hesitation that Elliot found both irritating and concerning. The sight of Adrian struggling, limping slightly, only served to deepen Elliot’s frustration.


The servants quickly vanished from the hallways as they passed. Even the butler, usually composed and detached, seemed uneasy.


Adrian Hartley struggled to keep pace as Elliot Kane dragged him through the grand hallway of the Kane mansion. The grip on his arm was firm, almost bruising, and it was only when Elliot stopped abruptly that Adrian realized how rough the handling had been.


Elliot let go, the reality of his actions dawning on him as they stood alone in the vast, echoing corridor. The haze of his approaching rut clouded his judgment, the sharp edge of his usual self-control blunted by the overwhelming surge of pheromones.


“You know it’s just a formality, Adrian. This can wait until after.”


“But… it’s important,”


His need to visit the hospital was more than just a contractual obligation; it was his lifeline, his only connection to a world outside the mansion's suffocating grip.


Elliot’s patience, already frayed, snapped.


“You always have an excuse,” he hissed,


His eyes flashed with barely contained anger. The alpha in him, strained by the rut, saw Adrian’s resistance as a challenge.


Adrian recoiled at the intensity of Elliot’s gaze. For years, he had endured Elliot’s cold indifference, but today there was something different in the air.


Elliot pressed his forehead. The rut was coming on faster than he had anticipated, stripping away his rationality and leaving him raw and exposed. He had always prided himself on his control over his alpha nature, despising the dependency it created on his pheromones. But now, with the rut upon him, that control was slipping through his fingers.


“Is today the day specified in the contract?” Elliot demanded.


“Not exactly, but…” Adrian’s words trailed off. The brief flicker of hope he had clung to vanished under Elliot’s relentless gaze.


“Then what’s the problem?” Elliot’s patience was gone.


Adrian knew better than to push further. He lowered his eyes.


“Let me go to the hospital when we’re done,” he whispered.


Elliot barely heard him. The ache in his head intensified, and he ran a hand through his hair in frustration.


He couldn’t understand why Adrian was so insistent, why the omega, who had been so compliant for years, was suddenly pushing against the boundaries of their contract.


“Do whatever you want,” Elliot muttered.


He didn’t notice the flicker of pain that crossed Adrian’s face or the way his shoulders slumped under the weight of Elliot’s words.


Inside the room, everything was meticulously arranged. The sight of the familiar surroundings brought a sense of finality to Adrian’s steps. His heart pounded in his chest as he felt the full weight of what was about to happen.


Elliot’s pheromones were overwhelming. Unlike the controlled release he was used to, the rut’s pheromones were wild and unrestrained.


Adrian’s hands trembled as he began to undress, each piece of clothing removed with a growing sense of dread.


The butler’s presence was a familiar discomfort, his gaze clinical and detached. But it was Elliot’s deep blue eyes, fixed on him with an intensity that sent shivers down his spine.


He closed his eyes tightly, forcing himself to focus on the routine. The blindfold was a welcome barrier, shutting out the world and the weight of Elliot’s scrutiny.


Adrian hesitated before picking up the rope that lay beside him, his fingers brushing against its rough texture. He couldn’t tie his hands alone, and the thought of being bound for days filled him with a sense of helplessness that he struggled to suppress.


With trembling hands, he held the rope out to Elliot.


“Please, do it in front this time,” he whispered.


Elliot’s large hand took the rope, the brief contact sending a jolt through Adrian’s already heightened senses. Blindfolded, Adrian’s other senses were sharper, and he could almost feel Elliot’s gaze on his naked body, scrutinizing and assessing.


For a moment, Elliot paused. He looked down at Adrian’s outstretched arms, noting the bruises that marred his wrists. The sight stirred something in him, a flicker of awareness that he quickly squashed.


The pounding in his head intensified. He was about to tie Adrian’s hands behind his back as usual when a knock sounded at the door.

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