Braelyn left the bar, quickly walking the four minutes to her apartment. It took her a little bit longer than normal to find her cell phone charger because the apartment was a mess and it had been flung somewhere. It took about ten minutes. She was locking her door, when she heard a voice from the stairwell next to her door.
“Hey Braelyn. You’re dad said you back at the Rover.”
Braelyn froze and turned. A man stepped out of the stairway. In a horrified whisper, she said, “Todd.”
“Very good. You remember.” He strode up to her and gripped her arm. “Too bad you couldn’t remember to call when you were told.” His fist swung and her world spun. She stumbled, but managed to stay on her feet. Braelyn couldn’t speak, she just whimpered. “I heard your interview on the radio. Seems like tour is pretty cool.” Again, she couldn’t answer. “Too bad you won’t be going back on that bus.” He started to walk her, presumably to his car.
“She should be back,” Addi said. “She’s probably getting all nostalgic. I’ll go get her.”
“I’ll go too,” Mikey said. “Stretch my legs before we get on the bus.”
“Me too,” Frank added. “Team Frankie and all.”
They left the bar and started hurrying towards the apartment. Addi caught sight of a couple of people walking on the other side of the buildings. “Shit,” she said and took off at a run.
Confused, Mikey and Frank took off with her. Addi caught up with the two people and started screaming. “Todd! You let go of her right now!”
“Go away you stupid bitch,” he spat at her. “This is none of your business.”
“It is my business.”
“Hey, man,” Frank said. He could tell by Addi’s tone and action that the situation was serious, but he was trying to be calm. “Just let her go.”
“Who the fuck are you?”
“It doesn’t matter. But that’s my best friend, and if you don’t let go of her, I’m gonna fuck you up.”
“Seriously, Todd. Let go,” Addi was screaming.
“Shut up bitch!”
Braelyn still couldn’t speak. She was crying looking at the ground.
“Brae,” Frank called to her. When she wouldn’t look up, he tried again. “Brae?”
Braelyn turned away and Frank caught a look at her face. The left side of her face was swelling rapidly and her nose was bleeding a little. Frank couldn’t help himself. He launched himself at Todd. Even though Frank wasn’t that big of a threat, he had to let go of Braelyn to defend himself. In the scuffle, she was knocked away from the fighting boys. Mikey was there to catch her. His arms wrapped around her and she sagged into him. Then they heard the sirens. Todd froze then started to try to run.
“No way, mother fucker,” Frank said trying to hold onto him. Mikey passed Braelyn off to Addi to help Frank keep Todd from getting away.
Addi was holding the shaking girl while Mikey and Frank wrestled Todd to the ground and the police pulled up. In the confusion, somehow someone managed to convey to the police who Todd was. The police hand cuffed him and put him into the squad car. They made Frank and Mikey sit on the curb while they tried to take Braelyn’s statement.
Braelyn was still to shaken to talk, so Addi was trying to explain who Todd was. While this was happening, Frank was calling Topher to tell him where they were. Topher, Gerard, Ray, Bob, Chelsea, Tom, and Marissa where there within minutes. Tom went immediately to talk to the police. After a few minutes and a trip to the squad car’s computer, Braelyn was asked to sign something, which she did with shaking hands. They asked if she wanted to go to the hospital. Braelyn shook her head no. The officers then got in their cars and left.
“That’s it?” Frank asked, indignantly. “Are they just gonna let him go?”
Tom smiled at his concern. “No. They aren’t letting him go. I guess Braelyn hasn’t told you who Todd is?” They all shook their heads no. Tom glanced at Braelyn who was being consoled and taken car of by Addi and Marissa on a bench across the lot. “Well I don’t think I can tell you everything, but there was a warrant out for his arrest based on…previous encounters with Braelyn. So all that was needed was a signature from her for a positive ID and he goes to jail.”
Braelyn, Addi, and Marissa walked over then. Marissa had her arm around Braelyn. “I think Braelyn’s ready to go now.”
“Are you sure?” Topher asked. “We can push dates and take a couple of days.”
Braelyn just shook her head no. Addi spoke for her. “I think Brae just wants to get out of here.”
Frank closed the gap between himself and Braelyn and wrapped his arms around her. Braelyn stood there rigidly.
“Ok,” Topher said slowly. “Then I guess we should go?”
Braelyn nodded and they all started moving toward the bus. Addi ran ahead to get some ice for Braelyn’s eye from the bar. Then Marissa and Addi took Braelyn to her bunk after she had hugged Tom goodbye. They returned to a worried group when they walked through the curtain.
“So down,” Marissa remarked.
“We just don’t know how to act really…” Frank said.
“Just let her calm down for a while. It’ll be ok. She’s asleep now. Just keep ice on her eye. If you have any problems, call one of us.” The boys and Chelsea nodded. “Everything will be fine. Just take care of my little girl.” She went around hugging all of them. Addi did too, saying goodbye.
After Tom shook all the boys’ hands and hugged Chelsea and left the bus, Steve pulled out of the parking lot. Everyone was pretty subdued and instead of video games there was a movie on and several people were reading. Every once in a while someone would check on Braelyn and get her ice. She wasn’t eating anything no matter what they said. They stopped for fast food around ten and people went to bed soon after.
Around one, Mikey was awakened by the noise of Braelyn climbing out of her bunk. She went out to the front of the bus. He waited for a few minutes before getting out of his own bed and following her. She was sitting in her corner on the bench seat. He said, “Hey, Braelyn.”
“Hi, Mikey,” she whispered.
“Do you want me to stay out here, or do you want me to go back to bed?”
She was staring at her knees which she had drawn to her chest. In a voice that was barely audible, she said, “Stay.”
“Ok,” he nodded. Mikey went and got some ice for her. She held it up to her face and Mikey sat down on the other end to the bench seat.
They sat in silence for ten or so minutes before she spoke. “When my parents left, my older brother, Will, took care of me. It was because of him that we got to stay in our house and I got to keep going to my school. Halfway through my senior year, Will was killed in a car accident.” Mikey hurt for her, but he knew it was important to let her keep talking. “Tom and Marissa took me in. I lived with them for about a year. The summer after graduation, I met this great guy. His name was Todd, and he was sweet and so nice to me. He told me he loved me. I loved him. So we moved in together.” Her voice was shaking and she swiped at the tears. “I was so weak. After a few months, Todd started to hit me and I let him. I don’t know how it happened, but within a year he had full control over me. I didn’t leave the house, I didn’t speak, I didn’t eat, I didn’t sleep unless I was told to. After five fucking years, Todd stole all of my money and left. I couldn’t afford to keep the house, my job was at his company which disappeared so I lost my job. For three months I lived in shelters and on park benches. Then I got arrested for trespassing. Luckily the clerk officer recognized me and called Tom and Marissa. They didn’t end up charging me with anything and Tom and Marissa took me back into their home. Tom helped me file for a restraining order against Todd and I testified against him and a warrant went out for his arrest. Marissa had me work at the Rover and I got close to the girls who worked there. I started playing again and Addi and Brett, my friend from high school, convinced me to start performing again. And things started to get better. I started working at Target, I moved in with Addi, and I was having a blast playing shows. Then I got to go on tour with y’all. I haven’t heard from Todd two years. I guess when my dad was around a week ago, he sought out Todd for money, as usual, and he told Todd I had been hanging out at the Rover…”
She trailed off. She put her head in her arms on top of her knees. Mikey moved closer, but only close enough where he could reach out and clasp her hand. She started crying harder and Mikey squeezed her hand. She looked up at him, and Mikey couldn’t stop himself. He moved closer and took the girl into his arms. Braelyn leaned into him, letting herself cry like she hadn’t in years. She cried for her lost childhood, for her brother, for the years she spent in Todd’s house and the fear she had then and earlier today.
Mikey hung onto her. Chelsea and Frank poked their heads out of the curtain to see what the noise was. Mikey made eye contact with them and mouthed ‘it’s fine.’ They disappeared.
Braelyn clung to Mikey as her sobs slowed to a stop. He held her, rubbing her back as her breathing evened out and she fell asleep again. He picked her up and took her to his bunk so she could sleep in a bed. When he put her down and went to pull away, Braelyn held onto him.
“Please don’t leave me alone,” she whispered.
“Are you sure?” Mikey asked.
Mikey climbed into his own bunk next to Braelyn. He pulled the curtains and laid back. Braelyn sat up for a second to wipe her face. The she laid back down in Mikey’s arms, her head on his chest.
“Night, Braelyn.” He draped his arm across her waist as his own eyes closed. He fell asleep pretty quickly.
Braelyn not so much. Too much was going on. They encounter with Todd had really shaken her. When her life started to get better, she had put all of those emotions in a box and put them away without really dealing with them outside of a few songs she wrote. She lay there, her head rising and falling with Mikey’s breathing, thinking.
Forty-five minutes later, she was still awake. She was dwelling. The thoughts of Todd showing up after two years combined with memories of what she endured during their relationship swirled in her head. It became too much, and her breath started to hitch as another crying jag hit her. She managed to keep her crying quiet, but her shoulders shook as the sobs wracked her body.
She jostled Mikey awake. He realized, through a sleep induced haze that she was crying. He tightened his grip around her waist, pulling her closer. She buried her face in Mikey’s t-shirt, letting a sob escape her lips. He wrapped his other arm around Braelyn, kissed the top of her head, and ran this fingers through her hair.
“Shhhh,” he whispered. “Everything’s ok.” He continued to murmur and stroke her hair. After a while, again she quieted.
She wiped her face and whispered, “I’m sorry, Mikey. I shouldn’t have woken you up.”
“Don’t apologize,” he said, looking down at her. “There’s nothing to be sorry for.” After a few moments of silence, he said, “Maybe you should go to sleep?”
“Ya, ok.” She didn’t try to move from Mikey’s tighter embrace, she just closed her eyes. They were both asleep in a few minutes.
A/N: Izzy, Lauren, and Abbie soooooo sorry to leave you hanging lol I tried to update quickly so it wouldn't be toooo unbearable. So I hope you like this chapter. And if you really like my writing, I also write in the Fall Out Boy category and my story, Go Ahead and Burn it Down, is almost done, if you feel like reading something else =) K. Shameless plug, complete. now GO REVIEW! hearts, Corri