Madeline gets sick, and afterwards finds that she has to rely completely on Brendon- something she's far from comfortable with.
I wanted to be angry and I wanted to hate Brendon, even hate Ryan. I wanted to hate them both for the position I was put in, and I wanted to hate them simply because hate was something so much easier to feel than pain. The guilt lay beneath my skin, sinking further with each new piece of information I uncovered. Why was this all happening though? I came to kill Brendon. Why? Why didn’t he just kill me? What Ryan said made no sense. What Brendon said made no sense. Nothing made any sense here.
The longer I stayed in this house the harder it was for me to define just who I was. That never used to be a mystery, but now it was something I wished desperately to find out. Everything I once felt I no longer felt… and I was at a loss, emotionally. I felt as if I’d been here forever, though I knew I hadn’t been here long at all.
As my thoughts became deeper I drifted, letting myself fall back asleep beside Ryan. Sleep was welcome, because in my dreams I didn’t feel the need to overanalyze every unknown emotion I was feeling, and every single emotion I felt was now unknown. Because of what Brendon had done to me.
“/What the hell are you doing?/” The low dangerous tone woke me from my comfortable sleep, sending chills through my body. Ryan’s arms were no longer around me, holding me tightly.
With courage I rarely felt anymore but could still fake quite well, I opened my eyes to see Brendon standing in front of Ryan, glaring at him with a look that could kill. Oh, this is angry Brendon. He looked angrier than he had the night before, when he nearly killed me.
“We were sleeping.” Ryan replied, keeping his tone calm.
“In bed together?” Brendon asked, sounding calm… too calm. It was eerie.
“Yes.” Ryan was extremely tense, not moving an inch. I watched, trying to remain as still as him. Did I get us in trouble? I told Brendon where I was going. He was the one that objected to the couch. Plus, it’s not like he had any claim to me. I was just his captive.
Brendon leaned closer to Ryan, moving dangerously. “I should have made myself clearer-“
I cleared my throat awkwardly, “Good morning.”
Ryan’s eyes went to me and he shook his head, just barely. What? I could never read body language very well, so whatever signal he was sending… I wasn’t receiving.
Brendon’s eyes burned in to me, sending another chill through my body. Oh, he was mad at me. I just didn’t want him to be mad at Ryan too.
“I’ll try again.” I mumbled, glancing bravely in to Brendon’s eyes. “Good morning.”
Brendon’s lips twitched as if he was struggling not to smile but in the end his frown won out, “Good morning.” He responded, crossing his arms over his chest. “Get up, I want breakfast.”
“I’m not your maid.” I snapped, blushing because… I was technically whatever he wanted me to be. The whole being held captive thing didn’t lead to much freedom on my part.
Brendon stared coldly, raising an eyebrow.
“Someone woke up on the wrong side of their fucking bed.” I mumbled angrily, savoring my last few seconds in Ryan’s warm comfortable bed. I really did love his sheets.
“I didn’t sleep.” Brendon responded.
“Why not?” Wait, did he need to?
“You have thoroughly pissed me off, and you haven’t even technically stepped out of bed yet.” Brendon said, narrowing his eyes. “Don’t continue to displease me.”
“Or?” I challenged.
Brendon’s glare softened substantially as he approached Ryan’s bed. “Nothing.” Brendon whispered, as Ryan watched apprehensively. “I won’t do anything to you, you know that.”
“Do I?” I didn’t.
“I want you to know that, and believe, it.” Brendon responded, shaking his head. “But I suppose last night I didn’t really prove the point, as I did exactly what I shouldn’t have done.”
Ryan inched out of his own bedroom, making me feel pretty bad. I didn’t mean to take over his own personal spot.
Brendon didn’t even react as the bedroom door shut behind Ryan.
We were alone.
“I was frightened. You played upon that.” Like the perfect predator would. I let the remaining part of the sentence linger unspoken, but I knew that Brendon got the message that I was relaying. I’d played prey the other night, and I didn’t like it.
“I did.” Brendon sat at the end of Ryan’s bed, still watching me intently. “Did you expect any differently of me?”
“I expected you to kill me.” I replied honestly.
“What?” Brendon seemed startled, “Why?”
“Because I ran away.”
“Why did you?”
“Are you really going to ask me that?” I stared at him, surprised by how stupid he could be.
“Are you that miserable here with me?” Brendon frowned, “You haven’t really even given it a chance.”
“What’s to give a chance?” I asked bitterly, “The supposedly being dead part, the part where I get to think of how miserable my mother is going to be without me, or the part where my stepdad takes the fall for something he didn’t do?” I shook my head, to distract myself from my growing anger. “I don’t want to give any of that a chance, and I don’t have to… it’s happening whether I want it to or not.”
“Oh wait.” I plastered a sickly sweet smile on my face, “It’s you, right? You want me to give you a chance, don’t you?” Oh no, don’t… I couldn’t stop myself.
Brendon’s eyes narrowed but he said nothing.
“That is it.” I laughed, not seeing any humor in the situation. “You think that maybe if you keep me here long enough… I’ll what, want to be with you?” I threw a look of utter disgust on to my face, as I pressed at random buttons just wanting to hurt Brendon as much as he was hurting me. “Why would I ever want to be with someone /so cold/, so … /dead/? You’re dead Brendon. You shouldn’t even be here. You’re a freak of nature, a fucking monster.” No.
Brendon’s lips twitched as he glared coldly at me, “Well, get used to being with a cold, dead, freak of nature because I’m all you have now.” The words were spit out with anger, and I shifted back against Ryan’s bed as if frightened the words would physically hurt me.
“You can’t make me want to be with you.” I whispered, staring at Brendon.
“Actually I can. I’m sure you remember.” Brendon responded, watching me carefully. “I can easily take you back to feeling like that. You see, I have complete control over your emotions. I decide what you feel and when you feel it. I’ve allowed you a certain amount of freedom but that could easily change.”
The threat made me shudder. I remembered wanting Brendon quite clearly because it was like watching a movie. I was there, I was in the moment… but I had no control and I just- I just wanted Brendon, so badly.
“I told you to get up.” Brendon suddenly said, “I want breakfast.”
Would he do that to me again? I couldn’t bear not being in control of my emotions. It was so scary, to just watch yourself… I couldn’t do that again. “I’m not making you breakfast.” If I do I’ll fucking poison it.
“Why do you insist on all of these arguments?” Brendon asked, still watching me. His eyes hadn’t left mine and they were beginning to make me nervous. Brendon made me nervous. “Why can’t we just get along for at least five fucking minutes?”
Because you scare the shit out of me.
Brendon gave me a bad feeling. I didn’t feel safe around him. He was the one that insisted upon me being held captive. He’s the one that decided to destroy what family I had. He was the one that killed the pizza delivery boy, though it was my fault. He was the one that made me feel. He made me feel. He had so much control over me and I had absolutely no control over him. It was frightening, to say the least.
“Madeline?” Brendon was looking at me as if I were stupid.
I was just thinking, instead of responding.
“Can’t I sleep for a little longer?” I finally asked, keeping my tone soft and non-accusatory. I was suddenly exhausted, way too exhausted for someone who had just woken.
“Fine.” Brendon said, looking disgruntled. “Come to bed.”
“I am in bed.” I was so warm too.
“You’re not in your bed though.” Brendon said, annoyed. “You’re in Ryan’s bed. Big girls sleep in their own beds.” He was being condescending. Asshole.
“Either way I wouldn’t be in my own bed. I have the choice of either bedding you or Ryan.” That sounded wrong. Yes, I said that wrong.
Brendon’s eyes narrowed. “Bedding one of us? Why don’t you tell me a little more about your night with Ryan?”
“I’m really tired Brendon.” I was.
“Then come to fucking bed.” One swift motion and Brendon had pulled the blankets off of me. His eyes narrowed further, “Where are your sweats?”
“I don’t know.” I mumbled, cold. I reached for the blanket and Brendon reluctantly gave it back to me so that I could curl up underneath it. “I’m very tired.”
“… Are you feeling sick?” Brendon asked, sounding concerned.
“Yeah.” How did I not notice before? Brendon had distracted me but now my anger was dying down, forcing me to acknowledge that I wasn’t feeling so well.
Brendon moved forward, placing his cold hand against my forehead. I tried to move away from him but I suddenly felt a lot weaker. “Did you do something to me?” I choked out, paranoid.
“No.” Brendon frowned, “Of course not.”
“I’m cold.” I couldn’t help but complain as Brendon attempted to pull the blankets off of me again.
“You’re hot honey.” Honey?
“Bren-“ I stopped talking as I closed my eyes, feeling sleep press upon me.
I felt like shit.
“… a doctor?”
“She might need one.” I could hear the annoyance in Ryan’s voice. “We aren’t doctors.”
“No, but I’ve been around long enough to…”
“No, you haven’t Brendon. You can’t just try to fix her, if something is wrong.”
“What if it’s just a cold?” Brendon asked.
“We will see. She needs to rest.”
“I want to put her in her own bed.” Brendon mumbled.
“Just leave her be.” Ryan responded.
Their voices faded out and I fell back to sleep, despite my desire to stay awake. Sleeping so much was making me so tired, and I just didn’t want to feel so damn tired anymore… and so cold, or was I hot? I couldn’t really tell.
“… It’s a bacterial infection.” I didn’t recognize the voice. Bacterial infection? What were they talking about? It couldn’t be about me, could it? I was sick, but not that kind of sick.
“How the hell did she get a bacterial infection?” Brendon asked.
“It looks to have spread through her feet. She has a few cuts, and if she was walking around outside…” I didn’t hear the rest of what the stranger said.
“Damn it!” Brendon sounded so upset, and then I heard a loud noise that I couldn’t identify.
“Calm down Brendon. It will be okay. Will she be okay Victor?”
“The infection spread but she should be fine. Her immune system is quite weak, causing her to get a cold at the same time which accounts for some of the symptoms. Right now her body is basically attacking itself.” He said something else that I didn’t catch. “She needs to stick to the medication and eat. You need to make sure she eats.”
Brendon said something else but I didn’t catch it.
“Thank you for coming here Victor.” Ryan said, whispering something that I couldn’t hear. “We appreciate it.”
‘Victor’ chuckled, “A human Ryan? I never expected that from either of you.” I heard more laughter and then I couldn’t hear anything at all.
I woke up to find Brendon staring at me from the other side of the bed. He looked exhausted, with his hair a mess. The television was on, but he turned it down immediately. “Hi baby.” He mumbled; a soft smile on his lips.
“Hi.” I choked out, finding that my throat was very dry.
“Would you like something to drink?”
I just nodded.
Brendon jumped up immediately, leaving the room.
I glanced around, realizing I wasn’t in Ryan’s room anymore. I was in Brendon’s. My head hurt, so badly. It felt as if it would explode, the pressure was blinding. It hurt to move, each muscle in my body crying out in pain.
Brendon quickly returned, his eyes widening at the sight of me attempting to sit up. “Let me help you.” He rushed over, placing his hand on my lower back as he helped me up. I wasn’t that sick, was I?
“Thanks.” I muttered, taking hold of the water. His hand stayed upon the cup as he helped me guide the cup to my lips. I took small sips, uncomfortable with swallowing.
“It’s so nice to see you awake.” Brendon murmured, frowning. “I’m so sorry that we argued.” He’s apologetic? “And I’m so, so sorry that I got mad at you. I swear I’ll watch my temper.”
I just stared at him, quite confused.
“You’re the most important thing in my life.” Whoa, I felt as if I had missed twenty years. “You’re the first important thing I’ve had in my life in a long while.”
Another drink and I struggled to get the liquid down my burning throat, “Wh-what all happened?” I finally got out, my throat sounding scratchy.
“You’ve been sick.” Brendon whispered, sitting beside me on the bed. “Ryan is making you some soup. Do you think you can try to eat?” Ryan, making soup? That seemed odd. This all seemed so weird.
“Yeah, eating sounds good.” I felt as if I hadn’t eaten in forever causing the idea of food to seem completely foreign. All I really wanted was water, lots and lots of water. I moved my arm to try and place the now empty glass on to the bedside table and I found that there was something sticking out of my arm. What? I glanced at Brendon, completely confused.
“It’s an IV.” Brendon quickly explained, “Dr. Victor Gailsen has been here keeping an eye on you. He’s an old friend of Ryan’s so Ryan called in the favor. Vic usually works with… um…” He licked his lips, and looked away.
“With vampires?” I asked, confused.
Brendon shook his head before nodding, “Well, no but yes. Kind of. He works with humans that are under the care of vampires.”
Brendon ran his fingers through his hair, “Some vampires keep humans around- some to idly feed off of when they feel like it. They don’t kill them, just feed off of them. Others enslave humans…” At that he looked away again.
I didn’t say anything. I had a snarky remark in mind but it didn’t seem worth it. I was tired, and he had already apologized for our other argument. I didn’t want to get started on another one so soon.
“We were just worried… after you didn’t wake up.” Brendon mumbled, “So Ryan called Vic. He’s been here for the last three weeks, while you’ve been in and out of consciousness.”
There was a gentle knock on the door but Brendon didn’t even look away from me as he called out to the person, “Come in.”
I looked over, seeing someone I’d never before seen. He must be Victor, the doctor… of other captives. I had no idea this was so common. “Hello.” Victor smiled widely, revealing pointy teeth which made me cringe.
Brendon nervously grabbed for my hand, holding it tightly. The gesture caught me off guard. He seemed so jittery. “I’m Dr. Gailsen but let’s keep this personal.” The doctor smiled, “Go ahead and call me Vic. Do you mind if I call you Madeline?”
“Go ahead.” I muttered, feeling very weak. I was so tired, still. I didn’t want to go back to sleep though. I was afraid I wouldn’t wake up again. I’d been struggling to stay awake for what felt like so long, and evidently was three weeks. Three damn weeks.
“How are you feeling Madeline?” Vic came and checked a few things, including the IV. I looked over at Brendon, who smiled reassuringly at me. He still looked so nervous though. He looked scared.
Brendon looked distraught at my answer. “You’re still tired?” He choked out.
Vic grinned, “That’s perfectly normal. Now Brendon, if you wouldn’t mind… Could you leave the room for a few moments?”
“No.” Brendon’s hand tightened upon mine. “I can’t. I’m sorry.”
“Why does he have to leave?” I asked, warily. It wasn’t that I suddenly adored Brendon but… at least I knew him, kind of. I knew him better than I knew Vic.
“I need to examine you.” Vic replied, smiling kindly towards me. “The bacteria infection spread, causing tender spots of bruising. I need to check the areas.”
Brendon hesitantly stood, “I’ll be right outside the door.”
“Can’t you just… close your eyes?” Though we fought a lot I was still appreciating his hand holding mine. It made me feel a million times more comfortable, and I was about to get very, very uncomfortable.
Brendon cracked the smallest smile possible and nodded, “Sure.” He glanced at Vic, who also nodded.
The process was agonizingly slow, and Brendon hesitantly closed his eyes, still holding on to my hand. First went the blanket, and the warmth that went along with it. Brendon’s hand felt ice cold against my burning skin. The IV was removed, upon my request- though Brendon seemed hesitant about it being removed. Vic seemed confident that I would be fine without it, now that I was more awake than I had been in the last three weeks.
I was just wearing a t-shirt, though thankfully a different one from the one I remembered being asleep in three weeks ago. That was it though, how embarrassing. That meant… Well, Brendon probably undressed me. So much for the whole ‘close your eyes’ thing. He’d already seen enough.
Vic examined my feet closely and with horror I glanced at the dark bruises covering the top of my right foot, and side of my left. According to Vic the bottoms were still very bruised, and I would have to watch them- well, more Brendon would have to. What leaves bruises like that?
“Um, excuse me?” I glanced down at my thighs in horror, as they had the same strange bruises.
“Yes?” Vic glanced at me.
“What- what leaves bruises like this?” I wasn’t aware of anything medical that caused bruising.
“Bacterial infections upon the skin. The bacterial infection was from your feet and right knee- it spread under your skin and stopped the blood from freely flowing as it normally would. It’s a rarity and odd, since had it been anything else Brendon here would’ve been able to sense it, but this… this is tricky. Due to lack of blood flow it bruised and it’s darkening before it heals. The bacterial infection itself is gone, you slept it away.”
I said nothing, allowing him to continue his inspection. I jumped as Ryan walked in, stopping in place. The soup he was carrying smelled delicious and my stomach rumbled, as he turned away so that he wouldn’t see anything. “Sorry.” He mumbled.
Vic grinned, “It sounds as if someone is hungry.” He gently placed the blanket back over me, “All done. Why don’t you eat? Please eat slowly though. You’ve not had solid food for three weeks.”
Ryan nervously walked forward. “Hi Maddy.” I smiled at the nickname.
“Hi Ryan.” Brendon’s eyes were open now, as he watched us both.
“I made chicken noodle soup. It was something that was on your list. I hope you like it.” Ryan nervously said, surprising me further. Even Ryan had been worried?
“It smells yummy.” Brendon pulled some sort of tray out that easily slid over the bed and then Ryan set the bowl down and I was all ready to eat, except the idea of eating was actually somewhat nauseating. Damn.
Since everyone was watching me I nervously picked up the spoon and gathered the broth, bringing it to my lips. It was hot and burnt my tongue but it was so delicious, easily stirring up my hunger and soon enough I was going for another bite, completely forgetting about my crowd.
Brendon, Ryan, and Vic all fell in to hushed conversation but I ignored them, focusing on the chicken noodle soup. I’d loved it as a kid but now it was as if I’d renewed my love for it. It was amazingly delicious, the best thing ever!
Soon enough it was gone and the conversation had drifted out of the room, all three men leaving. I pulled the blanket away hesitantly and ran my fingers over the bruise on my thigh. It ached as I brushed my fingers over it and I wondered just how much walking would suck.
Brendon said I was the most important thing in his life.
Well, that was a strange twist from the normal ‘I hate you’ arguments we had together. He had to be joking. Even I knew that when someone was ill you said things you didn’t mean. That had to be it. Surely he didn’t really care about me in that way.
Yeah, it had to just be a heat of the moment kind of thing.
(I just bullshitted my way through out all of the medical details. I’m no expert, on anything really. So hopefully that didn’t ruin the bite of the chapter. There is really a bacterial infection that can cause bruising of the skin- a few actually, but none that I was directly trying to relate to.)