Madelyn tells Gerard how she gained her bruises.
Madelyn glanced out the window as she spoke, and I was honestly more focused on her than I was on driving. I was surprised that we didn’t get in to a car crash, and I was thankful because I was sure I’d never be able to get her out of the facility if our first outing turned in to a disaster. The only reason my father had really granted permission was because Madelyn had started talking to me, and that was a huge ‘break through’- she still wasn’t talking to anyone else.
“So Frank is a major drug dealer?”
“I’m not sure I’d call him major.” Madelyn rolled her eyes.
“And he does human trafficking too?” I was shocked, really. These were the kinds of things that I normally read about in newspapers… in different countries.
Madelyn shrugged, which I barely caught as I checked my rearview mirror. “I told you, he’s in to some bad stuff. I guess I just want you to have the information to protect yourself. Don’t- don’t stand up for him on my behalf.”
“You’re worried about what I said to him earlier.”
“He saw it as disrespect.” Madelyn commented softly.
“And you’re worried about me.” I repeated.
“Yes.” Madelyn sounded surprised. “I guess I am.”
“You’re the kind of guy that would do something stupid just because he’s the nice type.”
Something along the lines of nice guys finish last the deadly edition. “Well, I wouldn’t let him hurt you but I mean, it’s not like he’d hurt you- he’s your brother. Older brothers are supposed to protect their younger siblings.”
“Generally speaking.” Madelyn agreed, “And he does see the fact that he didn’t sell me as a form of protection.”
“Does he…” I felt a little nauseous at the idea of what I was about to ask, “Does he hurt you, or did he?”
“Do you really want me to answer that question?” Madelyn asked, as she glanced over at me. Her eyes widened slightly, “Watch out!” I swerved, thankfully getting away scot free with a rude hand gesture and angry honk.
I thought over her question. Did I really want to know how messed up her brother was, and if he hurt her? I wasn’t sure I could stomach the idea- especially since I was just a psychology student. I wouldn’t stand a chance against a drug dealer, who minored in human trafficking. He could kill me over breakfast, without batting an eyelash.
“I want to know.” I answered, without thinking any further. It was just something that I felt I needed to know about Madelyn. I wouldn’t turn away from any part of her, no matter how unpleasant- or what my odds were against helping her. I’d always be here. She couldn’t escape me now. I was similar to a virus in that sense.
“We can talk about it when you aren’t driving.” Madelyn answered softly, “I have no intention of dying in a car crash today.”
I chuckled as I continued driving, quickly finding the destination. It was Izzy’s- an all you could eat buffet, with delicious food. I hoped Madelyn would like it, because it was my favorite.
Madelyn was the first out of the car as she gazed around. “You act like you haven’t been outside in years.” I commented.
Again, I was left in the dark.
She hadn’t been in the institution for long but I wasn’t sure where she’d been before that. I didn’t know much, and each piece she gave me was fragmented- leaving me with more questions. All I really knew was that she didn’t talk because she didn’t want to, she hated being touched, and someone had severely beaten her. Oh, and her brother was a drug dealing, human trafficking dick.
Madelyn and I had been alone together for so long that I hadn’t realized until now just how awkward she was around people. She obviously didn’t enjoy it. The hostess happily greeted us and Madelyn instinctively stepped back, backing in to me. I gently placed my hands on her shoulders and whispered soothingly in to her ear, “They have really good food here.”
She cracked a smile, and we were easily seated but she kept nervously glancing around at all the people. Every time someone spoke loudly, or laughed loudly- she jumped.
“Are you uncomfortable here?”
Madelyn shrugged, “It’s just been a while.”
“We can leave.” I offered.
She frowned again. “I don’t want to. I want this… it’s just a change.”
I nodded, “It’s a buffet. We don’t have to wait for service.”
“Oh.” And I realized this might be a mistake. It meant she’d have to move around, and get closer to people. It was a lot more high pressure than a regular restaurant.
“We can go somewhere else.” I nervously suggested.
Madelyn shyly smiled. “You’re making me nervous. Do I stick out?”
“Only because you’re so beautiful.” I awkwardly blurted.
Madelyn’s smile grew. “You really do think I’m beautiful, don’t you?”
“You are.” I answered.
Madelyn chuckled, “This is kind of a sweet date.”
“A date?” I almost choked on the complimentary water that had been supplied.
“That’s what you wanted, right?” Madelyn grinned slyly. “Either that or I’m jumping ahead of myself. You don’t mind being on a date with someone that’s a certified loon, do you?”
“It’s something that I would like, but nothing that I would ever assume. I wouldn’t take advantage of you like that, and you’re not a loon.” I rolled my eyes.
“You haven’t read my file, have you?” Madelyn seemed surprised.
“Nope. I wanted anything I learned about you to come directly from you, not some doctor with an opinion that doesn’t mean shit to me.”
“Big talk for a future psychiatrist.” Madelyn teased.
“Did you want to tell me what your file says?”
Madelyn shrugged, “Attachment issues stemming from my childhood.” I nodded, having kind of pieced that together. I still didn’t know what her childhood had been like though. “Highly sexual-“ Madelyn’s eyes landed on me, “And they are wrong. I can form attachments just fine, and I’m not a whore.”
I froze, “Your file upsets you?”
“It does.” Madelyn shrugged. “But what can I do? They are just drawing conclusions from bullshit information gained from alternative sources, mostly Frank.”
“Maybe you should talk then.” I pointed out.
“Maybe I should.” Madelyn nodded. “I’ll think about it.”
That was another step.
“What would you tell them?” I was curious.
Madelyn shifted and looked away, “I’m suddenly not very hungry.”
“Okay, we can go then.”
“Where?” Madelyn asked.
“Do you want to see my apartment?” It was a very personal move on my part.
Madelyn slowly nodded, “I think I’d like that.”
“Let’s go then.”
My apartment was still a mess. Madelyn chuckled as she glanced around. “This is the ultimate bachelor pad. It’s comfortable though.”
“I just sleep here honestly.” I gestured to the bed.
Madelyn sat down, “You don’t make your bed.”
“I don’t bother. I’ll just be messing it up later anyway.” I sat beside her.
“I use to hate making my bed.” Madelyn commented, as she gazed around.
“It’s pointless.” I argued, before taking a deep breath. “Who gave you the bruises Madelyn?” I’d been dying to ask, and felt I needed to know.
She looked at me for a second before speaking, “I’m surprised it’s not a little more obvious.” She looked away almost as soon as the words were out, soon to be followed by worse words. “Frank used to pimp me out- and when I didn’t bring in enough money… well he made sure to make his point all over my body.”