When Everything's Meant to Be Broken

His father was welcoming, open. He looked a lot like his son too, though I'd never tell him that.  He gestured a lot with his hands, and smiled at me regularly. To him, I was just a girl Freddie knew. However, his mother reacted initially as I expected her to; with distaste. I could feel her eyes packaging me into the whore box, and it stung a little. I hadn't had a relationship in years, yet alone become a whore.  However, Freddie didn't seem fazed by this, and very quickly won his mother over with an explanation of my homelessness, which, I remembered with a jolt, was actually true. My house had burned down- I truly was a vagrant.

The evening passed with lots of warm food, portions magically appearing on my plate as soon as my back was turned. I suspected they were trying to feed me up, but didn't want to appear rude, so ate it all. They also washed stories of a younger Freddie over me as we ate,  his first word at three, his obsession with Batman at seven, to the point of refusing to take off the costume for washing and demanding to be able to drive a Batmobile as soon as he was legal. It was comforting, not least because Freddie looked a little embarrassed at these stories.  However, eventually, his parents retired to bed, waving off all help of clearing up, leaving me alone with Freddie.   "So... they're my parents, " he said, filling the silence as soon as we had both taken a seat on the sofa to watch some TV.  " They're very welcoming of the bloodstained girl!" I said in return, smiling. Then, it hit me. I wasn't bloodstained. I had been spraying blood everywhere when I passed out. I should have been bloodstained.

Freddie's eyes widened as he watched my thoughts play along my face.  He scratched his jaw, looking at his feet. "Freddie, " I said, in a low voice, " Why am I not bloodstained?" He cleared his throat. " I.. washed you.. " he said, stuttering a little over the words.  My stomach hit the floor. " You shouldn't have. " I spat back, an irrational fear coiling in my stomach.  " It wasn't like that," he said, wincing at my sudden venom.  " Oh, so you DIDN'T strip a semi-conscious girl and wash blood off of her?" I said, sarcasm dripping from every pore. " Was it the fairies then?"  I turned away from him. I hated my body, and the idea of him seeing it, all of it, made my eyes prickle with embarrassed tears.  I was scarred and bruised, and not the smallest either.  He laid one hand on my shoulder. " Erin, please. It really wasn't like that," he said. " Really? Are you saying that truly,  or just because you have a reputation to protect with Matt and your other friends? Or am I in fact no more important to me that that girl you branded with the term 'yo-yo pants?"  His face paled, and I knew he hadn't thought I'd been aware of that. " You're nothing like her, Erin. Believe me." he said, biting down on his lip.  A voice crept in between my thoughts, pulling them apart into dischordant, dissonant sound in my head.  "Erin, please," he said, gripping my forearms, making his pulse beat in my muscles.  "I was just trying to help you. You looked so lost, I couldn't just leave you like that."

 In answer, I flicked on the TV to mask the sobs I could feel beginning to emerge from my chest.   I heard a slow exhale of breath, and the hand was gone.  He was angry, I could hear, but I didn't care. The pride wouldn't subside until the anger did, and it would be far too late by then.  The voices had begun again, a low, mocking laugh vibrating my ribs.  I bit down on my lip, stopping the screaming which curled my tongue without my consent. I couldn't fall apart again, not now he feels he has to catch me. I can't give him that responsibility.  He may be just trying to get to my body, but he's a nice guy- he protected me from his parents, gave me his bed, helped me when so many others have just sent me to asylums..

Then, a icy voice cut off the weatherman in the middle of a rainy forecast. " Am I interrupting a lover's tiff?" she said, her face smug.  Freddie gasped, and jolted upright from the opposite side of the sofa. " Oh, I have!" she said, her voice almost singing now.  "Pity,  I thought you two would have been cute. The hopeless and the damned. "  My mouth dropped open. What was her game? She had to have a motive, a way to hurt me again. She always did. This chitchat wasn't like her at all.

Freddie got up, squatting down in front of the TV, blocking all view to me. I could still hear though, and the words that came next chilled me to the bone.  "You brought her to me, as I requested. You were stubborn at first, but I see you've come to your senses. I knew you would, in the end.  What do you want from me in return,  my boy? What can I tempt your heart with?

I ran, so hard it made my head pound. I hated to run, but this time, I had to. I had trusted him with myself, and he had used me for his own ends.  My eyes tore with tears, and I fell to my knees in the woodlands I sought my refuge in, the screams rending the branches from their trunks in my head, free at last.

The End

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