He was what? We have known Jason for years. How could we never see this darker side to him? He did things to Scarlet. Our Scarlet. Our friend hurt our baby. My poor baby who is cowering against the wall shaking in fear right now. I’m going to kill him. I’m going to skin him alive before making him beg for his own death. No one touches Scar. No one!
Where is she going? She wouldn’t willingly go back down to him. She looks calm. What the hell is going on? I followed her calling her name as she rapidly walked to the front door. She was in her car and pulling out before I managed to get my brain to work even half way normal. “What did you say to her? What the hell is going on?” I managed to get past my clenched teeth. He looked at me confused for a moment before answering.
“All I told her was he couldn’t possibly be the same person from her past. There might be some facial similarities but it couldn’t possibly be the man she was thinking of because we have know Jason for years now. I was just trying to calm her down. I don’t want her to be afraid of our friends. I also don’t want her freaking out every time she see’s someone who looks even just a little like some one from her past.” He never saw my first. This moment was two firsts for me. I have never hit my brother before over a woman. I have never been this disappointed in him.
I didn’t say a word as I turned going back into the house in search of Jason. I found him in the kitchen where we had left him looking confused. I would fix the look on his face. I wanted to instill nothing but pure fear in this man. I lifted him by his throat before slamming him down onto the island holding him in place for the questions I had for him. This prick was going to answer every thing before I put him out of his misery.
“What the hell man? What is going on?” His voice grated on my nerves so I lifted his head enough to slam it back onto the counter top.
“Tell me Jason, do you know a man named Jackson? Were you perhaps friends with him back in high school?” I said the words in a deadly calm manner. I wanted his fear. I wanted answers. His face paled at my question. I had my answer before he uttered a word but I wanted to hear him say it. I wanted him to admit what he had done. I never even noticed Ryder enter the room until he grabbed my arm.
“Come on Gabe. You can’t just react like this to everything she says. You know what we both read about this kind of situation. Gabe let him go.” I swung around so my back was facing the island, keeping my hand around Jason’s throat so he was forced to sit or get his neck broken. Without a word I pulled my empty fist back before slamming it right into Ryder’s jaw. I was doing this my way and I didn’t give a fuck what he believed. I saw the proof in the way she shook, the fear in her eyes, the way Jason paled when I mentioned Jackson.
Ryder stumbled back looking at me like I had lost my mind. As far as I’m concerned I was the only one in this house right now that was sane. I’m standing between Dead and Dumb. How could he be that stupid. We had been around enough people to know Scar didn’t freak out like that just because she thought he might look like one of her past abusers. He was her past abuser. With that thought I spun around to face Dead. I slammed him back onto the island making sure his head bounced a time or two before I leaned into his face.
“Tell me about Jackson. Don’t leave out anything. And tell me what you know about his family. Don’t leave out things or this is going to end a whole lot worse than I am already planning it to end.” I meant every word. I backed off enough for him to actually speak.
“I met him in high school in our freshman year. His family is all kinds of messed up. His mom and dad drank most of the time. His mom was a pill popper who got angry over the smallest things. She had a daughter from before they were married. Jackson’s dad had him and a daughter from a previous girlfriend. I was naive and followed Jackson like he was the coolest person I had ever met. I mean he had already had sex, he always wore a leather jacket and his confidence oozed out of him. He’s just as crazy as his family though. The mom’s kid seemed to be everyone’s punching bag. She took the brunt of everyone’s anger over anything. The things they said to her were even worse. Jackson himself told me he was the only one she had ever slept with and that was by force but they insisted she was the town whore getting it on with everyone. Too bad it was the rest of the family that slept with the town.” He stopped pulling in a breath hesitating over his next words almost like he wasn’t sure what to add.
“I want to know about the punching bag. I want to know what they did to her. I want to know everything you can remember.” I wanted to get to the heart of my questions. She was really all I wanted to hear about. He looked as if she was the last part of that family he ever wanted to talk about. I let him sit up to talk. I wanted him to feel at ease before I killed him.
“Man they fucked her up. I have never seen anyone with bruises like they left on her. She was so small. Eight or nine when I met her. If she took too long cooking their dinner she would get her hand pressed to the burner until you could smell it. Their favorite name for her seemed to be little whore. They always told her how worthless she was. How she was going to die a horrible, worthless, painful death because she was so pathetic no one would ever want her let alone love her. I followed Jackson’s lead. I didn’t question what we did. I simply did what I was told enjoying the ride while I was on it. I can’t even look back at that part of my life without being sick. It’s the reason I donate to those child abuse charities all the time. I try to rid myself of the guilt of what I allowed myself to get caught up in as a kid. It’ll never go away but I try. The girl who was here earlier must know someone from that part of my past right? That’s how you guys found out about Jackson?” He wouldn’t look at either of us as he finished saying that.
“What exactly did you do?” I couldn’t help but wonder just how far into that family he had gotten. I wanted to hear exactly what I was going to beat him for. Before I got my answer Ryder punched him knocking him back. I grabbed him pushing him to the side. I needed these answers. I know what Scar told us. But that was just her dream. I needed to know even if I was absolutely sure the answer was going to tear my heart to shreds. I needed answers. “Talk.” I muttered as I pulled him into a sitting position.
" I understand you guys are going to hate me once you hear what I did. I’ve never seen her again. I moved away so she didn’t have to see me. I got sucked into that sadistic bastards life. I know I shouldn’t have and even as I did it I knew it was wrong.” He looked between both of us as if preparing himself for what he was about to tell us. He had no idea who was here earlier. That was good I didn’t want him to ever look at her again. She was mine and no one was going to cause her distress again. I would allow Ryder to call her his again after he made it up to her and convinced her to come back to us. Until then she is mine and only mine. This little shit was going to pay for hurting her.
“Her name was Scarlet. Her mom thought it was funny to name her that. The dad just thought she was a waste of space that required food and clothes that cost money. Jackson though, he thought she was his learning post. Yes her parents beat her. Yes they burned her yes they mentally tortured her. But Jackson and sometimes that sister of his...they used her body like it was a dummy. The sister used to make her stand there while practicing kicks and punches. It was horrible. Jackson used her to learn the art of getting his dick wet. He wanted to know different positions, control, what it felt like with more than one person. That’s where I came in and a couple other guys from time to time. I would hold her for him while he pinched,punched, sliced. He would make these thin little slices in her skin. Not enough to scar but enough to ooze blood. He’d pour alcohol over them telling her how she needed to be cleaned. How she was such a dirty whore. He would hold her and have me pound into her in different positions so he could see what they looked like from a different angle. The last time I ever saw any of them, we had Scarlet up in his bedroom. He had me ram into her ass. Every time I did that it caused her to bleed. I knew it had to hurt like a bit ch but after the first year and a half she quit making noise while we were at her. She just laid there letting us do whatever we wanted before she left the room. I thought about that as I slammed into her ass. Until then all I had thought was how cool this made me. How good it felt sliding in and out of her. How awesome I was to be able to get sex whenever I wanted well before any of our other friends at school. All I had to do was visit and take whatever I wanted. For some reason that day the guilt I should have felt hit me. I remember him hovering over her, sliding his knife into her pussy as I was buried in her. The sadistic look on his face as he told her she better hope I didn’t get too rough or she would be sliced inside again and he would of course have to clean it with alcohol like always.
I held still as I told him I wanted to try something different. I really just wanted the knife out of her. I wanted away from all of it. I knew if I told him that he would probably force me into the same position as her if not kill me. I realized what we had been doing over the years was rape. I mean hell we had forced her into pulling trains, doing doubles, anything we chose and she never uttered a sound after a while. How could I not have seen beyond myself to what I was doing to another human being? He let me move her into some weird handstand position where I took her until I got off. He always checked after I was done to make sure she did a good job. He wanted his friends pleased. Especially me as we had been friends for the longest. When I was done I pulled her up to me and whispered how sorry I was. The look in her eyes was dead. It was like she wasn’t even there. We had all broken this girl. She was just an empty shell. I slid from her, got dressed, promised to see them later and booked it the hell out of there.
I went home and packed. I couldn’t stay. Jackson would kill me if I didn’t torture her anymore and I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. He needed help. Hell I needed help. I spent the next eight years in counseling. I needed help coping with it all and getting my mind to a place that was far from all of that shit. I will never again touch a woman the way I did her. I figured out just how much of an idiot I was even if Jackson offered it. Even if he basically forced it the first few times. I still took part for years.” He finally fell silent. He still looked scared. I don’t blame him. My eyes told him just how much I wanted to kill him.
Ryder went to take a step forward. I put my arm out stopping him. “You hurt her. You get no part of this. I am dealing with this.” As soon as I finished speaking I turned to Jason. All I saw was a red haze. I let my fists fly into him over and over. I punched him until both of my arms were aching from it. My fists were bloody. The red haze was clearing as I took in his beaten body on the floor of our kitchen. Both eyes were swollen, his nose was broken, his jaw looked dislocated. I leaned into his ear making sure he heard every word I said.
“I want you to leave. Not just town but the entire fucking country. Scarlet is mine and if you ever so much as breath the same air as the state she is in I will kill you. This is your only warning. If I ever see you again you are a dead man. Do you understand me?” He nodded his head just slightly before passing out. I stood up going to the sink to clean my hands. I needed a shower. I was covered in his blood. “Get this piece of shit out of here. Stay with him until you are sure he won’t speak of who did this and then put him on a plane the hell out of here. You do realize she was right. You didn’t believe her and now she is gone. Do you understand what you have done? I am going to see if I can find her. Don’t contact me until he is gone. Stay out of my site for a while. I don’t even want to look at you right now. I can’t believe you could very well have cost us the one girl who made life better. You better pray I get her back or I’m going to do worse than that to you!”
I was still fuming as I left the room. I went up to the bathroom getting cleaned up before I left for the pier. I have no idea where she is but I had to start somewhere. Knowing her she would be at the ocean letting the waves comfort her. Just sitting near it always seemed to bring her piece. I checked every beach I could find before giving up on her being anywhere near the ocean. I went to her apartment. Her car wasn’t out front but I still went knocking on her door hoping she had simply hidden her car for the time being. When I got no answer I drove around looking into the open cafes around town.
The sun was well overhead when Ryder called letting me know that Jason was not going to say anything. He surprised me by letting me know Jason thought he deserved it. I didn’t even realize until then that Jason never did hit me back. He just laid there taking whatever I dished out. Jason told Ryder he would leave as soon as he was released and to tell me he was sorry for everything. I told Ryder to meet me at the publishing house as soon as he could get there. We went home without being able to find her. I had been up for well over thirty-six hours and couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer.
I needed Scarlet in my arms. I refused to allow Ryder into the bed. He was forced into the guest room. I wanted to punish him. I wanted him to feel the pain he caused her. We promised her we would take care of her. We promised we would never hurt her and he broke that promise for the both of us. I only slept for a few hours at a time over the next several days. I can’t even tell you how long I looked for her. I know her boss said she hadn’t heard from her but it didn’t stop me from driving to every location she could possibly be.
I was sitting outside of Cammy’s house trying to think of anywhere else I could check for the day. I was by myself again. I had barely spoken to Ryder. I know he was beating himself up over what he had done but I was no where near ready to forgive him. His thoughtless behavior caused not only his pain but all of our pain. She was out there somewhere broken because he was an idiot. I was here stalking everywhere her feet had ever touched, broken, needing her safe in my arms. I don’t even know where he is but I’m sure he is just as broken and miserable as the rest of us.
Sirens pulled me out of my thoughts. The ambulance stopped right in front of the house I was staring at. I got out thinking that Scarlet really would never forgive me if I let anything happen to her friend. My jaw dropped as I saw who they wheeled out on a gurney. My Scarlet. She was thinner and way to pail. Her eyes were swollen as if she had been crying for days. Her eyes were closed and her breathing was shallow. I didn’t even think as I climbed in the back with her. I never heard a word anyone said. I was terrified from her appearance that I really was going to lose her permanently. The doors slammed closed before the vehicle moved. I never noticed any of it. I held her hand begging her to be okay and telling her how much I needed her. I don’t know what I would do if she wasn’t okay.
They wheeled her directly into a room. The doctor came in moving me to the side. Nurses came in with equipment until there was no room for me in the tiny room. I slipped outside to see Cammy coming through the front door. “How is she? What were you doing there? Why are you here now?” Her questions slammed into me one right after the other. I wonder if she was breathing.
“I was looking for her. You know I have been. I was hoping she would show up at your place or any of the other hundred places I have looked. She is being looked at now. Tell me what happened.” I didn’t give any room for argument. I need to know why she is here.
“At the mention of your names she passed out on me. Tell me why the mere mention of you guys being at work looking for her would cause that kind of reaction. I should kick your ass for hurting her. You need to leave. She is not going to want to see you or your brother when she comes to. You two really are something! All you had to do was believe her. Your friend was more important than her safety. She doesn’t eat. She doesn’t sleep. She doesn’t think I hear her crying. You guys screwed up. She is never going to forgive you for what you have done. Now leave so I can fix my friend.” That being said she turned to go to the front desk. I walked outside to make a call. No matter how angry I was Ryder should be here. Like hell I was leaving. I finally found her. I am not letting her go again. No way in hell was I ever letting her walk away from me. I sure as hell wasn’t going to walk away from her. We will have to get Cammy to forgive us as well.