XXVIII. Madison’s Story
“That is unacceptable, absolutely disgusting,” my Nona spat as anger took over her features.
“I know, Nona, but-”
“There’s no but’s about it, miele. What that man put you through is awful and those boys on your team…” she trailed visibly growing angrier by the moment. “They need to pay for what they’ve put you. Why haven’t the police done more yet?”
“Well, actually we’re supposed to go down there so Madison can give his statement at…” I trailed as I looked at my watch. “Oh my gosh, right now.”
“Wait, what?” Madison questioned as he looked at his phone. “Oh sh-”
“Sorry, Nona, we have to go,” I interrupted as I gave Madison a pointed look before I hugged Nona and kissed her cheek.
“Noah, please be careful. You are always welcome to stay here,” she said before she looked at Madison. “Both of you.”
Madison smiled. “Thank you ma’am.”
“You’re welcome, Madison.” She took his hand and held it tight. “Be strong. You can do this.” Madison silently nodded.
“I’ll see you later, Nona. Love you.”
“I love you too,” she called before I grabbed Madison and we hurried out the door and back into Madison’s car.
“W-Wait, I’m not ready,” Madison stammered as we closed the car doors around us. “I thought I had more time and it was a lot telling your Nona just now and now I’ll have people asking me a ton of questions and-”
“Baby, calm down,” I softly said as I gently cupped his cheeks between my hands and looked him in the eyes. “Breathe with me, okay?” I took a deep breath despite the pain it brought me, and held it until Madison copied them let it out. “Good, baby. Just keep doing it with me, ‘kay?” Madison silently nodded as we continued, our eyes locked with each other the whole time. After a few moments, Madison let out a finally breath before he wrapped his arms around me and buried his face into my shoulder.
“Promise me you won’t leave?” he softly said more as a question than a statement.
I held him tighter. “I’ve said it before and I will say it as many times as you need to hear it: I love you and I’m never leaving you, especially not now. Okay?” He held me for a few more moments before he pulled away, his eyes glassy and red.
“I just...I hate living through it over and over again. Just feeling it and recognizing that it...it was my father…” his hands slightly started shaking and his breathing started becoming erratic once more. I held his hands in my own and rested my forehead on his.
“I know, Madison. I know. I feel that fear and hatred and confusion and sadness every time I even think about what we went through, but knowing that you’re with me helps me cope with it a bit. Don’t hold it in, Mads. I’m here for a reason.” He nodded against my forehead before he moved his head before he gently rubbed his nose gently against mine, a comfort move. I have his hand a slight squeeze before he pulled away but he kept his hand in mine before he sighed and nodded.
“Ok, I’m ready just…” he trailed as he held my hand tighter, his actions finishing his sentence for him. I started the car before we drove the short distance to the police station. After I parked the car, I looked over to Madison. He was pale and obviously nervous.
“Babe, it’s okay. We can reschedule this for-”
“No,” he said, shaking his head. “These people need to pay for what they’ve done to us and what they could do to other people like us. I just need to take my time.”
I nodded before I unbuckled and got out before I made my way around to Madison’s side and helped him out. I took his hand in mine and locked to door before we made our way toward the building that was looming before us. Madison was purposely walking slow, but I couldn’t blame him. I’d do the same thing too. Once we made it in, I told the front desk clerk the name of the officers we were there to see and she called them down and pointed us to the waiting area. Once we sat down, Madison’s leg anxiously started to bounce. I gently rubbed his back in an effort to calm him down. “It’s okay,” I comforted just as Officer Harold and Officer Walker walked toward us.
“Evening boys,” Officer Walker greeted. “Are you ready to give your statement, Madison?”
Madison nodded. “Yes, but uh...can Noah come? I really need him.”
Officer Walked looked at Officer Herold. “I’ll allow it, but you need to make sure you don’t interject, interrupt, or anything of that nature, okay?” Officer Herold said and I nodded.
Herold nodded. “Okay, good. Now follow us.” I stood up with Madison following my lead before we followed the officers. As we got closer and closer to the room, Madison’s hand gripped mine tighter until we were there and he stopped.
I kissed his cheek. “Sono qui Piccola. sono qui (I’m here baby. I’m here).”
“Thank you, Noah,” he softly said before he placed a soft kiss on my lips then took a deep breath and walked in with me less than a foot behind him and our hands tightly interlocked.
In the room, there was a video camera set up like it had been when I was interviewed and the officers were already set down. Madison and I took a set next to each other across from the officers and I could practically feel Madison’s panic.
“Relax, son. We’re here to help you,” Officer Walker gently reminded, causing Madison to nod as he took deep breaths. “Are you ready?” He nodded again. “Alright Harold, start it.” Officer Herold nodded before he pressed the record button on the camera. “Alright, Madison, we’re conducting a video statement. Is that’s ok or would you rather do a written statement?”
“This is okay,” Madison said, his voice slightly shaking.
“For the record, Noah Bruno is here with Mr. Williams for support though he has agreed not to intervene unless specifically asked to.” I mutely nodded in response. “Okay, Madison. I want you to tell me everything your father has done to you. There’s no need to be afraid or rush. We’re here to help you and in order to do that, we need all the information, okay?”
“Okay.” Madison agreed.
“Start whenever you’re ready,” Officer Herold gently said.
Madison took a deep breath. “Okay, it all started after I left Noah’s house. It was the day after he’d told me what my father had done to him. To us. He’d tried to calm me down and convince me not to do anything but I just couldn’t let my father get away with almost ruining something so important to me. So I told him I was leaving because I had somethings to do, but the truth is that I was still beyond furious at my father and I needed to talk to him before I exploded. So I waited until I was home and called him. All I said was ‘I know what you did. Come here, now’ and was about to hang up when he said ‘I was just trying to protect you’. I was just so furious and upset and I told him that I loved Noah and hated him and that I never wanted to see him again. I don’t really know if I meant it, but I knew that I wanted to hurt him and cut him as deeply as he cut me.” Tears started welling up in Madison’s eyes and all I wanted to do was hold him, but I knew I couldn’t.
“After that he just hung up. I was so angry, but some part of me felt happy he hung up because I didn’t want to face what he’d done. But that wasn’t the end of it. I was so emotionally exhausted and all I wanted to do was forget about it. I honestly thought about going back to Noah’s place because he knew how to calm me down and was about to pack a shirt and pants so I wouldn’t always be stealing his clothes when I suddenly just heard this banging on my door, like thunder or something. I was scared, thinking that someone was trying to break in or something but then I heard my dad yell ‘I know you’re in there you ungrateful fag’. His words broke my heart and…” he trailed as his tears finally spilled over.
“It’s alright, Madison. Take your time,” Officer Herold said as I squeezed his hand.
Madison closed his eyes and took a deep breath before he opened them again, revealing a numb, emotionless expression, though there were still tears spilling from his eyes. “I was terrified. I knew he could get extremely aggressive when he was upset but I just kept thinking that he’d never actually hurt me, though a small part of me knew what was going on, I think. Before I could really figure out what I was going to do, the door literally broke and there my dad was, heaving with a beyond pissed look on his face. His hands were balled into fists and I could see the rage and…and hatred burning on his face. That’s when I knew it was over.” He bit his bottom lip to silence his strangled sobs. “And then he...I-I need a second,” he said and without wasting a second, he pulled me close and started crying into my chest.
My heart ached for him. He’d never gone into full detail about what his dad had done, and seeing him get so emotional just by thinking about it infuriated me beyond words. I rubbed his back and held him close as a sign of me telling him that I wasn’t going anywhere. We held it for a moment longer until he readjusted us so that he was still laying on my chest in such a way that the officers and camera could still see and understand him.
“He didn’t give me a chance to even speak. He just walked up to me and punched me in the face. I didn’t have time to react before he started hitting me and kicking me again and again until I was on the floor. I-I tried defending myself but I just couldn’t. I couldn’t bring myself to hit him after everything we’d been through together. He kept beating me and taunting me and calling me a weak fag. I begged him to stop but that just made him hit me harder. I could feel his hatred toward me. Toward us. As he hit me he talked about how he was teaching me a lesson and that I’d thank him for it one day. Between kicks I told him if he didn’t stop, he’d kill me. And you know what the bastard said?” Madison questioned with a humorless chuckle. “He said he’d rather have a dead son than a gay one. I think that hurt most of all. That’s when I gave up and just let him beat me. I was hoping he’d come to his senses or at least just let all his anger out on me and not Noah.
“After a few minutes, he realized I had given up. He said ‘You’re a sorry excuse of a man, Madison. I didn’t raise you to be like this. Sei una delusione. Non sei più un mio figlio. Spero che tu bruci all'inferno’.”
“Can you clarify that please?” Officer Walker gently asked.
“He said that I’m a disappointment and that I’m no longer his son and he hopes I burn in hell. After that, he spat on me and stormed out. I was broken and afraid and confused and angry and so many other things, but I could barely feel my toes and my head was pounding. I tasted blood in my mouth and my body felt both numb and consumed in fire, if that makes sense.” The officers nodded. “I don’t know how long I stayed there, but I eventually picked myself up in a dazed state and carried myself to the bathroom and just sat in the tub. I hated myself and my father and the world for breaking us apart. I slowly slipped into hysterics. That’s when I called Noah and told him he needed to come over. He came over really quickly and at first I was afraid that he was my father, but when I saw him, I felt safe and relaxed like nothing could hurt me anymore. He took care of me and stayed with me for a while up until the whole ordeal at practice. So...yeah. That’s what happened.”
I could tell he was trying to hold it in, but I knew it hurt him beyond anything I could ever understand. So I did the only thing I could: I pulled him into me once more and just hugged him, gently running my fingers through his hair as I did so. He sobbed. “Noah, it was so bad,” he made out. “He hates me so much and I was so scared. I’m s-still scared and-”
“Shh, baby. It’s okay, everything’s okay. I promise,” I gently said as I kissed his cheek and started rocking him in a gentle manner though my body yearned to find Madison’s dad and beat him worse than he did Madison. A part of me legitimately wanted that man dead, but I kept my anger at bay. “Ti amo, Madison. Ti amo tanto. Saremo ok, ok? Vivremo la grande vita che hai pianificato per noi e le persone che ci hanno fatto del male saranno punite, ok? (I love you, Madison. I love you so much. We'll be ok, okay? We will live the great life you planned for us and the people who hurt us will be punished, okay?)”
Madison just cried harder and I let him. After a few minutes he calmed down to the point that he was nothing more than uneven breaths and small whimpers. “Final question, Madison. Where was your mother during all of this?”
“I don’t have one,” he said, his voice rough and quiet. “She left after I was born. She could be dead for all I know or care. She’s just not here.” The officers nodded before Madison fully buried his face in my neck. Despite the shock that moved through me due to me not knowing that valuable information, I focused on the heart wrenching feeling his silent tears sliding down my neck. I merely kissed his forehead and rubbed his back as I vowed to make sure that Mr. Williams got what’s coming to him one way or the other.