Chapter 11 ~ The Truth
I heard her whisper my name as I brokenly sat there on the floor of my master bedroom. I was seething with anger, captain douche pants had tried to hit on my Butterfly and I saw red. I was normally a controlled man, everything kept in meticulous precision, timed to the very second, everything I did ran by the clock – I never tolerated even a minute over. My company paid no overtime because if you couldn’t finish your work in a timely manner you were fired, I allowed no room for mistakes but ever since Daniella showed up – that’s all I had been doing – mistake after mistake. I lifted my head and leant it against the cold grey wall, staring at her tiny form sitting on the end of my bed.
“It’s time you heard why I left.”
I sat there scrupulously scrutinising her, can I trust her word? I’ve figured out, over our conversations, the reason’s she came back was because of Pam’s death and because she had run out of places to hide. Not for me, not because she missed me – she didn’t care enough about me, she was here for Travis – our father – to put him back together and figure out what to do next. But I did want to know why she left me? I wanted to know how she could claim to love me and then disappear without a trace, I deserved that answer after all these years.
“Speak then, why did you leave?” My tone was harsh and short.
“What do you remember from the day before graduation?”
“That’s not an explanation Danny,” I snapped.
“Please,” she whimpered, “it’s important.”
I sighed, “fine… I remember you being nervous, said you had to go to the studio to practice for your last ballet exam the following morning before graduation. I remember kissing you goodbye before you left and watching you walk down the driveway heading for town.”
She closed her eyes momentarily, inhaling and exhaling deeply. “What do you remember from when I got home?”
“This is pointless…” I barked angrily, “why are we going over what I remember and not explaining why you fucken left me?”
The tears splash upon her cheeks, “p-please Axel, i-it’s important.”
I hated seeing her cry, it was a weakness. “I remember you arrived home really late, you hadn’t answered your phone all day, Pam said she received a text from you earlier saying that you would be training until late at night because you wanted to be perfect, so they weren’t concerned. I thought it was stupid because you had already been accepted into your fancy dance school abroad, there was no need to kill yourself now. I laid awake waiting for you to come home, I checked the alarm clock when I heard your bedroom door close and noticed it said one thirty-two in the morning. Your exam started at nine, so even though you would have had ample sleep I still thought you were insane for staying there so long and practising.
“I remember tiptoeing to your door and for the first time ever it being locked. I remember knocking and you saying ‘not tonight Axe, I’m nervous about tomorrow, I just need sleep’ which I accepted. I remember telling you I loved you and hearing nothing back and so I dragged myself back to my room. The next morning you and Pam’s truck were gone. There was a note on the bench that said ‘gone to my exam early, please don’t come I’m too nervous, see you at graduation’. We had said we would meet by our tree and go there together, so I waited by our tree… and I waited and I waited. I called Carl to ask if you had shown up yet and he said no – so I waited. I waited all damn fucken day by that tree and you never showed up, I remember calling your phone and it was switched off, I called Pam and Travis, they were in the audience waiting to watch us walk on stage and receive our diplomas. I told them I wasn’t leaving in case you showed up. Travis scoured the streets for you while Pam watched everyone but her two children walk up on stage, just waiting in case you ended up there.
“Carl, Regan and Marshall found me in an inconsolable state at the foot of the elm tree – our special tree but I knew you had left, I knew no one could find you because you weren’t around. The boys hauled me inside about seven at night and Trav was on the phone to the cops while Pam was on the phone to your dance teacher demanding an answer as to why you never attended your last exam but Pam’s truck was in the parking lot. I remember trying for days to get you by phone, I remember trying even after the voice message said that your number had been disconnected, I just couldn’t believe you would do that to me. That’s what I remember, you deserting me.”
She slid off the end of the bed, drew her knees to her chest and flopped her head back against the mattress, staring at my bedroom but not really focused on anything, just lost inside her head. “When I left the morning before graduation, I was on my way to the studio to practice, when I was struck on the back with a baseball bat.” Her chin quivered as the tears rolled silently down her face. Suddenly she had my complete and full, undivided attention.
“I fell to the ground, scrapping my hands along the gravel as the words ‘inbred’ and ‘incest slut’ were hurled at me. The bat came down hard on my thigh and I cried out in pain, that’s when I saw Greta raise the bat above her head and it came down on my side. She screamed in my face about how she would have you thrown from Brown, said her father was on the board and if I didn’t fuck off, that you would pay. She screamed about how you should be with her… and n-not an…in… incestuous whore… like me.”
Her head fell into her hands as she shook uncontrollably and sobbed, her breath catching in her throat as she heaved. I was by her side immediately, pulling her to my chest as my legs tucked in behind her, “why didn’t you tell me? I would have killed her. I could have protected you.”
“W-wait,” she squeaked, sucking back large gulps of breath as she spluttered and coughed, straightening her body. Finally calm enough, she spoke again. “L-l let me get t-this out-t.” I nodded as she wiped her face with her palms and sniffed back, before clearing her throat. “Someone passing through town stopped to help me, Greta got in one more whack with the bat and then a kick to my stomach before they all ran away. The stranger lifted me into his car drove me to the hospital. I refused treatment – I just wanted to go home – Tessalee begged to call Mum and Dad but I said no, I was over eighteen, no longer a minor and she was bound by her job not to disclose personal information. Everything was fine, I was just bruised and scratched and very sore. So as I’m signing the… r-r release papers… Tessalee swore, t-turning me a-around...”
“Why? Why did she swear Butterfly?”
“I-I didn’t kn-know, I-I’m sorry, I didn’t know I w-was pregnant Axe, I-I’m so sorry, I-I d-didn’t know.” She cried out in pain as the tears streamed down my face, the words ‘I’m sorry’ repetitively falling from her mouth as she rocked back and forth.
Fuck, fuck no, fuck, fuck. This can’t be true? No, oh god. Fuck, oh god. My hands fisted my hair either side of my head as I struggled to comprehend everything. Fuck, our baby, our small innocent defenceless child murdered and all I have done this entire time was blame her for hurting me. Fuck. Fuck. She had to go through all of that alone.
The enormity of the truth was finally out and it wasn’t at all what I had expected. I, in my stupid head, thought that she had deserted me because she couldn’t handle the teasing, the criticism when it was so much more than that. She had miscarried our baby thanks to that fucken bitch Greta and she had run out of fear.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” My voice cracked as I sniffed back the ravenous and unhinged emotion, cupping her face with my hands as her eyes focused on mine. “Why couldn’t you just tell me? I would have been there for you.”
“It would never have s-stopped Axel, they see us as wrong.”
“Fuck them, you miscarried, I should have been there.”
“Y-you had worked so hard to get into uni, I didn’t want to ruin your life any more than I had. Greta had threatened your placing, I couldn’t do that to you.”
“She’s full of shit Butterfly, there was no way her father could have had me thrown out of school.”
“W-what? B-but she said…”
“You believed her? No Dan, it would have taken more than just a word from someone on the board, that’s not how the system works.”
“Well I didn’t know that,” she howled incredulously.
My shoulders fell, I had no fight left, no blame, no hate… and no baby. We sat there for a while in silence, both of us with tears falling and both of us just as hurt and broken as each other, mourning a child – a life, we could have had. “I could have been a father,” I finally stated in awe, more to myself.
“I’m so sorry, I didn’t even realise. I was so focused on the exam’s and what we were going to do with our last moments together before we both went our separate ways that I didn’t even think about checking my cycle calendar. I’m so sorry.”
I hooked my finger under her chin, tilting her head up to meet me. “This is not your fault, I knew you were being targeted, I threatened Greta, she said she’d back off – said she didn’t want to upset me and if it meant that much to me, then she would chill.”
“She lied,” Danny scoffed.
I chuckled, “I’m sorry you lost your baby, I’m sorry you went through that all alone. I should have been there for you…”
“You didn’t know. How could you? I was so scared – I just ran.”
After a long time, we had dramatically calmed down, I got up off the floor and collected the tissue box from my bedside table and handed it to her. I pulled a shirt from my wardrobe and tossed it onto the bed before stripping down to my pretentious expensive Hermes trunk underwear, all of course, under the confused eye of Butterfly.
I helped her up and held the hem of her shirt, “arms up,” I encouraged and her bloodshot eyes grew wide. I just stared at her waiting. She furrowed her brow and clutched the tissue collection tighter in her hand before shakily and hesitantly raising her arms to the roof.
I lifted her shirt and felt my cock twitch as I tried not to be a pervert a glare at her chest, but that was unsuccessful, I sucked in a sharp breath of appreciation before regretfully sheathing her in my shirt. I hooked my fingers in the sides of her weird leather pants and slowly slid them down, I really should not have started this. I managed to catch the slightest hint of her tiny black thong, it was simply a strip covering her slit. Lord have mercy on my evil soul. Focus, focus, get her comfortable and secure and warm – in my bed.
Reprimanding myself, again and again, about not leering at her divine body, I helped her under the blankets and climbed in, tucking my arm under her head and resting her head against my chest before I smacked my hand against the light switch panel above my head.
We laid there in complete silence for a while, slowly processing everything.
“What happens now?” She whispered.
I contemplated her words, what does happen now?
“I lied Butterfly when I told you I hated you – I’ve never hated you, I love you, I’ve always loved you.”