I needed time to think and cool down. I ran up stairs to my room, stripped down and took a shower. I leaned my forehead against the tiled wall bracing my hands against the shelf letting the hot water pour over my back. The water ran over my eyes forcing them shut. What the hell was I going to do with Franco? For fuck sakes, he raped the poor girl who had no part in any of the mess he fucking created. He beat her senseless, leaving her with no food, no water and worse while she hang from the ceiling for over a week now.
My thoughts raced back to her. Her eyes were swollen from crying. Dark circled caressed her skin under her eyes. A bruise lay on her check just underneath her cheekbone. Blood covered her body from torture she should have never had to endure and will likely never forget. None of that made her any less beautiful. But when Franco lifted her face up, she refused to make eye contact with him. She just stared down at the floor. What bothered me the most was her beautiful deep brown eyes were lifeless almost like she let the darkness of what has happened to her swallow her alive. She had given up.
I slammed my fist against the wall of the shower. Why the hell did I tell Franco he had another 24 hours with her? Why did I even think it was okay to convince her to let us use her as bait? I can’t let my disgust for Dominic jeopardize the life of a beautiful person who has made it her life to help other people. I just can’t. I slammed my fist against the tile wall again, causing my knuckles to start to bleed. I knew what needed to be done.
I quickly shut the water off and dried off. I slipped on a dark pair of jeans, a light blue fitted t-shirt and a light grey half zip sweatshirt. I rushed back through the living room after getting dressed making my way into my study. I stopped, staring at the door just feet away from where she stood. I needed to know. I needed to know what he really did to her. I walked around the desk pulling up my chair. I opened the laptop that sat directly in the middle of the desk pulling up the feed to the camera to the basement. I watched in horror the things Franco did to her. I listen to her screams, her agonizing screams. I listened to her pleads, and even in the silence of the dark I heard her quietly praying for someone to save her or for god to end it all. I stopped at one point of the video. I knew what was about to happen. I took a deep breath and pressed play not prepared for the true horror I was about to watch. She fought, she fought like hell to keep him off of her. I turned my head and tightly closed my eyes as he did what no man should ever do to a woman. And then I heard her say it. It was faint but I heard it. “Please, please, PLEASE, no, I can’t go through this again” before her body turned cold and lifeless. Her pleads turning into sobs. I slammed the computer shut, slamming my fist into the desk. What did she mean she couldn’t go through this again? I brace my head into my hands trying to sort all of the feelings out that were bubbling to the surface. I couldn’t let her sit down there any longer. I couldn’t let Franco anywhere near her ever again.
I got up from my desk grabbing one of the fleece blankets that lay over the back of the plush chair that reside in the office in front of the massive bookshelf that took up the whole wall. I unlocked the door to the stairwell down to the basement and made my way down, slowing my breathing as I went. I slowly opened the door that led to the room in which she stood, bracing myself for the impact I knew the sight of her was going to have on me. She was right where she was left by Franco still chained to the ceiling.
An odd feeling crept into my stomach. I felt heartbroken seeing her like this. I had seen plenty of people tortured and beaten. Hell, I’ve done plenty of the torture myself. But never have I looked upon someone and felt remorse, felt guilty, and felt just overall hurt, I felt irate. Mostly I felt relieved that she was still alive. I couldn’t stand to see her like this. I didn’t even know who she was. Maybe it was just a gut feeling but I knew that not only was she a beautiful person on the outside, I knew she was just as gorgeous on the inside as well.
I saw her glance up for only a second, her head falling back down towards the floor shortly after too exhausted to hold it up. I cautiously walked up to her. I dropped the blanket to the floor right next to me and began to reach up to unhook the shackles and chains that held her body up. She flinched. It wasn’t just a minor flinch. Her whole body jolted away from me, expecting the worse. I squatted down below her eye level balancing on the balls of my feet. She instantly forced her eyes shut trying to move her head and her body as far away from me as she could.
“Addilynn, look at me.” I begged her with no response. “Please, just look at me. I am not going to hurt you okay?” Her head relaxed slightly and she began to open her eyes. “Listen, he’s gone. Franco is gone. He’s not coming back. I won’t let him. I’m going to take you upstairs okay? Will you let me do that?” The smallest nod came from her head as if almost too weak to do much else.
I stood back up now towering over her. I reached my arms up to unchain and unshackle her. I hadn’t taken into account her weakness. As soon as the chains were disconnected from the ceiling she slumped towards the ground. My quick arms catching her before it was too late. I lowered her down to the cold cement floor carefully. She sat tensely shivering on the side of her thighs. I turned for a second to grab the blanket to wrap her up in and when I turned around the almost lifeless girl started to sob. I wrapped her cold mangled body in the warmth of the blanket and place one arm behind her back and the other under her knees picking her up. Her head rest gently on my shoulder nuzzled into my neck. She let out a small whimper and buried herself further into my body soaking up the warmth.
“It’s okay Addi. I got you. I won’t let anything happen to you, I promise.” I whispered to her.
I treaded carefully up each step up to my office and again up to the main room. I travel up the last set of stairs just past the main living room and the island of the kitchen to the long hallway that held three of the seven rooms of the house. Still holding Addi steadily in my arms I walked into the guest room, the second door on the right of the hall. Her eyes had been closed the whole time, small whimpers coming from her as tears were still streaming down her cheeks. I passed through the bedroom into the suite’s connected bathroom. I carefully lower Addi onto the ground leaning her against the white cabinets that stand under the sink.
“Addi, listen to me. I need to get a few things from my room and from Amelia’s room. I need you to stay right here for a second okay?” I said as gently as I possibly could to her resting the palm of my hand on her cheek drawing circles on it with my thumb. I felt her flinch at my touch again.
I sprinted to my room to grab towels, wash clothes, a first aid kit, and a suture kit. I ran over to Amelia’s room across the hall where I grabbed sweatpants, a t-shirt and some undergarments. I rushed back across the hall to the guest room and slowed my steps as I neared the bathroom to not startle the beautiful creature that rested in the room. Addi was still sitting on the floor where I left her shivering. Her knees were brought up to her chest and her arms were crossed over her knees holding them as close to her body as she could manage. I lowered the supplies to the countertop of the sink and carefully sat on the floor next to her in a slow motion. I looked down to her left arm when I notice something didn’t seem quite right.
“Addi, what’s wrong with your arm?” I asked. She gave no response. She just continued to stare towards the gleaming floor. “Can I see it?” She hesitantly held out her arm. It’s clearly broken, bruised and swollen. “I’m going to call our doctor to come look at your arm okay? In the meantime I need to clean up all your other wounds and a few of them need to be sutured. Will you let me do that?” There is a small nod from her.
I begun with the lacerations on her face. Cleaning off each laceration carefully with a washcloth almost caressing her face in my hands. I cautiously placed sutures in each cut that required them. I worked my way down to her arms, chest, stomach and legs until each wound had been adequately cleaned and sutured if needed. I took a glance at her in total once more. She was beginning to look a little bit more like a human and not the mess that Franco left her in.
“Hey, how about a bath?” No response. “How about a shower than?” Still no response. “No? Okay. Well since you have a lot of wounds a shower is probably our best choice. Are you okay with that?” There is still no response. Not wanting to surprise her with any unexpected touch or movement from me I carefully started to explain what I had planned. “I’m going to pick you up and sit you on the shower bench so we can get you washed up Bella.” I carefully wrapped my arms around her body picking her up. Gently I continued to carry her past the glass door of the walk in shower placing her softly placing her down on to the tiled shower bench. Her head instantly leaned against the glass wall. “Addi, Bella, you need to take off the blanket okay?” This she agreed too, unwrapping herself and handing me the blanket. “Bella, you need to take off your bra and underwear okay? They’re full of blood.” She looked up at me in full shock, tears began welling at her eyes. “No, no please don’t cry. Okay how about this. Would you feel better if my sister helped you get cleaned? Her name is Amelia. She’s so kind hearted, kind of sassy, but can be very sweet when she needs to be. Would you let her help you Addi?” A small nod comes from her head. “Okay, stay right here. I’m going to go get Amelia.”
I ran through the house seeing if Amelia was home yet from the safe house. Please be home, please be home. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do if she wasn’t. I couldn’t just leave Addi in the tattered clothes I found her in. But just as I thought all hope was lost I heard the garage door opening. I ran through the kitchen and then through the dining room to get to the garage flinging the door open attempting to catch my breath glaring Amelia down as she stood on the stairs below holding out her keys looking like she was about to unlock the door to enter the house.
“Amelia oh thank god you’re home.” I sighed in relief to see her.
“I didn’t get anything from him yet if that’s what you’re wondering” She backsassed.
“Not even remotely close. I don’t have time to explain but I need you to help me with something.” She gave me an inquisitive look asking help with what. “Just come with me, please.” She knew better than to question me.
I grabbed Amelia by the wrist and I lead her up the stairs to the guest room pulling her into the bathroom. “This. I need you to help me with this.” I said pointing towards Addi. “I will explain later to you Am.” I walked over slowly to Addi in the shower squatting down balancing on the balls of my feet again. “Addi, this is Amelia. She is going to help you okay? You can trust her, I promise. She used to take care of our mother when she got sick.” I glanced over at Am with a sadden expression. “I’ll be in the bedroom Am, holler when you are done. She is too weak to walk. Oh and there are new clothes for her on the sink. And yes before you ask I borrowed your clothes for her to wear. Be careful of her wounds I just sutured some.”
I sat on the love seat in the corner of the room near the window, cupping my face into my hands. Amelia did as she was told without question. I saw the look on her face when she saw Addi. Her eyes nearly popped out of her head, her face turned flush with anger. Not towards me for making her help take care of Addi. No, it was anger towards whoever did this to an innocent woman. Seems as though Addi was having the same effect on Amelia as she did to me.
My thoughts raced around her, around Addi. She was already pretty even when she was broken and bruised; it made me wonder what she was going to be like when she was clean and again when she was healed. I had a feeling she was going to look like a completely different person.
About twenty minutes later Amelia called from the bathroom saying they were ready and dressed. I walked in to find someone almost new already. Addi was not longer covered in blood and dirt but the bruises still showed and new ones had begun to surface. Her long wet hair brushed back and put into a braid. The baggy sweatpants and t-shirt almost consumed her tiny frame but she seemed to be more comfortable now rather than in her bra and underwear.
I walked hesitantly up to her wrapping my arms around her frail body to lift her up. Her arms gently wrapped around my neck nuzzling into my chest again. Amelia followed suite behind me and opened up the bed for me to place Addi in. I carefully lowered her down onto the pillows lying on her side and covered her with the comforter. I quickly brushed a few strands of hair out of her face rubbing my thumb to her cheek again. She didn’t flinch this time and her beautiful brown eyes finally glared up at me looking straight into my soul. No words were necessary; she said everything with one look. I crouched down next to her. “You’re safe here Addi. I’m not going to let anything happen to you. The doctor will be coming in soon to look at your arm, so get some rest. I’ll bring in some food for you in a little bit okay?” she nodded her head yes, still staying silent. “This room is yours. You are not a prisoner by any means anymore Addi. When you feel up to it and when you feel strong enough you can come down stairs. But I need you to stay here with us for the time being. It isn’t safe out there for you. Okay? If you need me my room is right next-door and Amelia’s is across the hall. Bella, I’m so sorry this has happened to you.” At the end of my rant I brushed her cheek one more time, not wanting to let go. As if finally feeling safe Addi closed her eyes and turned to her other side facing the windows.
“Adrian, what the hell happened to her?” Amelia whispered as I walked back to her standing in the doorway of the room.
I leaned against the frame of the door, crossing my arms over my chest staring at the beauty that lay in the bed not wanting to take my eyes off of her for fear something else were to happen. Strange feelings had begun to surface inside me. Feelings I had never knew were possible or even existed for that matter. What was this girl doing to me?
“Franco, Franco happened to her Amelia.”