11 | Green-Eyed Monster
I wake up to the feeling of my head being jostled. I groan and furrow my brows as I feel it rested on something soft. Soon something else that is soft covers my body. Then I am still. I crack my eyes open for a brief moment, discovering that a pillow has been placed under my head and a blanket has been laid over me. I am still on the floor. I smile to myself, amused, as I close my eyes. Sleep rushes back to me, craving me just as much as I crave it.
I sleep for a few more hours and when I wake up the sun is rising and my body is sore. I purse my lips as I sit up, stretching my arms and pulling the kinks out of my back. The floor is certainly not the most comfortable of places to crash for the night. But it will have to do.
I stand slowly, my limbs tight. My first few steps are wooden as I walk towards the dresser and grab myself some clothes to wear for the day, settling on jeans and a t-shirt. It looks like it’s going to be warm.
I shower and get dressed, making the water a little hotter than usual to ease up my muscles. When I step out of the bathroom I place my used clothes in the dresser and make my way over to the blanket and pillow on the floor. I place the pillow back onto the bed and fold the blanket before setting it on top of the covers, smoothing over it one final time. I procrastinate leaving the room, hearing two voices: Terrence and Spencer’s.
I walk over to the door and rest my ear against it, trying to make out what they are talking about. Terrence is confronting Spencer on my attempted escape. Spencer is minimizing it, making it sound less possible than it really was. Terrence has a hard time buying it, but the vague description I gave him last night seems to line up with what Spencer is saying so eventually he simply drops it, and there is quiet. I take it as my cue to step outside.
I step out of the bedroom, entering into the kitchen. As soon as I appear in Spencer’s periphery he looks at me, scoping me up and down with his unreadable grey eyes, before going back to whatever he was doing.
“Good morning, Sunshine,” Spencer greets, his typical arrogant self.
I give him a slight nod but don’t respond, both because I don’t want to act any different towards him in front of Terrence and because I find myself perplexed by our time together last night while he was babysitting me. I feel different around him—I remember never wanting to be alone with him when I was younger, but last night I felt more comfortable around him than I do with Terrence.
“Blythe,” Terrence smiles. “Would you like a cup of coffee? Some toast?”
“Just coffee, please,” I say, sitting on the opposite end of the island to Spencer. I have no appetite to speak of.
Terrence nods as he pours me a cup of coffee, adding sugar and cream just the way I like it. He slides the mug in front of me, sitting adjacent.
“I was just talking to Spencer about how you tried to escape last night,” he says knowingly.
“Were you?” I ask. “What about it piques your interest?”
“How you managed to sneak past him if he was intently watching you as he claims,” I look between him and Spencer. Terrence does not look at me, but looks at Spencer as though he had tried to sabotage him and his plans with me. “He can’t give me a clear answer, but I think you can.”
“Oh, bullshi—” Spencer pipes in, but is silenced by Terrence.
“I don’t remember speaking to you just now,” Terrence says, then looks at me with those explicit russet eyes. “Blythe, I am not upset with you. I don’t expect you to know any better. I just need you to tell me what happened.”
“I—” I swallow, licking my lips. I try to come up with something that won’t get Spencer in trouble but my mind is absent of any rationale. I look over at him, panic evident in my eyes. He looks at me with a blank visage but the glint in his eyes reflects the same concern as mine.
“No,” Terrence snaps. “Do not look at him, look at me.”
I face him immediately with wide eyes. My hands begin to shake so I hide them in my lap.
“Brother, you’re scaring her—” Spencer tells him.
“Since when do you care?” Terrence barks, still staring at me.
“I don’t,” Spencer relents.
“O-okay, so this is what happened,” I start, deciding I will have to improv it. Thank God I took an improv class in university. “Spencer had to use the washroom after a couple hours but he didn’t want to leave me alone. He told me to come to the washroom with him. I faced the door while he did what he had to do, but while he was in...the...middle of it I opened the door and made a run for it. I managed to get the keys but he grabbed a hold of me before I could open the door. He had taken the time to pull his pants up, I should add.”
Terrence looks over at Spencer, gauging his reaction to see if I’m telling the truth or not. I too look over at Spencer, hoping I had gotten him out of trouble. He does not look thrilled with my falsifying of events, but it alleviates him of any guilt. He nods to Terrence.
“Not flattering, but it’s what happened,” he shrugs.
Terrence looks back at me as I purse my lips, trying my best to maintain eye contact to make my story seem candid. He narrows his dark eyes at me but then nods, accepting my fabrication. It does not matter if I am telling the truth or not. At the end of the day I’m right back where I started.
“Well,” Spencer claps a hand on the island before standing up. “I’m going to make tracks downstairs. Keep an eye on her, Terrence.”
Terrence glares at him but does not respond as he makes his way back down to his basement suite. I grab my coffee and begin drinking it, not looking forward to the fact that it is just Terrence and I now. Spencer acts as a buffer between us, a buffer that in my short time here I have come to be very grateful for.
“Are you covering for him?” asks Terrence.
I shake my head and rest my coffee on the counter.
“No,” I lie smoothly. “I have no reason to cover for him.”
“I seen the way he looked at you when you entered the room,” Terrence reveals to me. I try to remain neutral as not to give anything away. For some reason I don’t want him to know that Spencer is my favourite in the household. “You matter more to him today than you did yesterday. Did anything happen?”
“No,” I maintain. “I think you feel nervous that you weren’t there to see what happened while you were gone. Nothing happened and nothing has changed.”
“You’re right. I just don’t trust him. I wouldn’t put it past him to backstab me eventually, and to use you to do it.”
I ponder his comment for a moment. I would not put it past Spencer to do such a folly, either, but at the same time it could benefit me as well. There is no emotional investment towards anything except escaping.
“You must know he is attracted to you, however,” Terrence blurts. I sit back in the chair. Given last night, I had the idea that he was. It wasn’t important to me. “I can tell by how he looks at you. He thinks you are beautiful. He might try to steal you from me.”
There is a tense moment of silence, his eyes staring right through me. He sees Spencer as a threat. That could be bad for me. He could keep him away from me, which could hinder my chances of escaping if what Terrence suspects of him is true.
Spencer did tell Terrence that they had to move the keys by the garage door, though, so there was also that to consider. He clearly wants to eliminate any possibility of me up and leaving as well...at least, for now. If Terrence is onto something...that could possibly change.
“Don’t let him,” he reprimands.
Looking down at my coffee, I nod without any substantial promise.
Afternoon creeps up on us. We watch a long movie in complete silence, although I spend more time watching Blythe who pays no mind to me but is aware of my admiration. She sits in front of the big window which casts her in sunlight. It makes her hair shine like gold, and her eyes like glassy pools of bright blue. Sweat begins to gleam on her prominent collarbones, dripping down into places I cannot see.
It comes to a point where I cannot sit still any longer. I shut off the television and stand. Blythe sits up defensively, staring up at me with her big blue eyes that are alert and guarded.
“Sunshine, would you like a tour of my property?”
She perks up at my question, already formulating in her mind. She will be looking for ways out, but she is out of luck because she will be unable to find any. The gravel road leads to nowhere for miles, and beyond the visible forest is even more forest. She can look all she wants. It will only discourage her, which is probably what she needs. She is still full of too much hope.
“Yes,” she nods, smiling. She garners a section of hair behind her ear, unable to hide her smile. “I would like that.”
“Okay,” I smile in return. I walk over to the front door, the sound of Blythe’s footsteps following closely behind. I grab a pair of her shoes from the closet—converse, her absolute favorite. She had three pairs in her luggage in different colors.
She slips them on as I slip on my shoes. I open the door for her and she walks outside, me following closely behind. I close the door but don’t lock it. That’s the benefit of rural living, less chances of crime knocking on your door.
She walks down the stairs and looks back at me once she is on the driveway. For the first time since she’s been here she is excited. It’s a good look on her.
I take her for a walk on the lawn that surrounds the left and back side of the house. Blythe has her hands laced in front of her as she looks around, curious about the landscape that surrounds her. At the very back of the lawn is a firepit with a pile of wood near it, as well as trail that goes into the forest but reaches a dead end. Blythe expresses interest in this trail so I offer to take her down it.
Exuberantly, she agrees.
I take her down the trail, stopping once we reach the dead end. She looks around, confused, clearly expecting more.
“That’s it?” she asks.
“Sorry to disappoint, Sunshine.”
“What’s the point of this trail if it leads to nowhere?”
“Sometimes it’s just the place one needs to find peace.”
Blythe looks up at me, rubbing her lips together as she nods. She understands despite not wanting to. Even people who are evil require peace.
I lead her the back the opposite way we came, bringing her around to the right side of the house. She looks into the forest, observing how it never seems to end. It gets denser and darker the further into it you look. She would succumb to the elements before she ever came upon civilization.
We walk down the driveway and up the grassy hill. She has a difficult time looking at Lawrence’s house, instead observing the tall grass.
“I can’t even fathom how I managed to run through this,” she comments.
“Me neither,” I chuckle.
“Is this it?” she asks, looking around her at the greenery. I can sense her feeling of claustrophobia despite being in the wide open. There is still the same feeling of entrapment, a fact she is no longer able to avoid.
Without waiting for me she begins to walk down the hill and towards the end of the driveway. I follow closely behind, intrigued, knowing she isn’t going to run. She ends up walking onto the gravel road, stopping directly in the middle of it. I stop beside her.
She points down the road, the direction to Lawrence’s house. The wind rustles her hair, enhancing the stoic focus of her face.
“Where does this road lead?”
“It leads to a small town, but not for a couple dozen miles.”
She flips around, pointing in the opposite direction.
“A big city, also not for a couple dozen miles.”
She looks up at me, lacing her hands behind her back. She balances on her heels for a few moments before standing flat on her feet again. She bites her lip, eyes watering.
“You really are in the middle of nowhere,” she comments.
“I am, Sunshine,” I confirm. “You don’t seem too thrilled about it.”
“I’m not,” she admits. “How often does a vehicle pass through here?”
“Once in a blue moon. This road is not well known.”
She sighs, running a hand through her hair before rubbing her arms. She takes one last look around her, memorizing the setting that encumbers her, before dropping her gaze down to her shoes. She shakes her head slowly, admitting defeat, before meeting my eyes once again. She smiles, attempting to say something, but chokes up and slaps a hand to her forehead, sliding it down to cover her eyes.
“You were seeing if you could find a way out,” I say. “And now you know. There isn’t one.”
"Oh, man," she mutters to herself.
“Are you ready to go back inside?” I ask.
She takes her hand off her eyes. No tears are falling but they’re brimming. She grabs the collar of her shirt and lifts it up to wipe her tears away, revealing a bit of her toned stomach as she does. She’s too distracted to notice me staring so I look away before she does and begin to walk ahead of her slowly. She follows, letting her shirt back down, remaining a pace or two behind me. I know she feels angry at me. I’m not giving her any place to run away to, although Lord knows she sure as hell wants to try to find one.
She keeps her eyes low as we walk back up the driveway, and she must notice how my fist clenches from her periphery. She looks up and I hear her suck in a breath as she sees what I see.
Through the front window we can see Spencer looking at us—or, rather, looking at Blythe with his jaw clenched. He doesn’t bother to look away as we catch him. Getting caught does not make him feel ashamed or embarrassed. He wants us both to know that he’s watching her. He’s playing a game. A dangerous one.
I just don’t know if Blythe is in on it. I have no reason to believe she is, and she’s given no indication that she is—but she also hasn’t given any indication that she isn’t besides giving her word. The way Spencer looked at her this morning...I just know something happened. Something had to. Someone is lying. Or maybe they both are. All I know is that Blythe is naïve to what Spencer is truly capable of. I won’t blame her for this one. She will only trust what she thinks is the quickest way out of here.
I grab her wrist and pull her close to me. She yelps, stumbling, and grabs my arm to regain her balance. Once she does she lets me go, but I keep her close to me even as she struggles to keep up with my steps. I see her look up from my peripheral and I look back at her. She isn’t even looking at me. She is homed in on the window.
When I look back up Spencer is gone. I pull her up the steps, unable to help the way my grip tightens around her wrist. I drag her with me to the window, not bothering to see if he’s still upstairs or gone downstairs. I want to do what I do next regardless.
I grab her around the waist and then by the nape of her neck through her hair as I bend down and kiss her. She pushes against my chest in protest, whimpering with shock and utter revulsion, clearly distraught. I lean away and grab her hair, pulling it gently as I reveal her neck to me. I began to kiss it as she starts pushing against me harder.
I move up to her jaw, kissing its underside, moving up to her chin before I kiss her on the lips again. She stops pushing against me, trembling, and tucks her arms against her chest. I pull away from her, looking at her eyes that are clenched shut. She’s shaking, on the verge of hysteria.
“You are not his. Don’t forget that,” I remind her, my voice sharp. My jealousy turns my vision red. She flinches, her lips parting from her teeth in fear.
I grab her wrist to bring her inside.