Son of a bitch
K A I
“We are finding everything we can about Axel King. Everything,” Matt announces as we all gather around the table.
He got Madison, Elizabeth, Laurie, two of our close football friends Trevor and Isaac, and me to help bring this guy down. I jumped at this, obviously, but the others took more convincing.
The three girls, who are Alex’s friends, are only trying to break him up if he turns out to be a monster. They told me that they broke up because he was obsessive and controlling. I’m positive he’s a monster, not just because of my bias. She is not getting hurt by him. I would protect her whether she is my girlfriend or not.
“Contact old school friends, people around the city, do everything. I am heading off in the morning back to Arizona to see what I can find out about him.”
She didn’t go to the same high school as Matt, so he doesn’t know much about Axel.
I drive to school with Alex, telling her Matt is talking to the principal and coach, not in Arizona, looking for dirt on her boyfriend. I drop Alex off, her stomping out my car.
Instead of going to school myself, I start the drive to Arizona too. I’m not going to let him go alone, and I want to find as much on Axel as I can.
Los Angeles to Phoenix was a six and a half hour drive, but I made it without stopping. I call Matt, telling him I came too and we meet at a cafe that he used to go to when he lived here.
Matt first decides that we are going to her old friends’ houses who went to high school with her.
“Jackie, hey, it’s Matt." She brings Matt in for a hug when we stand in the doorstep and invites us inside. We take seats in her lounge.
“Matt, what brings you here? Is Alex alright? I heard she moved somewhere,” Jackie says, a concerned look stuck on her face.
“She’s living with me now. She didn’t tell you?”
“No, we weren’t really friends the last six months she was here.”
“Why?” I question. Realizing I haven’t introduced myself, I say, “I’m Kai; I’m Matt’s best friend.”
“Oh, it’s nice to meet you. It was because of Axel. Douchebag,” she exclaims, throwing herself back into her seat.
“What about Axel?” Matt asks.
“Axel was manipulating her, controlling her. He made her do everything. He would spin lies about me and Anna, saying we couldn’t be trusted and that she didn’t need us. He alienated her from everyone else. I thought she was too scared to not obey him but then she turned into a different person. She started drinking and getting high all the time. She sometimes came into school so out of it, she couldn’t even stand up straight. She became a bitch as well, running money errands for Axel’s drug dealing business.”
Matt is in a state of shock, but I nod to her to tell her to carry on.
“It's not her fault. He was... a monster. He’d tell her to skip classes and take her to parties all the time. That’s how they ended up together, he offered her a job and she really needed the money.”
I watch Matt twitch out of the corner of his eyes and I know it’s the pang of guilt washing through him. He wasn’t there to help, so she turned to the dark side, but it wasn’t his fault, he couldn’t have known. She didn’t ask for help; she never does.
“They dated for like ten months, and then suddenly, one day, she just broke up with him and moved away without a word to anyone else. Good thing though, Axel was toxic for her.”
“He’s back with her,” Matt says.
“Shit, is she okay? How long?”
“A week,” I reply.
“We’re trying to find out more about them both and about Axel. He’s not good for her; we can’t let her get hurt. She’s off it all and was living relatively well,” Matt says. “We should go. We have to find out more before she worries about us being gone. Thanks, Jackie.”
“Anytime. Hey, here’s my number, can you give it to her?” Jackie asks with a hopeful face.
“Of course, she’ll love to hear from you. You two were like sisters before.”
We leave the house and stroll down the street a little, wondering what’s next. There is more to the story than this. Although this is already a lot. Matt takes out his cell once he has an idea.
“Hey, man, it’s Matt, how are you?”
“I was wondering if you could help me actually. I’m in the city. My sister, Alex, the high school she went, know anyone from there a year older than us? First year of college they would be.”
“Parker... Mason. Great, local college, we’ll head over there right now. Thanks man.”
“Alright, bye.” Matt hangs up the phone and faces me. “This is the last stop.”
We enter a frat house where Parker lives and ask around. We eventually find him in a gaming room with five other guys.
“One of you Parker?” Matt says confidently. These guys are older than us, but we look their age. One guy stands up coming closer.
“Who are you?” Parker, I’m assuming, asks.
“Parker, right? Tell us what you know about Axel King,” I say toughly as he appears to get more defensive.
“Who the fuck do you think you are? I’m not involved with Axel or that stuff anymore. Get your fucking shit from him or someone else,” he exclaims.
I back him up against the wall with my hand gripping the collar of his shirt. The other guys all look wary as Parker looks terrified.
“We’re not fucking junkies. We heard you were friends in high school. Tell us about him,” I explain, in an agitated tone. I let him go from the wall and step back.
“Fine, what do you want to know?”
“Alex Wilde? Know her?” Matt interrogates.
“Look, whatever shit she’s into, I have nothing to do with. If you are cops, I didn’t see anything at all.”
“We’re not cops; Alex is my sister. Why would we be cops?” Matt says, furrowing his eyebrows.
“Oh, shit. It’s just they got into some heavy shit.”
“Tell us about them,” I repeat.
“Why don’t you just ask your sister, man?” When we both give them a deadly stare, Parker begins to talk. “Right, Axel and Alex. Their relationship was the talk of all of us for all ten months. Axel and I, we’re not friends anymore. He’s a fucking asshole. Alex, when she came to school, she was innocent, and smart, and confident. Then they got together and he tried to control her. He’d manipulate her into doing anything he wanted.
"Her first drink, she said she didn’t want it. He fucking forces her mouth open and shoves it down her throat. A few more times like that and he got her addicted to it. He wanted her drunk after every party for god knows what.
"And then he started giving her pills, which of course she didn’t want, but Axel kept saying, ‘it will make you feel so much better, trust me’. He prayed on the fact that she had a shit home life and had money troubles and got her addicted on everything. I think to make her more controllable. She was quite strong-willed.
"But I was seriously impressed when your sister broke up with him and skipped town. He made himself the only person in her life. But somehow, she found a way to get herself out.
"When they broke up, he was more than just upset; he looked suicidal. He searched for her for ages, saying he’d get clean if it would just get her back. He was unhealthily in love with her, obsessed with her is the better word.
"But he was way too controlling. The guy gets aggressive when angry. Any time she disobeyed him, he’d lose his shit. I’d seen him a few times slapping her around. It was probably worse than what I saw. But it was fucking violent. And then he would apologize and do his fucking manipulative routine. Good thing she got away from him.”
“She’s not. She’s back with him. He hit her? Why was she with him?”
“Oh shit. You gotta get her away from him. He probably did the ‘I’m clean’ thing on her. She was with him before because he convinced her they were in love. He was the only one there for her and he told her that’s because he loved her and she loved him. He told her what to think. He was always with her, filling her head with bullshit. Get her away from him.” He hit her? He hit her. He abused her. Probably raped her a bunch of times too.
He has to go.