A dark past revealed
A bounty’s love
Chapter 13: A dark past revealed
Still wrapped in the blankets overlooking the ocean Luke begins tracing a finger over my Phoenix tattoo.
Luke: Tell me about the Phoenix.
Kylie: It’s a symbol of rebirth, knew beginnings. Seemed like the right fit for what I was going through.
Luke: This have to do with last night.
I nodded in response.
Luke: Tell me Page.
Kylie: You don’t really want to hear it. It’s not something that can be unheard.
He turns my face gently towards his placing a kiss on my cheek.
Luke: Try me.
I take in a deep breath and poor out my dark past.
Kylie: My mom was an alcoholic, so was my step dad. I was 15 the first time he came to my bed. At first, I thought he was just drunk and came in my room by mistake. But he handed me his half drank bottle of whiskey and said if I was a boy it would be my right of passage into manhood. Since I was a late bloomer and had just recently started showing he said it was my right of passage into women hood.
I didn’t want to drink it. I hated my mom for being an alcoholic and Jack. I promised myself to not become like them and just focus on school, try to get a scholar ship. But he wouldn’t let it go till I finally gave in and took a sip.
He held the bottle up and forced more than a sip. Each time I tried to pull away he kept forcing more till I was choking. I felt it go to my head immediately. He was mumbling something about another rite of passage as he threw me on my stomach and started undressing me.
I struggled but he was too strong. He told me to keep quiet and take it like a good girl or my mom would have a bad accident. She was still my mom and I knew he would make good on his threat to hurt her. So, I did as he said. I stayed silent, I tried not to move as he forced himself in me.
It became a routine for almost a year. Always holding the threat of hurting my mom over my head. Only ever raping me anally, and saying the same thing every time, “Take it like a good girl”! That is till one day when my mom in a rare moment of sobriety, walked in and bashed him over the head with a bat. It was like she had just woken up after years of a deep sleep.
While we waited for the cops, she held me and cried begging for my forgiveness. Jack didn’t die but he was arrested after recovering from a fractured skull. Unfortunately, she fell into such a deep depression afterword that she had to be hospitalized.
I couldn’t afford to keep the apartment on my own plus I was only 16, but luckily Marian the owner of the hotel I worked let me stay with her in one of the suites. She was always helping me out, encouraging me to stay strong and stay in school. When my mom killed herself, Marian took care of everything. I was lucky to have had her.
Anyway, after college I got a job at an art gallery where I met my ex. Things were almost too good for a long time. He knew everything about my past and had promised to respect my boundaries I had set, which was no anal.
I didn’t have a lot of dating experience before him. He was very dominant but never abusive, he was possessive but loving and I liked it. He had a temper but never toward me. Not at first. In the end his temper became uncontrollable and he broke his one promise.
For two years I had trusted him fully and in one night he stripped me of it all. That’s why I freaked out on you last night.
Luke: Jesus Page. I am so sorry.
I turned to look at Luke whose eyes where glossy, mixed with emotion, sadness, anger, and guilt. I placed my palm on his jawline kissing his lips.
Kylie: Don’t be sorry for something you had nothing to do with.
Luke: I didn’t realize? I just thought you were really shy. I had no idea.
Kylie: It’s ok.
Luke: You don’t have anything to be afraid of Page. I promise I will protect you.
I smile faintly. He is bigger all around then Max, he has military background and was a boxer, but a part of me still fears what might happen if Max finds me, let alone finds me with another man.
Kylie: Thank you for bringing me here Luke.
He kisses me and holds me for a minute longer till my stomach starts to protest.
Luke: I suppose that means it’s time to go.
We get dressed and walk hand in hand back to the truck. As Luke reaches for the passenger door, I notice a car parked off the side of the road in the distance. My heart pace quickens, shortening my breath as anxiety begins to set. The familiarity of it looks like Max’s Tesla but it can’t be.
The car pulls back out on to the road and my hands begin to shake, full panic. I can’t breathe.
Luke: Page what’s wrong.
Page is frozen like a deer in head lights. I look up to see the car in the distance.
Luke: Page get in the truck.
I lift her in the truck and jump in peeling out of the spot to face the car. This didn’t make sense. There shouldn’t be anyone coming after her. I must have missed something, slipped up somewhere. Maybe this was just another local that comes here, or a lost tourist.
The car slowly turns around and disappears.
I look over at Page who finally takes in a deep breath. Her eyes still locked on the road.
Luke: Page, you ok?
She nods her head then smiles as she turns to me.
Kylie: Sorry it’s just. That car looked a lot like my ex’s which is crazy.
It actually wasn’t crazy. There was a chance he could find her and it would be my fault.
Luke: Page I...
Kylie: Luke could we just go back to the apartment.
Luke: Of course.
After the long silent drive back it’s clear she’s shut down. Something I’ve seen too many times with fellow Veterans suffering PTSD. This Max guy really did a number on her and still is. I was going to do everything I could to bring her back.
Luke: What would you say to pizza and Netflix.
We stood in the hall between our apartments. She hesitated a moment like she was going to take me up on the offer but instead she stood up on her toes giving me a kiss on the cheek.
Kylie: I need to be alone for a little while.
And like that she slips into her apartment.
Fuck! I mumble to myself. I didn’t want to let her be alone right now. She seemed to be in a really bad place, but at the same time after knowing what I did about her dark past she’s stronger than a lot of vets I knew.
I was still going to try my best to get back in.
It wasn’t Max’s car. I knew as soon as it turned around it wasn’t, but my gut was telling me something bad was going to happen. I double checked all the locks on all the windows and doors and locked myself in my room under my covers.
I needed Aron but I couldn’t call him. Not when I was in this state. He’d know and want to fly out immediately. So instead I sent him a short casual text like I usually did on Saturdays pretending everything’s ok. We went back and forth a few times till he reminded me of the time difference and needed to get some sleep.
I felt a little better, enough to fall asleep myself. Though it wouldn’t last. It was pitch black, I felt like I was being held down and I could smell the whiskey. “Take it like a good girl” my body trembled not because of the words but the voice whispering those words in my ear. It was Max. He found me.
He had a hand gripped tightly around my hair his naked member was pressed between my ass cheeks. I started to cry but his hand clamped over my mouth as he repeated “Take it like a good girl”. My fear started turning to anger the more he said it the angrier I got.
Something boiled inside of me and I was done lying down taking it like a fucking good girl. I let out a blood curdling scream and with all my strength I flung myself over striking out at him. Only there was no one there and I wound up flying off the bed onto the floor with a thud.
Suddenly my bedroom door burst open and a man was running toward me. I screamed again and started throwing punches as he came at me.
Luke: Page! Page, it’s me. It’s Luke.
The lights in the room flicked on and Luke was there squatting down before me holding my arms. I couldn’t hold back the sobs of relief that it had been a nightmare and Luke was there holding me.
Luke was there holding me?
Luke: I’m here baby.
Kylie: What are you doing here?
Luke: I heard you scream.
The fear in her eyes told me there’s more to what that fuck did to her and I was going to do whatever I had to, to protect her.
I sat with my back against the wall holding her till she was calm.
Luke: What did Max do to you?
Her body twitched at the name and I realized I let that slip. How do I tell her? She didn’t say anything right away. Would she question it?
Kylie: How much more could you possibly want to hear about my past and why I’m so fucked up.
Luke: Everything. I care about you Page; I want to help. I can help. I’ve been around a lot of guys that have suffered from PTSD. I know talking about it will trigger some shit you might not want to deal with but I can help you through it if you let me.
Kylie: I’m not a soldier!
Luke: You don’t have to be to have it. But you are a fighter I’ve seen what you can do to a punching bag.
She lets out a slight chuckle and it helps me relax that she’s here in full mind and body.
Kylie: I was at a work thing. Max showed up and flipped out more than usual on a guy that was talking to me. The guy was someone I dated in college but Max didn’t know that. He just started wailing on him.
When I tried to stop him, he back handed me. He had never hit me before. It took three guys to escort him out. Despite the protest of my coworkers I left with him. I thought if I did, I could defuse the situation, rather than allow it to escalate which it would have had I stayed.
She paused for a long while. I can only imagine what she was re living inside her mind. I wanted to encourage her. I stroke her cheek brushing away hair from her eyes.
Luke: It’s ok Page, I got you.
She turned her head away looking up at the window. A sliver of light was making its way through introducing the dawn.
Kylie: He became someone I couldn’t recognize. A friend of mine warned me over and over again it was only a matter of time before he snapped.
When we got home, he tied me to the bed and raped me like my step father had. Everything we had was gone in that instant. He was not the person I fell in love with. Over the weekend he tried to pretend everything was normal. But it wasn’t. He demanded that I quit my job so we could be married and start a family.
When I refused, he struck me and he tied me to the bed again and fucked me again. He was using it as punishment for disobeying. He told me he would stop if I did as he said. He also held a threat on a friend of mine over my head. Max was a powerful guy and I believed everything he said he would do, so I played along till he finally went out of town for work and I left.
I can’t stop fearing he will find me and force me to go back with him to do the things he’s done. The things my step father did.
She silently began to cry again but it was my arm she was crying in. My arms that she was squeezing onto for dear life.
I knew when I met the guy he couldn’t be trusted. But this? This was so much worse than I thought.