Homebound

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nineteen

Cleo

I didn’t think it could get worse.

But somehow, it did.

With her long, blonde hair pulled back into a ponytail, Jessabel walked past my chair and sat behind the desk. Her white lab coat stuck out drastically, further confirming what I kept denying.

She can’t be the one to do my evaluation - she just can’t be.

My luck can’t be that bad. There’s no way in hell she just happened to get paired with me. Something else had to have happened.

“Surprised?” Her soft, melodic voice broke through the silence. I chose to say nothing but held her gaze. She narrowed her eyes ever so slightly, a soft smirk etching its way onto her lips. “You should’ve never messed with me.”

“What do you want from me?” I hissed out through clenched teeth.

“From you? Nothing, not anymore. Not after you have nothing left.”

“Did-did you do all of this?” My eyes widened as the realization became clear. Jessabel was the one behind all of this. Kieran and Ezra getting arrested, me getting accused of being mentally insane - it was all part of her plan. The Elisons, they said that they had received an anonymous tip. One that started this whole shitshow. “You were the one who tipped off the Elisons.”

She rolled her eyes. “I thought you figured that out by now.” She clicked a pen in her hand, writing some words down on the paper in front of her. “It was pretty easy to convince them. They didn’t even ask for any proof - can you believe that? They took my word and ran with it. And now I see exactly how far they ran.”

“You’re insane!” I hollered, standing up. “I’m gonna find another psychiatrist!” I turned towards the door, my hand on the doorknob, when her voice made me pause.

“Very difficult to comply, gets angry quickly if aggravated.”

I turned back around to face her.

“Are you writing that in your evaluation about me?” My voice was quiet, faint.

“Seems very attached to her captors. Keeps defending them, no matter the context.” Jessabel looked up from her paper. “Oh, I’m just detailing some notes in your evaluation. And if you want me to keep describing you like that, then sure, leave. Try to get another doctor. See how well that works out. Or you can sit down and shut the f*ck up and let me do my work. Your choice on how well you want to come off.”

It was stupid to think that I could get another doctor by just walking out and demanding it.

Shamefully, I shuffled back to my seat and flopped down.

“I knew you’d comply eventually.” Jessabel took a breath, roaming her piercing gaze over me. “Now, this is how things are going to go. I will ask you a series of questions and depending on how honestly you answer will determine how your evaluation goes. You answer truthfully, you get to leave today a sane person. Lie to me, and you spend the rest of your life locked away in this place.”

“How will you know when I lie?” I managed to bring my eyes back to hers, but the minute her mouth narrowed down into a frown, I shot my eyes back to the floor. She held my entire life above her now, I couldn’t do anything. It was best to not anger her. Not now.

“Oh, I’ll know, Cleo.” She spat my name out with so much disgust that I actually flinched.

Clicking her pen, she began to make marks on the papers on top of her desk, not bothering to even look at me anymore.

“When did you meet them?” Her soft voice returned, a false facade that truly showed how fake someone can really be. When I hesitated to answer, the movement of her pen stopped. “Do I have to repeat myself? You know the rules.”

“No - uh, it was about nine days ago.” I clenched my sweating palms together in my lap. Jessabel nodded, her hand returning to writing furiously on the page.

“And you already slept with them?” Her voice turned low, a mumble, but it was intentionally loud enough for me to hear. “Whore.”

Remembering our rules, I slowly and quietly spoke up. “We actually didn’t.” The desperation for her to let me leave today as a sane person would hopefully overcome any shame she would bestow upon me after this.

“What was that?” She looked up, a devious smile etched onto her lips. Her blue eyes narrowed and I knew for a fact she heard me. She loved to toy with me, knowing exactly how and when to strike.

“We never actually had sex.” My voice came out strained, my cheeks flushed.

I hated myself at that moment. So weak. So powerless. Jessabel had met me at my best, but here she was, seeing me at my absolute worst after personally knocking me down to my knees.

In my own way, I was just as fake as her. Lying about how close Kieran and Ezra and I all were. Making it seem as if we were just friends with benefits. Being confident.

All of those things weren’t me.

Jessabel and I, we were the same.

And yet, we weren’t.

“I guess you are as unused as you act. From reading your file, it seems that Kieran and Ezra weren’t the only ones who didn’t want you.” I clenched my fists even tighter, wielding the anger to pass in my chest. This anger blooming inside me was the messy one, the one that led to my voice getting shaky and me breaking down. I couldn’t let myself become that depressed person - not again. “I’m surprised you’ve lived your entire life in the foster system. Usually everyone gets adopted eventually.” She’s just trying to make you upset. “Well,” Jessabel chuckled. “I guess you did technically get adopted, but Ezra and Kieran intervened. What exactly happened?”

I froze, my eyes locking onto the floor. I knew the rules of the game she was forcing me to play - but what if she took my words as a confession and used it against Kieran and Ezra? They had a small chance at freedom, but if my confession got leaked, they’d be locked away forever.

Seeing my hesitation, Jessabel stopped working and put her gaze on me. “Doctor patient confidentiality. I can’t tell anyone about what you tell me today unless I want serious legal repercussions. In your evaluation, I only detail your mental state and condition. So what exactly happened that night you met them?”

So I told her. Everything she wanted to hear. It felt vile sharing those moments, even though they weren’t intimate, they were still mine and the boys’ moments. I wanted some things just for myself.

But now she knew everything. I had no cards left - she had the entire deck.

“I think I’ve asked everything that’s been bugging me. Ezra has barely touched you, thankfully.” She dropped her pen on the desk and leaned back in the chair to stretch. “Once we’re back together, it’ll take less than a day to make him forget about you.”

“How exactly do you plan on being with Ezra if he’s locked away?”

“Oh, Cleo, you’re so naive. Did you really think the cops would lock Kieran and Ezra away on just an accusation? I mentioned that the Elisons didn’t ask for evidence, but I had to give them some, so that the cops could get a warrant and arrest them. It’s humourous, how stupid you are.”

Stupid Jessabel and her stupid PhD.

“Some of the evidence I gave the Elisons incriminates both of the boys, but I’ve got one last piece that should prove Ezra innocent and how Kieran threatened him to help kidnap you. It should go over very smoothly. Then Ezra will be released, Kieran will be arrested on a kidnapping account, and an aggravated assault, and everything will be how it should be.”

There was one part of her plan that didn’t seem right. Me. If Ezra was released, and I was too, since I followed these dumb rules to her game, wouldn’t we go to each other? We were mates after all, and Jessabel’s human a*s didn’t know that. We were drawn to each other.

“What evidence do you even have?” I was curious, too curious, about how Jessabel managed to orchestrate all of this.

“Yes, I’ll get right on that, spilling everything to you.” She rolled her eyes. “I’m only allowing you to know so much - otherwise what’s the point in all this secrecy? It would be ultimately pointless if I told you everything.” She sucked in a deep breath, standing to her feet. “I think it’s been enough time. Your evaluation is over.” She snatched up the papers from her desk and made her way to her closed office door.

“So I’m just free to go?” My voice was weak again, my chest flourishing from some unknown emotion.

Slowly, Jessabel turned around. Stifling a laugh, she said, “You really believed me, didn’t you?” She walked back over to my chair and put her hands on the back of it, leaning her face close to mine. I had to turn my head harshly to maintain eye contact.

“W-what?”

“I had no intention of ever letting you walk free. You tried to cross me, and now, you’ll spend the rest of your life in this psychiatric hospital. I simply told you that so that I’d know everything that happened between you and Ezra. Simple as that.”

“You’re-you’re crazy!” I shouted, hopping up in my chair.

Backing up to the door, Jessabel smirked.

“No, Cleo, I’m afraid you’re the crazy one.” She opened up the office door, peeking her head into the hallway. “Yhani, please escort our newest patient to her room.”

A/N - Part one of a two-part update! The next chapter has a bonus POV!

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