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Chapter 13 : Madelyn

Chapter 13 : Madelyn
Monday, July 19th, 2021

I don’t know where I am.

Taking in my surroundings, I have to squint my eyes to counter the dulled lighting around me.

I can’t help but find this room oddly familiar, but still, I can’t figure out where I am.

Taking a step forward, the soft brush of fabric against my skin draws my eyes to the silky nightgown falling down my legs.

The sage green material fits perfectly to my body, as if it were made for me.

Without a doubt, the colour was chosen to match my eyes.

Looking up, I’m startled to find a large mirror awaiting before me, my confused reflection staring back.

What is this place?

“You’re playing a dangerous game, sweetheart.” Xavier’s familiar voice echoes from behind me.

I want to turn around, but my body has become paralyzed by his presence. Their presence.

While all of their faces are unclear, I immediately know that Caleb and Alec accompany their friend, the three of them standing behind me and eyeing me like hawks.

What’s going on?

No matter how hard I wish to move, I can’t do anything to escape this trance I’ve fallen into.

Blinking twice, something about the room changes and I suddenly recognize where I am; the storage closet from the wedding.

“Madelyn?” Caleb’s voice draws my attention to him. Finally, I’m able to turn around, finding him leaning against a wall and in the exact same spot as he was yesterday.

Oh God.

He’s alone now, and it was as if the other two disappeared out of thin air. Or so I thought until the touch of another snaps my attention to them.

“Go to him.” Alec demands as my heart begins to pound against my chest.

“What are you doing? How did I get here?” I divert, trying to find any clue that’ll help to clear my confusion.

“Go to him.” He repeats, and suddenly, I feel a strong pull to do as he says.

“You know you want to.” Xavier encourages. Appearing behind me, he trails one of his rough fingers down the curve of my spine, ending right above my tailbone. I shiver against his touch.“We could do so many great things together, the four of us.” He continues.

“N-no, you’re wrong. I’m nothing like you.”

“Oh but you are.” Caleb says with a twisted smile. “You let a man die. You watched as we spilt his blood and felt no remorse, didn’t you?”

“It’s not that simple.” I defend, even though there’s truth to his words.

“Tell us you don’t want us, and we’ll go away.” Xavier counters, leaning so close to my body that his breath tickles the hairs on the back of my neck. “Tell me you didn’t want me to kiss you yesterday when I had you pinned to that wall.”

My mouth opens to speak, but the words get caught in my throat.

“I—”

“Go on.” Alec darkly chuckles in my ear, brushing the side of his arm with mine.

“No, I—” I try again, but fail.

Just lie and this will be over, I think to myself.

“Stay away.” Jolene’s voice suddenly appears from nowhere in particular.

“What?” When I blink, I’m suddenly left all alone in a pitch black room, looking into that same standing mirror.

“Stay away.”

“Stay away.”

“Stay away.”

My body jolts upwards in bed, my heart pounding rapidly against my chest.

The sound of the spinning fan fills the cold space as my eyes crack open slightly.

I’m in my hotel room?

My hands reach up to my eyes, rubbing them until my vision comes into focus.

The realization causes me to let out a heavy breath.

It was just a dream—or a nightmare, I’m not too sure which one yet.

But what the hell was that all about?

People often say that dreams are a reflection of one’s thoughts and concerns in the real world. I guess a lot can be said about me if that’s true.

One, I’m partially responsible for the death of that man, but no matter how much I should, I can’t bring myself to feel guilty about it.

Two, I wanted to be that redheaded girl with every fiber in my being, not just with any two men, but with Alec and Caleb.

They’re dangerous and there’s so much I don’t know about them, but I want them. Including Xavier.

Fuck.

He’s right. I am playing a dangerous game.

I wasn’t scared yesterday when he pinned me to that wall, because it only meant I’d succeeded.

He didn’t notice I took his keys until the very last second, meaning that for a minute, I had Xavier Alcaraz tricked.

I was playing a dangerous game, and I loved it.

Shaking my head to rid the memory of my dream, I get up and drag my feet across the chilling hardwood floor.

Unplugging my laptop from the wall, I bring it back to bed with me before powering it on.

I couldn’t stay in this lonely hotel room any longer; I needed to get my butt in gear and find an actual place to stay.

Opening up my computer, my fingers hover over the keyboard as memories of last night reappear in my head.

I can still feel Xavier’s hands tracing the faded marks on my arm, Alec’s hand on my waist as we danced, and Caleb’s arm looped around mine.

I’d been so responsive to them, and even now, curiosity gets the best of me as I open up Google on my tab.

A few internet searches on them couldn’t hurt, right?

Plus, I need to look for apartments anyways.

Figuring their business is the best place to start, I type in Rush, New York City.

There’s over 280,000,000 results on the search.

Instantly, I see images of the men from my dream everywhere, as well as images of their many successes.

Holy shit.

To say they were loaded was an understatement. The nightclub was only the start, but each of them also owned their own chain of hotels all around the fucking world.

I’d heard about Rush before I even moved here, but only now am I realizing just how expensive it is.

And now I work there?

The number of articles, interviews, and images I found on them was endless, and I had to force myself to close it down before I drove myself insane.

Exiting my current tabs and switching to a new one, I decided to refocus my attention on finding myself a place to live.

It’s probably the more important task anyways.

Just as I go to begin my search, a call from my private investor comes in, causing me to throw myself at my phone.

Please tell me some good news.

“Hello?” Callum’s voice says through the speaker.

“Hey, did you find anything?” I ask, hope underlying my tone.

Silence fills the line before I hear a short sigh come from his end.

“Miss Adams, I’m sorry but there was an issue with the last cheque you gave me. It bounced.”

My heart drops at this.

“W-what? That’s impossible, I specifically made sure to put aside enough money into that account.”

“I don’t know what to tell you. Hopefully it was just a misunderstanding, but I’m going to need that money by the end of tomorrow.” He tells me.

“I’m really really sorry about this. I’ll figure out what happened right now and get back to you.”

This was the second occurrence there’s been an issue with my payment, but the first time was late, not missing all together.

“Thank you, have a good day.” Callum says.

“You as well.”

Hanging up the phone, I instantly open up my bank account from my computer.

My heart hurts a little that there was no news about my dad, but I have other things to worry about right now.

There has to be some sort of explanation for this.

Opening my transactions page, I have to look twice to make sure my eyes aren’t playing a trick on me.

Online banking transfer of $4000 - July 15, 2021.

What the hell?

The only person who could have done that would be... holy shit, my mom.

We share that account in case of small emergencies, but now I’m only left with $162.77.

No, this isn’t happening.

Thanks to the shoot, I’ll have enough money to pay back Callum, but I won’t be able to afford him after that.

No, no, no.

To mom: Why the fuck did you spend 4000 fucking dollars?

Throwing my phone on the bed, my head falls back against my pillow in frustration.

I really needed something good in my life to happen and that was not the conversation I was hoping for.

I feel like it’s just been day after day of relentless events screwing with my head.

And on top of it all, I need to find my car and pay for the repairs. And pay Alec back for the extra money.

Kill me now.

I have so many things to do and no clue where to begin.

Deciding to start with the housing issue, within minutes I know I’m going to end up in a dump.

Considering the issue of how little money I’ll have after paying for the car, the investigator, and Alec, it doesn’t leave me with too many options.

I make note of a few places I could check out, trying to push Hailey’s offer from yesterday to the back of my mind.

However, I do suppose I don’t have to worry about her friends wanting me dead anymore.

Hopefully at least.

The only possible downfall would be the cost being too high. But... I guess I’ll never know if I don’t ask.

With still no reply from my mom, I go into my contacts and find that Hailey already added herself to my favourites list.

Of course she did, I think and smile to myself because of it.

Clicking the call button, I nervously wait as my phone begins to ring.

“Hello.” Hailey’s voice says after a few moments.

Here goes nothing.

“Hey, Hailey. It’s Madelyn—”

“Madelyn? Oh my god, I’m so glad you called.” She happily cheered.

“Yeah. I was just thinking about your offer yesterday and was wondering if you had an idea of how much rent would cost.”

“Of course. The last person I rented to was at $950 a month, so I’ll probably just continue that to you.” Hailey tells me.

Quickly doing the math in my head, after repairing my car, and paying Callum and Alec, I’d probably be left with just enough to pay the first month. Hopefully I can start that bartending job soon and then I’ll have more than enough to pay rent.

“That’s amazing! If everything ends up working out, when’s the soonest I can move in?” I ask.

Maybe I’ll be able to check housing off of my stress list sooner than I thought.

“Well the room is just sitting there, so whenever you’re free. I’ll be here this afternoon to let you in if you were thinking today.”

Wow, this is actually happening right now.

“That would be great if you don’t mind. Oh, and I can’t believe I forgot to ask this, but you do live in New York, right?”

“Haha, yes. Only fifteen minutes from the hotel. I’ll send you the address and some pictures of the place before you make up your mind. Also, I do have to warn you, Alec and his uh... date I guess you could call her are coming over this afternoon.”

Does she mean Katherine?

“Thanks about the pictures and don’t worry, I’m not too concerned about Alec anymore.”

“Oh, really? That’s great then. Do you want to plan to drop by anytime after two?” She offers.

“That sounds perfect. I look forward to seeing you then.”

“See ya.”

Ending the call, within a minute, Hailey sends me the address and a series of photos of her three bedroom house by the looks of it.

It’s truly stunning, and you can tell that it was either professionally designed or Hailey just has impeccable taste.

Maybe things are looking up for me.

________

You have got to be kidding me.

My mom spent half of the money on bailing my stepdad out of jail and the remainder on fucking alcohol.

For as long as I can remember, my relationship with my mother has been rocky, but despite this, I’ve always done everything I can to keep her well.

She’s family after all, even if we’re not close.

Moving out was the best decision of my life, yet somehow, she still manages to screw me over from hundreds of miles away.

Knowing there’s no chance of me getting that money back, I force myself to take a deep breath and move on.

I sent what I owed to Callum online and apologized profusely for the inconvenience. Unfortunately, for now though, I won’t be able to continue looking for my dad with his help.

Even with the money from the new job, it’s way too much for me to afford, especially when we’re not making any progress.

It was a hard but necessary decision for me to make.

My dad’s out there somewhere, I know it. Somehow, I’ll figure out a way to find him myself.

The alarm on my phone snaps me out of my thoughts.

It’s just about time for me to leave this place for good.

I’ll need to take the bus to Hailey’s until I can figure out my car situation, but I’ve already mapped out a route that’ll get me to her place by 2:30.

Which is actually getting pretty close to now.

I still only have a duffel bag worth of personal items on me, but I plan to grab every last thing of mine from Noah’s by tomorrow evening at the latest.

Packing up the last of my belongings, I find myself excited to be out of this place and back into a real home. I happen to really like Hailey too, so this might be better than I could have ever expected.

With my phone in my pocket and duffel bag in hand, I exit the room I’ve been staying in for almost the last week.

It’s time to get back to normal.

Signing out permanently at the front desk, I make my way outside of the building one last time.

The second the sliding doors open, my breath hitches at the sight of my familiar black car already parked in the lot.

The long scratch along the back door is now nowhere to be seen and the rust mark around the front tire is gone as well.

They didn’t.

Oh, but they did.

My once damaged but workable car now looks to be almost perfect on the exterior, dare I move inside.

Jogging over, I drop my bag on the hood, trying to find my keys in the side pocket.

Finally finding them, sure enough, the car unlocks and starts with no issue when I place the key into the ignition.

On the first try.

Why the hell would they do this?

I know for a fact that it wasn’t out of the goodness of their hearts, but I can’t think of a single reason as to why they would do this.

After a brief check, I see that all of my photography equipment is still there and intact. I’m so confused.

When did they even get this done? And how did they get in without my keys?

Tossing my bag into the passenger’s seat, I switch on the radio and nearly give myself a heart attack at the way the gas pedal is no longer stiff.

They fixed that too?

While it’s appreciated, they can’t just go ahead and do things like this. They barely even know me; there’s no reason for them to do these things.

Now that I have my car, it only takes two songs and a commercial break before I’m pulling up to Hailey’s driveway, taking in the beautiful neighborhood as I do so.

Having not discussed parking yet, I pull over on the side of the street just to be safe.

There are already two cars in the driveway anyways, which I’m assuming belong to her and Alec.

Looking her house up and down, I see that the images she sent me were not deceiving in the slightest.

Her front yard is well tended to, and I can’t point out a single flaw as I glance over the space.

This almost feels too good to be true.

Stepping out of my vehicle, I take careful steps up the pathway, past her garden, and to the front door.

Here goes nothing.

Giving two quick knocks, I fidget with my hands during the few brief moments it takes for someone to answer.

Hearing the lock being undone, only seconds later a young woman opens the door, a bright smile appearing on her face at the sight of me.

“You must be Madelyn!” She greets, pulling me inside of the home without giving me a chance to respond.

Alright then.

“Hi, it’s nice to meet you...” I say, still unsure of who this person is.

Looking her up and down, I can honestly say that she’s one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever met before.

Her nearly black hair fell in thousands of curls, ending at right above her shoulders and framing her dark skin.

While the hoodie and jeans she wore was casual, everything about her was anything but.

Who she is, however, I still have no clue.

“Oh, of course, sorry. I’m Aaliyah.” She says before calling out to Hailey who appears next to her seconds later.

“Hey, come on in. Alec’s just around the corner in the living room.” Hailey says, motioning for me to follow her.

“You have a dress, right?” Aaliyah asks, glancing at my bag as the three of us walk into the main space.

“Somewhere at the bottom of this mess probably. Why?” I say in confusion.

“I haven’t told her yet.” Hailey cuts in, rolling her eyes at her friend.

“Told me what?”

“We’re going out tonight to show you where you work.” Alec’s voice suddenly comes from another room as he steps out.

I don’t miss the way his eyes slowly travel up and down every inch of my body, making me feel slightly hot.

Wait, Hailey said he was coming here with his date. Is that Aaliyah? If so, he really shouldn’t be checking me out the way he is now.

“We’re going to Rush?” I confirm, surprised by this.

Does that mean I’ll see Xavier and Caleb today as well?

That reminds me, I still need to talk to them about my car. But now is not the time nor the place to do so.

“That’s right. My husband and I go there from time to time, and it’s amazing. You’ll love it I’m sure.” Aaliyah tells me, and I manage to suppress my shock at the word husband.

I think I do a pretty good job, especially when she grabs Alec’s hand and drags him away back to the couch where she takes a seat in his lap.

Only now do I notice the large ring worn on her left finger.

“How about I give you a tour of the place?” Hailey offers me when the two others seem to become lost in something on the TV.

“That would be great.” I tell her, still trying to hide my confusion at the sight before me.

I follow Hailey up the spiral staircase that leads to the upper floor. From there, I’m able to fully take in the inside of her house.

There is an obvious theme of orange, green, and grey throughout the entire space. A long railing trails along the top floor, where you can look out to the majority of the house from there.

It’s clear that every component in the rooms are intentional, all flowing with a similar pattern.

“What do you do for a living?” I ask her, assuming that it would probably be something crafty based on what I’ve seen so far.

“I’m an interior designer.” She says, confirming my thoughts. Her answer really does make sense.

“As you can tell, this is the upstairs which has my bedroom, a bathroom, a small study area, and our guest room. You are more than free to use it as long as there isn’t someone else there.”

Nodding to her, I take a moment to look around, before walking to the edge of the hall where the railing was posted. I could see Alec and Aaliyah from up here, still cuddled up on the couch together.

“She’s in an open relationship.” Hailey tells me from behind when she sees me looking at them.

“Hm.” Is all I say in response.

Whatever works for them I guess.

“You’ll probably meet her husband Issac tonight at the club. Forewarning, he can get very touchy when he drinks, so if you’re not interested, just be clear about it and he’ll back off.” She warns me.

“Good to know.” I say taking one last glance over before following Hailey back downstairs.

“Over here is the kitchen, our half-bathroom, and the main area. And this...” She opens a door to the left of the television, “is where you’ll be staying.”

I can feel Alec’s eyes on my back, but I don’t look at him.

Following her in, I see that this room matches the colour scheme just like the rest of the house. I never would have thought to pick it, but it’s honestly beautiful. It feels homely and comfortable.

“This is absolutely amazing, I’m so glad I reached out.” I say as my eyes continue to scan up and down the room.

“I’m glad you did too. It’ll be nice to have another person around here long-term.” She smiles, and I can’t help but feel the same. “Oh and also, my girlfriend Mila comes here quite often, so if you ever see another person around while I’m gone, it’s likely her.”

“Good to know.” I say, placing my bag down on the bed before sitting beside it.

“Well I’ll let you get settled in, but feel free to join us whenever you’re interested.” Hailey offers before leaving and closing the door behind me.

Flopping back on the mattress, I happily sigh at how soft the bed sheets are.

This place is everything I was looking for and more.

I haven’t given myself much time to process the whole issue with my mom and losing Callum’s help, but I don’t want to think about that right now.

Going to Rush may very well be just what I need. A distraction.

A series of knocks on my door draws my attention to it.

“Come in.” I call, still laying down with my eyes looking up at the ceiling.

I hear the door open and I already know the person who stepped inside was Alec.

“You just couldn’t stay away from me, could you?” He chuckles, before my door clicks shut behind him.

“Me coming here has nothing to do with you.” I counter, gritting my teeth and remembering the issue of my car. After paying them back, I’m not going to have much money left in my account courtesy of my mom.

“Doesn’t it? Because moving in with my best friend means we’re going to see each other a lot.”

Finally sitting upright, I’m not surprised to find a wry smile already formed on his face.

“That’s a part of it, I suppose, but I most certainly didn’t move in here just so I could see you.” I argue, waiting for whatever quick remark he’s about to send my way.

“Right. Well since I’m now your boss, that means we’ll be seeing each other a lot more often anyways.” He grins, knowing that would irritate me.

“Not yet you’re not.”

“Yet.” He repeats, a lot of unspoken promise in his eyes. Only then do I notice the bag in his hand. “But I will be in two days.” Alec smiles, dropping the bag onto my bed.

“What’s that?” I ask, eyeing it from beside me.

“Your uniform. When Hailey said you were coming over, I thought you’d like to see it.” He says, leaning against my door and crossing his arms.

Shifting over slightly, I reach for the bag, ignoring the fact that Alec’s intently watching me.

Because of this, I assume he’s trying to sport some sort of reaction out of it. I wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction.

“Well thanks.” I say, moving the bag onto the floor. “Was that all you came in here for then?”

“Sure.” He smirks, looking me up and down. “Oh, and Aaliyah and Hailey want you upstairs in five so they can get you ready for tonight.”

“It’s 3:00.” I say in confusion. We won’t be leaving for hours.

“Don’t ask me.” Alec dismisses, taking my hint and exiting the room without another word.

Okay then.

Now that he’s gone, I can’t resist the temptation of seeing what I’m going to have to wear for work.

Digging into the bag, I pull out the contents and rest them on the bed.

The main piece is a dark red two piece, a short slit cut on the left side of the skirt. A thin black strip wraps around the waist line. As for the top, there are two straps that cross over each other at the neckline, the material tight enough that I know it’s going to hug every part of my upper body.

Pulling out the last two items from the bottom of the bag, I find a pair of black strappy heels that tie the whole look together.

Overall, it’s not as bad as I thought it would be.

I’m tempted to try it on now, but for God knows what reason, my new roommate is expecting me upstairs.

At least I’ll have a few hours to prepare myself before confronting the three men from my dream once again.


- End of Chapter 13 -

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