Theirs to Claim | 18+

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Chapter 68 : Alec

Content Warning: This chapter briefly mentions topics including sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and self harm.


Chapter 68 : Alec
Saturday, August 28th, 2021

I broke my promise, and I didn’t feel a single ounce of regret for it.

I’d received a call about two hours ago from Kara saying something was off, and I was on our jet within the next twenty minutes. All three of us were.

My heart hasn’t stopped racing since my phone rang—actually, it hasn’t stopped since the second I watched Madelyn walk through security at the airport a week ago.

I wanted to respect her wishes which is why I exploited the loophole of having the twin’s sent out instead to have her back if she needed it, but I’ve still been on edge for six days now despite that extra layer of protection.

On top of the fact Caleb, Xavier, and I haven’t spoken since our discussion about Costa Rica, everything has been feeling off since the moment Mads left.

I’ve missed her so much it hurts, but I could only hope she won’t be mad when she finds out we were here to take her home.

I know about the IDs and the fact she saw Marcus’s name on one of them, but Kara and Imani made it seem as though it wasn’t a revelation for her or anything. Madelyn didn’t recognize the meaning behind that single name, nor the fact it was proof she was unknowingly a Caddel.

Though relief was the first thing I felt because it meant I could keep her with me for a little longer, it was like the world was giving us constant signs to tell her everything that threatens to break us apart.

I was still angry at Xavier for wanting to let her go, but I don’t think I had it in me to be too mad. I’ve never heard my friend admit to loving anybody—not even his own mother, but he loves Madelyn with all of his heart.

I know he does, because I do too, and it’s the only reason I can’t let myself be selfish when it comes to her.

The twins were sent out because I knew they could guarantee her safety since we weren’t there, but I don’t think there was anything I could do to protect her beautiful heart from the chaos destined to ensue.

Madelyn doesn’t need to get drunk to escape her mind, but she chose to over every other thing she could’ve done. I wasn’t judging her in the least, however it was an observation on top of many others that told me she was slowly breaking too.

Her calls had become forced, and not a single one of us had received a goodnight text to tell us she was okay tonight.

Nothing was fine here, but if our girl was going to hurt, she would at the very least have our arms to wrap around her when she shatters.

Already off of the plane and well on our way to the address we knew she was at, it didn’t take long to realize why Madelyn didn’t want us to see this part of her life.

Even though this is the second time we’ve been here in two weeks, I knew this visit had left her stripped bare and vulnerable to the nightmares of her past, her mind the only company she had.

That knowledge was on my mind the entire sprint up her driveway, as well as when Caleb kicked open the cheap door in pair with the useless lock that tried to keep it shut.

We were already moving inside when we saw Madelyn’s mother passed out on the couch, obviously drunk considering she didn’t even stir at the noise.

I was disgusted at how such a pathetic woman couldn’t spare someone as beautiful and bright as her daughter even a little bit of love, but at least wherever her stepdad was wasn’t here.

It had taken quite literally every last ounce of my control not to kill him a week ago and have him castrated instead, but I don’t like the odds of my patience being tested for a second time so soon.

“Alec.” Xavier’s rough voice pulled my attention to him, his head jerking to the only bedroom door that was closed.

I knew our girl was on the other side, but when Caleb knocked and called out to her, there was no response that echoed her name.

That was what really scared me.

“Darling, it’s us. Can we come in?” Caleb asks softly, but still more than loud enough to hear through the thin walls between.

All we were met with was more silence, and it was Xavier who slowly opened the door to see what was happening.

Though it was fairly dark, it didn’t take me long to realize her bed was completely unoccupied and Madelyn wasn’t there.

Shit.

My mind instantly snapped to Marcus and her being taken, moving as I shoved past Caleb and Xavier to search the small room.

Her bed was bare of its sheets and pillows, and I found myself panicking all the way up until I rounded to the other side of her mattress.

Then it was sadness that had me falling to my knees, not fear.

“Princess.” My voice broke with the nickname, but Madelyn didn’t even seem to know I was here as I found her crying silent tears, her body shaking and her expression frozen into one of pain.

I knew it was the kind that went far sharper than physical wounds, and I hated that things ever got to this point.

Her knees had tucked tight to her chest in what I realized was supposed to be a makeshift bed, but I felt how cold and dirty the hardwood was beneath my legs.

It was uncomfortable to kneel against yet alone sleep on as though it were a mattress. The significance in her choice didn’t go unnoticed by any one of us, Caleb and Xavier now at my side as well.

“I’m going to pick you up, Mads. Is that okay?” I ask, my hands hovering over her but not touching without permission.

Her state right now was very similar to one of a sub drop, but I knew what we shared a few days ago wasn’t the cause of her tears.

Madelyn was hurting, and I just wanted to take it away.

“Hey,” I say softly when she still doesn’t move, forcing myself not to show how scared I am at how quickly everything’s changed.

It was clear I wasn’t the only one going through hell, but unlike me, Madelyn didn’t deserve a single second of this.

She should have parents who could offer her love and support, better yet happy memories she could look back on as an adult and smile about.

But the way she was feeling now was something I would never wish upon anyone, let alone a person as deserving as the woman in front of me.

“I need you to look at me, princess.” I didn’t want to trigger her by touching without permission, but all I wanted to do was hold her in my arms and kiss away her pain until my lips replaced every bad thought in her head.

Caleb and Xavier let me gently coax her back from whatever state she’d fallen into, and all I could do was offer a small smile when Madelyn’s tear soaked eyes finally glanced up at me.

Her hand reached out and the next second she was in my lap, her body silently shaking from the force of her sobs.

Her head had naturally fallen against the cradle of my shoulder as my fingers ran through her hair, my arm holding around her waist and refusing to let go.

“I’ve got you.” I whisper into her ear, though I wasn’t even sure she could hear me. I didn’t care if not, because if there was even the smallest change I could offer her support, I would take it.

“You don’t have to speak, but are you hurt, Mads?” Caleb asks from in front of me, moving a little closer to rub his hand up and down the areas of her back where my arms weren’t touching.

The relief I felt when she shook her head no was there, but that didn’t change the fact something was very much wrong. My guesses were on her passed out mother, absent step father, or both.

“You-you-y-you-y—” Madelyn tried to speak, but she quite literally couldn’t manage more than a single word. What she tried to say was muffled by my shoulder, but I was too afraid to scare her by pulling back even an inch.

“It’s okay.” Xavier comforted quietly, kneeling at my left before taking her hand into his. My heart broke in my chest when I caught sight of her nails, the tips of them pink and so short most of them were bleeding. I couldn’t see her other one draped over my neck, but I knew the ones hidden would be the same.

Nail biting is something I’ve noticed Madelyn’s always done when she’s either anxious or bored, but it’s never been as bad as it was now.

This was to the point of actual physical pain, and I knew Xavier realized that too as he gently held them between his fingers and lifted them to his mouth to kiss her knuckles.

It drew one of the first reactions from her in a long time, and I was almost surprised when her head lifted slowly from my shoulders to look at me and then him.

Xavier held her gaze as he kept his mouth on her skin, his thumb running across the top of her hand in continuous motions.

“I’m s-sorry.” Madelyn cried as she hung her head slightly, leaning back into mine and Caleb’s touches across her spine.

I hated that she felt as though this was something she needed to apologize for, but I hated even more that I wasn’t here for her sooner when she needed me.

“Nothing about this is your fault.” I tell her, kissing her forehead in an attempt to ease the tension from the area.

Her face is wet with tears and her nose is bright red from her sniffling, green eyes staring up at me even as she continues to cry.

“We’re here now, and you’re not alone, princess.” I say, Caleb brushing some of her hair back from her face so he could play with it until she’s calm. “Whatever happened... I know it hurts. You’re allowed to be sad and angry and in pain, but you will never be alone.”

My hand reached to cup her cheek with my fingers, her face leaning heavily into my touch and allowing me to support her in the way she needed.

My thumb wiped away her tears, and even though more replaced them seconds later, I didn’t look away from her.

Sensory focus is something that had brought Madelyn down during her last sub drop, so while Caleb played with her hair and Xavier held her hand, I brushed away her tears and showed her it was safe to leave her mind of nightmares with us.

“S-she doesn’t love me.” Madelyn rasped as her bottom lip trembled in pain, no doubt referring to the woman who was supposed to be her mother. “I d-don’t understand what I ever did w-wrong?”

She sucked in a shuddering breath as though even those few words hurt her to speak. It’s because they did, not in the sense of external wounds, but in the tightening of her chest and ache of her heart.

“Nothing, darling.” Caleb muttered at her back, kissing her head and keeping his touch there as I watched his eyes close in sadness of his own.

Not being loved in the way one deserves is something he knows better than any of us.

Though Xavier and I grew up in very different environments than him, we did everything in our power to disappoint our fathers by wreaking more havoc than imaginable.

Caleb, however... I don’t doubt there isn’t a day in his life that he wouldn’t have striven to shape himself into a person either of his parents would want.

He and Madelyn were identical in that unfair aspect.

“Sometimes people are just cruel. It doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the person they’ve always been with you, but sometimes those you love can die, even as their hearts continue to beat.”

I see understanding flickering in Madelyn’s eyes at Caleb’s words, and while I feel her cry and shake harder at his truth, Madelyn’s tears are a story of her own.

She cries for the little girl who lost the mother she knew at eleven.

She cries for her sixteen year old self who was almost raped, and then abused to the point where she no longer wanted to be in this world.

She cried for every scar she gave herself, and the invisible ones those around her had inflicted on their own.

The three of us held her through each fallen tear, and we would continue to once there were no more capable of spilling.

This was healthy and something I suspected was long overdue, and though her sobs had rage boiling in my head for the life she should have had, my arms were where she would stay from now on.

Despite my agreements from the other night, I wasn’t leaving Madelyn.

I never planned to, and I didn’t care if it was Xavier’s decisions I would be fighting against in the end because of it.

_____

Seconds before Madelyn fell asleep in my arms, she asked me to take her home.

I promised I would, though I didn’t move right away from my spot on the ground, Caleb and Xavier still by my side.

It took a long time before Mads was able to fully drift off and even longer before her tears had dried, but even now, I could still feel the tremor of her bruised heart against my chest.

Whatever her mother had said had broken what hope was left for a relationship with her daughter, and the fact Madelyn didn’t even want to say goodbye spoke a lot.

Instead of meeting her at the airport in New York like we had planned, I was carrying her out of the car and up the stairs of the private jet that flew us here in the first place.

I didn’t even want to think about what might’ve happened during the two hours it took to get to her house, but what mattered now was that Madelyn was back where things were safe.

She was back with us.

I knew there was so much that still needed to be said, especially between Caleb, Xavier, and I, but the woman in my arms was my main priority right now.

“I’ll go let Marley and Justin know we’re ready to take off.” Caleb refers to our pilots waiting for their instructions, stealing a long glance at Madelyn before turning towards the cockpit.

My only response was a quiet hum in acknowledgement, trying to move to the back bedroom but being quickly stopped by Xavier.

I’ve been mad at him since he proposed sending our girl away, even if I didn’t fight it in the end. It didn’t matter, though. All of us have been unhappy with each other since things got complicated and reality settled in.

His hand on my arm kept me from walking any further, and I didn’t push away as Xavier ran his hand over the back of Madelyn’s head before planting a kiss to her temple.

“Go take care of her.” He says quietly, still dragging his eyes over her face. “We’ll talk after.”

Out of all the responses I expected, this was not one of them, but I didn’t let my surprise show as I gave a single nod before leaving Xavier alone in the lounge area.

We would be able to argue plenty later, however despite all else, we could at least agree on one thing. Madelyn was what was important right now.

With her still out cold in my arms, I walked the two of us to the back where she would be able to sleep in peace on a mattress that could give her comfort.

If it weren’t for her wishes, I would’ve burned her old one down until it was nothing but ash, but that was Madelyn’s destruction to claim.

I just hoped she trusted me enough to be by her side to light the match.

“Alec.” The sound of my favourite voice brought my eyes down to where a green gaze was looking up at me.

Madelyn was being held bridal style beneath my fingertips, but the head that was once limp against my chest was now bent back to get my attention.

“Hey, princess.” I offer a small smile, pushing open the sliding door and not bothering to turn on the lights to the small bedroom in front of us.

There was so much I wanted to say to her, but nothing would come out as she curled close to me when I laid her down on the soft bed.

I had planned to leave, not expecting her to be awake until tomorrow, yet the world seemed to have other plans for us.

It was mostly dark in the closed off room, and Madelyn didn’t protest as I pulled the blankets over top of her body.

Her luggage was already in the corner waiting for her when she needed it, but I think what was most important right now was that she rested.

I knew airplanes weren’t something Madelyn was exactly comfortable with in general, so I knew talking about what happened tonight wouldn’t do her any good. When she was ready, I would listen to her for as long as she needed and then some, but now wasn’t the time.

“We should be back in New York in just under two hours.” I say quietly, both of us laying on our sides facing each other.

Though it was dark, I could still see the outline of Madelyn’s form and the colour in her eyes, watching her nod as the first tear since she woke up slipped past her face.

The shining droplet drew a slow trail down her cheek, one in which I leaned in and kissed away silently.

A second fell, and I repeated the action over again, pulling Madelyn closer to me as I held her with everything I had.

These tears were different from other times—these ones were quiet and weren’t accompanied by shaking throughout her body. Instead, they were ones of exhaustion.

I knew she was tired of fighting, and while she feels as though this is her weight to carry on her own, each tear that I kiss away tells her that it’s not.

Pain is a part of being human, but I’m going to bear it with her every step of the way, just as I believe Caleb and Xavier will too.

“Thank you.” Madelyn’s voice cracks as she speaks, yet another sign of how vulnerable today had left her. Though she had nothing to thank me for, it was her lips I kissed next, my touch a mere whisper against her mouth.

A sad smile breaks across my face when I feel her shudder slightly beneath me, her small hands brushing against my left cheek just so she could feel me.

She noticed as I leaned into her touch, just as she noticed what my kiss had meant without me actually having to say anything.

I was hers.

It didn’t matter if I had to spend hours on a plane just to see her or days doing everything I could to make her feel better.

I was her weapon to wield, just as I was her heart to beat and bones to support. I would become everything she needed me to be to get her through this, and I didn’t care if there was a price that came with that kind of love.

The extent in which I would go to for her was greater than imaginable, especially during moments like this when it was only the two of us and the words of our silence.

I had no doubt Madelyn was fully unaware of the power she held over me, but that was okay for now.

All that mattered was the way her body was pressed against mine, proof that we were still here despite all else.


- End of Chapter 68 -

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