Theirs to Claim | 18+

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Chapter 76 : Caleb/Madelyn

Chapter 76 : Caleb
Monday, September 13th, 2021

This was worse than any fate death could bring.

I felt her slipping away from us the second she saw that file, and again when she walked out the door crying with her hands wrapped around her stomach. We should have told her, but we waited too long. There’s only us to blame for this, and fuck, to say we were paying the price was an understatement.

Losing Madelyn was the worst kind of pain I’ve ever experienced, but it was the fear that came with her absence that made it so much worse.

She was supposed to be safe in Costa Rica right now as a temporary vacation, the three of us planning on how to get around the assignment we’re supposed to be religiously preparing for. Instead, I’m currently sitting outside of Hailey’s house, tapping my foot nervously on the concrete step at the feeling of eyes of me.

I’ve felt them since I stayed here all throughout the night, neither Hailey nor Madelyn leaving the house once.

My instinct is very rarely wrong, but I’ve also never been more distracted and off balance than I am now. I wasn’t here to plead for Madelyn’s forgiveness, I was here to ensure her safety.

It was the least I could do at this point. Whatever Alec and Xavier were busying themselves with wasn’t my problem.

So, I stayed where I was with strained eyes, my body cold from the night and my face swollen from the tears not even I could fight off from spilling.

I promised to respect Madelyn’s space the second she chose to walk out our door, but I had no doubt Vincent was well aware of our... was it a break up?

The thought sent yet another wave of terror straight into the blood in my veins, however I couldn’t allow myself to falter.

Vincent knows Madelyn’s here, and I would rather die than have him lay an eye on her one more time—

Smash!

The sound of glass shattering into a million pieces had my heart stopping, the windows being the first thing that comes to mind.

I had people all over the property, but I wasn’t about to chance wasting the time to circle the house. I went to the only thing I could think about, and that meant going in.

Finding the door locked when I tried the handle, I grabbed the key I had in my pocket as a precaution, not wasting a second before moving inside and drawing my gun.

It was eerily silent inside, but my quick scan of all of the windows proved them to be intact. Madelyn had a window in her room, though, and that knowledge terrified me.

“Leave her alone, Cal.” A voice comes from the kitchen, my body spinning to find Hailey crouched on the floor with broken porcelain at her feet, the colourful designs of what used to be her glass in a pile of small pieces.

It was a mug.

Madelyn’s okay.

Vincent would never go after Hailey because of who her parents are, but the woman I know who is just across the room is exactly the kind of person he would target.

“Out. You’re not welcome here anymore.” Hailey points to the door, wiping her hands against her thighs as she stands to her full height.

I don’t know what Madelyn told her, but I know Hailey would defend her to the ends of the Earth just as I would. It’s good, I thought. At least she’s not entirely alone.

Her words still hurt, though. I was at fault for causing Madelyn pain, and as she should, Hailey sided with her. We may have been friends for years, but I would never forget the way she was looking at me now.

“I just want her safe, Hails.” I say, but she’s already shaking her head as she physically shoves me backwards.

“You don’t get to call me that anymore.” She hits me again, not to hurt me but to let out that little bit of anger I know she hasn’t been able to relieve. “Don’t you realize what you’ve done to her?”

I didn’t miss the way her voice had dropped to an angry whisper, just as I didn’t ignore the aching in my chest as a result.

“I need to see her. I don’t want—”

“I don’t care what you do or do not want.” Hailey interrupts. “She’s sleeping because she was up the entire night shaking on the bathroom floor. She came home silent and the second the front door closed she collapsed to the ground. Caleb, she didn’t get back up for three hours.”

Not a single breath left my body as Hailey spoke, my eyes facing the door to Madelyn’s bedroom but my ears trained on every horrible thing I was told—every horrible thing I was responsible for.

“I didn’t go to work today because she won’t eat and I ended up sleeping on the couch outside of her room last night because she kept waking up screaming from nightmares. She knows you’ve been outside since yesterday, and yes, she has gotten every single text message Alec sent her in apology. Madelyn doesn’t want to see you, and after everything, I think you at least owe her that.”

Hailey winced slightly when she saw tears start to fall down my cheeks all over again, but it was because we both knew she was right, even when we wished she wasn’t.

I didn’t know if what happened yesterday was Madelyn breaking up with us, but I felt the grief of it either way.

We should have told her everything a long time ago, yet our selfish cowardice only left despair in the end.

After she’d trusted us with her father’s belongings from Detroit, it was I who had the task of looking into the prints and IDs. The ultrasound picture of Madelyn’s half brother Cameron Monet was the worst discovery of them all, though.

I knew how to research, and while Madelyn would never admit it, I knew a part of her despised that her father was never a permanent figure in her life. Sure, Marcus was there, but he never stayed for any more than a few days to make sure Vincent’s people didn’t link him to his family. Natasha was different, though.

They met two years before Madelyn was born, the pair having a one night stand and never hearing from the other again. Marcus didn’t even know he had a son until Cameron was thirteen, but it wasn’t a coincidence he and his current wife ran into each other again.

Turns out they both have a mutual agenda, and that’s the downfall of Vincent Alcazar and everything he stands for.

While Marcus was away hiding, leaving Madelyn behind, he got to raise the boy—Madelyn’s brother—in the ways she never got to have.

There was so much we should have told her, but the conflicting part of ourselves didn’t want to hurt her in that way either.

It didn’t make our secrets right, but it also didn’t come from a bad place either. I would give Madelyn the time she needed—even if it killed me to do so—but I would never give up on what we had—have. God, please let it be have.

“Quite frankly, I have no opposition to having extra eyes on the house considering who you are, but I’m not risking her passing out again from spiraling if she sees you in here.” Hailey’s arms cross over her chest, and I know it would take physically moving her to get to Madelyn’s door.

I knew when I wasn’t wanted, and the daggers shooting my way were more than indication enough.

Nodding my head once, just enough to show I heard her, I wiped at my eyes as my fingers came away wet.

There was so much I would say if I could right now. I would say I was sorry. That even though Madelyn didn’t want anything to do with me right now, and rightfully so, she would always have a home with me.

I’m not one to carry regret, but hurting her will forever be the one thing I’ll never forgive myself for.

“Make sure she keeps the acrylics on.” I whisper the only thing I can think of as I slowly back away to the door, even though every instinct in my body tells me I need to be with her.

Even though I have no right to wish this, I can’t stand the idea of her hurting anymore than what we’ve already caused.

“What?” Hailey asks, my question catching her off guard, but I only shake my head as I open the front door of her house.

“Don’t let her bite her nails.”

Not waiting for a response, I stepped outside and gently shut the door, locking it behind me to be safe.

I didn’t know you could grieve somebody who was still alive, but when I sat back down on the cold, unforgiving concrete step, I felt like I’d lost everything.

However despite that, while I didn’t deserve it, I found peace in the fact she was at least asleep now, hopefully dreaming of a world where everything didn’t hurt so damn much.

_____
***Switches to Madelyn's POV***

I wasn’t sleeping.


- End of Chapter 76 -

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