Trust Me When I Say
Falling BackStep by step, she walked over the untrimmed grass. Trying not to get caught anywhere and land face first in front of him. She was a notorious klutz. But, she was determined to be elegant as she made her way up to the entrance of the house. It’s been years since she’s come back around this place, so long, so God damn long, she thought. But she couldn’t bring herself to come back to this place, this place that harbored so many unpleasant, unnerving memories. Even now, the flashbacks were tingling all down her limbs. The screams rang out through her ears, but she ignored it.
“Maddie,” she heard him call to her. “Maddie, is everything alright?”
Without realizing it, she had completely stopped in front of the door, hand on the knob and eyes closed. This over whelming weak, groggy feeling started to control her body. She felt as if she were going to pass out at any given moment. Stumbling back wards, she put her hands out behind her to catch the railing of the porch she was now standing on. Seeing that she was about to drop, quickly he sprinted into action. No hesitation or second thoughts, his natural instincts kicked in. He flew through the weeds and grass, bounded up the stairs and caught her within his arms right as her grip slipped from off the railing and she was about to tumble onto the wood.
Brushing the hair from out of her face, he latched his eyes onto hers. “Maddie, what the hell just happened?” he asked her. She wasn’t totally focusing yet though, hadn’t come back from the world she had fallen hard and fast into. He grabbed her chin within his palm and forced her to look at him. “Answer me. Maddie, Maddie? Are you okay? What happened?”
Her gaze finally fixed. Now staring back at him, she bit her lip and reached her trembling fingers up to softly stroke his right cheek. Letting out a sigh of slight relief, he closed his eyes. “We need to get out of here, Bren. Now.” she whispered the words but he could hear the frantic heat within them. He lifted her into his arms, gently, gingerly. Slowly, with careful person so as not to lose his grip on her, he made his way back to the car.
It was time to get out of here, even he could feel it. Deep in his bones, this wasn’t the place she or he wanted to be. But they needed to. At least for now.
Bren slipped her into the passenger seat of the beetle. First making sure she was properly strapped to the seat, then reclining it back. Once he thought she looked comfortable and relaxed, he closed the door and spun around to make his way to the drivers side. Mind throbbing with unspoken thoughts, quietly he slipped into his side of the vehicle, started the engine and speed away from the scene they had just run through.
He was completely unaware of all the commotion going on inside of the mind next to him. Madeline was fighting with her inner self, trying hard to stay in control of the violent shivers trying to crawl through her body. Trying to keep her mind on track, away from the memories. Move ahead, not back she thought to herself. Vial images started to form and cement inside of her thoughts. Everything she had repressed and pushed to her unknown depths of her mind, were coming free to the fore front to be painfully relived. Soon enough, she started to lose control, shaking wildly and convulsing in her seat. Bren, taking notice of this, quickly pulled the car onto the side of the road. They were in the middle of no where, surrounded by endless green. Forests rolled over countless hills, acres of land. It was everywhere.
“Maddie, baby. Wake up, wake up!” He clawed at her seat belt buckle, got it undone and pulled her seizing body across the center console and into his lap. Holding her tight to him, arms gripped around her, he finally felt her body relax. From behind, he found the crook of her neck with his lips and softly planted a kiss there. Inhaling the sweet smell of her, he rested there for just a moment till her eyes finally came open again.
Maddie finally realized what had happened, came to and found that she was on the side of a road, in the car seated in Bren’s lap. His arms were latched around her like a snake attempting to squander the life out of his prey. But she felt right, so she didn’t complain, simply let out a small breathe to let him know she was okay. When he didn’t loosen his grip, she wiggled a little and whispered, “Bren, I’m okay now. Really.”
Mumbling a little Bren replied, “But I’m not. So just sit here a little longer. Please.”
She could feel the tension slowly leak from his body, as his arms got looser and looser. Finally, his hands slid to her sides, gently resting there. His face was still buried deep into the side of her neck.
“I’m so sorry you had to seem like that, babe.” Maddie spoke the words while turning a little to kiss the top of Bren’s head. “I knew I shouldn’t have gone back yet. I knew it and it was worse that I forced you to come with me.. I just knew I wasn’t going to be able to handle it alone. Either way.”
Just then, an obviously angry and frustrated truck driver went zooming past the small beetle, honking obnoxiously. The sound made both of them jump a little, Maddie even hit her head on the ceiling of the car. The emotions and nerves mixing in the car was tangible, and the sudden burst of reality passing by them was enough to flair their senses to extremes.
“We should get going again.” Bren said with a blank expression on his face. He lifted Maddie up off his lap and let her slide back over to the seat next to his. Starting the engine, he put the gas peddle to the floor in one swift motion, and again they were off.
Pulling into the drive of the motel, the beetle bumped over the rocks and loose gravel. Slowly Bren pulled up to the small cabin type room they were renting.
He pulled up in-front of cabin number fifty eight. Turning the car off, then turning to face Madeline. They sat there for just a moment in complete silence. Outside of the car, you could hear the blue jays chirping in the trees. Nesting, taking care of the young ones. Inside of the car however, it was a different story. The only sound that you could possibly pick up on, where the short, chopped breathes coming from Bren and Maddie.
“This is going to be the farthest thing from easy, for either of us.” Bren’s words sliced through the silence, bringing Maddie back to the moment, there, in the car. Back from the world she had gone back to in her mind, where everything was wrong. Shouts and screams were every where. “It’s not going to be pleasant, for me to watch you struggle. To relive those moments of trying to help you. It just wont be pleasant, and it’s going to be even worse for you. You’re going to have to fight it though, and give all that you have. You have to stay here in the present. You have to. Or we’re never gonna move on from this point.”
Bren’s hand closed the distance, clasping hers within his grasp.
His palm was warm against her freezing cold hand. It felt nice, it felt right. He was the only thing that was keeping her tied to reality. The only thing keeping her anchored here in the present, the place he had told her she needed to stay. She understood the need for that. If she got to caught up in the past, if she started to relive those moments again. She shivered, he noticed and leaned over to softly kiss her lips.
“It’s all gonna be okay, I promise. We’ll make it through this.” He whispered once his lips split from hers. She nodded.
They both stepped out from the car, walked to the front and he reached to grab her hand. He lead her into the small, comfortable hotel room. Maddie crawled into the bed, and snuggled down under the covers. Bren walked up to her, lightly kissed her forehead and stroked her hair back. “Thank you. For everything, for all of it. All of the years.” She whispered quietly. He rested his finger over her lips and smiled.
“I have to shower. Sleep. I’ll be out and here next to you when you wake up.” He walked away from the bed side and into the bathroom and closed the door. He looked at the mirror and into his reflection. He passed a hand through his hair and sighed.
He turned the shower on, sat on the toilet and broke down.
The plumes of steam were rolling around in the air of the small bathroom. Shutting off the water, Bren was finishing his shower and pushing the curtain back and wondering how in the hell he planned on surviving these next few weeks back in this town. Carefully he stepped out of the shower, every muscle in his body contracting with pain and protesting against any real movement. He pushed his hand through his slick wet hair then wrapped the fluffed white towel around his v-shaped waist line. Then he stepped in front of the mirror and heaved a sigh, watching the scar on his chest move up and back down.
Fingers trailing over the crest, he thought, I did what was right; I did what had to be done. Quickly he resisted the searing agony of the memory that tried to invite itself into his thought. That’s not something to play with, or jostle, the little box in the back of his mind. It was kept there for a very specific reason, to keep all that should never be thought about again, just that, never thought about. Reluctantly, he entertained the idea that maybe it was time to clean out that little chest reservoir he had inside his head. A sarcastic cackle broke the soundless, stale air and he shook his head. “Yeah, right…” He said aloud.
When he was finally dressed, he shook out his hair and walked back into the room where Madeline lay fast asleep. He patted down his hair, picked up his shoes from the side of his bed and tried to be as mute as possible. Walking out the front door, he simultaneously put on his shoes, a trick unique to Bren.
The cool movements, set pace, and way he walked spoke volumes about him. Without even knowing his name " you knew he had a tainted history. A discerning past, that if you heard him speak about it you would almost feel as if you are intruding on some intimate moment. Constantly walking as if, at any given moment, he could start to sprint away and no one could catch him.
Coming up to the main cabin where the front desk was located, he slowed and with his constraining walk, glided up the steps and in through the door.
“Anyone in here?” He called out, then walked over to the bell on the desk and gave it a light tap, “Hello?” he asked once more.
A few moments of silence ensued and then a small, rounded man came out of a door from behind the desk and gave Bren the up down. “Can I help you, mister?” he asked in a dangerously low voice, not something you would expect from such a small man like his self.
“Yes, you can. I was wondering if you could extended our stay in the room that we have. We might be staying an extra week or two here.” Bren asked in his polite, cut off manner.
“Ah, enjoying the scenery around here, are ya?” The stout, troll like man asked.
Bren chucked. “Not exactly. I grew up here actually, so I’ve seen it all already. Just some business to tend to. Anyway, I’m Bren Athen.”
The odd little man pushed his glasses back up onto his face with his pointer finger then started to clack at his key in front of his computer.
“Hm… Let me see if I’ve got any reservations placed in there after you two...” His eyes scanned the screen then a face of shock contorted his features. “Sir,” he began his question, “You’re rooming with a Miss. Madeline Vic?”
Bren turned his head from looking out the window until his eyes were square with the man at the front desk. “Yes, I am. Why do you ask?”
“I was… Well, I was just wondering if that was the same Madeline Vic, as in the daughter of Richard Vic? The Richard Vic?”
“How do you know of Richard Vic?” Bren’s eyes penetrated into the small man’s, forcing his small plump lips to run dry.
“Oh, well, I don’t know anyone from around this town that don’t know the story of that man. And his death recently, tragic. So tragic. They never did find out the exact cause of that fire, did they? Hm, no I don’t believe they did. Now his daughter is in town, in my motel! She must be here to go through what’s left, am I right? Right? Do you think I might be able to speak with her?” A plethora of words, spewed from his mouth like an unhinged fire hydrant. Bren tried to follow along but found himself all caught up in the commotion, until he heard the last question that little man asked.
“No.” His word was final. “Not if your only intention is to pester her about her late father. I wouldn’t suggest it.”
“Now, now young man,” the stubby fellow walked around the desk and came face to chest with Bren. “I don’t believe you are her father then, or her boss, or her care taker for that matter. She’s a big girl now, as I do re-call. I think she can speak to me on her own.”
In a blinding movement, without any hesitation, Bren had the man pinned against the desk. Hands grappled around his chunky arm, holding tight and he lowered his face to the small porker. “Listen. You will not bother Ms. Vic, are we understood? In fact, if you happen to see her in here, or pass her out in the street you will act as if you have not a clue whom she is. You won’t say two words to her. And if I happen to find out that you did, I can assure you that the consequences of that action will not go un-asserted.” He let go and stepped back, brushing off the shoulder of the small man, “Now sir, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to her. The money is on the desk, I expect you to take care of and extend our reservations. Thank you.”
Bren proceeded to walk toward the door, and the stout, short man shook himself of the nerves that were crawling through his body. Checking his self to make sure he didn’t piss in his pants, he tried to angle his face so it didn’t look so horror stricken when Bren looked back at him.
“By the way, I don’t think I caught your name.” Bren mentioned.
“It’s Hermit. Hermit Petigrew.”