It took a moment, but when he said nothing, Genna looked up slowly, her eyes resting on the pouting face of Orion before her. Crinkling her brow, she frowned a bit. "What? At the hospital you didn't want to talk about whatever happened to you. You basically begged me not to take you to the hospital in the car because of whatever happened. What's your deal, here?" She felt herself getting a bit defensive as she read the look on his face. He seemed irritated with her, though it felt a bit childish, the way he was pouting. Brushing some hair away from her pale face, she revealed a fading dark spot from where Trent had slapped her the night he'd attacked her at her home. The night Aurora had been caught in the crossfire. The bruise had been concealed with makeup up until this point, but it was late and she'd cried a lot today. While the mark wasn't as dark as it could have been, it was noticeable, nonetheless.
Orion gave a sideways glance towards Genna as she confronted him surrounding his poutiness. He turned to look at her, saying nothing as she pointed out his attenpts to keep himself from the spotlight constantly leading up to this moment. "Well, I-" he went silent as she brushed the hair off of her face, and the mark became clearly visible to him. "What the hell is-" he cut himself off quickly. He knew that came off too angry, too aggressive. "Genna, what is..." Even so, he couldn't bring himself to ask what it was, in clear terms. He was scared to hear the answer, knowing who she had been hanging with.
Her first instinct was to drop her gaze again as all aggression vanished from her expression. She knew instantly what he was referring to and she cursed herself for slipping up. She'd done so well in the years since the abuse had started. If it hadn't been for Daniel, no one would have likely ever known what was happening to her. Now, of course, with everything happening all over again, the stakes were higher than ever. There was a thin line she was walking that her parents were monitoring carefully. One slip up and she was gone. Italy would be out of the question and she'd never get away from the one person she needed more than anything to get away from.
"It's nothing. I'm fine, okay?" Her voice was quiet as she spoke. Her dark hair cast a shadow over her face. This was not a topic she had shared with many people. Aurora knew the bare minimum because it had been necessary. Other than her, the only people who'd ever known about what had happened with Trent were her parents, her sister, Daniel, and a few lawyers. Trent's parents had never learned the full extent of what had gone on behind closed doors and she doubted they would have wanted to. The easy fix had been to send Genevieve to a rehabilitation center out of state while Trent had been sent to some sort of corrections facility. The rehab had been his parents' idea to keep Genna's family from suing and at the time, they had been down on their luck so it had worked. Genna had begged her parents not to send her away. She'd lose a year of school and she'd be separated from her friends and family for months. It had been absolute torture, something she would never repeat if she could avoid it.
Orion's blood went completely cold as she spoke only a few words in response. What she had said...he knew exactly what it meant. He did not want to acknowledge it, to acknowledge what he knew it meant, because...he felt terrible about this. And he knew that him feeling terrible, that him feeling so involved, and so responsible for what was occurring...
The truth was that, after knowing this girl for such a short period, being by her side for a few important moments, it had opened him to something he had shut himself to long ago.
Staring at her for several long, cold moments, Orion forgot all of the previous day. His childish pouting, his father's outburst, slapping his sister. It fled from his mind for the time being.
"What did he do?" Orion's voice was cold. It dripped with a hate he hadn't given voice to in a long time. It wasn't like his anger at Trent before, at lunch, with his sister. It was...it was so much different. It was worse.
Genna closed her eyes and felt her body shake as he pressed further. She felt so very small in this moment and all she wanted was to disappear. To simply stop existing. "I can't... I can't tell you the things he's done. And you can't go after him." She would have cried again, had she not been completely cried out from earlier in the most terrible day of her life. Memories haunted her as they sat there, him questioning her about the bruise. It reminded her of when Daniel had found out about her and Trent the first time. That had been before he'd started beefing up to join the navy. He had been a scrawny guy, tall and lanky, but not really the kind of person to pick a fight. When he'd gone after Trent, he'd landed a few good punches, but he'd been put out pretty bad. Genna had felt absolutely awful and now, she couldn't forgive herself if something happened to Orion.
Orion let out something that was in between a scoff and an exasperated sigh. She couldn't tell him the things he's done? His mind was beginning to race with ideas of what that could look like. The things he might be subjecting her to. His mind went to the absolute worst, thinking of stories in the newspaper, reports of young adults killed after weeks of abuse and isolation. His lips moved, trying to form words to express what he was feeling as she said this, but the words weren't coming.
For the first time in knowing her, there seemed to be, apparent on his face, true fear. His mouth opened with no sound exiting, his eyes wide and unblinking, his posture stiff and unmoving. He didn't even seem to be feeling the wound which he had acquired.
He was trying to find words, something to convince her she had to stop seeing him, but he couldn't bring any words to come out as his mind spiraled with what Genna could possibly mean.
For every second the silence hung between them, Genna felt more and more awful. She felt like she might throw up. "Look... School's only in for a few more months. I just have to get through, get my diploma and I'm gone. I'm leaving the country and he won't find me. No one will ever find me..." Her voice got quiet as she spoke the words, no longer certain they were true. Trent had this idea that once they graduated they were going to live in this mansion his parents were having built for him, somewhere far away from other people so no one could hear her scream. She doubted it would be easy to get away from him.
Since the day she'd stood up to him in math class, Genevieve had known she'd made a mistake. She was alone this time, like she had never been before. She thought she could take Trent on her own, but she had overestimated her own strength. Just like before she was a pawn to him. She wasn't a person, she was a play thing that he controlled and she hated herself for it, more than anything.
Orion listened as Genevieve laid out her brilliantly thought-out plan. Wait. Let him do what he wanted. That's all that the boy was hearing as she spoke. And he hated it. He had been taught that it was wrong for a woman to withhold the things a man wanted from him, but...it didn't exactly mean that he agreed with all of those teachings. And this...this, to his core, was making him shake, feeling that it was irrevocably wrong.
His gaze hardened, his jaw set, his eyebrows narrowed. "Genna...do you really believe he's going to let you do that? He'll stop you from graduating. Somehow. Guys like him...they don't want you to be able to do anything yourself." He was drawing from an incredibly deep pool of experience--a few news articles, a couple Law and Order episodes. "You gotta...He won't let that happen...He's a psycopath. He won't let you leave. He'll stop you before you can." His voice got progressively quieter as he spoke, and it was clear his voice was wavering with some amount of fear. "Please. You can't just sit and wait..."
"You don't get it!" Genna practically exploded, standing up from the chair quickly. She immediately felt the pain in her foot, nearly falling back, but somehow managed to keep her balance. Her face was red and blotchy aside from the dark bruise. Her eyes were fierce and sad at the same time. "I can't just stop seeing him. I know how he is. If I say no to him, he just sees it as a challenge. There is no winning with him, so I have to get away from him." It wasn't hard to detect the pure hatred in her tone as she described Trent. She had disliked him for a long time, but now... the only word strong enough was hate. He had nearly ruined her life the first time and she couldn't stand to let him do it again.
Roughly shoving her hair out of her face, she struggled to keep her tears back. "I can't tell my parents because they'll send me away to some crappy girl's home to recover. I'll never get out of here. That's what happened my freshman year. I lost a year. If it hadn't been for my stupid parents and Trent's stupid parents, I would already be gone." Her voice shook violently as she gave the slightest hint that this had happened before. Holding herself, she took an awkward step away from the chair, the cast around her ankle, heavy and bulky.
"I know what he is... I know how he really feels about me, but this is my last option. I can't do anything without ruining my own life in the process, don't you get that?" She turned back towards him, looking completely small and broken. Finally, after a moment of silence, she spoke again, her voice very quiet, but very calm. "I'm going to graduate. I'm going to change my name. I'm not going to graduation. I'm getting on a plane and getting as far away from this... this place. I can't stay here any longer... I can't..."
Orion jerked back suddenly at Genna's initial explosion, a wave of pain hitting him from his side at the sudden movement. He wasn't expecting such a fiery reaction from her, given how cool and collected she always seemed at school. The sudden outburst, to be honest, had scared him, and it was clear within his eyes.
He understood what she was saying about her parents. If this had happened before, and it had come to light and her parents responded so poorly, then they were not a viable option. He agreed with that. But he still didn't understand how she believed that sitting and waiting to graduate, she would make it out okay. "Look...Genna-" She kept talking, and he shut up and let her finish what she wanted to say.
He shut his eyes as she finished saying exactly what she was going to do. He gave a light shake of his head as she was finishing speaking. She was banking on him not taking her somewhere before graduation...and that was such a serious gamble.
He gave a low sigh as she finished, his heart aching a little as she said she simply ccouldn't remain here. She was exhausted; it made sense. She was sick of him. "What if he takes you somewhere before you graduate? What if he traps you there?"
"He can't..." she said simply, her voice calm once again. She stared at the chair she'd moved away from as she leaned against the wall now, her head aching from the pent up tension. "I made a deal with my parents saying I would finish high school. They brought it forward when we were in court against Trent and his family and it's written in part of the deal. His parents said that if I stayed in school and graduated, they would not only pay for my (expletive) rehab, but for any college I wanted to go to." She hugged herself, her skin very pale against the red sweater she still wore. Her eyes were sunken and she looked rather ghostly, especially in the dim light of the room. "My parents already know I'm planning to leave the country to live with my sister after graduation and they said they wouldn't fight it so long as I finished school and stayed out of trouble. If he tries to take me anywhere, my parents will know and his parents will know and that's not something he'll risk... I just have to survive..." I've put up with it before... The thought made her want to cry all over again and she brought a hand up to cover her mouth as her brave face broke for just a moment.
Looking back up, she sniffled, trying to maintain even the smallest bit of control over her emotions. "Look, giving into him is the only thing that's keeping me alive right now. The more I fight him, the harder he fights. That's how I fractured my foot... kicking him in the face. I can't run from him yet. When I went to rehab, he went to some military school for a couple years. I got better, they turned him into even more of a monster." She paused for a moment, dropping her gaze again. "He's not right... in the head, I mean. I don't know what it is, but it's only gotten worse over the years. He was so normal when we first dated... I... I don't know what happened... I... I just wish Daniel was here..." Her heart twisted at the thought of her friend. Daniel would've known what to do. He would've gotten her out of there no matter what it took. She also knew he would probably kill Trent if he knew what was going on. But the sad truth was that she would probably never see her best friend again. She was alone and that was just the way things were. That was it.
Orion listened silently as Genevieve explained exactly how this deal went, and how Trent wouldn't do anything to jeapordize the agreement. He struggled to believe that Trent was rational enough to care about whatever agreement they made, and he felt secure in that thought even more.
"Genna...you're saying he's smart enough not to risk breaking the agreement...but you're also saying he isn't right in the head. That he is a monster. You expect him to care about an agreement if he can get you somewhere you will never be found?" He scoffed after he finished speaking, shaking his head. "God, you're talking about biding your time with a psychopath! I get you can't involve your parents, but you will not make it a few months without some serious damage, or...or so much worse. I...I can't watch that."
"What else am I supposed to do?" Her voice was tired and she looked a bit deflated as she asked the question, not necessarily expecting an answer. Her shoulders were hunched and she knew that if he could see the scars and cuts and bruises beneath her clothing, he would only strengthen his opinion. She knew he was right, too... She knew that Trent was bad news and that he would do just about anything to keep her in his grasp. "He won't risk going to jail..." she said, at least slightly more confident in the statement. "If he goes to jail, he won't be able to touch me or control me. He wouldn't take that chance after last time..."
Genna's chest was tight and her head ached as she felt sick to her stomach all over again. It had been a long time since she had opened up nearly this much to anyone and it was certainly taking its toll. Since they'd started talking, all color had left her skin and she just looked tired and defeated. Leaning against the wall, she lowered her head and let out a shaky breath. "What else am I supposed to do...?" She closed her eyes, her broken voice quieter than before. She was a shell of her former self... exactly how Trent had wanted her to be. He knew he had control again and she knew it too. Her last shred of hope was getting the drop on him and splitting from school a few days early. She would get on that plane and be gone before Trent even realized. It was her only chance...
And here, Orion truly went silent as well. While he knew this plan that Genna had was not good, he could not say with confidence what was a good plan. He seemed, from what Orion had witnessed, and what Genevieve had said, to be a controlling and unrelenting source of attention. He wouldn't let go of it if Genna just broke up with him.
His mind drifted a little as he thought of Trent. He recalled his encounter with Trent, and Aurora's intervention in the matter. What would he do if someone was controlling and manipulative of his sister? Well, that was easy. He would beat the s*** out of anyone who tried to treat his sister like that, even if his dad said it was normal. He didn't believe in it.
But Genna was...well, they weren't that close. Not yet, at least. She was so reserved, and he didn't expect her to try to get much closer to him. And plus...Trent would probably kick the hell out of him.
"I don't know, Genna. I don't have the perfect plan for you. But its early spring. We still have...almost a quarter of a year left. You can't just...wait..."
She released a breath of air through her nose in defeat and brought a hand up to rub the bridge of her nose. He wasn't hearing her. Bringing her hand up a little further, she ran her fingers through her hair, slowing her breathing to a calm and controlled pace. Opening her pretty brown eyes again, she looked at him evenly. "I'm beat... We'd better set up your bed so you can get some rest and I can go to sleep." Carefully removing the crutches from under her arms, she felt the soreness poke at her muscles. She leaned them against the wall where she'd been standing and slowly limped over to the couch.
After a few minutes, Genna's struggle ended as she pulled out the last bit of the couch bed. Her breathing had picked up again, the effort a bit much for her worn body to take. But she'd done it. "Like I said... It's more comfortable than it looks..." Shaking hair out of her face again, she moved back to the wall with two careful steps. Staring at the bed, she let out a shaky sigh. "If you don't need anything else, I'm going to turn in... It's been a long day." She knew she didn't need to repeat this truth, but she was exhausted. They would have the rest of the weekend to talk, hopefully about anything but her relationship with Trent.
Orion gave a low sigh as Genna left the subject of her 'boyfriend' and moved on, saying just how exhausted she was.
The truth is that he was absolutely exhausted as well. He struggled to get himself back up, crying out in pain as he sat up, trying to manage the pain--be a man, like his dad had always said a man should.
He pushed himself up, obviously still hurting even though he had made it up from his seat. "I...I'll try not to bother you at all...until you're awake..." He mumbled, not meeting her exhausted gaze. "Thank you...for what you did..." He tried to express the gratitude which was so uncommon for him. "For what you're doing..."
Hey! I'm so sorry I've been so inactive! I've been super busy these past few weeks getting ready to leave the country for a semester abroad in Europe and I've just had no time or muse for anything! Since I've been so inactive and I still have a week and a half before I fly out, I've decided to take a short break from the site. I want to give my best here and I don't think I can do that while I'm so distracted right now. I don't know when I'll be back but I'm sure I will at some point return. I won't be on for the next two weeks, maybe longer. So so sorry for the inconvenience!