Chapter 11: AJ's past
I heard a thousand echoes of voices.
And Shane's voice.
"Dad! What the hell is WRONG WITH YOU?!! What'd you do to her?!!!" I heard Jenna scream.
"Jenna….get away from her…she's fine." Shane's voice echoed.
"Why'd you do that to her?" Jenna's voice echoed.
"Jenna…Sh-she's going to be fine." AJ's voice echoed.
"YOU FUCKING RAPED HER!! SHE'S NOT OKAY!!!" Jenna cried out.
"I didn't mean to hurt her….I-" AJ began.
"Like hell you didn't!!! You're just as bad as Shane! Fuck you."
"Jenna, Renee is going home with me." I heard AJ say.
I didn't wanna go with him though.
I wanted to stay with Jenna. I wanted to stay with her so bad. I only felt safe with her. I didn't know her, but I knew she wasn't insane like AJ or Shane….or Joey….who punched my sister in her jaw before he dragged her away like she was nothing. How could he do that to a twelve year old girl? How?
When I woke up, I was laying down….on a bed. AJ's bed and the thought depressed me.
I squirmed around and then yawned and stretched, only one of my hands were free while the other was chained to the headboard.
I looked to my right and AJ was sitting in a burgundy fold-in chair beside the bed staring at me.
I couldn't look at him.
I stared down at the dark patterns stitched in the comforter.
"Renee-" He said inaudible.
"Do not talk to me." I whispered.
"I'm so sorry." He whispered.
"You're sorry?' I asked choking back my sobs.
It didn't work.
Tears spilled out of my eyes as I slowly looked into his golden eyes.
"How could you do that to me? I was about to fall in l-" I stopped myself.
His eyes widened. "What?"
"Nothing. It doesn't matter anymore."
"It does matter, Renee."
"No, it doesn't because I don't even know rather or not I feel anything for you anymore."
He stared at me. His expression well guarded.
"And not only did you do it but you let your brother hurt me too. And you just sat there and watched. I felt so betrayed, AJ. Even when I overheard you tell Shane before that you loved me…and…."
"You eavesdropped on me?"
"That's not the point, AJ." I said.
He said nothing.
"You cannot possibly love me if you're willing to do that at any moment without hesitation and then let your brother do it afterwards. That is not love at all."
"I said I was sorry, Renee."
"And you think that's enough?" I asked.
He shook his head. "What else can I do? Aside from letting you go."
"Let me talk to Jodie. Over the phone."
AJ shook his head.
"I can't let you do that. You'll plan an escape with her."
"Please, you can be in the same room. I'll be on with her for a second, I promise. Please AJ. Please." I begged him.
He stared at me as he stood up and sighed. Then he nodded. He reached into his pocket and dialed a number and held it to his ear.
After a pause, he sighed. "Joey, put Jodie on the phone." AJ said.
After a second, he held the phone out for me. I grabbed it and put it to my ear. "Jodie?" I asked.
"Renee?" She asked in a teary voice.
"Oh my god…are you okay?" I asked.
"He hit me."
"I saw, I'm so sorry. It was my fault."
"What did they do to you, Renee?" She asked.
She didn't need to know what Shane and AJ did. "Nothing. I just want you to stay there."
"I wanna go home, Re-Re."
"I do too but just sit tight. Don't make Joey mad and just try to stay out of trouble. I'll try to get you home…okay?"
"Are you gonna be there?"
I hesitated. I didn't know. I just wanted Jodie home.
"I don't know, honey but just stay there and obey Joey for now, okay?"
She sniffed. "I love you, Re."
I smiled. "I love you too, Joe." I said.
She stayed quiet and I sighed. "I have to go okay?"
"Don't go." She begged. And her voice broke my heart.
"I have to, Joe, but you can call me anytime. Okay?"
"He won't let me." She said.
"I don't care. If you wanna call me then do it. Okay?"
"Love you." I said.
"Love you more."
"Bye." I hung up the phone and gave it back to AJ who put it back in his pocket and then looked to me. "Are you hungry?" He asked.
"I'll bring you some breakfast."
He was gone for a while and while he was gone, I shut my eyes. I went back in my mind…to my memories.
I remember back when I was twelve and Jodie was seven.
I remember back when some late nights, where I'd be tied to my bed. My dad use to do it so I couldn't save Jodie whenever she'd scream when he would hit her really hard.
And my mom would just stand in the doorway and watch with disinterest.
I'd scream and cry and begged to be let go of but I was forced to hear Jodie's suffering cries, and there wasn't a damn thing I could do about it.
I opened my eyes and AJ walked into the room. He had a plate of food in his hand.
I sat up and he placed the plate off eggs, bacon, and a bagel with strawberry cream cheese in front of me.
"Thank you." I said.
I only had one hand free and I used my right hand to eat.
AJ sat back down and sighed. "I want to tell you something." He said.
I looked over at him.
"My dad's name was Robert. And when I was ten, he walked out on me, Shane, Joey, and my mom.
Now my dad was what held us all together like fucking glue.
There was a time when We all loved each other. Like a family should."
Then he paused.
"Joey wasn't the only person in the family who had to go to a mental institution," He sighed. "I went there too."
My eyes almost popped out. I was right, he was a psychopath.
"My dad started the business with the house of girls. The kidnapping business and he let how he influence the girls to obey, he used that same thing on his kids. It was all we know. It's all he taught us. And when we disobeyed him," AJ shook his head as if shaking off a bad thought. "He did so much to the three of us. Just his name made us scared. And growing up under that kind of household….it does things to you." He said.
I stopped eating and stared at him. Feeling remorse. I shouldn't have but I did for whatever reason.
"I had a girl before you, her name was Tracy. She was why I went to the institution."
"She disobeyed me." He said. "And you know what I did?" He asked.
"What?" It was only a whisper.
"I grabbed a knife and I slit her across her face."
My eyes popped out and fell onto the bed.
Or at least that's what should have happened.
"My dad stabbed Joey in his leg for staying out late pass curfew. The punishments were harsh but like I said, it was all we knew. And because of that, I have to make my punishments cruel and so does Shane."
The mention of his name made me look down.
I bit my lip.
AJ sighed. "I will never ever do that to you again. I'm working on my anger. I will do whatever it takes to get you to trust me again. Okay, Renee?" He asked. His smoldering golden eyes pleading. And some part of me couldn't resist.
"But you'd still punish me if I disobey?"
AJ looked to the floor. "I don't have a choice."
"But you do."
"You don't get it, Renee."
"I do. Your dad treated you like shit so you feel like you have to do the same in your relationships. How is that suppose to make me love you if you can just turn and do that without hesitation and let Shane do it afterwards."
"I talked to Shane about it and we'll both make it up to you."
"Make it up to me for raping me?" I asked.
AJ sighed. "I don't know how else to explain."
"You've explain just fine." I continued eating. After a few minutes of silence, I looked back to him. "What'd she do?" I asked.
AJ rose his eyebrow. "Who?"
"Tracy. How'd she disobey you?" I asked.
He bit down on his lip just like I do and I looked down and blushed as I became…aroused.
"I was very heavy on rules back then. Way more than I am now. I told her not to cum before me but she did anyway."
I gave him a look. That's it? That's what made him cut her?
"That's not a good reason."
He smirked. "I'm not sure any reason is entirely good." He said and then sighed. "Anyway, the point is, I've never cared about someone as much as I cared about you, Renee. And I'll do whatever it takes, to make you feel the same way."
"I did feel the same way until…" I didn't want to mention it.
"You did?" AJ looked beyond shocked. Like his eyes were going to explode.
I nodded. "I did but-" He grabbed my chin with hand made me look at him. "I love you, Renee. And I swear to god that I will never ever hurt you like that again."
I stared into his golden sincere eyes wanting to believe him.
He got down on his knees beside the bed and looked up at me like a lost puppy. A look that had an odd effect on me.
"Okay." I whispered. He smiled lightly and sighed in relief. "Give me a chance, I'll make it up to you.