They grew up best friends, both of them never wanting to admit their feelings for the other.
Until one day.
A hot summer day, in the holiday cottage of his parents he finally confessed to loving her. And everything fell apart.
She left, terrified and confused and didn’t say a word. High school sweethearts torn apart and he was left behind, confused.
Anger consumed him, rage and rejection seemed his only company.
She returned, after years in college and getting her life back on track. She had never moved on, she had tried.
She has a party, a welcome home celebration and he is invited.
Maisie could understand Carter's concerns and worries, she knew it was difficult for him to understand everything and she didn't think she wanted him to. It was a hard road to walk and if she could spare Carter any of it then she would. She didn't want him to endure anything like she did and yet, somehow she knew she couldn't protect him forever. They would have to get past this but it was problematic.
"I'm sorry." She said to Carter, again, quietly. He was scared and it was her doings but he followed up with words of love and care, Maisie didn't know how to respond as she moved closer to him, fingers curling into his shoulders. She just wanted to stay like this, safe because nothing could get her here, it was so childish.
The world wouldn't stop though and she knew she had to face it all some time. She leaned up and pressed a tender kiss to Carter's cheek before the painkillers really kicked in and shoved her into a sleep she wasn't really ready for. She stirred in the morning, still sore and feeling just as exhausted as she had before. She pulled herself up into a sitting position, grumbling slightly as she tried to stretch her limbs to wake them up. Thankfully no dreams had penetrated her conscious whilst she slept, the painkillers and medication likely keeping them at bay.
Maisie wanted to shower but wasn't sure she had the energy. Instead, she sat in the quiet and turned her gaze to Carter, it was still horribly early, dawn only just breaking but she knew she couldn't sleep anymore right then. It would be fruitless to try.
Carter made his way to the bedroom after Maisie. There he closed the door, somewhat a bit paranoid about the whole Francis thing causing him to lock it for once. He moved around the room quietly, cleaning up a few things and eventually beginning to change out of his clothing into something a bit more comfortable for bed. Carter climbed into the bed then, watching Maisie as she shuffled about the room toward her pills and finally made her way to the bed as well. He was ready to shut the light off and sleep, but Maisie had something on her mind. Carter paused and turned to face her. he hadnt realized that the pain and worry had been clearly painted on his face, but Maisie did and it only seemed to further promote the belief that Carter wanted nothing to do with her, which was far from the truth.
“Maisie,” he said softly. Carter shifted and faced her then, his hand reaching to brush back some hair. For the first time that night he could meet her eyes again for longer than thirty seconds; they didn’t travel toward her healing injuries.
“There’s nothing that would make me hate you or want to not be around you. I love you, it’s just a lot to take in and yes I’m scared. Hell, I’m terrified. I was so close to losing you again. I guess I just have to live with the fact that I wasn’t there to protect you. I should’ve stopped you from leaving.” He closed his eyes then, drawing her in close to him carefully. “I just don’t ever want to feel that way again. I don’t want you to feel that way.” He kissed her forehead then. “I just want you to heal.”
Carter’s biggest concern was Maisie to feel loved and ft to heal. Though he knew that wouldn’t begin until Francis was locked up. Sleep soon came and he found exhaustion drawing him in. It was the only relief he had that day.
Carter was near and his hand took her own as she pushed past the headache. His words were assuring and gentle and she gave him a soft smile. She knew how she looked, beat up and frail and she felt frail. She couldn’t deny that she was terrified to leave the house by herself and even more frightened to leave Carter at the mercy of Francis who was lurking. She nodded to him,
“Yeah, you’re right.” She placated him and knew she needed sleep. She got to her feet, catching a glimpse of Carter’s father in the doorway and she thanked him for dinner, praying he hadn’t heard anything. Everyone knew though, they knew what happened to her. How could Maisie ever be good enough for his son after this?
Maisie went upstairs, slowly and climbed into bed after taking a painkiller. She looked to Carter, she had seen him unable to look at her properly.
“Are you scared, Carter?” She asked him, quietly and in the solace of their room.
“You’ve barely been able to look at me, I know I look bad but it doesn’t hurt as much.” Not with the painkillers, it didn’t hurt. She shifted on the bed awkwardly to find a comfortable position.
“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you, the first time. I was so scared you’d look at me how you’re looking at me now.” She said to him quietly.
This was a mess, a complete mess. She didn’t know how to make any of it better. She knew her injuries would heal in time but she wasn’t sure how her mental state would cope. The only man she felt comfortable with was Carter and he looked terrified of her.
His father had excused himself from the table and helped with clearing the dishes. Carter wanted to reach out to Maisie, but he was still unsure whether it was alright for him to be the one to initiate contact, not knowing what could trigger her. when Maisie had started to speak then, Carter felt nearly cemented in his seat. He was uncomfortable to say the least and he knew that he shouldn’t eb the one feeling so bad. He hadn’t been the victim. And yet, somehow knowing what Francis did to Maisie only seemed to make things worse. He had thought it would offer some kind of closure, knowing in detail how he had tortured her for those hours, hoping that it would give him some understanding or some kind of closure. If he knew what could happen then he could better help Maisie right? So why did he feel sick to his stomach and why couldn’t he look her in the eye? Everything in Carter screamed for him to get up from that table and run. Just run.
But then what was he expected to do? Was he going to just find Francis on his own and somehow refrain from pummeling the guy to death? Maybe that’s what Francis wanted, a standoff with Carter. He was sure he would find some way to lead him to him in order to kill him and all for naught. Killing him wouldn’t give Maisie any desire to be with him any more than attacking her had. Maisie was going through the events as though looking at a series of flashcards and he figured everything was still bits and pieces – fragments she was trying to put together. But did she want to see that image playing in her head at full force? Or was she trying to find anything that would be of help and torturing herself by reliving the memories.
Carter had flinched at the word:; rape. It didn’t settle well with him and while he knew assault was by no means easy to speak on, he somehow hadn’t expected to hear the words. Even when she first mentioned it, it had taken a while for his brain to process it almost as though it wanted to reject the word entirely.
“Hey now,” Carter said, finally taking the initiative and just standing to sit closer to Maisie. His hand reached out for her hand, Carter still very cautious. “It’s not your fault okay? None of this is your fault Maisie. You survived, that’s all that matters.” Carter knew that he would have to get over the hurdle of this trauma, a bit differently that Maisie, but all the same. “Come on, you should rest. I’m sure tomorrow the questioning will take a lot of energy.” Carter looked over his shoulder then, watching his father in the entryway. He took looked lost. They all were and Francis was out there. Roaming free.
Maisie was exhausted still but her appetite had returned. She could tell no one wanted to speak, it was awkward and it wasn’t as if they could make pleasant conversation about the weather. She didn’t eat much, she just wanted to sleep again and forget everything that happened. She pushed her food around before the dishes were cleared away and she glanced over to find Logan watching her. Her eyes avoided his because she knew they were full of questions.
“I don’t know where he took me exactly.” She said to him, honestly. The memories were fuzzy.
“I tried to call you, he went for snacks or something. I didn’t expect him to come back so quickly.” She explained, trying to clear the deep rooted figure in her head about the ordeal.
“He raped me, a few times. I don’t know how many. If I fought back, he uh beat me up. If I didn’t give him any type of response to what he was doing, he beat me up. He thinks you’re the reason I don’t love him.” She said to him, quietly. She wouldn’t let him know the gruesome details, she could sore him that much but he had a right to know what had gone on. She wouldn’t keep it from him again.
“I fought, I promise you I fought. I bit him, I scratched him, I tried everything. I did everything I could.” She whispered, wiping her eyes of the tears threatening to fall. She couldn’t show this weakness to him because it hurt. She approached him slowly,
“I didn’t want it.” She said, because that’s all Francis used to say. That she wanted it, that she liked it but she just didn’t know it.
Carter heard the knocking at his door which confused him, but he figured it had been his father. While he did find his father standing there, there were also two officers. He knew they were here for Maisie more than likely, and probably assumed she was still on bedrest. Carter soon sat up, pulling away from his close embrace with Maisie. He had known there was another victim, a more recent one and she seemed to eb the most helpful when it came to the possibility of finding Francis. Unfortunately it seemed Maisie had been taken elsewhere, though the cops seemed to think that was to cover his tracks, as he probably couldn’t return to the inn after letting Lacy live.
“Why don’t we take this downstairs?” Carter suggested. He took Maisie’s hand and they headed to the living room, his father returning to the kitchen, more than likely working on their dinner. Honestly Carter didn’t know how he felt about Maisie being interrogated so soon after her attack. He wanted it protect her and yet he knew maybe the more she was exposed to this line of questioning, the higher probability that she would remember something that could be of help. Though he didn’t want her to feel useless or like she had nothing to offer after all she had been through.
The officers could tell that maybe now wasn’t the best time, especially with the medication that she was still getting accustomed to. They suggested dropping by tomorrow before Carter walked them out. Carter sighed out, trying to not show how obviously stressed he was. He was glad for the distraction of food his father offered. He took her hand and headed into the dining area where his father was already placing down the bowls. It was a quiet dinner for the most part. His father offered to take care of the dishes and leave them together. Carter looked to Maisie just to let her know that he would be there to see her through this tough time. He wondered if Maisie would ever tell him the full details of what occurred. Did he want to know?
Maisie watched as Carter awoke, staying quiet and feeling his lips press to hers. His apologies meant nothing because he had nothing to be sorry for. She gushed him softly in the tender embrace of the bed and blankets. Everything hurt but his kisses proved to be the best painkiller on offer.
“Please don’t apologise.” She whispered softly, this wasn’t his fault and it never would be. He had not assaulted her, Francis had. She would need to go to the station in the morning and she was dreading it. There was a knock at the door, some shuffling and two police officers stood at the doorway. Maisie recognised them as she sat up.
“Christ he really did a number on you.” One of them said quietly and shook his head.
“A young girl called Lacy, she’s given a statement.” He continued and didn’t seem to mind the formalities right then.
“We still can’t find him, Maisie. Did he mention anywhere he had that he could go?” He asked and Maisie tensed, clutching Carter’s hand tightly.
“He didn’t say anything. I can’t remember-“ She mumbled and rubbed her head. It wasn’t like Francis had spoke about his escape, he had spoke about other things.
“I don’t know. He’s hurt though. I hit him.” She said quietly, “I hit his head with concrete. I don’t know where he could go for help.” She looked to Carter. Carter was in very real danger right then if they didn’t find Francis. Carter could be killed.
“I’m sorry to pressure you, Maisie.” He said and looked apologetic.
“I can come to the station tomorrow.” She offered and the officer shook his head,
“Captain ordered you to stay indoors and away from the station, Maisie. At least until you’re healed up.” He said and jotted some things down.
“We will need to come and take a statement. You’re one Olaf the hospital is uh... not set in stone.” He explained and Maisie just nodded. She sighed out quietly and watched the officers go.
“Maisie, Carter. I made some soup.” Carter’s father called up and Maisie knew she had to eat.
“I know this is tough Lacy, but let’s just go through everything one more time.” Lacy looked down at her fingers, picking at her skin until her mother reached out to grab her hand. It had been tough for Lacy to tell her mother what happened, but she had no choice. When Francis dumped her at the hospital, she was really messed up and there was no way they would release her without knowing someone would take care of her. She could still see that look of shock on her parents’ faces. Her mother had broken down and cried right there, wrapping her arms around Lacy. She felt numb though, almost like she had been weighed down by some kind of heavy blanket. There wasn’t comfort. It wasn’t until she went home that she broke down in tears in her room; she had been belligerent and yet, when her parents asked what happened she would shut up. It had taken two weeks for her to finally go to the cops and tell them what happened. Fortunately for her, the doctors had done a rape kit so there wasn’t any evidence lost. Thy just needed someone to match it to.
“I was just getting off work,” Lacy said, her voice low and raspy. Detective Amaro had been kind to her and while her story may have seemed outlandish, he believed her. though it was strange, because she just couldn't think that there was someone in their town capable of such horrible things. That [I he] had been.
“I work in the coffee shop on Main and they just started this whole twenty-four hour café thing so we get a lot of people who come in and work on their laptops. He –”
“Francis?” Detective Amaro interjected to which she nodded in agreement.
“F-Francis yes, he came in. I waited on him, just a black coffee and a carrot cake muffin. He was pretty quiet for the most part, but he was nice. He told me I reminded him of an old friend. He had just moved back he said.”
“Dd he say from where or where he was staying?” She shook her head, red strands of hair quickly tucked behind her ear and brushing against the healing cut on her cheek.
“But he said he was staying at the inn, you know the one near the theater their building.” Detective Amaro made note of that. Of course he knew Carter had been working on that project, it could have been how he caught sight of him and Maisie.
“I clocked out for my shift sometime around ten, he was gone by then. I was walking home and I get to the subway platform and. . .” She choked then, the tears falling down her face. Lacy closed her eyes tight, her father placing his arm around her shoulders.
“Take your time,” he whispered to her. Lacy had told this story already three times and it never got easier.
“I heard someone call my name and when I turned around it was Francis. I didn’t think to be freaked out or anything, but we were the only ones on the platform so I was trying to stay calm and just wait for my train. We talked a little and then just out of nowhere he had me against the wall and he had kissed me. And before I could say or do anything he was dragging me into the old stairwell and – God it smelled, he smelled and he was just on top of me and I just kept wishing for it to all be over. The last thing I heard was the name Maisie and then I passed out. When I woke up I was in some kind of room, it was dark, but I knew someone was there. They were pacing back and forth, cursing and that’s when he started to beat me. He assaulted me again, saying this was all [I her] fault. He blindfolded me and then we were driving and suddenly I’m being pushed out of the car at the hospital.” Detective Amaro noted everything down, thanking her for being patient and letting her know they were actively investigating this would bring her to justice. He knew they needed to check out the inn, maybe they’d catch a break and Francis left some evidence. Though they doubted he would go back there. They needed to find his vehicle.”
[right [pic http://i.imgur.com/VLsT541.png]] Carter hadn’t gone against Maisie when she asked him to stay with h. sure, he had a lot on his plate, but right now she was the most important person he had to worry about. He kicked off his shoes then and scrambled a bit closer to her at the top of the bed, his head resting on the pillow and his hand still holding Maisie’s so as not to break contact. He was afraid that she would freak out if she thought he wasn’t there. Eventually he had fallen asleep which he knew was inevitable considering he had been losing sleep since Maisie had been abducted. He hadn’t realized how tired he was until then. He’d only awoken when he felt Maisie’s lips soft and gentle as they brushed along his. He was careful as he opened his eyes and sat up a. little to watch her. it was only around eight at night, but it was dark now and he could only make out half of her face as the moonlight shined through his window. He reached up, pressing his palm to her cheek, his thumb caressing her lips, still bruised.
“I’m sorry Maisie,” he said to her then as he kissed her.
Maisie did not want him to leave, she wanted him to stay with her and promise never I leave his side. She knew that was futile though, he had to have his life. He was the only person she trusted right that moment and to lose him would be the beginning of the end, she knew that. She pressed a kiss to his hand and leaned back in the pillows. He couldn’t promise that he would be okay. He needed sleep too, Maisie could tell. She knew the sedatives were still in her system and mixed with the painkillers they made for a wonderful temptation for sleep.
“Lie down with me.” Maisie said, drowsily, desperate for some sort of warmth. She nestled close to Carter, the drugs and the fear making her all the more trusting and so vulnerable. Nothing else mattered in the world, she knew it was only a matter of time before Francis was caught but he was a scared and desperate man, desperate men could do desperate things. She didn’t want Carter out of her sight, not while Francis was still roaming. She closed her eyes and gave into sleep. It was filled with Nightmares. Fists, rancid breath and pain pierced through the veil and a few hours later Maisie pulled herself up, gasping for breath. Her painkillers had worn off sometime and she flinched. She wrapped an arm around her side and sank back into the blankets, steadying her breathing.
She looked to Carter and she didn’t even know what time it was. She was so tired still and she reached up to touch Carter’s face. Was he real? She wasn’t a religious girl by any means but she couldn’t help but feel like some god somewhere had blessed her with a guardian angel, a protector to see her through the dark times. Maisie leaned in very hesitantly and brushed her lips against his, scared almost that Carter would react aggressively or shove her away and who could blame him?
It was hard to watch Maisie suffer and for Carter some part of him couldn’t stand to look at her for too long, knowing that his mind would stray to imagining what Francis had did to her. though he knew that wasn’t the best idea. He knew that wasn’t smart to do and yet he couldn’t stop himself. Still, he had to be strong for Maisie in this time of weakness and that meant he couldn’t show that he was just as scared for her and himself. Knowing that Francis was still out there was something to be terrified about. Even if he thought he could fight the man off, he was completely unpredictable at this point.
Carter sat beside Maisie, looking down ay their hands intertwined. Her voice still sounded shaky and he could see how her body tremored some. She wasn’t over what had happened to her and there was no telling when she would be [I okay] or when she would get better. Her physical wounds would heal, but the mental scarring . . . that would be tough.
“Of course I’ll stay,” he told Maisie before looking up to meet her eyes. They were glossy and red, from years or maybe from lack of proper sleep. Hell more than likely both. He knew that he would have to prepare for the worst when it came with being with Maisie and that could mean fits, her waking up in the middle of the night, bouts of crying. He had to watch over her and make sure that she was making the necessary steps toward healing.
Carter knew that over time the memories would start to piece together, and he couldn’t say if that was a good thing or a bad thing as maybe it best Maisie not remember everything in its entirety.
“I’ll be fine, I promise.” Carter pursed his lips, knowing that making such a promise was a bit dangerous as he wasn’t sure what he could do to keep himself safe as they had no clue what Francis’ plans were at this time. He patted her hand gently. “Why don’t we try to get some rest alright?” It was late afternoon and Carter was exhausted. He knew it would be good for Maisie to at least try to sleep as right now there was nothing they could do. Though eventually he knew the cops would want to talk to her and see if maybe she had any information that could be of use. They had already been talking with Lacy who was giving them some very good information and they may have a match on DNA. All they needed to know now was his whereabouts.
Maisie was silent as she made her way to the room, she couldn’t look Carter’s father in the eye. What must they think of her? She sat on the edge of the bed and stared around the room. It felt safer than the hospital room, at least. She didn’t have any appetite for food, the pills dousing whatever small amount of hunger she felt. They had her on a drip at the hospital so she was hydrated. She was just aching all over but she barely seemed to notice it, she was numb. She lifted her eyes to watch Carter, fiddling with the sleeve of the hospital sweater. Her own clothes were in police custody, or what was left of them.
There was a small amount of relief at being in the safety of this room and she tucked her legs up on the bed, Carter said she didn’t have to be sorry but she felt like she did. She felt like she was a disappointment and always would be. She was unworthy.
“Can you-“ She started and the emotions got jumbled in her throat, causing a lump as she tried to formulate words without sounding weak. She was weak though, she couldn’t deny it any longer. She was weak, she had always been weak.
“Can you stay?” She felt better with Carter around, at least for now. She sank down on the bed and pulled a blanket over herself, trying to control herself. She reached out and took Carter’s hand, running her thumb over the back of it.
“He said he was going to come after you, Carter.” She said quietly, as if only just remembering. In truth, a lot of the events came in flashes of memories, her hand was shaking as it took Carter’s for some sort of anchoring. It had been a mistake to come back here, she should have stayed away. Caty was about to have a baby and she had brought all of this grief and pain on their family. Maisie was terrified of Francis, he had done what he set out to do and she knew he was a man of his word, that meant Carter was in very real danger.
“Don’t let him get you.” Francis had wanted Maisie alive, that’s the only reason she wasn’t dead. If he had wanted to kill her then she would have been dead already.
Carter was torn. He wanted to be here for Maisie, h did, but he also felt like this was way out of his control. How could he protect her? how could he fix what had happened and make her feel safe again? Francis was still out there and Maisie was stuck in some kind of nightmare she couldn’t get out of for the life of her. every time she closed her eyes, he was sure she saw Francis’ face or head his voice. It had changed the dynamic of their relationship greatly and Carter was unsure if Maisie would ever be the same. Even with Francis caught, would she be able to heal from this again? He nodded toward her father, promising he would do his best and that’s all he could promise. That was all that Carter could offer to her. After she was officially discharged, he gathered her belongings and walked Maisie out of the hospital once she had changed.
The car ride home had been uncomfortable to say the least. He didn’t turn on the radio as he knew her story was being broadcasted everywhere and there had also been a lot of talk on Francis. No one knew that the male apparently was still in town until the attack on Lacy. Hopefully she could give some information to the cops. Carter was conf=used as he had always thought that Francis was more of just an assault guy, moving up to kidnapping was a terrifying thought and he knew that what he did to Maisie was nowhere close to what he would do to Carter. A man like that had no fear of killing. Still, Carter liked to think that it would be more of a fair fight with him, though he still couldn’t imagine that the lanky and shy kid from school could ever do something like [I this]. Carter didn’t even know if he could recognize Francis if he saw him and that was a chilling thought.
Every now and then he would look to see if Maisie was alright. She would doze in and out more likely from the pills, but he knew when she woke it was with the fear that she would slip into the darkness once more. They finally reached the house, where an unmarked cop car was parked a few houses ahead and behind. Cops were keeping an eye on the lace though Carter couldn’t imagine Francis to be stupid enough to attack him in his own home. Honestly a lot of his moves so far had been bold, but sloppy and unplanned. If he was going to come after Carter, he would have to actually think this one out. Carter admittedly was grateful that Francis didn’t really have everything thought out, or else Maisie would’ve been dead. Her calling them had honestly been the saving grace, but it was luck; luck that Francis maybe was still a beginner when it came to this kind of thing. Though, Carter wanted him caught before he was a pro. If he couldn’t have Maisie he would just go after other women and after Lacy managed to get away, he feared that he would evolve into killing.
Carter looked down at Maisie’s hand on his leg. Her fingers were so small it seemed, swallowed by the hospital sweater she had been given. He was careful as he placed his hand on top of hers. “I know you did Maisie. You don’t have to apologize to me or anyone.” Carter’s other hand had balled into a fist as he was trying to keep the tears in, though he had cried. He cried all night for Maisie when they found her and they learned of her injuries. “Come on.” He said as he got out of the car. He helped her out and into the house. He knew Caty and Daniel were at a doctor’s appointment which left them with just his father.
He took one look at her and then Connor though before thinking it best to let her have some rest. Carter helped her upstairs. He was at lost what to do. This was going to take time, but he had promised Maisie that he wouldn’t leave her and he wanted to keep that promise. If she wasn’t going to be strong enough to fight then he would take on Francis. He owed that much to her.
Maisie stared at Carter for a long time, a very long time as if she was internally battling with herself. She knew he wouldn’t hurt her, she knew it was Carter but everything else within her screamed danger and she clutched her head as she listened to him. They wouldn’t catch him, they hadn’t caught him last time and he was still out there, waiting and lurking like a dog in the night. She didn’t want to stay here and she didn’t rightly care that she was in no state to leave. The doctors had done everything they could and she knew hospitals would be the first place Francis looked. She wasn’t stupid, she was just scared.
“What’s going on?” Maisie’s father had crept inside and flinched at the sight of his daughter.
“Please, I want to go home.” She said quietly, begging and pleading with her father who looked to Carter. He knew his daughter loved Carter.
“Come with me.” He said to Carter quietly and lead him out into the hallway,
“I know what she means by ‘home’.” He said and sighed out quietly, running a hand through his messy dark hair. It hurt to see his daughter like this and he knew from last time that he and his wife couldn’t heal her.
“Will you look after her?” He asked the man seriously. Giving up his daughter was no small thing and he lead him to a desk, signing some papers for Maisie’s release and giving Carter’s address. The nurses seemed skeptical at first but couldn’t go against family wishes. They handed over what belongings Maisie had come in with and some painkillers and bottles of medicine, to Carter.
“I’m going to take her mother home. If anything happens- Call is.” Her father said before patting the man’s shoulder.
Maisie was shaking all over as she shuffled out of the room, everything aches but she couldn’t stay here not in this dark place. She looked to Carter, face streaked with tears which glistened on dark bruises. She couldn’t bring herself to touch him yet, she knew if she managed to touch him it would bring around a breakdown. She was silent the entire way home, staring out the window. In the medication we’re some sedatives to help her sleep if she was freaking out but she just wanted to curl up into a ball and forget everything. How could she ever look at Carter again? She had been the victim twice now. Something was wrong with her.
“I’m sorry.” She said, finally as they pulled up to his place, sitting in the car and staring out.
“I really did fight.” She whispered, she hadn’t lay down and let it all happen, she had fought until she couldn’t anymore and she looked over at Carter; how could he even stand to be around her? And now he was in horrible danger. Francis wouldn’t just beat him, Francis would outright try to kill him where he stood. Maisie hesitantly reaches over and placed a hand on his leg, establishing that Carter was real and he wasn’t some fantasy and she wasn’t still back in that warehouse.
Carter had barely ,made it a quarter ways into the room before Maisie’s voice grew into a panicked yell, announcing for him to not come any further. He stood there, unsure what to do and afraid that any move he made would be perceived as a threat. It was only then when she sat up that he caught her injuries, some shadowed and he was grateful for it as he wasn’t sure he could take seeing how badly bruised Maisie was. But he saw the bags and dark coloring on her face, barely coming down from swelling. He heard she had fractured ribs. He clenched his hands into fists inside of his pockets. He knew that Francis had violated her physically and it pained him so much to think of what the man had one to her sexually. He tried to meet her eyes, to show that he wasn’t ashamed or disgusted but honestly Carter felt like he had when he saw those pictures. He felt sick.
He still made sure to keep his distance, his heart breaking at the sobbing cries of Maisie as she begged to leave. But where was she to be saf? They’d have to have 24 hour watch on her and yet ow could they be sure that Francis wouldn’t come after her. still, according to the cops it seemed that Carter was now his target. If Carter was out of the way, in Francis’ mind, he could finally get Maisie to see that he was the one for her.
“Maisie,” Carter said softly. Knowing that even a yell might trigger her and he didn’t want to alarm the doctors or anything. He didn’t want them drugging her up or treating her like she was some kind of mental patient. Though he wanted her safe and seeing her pull out the IVs alarmed him. It was then Carter could tell that Maisie wasn’t all there, the drugs more than likely affecting her and yet probably the only things keeping her from going catatonic from the disturbing memories of what Francis did to her in those two days of captivity. She was all over the place, half dressing and sluggish before collapsing into a chair. He knew she was in pain. A pain that Carter wasn’t all the way sure he could heal.
It was odd then, almost as if he was transported I time. Had this been what ran though Maisie’s mind the first night of her attack? His stomach clenched then as he walked toward her, bending down and slow as he took her hand. He couldn’t help the tears that brimmed at the corner of his eyes. He had wanted to protect he, just like when she told him about the first attack. He should’ve been there, he should’ve fought harder. This was his fault.
“Maisie,” Carter whispered as he tried to meet her sunken eyes. “I’m here and I’ll always be here for you. Nothing could ever make me stop loving you,” he promised her. “You can stay with me and we will figure this out. We will get him. Francis is not going to get away with this, I promise.” They probably would need her parents to sign off, but after what happened, Carter had no intentions of letting Maisie out of his sight; even if that put his life on the line.
The doctors had put Masie on a very mild sedative to keep her relaxed. She would let men anywhere near her, not for medication or eating or anything. It seemed she was in shock and suffering from fits of confusion. Maisie couldn’t sleep, how could she? Francis was going to come back. Every single minute of the ordeal played over in her head time and time again. Every time she closed her eyes Francis was there in the corner of the room just waiting. She heard the door open and sat bolt upright l, staring at Carter as he came in. This time it was a battle. She knew it was Carter, but it was like her body just screamed it was a man and he would hurt her. She was trembling all over, tucking her knees up to her chest regardless of the pain caused.
“Stop, stop!” She begged when Carter got close enough but there were tears on her cheeks. She knew how she must have looked; like a lunatic.
She buried her face in her knees and sobbed. Carter had endured all of that and here he was.
“I can’t do this.” Maisie said quietly, muffled by her crying. She finally managed to lift her eyes to Carter. This was Carter, he wasn’t here to hurt her and he wasn’t going to do anything untoward.
“I can’t stay here, I can’t. He’s going to come back. He’s going to-“ She cut off to spare Carter the grim details.
“Can we go home? Please Carter I want to go home.” She didn’t mean her home or her parents, she wanted to be the only place she felt safe and that was Carter’s home. The world was suddenly terrifying to her, every dark corner had monsters in it and being alone in this hospital room was torture for her broken mind. Maisie couldn’t stay here, he’d know she was here and she sat on the edge of the bed, taking out the IV line and the wires attached to her as she found her shoes, hobbling but the pain was kept at bay by strong painkillers.
“I’m not staying here, I can’t. He’s coming and I don’t know how to fix it or stop him. And he said he was going to get Carter, I can’t let that happen. I have to go to Carter’s place and tell him. But-“ She was babbling and evidently the psychological effect had battered her.
“If I tell Carter then he won’t want me- Like all that time ago. I’ll keep it secret.” She said and turned when her shoes were on, as if realising Carter was there and she sank into a chair, sobbing as she realised that she wasn’t okay.
“What’s wrong with me?”
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