But then, what had I not done for him? I'd had sex with him when the mere thought of it terrified me. I'd given up going to college to be with him because he asked me to. I didn't look at anyone other than him for five years. I cooked his meals, cleaned his apartment, and did his laundry. I did things that were degrading and humiliating all because it was his current kink. What had I not done for him?
He'd given me until the morning to get out of his apartment. One night to pack my things and go somewhere else. But where? He had all but cut me off from my high school friends and I hadn't been allowed to work, so I had no money. I had no where to go and no one to call on for help. I had no one to talk to. No shoulder to cry on. I was utterly and completely alone now.
I went about the act of packing my things in an almost mechanical fashion. I left everything he had given to me where it was, taking only the few things that I had brought to the apartment with me in the beginning. It really didn't take me long to put what little I cared about into my one oversized bag. I had never truly been a material type person and without the useless things that he had given to me, I really had very little other than clothes and a few books. Setting the key on the counter, I left the apartment, but only made it as far as the stairs before I broke down into tears.
"Hey..." a voice said softly from a few feet below me. "Hey... Aren't you Coye?" I nodded a little, not looking up to see the source of the voice. I was vaguely surprised that anyone knew my name as I'd only gone down to the mailbox a couple of times before he had forbidden it. "Are you going somewhere, Coye? Did something happen?" I wiped the wetness from my cheeks, sniffling a bit before shaking my head. I didn't want this person knowing that I was just thrown away.
"Liar," he chastised. "C'mon. I'll make some coffee and you can tell me what happened, okay?" He picked up my bag, not really waiting for me to answer before he started up the next flight of stairs. I scrambled to follow him, not really wanting to lose my bag. I may not have been attached to the clothes in it, but I couldn't afford to replace them. I kept my head down, focusing on his feet as we went up another two floors from the one I had been living on for the last four years.
"You don't remember me, do you, Coye?" he asked as he unlocked his door. Only now did I glance up, see the bright blue eyes looking back at me and the handsome face framed by the shaggy light brown, almost blonde hair. I knew him. I had met him down at the mailbox a few years ago. It was actually shortly after meeting him that he had forbidden me from going downstairs to get the mail.
"I remember you," I mumbled, turning my eyes back down to the floor. "I don't remember your name though," I added as he led me inside the apartment. He chuckled softly, setting my bag down in the living room next to the wall, before he made his way into the kitchen. I followed him like the lost puppy I pretty much was at this point.
"I'm not too surprised," he said as he turned his coffee maker on. "It's been over three years since I last saw you. I guess Frank kept you on a pretty short leash." I didn't answer. What was there to say anyhow? It was true. I hadn't left the apartment once since Frank had forbidden me from getting the mail. I wasn't allowed to work or go to school. I couldn't even go to the grocery store. "Well, my name's Alex, Alexander Harmon. So... What happened?"
"He dumped me," I mumbled, feeling a fresh wave of tears prickling at my eyes. Alex made a bit of a thoughtful noise, prompting me to say more. I just didn't think there was anymore to say. I may have met him once, but he was still a stranger and I didn't want to pour all of my thoughts on him. It wasn't fair.
"Coye..." he said softly. "Talk to me. I'm an excellent listener." I sighed deeply, feeling the first few fresh tears slip down my cheeks. I started to curl up as the I felt the sobs beginning to rise from my chest when I felt his hands on my shoulders, guiding me to a chair. "It'll be alright, Coye. This may have been the best thing for you." I shook my head quickly. This couldn't be a good thing.
"I've nothing..." I muttered. "No friends.. No family.. Absolutely nothing.." I pulled my knees up, hugging them to my chest as I cried into them.
"That can't be true," Alex said, the tips of his fingers ghosting over my arm. "Surely you know someone other than Frank." Again I shook my head. He just didn't understand or know the truth of it all.
"When... When I first started dating him..." I said slowly, trying to keep my voice from becoming unintelligible through my sobs. "My... My family disowned me... For the eight months before... I turned eighteen.. It was like I didn't exist in their house anymore..." Alex was quite, but a slight squeeze of his hand on my arm prompted me to continue. "He didn't want me to go to college... He asked me to move in... instead... I did... He asked me... to not talk to my friends anymore... because they didn't like him... I did that too..."
"Wait, Coye," Alex interrupted. "Why would you go along with something like that? They were your friends. If they didn't like him, perhaps there was a good reason for it." I knew he wouldn't understand.
"I loved him... I love him..." I mumbled. "I thought... I thought they were jealous... Because I had someone as good as he was..." Alex scoffed a little and I looked up to find a deep frown on his face. "What?"
"I'm sorry, Coye," he said, brushing a strand of hair away from my face. "Frank isn't as great a guy as you saw him as. You can ask anyone in this building and they'll tell you that he's an asshole. Truth be told, most of us believed that you left him years ago when we never saw you." I blinked, my jaw falling open a little as he spoke. I guess part of me knew all of this already, as I had never truly been able to convince myself that he loved me while he hit me, beat me with his belt, tied me up and left me, or forced me to act as his 'pet'.
"I.. I guess..." I mumbled. "Still... I loved him... I did everything he ever asked me to... Everything..."
"Including never leaving his apartment?" Alex asked and I nodded. "Coye... I know this sounds cliche for me to say, considering that I only talked to you twice, but you deserve so much better than him. This is a good thing for you, even if it's going to be a little rough for awhile." I snorted. I couldn't help it. Rough was such an understatement for what I had to do now.
"I... I should go..." I said, uncurling and moving to stand up.
"Go where, Coye? Do you have somewhere to go?" he asked. I shook my head, but didn't stop my movement towards my bag.
"You said it yourself," I mumbled. "It's going to be rough, but it's for the best right?" Suddenly his hand was on my arm, turning me around to face him. He looked worried, concerned, but he also seemed... something else.
"Stay here," he said softly. "If nothing else, at least until you get back on your feet. I even have a spare room you can use." I blinked stupidly, my brain unable to comprehend the words that he was saying. He didn't know me. He couldn't have known if I was telling the truth or not. And yet, he was standing there, offering me a place to live until I could manage on my own.
"I... Are you sure?" I asked, expecting him to take it back.
"Of course I am, Coye," he said, letting his hand fall from my arm. "The spare bedroom is right over there. The bathroom joins it to the master bedroom." I nodded a little looking over to where he was pointing. I leaned over to grab my bag, before casting one more glance at him.
"This is... really okay?" I asked nervously. "I.. I don't have any money..."
"This is just fine, Coye," he said. "Go rest up. Tomorrow's Saturday so we can talk more then and figure out what to do from there. Okay?" I nodded and shuffled towards the bedroom. This was just too good to be true. I'd have to do something to make it up to him for being this nice when he didn't have to be. Maybe I could at least cook for him and keep the apartment clean. At least until I could pay him something for rent. Yeah, that sounded like a good plan.