Mrs. Tanners glared at me and Xavier.
"I can't believe you two would do that. I knew you had feelings for each other but sneaking out in the middle of the night for that?" she kept rambling on and she had gotten a completely different picture than what would ever be pleasant. The cops had already left us alone and I reached out to try and calm her down. I wrapped my arms around her in a hug. She started crying. I couldn't imagine how worried she had been. Probably even worse than I had felt when that man had captured her and put her in the middle of the woods.
"That's not what happened. It was my fault." I felt tears coming from my own eyes from the sheer guilt. I had operated on instinct up until then since me and Xavier had to get home but since things had slowed down I felt the emotions catch up to me.
Xavier was sitting awkwardly on the couch not wanting to participate in the gushy emotions. I could tell from the look on his face he was probably in shock or at least having a hard time catching up with everything.
"What happened?" she asked in a very shaky voice.
I hesitated. I was still wearing Xavier's sweatshirt and I didn't want her to see the whole truth just my tattoo so I pushed away from her and went into my room to change. I was fast when I changed and came out with my own sweatshirt on like I hadn't even touched my shirt.
"It's a long story," I told her and sat down next to Xavier. "And... it's also the reason why I never shared much of my previous times with you."
She looked at me. She was sitting down on the couch across the room. "What happened?" she repeated her question.
I stood back up and pulled my sweatshirt off. Xavier had given me an alarmed look but I ignored him. I walked closer to his mom and pulled my sleeve up. My tattoo stood out against my skin and she turned me a little bit to get a better look.
"What is this?" she asked.
"It's a branding. You know, like they used to do to cattle and horses except they did mine with ink," a bitter tone unintentionally entered my voice.
"Who?" She still wasn't done with the questions.
I pointed to the words underneath it. Liberty Freedom Labs. "I'm a lab rat. They used me for genetic experimentation with muscle stuff. That's why I literally punched a punching bag so hard that it fell out of the ceiling. Of course they decided that they needed to replace something, I'm not sure what, and decided to bring Xavier along for the trip." It was as close to the truth that I was comfortable telling her.
"So that's where you were this morning? A science lab?"
"Yeah. It was a nice one... well, nice for scientists not so nice for me and Xavier. Oh, and Dasher." I quickly added the Rottweiler I knew as a kid to the list.
"Okay, so both of you are fine right?"
Me and Xavier nodded.
"Thank you, Ruby, for telling me the truth" She took several shaky breaths. "Are we safe here?"
"I think so. They aren't going to worry about a mother and her son knowing since they know I hold this secret with my life. I wouldn't tell someone who would tell others."
"You didn't tell me until you had to."
"And they wouldn't risk being uncovered in a police investigation," I continued. "Look, I won't let them hurt you or Xavier." I pulled her into a hug.
Xavier stood up and walked to his room.
"Alright. I trust you Ruby but be careful okay." She let me go.
I took a shaky breath and walked back to my room and curled up under the blankets again. I yanked my pillow under with me, shoved a big corner in my mouth and let my sobs go. I knew they couldn't hear them since the pillow muffled them and I needed to let go of my frustration for once. I never wanted either of them to find out but I failed miserably in that department. Three years was a long time to keep a secret like that from people you lived with. Apparently it wasn't long enough.