Run, Wren, run! This is the only thought thrashing in your panicked brain. You grab your clothes from yesterday. Your hands are shaking, and you can hardly pull the jeans on. You grab your handbag, and stumble down the stairs. The front door is open, and Phil’s Jag is gone from the driveway. You momentarily freeze.
Where would you go? You need a cab. But it won’t come here for an hour. Then you remember that there’s a bus station in the small village not far from the mansion. You close the front door behind you – a weird considerate gesture – and dash to the road. You start running.
You run until you can’t breathe anymore; and then you start walking, air cutting your lungs. Tears are running down your face, but you forget to wipe them. It’s too cold, you should have taken a jacket. You’re shaking, and then something snaps.
You sit in the grass by the road and hide your face in your palms. Stupid, stupid Wren. Bitchy, bitchy Wren. You deserve it, you do. You thought you’d create yourself a fairy tale, magic yourself a loving boyfriend. Someone to care for you. Stupid Wren.
You feel momentarily confused. How did that happen? When? Just yesterday you had Phil, and everything felt so good, so right. And you were so happy…
You’re sobbing, and hugging your legs.
No, don’t lie to yourself, Wren, at least not to yourself. You knew you were wrong. Fuck it, you knew you were. You knew Phil was falling for you. He would pause sometimes, look at you, and you felt that he was going to say it. What would you have said to him then, Wren? You really don’t know now. Would you have said you loved him too? Would you have believed in it then? Fucking hell, Wren, how could you be so stupid?!
You had dreams of John. You and him, happy, in love, making love. You are in love with him, and were from the start. You just tried to convince yourself you weren’t. Because it hurt too much.
You are crying, and it feels like these are all those tears that you didn’t let out before. When he threw you out of his tent; when Phil yelled at you in the morning; when you slapped John; when you were leaving him in that office… Your sobs are violent, painful, but that’s better than keeping them all inside.
A car drives by, and you hope they don’t notice you. But then the brakes screech on the road, and a door claps. Fuck, a good samaritan is the last thing you need right now. Go away, please! Why people can never mind their own business?
A pair of large arms picks you up and John’s eyes are roaming you.
“Wren? Are you hurt? Did he hurt you?” You feel very dizzy, from all the hysterics and because he picked you up so abruptly. “Wren, where does it hurt?”
“I am fine, nothing hurts.” Your knees buckle, and he supports you.
He sits on the grass and puts you on his lap. His hands are touching your body, and it’s so medical and detached that you start pushing him away.
“Don’t touch me!” Panic floods you, and you suddenly can’t breathe.
You scamper away from him, scratching and fighting, and he moves away from you, lifting his hands.
“Wren, I am letting you go, see? I’m not touching you anymore.” You are sitting in the grass breathing heavily. The air seems to finally flow in your lungs. “Wren, did he force himself on you?”
“No, no, I just got scared, he didn’t assault me…” You close your eyes and breathe deeper. The panic subsides, and you can finally see what’s in front of you. John’s standing with his hands still raised, his face pale, a bruise on his left cheekbone.
Oh, no… You hide your face into your knees.
“Wren, can I come up to you?” You nod into your knees. He sits near you. You feel his attentive eyes on you and continue hiding.
“How did you know where I was?”
“I assumed you’d go for a bus.”
“What happened there?” He sighs.
“You locked him out of the house. We came back, and he was waiting on the porch… We talked.” You lift your face and look at him. The bruise is deep, angry red.
“He had no right… You didn’t do anything wrong.”
“You didn’t do anything wrong either, Wren.”
“Are you crazy?!” You raise your voice and jump up on your feet. “It is all my fault!”
“It isn’t…” You so have had enough of his fucking calm, consoling tone!
“Shut up, just shut up! You don’t understand! You are a fucking robot!” You’re yelling into his face. Since he’s still sitting, it’s actually easy to do, for once. “For you it’s all contract based, all trade, exchanging goods!” You are raving, venomous words and clenched fists. “I used him, I broke him, just to get over you! Don’t you dare justify what I did! And don’t play saint now! You were provoking him this whole time! You didn’t get a new toy and just couldn’t let another play with it!”
He’s looking at you; and you, as usual, can’t read his face. You pick up your handbag and start walking. He gets up as well.
“Wren! At least let me give you a lift.” You turn and look him.
“No. Please, just leave me alone.” You just want to go home.
“Wren, you are in no condition to walk ten miles.” You keep on walking. “God, you are so stubborn.”
He catches up with you and grabs your arm. You try to pull it out but he’s obviously stronger. God, you hate him at this moment. Just leave me fucking alone! You lift your hand in an unconscious gesture. He narrows his eyes.
“Do it if it makes you feel better. I seem to recognize the symptoms of an upcoming slap already.” You lower your hand. “Wren, I’m not letting you walk ten miles. God knows, whom you might meet on the road, with your luck especially.” You jerk your arm again. He snaps. “Get in the fucking car, Wren! I’ll drop you off at the bus station, and you can play an independent woman again.”
He drags you to the door and shoves you inside. You curl in a ball on the seat. You can’t believe it was just yesterday that you were sitting in this same car, Phil hugging you and whispering silly nonsense in your ear. You feel tears coming again. You really have no strength left to hold them back.
He gets on the driver’s seat and then sees you crying. “Wren, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have…”
“Not everything is about you,” you snarl back. “Just get me to the station.”
He starts the car and turns the wheel.