Rachel barged through the doorway, offering no greeting in return. She paced the room, clenching her fist repeatedly. Her mind kept replaying every moment of the past few days in sickening detail. She wanted to scream. She wanted to throw up.
Janet only made it worse. The confession of love reminded Rachel of the similar words in her diary. I think I love her. It felt like she was right back in that moment days prior, just before she fell under Violet’s control.
She could hear someone talking, but the words didn’t register.
She dropped her travel bag, bringing her hands to her head as she continued her march through the room. “Jesus, this is so fucked,” she muttered to herself.
She thought about Janet’s confession to wanting to control her, to keep using her. Janet was becoming just like Violet, Rachel realized. She already had the hair to match.
She reached into her pocket and began running her fingers over the paper within.
She almost couldn’t believe what she heard. If Janet thought Rachel would just forget everything that happened and forgive her, that Rachel would allow Janet to do what Violet had done, then she was clearly deranged.
She wondered where it all went wrong, wondered when Janet had changed. She had been such a sweet and caring friend—an innocent, unassuming person. Was it because of the device, or was the demon just hidden inside this whole time? Rachel didn’t know.
She felt hands on her shoulders, shaking her. She looked up and noticed Emma for the first time. She looked around the room, trying to figure out where she was and how she came to be here.
“Rachel, what the hell is wrong?” Emma had never seen her friend like this before. It was even more of a surprise given how jovial Rachel was just the other day. At least now she was able to grab the girl’s attention, to some relief.
Rachel dropped her hands to her sides. Her face was a kaleidoscope of emotions—anger, sorrow, betrayal, disgust. “Can I stay with you for a few days?” she implored.
Emma took the unexpected situation in stride. “C’mon, sit on the couch and tell me what happened.” With one hand around Rachel’s back, she lead her into the room, helping her sit. Making her way back to the kitchen, she called out over her shoulder, “Let me get you something to drink first, though.”
With her elbows on her knees, Rachel stared at the ground, almost hyperventilating. She tried to focus on her breathing. She was away from Janet for now. She was safe. She just needed some time to figure things out, to decide what she was going to do. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Emma’s dog hobble over on her three legs.
Sitting next to Rachel, Bella placed her large paw on Rachel’s arm and tried to pull it closer. The unintentional force behind it caused Rachel to wince in pain.
Rachel removed the paw of the Anatolian Shepherd before leaning in to give the her a tight hug.
Emma grabbed a glass from the cupboard. “Would you like some water? I can also make a pot of coffee, if that’s more your thing.” She glanced at the bowl of cereal on the dining table that she was about to dig into before Rachel knocked on the door. “Oh, or some sugary milk.”
Rachel was busy rubbing Bella on the ear, causing the stump of the dog’s rear missing leg to wiggle in reflex. “I’m fine,” she answered, almost too quiet for Emma to hear.
Emma studied the distracted, miserable look on Rachel’s face. With a sympathetic sigh, she realized what must have happened. “I’m sorry, Rach. You seemed so happy with him, I’m sorry it didn’t work out.” She gasped, covering her mouth with her hand. “Oops, I promised Janet I wouldn’t mention your boyfriend until you brought him up. Although... I guess all things considered that doesn’t matter anymore...” She walked back towards Rachel.
Rachel gave her an inquisitive look. “Boyfriend?”
“Yeah,” Emma confirmed, standing over Rachel, “you mentioned some guy in the lunch room a week ago, remember?”
Rachel didn’t. That could only mean that it was one of the memories that Janet removed, still causing her trouble days later. If Rachel had said something like that back then, the person she was likely referring to was... I think I love her.
“And then the other day, you were all smiles, so when I asked Janet if you got with him, she said yes. I was so happy for you at the time, though of course that was before... Is that not what this was about?”
That fake smile was because of Violet, Rachel knew. So this phantom boyfriend was both Janet and Violet. The notion gave her a twisted form of amusement. She did her best to stifle the despairing laugh before she realized Emma was waiting for a response. “Yeah, that’s um... you figured it out.” She didn’t like to lie to her friend, but it seemed likely that this wouldn’t be the last.
Emma took a seat next to Rachel and placed a hand on her thigh. “Of course you can stay here, as long as you need. I’m just curious... is there a reason you don’t want to go back home?”
Rachel’s face hardened. “I can’t, I... I can’t face Janet right now. She... Janet betrayed my trust.” It was the best she could think of to say. It’s not like Emma would ever believe the truth about what Janet had done. Even to Rachel it seemed unreal.
“I see,” Emma said before her eyes went wide. “Oh my god... Oh my god, really?!”
Rachel was once again confused by Emma’s reaction.
“I can’t believe he would cheat on you with Janet...” she said to herself. “How did you find out? Did you catch him in the act?” Emma fidgeted on the couch as she waited for Rachel’s response, her innate craving for gossip overshadowing her better judgment in the moment.
Rachel was about to deny the allegation until she realized she no longer cared what Emma might think of Janet. She deserved it anyways. “Yeah,” she whispered.
“I never would have expected that of her.” Emma shook her head.
There was a lot Emma wouldn’t have expected of Janet, Rachel mused. She wished the conversation could move on so she didn’t have to dwell on it. Perhaps going to Emma hadn’t been the best of ideas.
With a clap of her hands on her knees, Emma jumped up, startling Rachel out of her thoughts. “Well, I know just what to do.” With determination, she returned to the kitchen and opened up one of the cabinets. Fishing around, she pulled out a bottle and slammed it on the counter.
“Over the years, I have created the perfect solution to dealing with a situation like this. I call it Emma’s Miracle Breakup Remedy, or EMBR for short. Patent pending,” she said with showmanship and a wink. “Also a working title, but it’s guaranteed to reignite the fire within you to help you move on faster than ever.”
Bella’s tail began to wag in response to the excitement as she goaded Rachel into providing further attention.
Rachel couldn’t stop the smile from forming on her face at Emma’s antics.
Emma noticed. “See? It’s already working!”
She set about gathering the required ingredients. “Gotta make some drinks first, though. I’ll let you try my favorite. It’s just some lime juice and a liqueur, and then something called Crème de Violette.” She emphasized the last ingredient with a terrible imitation of a French accent. “Top with champagne, and... voilà!” She presented the drink with confidence. “There should be a lime to garnish, but I don’t have any.”
With a flurry of movement, Emma whipped up another glass for herself with practiced experience. When finished, she walked one over to Rachel. “No talking yet, just drink. It’s called a stormy morning.” She made her way back to the kitchen, tending to her own glass as she began making two more.
Rachel stared at the drink, a vibrant shade of purple at the bottom that diluted into the clear champagne on top. The ingredients made Rachel uncomfortable, reminding her of a certain someone that she wished she could forget. However, telling herself that it was just a drink, she took her first sip. To her surprise, it wasn’t bad. The sweet, floral notes helped to calm her mind.
“So, the plan,” Emma began, drawing Rachel’s attention. “First step, we get drunk. At least three of these. Only then do we move to step two, which may be my favorite step. I haven’t decided. The second step is simple, but guaranteed to be effective. We just shit-talk those assholes and scheme our revenge until we fall asleep.” She was standing next to Rachel now, holding her glass out. “Shall we?” When they clinked glasses, Emma scurried to her spot on the couch, excited to begin.
The two made small talk as they worked through all the drinks that she made. Emma insisted that there was to be no discussion on the matter until she said they were ready. She had to get up to make more, but by the start of the fourth glass, they were both starting to feel the effects.
“So we just kept swimming out together, ignoring the buoys with the warning signs. I forget which of us mentioned it first, but it suddenly started to feel like we were going really fast with very little effort.” Emma’s voice was full of excitement as she regaled Rachel with her story, despite her slurred speech. She was sharing her affection with Bella as well, rubbing her head as she spoke.
“I guess the tide must have been pulling us out,” she said with a laugh. “I have never swum... swam?” She glanced upwards in thought. “Swam,” she decided with a confident nod. “I have never swam so hard in my life before. I mean look at me,” she made a show of her body, “not exactly the athletic type. Thought I was going to be carried out into the ocean.” Emma extended her arm and wiggled it through the air, mimicking the waves. “Maybe I’d have been picked up by pirates or something.”
Rachel scoffed. “What would pirates want someone like you for?”
Without missing a beat, Emma answered, “Gang bang?” She laughed as Rachel struggled to not spill her drink. “Hey, being a pirate might be lonely! And who am I to deny someone a reward for saving my life? Or someones.” She nudged Rachel with her elbow.
Rachel leaned against Emma as she nursed her drink. “So, did you make it back to the bay?”
“Nuh uh, drowned right there, never to be seen again.” She waited for Rachel’s reaction until both of them burst out laughing together.
Calming down with a sigh, Rachel opined, “I’d love to go to Hawaii.”
“It is beautiful,” Emma added. “Maybe after this semester you can treat yourself. Consider it the new step three of EMBR. Though that would quickly make it quite an expensive remedy...” Emma moved to finish her drink, raising the glass as the ice pressed against her nose. She slammed it on the table when finished.
“Now then,” Emma began, relaxing back into the cushions, “time for stage two. Here’s what I’m thinking. To start with, we can make fliers with their faces and hang them up all around campus, saying what they did. By this time tomorrow, every student and teacher will know exactly what happened. I know a guy that can help with the design and printing. Is there anything you’d like to add to it? Bit of gossip we can circulate? Feel free to make something up, it won’t matter.”
Rachel’s mind was brought back to Janet as the smile left her face. She never had a problem with her as a roommate. At least, not until recently. Still, she felt she had to give Emma something. “I don’t know, um... she sometimes would let out a squeak when she had an orgasm?” It felt petty, but Rachel didn’t really care all that much right then.
“Yeah, yeah... that could... wait, you know what Janet sounds like during an orgasm?” Emma stared at Rachel incredulously.
“Uh, I... I mean him... he... whatever!” She let out a nervous laugh, shaking her drink in front of Emma as an excuse.
“Oh, oh, oh!” Emma began shaking Rachel. “Can you imitate it!?” she asked, laughing. She tried to imagine the noise, but had no image of the boyfriend to use in her head.
Rachel declined the request
“Fine,” Emma pouted, “anything else?” When Rachel shrugged, Emma moved on. “Hmm. All right, all right, we’ll put a check mark next to Mr. squeak-toy for now. Ooh, squeak-boy!” She glanced at Rachel, looking for a reaction to her joke. “Shit, you’re not writing this down?” She scanned the room for a pen or pencil to write with, only to find nothing within reach. “Eh, fuck it. Let’s move on. Just don’t forget that one.”
Emma drummed her hands on her knees as she turned her head upwards in thought. “Okay, okay... something else for revenge... how about this? We wait until nightfall, drug him, and carry him out into the forest, covered in honey. By morning, he’ll be so bitten up by ants and mosquitoes that he’ll be as red as a tomato and as bumpy as an avocado. We’ll probably need a wheelbarrel to carry him... I think my dad has one I can borrow. We just need to get him alone...” Emma’s voice trailed off, lost in thought over her plan.
“Wheelbarrow,” Rachel corrected with a drunken nod of her head.
Emma’s scheming derailed as she turned towards Rachel. “Huh?” Her mouth hung open.
“It’s called a wheelbarrow, not wheelbarrel,” she explained through a smirk, emphasizing the pronunciation. “I made the same mistake once, and my dad wouldn’t let me live it down for a week.” With a struggle, she sat up to place her now-empty drink on the table before falling back onto the couch.
The information took Emma way too long to process. She was mouthing the word to herself, judging how it felt on her lips. “No way,” she countered. Sitting up, she pulled out her phone, botching her security code twice before gaining access. She typed wheelbarrel into the search bar, only to be met with links correcting the spelling. “Ho-ly-she-it. I can’t believe it! Wow, that’s a mind-fuck if I ever felt one...” She collapsed back onto the couch, her phone dropping onto the floor.
Rachel laughed at the irony of the statement. “I know that feeling.”
She tried to listen as Emma rambled on about one plan or another, but could feel the exhaustion creep in. All the stress of the day was taking its toll. Her eyes closed as her head rolled to the side. After Emma’s fourth plan, Rachel tried to tell her that she needed to rest, but wasn’t sure if she was heard. The rest of the night was a blur.
Emma entered the room, drying her hair with a towel. She saw Rachel lying on the couch, staring up at the ceiling. “Good morning,” she greeted. “How’d you sleep? Are you feeling better?”
“Not really,” Rachel grumbled. “Kept having a bad dream. I think I’ve been awake for the past two hours.” She draped her arm over her eyes, hoping to block out the morning light.
Emma frowned. “I’m sorry to hear that. Anything I can do for you? Would you like some breakfast?”
Rachel sat up with a grunt. “No, that’s okay. I need to take a shower and get to class anyways.” She figured a nice hot shower would feel great right about now. That, and she needed to get out of her damp underwear. She tried not to dwell on the cause of it.
“Are you sure you’re feeling up to going to school today?”
“Pretty sure Ms. Gilio would fail me if I missed another class.” Thanks to Violet, she was already on thin ice with the teacher. Unfortunately it was not a class she was looking forward to attending. With the memory of lusting after the teacher still in her mind, Rachel wasn’t sure what it would be like to see her again.
“What are you going to do if you run into him or Janet? I know you don’t share any classes with her, but it’s bound to happen at some point.”
Rachel turned away from Emma. “It won’t.” Her voice was sharp. “I made sure of it.”
Emma told herself it was just the stress of the situation that had Rachel acting like this and decided against questioning the strange statement. “Okay. See you during lunch break?” When Rachel confirmed, Emma finished getting ready and left to start her day.
Rachel proceeded towards the shower.
She let the water rain down on her face with her eyes closed. She wondered how long it would take for things to return to normal. At some point she knew she’d have to make a decision on what to do. She could always request for a room transfer with the school. With any bit of luck, she could have her friends retrieve her things for her. That way she wouldn’t have to confront Janet about anything.
She knew it probably wasn’t healthy to try to avoid the issue in such a dramatic way. It didn’t feel like she had much of a choice, though. Any contact with Janet could just end up with Rachel being used again. She reminded herself that she couldn’t let that happen.
For now, her best course of action would be to take things day by day. Hopefully Emma won’t pry too much into the situation, and she can just move on.
She was cold. As far as she could tell, she was completely alone. There was nothing to see, nothing to hear. Everything was nothing, and she was cold.
Rachel opened her eyes. It was still dark, and she couldn’t see anything beyond the bed she was now lying in. With little to take in, she let her head rest back on the pillow. She could feel her body press into the mattress of the most comfortable bed she had ever experienced. The softness alone helped her to relax as she let out a sigh, but she still felt cold.
The words cut through the silent room. A smile formed on Rachel’s lips as she slid her hand down her stomach. The sheets that had covered her were gone now, exposing her naked body to the vacant room. With a purr, she began rubbing herself between her legs, her fingers circling her clit.
Rachel could feel the heat within start to build. It was pushing away the cold. She was so happy for that.
She knew she had the voice to thank. It had told her what to do, told her how to keep from being cold. She knew she would do what the voice said, because then she could continue to feel good, to feel warm and cared for.
When her lips began to glisten, she pressed two fingers against her opening and began pumping them in and out of her pussy. It was so warm inside, and the warmth only continued to spread as she did what the voice told her. She brought her hand up to massage her chest and a new source of heat suffused her body.
She could hear now. She could hear things other than the voice. Her ragged breathing, the pounding of her heart. The sounds filled her ears, assuring her that she was doing well with her task.
She picked up the pace, adding another finger to the previous two. They slid in so easily.
The cold was almost gone now.
“Look at me.”
At the foot of the bed, Rachel saw the most beautiful sight. A naked woman, staring back at her. Watching her. Enjoying her. Her face was calm, with a comforting smile. Rachel could feel the love in her eyes.
Rachel needed to please her. She needed to pleasure herself for the naked woman. She continued to impale herself with her hand as she gazed upon the wonderful sight before her.
She wasn’t sure how long she had been going at it. Time didn’t matter just then. It felt like an eternity, but she loved every minute of it. The cold had been long forgotten.
“Cum for me.”
Her body was burning. “Yes, Janet!” she screamed. She obeyed.
Rachel awoke with a start and a sharp intake of breath. As her heart settled, she stared up at the dark ceiling, illuminated only by what little moonlight managed to breach the nearby curtain.
“It won’t stop,” she groaned. She brought a hand up to her face, pressing it against her eyes in an attempt to distract herself from the ache of exhaustion.
“Ow, shit!” Rachel cried, doing her best to keep her voice low at this point in the night.
She turned to her side, moving the paw that was digging into her shoulder. She saw Bella’s solemn face, the dog’s head now resting inches from her own on the cushion, staring right back at her.
“Hey, Bellers,” Rachel whispered, “did I wake you again?” She rolled on her side and began petting her. “Sorry about that. It’s just... it’s the same damn dream. The same damn nightmare,” she corrected. “How many nights has it been now? Four? Five?”
With her free hand, she grabbed the well-worn folded paper hidden under her pillow, holding it without conscious thought.
“This can’t be normal.” Rachel looked down towards her waist, towards her soaked panties blocked from view by the blanket. “She... Janet must have done this to me. Some sick, twisted way for her to keep me nearby. It has to be.”
Rachel just wanted to be done with it all. To move on with her life and just forget everything. It seemed Janet wasn’t intent on letting that happen. “She must have given me some command without letting me remember it. I’m not going to let her win, though. I can beat this. It’ll take more than some faux Stockholm syndrome bullshit to break me down.”
There was little confidence in her voice. The exhaustion was taking its toll. It was already starting to strain her relationship with Emma. “I don’t know how much longer I can avoid the issue with her, Bella. I know she’s just worried about me, but I think her patience is wearing thin. Not that I can blame her, but she’ll think I’m crazy if I tell her the truth.”
Rachel sighed. “You don’t think she’ll kick me out soon, do you? I don’t know what I’ll do then... I suppose I could go back to my parent’s, but they’ll just ask the same questions anyways.” She grabbed Bella under her jaw, holding the dog’s head in her hand. “What should I do?”
Leaning forward, Bella licked at Rachel’s face, catching her right on the lips.
Rachel recoiled in disgust. She wiped her mouth with the back of her hand. “That’s your answer to everything, but it doesn’t solve my problem.”
Rachel turned away, lost in thought, trying to think of a solution.
With the lack of attention, Bella brought her snout under Rachel’s arm and nudged it upwards, tossing it into the air.
Rachel gave Bella a lazy smile and one last forceful rub. “Now now, it’s too late for that. You should get back to bed.” To enforce her point, she rolled onto her back, moving farther from the edge of the couch.
Bella brought her paw up once more, but Rachel’s arm was too far to drag closer. The heart-warming look she directed at Rachel went unnoticed. Giving up, Bella hobbled back to her bed. After performing a few circles, she plopped down, giving one last glance in Rachel’s direction before closing her eyes.
Rachel remained silent. She tried to ignore the dream. She tried to ignore the feeling between her legs. Most of all, she tried not to fall back to sleep.
“Son of a bitch, really?” Emma let out a prolonged sigh. She was standing over Rachel, looking down into the tired girl’s lidded eyes. “Was it the same one?”
“Yeah,” came Rachel’s halfhearted reply. She sat up with a stretch and a dispassionate yawn. Rachel threw her head over the back of the couch to once again stare at the ceiling.
“All right, you’re staying home from school today. No excuses. You can sleep in my bed, if you think it’ll help. I’ll even take the couch tonight. I sometimes do that when there’s a good show to binge anyways, so it’s no trouble, okay?”
Emma reached down and grabbed Rachel by the arm, pulling her until she was standing. She began guiding Rachel by the shoulders towards the bedroom.
Rachel shuffled along, no longer having the energy to protest. She just hoped Emma didn’t notice the damp spot between her legs.
“Lay down and get some rest.” She tried to use a caring voice, but it was difficult to hide the disappointment.
“Yes, Emma,” Rachel said. She squirmed under the covers as Emma adjusted them, tucking her in.
“Now, I have a few classes today, but if at any time you want me to come back, just text me. I also need to go shopping for more food, but it shouldn’t take too long. If there is anything specific you want me to pick up, just let me know. When I get back, though, I expect you to be rested, okay?”
Rachel closed her eyes as she nodded her head.
“One more thing.” She waited for a response, but got nothing. “Listen to me, Rachel.”
Rachel opened her eyes to glance towards Emma. “Yes, Emma.”
“When I get back, we’re going to talk about this. I’m serious.” After receiving only a grunt in response, she left.
Another shower and Rachel found herself back on the couch. All efforts to sleep were shattered by the exact same nightmare. She didn’t want to drag Emma back home over her own issues, but being left alone certainly wasn’t helping anything. With little expectation, she decided to try distracting herself by turning on the TV. If anything, at least the background noise might drown out her thoughts.
“...but it is not without hope!” he shouted from behind the podium. His crisp white suit demanded the attention of the hundreds of eyes before him. His image was broadcast on the giant screens that hung above the expansive stage. “You can still find peace within yourself! There is indeed a way! What must you do, you ask?” His voice calmed. “You must give of yourself to one person.”
He pointed straight into the air, much to the audience’s approval. “Give full trust in this individual. Give full control of your—”
“Vamos a comenzar,” the man in the suit said with a nod of his head. “Ahora atento.”
He approached the seated woman in the green dress. Holding two fingers in front of her face, he began to move them in a circular motion before her eyes as he spoke into the microphone. “Quiero que mires aquí. No apartes la mirada. Mira estos dedos. Tiene sueño. Tocaré tu frente, tú te dormirás.”
His words were spoken with intimate care, a delicate whisper, as he dragged them out. He continued on, his fingers circling closer to the woman’s drooping eyes. “Te dormirás, te pesan los ojos. Te pesan. Tiene sueño.” When he touched her forehead, “Dormir,” her head slumped as she-
“...where the FBI raided the commune of Michael Oliver. Oliver—along with four other women—is being held under charges of tax evasion, embezzlement, prostitution, and kidnapping, our sources say. His organization, Golden Dawn, is alleged by some to be a cult that is brainwashing young women into what some are calling his own personal harem.” The reporter smirked at the accusation, rolling her eyes. “More on this after—“
Rachel was about to turn the TV off and throw the remote at the wall. Calming herself, she changed the channel one last time. When the movie came on, her arm went limp as the remote fell to the floor. She stared at the screen as her eyes began to water.
The cave was dark, but the unlikely group had to press forward. The entrance that they came through had been sealed, blocking their escape. The only way out lay straight ahead. The oppressive threat of the fiery beast loomed over them.
They were bickering, some of them wanting to give up, avoiding the hardships that awaited them. Prince Lir would have none of it as he began to speak. “My lady, I am a hero, and heroes know that things must happen when it is time for them to happen. The quest may not simply be abandoned. Unicorns may go un-rescued for a long time, but not forever.”
He approached Amalthea, grabbing her hands as he lead her farther down the winding tunnels. “A happy ending can not come in the middle of the story.”
Following behind, Molly Grue turned to the wizard and asked, “But what if there isn’t a happy ending at all?”
Rachel jumped as the door creaked shut, ending in a soft thud. She hadn’t heard it open. She tucked the piece of paper she was holding back into her pocket.
“What are you watching?” Emma inquired as she took her shoes off. After she placed the grocery bags on the kitchen counter, she crossed the room towards Rachel. She opened the curtain, illuminating her couch-stranded visitor.
With a furious blush, Rachel threw the blanket off as she searched the floor for the remote. After turning the TV off, she wiped the blanket on her face to dry her eyes. She sat up. “Nothing,” she mumbled.
“Hmm, haven’t heard of that one,” Emma quipped. “Is it any good?” She stood over Rachel, still worried about her friend, especially having been gone for so long. Her expression changed to a serious one. “More importantly, did you get any sleep?”
“Some,” Rachel lied.
It was obvious to Emma. “Rachel, you can’t keep avoiding the issue. Something is wrong, and I’ve let you put it off for far too long.”
Rachel plopped her head on the pillow with a bounce, bringing her knees up to her stomach as she pulled the blanket over her shoulders.
“Back in your cocoon, I see. So when are you going to emerge, transformed into someone that’s willing to talk about it?” She sauntered over to the couch, tapping Rachel’s foot to allow just an inch or two more for her to sit down at the other end.
“Butterflies can’t talk.” Rachel pulled the blanket over her head. Maybe if she couldn’t be seen, Emma would just go away. She didn’t want to do this today. She wasn’t ready. Just like she wasn’t the day before, or the few days prior.
“Pretty soon I’m just going to have to grab some scissors and force you out. I hope when I do you aren’t just a pile of goo that spills onto my floor.”
“S’gross,” Rachel mumbled, pushing on Emma’s thigh with her foot.
“Rachel, I’m sorry your boyfriend cheated on you with Janet. I’m not going to try to tell you it’s okay, but you haven’t said a word about the issue, and that’s not healthy. Moping around like this isn’t going to resolve anything.”
Rachel flinched at the mention of Janet’s name. Even if she wanted to discuss it with Emma, what could she possibly say? That she was forced into sexual slavery by some psychotic, selfish, narcissistic bitch that made her love every minute of it, and it was all Janet’s fault? That the moment Janet ‘rescued’ her, she confirmed that she just wanted to do the same? Yeah, sounds entirely believable. Never mind the fact that Janet was still trying to manipulate her. The worst part was, it seemed she was winning.
“It’s complicated.” It was the only response she ever gave. She was sure Emma, as patient as she was, was growing tired of hearing it.
The exasperated sigh Emma let out confirmed it.
“All right, let’s go, you have to help put the groceries away.” She tugged on the blanket, throwing it to the side of the couch. “Come on, you know the rules for staying here. Get up.”
Rachel pushed herself up off the couch. “Yes, Emma.” She followed Emma into the kitchen, her feet dragging along the carpet.
Digging into one of the bags, Emma pointed to the one by Rachel. “Those all go in the freezer, so take care of those first.”
Rachel grabbed the bag and lifted it off the counter. “Yes, Janet.” She opened the freezer door, placing the bag and its contents onto the shelf. When she finished, she turned to Emma, ready to be told what was next.
Emma only stared back at her with confusion. “Why did you just say Janet’s name?”
Rachel blinked a few times. “I did?” She rubbed her eyes, trying to recall if it was true or not.
“That’s it!” Emma roared. She dropped the groceries on the counter and walked over to her purse, digging for her phone. “I’m calling Janet. I’ll sit both of you down and force you to work through it.”
Rachel placed her hand over the pocket that contained the worn papers. “Wait!”
Emma turned to her, ready to hit send.
It was never going to stop. Rachel knew that now. Part of her always knew that, ever since the first time she had that nightmare. She thought she’d be strong enough to overcome the persuasions that Janet put in her. She thought knowing what was happening to her would give her an edge against the device. In the end, it was hopeless.
Emma was right all along.
The only way out was to confront Janet. She was the only one that could end this. Rachel just wasn’t sure if she was going to like the outcome. “I’m going to settle this,” Rachel declared. ‘One way or another,’ she thought.
Emma nodded, seeing the resolve on Rachel’s face. She shut her phone off, placing it on the counter behind her. She moved in to hug Rachel. “Do you want me to go with you?”
“This is something I need to do alone.” Rachel needed to keep Emma out of Janet’s sights, out of her grasp.
Emma squeezed Rachel. “I just hate to see you like this. Regardless of what happens, call me afterwards, okay? You know I’m here for you.”
“I will,” Rachel responded. She hoped that it was still her that would make the call. With that, she left Emma’s home, doing her best to build her courage for the coming confrontation.