There was a note on the kitchen counter. The Dad’s were doing dinner and movies with Tso and Nora, they wouldn’t be home till late. She didn’t see it.
Toby found her a half hour later on the bathroom floor soaked with sweat, her face red and puffy. She saw him and started crying again, choking, retching dry heaves. He wet a washcloth and cleaned her face, speaking in dulcet tones he calmed her.
She wanted to sit on the porch for fresh air. He gave her all the room she needed. She didn’t talk at first, just sniffled. He handed her a tissue he’d stuffed in his pocket. A frail smile wavered. Finally she told him what happened. Not speaking he allowed his hand to be close enough if she needed it.
Kadie told him what she’d endured since she’d met Ali. She had pushed her emotionally, tried several times physically. Manipulated her using guilt, feigning hurt. Ali sent her graphic texts at first, then pictures and videos of herself. Kadie avoided her. After her Dad caught them at the house, she told them, and followed their advice. Told her she just wanted to be friends, left it at that. Thought it would be ok. She stopped talking completely until classes started.
He’d been suspicious of their friendship, but never pushed. She’d unwittingly placed herself in danger. Neither were experienced much with emotions or people, he was more aware of manipulative behaviors in his life experiences than Kadie. He had learned to shut everything off. Until he met her.
He made them soup while she took a shower. She came out wearing a hoodie and sweatpants not looking at him. She didn’t look up from what little soup she ate. Taking her bowl to the counter, she apologized for him having wasted his time fixing it. She said she didn’t feel well and was going to bed.
When he stood, she leaned against him, hooked her index finger around his. He put his arm around her gently, kissed her on the forehead. She sniffled, wiped away a tear and shuffled off to her room. She made no attempt to kiss him goodnight. She didn’t say I love you.
He didn’t know what to do. Innocence lost.
Tomorrow he’d have a talk with Dwight. He did his best not to be possessive. But he would protect her and do whatever it took to help her heal.