Freya paced around her living room as she worried about her daughter Jayna again. The last time she had seen her it had ended on bad terms because of her boyfriend. He treated her so horribly and as her mother it had become impossible to stay silent about it. She and her husband Edmond had gone off the handle with him during the last visit and the two left. Her daughter had said they weren’t coming back to visit ever again but Freya hadn’t believed that. Now almost three months later she did and she was heartbroken. Jayna had always been so headstrong like her dad and now she was letting this man walk all over her. It made no sense to Freya or Edmond why she would allow herself to be treated this way.
Countless time she had started to go check on her daughter but Edmond would stop her, saying it would only make the situation worse and make Jayna push further away. Today Edmond was gone handling things with the school. She was going and she didn’t care what his opinion on it was. She needed her daughter back and she needed that horrible bastard she was with to either go away or man up and treat their daughter with respect.
Freya drank some blood then hurried off. When she landed in front of her daughters house she walked up, actually feeling nervous about seeing her. That was another thing she hated. It wasn’t fair she had to feel this way when her boyfriend was the one in the wrong. Freya knocked but no answer came even though she could tell her daughter was home “Jayna, please”
“Go away mom”
“Jayna, I love you so much”
“I don’t want to see you or dad anymore” Freya started to tear up “Honey, just answer the door. Please, I’m your mother” They talked like this until Jayna opened the door in frustration, knowing her mother would not go away without talking face to face. Freya gasped, her eyes wide at the marks all over her daughter “what..”
“Mom don’t you start”
“He’s beating you now? Are you kidding me?! Jayna! You’re a vampire. If you still look like this” Jayna put her hand on her mothers mouth :I said don’t start!” Freya jerked her daughters hand away and held onto it “Jayna Descoteaux you will not let a man treat you like this!” Jayna laughed “thats rich mom, I think you’re the one that’s kidding right now”
“You and dad get all up on your high horse about how he treats me and forget that Desa and I are old enough to remember how dad used to treat you and we werent even around for the first time you two were together. You will not lecture me about how a man should treat me. Dad treated you like crap and yelled all the time. Yeah you yelled back but he was pretty much always the cause of the fighting. You can say what you want but I was there mom. If things werent his way he’d have to argue about it and he’d keep on poking at you until you’d finally yell back. We’re just going through a rough patch. Eventually we’ll be like you and dad are now”
“He never hit me Jayna, never. Look at yourself!”
“He just abused you differently is all. When he was training you did he or did he not still push you and yell at you past the point of you vomiting and begging to be left alone? Did he or did he not demand sex whenever he wanted and didn’t give a damn if you felt like it. He essentially would rape you mom. Yeah he didn’t beat you into submission but from what I know it certainly didn’t matter if you wanted it.” Jayna went on and on and then brought up more things from when she was a child and teenager. “Jayna…this is not the same… andI left your dad that first time”
“Mom, go home and leave me the hell alone. You and dad need to stop being fucking hypocrites. I’ll get through this with my boyfriend and we’ll be happy”
“No you won’t Jayna, he’ll keep beating you until you’re nothing but a broken battered shell. I was never afraid of your father and I never made excuses for him. He knew he was a bastard and he changed for the better. There was never a mark left on me, not even when we were training. I was never afraid to give into him, I never felt like he would beat me for refusing him, never felt coerced. This…this is something different.” She swallowed the lump in her throat, feeling that motherly rage rising up. “If you cannot open your eyes, I will take matters into my own hands. I love you and I won’t take him beating you.”
“You don’t know a thing.”
“Do you enjoy being treated like a dog?”
The question made Jayna pause and Freya could see the question stung her. She wanted it to, she wanted her to see her boyfriend was a monster. “Just go mom.” Her voice cracked and she slammed the door. Freya could hear her daughter crying and tears stung her eyes.
“Jayna, please remember I love you and you can call me no matter what time it is. I’ll come running Jayna, I promise.”
Jayna heard her mother but didn’t respond. Freya silently cried as she stood there, hoping her daughter would open the door again. Freya waited a little over an hour before heading back home. She allowed herself to sob once she was far enough away from Jayna. She had to do somthing about this. She just couldn’t sit in her home knowing that bastard was beating her. She had to think of a way to talk to her husband about this. She knew she would even have to talk to him about how she was rationalizing her boyfriends behavior. Freya hated that it would hurt her husband but he had to know everything about the situation to help her resolve it. Freya honestly didn’t care if Jayna ended up hating her for taking matters into her own hands. All Freya cared about was her daughter being safe.
Freya arrived home and went straight to her room to lay on her bed and cry it all out before Edmond got home to talk to. Her face hurt when she stopped crying and she decided to soak in the tub. Once in the comforting heat she thought back on Jayna’s childhood, all those sweet memories of her beautiful, smiling girl. Of course she had always been much for serious than Desa but there were still plenty of sweet memories to look back on. Remembering her then and picturing her today with her horrible boyfriend was almost too much for Freya
Edmond could feel a heaviness in the air when he walked through the front door. It was like a dark stain had spread through the house. He inhaled, taking in each and every scent and finding only Freya’s. He headed upstairs, his instincts telling him these emotions were coming from his beautiful mate.
He could see the bathroom light was on and he slowly pushed it open, causing Freya to raise her head. He could see the pain there and he went to her. She held out hers as he dropped down next to the tub on his knees and he held her tightly. “What happened baby?” He asked as he stroked her wet hair.
“Jayna.” He voice cracked and she started sobbing. “She…bruises…”
Bruises? What?” His voice raising in concern. She pulled herself together enough to tell him “she’s letting him beat her and saying that it’ll be like you and I. One day he’ll be nice to her if she lets him do it long enough. He won’t change and I can’t make her see that he’s going to beat her like that her whole life. It’s just…it’s so hard. She’s a vampire…to look that bad” she started sobbing again and Edmond just held her, feeling a knife stab into his heart his daughter saw him that way. He had never abused Freya. He had pushed her past her limits and wound up hurting her a few times while training but never just to hurt her but she had of course been around for his especially horrible days, the days he made Freya cry and angry far more than he made her happy. He was ashamed and his heart couldn’t be heavier that she was using his awful behavior to make excuses for an abuser.
I did this.”
“No, don’t say that, please don’t.” She choked up and he lifted her, uncaring if he got wet. It didn’t matter when she was this broken down. He grabbed a towel in passing and wrapped it around her when he sat down. She held tightly to him, crying harder than he could remember her crying.
“I’ll deal with it Freya.”
“She won’t let us in, I tried and she just told me to go away.”
“She doesn’t have to let me in, I’ll let myself in.”
“It won’t work Edmond.” She raised her head to look into his eyes and she saw both rage and shame there. He was blaming himself, going through all the things he had ever done wrong in his life. “Edmond.”
“This is my punishment.” He squeezed his eyes shut as tears began to form in them. “I was too late in changing, too late and being the husband and father you all deserved and this is my punishment.”
She grabbed his face in her hands. “Stop it right now, I mean it Edmond. I love you and your children love you, we just need to save our girl, we need to make her see.”
“I need to make a few calls, I need Mark and Donnie and the boys.”
“What are you going to do? You’re not going to kill anyone are you?”
“Believe me, I would if I was the same bastard I was then, I’d drag him out where no one could hear him scream and torture him before draining him of every drop of blood, lucky for him I’m not that man anymore. I need to separate them, that’s all.”
“I just hate knowing he’s hurting her Edmond”
“I promise Freya I will fix this. Please don’t cry” He held and comforted her for awhile before deciding to make her some coffee and brownies. Those were two of her favorite things and he had to make her feel even a little bit better. She just relaxed into their luxurious bed as she waited on him. Her body was aching from the stress and she hoped the coffee and brownies really did help soothe her until this could be fixed. She just wanted her baby back home and safe.
Edmond thought about Jayna as he waited for the oven. He thought about how much she would probably hate him and he believed it was a small price to pay for her safety. It wouldn’t be hard getting her away from her abuser. When the timer on the oven went off, he switched it off then pulled the brownies out. He cut them into squares, decided Freya needed to, and put them on a plate then made her a cup of coffee. He frowned at how despondent she looked as he sat down next to her. “Here baby.”
He sighed. “What all did she say to you about us? I need to know if I’m going to help her.”
Freya chewed what was in her mouth then took a sip of coffee. “She said you were abusive, mostly verbally and…” She swallowed the sudden lump in her throat. “She uh…she called you a rapist, pretty much.”
He felt another stab to his heart and his stomach twisted. “Did I?” It was hard to ask, but he had to.
“No!” She hadn’t meant to say it so loud, but she couldn’t help it. “Never in a million years. I mean sometimes you were rough, but I didn’t feel scared or coerced, I didn’t think you’d hurt me or anything. I mean you talked me into it on more than one occasion, but I never felt forced.”
“I really am sorry Freya”
“You’re a good man now Edmond.” Freya sighed and continued “While she did live in this house back when he argued near daily it’s mostly her just trying to justify his actions. I mean she couldn’t have thought you that bad. I mean when I tried to take just the girls on a vacation to get a breather after you threw another one of my friends out for just talking to me she was the one who fussed at me for it. I had even taken them where they had been begging to go and she still chewed me out and was why I called and let you come then offered to just not have friends like you wanted”
He hugged her “thank you for still being with me”
“I love you Edmond, always and forever”
“and I love you so much Freya”
“I am truly very happy now Edmond.” He stayed with her a bit longer then began making the calls he needed to make to get everyone he needed here to handle this with his daughter.
When Mark, Donnie, and his sons showed up they were more than pissed. All four of them looked ready to murder someone and Edmond quickly laid down the law, letting them know they were not allowed to kill Jayna’s boyfriend. “But I can hit him right?” Jovani asked.
“As long as he doesn’t die.”
“Good.” Alvaro said as he smacked his fist into his palm.
“What do you need us to do?” Mark asked.
“Jovani and Donnie are going to kidnap her boyfriend and take him to the cabin at Crescent Lake. You and Alvaro are going to put Jayna on house arrest. She is not to leave until this is sorted out and she is not to know her boyfriends location.”
“What are we going to do about the boyfriend?” Donnie asked.
“First, I’m going to talk to Jayna, I need to set some things straight with her and let her know what’s going on. She’s going to be mad at everyone, but I really don’t care and I’m sure you don’t either. I would rather have her hate me for all of eternity that watch her be abused by some weak, pathetic piece of crap.”
“Okay, we’ll send you a text or call when everything is set for you to talk to Jayna.” Edmond just leaned against the counter as he waited, going over what to say to his daughter. He really wished he had been a better man when she and her sister were still home. His sons had gotten a much better childhood than the girls, they didn’t have to grow up watching him be childish or hearing the two of them yell at eachother. He’d hate to know what his girls may have thought of him the first time he was with Freya. He still couldn’t believe she had actually taken him back after everything. Not many men would go through all that Freya had and still come back.
The call came and Edmond gave his wife a long kiss goodbye before leaving. Just as he knew she was livid “you and mom have to be kidding me” it tore him up while simultaneously infuriating him how beaten up Jayna was. “Jayna, I need you to listen.”
“I never forced myself on your mother for one”
“didn’t say you actually did. Just said you didn’t much care if she wanted it. She’d just give in to you”
“Jayna” he sighed ‘I love your mother dearly”
“and one day things will be better for us too”
“look at yourself Jayna. Your mother never EVER looked like that”
“Like I told mom you just abused her differently. Abuse is abuse dad. Mom asked me if I liked being treated like a dog but she sure took you back”
“Jayna I did not treat her this badly.” she sighed “maybe not but its still the same. She took you back, put up with you being an asshole and eventually you became nicer”
“she didn’t just submit Jayna. She fought me on it. Its why we fought so much when you were young” she didn’t have a retort to that “Jayna you know thats true. She left me after the first time and then when she took me back she made me improve”
“I’m trying to make my boyfriend improve”
“But I actually loved your mother. No man that could do this to you could possibly love you Jayna. When your mom said she was leaving I let her go, I gave her a job at one of my schools and I left her alone until I needed her for something and even then I didn’t push things. Would your boyfriend just let you leave?”
“I haven’t tried to leave”
“well I bet you anything he wouldn’t let you, not a control freak like him” She scoffed and he groaned. He knew he had tried to control way more of Freyas life than he was proud of when his girls were home but he wished she didn’t cling to those bad memories so much. “your mother and I are very old Jayna. We’re telling you honey, this isn’t the same. You need to leave him”
“Why should I even bother? You never listen, you just push people around.” Edmond grabbed her by her wrist and pulled her to her feet. “Let go of me.”
“No.” He pulled her into the bathroom and switched on the lights and forced her to stand in front of the full length mirror. “Look.” He ordered.
“I hate you.”
“Good, it’s not my job to make you like me, it’s my job to be your father, now look and tell me you would tell Desa to stay if it was her.” Jayna looked at her reflection. “Imagine you are looking at your sister, imagine she had been beaten, grabbed with so much force that she had finger prints, imagine how far it goes. One week it’s just a beating, the next week he’s ripping her clothes off and raping her. Would you tell her to stay? If it was Desa if it was one of your brothers or Donnie or Mark, would you be okay with this?” He turned her so she was looking at him. “Never did I beat your mother, never did I force myself on her and when she was serious about telling me no you bet I stopped. I didn’t treat her like an animal, I didn’t make her feel dependent on me and she didn’t delude herself, she knew who and what I was.”
“That weak willed little shit is gone and I guarantee he will stay gone.”
“What did you do?” She hit his chest. “I hate you.”
“I did my job.” He took her back to the living room and let her go. “You will stay here or I will bring someone who will magically chain you to the premises.”
“You can’t do that.”
“I can and I will.” He could see his words had hurt her, that she was so angry she was shaking, and he hoped he had gotten through to her at least a little. “I am sorry for giving you a bad life Jayna, I hate that I failed you as a father and I wish every day that I could go back and fix things, but I can’t. You can hate me for this, you can push me out of your life afterwards and it will hurt me, but your hate pales in comparison to your safety.”
When her father left Jayna sat down and cried. She wasn’t sure how long she sat there but eventually she got up and looked at herself again and pictures her sister looking like this. She knew she would be furious. That was what had really sank in to Jayna. Her sweet sister Desa looking like this would make her want to commit murder. Putting her sister in her place put Jaynas wounds into perspective. It put just how much he was abusing her into perspective and she knew her mother had never looked like this. Maybe it wasn’t the same but she still felt angry and frustrated and she didn’t know what to do.
Edmond pulled out his phone and called Freya, wanting to tell her how things were going and also hear her voice. She answered immediately. “Is she okay?”
“Define okay. She’s pretty pissed at me, but she’s safe. I’m heading over to talk to…Pete, she said his name was Pete.”
“Should I visit her?”
He sighed. “If you want to, I don’t know if she’ll talk to you or not, but you can try.”
“Alright, I love you.”
“Love you too, I’ll call you after I talk to that idiot.” He hung up and climbed behind the wheel of his car. He was going to do his best not to strangle the life out of the young man, he wasn’t a killer, not unless he had to be.
Freya dressed then went to the mirror to try and make her eyes look even a little less puffy before she went to her daughter. When she had herself pulled together she hurried to her daughters home, heartbroken to see she had been bawling too. Jayna had nothing to say. There wasn’t even any indication from Jayna she knew her mother was there. “Jayna baby”
“We just want you safe. You have to know the way you look is ridiculous” she nodded and Freya felt relief Edmond had indeed made some progress with their daughter. Freya sat down beside Jayna and took her hand, happy she didn’t pull away “when you compare men to your dad you should do it by who he is now or atleast a more fair representation of who he used to be. Was he a bastard that drove me crazy? Yeah but he was always trying not to be such a selfish jerk. This man you’ve been with isn’t trying, he’s just abusing you. Don’t let him honey”
“It was horrible listening to you two fight all the time and watching you at times just give up trying to do something that would make you happy so you two could stop fighting about it.” Freya sighed “I know but we your father was still growing then. You should have seen him when we first met. The thing with your father is he was raised harshly, I mean, you remember his brother right?”
“those two men didn’t just happen. They were treated horribly and as a result your father just didn’t know how to treat people, he had to learn and get better and he was always trying his best for me”
“How am I supposed to know the difference”
“like I said, you could be a bit more fair about his past self. You know your father would never force me to be with him for one”
“He really never did?”
“No, if you got that notion eavesdropping on us you misunderstood something.”
“I just really wanted things to be good with Pete. I just hoped if I stayed with him like you kept staying with dad no matter how sad he made you I would end up happy like you”
“The only bruises I ever got were from training, never from your father abusing me. I wouldn’t stand for that.”
Jayna touched the bruises on her arm. They really were bad and she knew she had never seen her father raise a hand to her mother, he’d never even threatened to strike her. “I messed up didn’t I? I said all that stuff about dad. He’s going to hate me.”
“He’s not like that baby, he wouldn’t be doing this if he hated you.”
“I love you guys…I just really felt it would end up the same. You two are so happy now and have been happy for a long time” She kissed Jaynas head and sat with her, turning their friend away and saying she could be trusted when he wanted to tie her to the house. Trusting Freya knew her daughter he didn’t and called Edmond to let him know what Freyas call was on the matter. He accepted it, honestly feeling relieved. Obviously his girl had come to understand the situation. Jovani came over and hugged his sister too “None of us will ever tolerate a man beating you Jayna. Please never allow this in your life again. It made me so angry and afraid for you when dad told me what your boyfriend was doing.”
“I’m sorry Jovani. Thank you guys”
“we love you Jayna” Mark added and she held out an arm so he’d join the hug.
Edmond took another deep breath as he got out of his car. He didn’t really want to go in there and talk to Pete, but he knew it had to be done. He wasn’t surprised to see the little snot’s cheek was bruised when he walked in. He knew his son had meant what he said and it looked like he had barely kept himself from breaking Pete’s jaw.
“So you’re the piece of garbage who thinks it’s okay to be women? I have to say, I’m not impressed.” He grabbed a chair and placed it in front of Pete then sat down. “Why don’t you tell me why you thought it was okay to abuse my daughter.”
“Don’t let her name touch your lips, you don’t deserve to say it.” He leaned forward. “Jayna understands now, she knows the difference between her asshole father and the abusive piece of garbage she let into her home and heart.” His hand darted out, wrapping around Pete’s throat. “Now by rights I should crush your windpipe and leave you to die slowly, but I am not the same man I was when I met my wife and I know she and my daughter would be disappointed in me if I did. Really, they are all that is standing between you and death.” He squeezed and Pete started pulling at his hand. “This is your only warning. Leave the city tonight or I’ll drain every last drop from your body and dump you in the lake.”
“she’s not worth it anyway” he seethed, making Edmond want to kill the pathetic excuse for a man even more. Edmond let him go and he flew up, obviously leaving town “good fucking riddance” Alvaro said angrily and Edmond sighed “thank you”
“thanks for letting me come help. I wanted to beat the life out of him for hurting Jayna”
“well it’s over. Hopefully Jayna really does understand now”
“I’m sure she does dad” Edmond hugged him “I love you”
“I love you too, lets get back to everyone else” They hurried back to Jaynas and that’s when Donnie left to return to Desa. “You’re not going to be an idiot ever again right big sis?” Alvaro asked and Jayna smiled “No” He kissed her cheek “well, it’s late. I’ll leave you be.” Everyone left, leaving Edmond and Freya with their daughter. “are we good dad?” she asked. He lifted her into a hug even though as an adult woman she didn’t seem to like it anymore. “You never have to ask Jayna. I will always love you, your mother and your siblings, no matter what”
“I love you too.” She hugged him tightly and for a moment she was his little girl again.
“Get some rest baby girl, let these bruises heal. He won’t be coming back, I promise.”
He put her down. “We’ll all have to do something together soon.”
“I’d like that.”
Freya hugged Jayna and made her promise to call if she needed anything. Edmond then lifted her and carried her out to the car and drove them home. He was tired when he pulled into the driveway and just sat there for a moment staring off. He wondered how much more the universe would throw at him before it decided they were even. “Edmond, don’t make that face, it’s not your fault.” Freya tried.
“I hurt you, I hurt Jayna. I had every opportunity not to, but I did. Seeing her like that, I’ve never been so angry in my life, not just at that bastard, but at myself. If I had given her someone to look up to then that wouldn’t have happened.”
Freya sighed as she unbuckled and leaned over, kissing his cheek. “Enough of that, enough living in the past. Both of you need to work on letting go of the past. You made mistakes, but you worked hard to fix them and I think she sees that now. No one’s perfect Edmond, but you do what you can and we love you for that.”
He caressed her cheek “Thank you for not giving up on me”
“I never will. Come inside with me. We both need the rest my love” They got out of the car and went to bed. The next morning they planned a family vacation with just their children and their children’s spouses. They all needed it and it would be a good way to come together after what Jayna had been through. Freya impatiently waited for it to arrive but when it did come it felt like she had blinked twice and it was over. When she got home she decided right then and there she needed more kids. The ones she already had were grown and living their own lives. She wanted another around to help grow and be with daily. Edmond happily agreed and they started trying.
~ The End