Chloe (Made Men Book 3)(3)By: Sarah Brianne
That’s all I know.
Turning, she walked toward Chloe’s father, who was staring out the window.
“Why don’t you go home and get some rest, Maxwell? You look tired. I’ll go back to the office and keep taking care of everything. Let the nurses do their job.”
Maxwell didn’t even turn to look at her. “Did you ever love our daughter, or does the sight of her just sicken you?”
“We’ve talked about this.” Chloe’s mother sighed.
Turning his head, he looked at her with disgust. “How does the sight of her look to you now?”
I was in a car wreck.
“Please don’t bring this up here in front of her.”
“What do you see in her, Elaine? Your sister or the pride you lost in your womanhood when you found out you couldn’t have a child naturally?”
“Yeah, well, I guess you picked the wrong sister,” Elaine huffed.
Maxwell resumed staring out the window. “I know I did.”
Elaine stormed off toward the door. “I would tell you to leave me for her, but you can thank your daughter for killing her.”
The snap of the door closing had him looking away from the window to Chloe.
A single tear had slid down her cheek.
“Don’t listen to her.” He stood, going to her bedside and opening a medicine bottle.
No one hurt me.
He placed a little, white pill in the dip of a spoon and held it to her mouth. “This will make it all better.”
* * *
Getting discharged should have made her happy, but those little, white pills the doctor had prescribed her wouldn’t let her feel much of anything. They weren’t making her a vegetable, unable to move, but they were making her feel hollow, like a shell.
“Go get yourself cleaned up. I can still smell hospital all over you,” her mother spewed as she scrunched up her nose in distaste.
Chloe headed toward the bathroom, turning the light on and closing the door behind her. She hadn’t realized it until now, but she had been avoiding mirrors for this exact moment in time.
The high dose of medication might make her unable to feel, but the bile running up her throat was telling her she should be feeling something.
The right side of her face was still swollen with a slash marking her face from about two inches above her eyebrow all the way down to a now very hollow cheek. The other one was about an inch above and below the right side of her mouth. The marks were fresh and grotesque, flaming a bright red with dried up blood that faded out to red, pink, and rosy on her skin.
Chloe moved her gaze down as she slowly removed the rest of her clothes. She had been so concerned with the pain in her face at the hospital she didn’t even noticed her arms shared their own markings.
I was in a car wreck; that’s all I know. I was in a car wreck. No one hurt me.
“I don’t hear the water running.” Her mother swung open the door to reveal Chloe looking at herself with tears in her eyes. Immediately, she stepped into the bathroom, closing the door and going straight to the bathtub to run the water. “Get in.”
When Chloe didn’t move and just continued to stare at herself in shock, her mother raised her voice. “Chloe. Get. In.”
Chloe’s glazed eyes moved to look at her mother’s in the mirror. “I can clean myself.” It had been years since her mother had bathed her. Even though her brain was hazy, she could remember how rough she had been bathed, making washcloths feel like Brillo pads. As soon as she had been able take showers, she had. However, that was before her “accident,” back when she could be touched.
“Then do it without getting your stiches wet.”
Quickly, she got into the freezing tub. Picking up the washcloth, she held it under the water to give herself a sponge bath.
“You’re getting them wet …” Elaine advised harshly.
She tried to be more careful, but by this point, her vision was too blurry from tears.
“Give it to me.” Snatching away the washcloth, her mother got on the floor to reach into the tub.
Chloe started crying, afraid of the moment when her mother’s skin would touch hers.
“I can do it!”
“Clearly, you are incapable.” Elaine started scrubbing her back, pushing Chloe forward.
“Please! I can do it!” She tried avoiding her touch to no avail. The harder she tried, the harder her mother scrubbed her skin raw. No amount of tears, fighting, or pleading saved her. Much like when she had been kidnapped, it only made her captor relish in her discomfort.
It was far worse than she remembered, but that might just be because any touch was now unwelcome for Chloe.
Looking at her mother as she scrubbed furiously, in her place now stood the man who would forever haunt not only her nightmares but reality.