Chapter 13: Exposed Secret
Gwen found herself siting in the bathroom of Lois’ humble, two bedroom home staring blankly at the floor. She watched small snippets of her hair fall the floor as Gary’s sister trimmed away. She glanced up occasionally to see the woman’s progress.
Lois had brilliant blue eyes—almost ocean like in color. Her hair was the same ashy tone as her brother’s, yet much longer. It cascaded in the beautiful curls down her back all the way to her waist. Matching bangs swept across her brow to where the ends were neatly tucked to one side behind her ear. She wore little jewelry except for a pair of simple pearl earrings and a small silver cross about her neck.
Lois smiled when she noticed the blonde watching her.
“You don’t talk much do you, Laurel,” she asked.
Gwen only stared back in awe of the woman. How could she be in the presence of anyone so beautiful? Her eyes wandered back to her own reflection.
Her skin was pale, though now regaining it’s color. Her eyes were still draped in a pale shade of purple, slowly fading more to yellow and red. Her small lips were also finally healing; signs of a split at the edge barely noticeable. Her hair—that was a work in progress.
“You’re pretty,” the blonde said at last.
Lois blushed. “Why thank you. You’re pretty too. Of course you’ll see that when we’re all done,” she added with a smile.
Before Gwen knew it, Lois was brushing her off and styling the new do.
In place of the old shaggy mess, was a new, almost shoulder-length bob framing her rounded face. Much shorter bangs covered her brow; flowing into a gentle sweeping motion with the rest of her hair. She could only gawk at her reflection. How did she…?
Before she could ask, Lois was pulling her from her seat and down the hall.
“I don’t suppose you brought any other clothes with you besides that hoodie and those jeans,” Lois asked looking briefly back toward her guest.
Gwen shook her head.
The two came to a halt at the end of the hall before Lois’ bedroom. The artist couldn’t make her feet move any further, even with Lois’ tugging. The room was completely different than that of her own, yet her body refused to enter.
“What’s wrong,” asked her new friend.
“I-I can’t,” Gwen stuttered.
“You can’t what?”
The blonde shook her head as tears filled her eyes. She couldn’t let those memories back in her mind. Not now.
Lois stopped tugging on her arm long enough to watch. Gary was right…something horrible happened to this girl—but what?
“Please…,” the blonde begged, sobbing.
“Okay,” Lois answered softly. “Wait here…alright?”
Gwen nodded, furiously wiping tears from her eyes when Lois turned into the room. Brother what did you bring home, she wondered as she opened the closet.
When she returned she found the woman leaning against the wall still rubbing her eyes. Her heart sank as she pondered just what it was disturbing her.
“I-I’m sorry,” Gwen pleaded wiping her face with the sleeves of her hoodie.
“No, no its alright dear,” Lois said taking the woman’s hands in hers. “You’re safe. No one is going to hurt you here. You don’t have to be afraid.”
Gwen stared vaguely back at her. There was something soothing in Lois’ voice. She wasn’t sure what, but for the first time she felt as though she could actually breathe. That same heaviness of her apartment did not exist here…how was that possible? What made it so different?
Lois gently placed a set of garments in Gwen’s hands and nudged her toward the bathroom.
“What’s this,” she asked.
“A gift. Now you’d better go change if you want dinner.”
Gwen slipped on the simple dress, carefully examining its fit. It was a pastel blue, empire waist dress; it’s hem coming to about her calves and covered with small yellow flowers.
She was surprised she could fit Lois’ clothes, as she was sure she had wore a bigger size. But then again that’s what drugs do, she reminded herself; her eyes tracing the needle marks across her arms. She was suddenly thankful her new attire had sleeves. She pulled them down firmly and spun about one more time.
She paused for a moment when her eyes fell on a slip of paper hanging out of her hoodie, now resting on the counter. Pulling it out, she found it to be her sonogram from earlier that day. Looking in the mirror she held it over her stomach, trying to picture herself a few months from now. Shaking her head, she folded it and stuffed the image inside a pocket on her dress.
Stepping out of the bathroom, the scent of food filled the air. It suddenly reminded Gwen she had not eaten since breakfast, prompting her stomach to notify her as well. She felt quite embarrassed by the time she reached the kitchen; her eyes falling on Gary and another man.
“We meet again,” piped the reporter with a smile. “Nice hair cut.”
Gwen caught herself blushing and straightened her stature.
“Thank you,” Lois answered for her.
She took Gwen’s hand and led her over to the rest of the group.
“Well hello there,” answered the other gentleman.
“This is my husband, Lenard” Lois said introducing the two. “He won’t bite. Gary on the other hand…”
“Hey now,” her brother answered, wrinkling his brow playfully.
Lenard was of completely different appearance. In fact, he looked quite out of place. He was taller than Gary and slightly thicker. His skin was tinted olive with well worn hands from years of labor. He wore a pressed mechanic shirt and slacks with work boots. His dark hair, though short, was spiked in the front.
What an odd group, Gwen thought.
“Gary here told us how he bumped into you,” Lenard said with a hearty laugh. “But he failed to say how cute you were.”
Gwen felt her face turn a bright shade of red.
The reporter frowned from embarrassment. “Pay him no mind,” Gary motioned with a wave of his hand.
“I won’t then,” she answered with a frown.
Gary could see she was considerably relaxed compared to when he first found her, yet he couldn’t help but notice her occasional glances toward any possible exits. This might take a while, he thought.
The group ate dinner, Gwen savoring every bite as though it were her last meal. Gary had thought the notion quite strange as he observed her behavior throughout the evening. She seemed to cling to a set of animal-like instincts. It made him wonder just how long she had been living in such estate and for what reason. Only when she had retreated to the bathroom had Lois informed him about the bedroom incident.
“Hmmm…,” He said deep in thought.
“Well,” his sister prodded.
“She’s distrusting of men and bedrooms so what do you think,” he answered more bluntly than he would have liked to.
Lois passed him a look of horror.
“She’s hiding something else,” Lenard pointed out with his fork.
“She’s hiding a lot of something else,” Gary replied. “Mainly because she feels she has to.”
“But who would-,” Lois began.
“A lot of people.”
Gary sighed knowing what he would have to do. He was not looking forward to dealing with a rape case, but he had a feeling he had only scratched the surface once more. Going deeper would cause this girl much more pain than he was willing.
Just as his wheels were turning, Gwen returned. Her arms were gently draped about her in a curious nature. It was a mannerism he had noticed since he found her, but for some reason it was only now that it became evident to him.
“What’s going on,” she asked curiously. Her eyes darted among the group trying to decipher the silence.
“How far along are you,” the reporter asked to his sister’s dismay.
“Gary,” she gasped.
Gwen only stared back at the man in silence; all eyes on her. She bit her lip.
His gaze was unrelenting. The artist couldn’t stand it. Still, she had to spill now. She could have hid it longer were it not for him.
“Three months,” she answered.
Copyright The Faithbook 2011