Belonging to Lust

Chapter 160: You Tattled On Me!?

Alice’s brow furrowed as her blue eyes stared straight into Zaiyia’s brown orbs. She whirled to rightly face her in the desolate hallway as the sounds of students corralling towards the cafeteria could be heard close by. “W-What do you have to tell me, Zaiyia? And why do you think it is going to upset me?”

“Because over the weekend...I told my guardian, Heath, that your father has been...abusing you.” Zaiyia confessed shamefully, shutting her eyes at Alice's reception. She felt overpowered by a radiation of guilt permeating throughout her body for spilling that vital secret behind Alice’s back, but it happened, and there was nothing she could do to turn back the hands of time to take it back again. “I’m sorry!”

Jumping back with a gasp, Alice slapped a hand over her mouth as she gaped at Zaiyia with hurt shimmering in her eyes. She couldn’t believe it! How could she have tattle to her guardian about something as secretive as this!? “YOU DID WHAT!?”

“I know, I know! I’m mentally beating myself up right now for opening my big mouth!” Zaiyia lamented. She didn’t know why she felt like such an abominable person for snitching on her. Abuse was an offensive deed that shouldn’t be taken mildly. They both should be overjoyed that the secret was finally out and that Mr. White would pay for his crimes, but they weren’t. “Fuck, I can’t believed I fucked up this bad!”

“YOU TATTLED ON ME?!” Alice went on, trying to fathom what Zaiyia had done to her. She’d stabbed her in the back! Someone she thought of as a friend and had been seeking to help just stabbed her in the back with a serrated blade!

“Okay, look, you need to try hear me out here, Alice. I can see you’re upset with me, and you totally have a right to be, but...” Zaiyia upheld. “But it wasn’t committed with hateful intentions, I swear to you!”

“How can you expect me to believe otherwise!?” Alice demanded with a glare, having dropped her tone to not engage any nearby students to their dramatics. Despite what was unraveling between the two of them, Zaiyia was still a walking target in their school. If anyone saw them squabbling with each other, or simply chatting, the entire school body would come stampeding at her, and that’s not what Alice wanted. Even pissed and hurt by her actions, she still didn’t want to see her get assaulted. “You openly shared important information you were supposed to keep to yourself, Zaiya! No one else was supposed to know about what was going on in the privacy of my house! NO ONE!”

“Goddamnit, lower your voice, and stop shouting at me like I’m the one that committed a fucking crime here!” Zaiyia snapped back, no longer conquered by shame. She felt like she was the one being implicated here, and she didn’t do anything close to defiling anyone! Mr. White was the criminal, not her, and she wasn’t about to stand by and allow Alice to spout her erroneous speech at her to make her feel bad. “I didn’t do shit to you, Alice, your fucking dad did! That man had beaten you senseless like you owed the motherfucker money! Just because you look at it as normal, doesn't mean the rest of us do! Your dad is committing the crime here by putting his hands on you, he’s the enemy, not me!”

“You were supposed to forget about all this, Zaiyia! You and the others were supposed to forget all of it! I did when the cops didn’t come skidding through my front yard a few days after you all left!” Alice exclaimed, stomping her foot like a petulant child not getting her way. “My siblings weren’t ripped from my arms and thrown into foster care, and then eventually torn from each other to get adopted by two different families! But now that’s all over! My worst nightmare is gonna come true, and it’s all thanks to you!”

“No, that’s not gonna happen, Alice!” Zaiyia revolted, dismissing that grim idea with a wave of her hand. “I know that kinda shit happens in situations like these sometimes, but yours is going to be different! It’ll be much better for you and your siblings, I promise!”

“It WILL happen, Zaiyia! I-I’m gonna lose my little brother and sister, a-and I’ll never see them again! They’ll be parted from each other and then...god knows what’ll happen to them next!” Alice whimpered out, fighting to speak clearly. Her throat felt constricted with her deep depression. “Don’t you fucking get it!? This is precisely why I never told anyone about my father! I can live with his abuse just so long as I still have my brother and sister. Hell, I have been for so many years! And I would have lived with it even longer if you would have just kept your mouth shut!”

Zaiyia was stunned that Alice was downgrading the cruelty of her father’s abuse like it was equivalent to crashing her parents car into a ditch and being grounded from it indefinitely. Those two were nowhere near comparable! But it wasn’t Alice’s fault she thought this way. Over the years, she had become numb to the abuse and it became ordinary to her. To the outside world, this was a misfortune, to her this was typical behavior. “Alice, I swear on the life of your brother and sister that you will NOT be divided from each other. Before and after your father is taken care of, you will still have your family with you, do you understand?”

Alice didn’t believe Zaiyia’s oath. It was written all over her face as she glowered at her. “Oh yeah? And how exactly can you guarantee that, hmm? Has your guardian become a lawyer since I last saw him?”

“He doesn’t have to be to keep you three together.” Zaiyia replied. “He simply won't let anyone separate you three. In fact, we would like to invite you over to my house to hash this all out. No cops, no CPS, just us three.”

“KISS MY ASS!” Alice hissed, before spinning around to stride away from her backstabber.

“Okay, gross.” Zaiyia grumbled to herself before following Alice at a leisurely pace, not willing to let her get away. “Haven’t you noticed that there hasn’t been cops knocking on your door as of late? No CPS sent to drag you and your siblings out of your house? If we didn’t give a flying fuck about how you’d feel about this, Alice, don’t you think you would already be down at the police station or in foster care?”

At her point, Alice stopped dead in her tracks but refused to face her out of spite.

“Obviously, we must care about your opinion. We haven’t called anyone or told anyone about your situation, only you.” Zaiyia expounded. “We didn’t want to make a single move until we gave you a chance to speak with us. Now, if that still makes me a bad person, then oh-the-fuck well. If this makes me your enemy again then oh-the-fuck well. If me wanting what’s best for you means I get bullied by your friends for the rest of my life then oh-the-fuck well. I’m gonna do it anyway. Wanna know why?”

Running a hand through her long blonde hair, Alice closed her eyes and whispered. “Why?”

“Because from one motherfucking human being to another, I want to save you, Alice.” Zaiyia shared, a little surprised that she was speaking from her own heart. Somewhere along the way in her friendship with Alice, she had grown to care about the girl and the abuse she’d dealt with over the years. Whether she decided to help Zaiyia with her bullying or not after this, the girl was gonna receive some help any-damn-way. “And this is absolutely free of charge. I don’t give a fuck whether you show out at the assembly for me, or chicken out. In no town, state, country or school is it okay for you to be beaten by any-goddamn-one, you hear me? No goddamn one! You may think this shit is fine and dandy now, but I know you love your brother and sister enough to be concerned about whether or not their day is coming soon. Your father is not gonna stop at just you, Alice. He WILL hurt your brother and sister, and you can’t always be around to protect them. You had to have considered this, Alice, you had to. You are not a fucking idiot that’ll endanger their safety just to keep them by your side, I know you aren’t.”

Shockingly moved by Zaiyia’s speech, Alice turned her head to the left, pinpointing Zaiyia from her peripheral vision. That girl had seen right through her. Her younger sibling’s safety had indeed been hounding her every waking thought along with losing Alan. She kept chalking things up that they'd be fine just so long as she remained home to be the main punching bag, but...her dad had also threatened that he’d throw her out the second she became eighteen. If he was true to his word, how would she be able to protect them if she couldn’t enter the house to get to them? Would she really take that chance?

Closing her eyes with a deep sigh, Alice queried. “...when do I have to come over?”

Zaiyia shrugged, resisting a victory dance. “That’s all up to you. Our door is open to you at any time day or night...when you’re ready.”

“A-And if I don’t.” Alice dared to inquire, sensing that there was more to this than an uncomplicated invitation of her choosing. “What will happen then?”

“Neither of us want to go to the police with your story, Alice.” Zaiyia began, stalling on this final part. “But in order to keep your siblings safe, Heath will if you decide not to show up.”

“Then that’s it, I suppose.” Alice murmured to herself. “...after school. Wednesday.”

“Thank you.” Zaiyia said, as Alice walked away. She felt bad for adding on to her anxiety, but something had to be done! If those kids died because she kept her mouth shut, she’d feel just as responsible for it.