Thoughts of a Dying Atheist, Part II


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Scene Title Thoughts of a Dying Atheist, Part II
Synopsis CONTENT WARNING: Depictions, descriptions, and implications of abuse.
Odessa reflects on her time with a man she once considered to be the Prince who would save her from her tower.
Date In the past…

New York City, New York

Level Five

You won't let me sleep
Your memories

"Looks like we've got a good one today. I'll make this as quick as I can." With very practiced movements, Odessa slides the IV needle into the skin at the crook of Adam Monroe's arm and waits for the blood to fill into the flexible tube. They have several bags to fill today.

Just like every other day.

Adam winces, but otherwise doesn't complain. He's used to it by now, she imagines. And it isn't as though any complaint is going to get him unstrapped from his seat. "Well, at least you're better at it than some of the others." His accent is crisp, so very cultured to Odessa's ears.

With her head tilted down and her blonde hair veiling her face, she smiles, just enjoying the sound of his voice for a moment. Her expression is passive again by the time she lifts her head. "We're going to be here a while." Sometimes he's left alone to donate and only checked in on when they need to change out the bag. Odessa never leaves him alone. Not unless she's called away. "Tell me a story, Adam."

Ah, the stories he told me. Japan. Paris. Germany. Never the truly good parts, but just enough. Just enough to convince me the world was sick. Just enough to draw me in and ensure I would be his when he was ready for me.

And how I wanted him to want me.

Central Park Zoo

"Perhaps you need to make your home somewhere they don't treat you like an animal." His fingers are on her chin, trying to capture her attention. He doesn't realize that she's terrified of this. Terrified of the contact. They'd never had it before down on Level 5. She'd never sent the signals because she had never wanted it.

Odessa recoils from his touch. There's revulsion that rolls through her stomach like waves as memories rise unbidden of the last time someone initiated physical contact in such a way. Gently, and without surgical gloves.

It's hard to believe I was ever so skittish about being touched by another human being. Well, Doyle saw to that, didn't he?

He seems to realize instantly that he needs to change his approach. He starts off at an easy stroll through the Central Park Zoo. "If you ask me, you should have walked away long ago."

"And go where?" Odessa asks as she falls in step alongside him. She loosens the scarf from around her neck and scratches at the wicked scar across her throat. It's still new. Still raw. The lesson is fresh.

Adam's gaze is drawn to the healing wound, curious rather than compassionate. "And what happened to you, hm? Did you get on the wrong side of the Company before you left?

And to think that was a whole year before he decided to use me. Always leave them wanting more, I suppose.

Fort Greene, Odessa's Apartment

"Paris? So overrated!" He sighs at the brunette woman he's just pulled into his lap, resigned. "But all right."

Oh, look. It's the old apartment. And my Body by Morphine. Such a beautiful stage of my life. Thank you, Spirit. I really wanted to revisit all of this. Especially him.

Odessa nods her head enthusiastically. "It'll be lovely, I just know it." She closes her eyes for a brief moment, imagining what the city must look like. "Oh, I bet it's beautiful at night. It must shine like stars."

And I still haven't seen it, except in photographs. I really wish I'd just gone with Daphne. Maybe we'd both still be there, stealing our way through France. Maybe I'd still have both eyes.

Suddenly, his hand has slid around the back of her neck and he's drawing her in to kiss her. Properly. As intelligent as Odessa is, she never saw it coming. Slender fingers reach up to rake through the man's hair as she shuts her eyes. The little voice in the back of her mind is ignored. Stop, it says. This isn't right.

Fool. Adam Monroe was never your prince.

The furniture has been pushed back to the walls to make space. Adam has Odessa in his arms, and they're twirling across the floor, waltzing to Shostakovich. She's laughing, and he says just the right things to bring the blush to her cheeks – she's already drunk – and to make her fall deeper. She plays right into his hands.

When it's over, he slows them to a halt and bows to her. Then, he brushes the hair away from her face so gently. Her eyes put her hopeless longing on full display. "Tell me something true."

Nothing he ever tells you is the truth.

"I have to admit…" Odessa carefully braces one hand on the back of the chair while she settles first one knee on one side of the man seated there, then the other opposing. "Having a man around has certain… Benefits."

And how far I'd come from that frightened little girl. Look at you, Odessa. Climbing into a man's lap uninvited.

He's clearly not unhappy about this turn of events. Nor is he surprised. After all, he'd just showered her with gifts. He was clearly expecting something in return. "I suppose I could appreciate being looked at as a benefit." Adam grasps her thigh with one hand briefly, then trails it up over her back. "All of this was about finding you and wanting to make sure you were… happy."

"Happy…" Odessa repeats softly, a smile playing on her lips.

Stupid, stupid girl.

Adam's Apartment

He's hit the emergency stop on the elevator that would take them to his apartment, and trapped her between himself and the wall. A hand slams against the wall on either side of her head, and then the heels of his palms slide upward over the reflective surface, slowly bringing his arms to rest against it instead. Slowly bringing him closer to her.

Her thoughts race. Odessa is trying not to look afraid, but she's seen that look in his eye before. It always ends in bruises. "Please… I'm telling you to the truth."

"Which agent, Odessa?" His eyes are wild, searching her face for her tells. He doesn't believe her. Or doesn't want to.

Odessa's eyes slide shut and she turns her face away from the intensity of his stare. "Denton," she breathes out the name. The agent had given her a warning – the Company knew where to find Adam, and they were coming for him. Denton didn't want her caught in the crossfire. He remembered a girl with frizzy blonde hair, primary colored rubber bands around her braces, and black fingernails. That is not the woman in this elevator, trapped in a completely different cage now than then.

Sorry, Denton. I would've liked for this to have gone very, very differently. But you've never been on the receiving end of one of Adam's tantrums.

He grabs her face so suddenly that she nearly cries out. Her eyes fly open so she can see just exactly what he's about to do to her.

In no universe would she have expected the kiss.

It signifies no affection, however, nor gratitude. It's a stay of execution. It's a hard press that leaves her mouth feeling bruised where her lips were caught against her teeth. It leaves her feeling hollow. "Are… Are we going to kill him or something?" Odessa asks, bewildered and brushing her thumb over her lower lip once he's released her and started the elevator car moving again.

"Not yet, no." They arrive at their destination and Adam leads Odessa out and into his apartment. He sits down in a chair and gestures for her to have a seat across from him. "I still think you're hiding things from me, Odessa, but this was a good start." Apparently, it satiates him for the time being. "Time to come clean," he states then, headed on a different tangent. "What is it you do, Odessa?"

Now this? This, I could handle. I wanted him to know he should never underestimate me again. That he had only ever hurt me because I had let him.

"Throw something at me."

'Atta girl.

Fort Greene, Odessa's Apartment

"What do you mean you sent her away?" Adam stares down at Odessa at her place on the chaise lounge. His hand is resting on her leg, having slid under her short robe and even shorter nightgown. He's staked his claim on her. Fingers curl inward, dimpling pale flesh and with this purchase he drags her toward him. "And where did you send her?"

Ah, Kaylee. You are the one thing about this whole mess that I do not regret. You were so, so sweet. My first real friend, for as brief as that lasted. I hope wherever you are now, you're safe and with someone who doesn't use you the way Adam used us.

"Her brain is telling her body to die," Odessa answers quickly, pleading. "She needed to get away from you. I told her not to tell me where she went. For her safety. Adam, you have to understa-" His grip tightens painfully. She'll bruise; she always does. Inside her chest, Odessa's heart pounds faster and faster. "She didn't want you to worry."

He finally releases her and stands. "Here's what's going to happen: You're going to tell me where to find her, and then I am going to go get her, and while I'm doing that, I might calm down enough that you won't be in quite as much trouble as you are right now."

Odessa knows well the sorts of things Adam wants to do to her when he's decided she's making trouble. He's everything she feared as a teenager and a younger woman. "If you're gone when I get back," he warns her in a low voice that does nothing to disguise his anger, "I will find you and I will kill you. So you had better stay put."

Suddenly he's upon her, a hand on either side of her head and pinning her back against the back of the chaise. The intimacy of Adam's violence is utterly terrifying. "You are mine, Odessa. You are mine to use." He grabs her chin roughly and it's all she can do to keep from crying out. "Do you understand me? Tell me you understand." The eyes that stare at her are the eyes of a crazed madman. "Because if you don't understand how this relationship works, I will put an end to it."

I understand perfectly now, Adam.

"She'll come back. You know she'll come back."

"Where is she?" Given their history and what she knows of his moods, Odessa doesn't have long before her words aren't going to matter any longer.

"I don't know." It's the wrong answer, and she knows it before the words even leave her lips. At her sides, her fingers are flexing quickly, groping for a hold on the sands of time, but not tipping the hourglass in her favor just yet.

Adam stands up, and for a moment it seems that he might let it drop, leave her there and make good on his threat to go out looking for Kaylee Thatcher. Like perhaps, he might not just kill her. But then, he opens his jacket and begins to pull a gun from his shoulder holster.

I wonder what would have happened if I'd said "fuck you," instead.

"Oh, Adam," Odessa breathes out in a quivering voice, "you don't wanna do this." The hourglass is upended and Odessa stands in front of her frozen lover, looking at him like he's someone she's never met before. She has bruises – faded and not – that tell her she has met this version of him many, many times. She gently pulls the gun from his fingers and tucks it away in the refrigerator of all places. Then, she returns to her seat as though she hadn't moved at all.

You only ever hurt me because I let you. I wasn't about to let you kill me, you bastard.

Time resumes.

Adam looks at his hand, where he should feel the weight of his gun, then he looks back to Odessa. "You think this is over?" He sneers and shakes his head. "You had better run far, far away, Odessa. Because when I find you, you won't have a chance to use your power."

Well, he might have had that part right, if he'd ever managed to find me.

Again she holds him in place, slowly rising to her feet and retrieving his weapon, ducking under his arm to slide it back into the holster at his side and securing it. She'll take some pleasure in knowing that it will infuriate him to have been held powerless like that. Bound by her chains. Left to her whims for a change.

She packs her bags. All the things she doesn't want to live without. Her entire life in one suitcase. It's more than what she used to have.

Odessa studies Adam's face with sorrow in her eyes. If she wants to keep her head, this should be the last time she sees his handsome features. Her Prince, and he's let her down.

The reality can never live up to the fairy tale.

Previously in this storyline…
Thoughts of a Dying Atheist, Part I

Next in this storyline…
Thoughts of a Dying Atheist, Part III

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