"I’m okay… I’m okay, I promise, I’m sorry…" Rose shook her head, swallowing down the panic in her throat, "I can do this. I have to do this."
Taking another deep breath, she gripped his hand.
"So… After the first few days he started leaving me sort of unchained, I guess. But… he had this guard dog. Really mean, vicious dog… Only once did I ever try to get out… That’s when the dog bit me. It hurt so much I couldn’t really walk for a week, and I know that he’d kill me if he was given the chance.
"So I just… Hoped someone was out there looking for me. In the meantime, Adam would make lists of chores for me to do during the day. If I didn’t do them he’d punish me. Sometimes he’d hit me, or kick me. But other times he’d do things that were even worse. Once he wouldn’t let me wear any clothes for two days… And then there was the time he… Uhm… Put a dog collar and leash on me…
"I cooked and cleaned for him like his slave for three weeks. He forced me to call him things like ‘sweetheart’ or ‘honey’ or ‘baby,’ and he called me all those things, too. Like I was his fucking wife…
"The worst thing he ever did though, was tell me you weren’t looking for me."
The Doctor had already known about the dog, but that explained a lot about why she was so uneasy around Russ. Once bitten…
He wanted to reach out, to lift her pant leg and see the bite, but he knew she would never allow that. She hadn’t worn anything but long sleeves and long shirts since she’d returned.
He already knew why, of course. But that didn’t make it any better.
He listened, swallowing hard, his hand tightening around hers as she continued speaking. God Adam was lucky he was in jail. So, so lucky.
If he ever came near Rose again, John would kill him.
"I never stopped looking," he told Rose quietly. "Never.”
He had been obsessed, searching night and day, until Jackie had finally taken over caring for him (needing someone to care for to distract herself from what was happening), and forced him to sleep.
He had never stopped.
John swallowed hard, resisting the urge to tighten his hand around hers as she spoke. Already this explained so much. Why she didn’t like cooking anymore, why she didn’t want him dressing her even when she clearly needed the help…
"It’s okay," he said gently as her voice cracked. "Take your time. We don’t have to do this all at once."
Forcing herself to do this would probably do more harm than good. He didn’t want her to force anything. Maybe they could just take it a little bit at a time.
But at the same time, he knew that if she didn’t say it all now, while she had resolve, that she probably wouldn’t say it ever.
She needed to do this.
"I don’t deserve it. But I love it all so much." She said quietly, before meeting his eye.
"What I’m gonna tell you is not gonna be pretty… It’s gonna be hard to hear and you’re gonna get upset but I need to tell you." She murmured, before reaching for his hand.
"He knocked me out in the parking lot of the university. I was on my way to my car— I’d stayed late to finish up some work, when he covered my mouth and nose with a rag soaked in chloroform I think. Well, uh, whatever it was, I passed out. I didn’t wake up until hours later, and I was in his flat. When I woke up I was in my bra and underwear… And he’d tied my wrists to the bedframe."
There was a bizarre monotone quality to her tone, as if that was how she had to get through it.
"The first thing he did was… Explain the, uhm, rules to me. If I screamed, he would kill me. He… Showed me the gun he had. If I screamed he’d shoot me and then he’d go find you and shoot you… For the most time when he left the house he… Gagged me."
John took her hand, squeezing tight as she started talking. He did his best to keep his face, not wanting to upset her any further than he knew this story already would.
But he could already tell everything about this story was going to piss him off. He couldn’t keep his lips from twitching, just the slightest bit, however, as she talked about being stripped down and tied to the bed frame.
And those rules…Adam was lucky he was in jail.
If he hadn’t been John would have killed him.
"Okay," he said quietly, squeezing her hand a bit tighter. He didn’t want to say too much, didn’t want to derail her. But he wanted her to know he was listening and there if she needed him.
"I mean… Yeah…. But… It’s ruined my life. My whole life is my life as a whore and I have never been able to get out from under it…" She hung her head, wishing not for the first time that she made better choices in her life.
She didn’t deserve this happy married life— Perfect husband, beautiful home, adorable dog.
She didn’t deserve this.
"No… I’m not sure." Rose answered honestly, tightening her hold on him. "But I… I don’t know. If I keep this secret, I’ll never get closure. If I never tell anyone, it will eat me alive."
She looked up at him.
"I want to tell you."
"It didn’t ruin your life," John said quietly. "It just sort of…derailed it for a bit. But you’re getting it back on the rails now, and it’s not easy, and there have been some hiccups, but you’ve done so well for yourself, and I know you think you don’t deserve it—” She never said it out loud, but it was obvious sometimes just by the way she looked, the expression on her face, “But you do, I promise you do, you deserve all of it and more. Someday you’ll realize that.”
He held her tight, kissing her forehead as she looked up. “If you want to tell me…if you really want me to know…then of course I’m right here to listen.”
He wanted to know — it was killing him not knowing, really. It made it so hard for him to measure what was okay for him to say, or do, or…anything really.
He hated not knowing.
He pressed his lips thin. “Do you have any other family?”
"Grape juice it is. What brown stuff?"
"My name’s John. What kind of juice do you want?"
"Yeah, come on, come with me. I’ll get you some juice."
"Don’t you want your mother to come back too?"
"Does she have another name people call her?"