A flushed Maddie met an equally agitated Tawny at the doorway of their dormitory room.
Tawny was driven home in silence in the same limousine that had abducted her. At least this time, there was no annoying Dylan to distract her: she was allowed to mull on her thoughts and the events that had transpired. The ride had helped to solidify her rage, her indignation at the injustice she endured.
Tawny’s reverie was broken when Maddie placed a concerned hand on each of her shoulders and stared at her, concerned.
“Tawny…are you okay? What happened? Where were you? Did they hurt you?”
Tawny blinked at Maddie, as if she was seeing her for the first time, and was suddenly overcome with an overwhelming sense of gratitude.
Not since her arrival at Ivoree Gates had anyone shown any lick of concern for her wellbeing. The sudden empathy from her new friend almost made her emotional…she swallowed it down and put on a brave face.
“Yeah…” said Tawny. “I’m fine.”
Maddie smiled, then scowled, releasing Tawny and turning around so she could pace back and forth angrily around the room.
“That Dylan is the biggest jerkface in the history of jerkfaces! Where the heck does he get off, kidnapping you and siccing his trained goons on us?! They really let him get away with murder at this school…..”
“He tried to bribe me…” said Tawny, looking down at the ground.
This caused Maddie to stop pacing. She looked at Tawny. “He did?”
“Yeah…” Tawny made her way to her side of the room and sat on her bed. “He offered me this large suitcase of money, with ‘no strings attached’…”
Maddie sat down next to Tawny and scoffed, blowing her frizzy red hair out of her face. “As if. When it comes to Dylan Westinghouse, there’s so no such thing as ‘no strings attached’…”
“And anyway, I turned him down….” said Tawny, now lying on her back. “Desperate or not, I’d have to be crazy to accept such a large sum of money.”
“Wow,” said Maddie. “I have to say, I’m impressed. Not a lot of people would turn down Dylan. He can be very persuasive when he wants to be.”
“Yeah, well he hasn’t dealt with Tawny Matthews…” Tawny turned on her side so she could face Maddie. “Us Matthews are made from resilient stock. For the longest time, it was just me and my mom, against the world. Together, we were an inseparable team, nothing could stop us. I’ve always admired my mom….she was my hero. when I was nine years old, she sat me down and gave me the most important advice of my life.”
“What was that?” asked Maddie, suddenly intrigued.
“She said, ‘Never take handouts from anybody’. My mom worked two jobs while supporting us, and despite always seeming tired and exhausted, she never admitted it, never showed weakness. I loved my mom to pieces for that, and I vowed that I would always live by those words. Even if a hot, arrogant teenager literally threw thousands of dollars at me. I would never surrender my pride.”
Maddie mirrored Tawny on the bed, laying on her side and facing her. “You’re a lot stronger than a lot of girls that I’ve met. Especially the ones that succumbed to temptation and became part of the ‘Dylan-tantes’. You know that’s how they got like that? They gave up their freedom and their free will, all for a chance to be close to Dylan, or to have him grant some insurmountable favour that only his deep pockets could satisfy.”
Tawny’s eyes narrowed. “They chose to be subservient to Dylan?”
“I don’t know the whole story for all the girls but…yeah. It’s a real sorry state of affairs. But you’re different, Tawny. You’re not like other girls. You’re brave. You’re braver than me.”
Tawny sat up and made a face. “I don’t know about that. I just have my morals. If I don’t have at least that in this topsy-turvy place, what else do I have?”
Maddie smiled and slowly nodded her head. “Wanna go for dinner?”
Tawny hopped off the bed. “Yeah. Let’s.”Recommend0 Simily SnapsPublished in