Okay, so after watching Mayhem on a Cross this needed to be written.
Her hands clutched her arms as she entered the kitchen, and she sat down nervously at the table. Her foster father placed a plate of food in front of her, but she did not reach out to begin eating like any normal teenager would. Even though she was starving.
Josie, her foster mother, smiled at her in that fake way that she always did, and Temperance attempted to look somewhat happy rather than completely terrified. Her heart was racing and she was certain that if she took her hands away from her arms they would be shaking so hard that she'd never be able to hold the fork.
"Start eating," Wes told her in his gruff voice, "I didn't cook for nothing. And you're doing the dishes tonight, so don't go running back to that room of yours to do whatever it is you do."
"My homework," she whispered.
"Yeah, that. Grades don't matter to me; I'm what matters. So make sure you don't leave a single speck on the dishes like last time. Remember?"
She nods rapidly, her eyes wide and her hands gripping her arms so hard she's pretty sure there will be nail marks later. Of course she remembers last time. It had been weeks before that black eye had faded away completely... and she'd started shaking so hard when the kid next to her in chemistry had asked her about it that he'd thought she might be having some sort of a fit.
She'd had to tell the nurse and her teachers that it was from falling and hitting herself on the edge of a table. She wasn't certain if they believed her, but the terror that they hadn't and they might ask her more questions was almost suffocating.
If only everyone would just leave her alone... if only her parents had never left... if Russ had stayed... no, she couldn't think like that! Wishing wouldn't help... and yet... sometimes she still stared at the phone in the living room when she passed it, just begging it to ring... for it to be her social worker, or her family... someone to tell her good news, to give her hope and keep her from this horrible fear that she now lived with day to day.
There was a warning glance from Wes, reminding her that she still hadn't touched the meal, and then she hesitantly pulled her hands away from her arms. She trembled as she picked up the fork and it clattered against the dish. She dropped it and hurriedly picked it back up from the floor, shaking harder than ever.
Josie and Wes ignored this and continued eating as though they were a typical family.
They were a normal family by most means... unless of course she didn't do something right... she was absolutely mortified about what would happen if she were to do something that really upset them. She'd been warned, many times, after the minor things. If she ever... if she ever were to really get them mad... more mad then they'd been so far with her...
She clutched the fork in a death grip as a fresh shiver crept through her.
She knew that she needed to start eating, that she needed to satisfy them, so she hurriedly skewered a piece of chicken and shoved it in her mouth. The tremors eventually went down as she got through the meal. When her plate was finally clear Wes dumped his on top of hers and headed straight for the living room. She heard the tv switch on to a football game. Josie left her plate where it was and headed off to her room, most likely to read.
Temperance got numbly to her feet and cautiously picked up the plates. She made it to the counter and set them down, a flow of relief stemming through her that she hadn't dropped anything, not even a fork. She turned the hot water on, and got out the soap and the scrubber, determined not to leave behind a single smudge on any part of the plates.
The water was scalding, and yet her hands still shook as though it was icy. She winced again and again as it burned her, but she could not stop. The soap made things worse... so slippery and dangerous... her hands fumbled with the towel as she dried to first and then the second dish.
She slid the third into the water and again singed her fingers. As she pulled it out to scrub off the surface the soap slid through her fingers and the porcelain fell from her grasp. It hid the edge of the counter, and her too-slow reflexes attempted to catch it but only aided its speed towards the floor.
There was a crash so loud she was certain the neighbors must have heard it, or perhaps it only sounded that way because the blood rushing in her ears was now almost deafening on top of it. She was immediately on her knees, desperately collecting pieces as though that could save her.
No, no, no, no, oh please NO... she thought, her terror becoming blinding as she heard the couch creak in the other room and footsteps headed for the kitchen.
She was sobbing now, and murmuring out loud what she had been begging in her head, "No, please no..."
Hands grabbed her shirt and hauled her to her feet. Tears were streaming down her face, and she cowered away from him and his furious glare.
"What did we warn you!?" he bellowed in her face.
She whimpered and another strangled sob came out, "Please, please..."
"First, you don't show hardly any interest in a meal I took such great time in preparing for our family, and then you don't even take proper care with Josie's dish set!"
"I'm sorry! Please, I'm sorry! The water... it was hot and the soap... I-"
He shook her hard and she stopped, unable to go on as another sob escaped her throat and she was overcome by a fresh wave of tears.
"She broke one of my favorite plates?" Josie asked, livid, from the bottom of the stairs.
"Yes, she did, sweetie. And I think she's going to learn a lesson from it about taking greater care with all the things we're so kind to provide her with. I'll take care of it."
"No, I can help. It was my plate after all."
"Of course; you know what to..?"
"Yes." She was gone back up the steps.
Temperance was sobbing desperately, her eyes pleading. She found her voice, but it came out as a hoarse whisper, "Please... Please don't hurt me, please..."
He released her from his grasp but quickly spun her around. She was gasping with more sobs and the tears hadn't stopped. Her vision was blurry from all the moisture that had built up in them, but she was unable to wipe them away as he forcibly yanked her arms around and pinned them painfully behind her back. She gasped slightly, still murmuring her apologies and pleadings with growing desperation.
They were going to hurt her, she knew that. The waiting and the terror built up until she felt she could bear them no more. Finally footsteps signaled Josie's return, and the woman entered the kitchen.
Temperance whimpered softly as she heard the duct tape being peeled off the role, and then her begging got louder as she struggled to convince them that it was an accident... that it would never happen again.
"We warned you," he spat as the duct tape wrapped several times around her wrists. Then he grabbed her legs. She began sobbing anew as he bound her ankles together.
"Please!" she cried, "Please don't hurt me!"
"Shut up," he snapped irritably. "Get the keys," he told his wife, and then hauled Temperance to her feet and began to drag her towards the door. She tried to fight back, to stop herself from being brought outside, but there was nothing she could do.
He stopped short before opening the door to the front porch, and turned to face her again, his face hard and angry. She flinched away, her blue eyes huge and terrified.
Then he pulled off another piece of duct tape and firmly sealed it over her mouth.
She squeezed her eyes shut, hardly able to feel the tears anymore as they trekked over the same paths as the ones before them.
The night air was cold and frosty, and the pavement was rough against her skin as he carelessly hauled her over the pebbles and gravel. Then he was lifting her and she dropped heavily into the trunk of his car. It reeked of moth balls and gasoline and alcohol.
Temperance managed to roll herself over to give him one last pleading look, crying out through the duct tape.
"You can't say we didn't warn you," he told her calmly, and then the trunk slammed shut and his footsteps accompanied by Josie's headed back into the house. When they were gone she just lay there in the painful silence...
She just lay there and cried into the night.
Lost. Alone. Helpless.
So... what did you think? I don't know if I will continue this or not, I guess it depends on if you want me to. I'm considering jumping back to present time and writing Booth's POV on finding out about it... I don't know, though.