Chapter 26 - Grieving Without Closure

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"Hey, Maddie, wake up."

I groaned, the hazy dream simmering out as I blinked away the sleep from my eyes. I rolled over onto my stomach and thumped my head into the soft pillow, a muffled whine escaping me. Who the hell was waking me up on a Saturday? On Christmas eve no less?

"Oy, I said wake up!"

"Go away," I mumbled incoherently, still unaware of the monster waking me up at the ungodly hour of- well, I wasn't going to waste more precious sleep checking the time.

An elongated pause followed and for a small blissful second, I thought the monster waking me had left. That was until he spoke, quietly, softly, under his breath. I had to strain my ears to hear his words from under the covers.

"That's the first thing you've said to me since Thursday."

My heart leapt in my throat, my breath catching. Oh, shit. Xander. I pressed my face into the fabric of the pillow, maybe I could just suffocate myself back into sleep. I pressed my lips so tightly together as I forced myself not to speak. It had been three days without an apology from Xander, three days with the silent treatment from me. Avoiding him at every turn. It was impossible, I hated every second. I wish he could just leave his pride at the damn door and apologise! I wish I could say that he tried to get me to talk, but honestly, it seemed like he was avoiding me too.

It hurt more than I would ever admit. But my lips were sealed. I was as stubborn as he was.

A dark laugh escaped the beast and suddenly the covers were ripped from me and the cool breeze left chilled my bones. I yelped and a scowl formed on my face at the chill and stolen comfort from the duvet.

Don't speak, don't speak, don't speak, I thought to myself in a mantra I repeated twenty times a day. I stilled myself, pressed against the mattress, and didn't say a word. I wouldn't give in.

Honestly, this was the first time he'd made an effort to get me to talk. It was twisted how the relief crawled up my spine. The anxiety I didn't know I was feeling drained from my mind when I realised he cared. The happiness he cared enough to try and get me to talk to him overwhelmed me, warmed me. It nearly made me give in. Nearly.

"Last chance," Xander said threateningly when I made no move to wake up.

Last chance... last chance for wha-

I didn't have time to think of the promise behind his sinister threat before my shoulder was roughly turned until I was laying on my back and ice-cold water splashed onto my face and neck. It sank through my skin and chilled me right to the bones until my face shivered from the shock.

I gasped and yelped, sitting upwards so quickly I nearly got whiplash. I stared right into his eyes that were colder than the ice water that froze me and glared, glared in true Madison fashion.

"What the hell?!" My resolve crumbling like a brick wall, I ignored all the effort I made in the few days and yelled.

"Oh, stop being dramatic." A hand towel was shoved in my face. "Ten minutes, meet me downstairs, we're going out."

I barely had a moment to comprehend what was happening before the footsteps marched out of the room and the door slammed shut behind him, leaving me staring wide-eyed at the wooden door for some explanation.

What. The. Hell. Just. Happened?

I shivered, and I wasn't sure if it was because my face still felt like a frozen ice pop or in anger for Xander waking me up. I used the towel and scrubbed the water away. And on Christmas Eve? Muttered curses left my lips and I was glad that my anger only caught up with me once he had left. That could have got me into even more trouble.

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