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MDX Redbeat

The Night to Remember

Sensitive content warning: assault, verbal abuse, and mentions of emotional manipulation. Reader discretion is advised.

Adeline would have liked to consider the party a success. The punch was flowing, the sun had set an hour ago, and the jack-o-lanterns supplied a positively spooky vibe to the house. Everyone was dressed up in costumes ranging from tasteful to tacky. The refreshment table had some delightful samples. If it weren’t for Madeline continuously poking her, she would be able to relieve the dishes of their sweet weight. The little cakes were delicious!

“Mads! I’m trying to enjoy the taste of horror here!” Adeline whined; another hazelnut chocolate passed her lips as Madeline’s insistent poking became frequent. 

“And I’m trying to make sure Auntie Cassandra doesn’t throttle me tomorrow”, hissed the blonde woman, dressed in sunglasses and a rather tasteful faux tuxedo.

“Since you insisted on being a demon princess, act like a princess a little! And not some glutton from the third circle of hell.”

The alleged princess, Madeline, looked down at the ripped faux- gown she wore. Adeline huffed, blowing a strand of curly brown hair out of her face. She stuffed the last chocolate into her pouting, puffed-up cheeks before she crossed her arms. 

Madeline relaxed with visible relief. “Thank you. There are still several more hours to the party. You can stuff your face later- let’s just dance off first or something?”

Madeline paused, her eyes grew wide. She leaned in and loudly whispered, “I just suggested I dance. I swear Gill is infecting me with something.” She muttered with a look of suffering, just in time for a guy to walk in and gently nudge her with his elbow. He was holding two cups of orange punch. “Never fear! Fruit cocktail is here! Also, Gill.”

Adeline swallowed and took the punch with a smile. “Oooh. Assorted fruits is my favourite flavour!” 

Gill hummed. “Yeah, it was this or apricot. Tessa’s great, but I don’t quite understand her taste in punch… or costumes.”

“Besides, how is this clashing?” He gestured to his whole self. Currently, dressed up in ripped jeans and a Rocker Jacket with plenty of fake blood splattered about. “Undead rock star is cool!” 

Madeline merely poked him in the cheek, “Yeah. But you don’t sell it at all. You’re far too cheerful for an undead rocker vibe. At least I’m not that far off from the agent vibes.” 

Gill pressed a hand to his chest dramatically, affronted by the statement. “You’re more than enough of a Serious Sandra to be an agent! ‘Agent Mads.’ “

“You seriously do! And Adeline is bubbly enough to be a naive princess! The demon contradiction just makes it cute.”

A redhead with a comically large phone, dressed like Madeline, exclaimed as she made her way over. She moved past the small crowd of thirteen other people minding their own party business. 

Madeline adjusted her glasses with a squint. “Tessa- was that a pun?”

Gill shot her a broad grin. “I forgive you for your transgressions this time, Tess.”

Tessa merely shot a finger gun at him. “The power of puns shall open many doors. Just checking to see if you all are having a good time!” 

Adeline gave her a nod, “It’s a fantastic party.” She could feel herself swaying to the beat of the music, attempting to muster up the courage to dance. These people wouldn’t be staring at her– it’s okay. Nothing to worry about; everyone’s dancing at a party. Adeline felt the knot in her belly ease just a bit. She flashed Tessa a smile, “Care to join us for a dance?” Smiles grew on all four faces.

Gill ran a hand through his crimson-dyed hair, “I shall dazzle you all with my displays of elegance,” Gill exclaimed as he put down his glass and twirled on his heels, starting to walk towards the dance floor, the centre of the room.

The excitement swelling in Adeline’s chest with the positive rhythm stopped cold with the sound of a voice ringing through the air– 


It called out to her. And she swallowed heavily as a knot re-formed in her stomach. She could feel Madeline’s warm hand taking hers as a figure moved out from the group of people, making its way towards the center of the room from the doorway. 

A man with slicked-back brown hair made his way towards her. He was plainly dressed as a vampire– gaudy coat and all. He moved forward, peering through the crowd, though his eyes drifted back to Adeline and Madeline.

“The hell are you doing here, Mike? I never invited you.” Tessa demanded as she made her way to the stranger.  Her eyes narrowed as Mike completely ignored her. The man’s eyes were boring into Adeline with a laser focus, pinpointing every weakness. Like he always did. 

“What are you doing in a place like this Adeline? You are garbage with parties. I would’ve said something if I had known that Madeline was dragging you to social events. But you were so sure that Madeline cares.” His smile was strained, fake. His voice made her quake with revulsion, primarily upon taking note of the instability in his steps and the flush on his neck. 

She could hear the whispers once again. The doubts spoke into her ear. The assumptions and the demands– the control.

She felt sick.

“W-What do you want?” she winced, hating how meek her voice sounded.

What do I want? I want youto be happy- I want you to come back”, he stated in what may have once been seen as affection, yet now it made her skin crawl.

“I’ve done some thinking, and it’s her that turned you against me!” He pointed to Madeline, finger trembling in anger, as she stepped in front of Adeline. 

“Yeah? I merely put what you were doing into perspective. Encouraging reflection isn’t poison– it’s growth. You’re the poison, Mike.” Madeline crossed her arms, raising a brow as he growled.

“Hey man, take it easy, alright?  Gill intervened before Mike whirled on him. “Everything is super tense right now. But there is no need to get worked up. You’re making everyone uncomfortable, so why don’t we all just take a deep breath and chill.” His amber eyes gleamed with rage as the music slowly quieted down.

“And what’s it to you? Huh? Are you Addy’s new flame? The little soldier trying to keep her happy? Vetted and kept in line by that snake with her?” 

Adeline felt a sense of dark foreboding as Gill stepped back. Mike took that moment of retreat to step forward. “Or are you their little white knight? Hoping to score a date? Pathetic“, he sneered.

Gill scowled and squared his shoulders.  “No. I’m her friend. Both of their friends. And you are not welcome here. All you have done is spout garbage and insult some truly wonderful people. So, I’ll have to ask you to leave.” Gill’s fists clenched as he spoke. 

“You think you can threaten me? In that outfit? I’ll show you a real man!” He lunged forward as Adeline screamed. “Gill, watch out!” 

Mike raised his hand. The empty bottle in his limp arm- came crashing down on Gill’s head, running the crimson dye darker as glass shattered before the jagged bottleneck stabbed into his gut. Gill let out a dry rasp of pain, collapsing to the floor. 

“See? That wasn’t so hard. Accept that I’m better than you. Come on, Addy”, he let out a scoff and walked over, gripping her wrist. His touch sent another feeling of revulsion through her. Everyone else froze in horror. But she trembled with rage. The cold hollow feeling of watching Gill bleeding on the floor numbed the panic. But the adrenaline pumped, fueling primal anger, and she roared. 


She grabbed the pastry pan she was standing by and swung it at the man. She buried the metal into his nose. There was a sickening crunch, and he went staggering back. 

“I hate you!” 

The fear, the doubt, every silent judgment she felt. Every time she looked in the mirror, she remembered his promises to make her ‘better.’ They all came rushing back to her, fueling her rage. A thousand words went unsaid, and yet the weight was there in her voice.

She fell to her knees, scrabbling to push her hands over the growing bloodstain on Gill’s shirt. Tessa stepped in and yelled, “I’ve called the police! Shove off! They know who to look for!”

For a moment, all she could think of was how she helped Gill dye his hair. This was the second time her hands were crimson in one day before the shock started to break entirely.

Choked sobs left her lips. Mike slowly staggered backward, holding his bleeding nose, staring down at Adeline and Gill with wide eyes. 

Madeline’s gaping mouth became a scowl, “If I ever see you again, you’ll be very sorry. GET. OUT!” she growled. 

He took another step, glancing around the room frantically before something seemed to click. He took off in an unsteady sprint. 

Madeline placed a hand on Adeline’s shoulder, whispering to her as the despair clogged Adeline’s throat and frantic, shallow breaths passed her lips.

Maddy whispered inaudible words into her ears. 

The words grew weaker, wavering, quiet sobs breaking through. She could scarcely hear Tessa’s call for the ambulance, but in Madeline’s arms, and still feeling Gill’s breathing, his beating heart, as faint as it was.

After it all, she could breathe too.

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