"This is so fucking stupid."
Delta was already on edge after that auction, and packing their very few belongings wasn't helping ease any of their anxiety.
It was official. Someone bought them. They belonged to that person, now, contractually. They didn't even know who this person was — not even name or gender, although the voice buying them had been feminine — and they tried to avoid guessing what they were going to be used for. They heard horror stories from the other... properties. No one bought someone's life with purely altruistic intentions.
Kassandra's endless rant was only making it harder for Delta to get their mind off of it.
"Who the hell pays $300,000 to own someone? Who does that? If you're gonna have that much money, you might as well use it to, I dunno, help someone, not literally buy a human sex toy?" If Kassandra had a physical form outside of Delta's, she would have been taking the stuff Delta was packing and crushing it in anger.
She wasn't as loud a few weeks ago, when Delta walked themself into the sleazy looking house and signed their life away. When asked why they were doing such a drastic thing, Delta couldn't come up with a great response. Anything was better than whatever they were doing before, wandering the streets and begging people for food. At least this way, Delta had thought as they'd signed the contract, I'll have somewhere to sleep at night.
Kassandra had been around since Delta was four or five. When things were bad for them as a kid. It wasn't like Kassandra was a ghost, or something. She wasn't quite a figment of Delta's imagination, either. No, she was a part of Delta. She had as much control over them as they had over themself. And she would make that known to anyone who she saw as a threat to her or her host. Their captors had learned that first-hand. Delta wondered how Kassandra would react, then, to meeting their new... owner.
She was another personality. A split identity, rather.
They jumped back to the present. They'd been lost in their thoughts — or rather, their worries. They turned their head to their left, as if Kassandra was physically there and that would help them hear her.
Ah, sorry, Delta responded in their headspace. I'm... I'm nervous.
"Nervous?" Kassandra asked with bewilderment. "I would be fucking panicking in your shoes! How are you taking this so lightly? Don't you want to leave? Don't you want to go home to your mom and dad?"
Delta didn't respond to that for a while. Did they? They could feel Kassandra about to pipe up again when they finally replied. Um... yes? Maybe?
"Maybe." Kassandra's voice dripped with sarcasm, and Delta could feel her cross her arms angrily. "I hate how passive you are, sometimes. Are you really just going to allow this? Just let me come out, I'll —"
"No!" Delta shouted out loud, quickly clasping their hand over their mouth. I mean, no. I can handle this. I don't... fighting back would make things worse.
"Things are going to be bad anyways."
Delta considered this for a moment. Yes, things were bad. This was not Delta's ideal situation. And Kassandra was right — they were being very passive. If they wanted to fight back, they could. After all, they enjoyed weight lifting and running before all this happened. But at the same time...
If we go with it, and win them over, then it'll give us more opportunities to get out.
"So... you want to trick them? Like, make them trust you, and then use that to get an out?" They could feel a sly smile cross Kassandra's face. "I like it."
Delta looked down, their head quiet as Kassandra's presence began to fade from their mind — at least, for now. Delta was alone, again, and sometimes they preferred it that way.
Delta narrowed their eyes as they walked out of the slummy safe house's dark alleyway. They realized soon that they hadn't seen the light of day or the sun for months. Their eyes were adjusted to the darkness — just one adjustment of many they supposed they'd have to make.
Oh, wait, they remembered. I'm just going to go back into captivity soon after.
They took a deep breath, letting the clean air fill their lungs.
They waited outside for a while. The cold breeze made them shiver through their worn out hoodie; they didn't have nearly enough clothes for the beginning of December. They'd been given a picture of the car that would be picking them up, and they looked at it. As if on cue, when they looked back up, they saw the very same car pull up and park next to them. The driver's door opened, and a man in a suit with a fancy hat walked out and up to them. He bowed a little. Delta was taken aback by this.
"Hello. I take it you are the property?" he asked, offering a hand to take Delta's belongings.
Delta was at a loss for words at the contrast between politeness and calling them property. Finally, they managed to sputter some words out. "Um... yes. I am. My name is Delta."
They checked briefly to see if they could feel Kassandra's presence; they tried to see if she had something snarky or cautious to say to break the tension. Unfortunately, they felt nothing from her.
"Very well," he said, picking up the suitcase and dropping it in the trunk. "I will be driving you to your quarters now."
Delta's eyes shifted nervously — to the sides, then down, then back up to the man. "Um... are you...?"
The man, once he was done putting their suitcase away, stepped back towards the driver's seat and motioned for Delta to get inside too. Hastily, they did. They didn't want to get on anyone's bad side, at least, not for now.
"I am not," he answered calmly. "All will be explained to you later. For now, you may call me Gregory."
Delta stuttered, trying to think of something to say, before they just nodded and got into the car. A wave of anxiety overtook them, and they began to fidget nervously as they imagined horrific visions of what their life was going to be like now and who their owner was going to be. They dug their fingernails into the skin of their thighs, scratching over and over again mindlessly.
The car ride was dead silent. Delta thought to pipe up once or twice, but the fact that Gregory wasn't even talking to them was a giveaway that things weren't going to be friendly. At least he was cordial, and honestly, that was the best Delta could ask for at this point.
Still nothing from Kassandra, though they could feel their presence. It was as if she was in the other seat, watching the view go by quietly.
They arrived at their destination, after about an hour's drive. It seemed to be some sort of small apartment complex, and from the looks of it, it was pretty luxurious. Delta had never really known wealth — even before their life became what it was, their parents weren't rich or anything — and they certainly never had $300,000 to spare. The outer walls were a rich gold, with white notes on the doors and windows and whatnot. It was probably three floors tall, at most.
Gregory stepped out of the car, and Delta followed. Grabbing their suitcase, he offered a set of two keys to Delta.
"The larger one is for the front door, and the smaller one is for the inner door. Your apartment is on the first floor, and it is the only one," he explained as Delta eyed the keys carefully. "Starting tomorrow, you will be allowed to make requests to leave the apartment for specific reasons. Tonight, you will stay inside until your owner arrives."
Delta raised their eyebrows, their eyes widening. They could leave? Almost at will? Their owner was just going to... give that to them? Hell, from the sound of it, it seemed like Delta was going to be alone until that night. And they could just leave, if they really wanted to.
They could just leave, if they really wanted to.
They could just... leave.
Delta was brought back to harsh reality as they began to think about the logistics. Where would they go? Who would they go to? They couldn't go to the police, probably, and going back to where their captors were was out of the question. Not to mention, their parents were a few states away, and they didn't have money for a bus or train ticket, or a stay at a motel. They didn't have friends, or contacts, or connections. Even though they could physically leave, it wasn't worth it. At least not for now.
"Okay," was all Delta could manage. They took the keys, their suitcase, and themself as Gregory got back in the car and drove away without another word. Delta watched him drive by — their first normal connection in their new life, and they probably weren't gonna see him again, at least not for a while. It wasn't a huge loss for them, though. They were never really alone.
The keys slid into both locks with ease, and opened without trouble. Going inside, Delta took in the architecture of the hall before their door — it was a lot less fancy on the inside, but still well maintained and, at the very least, not falling apart.
They opened the door to the dark apartment, and turned on the lights. It seemed, for all intents and purposes, like a normal one bedroom apartment. Upon closer inspection, Delta found a lot more breathing space than any place they had been for the last year or so had offered. Their heart rate slowed down as they took everything in, their breathing deepening. The place was already furnished, and very nicely at that. The living room-kitchen hybrid had a sofa, all the necessary kitchen appliances, a round table with chairs, and even an entertainment center with a TV. Delta agreed to themself to take a closer look at that a bit later.
Their suitcase was neatly left on the floor, arranged leaning against the wall. The bedroom — or at least, what they assumed to be the bedroom — was connected to the main room. They knocked on the door, only after realizing they probably didn't have to, as they were alone.
The most noticeable thing about the bedroom was, after all, the bed. It was a full sized bed — much bigger than anything Delta had slept in before. It looked absurdly comfortable too, and of course neatly done. The desk was on the other side of the room, a night table next to the bed, and a dresser for any and all clothes. There was also a coat hanger, which they could only assume was for dresses, but they shivered at the idea of being forced to wear one.
"So, we're going to escape while we can, right?" Delta's eyes widened for a moment as Kassandra's voice popped up in their head. "They just... they just left us here, alone, where we can easily leave. That's so stupid! I can't," Kassandra paused as she started to laugh. "I can't even believe how stupid they are! We can just... leave!"
Delta looked down, and felt Kassandra's energy in their legs, their body overtaken with the urge to run. They shut their eyes tightly and tried to fight back against Kassandra's wishes.
That's — um, that's not, I mean, I don't think, I don't think that's a good idea right now, Delta stammered as they tried to explain. We don't have anywhere to go, Kassandra. We don't — we can't go anywhere.
"You're not thinking hard enough," snapped Kassandra. "If we just put our minds together, we can come up with a way out. After all, we can physically leave! If we go to the police, or just anyone on the street, and say we've been sold, we can get back home! Don't you want that?"
Delta didn't respond.
"Say you want that, Delta."
Delta's silence weighed on them both. They didn't think anything. They didn't feel anything of their own, just Kassandra's need to get up and leave.
"Delta, why are you playing along with them?" Kassandra pleaded. "I can help you. I want to help you. I'm a protector — let me protect!"
...I'm going to sleep, Delta finally said.
Kassandra huffed, her eyes widening. "First of all, it's what, three in the afternoon? Second of all — you're wasting precious time! Why don't you want to leave?!"
Delta laid their head down on the pillow, tossing the blankets over themself. Closing their eyes, they tried to block Kassandra's screaming out. They didn't have a good excuse for why they thought they should stay, and they knew Kassandra was right. Delta drifted off, trying to find something else to focus on — their breathing. They took some deep breaths, and tried to clear their mind...
Delta woke up before sunset. The sky was already starting to get dark, as they could see from their windows. Kassandra was gone, at least for now. Delta felt a tinge of guilt as they remembered they essentially blocked her out. They silenced her. Kassandra was a part of them, but she was a very stubborn part, and Delta wasn't a fighter.
They got up, feeling oddly well rested, and a heck of a lot less nervous. Whatever happened from here on out, they had no control. And for some reason, they took comfort in that — comfort in not having a say in what happens to them.
Did they even value their freedom, anymore?
Did they even know what freedom felt like now?
They made their way to the kitchen, trying to see if there was anything to eat. Upon closer inspection of the fridge, there was a letter attached to it — one Delta was probably too tired to see beforehand.
From now on, this will be your new living quarters. I trust that you will adjust accordingly and make any changes you need to make it more accommodating.
You are allowed to go grocery shopping once a week, and to go to a gym I've approved at least once a day (you will be expected to go at least 3 times a week, unless there is a good reason not to). Aside from this, you will ask my approval for any other ventures you may want to take.
I've left some forms of entertainment, if you need them. I expect you to engage in hobbies and not spend the time you're not with me lounging around and sleeping.
I look forward to meeting you tonight at 5:45pm. Dress well and be prepared promptly. Be in your bedroom when I arrive.
The letter wasn't signed or dated, but the handwriting was quite nice, in neat, clear black pen and cursive. They read it over a few times, still trying to take in the fact that they were allowed to leave — with permission, of course. Chances are, any of the friends they made while captive didn't have their privileges. Maybe they got a jackpot on the ownership lottery, or something.
Delta looked at the clock on the stove. 5:31pm...
"Shit!" they exclaimed. They had less than fifteen minutes to get prepared! They were certain their new owner wasn't going to want to see them in a t-shirt and jeans, but they didn't have much else in terms of clothing. And meeting them for the first time naked was... not optimal.
They did have a nice dress someone got them, one that they didn't throw out for some reason or another. They grimaced at the idea of having to wear it, opting to keep it secret and hope they wouldn't be found out.
So they took a shower, dried their shoulder length bushy brown hair, cleaned up their appearance, and stared into the mirror while they waited for six p.m. to come. The nervousness was plain to see on their face, and they took a moment to remember to breathe. Just breathe. They reached for Kassandra to see if she could help them calm down, but she was nowhere to be found. She probably didn't want to deal with this.
Some protector you are, Delta thought with a bitter smile.
As if on cue, Delta could hear the front door unlocking, and their stomach sank. For some reason, they felt the need to hide, and then remembered they were supposed to be in their bedroom. Rushing over, they almost tripped over the round table, but managed to find their footing and make it in.
They sat on the bed as the door opened, and tensed as the footsteps came closer. They balled their hands into fists on their thighs. Delta's head whipped to face the newcomer as the door opened.
They were a tall, regal woman with long, wavy brown hair, glasses, and a stoic face. They donned a long, deep blue jacket and medium-height gray heels, which only accentuated how tall and intimidating she looked. Delta suddenly felt a lot more embarrassed about not having dressed up, and a wave of heat washed over them. They weren't entirely sure what they were feeling, or if it was a good or a bad thing.
The woman walked over to Delta, and they flinched, dreading what was going to come next. Instead of pain, though, they felt the woman's warm, slick hand touch their cheek and run down their neck. Delta's panic ebbed slightly, and they opened their bright green eyes to gape at the woman's face, which had turned into a warm, possessive smile.
"You," their owner exhaled.