Problem was, I just didn’t understand him at all.
Who, in their right mind, goes off and rescues a woman he doesn’t even know? I couldn’t even call his sister a real friend since we’d just met a few months ago. But these people, this family, had made it their business to help me out.
“How do I ever repay you and Dani for what you did for me?” I asked as I looked down at the tile floor. “How can I ever make up for getting you injured?”
I wasn’t used to anybody helping me, so I was at a loss on how to deal with all of this.
My question had pretty much been senseless because I could never pay him back anytime soon for the funds he’d shoveled out, or for the injury he’d taken on because of me.
“You can give the police your statement and then testify to put down the organization that profits off human trafficking,” he answered. “The people who kidnapped you were minions, part of a far more powerful group that operates all over the world. You can help put them out of business for good.”
I shook my head, still unable to meet his gaze as I said, “Who is going to believe me? I’m a homeless woman with no real family. I’m a nobody. I always have been. And I’m sure the top guy is probably rich.”
“He is. He’s well regarded in this city because he has money and donates to charity to keep his cover,” Jett said irritably.
“Then they’ll never believe me,” I said in a shaky voice.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Jett moving, but I was still startled as he put his fingers on my chin and forced it upward until our gazes locked.
His green eyes grew stormy as he looked at me. “I know it won’t be easy,” he said in a kinder tone. “But I’ll be there to give my statement about what happened, too, and I’ll testify. The money I paid can easily be tracked. These people need to go to jail, Ruby. The couple who kidnapped you should be behind bars where they can’t hurt any more women ever again.”
“I’ll try,” I agreed.
I wanted everybody involved in the human trafficking ring to be unable to hurt anybody else. I didn’t want to see any woman to go through what I had.
But I was afraid because my word held no weight. I’d experienced the sense of being invisible to most people the whole time I’d been homeless. “I’m just not sure they’ll believe me.”
“You’re brave, Ruby. You can do it,” Jett encouraged in a persuasive baritone that left little room for argument.
“Necessity makes even the timid brave,” I mumbled.
“Isn’t that Sallust?” Jett questioned. “You’re into Roman history?”
I sighed. “I spend a lot of time in the library. I read a lot of things that come back to me at the weirdest of times.”
I didn’t tell him that I really used those little bits of knowledge to stay connected to the real world. If I was still learning, then I still existed.
His eyes bored into mine as he replied, “I don’t think you’re timid. I think you’re just afraid. And since life has basically shit on you, I can’t say I blame you.”
I stared back at him and replied, “You’d be surprised.” I’d learned to be submissive because being any other way was more painful.
He took my hand in his, and I didn’t balk because it felt so good to be connected to someone. I wanted to pull away instinctively, but I liked the false sense of security too much.
“Could you live with yourself if you don’t try?” he asked.
“It isn’t that I don’t want to,” I explained in a rush. “I do. But because I’m some homeless nobody, they aren’t likely to believe me. They’ll think I’m delusional.”
Because many of the people who had no place to go were mentally ill, it was the common assumption. But in reality, people were on the streets for various reasons. We all had a story, and most of them had very bad endings.
I was merely nonexistent to most people, an unfortunate woman who people assumed was a drug addict, an alcoholic, or mentally ill when I was seen sleeping in a public place. The world seemed like it evolved around me while I was always in the same place.