“You think a few movies and a bit of fame have changed you?” Darius went on. “I suppose I can’t blame you. I thought so, too, at one point. That’s the only reason I ever bothered dating you. But I learned, so why can’t you? You have no value, Madison. Those gaudy clothes are worth more than you are. You can play dress up all you like, but we both know the truth. You’ll always be a junkie. And the only reason these people let you near them is because you amuse them. Their drug-addled little monkey.”
Roman could hardly even process what he was hearing. Mostly, though, he didn’t understand why Madison was just sitting there, listening to this. Granted, he didn’t really know her very well, but he would’ve expected her to tear Darius’ head off by this point. It made no sense.
Or wait--was she actually listening to him? Maybe she’d fallen asleep or something. Roman’s view of her was obscured by Darius’ head, so he couldn’t be sure. He refocused his hearing another time, trying to find Madison’s voice. There was something there, behind Darius’ rambling. Breathing? Uneven, maybe. Erratic. And slight hiccups, perhaps? Faint, but--
Roman’s expression went completely blank as he realized.
She was crying.
And Darius was still going. “But hey, it’s not your fault that you came from trash. Both parents addicts? You had no chance. Don’t you see? No one understands you the way I do. You’ll never find--” He cut himself off when he saw Roman pushing through the crowd toward him and stood up straight. “Ah, Jimmy. Is something--?”
Roman punched him hard enough to break his own fist.
The man dropped like a sack of bricks, but he wasn’t dead. Probably. Roman had deliberately not used his ability or soul power.