Friday, December 24, 2010

Holiday Thoughts

I’m home, officially. It was a long flight and I’m definitely enjoying just relaxing at home with my parents doing Christmasy things. My mom and I baked cookies last night and we got some snow today so I took some time to watch it fall. I really liked watching snow fall as a kid and it still entrances me in adulthood, it’s just so pretty. I finished my Christmas shopping here and sent out Sean’s gift to him a few days ago (the guitar pick thing I bought for Guy, a new guitar strap, and a black and gray hoodie), his gifts for me arrived the other day and my mom wrapped them and put them under the tree. I have no idea what they are.

My mom has decided that I am going to help her make our Christmas dinner tomorrow because I need to learn to cook or else I’ll “never get married”. She usually says I’ll never get a man unless I learn how to cook but since I already have a man, I guess the next step would be marriage. Thankfully she’s starting me off with the easy stuff. All I’m responsible for making is her cheesy scalloped potatoes and heating up some bread. It’s kind of nice to bond with my mom over cooking though. I mean who doesn’t love their mom’s food and by extension their mom, right?

I know I haven’t posted in awhile but I’ve been taking some time to think about this Sean situation. He took me to the airport before I left and there was still some weirdness between us. I’m pretty sure it’s from bringing up Paul and Gerry when we were out shopping but I also think it’s because we both know this is our last shot at a relationship and if we screw it up, it’s over. I’m sort of getting the feeling that Sean isn’t really into our relationship anymore but doesn’t want to be the one to break it off. I know it’s probably nothing but when we met in the coffee shop, he said something that’s been bothering me.

He said, “So you still love me, huh?”

It’s probably nothing but it made me wonder, does Sean still love me? Maybe he doesn’t and he’s doing the non-communication thing to pick a fight?

Our relationship has been full of problems; problems caused by both of us equally and I’m doubtful that we will be able to recover from it all. I mean, if you think about everything we had, it was based on a lie. Sean and I were just having sex when we decided to start dating and the whole time he was lying to me about his erectile dysfunction, which, to be fair, he wasn’t necessarily required to tell me about that when we were just having sex. But when it became the first major issue in our relationship after we started dating, it was something I needed to know (I mean, he was withholding sex with me and lying about why), and he lied about it. A lot. I’ve been looking through my blog at the beginning of our dating relationship and, at the time I was frustrated, confused, and wondering if I was the problem, but looking back, I see just how much Sean was unwilling to communicate.

But then he got better at communicating and I was the one that started lying and now we’re back to him not communicating things to me; things about his brother, about his feelings with Gerry and Kevin. It leaves me with a sense of sadness, I feel like we’ve been doomed since the beginning.

My parents have been pretty understanding and haven’t asked about Sean. I think they can tell something was up and I’m sure my mom is dying to ask me but my dad convinced her not to. I’m really thankful for that. The only allusion to my relationship issues my dad made was a conversation we had today. I was sitting in their bay window watching the snow and he made me a cup of hot chocolate.

“You seem sad.”

“I’m not, really. The snow is just peaceful and reminds me of my mortality.” I joked.

“Are you a poet now?”

“Maybe.” I said taking a sip of my hot chocolate. It was perfect; my dad can make the perfect cup of hot chocolate and the perfect scrambled eggs with cheese. Anything else he makes is grilled, even in the winter time; it drives my mom nuts because she’s constantly worried about the house catching on fire but my dad is a self-professed grill master and is very attentive when he’s making food so she really worries for nothing.

“You know, I would avoid anything that makes you look so sad. I miss my little girl’s smile.” And with that he left me to my thoughts.

Did my dad just tell me to break up with Sean in his own “I’m-not-going-to-pry-but-this-is-my-advice-to-you” kind of way?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Mall Rats

Sean and I went Christmas gift shopping for my parents even though we decided it was best if he didn’t come. I made up an excuse about him having a family emergency that he couldn’t get out of and would be dealing with for awhile and my mom was upset but didn’t push the issue. He wanted to buy my parents gifts as a way to apologize and still somewhat participate in the holidays with them since they were nice enough to invite him. My mom was able to get almost all of her money back for the ticket, too, so things worked out pretty well in that regard.

“What kind of stuff do they like again?” Sean asked as we strolled through a mall.

“Well, my mom likes snowmen things, but only if they’re blue. She likes them more if they’re dark blue but she will accept light blue ones as well. She also loves anything with a butterfly on it and recently got into making and drinking tea. My dad is obsessed with his Kindle and food.”

“Hmmmm.” Sean looked around and pulled me through the mall. I know this is probably shocking, because I LOVE shopping, but holiday shopping is something I’m not that into because of the crowds and how rude people can be. Plus, my parents are deceptively hard to shop for, especially my dad.

After a few hours Sean and I left the mall with some fancy chocolate truffles, an Amazon Kindle gift card, and a cover for the Kindle with a built in light on it for my dad. For my mom Sean found a cute little stuffed animal type of snowman, two tea ball infusers, and a garden sculpture of a butterfly with stained glass wings. I’m going to be bring all of his gifts with me, except the garden sculpture (which is from both of us, as is the Kindle reading light cover) and the truffles which he’ll be mailing to me. I was a little touched with how much thought Sean put into the gifts that he got for my parents. I’m not really sure why, I mean, Sean is a thoughtful guy but it was touching to see that he was being just as thoughtful towards my parents as he normally is with me. We grabbed some dinner in the food court and a thought struck me while we were eating.

“Um…should I get a gift for your brother?” I asked randomly.

Sean looked at me stiffly.

“No.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah, why?”

“I just thought that since you weren’t going to come home with me you’d make other plans. No one should be alone on Christmas.”

“I’ll just hang out with the guys.”

“They aren’t visiting family?”

“Well, Lou isn’t. He doesn’t have one, we’ll probably just order Chinese food and watch It’s a Wonderful Life on cable.”

“Wait, what? Lou doesn’t have a family?”

“No.” Sean shook his head, “His parents were murdered when he was a kid in a convenience store robbery, his little brother died three years ago from a drug overdose, and his grandmother passed away shortly after from cancer.”

“That’s so sad.” I said.

“Yeah, his mom was pregnant when she died too. They weren’t able to save it. Lou would have had a sister.”

I was shocked at how coldly Sean was able to recite this information. Part of me wondered if it hit too close to home for him and detaching himself from it was a coping mechanism.

“Sean…” I said tentatively, “Why don’t you talk to your brother.”

“Can we not get into this? He’s not part of my life, that’s really all that matters.”

I let it go and we finished dinner shortly after. I bought gifts for Lou and the other band members (a matching scarf set for Eddie and Jake, a guitar pick-shaped hole-puncher that you can use on old gift cards or credit cards to make your own picks for Guy, a clipboard with a calculator on it and a pen storage compartment for Karen, and a gourmet cheese sampler for Lou which Sean promised me he would love) once we started walking around again. I think I’ll probably get Sean that same guitar pick maker thing because he seemed really interested in it (and a little jealous I wasn’t buying it for him). I paused before we left, though.

“What’s up?” Sean said when he noticed I had fallen back.

“Should we get something for Gerry?” I asked.

Sean looked at me for a moment, incredulous.

“You’ve known him for a long time. He’s going through a rough patch.”

“Without work I don’t really know what to get him. A card that says, ‘congrats on not killing yourself’?”

“Sean, that’s kind of rude.” I said surprised at his words, “He really could have died, you know. You said he moved into his own apartment, could we send him some pots and pans or something?”

“Fine.” He said trudging back into the mall with me. We didn’t get Gerry a set of pots and pans, instead, we ended up buying him a welcome sign for his front door that had music notes on it and some pretzels dipped in chocolate.

I think bringing up Gerry was probably stupid, in hindsight, but I think now that he’s getting help, Sean should try and rebuild what they had or at least make a good will gesture to at least let Gerry know that he knows he’s alive and okay. Bringing up Paul was also stupid. I knew it was a taboo topic and Sean had previously made it clear it was off-limits but I don’t like the idea of Sean and Lou sitting around in an apartment on Christmas, alone. Had I known about Lou’s past beforehand I probably would have insisted that he come to my parents’ house for the holidays as well, since I’ve gotten to know him a bit better since Sean’s arrest, but it’s too late now.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Head Case

Sean and I woke up before I had to leave for work. He hadn’t planned on staying the night so he had to go back to his place and grab his guitar before band rehearsal early in the morning. We drank coffee in my kitchen before he left and things were just SO awkward. What exactly do you say to your boyfriend when you have a panic attack simply because he touched you? Sean broke the silence that was creeping between us first.

“You know you don’t have to apologize for what happened, right?”

“Yes…why?”

“You just kept repeating that you were sorry last night when you were having a hard time breathing.”

“I did?”

Sean nodded and then looked at his cup of coffee. I was shocked that I didn’t realize that. I had a sudden wave of sadness come over me when Sean said that.

“I’m never going to be normal again.” Tears started to sting my eyes and I looked down at my coffee to try and hide them. Sean came over and gave me a hug, unsure at first, but then loving and gentle.

“Do you want me to give you Dr. Deerhorn’s phone number?” He asked trying to be sensitive.

“I don’t know that I’m ready to really talk about it yet.” I said.

“Well, I’ll leave his card on your counter so if you are ready to talk about it it’ll be here for you, okay?”

I nodded.

“What if I don’t ever feel ready to go?” I asked childishly.

Sean put his hand on my face and wiped a tear away.

“You’ll deal with this the best way you can. If you don’t want to talk to Dr. Deerhorn you’ll still come to terms with what happened, just in a different way.”

He smiled and kissed my forehead and then gave me another hug.

“How did I get so damn lucky?” I asked to myself.

“I’ve gotta go.” He said pulling away from me. I pulled him back to me with his hand.

“Please don’t leave.” I said while simultaneously hating how needy and clingy I sounded.

I started kissing him and trying to take things further but he stopped all of my advances.

“Faith you don’t have to do this.”

“I want to.” I whispered against his jaw.

“I don’t need you to prove anything to me.”

“Who says I’m proving something?” I said moving my hands to his jeans.

“Faith.” He held my hands in his and put his forehead against mine, “You’re going to be late for work. Come on, I’ll walk you there.”

He pulled me towards the door and I reluctantly collected my things so we could go. It hurts a little that Sean rejected me but in retrospect I’m pretty embarrassed about my behavior. I don’t know what I was thinking trying to initiate sex when it had turned out so badly only a few hours earlier. I wrote him a text apologizing for my behavior but I chose not to send it because of what he said earlier: that I didn’t need to apologize to him. I must have seemed a little down at work because Steve, Suzy, Dina, and a few other people invited me to grab some drinks with them after work. I decided to go because it had felt so long since I hung out with people other than Zoey, Sean, or Murphy.

I left with the group and Steve walked next to me.

“Are you alright?” He asked, “Did they ever catch who broke into your apartment?”

“No, they haven’t found them yet, but the landlord changed the locks and added some added security features to the main lobby.”

“Oh, well that’s good, right?”

“Yeah.” I said. I let Steve believe that I was bummed about my apartment because none of my work friends knew about what happened with Kevin and I didn’t want to talk about it. I knew that if I mentioned it Dina and Suzy would want to know every single detail and I had already relived the attack once in the past 24 hours, I didn’t want to relive it again.

Once we got to the bar and ordered our drinks, Dina even sprung for some awesomely bar-like appetizers (mozzarella sticks, buffalo wings, and cheese fries) for everyone. I talked to a lot of people from work that I haven’t gotten to know outside of our professional relationship and the most surprising was Stormy. I always thought he was a womanizer and full of himself, but I think deep down it’s just a show and there’s some decency underneath it all. Out of everyone I mingled with, he’s the only one who bothered to ask about my mood besides Steve.

“Are you sure you’re okay? You don’t seem like your cheerful self…in fact you haven’t really seemed like yourself for awhile.”

“Um, yeah,” I said feeling a tad uncomfortable, “I’ve just had a lot of personal stuff going on. You know how it is.”

“Yeah, well, do you want to talk about it? Women tell me I’m a great listener.” He said following my eyes before giving me a cheesy grin he uses in front of the camera.

I giggled.

“No, I’ll be okay. Really.”

“Okay, well, look do you want to go out with me?”

He asked right when I put a forkful of cheese fries in my mouth and I nearly choked. He patted my back until I recomposed myself.

“I don’t really need you to offer me a pity date.” I said.

“Oh, that’s not really why I was asking. I’ve just been noticing you for awhile…bad timing. I get it.”

I felt bad, Stormy looked genuinely hurt.

“Well, I’m dating someone, anyway.”

“Don’t take this the wrong way…but is it serious?”

“Yeah.” I said, “But that doesn’t mean we can’t be friends. Trust me, being my friend is SO much easier than being my boyfriend.”

“I’ll take what I can get.” He shrugged.

“I thought you had girls line up around the corner anyway.” I said playfully punching him in the arm.

“Nah, I’m giving that up…think of it as an early New Year’s resolution.”

“I hear Suzy’s single and looking.” I said winking and nodding in her direction.
Stormy looked at her and then went to go chat her up. I decided it was time for me to go home. I said my goodbyes before leaving and when I got home I realized just how exhausted I was. I’m sure my tiredness was related to what happened with Sean but I was happy to be home all the same. I fed Murphy and changed into my pajamas before making myself some comfort food (microwaveable mac n’cheese with mini pepperonis, yum!). As it was cooking I saw the card Sean had left sitting on my counter and stared at it for awhile.

I have an appointment with Dr. Deerhorn when I get back from my Christmas vacation, I’m sure I’ll need it after spending two full weeks with my parents.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Full Circle

After another day of me sulking at Zoey’s place I reluctantly decided it was time for me to go back to my apartment. It’s been longer than a month since someone broke in. It was time for me to get it together and grow up a little. Zoey loves me and I know she would never kick me out but I know having me live with her off and on like this over these past few weeks was starting to grate on her privacy. I thanked Zoey before she left and promised to hang out with her and Anna some time, and maybe even invite Molly.

As I settled in to do a little bit of work that I had neglected while my life was collapsing around me, Murphy played around on the floor. It took me a few seconds to recognize my phone vibrating next to me. It was my mom. I let it go to voicemail because I didn’t really want to listen to her gush about how excited she was to meet Sean and then listen to her accuse me of being the reason he wouldn’t be flying home with me.

It’s weird. I don’t really know how to feel about this most recent fight with Sean. I’m so confused about everything and I’ve been second-guessing everything. Should I have said “screw it” and taken it to court just to lose like Shelby said I would? Was the principle of the thing…that Kevin should be punished in a court of law… was that what Sean was more upset about? But that would never happen, my case would get thrown out or I would be slandered as a whore who was asking for it! It would never have ended in punishment for Kevin. I was right to take the deal. But Sean didn’t think so…

My thoughts had been going nonstop like this since I got home. The silence was driving me nuts. Then my phone started buzzing again and I angrily answered it.

“I don’t want to talk right now mom!”

Silence was on the other end.

“…It’s me.”

“Oh.” I said quietly. Sean’s voice sounded tired.

“Do you want to get coffee somewhere? Talk.”

Images flashed through my head of the last time I met a boyfriend in a coffee shop. It was Kevin and we broke up. I swallowed hard, not wanting that to be what happened with Sean.

“I’m home right now.”

“No. I want to meet somewhere neutral to both of us.”

“If you’re going to break up with me, Sean, just do it. I don’t need it t-to be face to face.” I tried to keep my voice even but it wavered at the very end.

“Do you want to break up? Because I don’t. I just want to talk about…about how we….how I left things. But if you don’t want to be with me anymore, then I guess that’s what we’ll do.”

“I don’t. Where?”

“There’s a place near your house, the one we took your brother and Shannon to. I’m already there.”

“I’ll be there soon.”

I hung up the phone and then immediately became self conscious of how I looked. I hadn’t even tried to keep my personal appearance acceptable unless I had to work, and even then it wasn’t even a very good attempt. My hair was a mess and I had bags under my eyes which looked even worse since my eyes were puffy from crying so much. I ran a brush through my hair and hid the bags with some foundation before giving up and leaving for the coffee shop.

He was sitting in a corner with two cups of coffee for us. I noticed the coffees were in to-go cups in case things went south and one or both of us left. I hesitated before sitting down, he hadn’t noticed me enter, or maybe he did and just pretended not to in order to give me a chance to change my mind. He seemed almost surprised when I slid into the booth opposite him.

“Thanks…for meeting me.” He said looking down and slowly spinning his cup around on the table top.

“Sure.” I said feeling incredibly awkward.

We were both looking at our coffee cups, unwilling to say anything. I took the contract Kevin had signed and laid it on the table.

“This is the deal I made. It’s a legally binding contract. He can’t break it or he risks going to jail…for real.” I said, adding emphasis on “for real”.

Sean read it quietly and then slowly pushed it back towards me.

“I don’t really know how to feel about all of this. How am I supposed to be okay with the fact that he’s probably laughing about what he did to you and how he got away with it?”

“You don’t have to like it, Sean, but you do have to accept it. I dropped the charges because I love you and I don’t want to be the reason you go to jail or can’t play your music. You protected me,” I reached across the table and touched his hands lightly with mine, we looked at each other for the first time since I sat down, “and this was the only way for me to return the favor. I will never be able to thank you for pulling him off of me.”

“You love me, still, huh?” Sean said more to himself than me. He ran his thumb over my hand.

“I do,” I said pulling my hands away, “But I know it’s no surprise that I haven’t been very happy lately and neither have you. It feels like we fight all the time and when we aren’t fighting, we aren’t talking about anything that matters. What happened to us?”

“I don’t know,” he shook his head sadly, “I was so much more open with you and I felt like we really communicated and then I found out how much you weren’t telling me and I think I got defensive and started doing the same. I want to go back to before, but I don’t know how.”

I let what Sean said sink in. The damage I had caused from not telling him about Gerry was still alive and well.

“But you know why I didn’t tell you. I wanted to protect you. I thought if I just waited Gerry out, things would be fine. You guys were having so many problems and Gerry made it very clear that I was the reason…that he wouldn’t have been so controlling if you’d never-”

Sean stopped me by reaching across and grabbing my hands.

“I do know, but…” Sean was at a loss for words.

“What can we do? Is it fixable? How can I fix this?”

His eyes were full of pain, seeing how desperate I was to fix things. I could see him trying to think of something, anything to make me feel better, but he just shook his head when he couldn’t think of anything.

“Sean, do you know why I agreed to go on a date with you?” I asked him quietly.

“No.”

“Because you were willing to fix me. I was so…broken after Kevin. I was so hurt and betrayed and unwilling to trust anyone and you were the complete opposite of him. You are still the complete opposite of him. And I know that you don’t want to hear me compare you to my ex-boyfriend but it’s the truth. I don’t think very many people would have looked at me, seen me have a breakdown in a hotel room, looked at all of my baggage and taken that step to care about me the way you did. But you did and I am so lucky for it.” Tears were sliding down my face by the time I finished and Sean was sniffling.

“You fixed me too, Faith. I’m in therapy, now.”

Sean and I were at a stalemate. Neither one of us knew what to say.

“Can we try to start over? Reconnect?” I asked after I couldn’t take the painful silence again.

“I don’t think I can start over with you, for one I can’t afford the hotel bills.” We both laughed meekly at his joke, “But we can go slow and try to rebuild. I want to fight for what we have.”

“Me too.” I said.

After a small pause, I collected the contract and my coffee and got up to leave. Sean followed me out and walked me back to my apartment. We stood there like awkward teenagers, unsure of what to do.

“Do you want to come up? Murphy misses you. He’s been so confused with all of this moving around.” I tried to make a joke but neither of us really felt like laughing.

Sean thought for a moment and ultimately decided he would come up for a few minutes, as a good will gesture of effort towards rebuilding our relationship. I was sort of relieved because it felt like Sean was done punishing me for lying about Gerry…absolving me of all the things I’d done wrong to get us to this place. I think he knows, though, that we got here because of his actions just as much as mine…it takes two people to be in a relationship. When Sean decided to come up the slate was wiped clean and I felt hopeful that we could do this.

We sat on the couch talking for awhile while Sean stroked Murphy’s belly, we even laughed a few times. It was nice but Sean eventually got up to leave and I stood up to send him off. He went in to lightly kiss me good-bye but something came over both of us. I realized how long it had been since we’d had sex (almost a month) and I wanted Sean’s body against mine with such ferocity that I don’t even remember how we ended up back on the couch with me straddling him. He had me pulled against him with one hand on the small of my back and the other tangled in my hair. I frantically took my shirt off, not wanting my mouth to part from his, and then started unzipping his hoodie and moving it off his arms. I could feel just how into everything Sean was from the pressure that had appeared between my legs and slid my hands down to unzip his jeans. He let out a few stifled moans and whispered my name a few times once I got my hand to the right place. Everything was so animalistic and intense but then it went horribly wrong.

Sean went to unzip my jeans and I immediately started having a panic attack. I was having flashes of the night with Kevin and felt so scared and afraid. I froze and couldn’t seem to catch my breath. Sean didn’t realize what was happening at first because we were both breathing so hard at that point but knew something was wrong because I was so stiff.

“Faith?” He asked out of breath, “Faith are you okay?”

I shook my head because talking was impossible. He helped me stand up and then found a paper bag to help regulate my breathing. After a few minutes I was able to drink some water, but I had to go back to the bag. It felt like hours before my breathing was under my own control again but Sean never left my side, he held my hand and patted my hair and hugged me close the whole time. I’ve never had a panic attack before but I knew this was definitely something of that sort. I had trouble walking without getting out of breath and a few times I threw up the water I had been drinking. I don’t know when I started crying but Sean helped me with that, too, wiping away my tears with a tissue and making sure I blew my nose. At some point he helped me into bed and I just laid there in his arms listening to his steady heart beat. The irony of having a breakdown right before we started dating and having another one right after we agreed to try and rebuild our relationship was not lost on me. We’d come full circle.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Not so Great Good-Bye

I couldn’t wait to get back to Sean’s apartment to let him know how things went. A weight had been lifted on my shoulders and I was sure Sean would feel relieved, too, even though he’s been trying really hard to hide his anxiety from me. I walked into his apartment as light as air and fueled by happiness. He was in his bedroom getting ready to go to a gig.
“Hey!” I said swooping in to give him a hug from behind.
“Hey.” He said turning around and kissing my forehead, “How’d it go?”
“Better than expected. You don’t have to worry about anything anymore.”
Sean pulled away from me with a look of confusion on his face, “What does that mean?”
“Kevin is going to drop the charges he’s pressing against you.”
Sean’s eyes closed slowly before muttering a few obscenities.
“It’s okay, Sean. I know how worried you were about affording lawyer’s fees and going to jail. I know, we don’t have to keep pretending everything is fine anymore, because everything is fine. I fixed it.”
Sean scoffed and crossed his arms which wiped the hopeful smile off my face.
“And what was the deal, Faith?”
“I dropped the charges.”
“Of course you did.” Sean sneered.
I backed away from Sean and blinked. I couldn’t believe how upset he was about this.
“There was no way he was going to go to jail, Sean. I got the best deal I could.” I reached for the contract from my purse to show Sean but he walked by me and into the living room without a care.
“Don’t walk away from me, Sean! I don’t understand why you’re acting like this.” I said following him.
“You want to know why I’m pissed, Faith?” He spun around and shouted, “FINE. You let everyone treat you like a damn doormat and I’m sick of it! Kevin. Gerry. Elise. Everyone takes advantage of you and you just let them. Gerry- unpunished. Kevin- unpunished twice. Elise- unpunished more times than I can count. I pulled that asshole off of you in the nick of time and you just let him walk. Excuse me if I’m just a little disgusted by it.”
I was frozen in the door frame of Sean’s bedroom trying to make sense of what he was saying as he shouted at me. I kept shaking my head because his anger was so unexpected.
“But…th-this morning. You were going to ask me to get him to drop the charges against you, I knew you were going to say it but backed out at the last minute. I thought you c-couldn’t bring yourself to ask me.”
Sean made an exasperated sound.
“No I wasn’t! I was going to say the exact opposite. That I didn’t want you to drop the charges just for me!”
“Sean, you have to understand that this was the best deal for everyone.”
“Except you. It was certainly the best deal for him, though. I got somewhere to be.” He said grabbing his jacket and guitar from the hallway closet and heading towards the door.
“Sean, please don’t go. We need to talk about this.” I said putting my hand on his shoulder to stop him.
He turned around, his eyes were extremely angry.
“I don’t really want to do that right now. I have to go…and I don’t want to see you again tonight.”
“Are…are you kicking me out of your apartment?” I asked, utterly shocked at how quickly things had gone downhill.
“No. I’m telling you I’m not coming back here tonight and I’m not sure when I will be back. I don’t want to you to call my phone obsessively like you did before.”
I was stung by that last comment and the dam of emotions that had been building inside me finally spilled out in righteous anger.
“No. No, you know what Sean? I’ll save Lou or Guy’s couch from your bad attitude and determination to be a martyr. I’m leaving. I’ll be gone before you get home.”
Sean slammed the door without even acknowledging what I just said but I was so angry that I couldn’t muster a good response. The gravity of what we said to each other rushed over me but I shook the feelings of pity off and called Zoey.
“I need you to come get me. I’m leaving but I’m not ready to go back to my apartment, yet.”
“Oh, okay. I’m on my way.” Zoey sounded distracted and wasn’t pressing for information on why I was leaving and then I felt bad.
“You’re with Wesley, aren’t you?” I sighed.
“Yeah, but it’s not a big deal. We’re on our way.” Zoey hung up before I had the sense to ask her what she meant by “We’re” but I was too upset to care at that point and angrily began collecting my things.
Once I was packed for what seemed like the millionth time since my apartment was broken into, Zoey arrived with Wesley. They helped me load up her car with all of my stuff and Murphy and then repeated the whole routine once we got to her place. I thanked both of them before locking myself and Murphy in her spare bedroom and collapsing into a sobbing mess on the bed. It’s been three days and Sean hasn’t attempted to call me since he stormed out. I haven’t called him, either.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Justice?

Sean walked me to my lawyer’s office about an hour before my mediation with Kevin. He wasn’t very talkative as we walked and I was rambling on about something stupid that I can’t even remember. When we got to the doors things got kind of awkward.

“Do you want to come up?” I asked after he lingered there for awhile.

“No, I’ve gotta go talk to Lou about something….unless you want me to stay.”

Sean sort of caught me off guard. It sounded like he was asking me permission and I didn’t know what to say. I wouldn’t have a problem with Sean being there but I knew Kevin would be there and it just seemed like it would make the lack of communication we’ve been experiencing worse. I tried to give him the opportunity to decide for himself.

“You can stay if that thing with Lou isn’t important.”

Sean paused and took in my answer.

“…I should talk to Lou.” He said starting to walk away.

“Bye.” I said before he was too far away.

I turned to walk through the doors- “Hey Faith?”

I turned around and Sean was looking at me his hands in his pockets.

“Yeah?”

“…good luck.”

Before I could respond, Sean walked away. I had an overwhelming feeling he was going to say something else and I was kicking myself for not going after him as I walked off the elevator to go meet with my lawyer, Shelby.

“Hey,” she said warmly as she offered me some coffee.

“Hi.” I said sitting down in a squashy arm chair across from her. There was a coffee table between us and her office was very sleek and modern looking. It sort of reminded me of mine, with the large panel windows and sleek accents, but her office was dripping in rich earth tones and dark wood. The carpet was a nice, professional gray and there were various plants and decorations to give it a relaxed feel.

“So, Faith, I just wanted to invite you here to kind of prep you for how things will be today.”

“Okay,” I said dumping some creamer in my coffee.

Shelby reviewed my case with me and asked questions to help clarify about the events and then her demeanor changed. It was shockingly gentle.

“Because of the nature of what happened, Faith, I think I need to prepare you for Kevin’s lawyer’s questions and strategy.”

“Okay.” I said with trepidation putting my cup of coffee down.

Shelby opened her mouth to speak but an intercom on her desk interrupted her.

“Mr. Cartwright and his client are here.”

“Damn. They’re early. Can you settle them in the conference room? We’ll meet them in a minute.”

“Yes ma’am.” And the intercom clicked off. She turned her sights back to me.

“I just want you to make sure you have your demands ready and I don’t want you to be discouraged if you don’t get all of them met.”

She was choosing her words very carefully but before I could respond she started shuffling out of her office. I followed and then stopped cold. Hannah was sitting in the waiting area and her face was fixed with an icy glare in my direction. Shelby noticed I had stopped and turned around to look at me. I had to tell her about the history Kevin and I had prior to today so she could further understand my case and she slowly put two and two together.

“Come on, Faith, we don’t want to be late.” She put her hand on my shoulder and gently guided me to the conference room while simultaneously trying to block my view of Hannah with her body.

The shock of seeing Kevin for the first time since the night in the bar was also unexpected but I took a second to recompose myself and began walking to the conference table. From the door I could see Kevin’s injuries still evident on his face from Sean’s attack. The bruises around his eyes were yellow and green and the cut on his lip had a stitch in it. It also looked like he’d gotten some teeth work done. He smiled at me and it made my stomach churn. It was a hungry, disgusting smile that took in my entire body as I sat across from him and I found it impossible to stop the spread of revulsion quickly covering my face. I took in Kevin’s lawyer quickly. He was wearing a suit that was a shade brighter than navy with a garish gold watch and his hair was dark on the sides but graying on the top. Frankly, he stunk of money and seemed to imbue all of the privilege and snobbery of the clients he serves. He probably fits in perfectly at their exorbitant parties that serve only to congratulate each other on their bank accounts. I hated him instantly.

Shelby sat next to me and didn’t waste a second getting down to business.

“You’ve looked at the case, Dick?” She asked Mr. Cartwright.

“I have. There really isn’t one.”

I was taken aback by his comment but covered my shocked expression as he leaned back in his chair like he owned the place.

“Well, we think there is. Would you like to discuss a compromise for your client first?”

“Sure. 500 hours of community service and he pays her $1,000...for damages.”

“Excuse me?” I say.

I couldn’t stop myself from blurting out in anger.

“He tried to rape me. I don’t want money! I want his ass in jail!”

To my complete and utter disgust, Kevin and his lawyer started laughing like I told the funniest joke ever. I looked at Shelby with rage clouding my vision. She stood up immediately, walked to the door, and opened it.

“Gentlemen, could you give me a moment with my client.”

Kevin and his lawyer walked out trying to stifle their giggles as Shelby walked over to sit next to me.

“Why are they laughing at me?” I practically shouted at her.

Shelby took a moment, it was clear she was trying to find a good way to phrase her next sentence.

“Faith, it’s nearly impossible to get a rapist convicted, let alone attempted rapists. Asking for jail time for what he did is never going to happen.”

I blinked at Shelby’s bluntness.

“Shelby, this isn’t the first time he’s sexually assaulted me. I need to be protected from him showing up again and actually raping me!” My voice started to become hysterical and shrill at the possibility of Kevin ever coming back into my life after today.

“Faith, take a deep breath, please.” She poured me a glass of water and handed it to me before she continued, “I understand that, I do, but if we try and take this to court, Dick is going to get the previous sexual assault dismissed as evidence because you never pressed charges. He’ll also claim that because you two were in a relationship that ended badly, you’re lying about this assault. He’ll slander you and ask you invasive questions about your sex life, life if you like dominance. And he won’t just ask you, he’ll make Sean testify about your sex life, interview your friends to see if you’ve ever expressed interest in a anything kinky. He’ll ask you what you were wearing, if you have ever fantasized about Kevin, imply that you were pissed off about the wedding invitation and are just lying about this assault happening to get back at Kevin because you’re jealous he’s not marrying you. He’ll bring Hannah into this and destroy your character completely and you will walk away with nothing but emotional distress and possibly some relationship problems with your boyfriend.”

I gaped at her with the glass in my hand before I became enraged.

“So you’re saying this is my fault because I was in a relationship with Kevin!? That’s what all of this stems from!”

“No, Faith, it’s not your fault. It’s the fault of a society that gives privileged men like Kevin a pass, slut shames and victim blames women who have been assaulted or who admit they enjoy sex except for that time they were raped, or by telling women that being drunk and being raped isn’t actually rape. It’s the fault of male privilege and rape culture that vilifies women who accuse someone of rape. This is not your fault, it’s society’s.”

I looked at Shelby for a moment before I lost all hope. She was sympathetic to my experience but she was being realistic and I wasn’t. All of my fight left me and I was on the verge of tears.

“Then why are we even bothering with this mediation? Why didn’t you just let a judge throw out the case?”

“Because, Faith, I’m used to working with Dick and his clients. All hope is not lost. Kevin is part of the old money society, now that he’s married to old money. A public rape charge and court battle would be the scandal of the century even if your case would eventually get thrown out and it would ruin everything for Kevin and his pretty new wife, who I’m sure has no idea what this mediation is actually about.”

“So…what are you thinking?”

“Well, we aren’t going to get jail time, but if there’s something else you want we might be able to get this mediation going.”

“I never want him near me again and I never want him to send me anything ever again. I want absolutely no contact ever.”

“Done.”

“And I want him to drop the charges he’s pressing against Sean.”

“I think we can get that. Anything else?”

I thought about this for a moment.

“I want a written apology…to me and Sean, and I want him to sign a contract promising everything- dropping the charges, no contact, everything. A legally binding contract that I can bring to court and have his ass punished if he doesn’t abide by it.”

“Okay then.”

Shelby gives me an impressed look before asking me if it’s okay to bring Kevin and his lawyer back in. I nod and within seconds Kevin is sitting across from me again. Shelby slowly starts to read off my demands and Kevin begins to look green. I can tell the worst part about my list of demands for him was probably the written apology and I feel like having him drop the charges against Sean was his plan all along in exchange for me dropping the charges against him and I’m okay with that. It allows me to protect Sean from the stress and worry this has been causing him.

After Shelby lays out my demands and explains how the contract will work, Mr. Cartwright leans over to Kevin and they quietly discuss their options. Shelby and I can’t hear what is said but Kevin nods in defeat and a notary is called to draw up the contract I wanted. It takes about 30 minutes for Shelby, the notary, and Mr. Cartwright to hammer out a contract. The notary certifies two contracts and the two of us sign both of them while they witness it. I’m given a copy and so is Kevin and he goes to leave. I’m left with Shelby.

“Thank you,” I said.

“You sound pretty down.” She said.

“It just doesn’t really seem like justice was served. He’s just going to find someone else to manipulate and treat like garbage.”

“Well, maybe that doesn’t have to be his wife…”

I look at Shelby as she gives me a small smirk. I shake my head because I don’t understand what she means.

“You didn’t sign a confidentiality agreement, which means you’re free to discuss his actions to anyone you might choose. Anyone.” Shelby winks at me, waves good-bye, and then leaves for her office.

I contemplate her suggestion and I put myself in Hannah’s shoes. It seems like such a cruel thing to do. I leave the conference room to find Shelby’s waiting room empty. Kevin and Hannah are long gone and I wipe my hands clean of everything. When I get into the main entry way of the building I’m in I decide to go into the bathroom and when I come out of my stall Hannah is standing in front of a mirror applying lipstick. Our eyes meet as soon as I open it and the hatred behind hers begins to bore into me. I calmly walk to a sink and begin washing my hands and we icily stand in each other’s presence. I dry my hands and go to leave but turn and look at her.

“I know he probably told you something else, but he tried to rape me the night of his bachelor’s party. The only reason he didn't succeed was because of my boyfriend. He gave him all of those bruises. If it were me, I’d want to know.” And I walked out with the sound of my shoes echoing off the tile.

Kevin was standing near the information desk on his cell phone laughing. He saw me leaving the bathroom and I made sure to make eye contact with him. He stopped laughing and shifted his gaze a few feet behind me towards the bathroom, then looked back at me.

I smirked and lifted an eyebrow as I sauntered out of the exit; I could feel him watching me as I left.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Fan Girls

"What exactly does one wear to a court mediation with one’s attempted rapist?" I mused to Molly in my apartment’s bedroom.

I haven’t really moved out of Sean’s yet but I was there with Molly for a pizza night to kind of get me to feel more comfortable in it. In the mean time, I’ve had my landlord change the lock on my door and my windows, and they put a security camera in the main lobby along with a new lock on the main door that has a security chip in it so it will only open for people with a matching chip. It was nice of them to do that but I know it wasn’t just for me. Word spread about my break-in and I know the other residents in my building have been on edge since it happened. I have a feeling the security camera and special lock are from the panic the residents have expressed collectively and were only installed to calm down the hysteria.

"Maybe a business-y outfit? How about that blazer, with that pencil skirt and that blouse with the bow?" Molly said pointing at various items in my closet.

I pulled them out and layered them like and outfit before I laid them out on my bed to look at the whole thing.

"You know you’re really good at putting outfits together, are you sure you want to be an actress?" I joked.

"Yep, I love acting, sadly. I think I’d make a great costume designer, though."

"You know, if you want a new part-time job, I could see if Anna has any openings for a stylist or something since she’s sort of in charge of hiring people now."

"I would definitely be interested in that. Acting is my first love but fashion is definitely my second."

Just then the buzzer rang for the pizza we ordered and I ran downstairs to meet the delivery guy. We started stuffing our faces in my living room while watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

"You know," Molly said, taking a bite of pizza, "I never liked Frodo that much."

"What!? Why!?"

"I liked Sam more, Frodo was weak and I just never thought he deserved to be considered a hero. I mean Sam drags him to the volcano in Mordor and near hand-delivers the ring and Frodo can’t complete the task. If it wasn’t for Golem, the ring would never have been destroyed because Frodo never would have let it go."

"But Frodo is the metaphor for how the ring destroys its owners. Sam is a metaphor for the goodness found in people, it makes sense that he would be Frodo’s main man and ally."

"Yeah but at the very end, after Frodo’s written his book, he totally leaves Sam without even a warning."

We went back and forth like this the whole night and it was so much fun. W even started moving on to other book series.

"I hate Bella! Actually, I hate ALL of the characters in those wretched books."

"Finally something we agree on," I said, "You know what I just realized that is way too funny?"

"What?"

"The gay couple in Sean’s band, well, their names are Jake and Eddie, short for Jacob and Edward."

"You KNOW there’s some fan fiction out there revolving around that pairing." Molly giggled and we eventually ended up on my computer reading some of the dirtiest fan fiction I have ever seen in my life revolving around Jacob and Edward from the Twilight series.

I really like Molly. Since we’ve become friends, my life has been pretty crazy but she makes me feel more grounded to how my life is normally and I really enjoy that part of our friendship. She just relaxes me when I need it the most.

We finished our pizza and movie marathon and then we both left. She dropped me off at Sean’s and I waved good-bye. Sean’s been kind of distant since I told him I was having a mediation with Kevin. I think he’s really worried about the charges Kevin is pressing against him and doesn’t want to tell me because he knows it will make me feel bad. But, I already know and I’m sure he knows that I know so now it’s just this big elephant in the room that neither of us really wants to bring up. I was kind of relieved when I walked in and he was still at work.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Burn

I just got off the phone with my mother. She’s upset that I wasn’t able to come home for Thanksgiving and has demanded that I come home for Christmas…and that I bring Sean. It wouldn’t be my mother though without a huge guilt trip for not telling her about him and having to find out from my brother instead. She’s known since August and has basically been stewing about it ever since. In case I tried to wiggle out of coming home or bringing Sean she bought us both tickets. We leave on the 17th of December. Joy.

It’s not that I don’t love my parents or that I’m embarrassed of Sean, it’s just that my parents can be overwhelming for people who don’t understand them. It’s even worse on holidays because my mother’s extended family is absolutely crazy and I hate visiting them. Luckily, my dad’s side of the family, which is equally as crazy, doesn’t live anywhere near my parents so I just have to put up with my mother’s side during the holidays. I feel pretty bad about not coming home for Thanksgiving especially since my brother is in Afghanistan, but I simply didn’t have the vacation time to make it to both Thanksgiving and Christmas, especially with the recent couple of days I took off for my concussion. This Christmas is probably going to be even more chaotic than normal because of the fact that my brother won’t be there.

I got off the phone right when Sean walked in the door with a bag of groceries.

“So, it’s official, I’m bringing you home with me for the holidays.” I said going to help him put the groceries away.

“Sweet.” He said opening the pantry to put a bag of pretzels away, “How much do I owe your mom for the ticket?”

“Don’t bother; she won’t take your money anyway.”

“So what should I get your parents for Christmas?” Sean asked.

“Well, they’re kind of hard to buy for.” I said.

“Hmm, I guess we’ll just have to go shopping together. I’m a pro at giving gifts and you can poin out the stuff they might like.”

“Okay.”

“It’s a date, then.” Sean said smiling.

I smiled back and continued putting the groceries away. I think Sean knows that I’m aware of his panic about his situation with Kevin and I’ve been trying to think of a way to help him but I can’t afford to pay for his lawyer fees and mine and I don’t think Sean would let me do that anyway. I feel so stuck and I can’t imagine how Sean is feeling. I’ve heard him talking to Lou on the phone some more and things just seem really dire for him. I tried to breach the subject of Paul.

“So, since we’re leaving on the 17th do you think you’ll want to do some sort of Christmas thing with your brother?” I said trying to sound nonchalant.

Sean stiffened.

“He’s probably busy.” He said noncommittally.

“You haven’t even checked with him to see what his plans are or if you can hang out with him for the holidays?”

“We don’t really talk, Faith.”

“Oh. Why?”

“I don’t really want to talk about it.”

I was a little stung by how clipped Sean’s answer was but I decided to drop it. We didn’t really talk much for the rest of the night.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Devolving

Over the past few days I’ve met with a lawyer to pursue pressing charges against Kevin and it looks like we’ve set a “mediation” appointment with him and his lawyer when he gets back from his honeymoon to see if we can reach an agreement without having to go through a trial or something really time consuming. To be completely honest, I really don’t know how I want Kevin to be punished, I just want him to be punished. I was walking to Sean’s apartment to tell him that everything was set but I picked up a newspaper on the way. When I opened it in the elevator there was a picture of Kevin and Hannah on their wedding day in the wedding announcement section. She looked gorgeous in a designer dress and there was an article underneath the picture that talked mostly about her big-wig job as a fashion consultant and her family’s money. Kevin is definitely on easy street now that they’re married; too bad he had two black eyes and a swollen lip in the picture. Heh. I couldn’t wait to show Sean, he’d probably find it as amusing as I did.
When I got to Sean’s apartment I heard him talking in his bedroom so I fed Murphy and then sat in the living room reading other sections of the newspaper. I could sort of hear what Sean was saying and I didn’t purposefully mean to eavesdrop but it was almost impossible not to.
“Man, what am I going to do? I don’t have the money for a lawyer. I’m going to end up in jail, Lou!”
I, honestly, was shocked. Sean had been playing it really cool for the past few days once the initial shock of being served had subsided. I thought he was handling things but I was wrong.
“I can’t go to jail, Lou! It will ruin my life; I’ll have to stop playing music-”
“Don’t be ridiculous, the band can’t wait for me if I’m convicted, we’re just starting to get some awesome reviews and opportunities. Plus, this guy s out to get me, man, he’s going to demand I serve time, I just know it.”
There was a long pause.
“No. No, absolutely NOT. I am NOT calling Paul. No way, man. I don’t need him to come and bail me out, just because he’s my brother doesn’t mean he’s going to do this pro-bono.”
“I think we should probably start looking for a new guitar player, to be honest. I’ll let you know what happens, but I gotta go.”
A few seconds later Sean opened his bedroom door and acted like he was completely fine. I tried to look like I was nonchalant and absorbed with the paper.
“Hey, you.” I said as he kissed my forehead and sat next to me.
“How’s the noggin?” He asked.
“Better, the doctor gave me a clean bill of health at my check-up today. You have to see this,” I said handing the paper to him with the picture of Kevin and Hannah on it.
Sean smiled and then took out the music section of the paper before handing it back to me. I let silence fall between us to see if Sean would say anything about the phone call to Lou but it didn’t seem like he was going to. I don’t think he knew I overheard him.
“So, how is everything going?” I tried to ask as nonchalantly as possible.
“Fine. Karen was able to do damage control and get us a few more gigs at that bar as well as some others at larger venues. It’s weird; she used the whole incident to kind of build up our cred as musicians but also downplayed it so we weren’t seen as a bunch of monsters.”
“That’s good,” I said, unsure of what to say without giving everything away.
We sat there and read the paper together until Sean had to go to another gig. I waited until he was gone before over analyzing everything and freaking out for him. How did everything get to this point?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Served

I wasn’t really able to sleep much last night so it was a relief when Guy called me at the crack of dawn to let me know that he and the rest of the guys were waiting for Sean to have his bail set. Zoey helped me pack up my stuff while I was on the phone.

“Zoey and I are on our way down there, Guy.”

“Faith, Sean doesn’t want you to come down here.”

“What!? Why?”

“He doesn’t want you to see him like this. Once we get him released I’ll take him back to his apartment but he practically begged me to convince you not to come down here.”

“Okay,” I said a little hurt, but I understood Sean’s reasons for it, “I’ll have Zoey take me to his apartment, then.”

Zoey and I finished packing all of my stuff and then headed out to Sean’s.

“Are you sure you don’t want me to stay until Sean gets home?” She asked me once we’d gotten everything settled back into Sean’s place and Murphy was dozing in a window.

“No, I’ll be fine. It’s okay; you have to go to work at some point Zoey.”

She nodded and gave me a hug before she left. I had called Veronica earlier to tell her I wasn’t going to be at work for the next couple of days citing my concussion as the problem and, to be honest, the doctor said I shouldn’t go to work anyway, so I, thankfully, have some time to kind of figure things out and let everything die down a bit before Steve, Suzy, and Dina bombard me with questions about how I got the concussion.

I was in Sean’s apartment for about an hour, unpacking my clothes, putting away Murphy’s toys, etc. when he finally walked in the door.

“Faith!?” He called when he walked in.

I came out of his bedroom and gasped when I saw him. He had a black eye and swollen lip that looked horrendous.

“Oh my God!” I said moving toward him.

“It looks worse than it feels.” He said once I had closed the gap.

We stood in Sean’s foyer awkwardly, unsure of how to greet each other. I don’t think either of us really knew what to expect in regards to the other’s feelings so we just stood there for a few seconds before I gave in and hugged him. He wrapped his arms around me and inhaled deeply. When we pulled apart Sean met my eyes.

“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have gotten into that fight. I never meant to put you through all of this, -I”

“What? If anything I should be apologizing to you. If I hadn’t come to see you this never would have happened.” I said.

“It’s not your fault, Faith. It’s his, he should never have put his hands on you like that, he could’ve raped you! It’s not your fault, do you understand me?”

Sean held my shoulders and refused to drop his gaze until I slowly nodded in agreement. We hugged again and then went to sit on Sean’s couch.

“Why did you come to the bar last night?” He asked once we were snuggled up.

“I went to my apartment to pick up a few things last night after hanging out with Molly. I got something in the mail that freaked me out and I wanted to tell you about it immediately.”

“What happened?”

“I got an invitation to Kevin’s wedding.” I got up and pulled it out of my duffel bag in Sean’s bedroom so he could look at it. I handed it to him when I sat back down.

He looked at it for a couple of seconds before lightly tossing it on his coffee table.

“Did you tell anyone about it?”

“I told the officer last night, they said they would pass along the information to the detective working on my break-in case, but I haven’t heard anything since then.” I said.

“I thought you said the person in your apartment was too short to be Kevin.”

“I’m almost positive that they were but he seemed like he could have been the mystery person last night. I mean showing up at the bar you were playing at the same night I got that invitation seems a little too-”

“Wait. What?”

I saw Sean stiffen quickly.

“What did I say?” I asked, confused.

“The guy in the hallway was Kevin!?”

“I thought you knew that, I thought that’s why you were so upset.”

“No! I was upset because some dude almost had his hand down your pants and was pressed against your face! If I’d known it was the bastard you dated before me I would never have stopped hitting him!”

Sean was visibly upset and I wasn’t sure what to say to make him feel better.

“It’s okay, Sean, I’m going to press charges against him. This is never going to happen again.” I said rubbing his arm.

“He’s the person who was in your apartment. The fact that he just happened to be at the bar I was playing at the same day you got his invitation, and so soon after the break-in. It’s him Faith, it has to be! He’s probably been keeping tabs on you since you broke up with him. What a sick son of a bitch.”

“I still think the person was too short to be him, but this seems like it’s impossible to just be a coincidence.” I said, “You know, I thought it might be his fiancĂ©e but I have absolutely no evidence to back that up. She found out about me right before I ended it with Kevin and if he’s been keeping tabs on me and she found out about it then maybe this is something she did to make it look like it was Kevin.”

“Yeah, but why would she want to get him in trouble right before her wedding?”

“TouchĂ©.” I said, “You know it’s possible we’ll never find out who it was.”

Before Sean could respond there was a knock on his door and he got up to answer it.

“Yes.”

There was a guy standing outside in a courier uniform.

“You’ve been served.” The courier handed Sean a packet of papers, had him sign something, and then left.

“What’s that?” I asked.

“Kevin is pressing charges against me for assault and battery.” He said.

Sean was as white as a sheet as he stared at the papers.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thought-Full

I tried to go to sleep in Zoey’s spare bedroom but I was so scared still and I ended up actually crawling into bed with her, instead, just to feel somewhat protected. My phone rang a few minutes after I fell asleep and it was Guy.

“Hey, Faith, we can’t get Sean out of jail. He needs to have his bail set and that can’t happen until tomorrow.”

“What does that mean?” I asked groggily.

“It means he’s gotta spend the night but we’re going to get him out tomorrow morning as soon as his bail is set.”

“Okay.” I said and then hung up.

I couldn’t fall back asleep so I made myself some tea and tried to watch some horrible reality television but I couldn’t turn my thoughts off. It also didn’t help much that my concussion headache was back in full force, either. I’ve decided to write out my thoughts on these past events since I can’t turn them off and Zoey’s computer happens to be available.

Overall, I think I’m still in shock. In the aftermath of the incident in Kevin’s office I was so insistent to my friends and Sean that he wasn’t dangerous and that he didn’t know what he was doing then but I was so, so wrong. I feel like I’ve been fooled majorly by someone who has done nothing but manipulate me and I just let him manipulate me at every turn. In hindsight, I really can’t believe how stupid I’ve been. I should have taken Kevin’s previous behavior more seriously and pressed charges the first time. Zoey was right and I know she’ll never say ‘I told you so’ considering how shaken up I am right now, but she would have every single right to wave that in my face.

I also feel like everything I did to try and protect Sean from having to choose between the band and our relationship was all a waste of time. He assaulted Kevin and that could put his place in the band in serious jeopardy. It makes me sick thinking that I could be the reason Sean loses such an important part of his life, especially after seeing how much Guy, Lou, Eddie, and Jake all care about him…and me. They really are a family and knowing that now, makes me hurt even more over everything that’s happened.

The one thing that bothers me about all of this, however, is not the giant mess it has created but the invitation. Was it just a coincidence of timing that it showed up in my mailbox so recently after the break-in? I was so sure the person in my apartment wasn’t Kevin but now that I’ve realized my vase was smashed instead of knocked over I’m wondering if Kevin might have done it and then sent the invitation in retaliation to show that he, too, was moving on from our relationship. If it is just a coincidence then I don’t understand why Kevin would send it in the first place. We haven’t had contact in months, it just seems bizarre. I mean, I know that he has a history of doing things that are supposed to make me uncomfortable but this just seems odd considering the last thing I got from him like this was months ago when we were still working together. Part of me wonders if it might have been Hannah behind all of it but she doesn’t strike me as that kind of person and she’s marrying Kevin, I don’t think she’d want to try and frame him or get him in some kind of trouble lest it ruin her perfectly planned out wedding. She also has too much to lose by doing it.

Not knowing who was in my apartment is driving me nuts. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to be comfortable in it again without at least knowing who it was.

The pain meds are starting to kick in and they’re making me drowsy so I’m going to have to continue my thoughts some other time. I’ll update what happens soon.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Night Terrors

I went to my apartment last night kind of late. I had met Molly after work to grab a bite to eat and lost track of time updating her on everything that’s happened with the break-in. She was happy to hear I finally told Sean, even though it wasn’t the best way to tell him. I went primarily, to pick up a few more clothes, Murphy’s food and my mail and then get back to Sean’s but when I walked into my apartment and started walking around I just had the heebie-jeebies all over again. I came out of the kitchen with Murphy’s food and happened to looked down the hallway where the smashed vase still was and decided to clean it up. We had been in such a hurry that I hadn’t bothered cleaning anything before we left.

When I came back with my dust pan though I noticed something about the vase: it was too far away from the table I set it on to have been knocked over by Murphy. Whoever was here deliberately smashed it. I shook off the paranoia that was creeping over me, cleaned it up, and then grabbed my stuff to get the hell out of there. My apartment just felt so eerie and I’m not sure if I’ll ever feel completely comfortable or safe in it ever again.

I grabbed my mail on the way out of my building and started sifting through it when I stopped dead cold. There was a wedding invitation for Kevin and Hannah’s wedding (it’s in the next few days) sitting on top of my light bill. It took me a few seconds to realize what it was before an immense feeling of terror came over me. I looked around the lobby of my building and then at my phone for the time before booking it over to the bar where Sean was scheduled to be playing tonight.

Once I got there I waved at him and took a seat at a table before ordering a double whiskey and downing it. I wanted to tell Sean about the invitation immediately because I learned my lesson about withholding information and also because, honestly, I was scared out of my mind and didn’t want to be alone in either of our apartments. I probably looked like some crazy person sitting there with a bag of cat food and a duffel bag full of clothes; downing alcohol like it was my job.

After a few minutes I recomposed myself and got up to go the bathroom after asking the bartender to watch my stuff. I splashed some water on my face and took deep breaths before walking out of the bathroom directly into Kevin.

“Oh my God! What are you doing here? Did you follow me?” I asked.

I was up against the wall of the hallway and tried to look past Kevin to the main room of the bar to see if anyone could get him away from me or, at the very least, see me.

“Follow you? No. I’m here celebrating my bachelor’s party and I thought I’d say hello.”

“Yeah, well, I’m not sure bringing an alcoholic to a bar is a good idea. You said ‘hello’, now good-bye!” I said trying to push past him.

He stopped me from moving and pushed me back into the wall.

“What’s with you? I just wanted to say ‘hi’. We haven’t seen each other in months. Surely you miss me.”

The only reason I didn’t laugh was because I was so terrified.

“I don’t miss you, get out of my way.” I tried to push past him again but he blocked me and grabbed my waist.

I was trying to get away but Kevin’s grip was too much; he held me pressed up against him and started moving one of his hands up to my chest. I tried to push him away and slap his hand but I couldn’t get any space between us. I started pounding on his arms with my fists but it was no use. He had his hand up my shirt and was shoving his tongue down my throat and I had a sudden flashback to being in Kevin’s office when this all happened before, yet I wasn’t as terrified the first time. I tried to push his face away or turn mine away but he held my face and was using the wall to keep me pinned to him. It took me a few seconds to realize that he stopped touching my chest and was trying to unbutton my jeans. I was trying to scream but he was practically choking me with his tongue and I started crying because I didn’t want what Kevin was doing to progress any further and I’ve never felt so helpless in my life.

As soon as Kevin got my jeans unbuttoned I closed my eyes and tried detach myself for what he might do next but he was suddenly thrown off of me. Sean had him on the ground, pinned, and he was punching the shit out of Kevin. Lou and Guy pulled Sean off and held him against a wall until he stopped fighting to get to Kevin, I noticed that Sean had a bloody lip but Kevin was much, much worse. Blood was pouring out of his nose and mouth and he already had two visible black eyes. Jake came over to me and slowly walked me back to where I left my stuff earlier. I saw Eddie talking to the bartender who looked irate and was on the phone but everything after that seemed like a blur.

A police officer took my statement and Kevin was taken to the hospital in an ambulance with another police officer while Sean gave his statement and was taken to the police station. Seeing him put in the back of a police car with cuffs on was too much for me to deal with at that point and I passed out on the sidewalk in front of the bar. I woke up in an ambulance with Jake sitting next to me holding a compress to my head while a paramedic shined a flashlight in my eyes.

“Guy and Lou are already on their way to get Sean out of jail, so don’t worry about it, okay Faith?” He said.

I was still pretty disoriented and it took me a few minutes to understand what Jake was referring to.

“Z-Zoey.” I was struggling to focus.

“She’s definitely got a concussion…” I heard the paramedic mumbling to Jake but I couldn’t make out everything that was being said, “…monitored for a few days… needs to be checked…”

The ambulance started moving and I grabbed Jakes arm.

“They have to take you to the hospital Faith, you’ve got a concussion and need to see a doctor.”

“Zoey. C-call.” I tried to reach for my cell phone to get Jake to call her but my hand bumped into the bag of cat food sitting on my lap. I would have probably laughed at this absurd picture of me sitting in the back of an ambulance with cat food on my lap and Jake holding a compress to my head had I not been so out of it. Jake eventually figured out what I wanted and he called Zoey to let her know we were headed to the hospital.

She showed up after the doctor had cleared me to go home (only after I promised to come back in two days to make sure I was okay) and I had convinced Jake I would be okay to go sit in the hallway to wait. My speech wasn’t slurred anymore but I did have the worst headache of my life. Zoey sat down and put her arm around me while Jake got me some pain meds from the on-call nurse. She had a look of utter confusion on her face but refrained from asking any questions while we were still at the hospital.

Zoey offered to drive Jake back to the bar before we went to Sean’s to pick up all of my stuff. I wasn’t really supposed to do anything too strenuous so Zoey made two trips into Sean’s to get my suitcase and Murphy (we bought another disposable litter box on the way to her place). Once we got me all settled into her guest bedroom I changed into my pajamas and sat on my bed with Murphy, unsure of how to feel. Zoey came in with a glass of water and a bottle of pain meds in case I needed them later, she was in her pajamas, too.

“So, you up to talking?” She asked watching me pet Murphy.

I nodded.

“What happened?”

“I received an invitation in the mail to Kevin’s wedding and I got scared, so I went to Sean’s gig because I was too afraid to be alone in his apartment and I wanted to tell him. But when I was waiting for him to get a break I went into the bathroom. When I came back out, Kevin was there and he-and he-”

I started crying and Zoey comforted me.

“Are you going to press charges?”

I looked up at her, “Hell, yes.”

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Managed

I haven’t gone back to my apartment since the break-in and I probably will need to soon to pick up more clothes, Murphy’s food, and my mail but I’m going to do that this weekend. It’s been kind of nice, though, temporarily living with Sean. I think he’s been enjoying it, too. He came home from a gig last night in a great mood.

“Are you hungry? I made spaghetti for dinner and left some warming in the oven.”

“Aw, yes, thanks.” He went into the kitchen and then came out and sat next to me on the couch with a bowl of spaghetti and the leftover garlic bread. Murphy sat next to him licking his chops in vain hope.

“We got our new temporary manager tonight. She’s pretty cool. She’s not like Gerry at all.”

“Oh?” I asked, “How is she different?”

“Well, she doesn’t try to micromanage anything and she just lets us go with the flow. Like, Gerry would make our set lists and outline strict schedules we all had to abide by but we didn’t have to do anything like that tonight, it was nice, it was sort of like we were back in Guy’s garage just having a jam session.”

“What’s her name?” I asked.

“Karen.”

“Do you think she’d be okay with me coming to watch you play? I know Gerry hated that.”

“I don’t think she’d have a problem with that.” Sean smiled, “This is good, what did you put in this?”

“Oh, I used a six cheese blend for the sauce and I bought special garlic infused spaghetti. Have you gotten any more updates about Gerry?”

“Yeah, he and his daughter have been able to reconcile and she isn’t going to transfer the power of attorney to a medical board. He’s going to have to stay in the hospital and is in a mandatory therapy program. One thing’s for sure, he is not coming back to work. Our label received his resignation today.”

“So, what does that mean for you and the band?”

“Well, it means that we could either take Karen on as our new tour manager or she can be a temp until we find a new one. The guys don’t really like anyone we’ve met with so far so we might end up just signing with Karen if she works out for the next month and a half. We don’t have to make a decision until Gerry’s contract would have been up, so we have time if she doesn’t work out but, honestly, I think we’ll want to have her as our tour manager, she meshes well with all of us and she doesn’t have such a Debbie Downer air about her. Things just don’t seem as serious…with Gerry it always felt like a life or death situation.”

“So, Gerry just gave his resignation? Just like that?”

“Yeah, it sounds like he wants to work on things with his daughter, especially after he realized that she’s got a kid and a husband. I think he realized how much he was missing out. Guy said that Gerry asked if he could move in with her but she said no.”

“Oh.” I said feeling bad for Gerry.

“She is going to help him find an apartment close by, though. She told him that she thinks it’s important he have some independence considering how absorbed he lets himself get into things.”

“Well, she has a point there.”

“No kidding.”

Sean and I sat in a comfortable silence while we watched television; we even cuddled for awhile before retiring to go to bed. I tried to initiate some fun but Sean shut me down.

“We haven’t had sex since before the break-in.” I mumbled.

Sean sighed as he put his pajamas on.

“I’m just not in the mood.”

“I know you’re mad at me Sean, but come on! Withholding sex? Really?”

“It’s not that…”

Sean sat on the edge of the bed next to me. He sounded defeated.

“Faith, you understand that the problems I had at the beginning of our relationship…I guess technically it was the middle of our relationship…anyway, the problems I had, before, were emotionally based, right?”

“Yes.”

“Well, I’m kind of not sure that I’ll be able to work right because of your lying and how it’s made me feel.”

“Oh.” I said quietly, “Do you think this is going to be like starting all over again?”

“I’m not sure.”

“Can we try and see where it goes?”

Sean was quiet for awhile while he considered the idea and then suddenly, he pulled me to him and started kissing me gently and then more urgently like he’d realized how much he wanted this too. We had sex and everything worked fine, afterward, Sean was almost relieved about how things had worked out and I don’t blame him. He was so unhappy when we were struggling with all of this before that I’m relieved too, starting all over would have been too much, I think, for either of us.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Recaps and Speculation

I went to work to face the concerned looks of Steve, Dina, and Suzy as soon as I walked in. I explained to them everything that had happened over lunch.

“Wait, Sean’s manager tried to kill himself?” Steve asked.

“Yeah, apparently he checked himself into a hospital three states over because he was feeling suicidal and then tried to do it while he was waiting for a psych evaluation. He tried to hang himself with a bed sheet and was placed on a 5150 psych hold the night of the break-in following his suicide attempt. He’s been placed on it indefinitely…” I said recanting the information I found out from another visit from Guy the night before.

Guy had come over with more information on Gerry’s state (he’s stable and lucid) late last night. He had decided to see if any of the other guys would sign the power of attorney, but no one can drop everything and move to be with Gerry since they don’t even know when he’s going to get out of the hospital. They’re all pretty distraught.

“Why is he so far away?” Dina asked.

“That’s where his daughter lives. Apparently he’s been keeping tabs on her for awhile but never plucked up the courage to actually make contact with her after he and his ex-wife divorced. It wasn’t a pretty divorce either. Guy thinks Gerry went there to reconnect with his daughter but wasn’t emotionally ready and had a breakdown before voluntarily checking himself into the psych ward.”

“I can’t believe Sean didn’t know any of this about Gerry.” Dina said, and Steve nodded in agreement.

“Gerry got divorced a few years before he discovered the band. Sean said Gerry’s never talked about his personal life and everyone just figured he was too much of a workaholic to have one.”

“Wait, so this means that Gerry didn’t break into your apartment, right?” Suzy asked.

“Yeah, the police confirmed it. Gerry has a rock solid alibi for the night of the break-in…an alibi that involves an indefinite psych hold.”

“So who was it?” Suzy asked taking a bite of salad.

“The police still don’t know. Sean and I were so positive it was Gerry, any other possible person just seems impossible now that we know it wasn’t him.”

“Not even Kevin?” Dina asked looking at me.

“I don’t think so. He hasn’t been in contact with me since I quit, it seems a little ridiculous that he would suddenly break into my apartment. I’m pretty sure Kevin was taller than the person I saw. Whoever was there didn’t even do anything. All the damage was done by Murphy. I’m starting to think it was just a random break in that Sean and I interrupted before anything could be stolen.”

“Well, I know that happens.” Steve said, “A friend of mine was robbed about a year ago. They caught the person after two more break-ins; it was someone in my friend’s building.”

“Well, the police interviewed my neighbors, so hopefully if it was someone in the building, one of them saw something or heard something. The police are still working on everything, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they never find the person.”

I shrugged and continued to eat my sandwich. Suzy changed the subject to the office gossip and our lunch went by without anymore mention of my recent problems.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Tension

I woke up unsure if everything from the night before had really happened until I realized I was in Sean’s bedroom. My heart sank a little when I realized that it wasn’t all a dream. When I walked out of the bedroom Sean was sitting at his computer with a cup of coffee.

“Morning.” I said unsure of what kind of mood he was going to be.

“Hey.” He said looking over his shoulder.

“What are you doing?”

“Looking at some management offers we got a few days ago.”

“Sean, look-”

“It’s fine.”

“No, it’s not, you’re upset.”

“Faith, I’m going to be mad for awhile. It’s going to take me some time to feel comfortable trusting you again.”

He sighed and then turned back to the computer.

“Sean, I don’t know how to act around you. I feel like I’m walking on eggshells. I feel like I can’t talk to you.”

Sean spun around in the chair and gestured for me to come over and sit on his lap. He put his arms around my waist when I sat down and kissed my cheek.

“I want you to talk to me Faith. If you talked to me more I don’t think we’d have this problem, right now. The truth is I am still angry with you but I don’t want you to feel like I’m about to go off over any small thing. I don’t want you to be afraid to tell me things. I’m more hurt than mad that you felt like you needed to keep something so big a secret.”

“But you understand why I did it, right?”

“Yeah, you thought I’d track Gerry down and hurt him.”

“It’s a little more than that, too.”

“Oh?”

“Sean, ever since we started dating, Gerry has been trying to make you decide between me and the band. You know I would never make you choose, I would rather break up with you than make you choose. Gerry coming over and doing what he did was a way to make you choose, even if he wasn’t consciously aware of it. I knew that if I told you it would give Gerry what he wants. You would either choose me and Gerry would get to tout how uncommitted you are to the band and how he was right all along or you would choose the band and Gerry would have his perfect career plan. Me not telling you about it was a way to protect you from being forced to choose.”

Sean was quiet for awhile while he thought about what I said.

“You have to know that I was going to tell you. I was going to do it after my birthday. I didn’t expect you to find out while I was talking to a police officer.”

Sean laughed.
“I don’t think that’s how anyone expects to find out about something like that.”

“Fair enough.” I giggled.

There was a knock on Sean’s door and we both stood up. I went into the kitchen to feed Murphy while Sean answered the door.

“Guy? What’s going on?” Guy walked in the door and immediately started talking.

“We’ve got a problem, man. Gerry’s been committed to a psychward.”

“What? Slow down.”

“He’s been in a hospital on a psych hold since our last gig. I just got a call from his daughter, he wasn’t there because he was checking himself into the hospital.”

“Gerry has a daughter?”

“That was my first thought, too. Apparently she hasn’t seen or heard from him in 12 years, she figured he died. Gerry gave them her phone number when he was admitted. She phone my number in his phone and called it.”

“Whoa. Wait, I thought Jake talked to him when he didn’t show for our last gig?”

“He did, but it must have been before Gerry checked himself in. His daughter says that he’s not going to be released for awhile. He tried to kill himself last night, man.”

Sean sat down on a chair while Guy paced around the front door. I didn’t know what to do but ultimately decided to go and comfort Sean. Guy barely noticed I was there because he was so panicked.

“His daughter wants to sign Gerry’s power of attorney over to one of us so we can make health decisions for him.”

“What!?” Sean looked up.

“His daughter doesn’t know anything about him, she wants to wash her hands of it and go back to thinking he’s dead.”

“That’s so sad.” I whispered without thinking.

“I think you should do it.” Guy said looking at Sean.

“What? No way! I can’t.”

“I can’t either, and you know no one else is going to step up.”

“Where is he, exactly?”

“He’s in a hospital three states over.”

“No way! Absolutely not! None of us can do that! His daughter is going to have to find someone else. I can’t move three states over.”

“Sean, he’s been with us from the beginning, we can’t just abandon him.”

“I don’t know what you want me to do, Guy. Gerry and I have been fighting for months; it would be a conflict of interest for me to make medical decisions for him.”

Guy sat down next to Sean, they were both in shock and seemed to be trying o find a way out of this impossible situation. After awhile, Guy sighed and sadly nodded his head.

“I’ll go tell his daughter we can’t help her…or him. It’s just not…”

“Okay, I’ll call the label and let them know, they’ll be able to set us up with a temporary manger.”

And with that Guy left. I rubbed Sean’s back and tried to comfort him as best he could. I had a feeling he felt a little responsible for what has happened to Gerry. We sat in silence for a long time before Sean got up to make some phone calls. He’s been pretty quiet since then but I heard him call his therapist and set up an extra appointment. I’m sad for Gerry but I’m proud of Sean for coping with this the healthy way.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Birthday Bummer

(*Note: There's been two posts, make sure to read the one below this one first or you might be really confused*)


I woke up the morning of my birthday with a clear mind and looking forward to my dinner party. I got flowers from Sean delivered to my apartment and put them in a crystal vase before I left for work. They were gorgeous! The bouquet had purple violets and roses with two purple orchids in the center and yellow sprigs of accents flowers. I’ve never gotten such beautiful flowers before and I was touched that Sean did this. I had a feeling he put a lot of effort into picking just the right arrangement and flowers. I was planning on using them for the centerpiece for dinner.

Steve, Suzy, and Dina organized a small birthday party (cupcakes and a card signed by everyone) at work and let me know they were all looking forward to my party later that night. I was so excited but work seemed to take forever and by the time I left to meet Sean outside I was bursting at the seams.

“Hey birthday girl!” Sean was leaning on the side of my building when I came out of the front doors.

His hair was windswept and he was wearing a pair of dark jeans, his Chucks, and a heavy gray sweater over a white t-shirt.

“Hey, you. I got the flowers. They’re beautiful. Thank you.” I gave Sean a passionate kiss and a hug before we set off for the grocery store.

I spent about 30 minutes shopping for all of the things I would need for the dinner while Sean picked up the cake and made sure I couldn’t see it by covering it with his jacket. I felt happier than I have in awhile and Sean was giggling with me and flirting. It was nice. He even bought me an obnoxious birthday balloon when we went to check out.

We were still laughing and flirting when I opened the door to my apartment, carrying heavy bags of groceries. Sean went to go put the bags of groceries in the kitchen as I went to tie the balloon onto a chair back. I stepped on something in the hallway though and stopped midway.

“Sean?”

“Yeah?”

“Is Murphy in the kitchen with you?”

“No, why?”

I released the balloon so it bumped up against the ceiling and walked into the kitchen.

“The flowers you sent me were knocked off of the table I left them on. I’m worried that Murphy knocked it over and hurt himself…he usually greets me when I come through the door…”

“He’s probably sleeping or something; do you want me to grab a dustpan?”

“Yeah,” I said looking around.

Sean handed me a dust pan but then pulled me to him and we started making out in my kitchen. He had me up on one of my counters when I suddenly opened my eyes and screamed. There was a dark figure coming out of my bedroom towards us. Sean spun around and grabbed a knife from a wood block next to me. The figure stopped in my hallway like it was deciding where to go and suddenly ran out my front door and away. Sean tried to run after whoever it was but they lost him. He came back out of breath and told me to call the police.

My hands were shaking and I was struggling not to go into hysterics.

“S-Sean…M-Murphy…find him.” I squeaked out while I dialed the phone.

I reported the break-in and the dispatcher told me she would send some police officers over to the apartment as soon as possible. When I got off the phone Sean came around the corner holding Murphy.

“He was under the couch, shaking. I think he was scared of whoever was here.”

He handed him to me and then held me. As we were standing in the kitchen waiting for the police, Zoey walked through my open front door.

“Hey, guys…what’s going on?” She looked around bewildered.

“Someone broke into Faith’s apartment. We just called the police.”

“Oh my God! Faith do you want me to call everyone and tell them not to come?”

I nodded and gave her the list of people who were supposed to come and their phone numbers. She stepped into the hall and started calling people. Within a few minutes two police officers were looking through my apartment while another one was talking to Sean and I about what happened. We had just finished telling them everything when Zoey came in to stand next to me. The officer was writing everything down and then started asking me questions.

“Have you ever received any odd gifts from a stranger or a secret admirer? Any unexplained notes?”

“No…nothing like that…well, my ex-boyfriend Kevin sent me some morbid stuff after we broke up. We didn’t end on good terms but I haven’t seen anything like that since I got my new job.”

“What!?” Sean recoiled away from me in shock. I realized that I had never told him about the strange bereavement card or the flowers that Kevin claimed weren’t from him and I downplayed how crazy Kevin went around the time I quit.

“Sean, it’s not like that, he wouldn’t admit to sending the stuff but he was just playing with my head.”

“What did he send you?” The officer asked cutting Sean off and leaving him to stew in his shock and anger.

“A bereavement card that said, ‘I’m sorry for your loss’ when we broke up and a bouquet of flowers when we were together. It didn’t have a note.”

“Has your ex-boyfriend been in contact with you since you quit your job?”

“No.”

“But he knows where you live?”

“Yes.”

“You said you ended on bad terms, can you tell me what that means?”

“I found out he was lying to me about being involved with someone else. We worked together and he wasn’t handling it professionally at work. When I decided to quit and turn in my resignation to him he tried to grope me and take my shirt off.”

“Did you press charges?”

“No, I just wanted to leave everything behind. He was drunk when it happened and I loved my old newspaper company, just not him being my boss. I didn’t want to cause them any extra legal troubles.”

“Is there anyone else who might want to hurt you or break into your apartment?”

There was a beat of silence and I looked at Sean.

“Ma’am?”

“Who, Faith?” Sean urged.

“Gerry. That’s my boyfriend’s tour manager. He came over about a week ago and tried to scare me into breaking up with Sean. He grabbed my arm and tried to restrain me when I refused but my cat attacked him. He told me that I’m the reason he was going to lose his job and that he couldn’t let that happen; that I needed to be put in my place and that I was controlling Sean’s life so I could be the band’s tour manager. He was not in the right mind and was clearly upset. That’s why I didn’t tell you Sean. I was going to; I was just waiting for the right time.”

“How could you not tell me this!?” Sean was yelling and bright red.

“Sean! Now isn’t the time, okay?” Zoey cut in and gave Sean a warning stare, “She has more important things to focus on right now, don’t you think?”

Sean crossed his arms and looked away, it was pretty obvious that he was incredibly pissed at me and that I was in some serious trouble later. The officer was eyeing both of us and then saw the black and purple bruise on my arm and looked at Sean.

“It wasn’t him, it was Gerry.” I said acidly.

“Do you want to press charges against Gerry?”

“No.”

Sean squirmed next to me and Zoey shifted uncomfortably.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes. He wasn’t in his right mind. He was upset.”

“How did he find your address?”

“He told me he followed Sean after work one night and then came back the next day.”

Sean moved almost like he’d been electrocuted but didn’t say anything.

“Okay, I’m going to ask you to do a walkthrough of your apartment to see if anything was stolen.”

I followed the officer and looked all over my apartment but the only thing that was missing was my toothbrush and the only thing that was damaged was the vase Sean’s flowers had been in. I figured Murphy got up and knocked the flowers over, possibly trying to get away from whoever had been here and he’s knocked my toothbrush on the floor before so I figured he did it again and it was hiding under a shelf or something but I was too shook up to really look for it.

After a few hours, the police left and I was alone with Sean and Zoey. I had been struggling to keep myself composed since I saw the dark figure moving towards me and the emotional exhaustion was starting to take its toll. I walked back to the kitchen after closing the door behind the police and caught Sean and Zoey whispering to each other. They stopped as soon as they saw me.

“I don’t really feel comfortable staying here…” I said, my voice was hoarse.

“I’ll take you and Murphy to my place, Zoey already offered to drive us. You should go pack a bag; I’m going to run to the store to buy a disposable cat box and I should be back in 20 minutes, okay?”

Zoey threw Sean her keys before he hugged me and left. She then started collecting various things for Murphy: his food dish, his small cat bed, a bag of food, two or three toys, and the security blanket he’s had since he was at the adoption shelter. I started packing a bag and realized about halfway through that I had no idea how long it would take for me to want to come back to my apartment so I packed enough clothes for a week and hoped I was over-packing. I threw a bag of toiletries together and added it to my suitcase when Sean walked through the door.

The ride to Sean’s apartment was silent except for the moments where Murphy meowed out of nervousness (he tends to associate the car with the vet so I don’t blame him) and the noise of the city. Neither of us said a word until Zoey dropped us off. She helped us carry everything upstairs and I went to see her off while Sean set up the cat box for Murphy.

“Are you going to be okay?”

“I think so,” I said with an air of detachment.

“I didn’t mean about this, I meant about you and Sean. He seems really pissed, Faith.”

“I’m in a lot of trouble,” I conceded, “but I think we’ll be able to work through this. I mean, he didn’t need to offer his apartment to me, he knew you could have easily taken me in. It will be unpleasant but I…I have to believe things will be okay right now because I don’t know if I can handle losing Sean right after losing Elise and now this…I should have told him as soon as it happened. Why am I so stupid?” I asked, sighing, and leaning against her car to look up at Sean’s apartment.

“You’re not stupid,” she said hugging me, “You were afraid. When we’re scared we don’t think clearly.” She smiled warmly which caused a feeling embarrassment to start creeping over me.

“Why did you show up so early, Zoey?” I asked changing the subject.

“I thought you’d want some help setting up for the party.” She said.

She looked at her watch and then looked at me.

“How long are you going to avoid going up there?” She asked with a smirk.

“I don’t know. I don’t really want to. I’m exhausted, it’s amazing how drained a person can feel after being terrified. This is the second time this week I’ve felt that way, too. At least I don’t have to expend the energy hiding everything anymore.”

“Hey,” she said looking at me, “I’ll go get your stuff and load it up in the car right now if you want me to. I have that extra guest room.”

“No,” I said sighing and committing myself to talking to Sean, “He deserves an explanation. I can’t hide from this forever, especially now that it seems Gerry really is unstable enough to hurt me.”

“Okay, well, if things get to be too much you can call me and I’ll be here in 15 minutes.”

“I will.”

“I mean it, Faith,” She said holding my shoulders, “no matter how late it is.”

Zoey gave me one more hug before getting in her car and leaving. I took a few moments before going upstairs to face Sean. He was sitting at his dining room table with two glasses of hot chocolate; Murphy was sitting next to him on the tabletop flicking his tail.

“Hi.” I said meekly closing the door behind me.

“Hi. I thought you might want something to eat so I’m toasting an Italian sub for us in the oven.”

I realized how hungry I was as soon as the smell from the kitchen hit me and I thanked Sean before I sat down at the table across from him. Murphy meowed and walked over to sit near me as I took a sip from my cup.

“I was going to tell you.” I said looking at my cup.

“But you didn’t. At least not until you were forced to.” He got up and went to the kitchen before I could respond.

I sat there and stroked Murphy until Sean came back and set down a plate in front of me with half a sandwich and some apple slices on it.

“I just wanted some time to try and figure out the best way to tell you. I wanted to get all of my thoughts about what happened in order because I knew you’d be upset and one of us needed to keep a straight head after you’d been told.”

“Faith, this isn’t the first time you’ve lied to me by omission. How can you expect me to trust you when you do things like this?”

“Sean, the stuff with Kevin was in the past, I told you I didn’t think it was relevant. I didn’t know how concerned you were about it which is why I didn’t think to tell you.”

“But then I told you how much it concerned me and you still omitted stuff.”

“Like what?”

“Like the fact that he sent you those creepy things. A bereavement card? Really?”

“I didn’t purposefully omit those things, Sean, I honestly forgot all about it until the police officer asked me about weird gifts.” My voice was tight with emotion but I tried to control it. I knew if I let myself succumb to the trauma of what we had just dealt with surface I wouldn’t be able to stop it.

Sean sighed and we ate in silence. When we were both finished he got up and took our plates to head towards the kitchen.

Over his shoulder he said, “I’m going to sleep on the couch tonight.”

I sat at the table for a few moments letting that decision sink in before heading into the kitchen.

“Sean, this is your apartment, I’ll sleep on the couch. Plus, you can’t sleep with light streaming through the windows.”

“No. Just go to bed, Faith.”

I stood in the kitchen doorway a little hurt by what he was saying before I decided to just give up and let Sean be a martyr on the couch. After putting on an oversized t-shirt and crawling into bed I sat in the middle of it with my chin on my knees. Sean came in holding something after a few minutes of me sitting there unable to turn off my mind.

“Here,” He said handing me a small box.

“What is this?” I asked looking at the box with confusion.

“It’s your birthday present. I was going to give it to you tomorrow but I think it’s safe to say that our special date isn’t going to be happening so soon.”

I took the box and opened it and then looked at Sean.

“It’s really sweet, Sean. I love it.” He had given me a silver necklace with a crystal music note on it.

“I love you, too,” I added when I realized he wouldn’t look at me, “Sean, please.”

I reached for his hand but he moved away before we connected and headed into the bedroom’s private bathroom. He came back out and sat down next to me.

“I also got you this.” He said handing me something inside a plastic CVS bag.

I opened it and looked at Sean before I enthusiastically hugged him. It was a blue toothbrush with a small red ribbon tied around the neck. It happened all at once: the hug, my crying, and then my sobbing. The emotion that I had been trying to hold back for hours had finally been allowed to surface and Sean just held me. He didn’t have to say anything, I knew things would be okay, eventually.