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.


“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?”


“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.


“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


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.


“…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.”


“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.