Loving Colt(8)

By: C.A. Harms

“I guarantee you that whoever that was, he won’t get anywhere near you. I won’t let him.” Her head lifted and her reddened eyes focused on my determined stare.

“It isn’t up to you. You can’t save me.” She paused and wiped the tears from her cheeks. “I can’t go home now, because he’ll look there. He knows that the only place I have to go is to my parents’, but I’m not going back now. I can’t go there. I just have to keep moving and find a way to start over.”

“I’m thinking that you need to stick around here for a while,” I stated, without thinking twice about it. “Your being on the road isn’t really a good idea.”

She looked down at the floor between her knees, almost as if she was in a daze.

“That guy on the phone. Was he your…?” I paused. I figured it was best to let her fill in the blanks, but only if she wanted to talk to me about it.

There was a long pause of silence, which I took to mean that she had no intention of answering me.

“He isn’t Maddi’s dad, if that’s what you’re asking. Her dad would have never hurt me; he was a good man. Troy was a marine. I followed him to California, and we talked about getting married after I finished school. He had no idea I was even pregnant. I never got the chance to tell him.” Alex looked up from the floor, and her eyes met mine.

“He died on active duty,” she whispered.

My mouth went instantly dry. I wondered if that was all she was going to tell me. The silence set in once again.

“The guy on the phone was Seth. I met him my junior year of college. He was a friend, someone I hung out with often. We were part of the same group. I never imagined dating him.” Alex shook her head lightly.

“I went over four years without having even the urge to date. I let my guard down after he tried repeatedly.” Another pause filled the room.

I didn’t want to say anything, for fear of causing her to shy away from me. I only hoped that my sitting here in silence allowed her to have some sense of peace. Inside I was dying slowly for her. My heart broke over and over at the idea of what she had endured.

“It was great at first. Seth spoiled me. Maddi too. Everything was almost too perfect.” She lowered her knees and crossed her legs in front of her. “The first time he put his hand on me, I froze. It was so unexpected, and it was almost as if I had dreamt it—the horrific nightmare I had imagined.” She shrugged.

“He thought I was allowing some guy to hit on me at a party. Seth was drunk, and he pushed me backwards. I stumbled and fell.” I watched as her eyes roamed the small bathroom, looking for something. “Could you hand me those tissues? Please.”

“Yeah,” I answered hoarsely. My throat burned over all she was confessing in me.

“Thank you.” The smile she forced was weak.

I never took my eyes from her as she attempted to clean up her tears.

Afterward, she lowered her hands to her lap and nervously picked at the Kleenex balled in them with shaky fingers.

“I broke it off with him immediately. It only angered him more, and since he had run all my friends off already, I just felt alone. When he cornered me about a week later, I was so scared.” Alex’s lower lip trembled as she fought against her impending tears. “He pinned me against my car, with his hand around my throat. I was just getting off work. He told me that things weren’t over because he wasn’t done with me yet.”

“Son of a…” I growled in frustration. I hung my head and took a deep breath, biting back the words that threatened to spill over.

When I was sure I could speak sensibly, I tried again.

“Alex, none of this is your fault, you can’t keep blaming yourself. You left. You got away from him. You took that step, so now let me help you.” She immediately began shaking her head no.

I held up my hand. “Please let me finish.” I waited for her to agree.

“I know you barely know me or my family, but I promise you we are here for you if you’ll allow us to help you. No strings, nothing expected in return. Just help. You shouldn’t have to run scared.”

“I have a hard time leaning on people. I don’t know if I can.” She spoke just barely above a whisper.

“Just try, that’s all I ask.” She nodded lightly. “Okay. Now the first thing we need to do is get you a new number. Then you can give it out only to those you know won’t pass it on to him.”

“I haven’t told my family what happened. I know I should have, but my brother would lose it if he knew. Jett has too much to lose over a guy like Seth. I couldn’t live with the fact that he lost it all over a stupid choice I made.” I could see the panic in her eyes.