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Dream Man 02

By:Kristen Ashley

the already scared I was which was layered on top of the massive freak out created by my home being invaded by what appeared to be about three teams of multi-agency SWAT (because some had the word POLICE on their vests, some had FBI and some had DEA), pulled out of my bed and hauled to the Police Station to be questioned.

Therefore my bravado melted and it came out as a whisper when I asked, “Please, can you tell me what’s going on?”

He didn’t tell me what was going on. Instead, he queried, “Did you ever regret that, Ms.

O’Hara?”

“What?” I asked.

“Accepting from your husband nothing but your legal fees, did you ever regret that?”

I shook my head. “No, I… no. I didn’t. I wanted a fresh start. I wanted –”

“Why?”

I blinked at him. “What?”

“Why did you want a fresh start? Ten years with him, multiple infidelities, he made six figures, you lived a very nice life. You could have cleaned up. But you took the dog and took off. Didn’t you think he owed you? Didn’t you think you should have part of the life you built together?”

I shook my head again. “No, I just wanted to… go,” I answered. “Is something… has something happened to Damian?”

He didn’t answer my question. Instead he remarked, “Ten years is a long time. That’s a lot to invest in a life, a marriage, a home just to walk away with nothing but the dog. Seems strange you wouldn’t lay claim to something. The wedding china. The dining room set. You didn’t even take a car.”

“Damian paid for the cars,” I said quietly.

“And you wanted nothing to do with him,” he noted. “Nothing to remind you of him. Am I right?”

I nodded, staring at him, trying to read his face but he wasn’t giving me anything.

“Lotta women, they wouldn’t feel like you. Lotta women, kind of money he made, kind of lifestyle they were used to, they’d feel something different,” he observed.

“I’m not a lot of women,” I told him.

“No, seems to me you definitely aren’t. Leaving all that behind, taking nothing but the dog. Seems to me it wasn’t so much leaving him as running away. Were you running away from your husband, Ms. O’Hara?”

I felt my chest compress like a hundred pound weight had settled on it.

“No,” I breathed out on a wheeze, this the first lie I’d uttered since he came in and his eyes sharpened on my face.

He knew I was lying.

“We had someone taking photos of you at lunch. This did not go well. We know this. You didn’t finish your lunch, Ms. O’Hara. You left early looking agitated. Hurried. Like you were running away. He tell you something at lunch that would make you wanna run away?”

“I didn’t run away,” I denied, my second lie, I did. “I just didn’t… when he told me that he’d lied about his father and he wanted to reconcile and I knew I didn’t, I didn’t think there was any reason to stay.”

He sat back in his chair and threw out an arm. “Ten years together, he screwed around on you, that’s tough but you married him, spent ten years with him. Time had passed. Time heals wounds. It wasn’t cool he lied about his dad but he went out of his way to get you. You couldn’t shoot the breeze over salads? Talk about old times?”

“Please tell me what’s going on,” I begged softly.

“I’d like to understand why you left your husband and why you left that lunch in such a hurry.”

“I told you and so did the court papers. He cheated on me and I didn’t want to have lunch when I learned the theme,” I reminded him.

He leaned toward me and said softly, “I don’t believe you.”

Oh God.

Something had happened to Damian.

“Something’s happened to Damian,” I whispered and he smiled.

I didn’t like that smile mainly because it wasn’t the kind of smile you liked.

“Now, why would you think that?”

I threw up my hands and lost a bit more control. “I don’t know. Because we’re talking about him in an interrogation room in the middle of the night, maybe?”

“You know someone who would want to hurt Damian Heller?” he asked.

“No,” I told him the truth.

“Sure about that?” he asked.

I nodded. “Yes, I am.”

“No one?” he pushed.

I shook my head. “No one.”

“Why’d you want a fresh start, Ms. O’Hara?”

“My husband was cheating –”

“Why’d you want a fresh start?”

“Like I said, he was unfaith –”

He banged his hand on the table, so, wound up and freaked out, my body involuntarily jumped in shock at the sudden movement and loud noise and he clipped angrily, “Why’d you want a fresh start?”

“Because he raped me! ” I shrieked.

It just came out, those four words, they just came right out of my mouth.

The first time I said them to anyone.

He shot back in his chair blinking and I heard a loud crash outside the room so my head jerked toward the wall.

My heart was beating fast and my chest was moving deep with my heavy breathing as I stared at my pale face in the mirror.

And I stared for a long time at my pale face in the mirror.

God, I hadn’t really looked in the mirror for ages. Not really. Not for years.

Was that what I looked like?

“Ms. O’Hara,” he called, his voice different, quiet, weirdly gentle but I kept staring at my pale face in the mirror, stunned by what I saw. “Tess,” he whispered and my head turned, my eyes sliding to his. “Your husband raped you?” he asked softly.

“I know it sounds funny,” I found my lips whispering. “He was my husband but it happened.” I held his eyes and kept whispering. “It happened.”

“It doesn’t sound funny,” he whispered back. “Not the least bit funny.”

I held his eyes and said nothing.

“You ran away,” he stated.

“Yes,” I whispered.

I ran away. Fuck yes, I ran away.

“Had he hurt you before?”

I nodded. “He was changing. Something was happening.” I hesitated then repeated, “He was changing.”

“What was happening?”

I shook my head. “I don’t know. I tried to talk… we had… we fought. He would get…” I paused. “Suddenly, it never happened before but suddenly when we fought it would get physical so I stopped trying t

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