Safe Haven

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It’s time for another request post!

I have mentioned before that I had a story published in an anthology, which I’m still super excited about. Upon request, here’s a wee bit of my story for FREE!

Am I not good to you?

 

TW: domestic abuse

Safe Haven 

“Steven’s married now.”

“Oh. How lovely.” I tried to sound pleased, but I felt the world-bending sensation that meant the blood was draining from my face. I tilted my head so my hair fell down, shielding me from Mum’s eyes. “When was that?”

“Just last week. His mum’s still not come down from the high.”

I searched for something appropriate to say. “They had good weather for it then.” That set her off on a ramble about the unseasonable warmth we were having. I took a big gulp of coffee and steered the conversation even further from my ex.

It lasted until we got outside and went our separate ways. I had just breathed a sigh of relief when Mum called back to me, “You should send them a card.”

“What?”

“Steven and Mel. You should send them a congratulations card.”

“I will.” I said. Like hell, I thought.

Without Mum there, my tears started running freely. I told myself all the reasons I shouldn’t cry. They had been together for four years; it was hardly shocking that they’d got married. They were already living together before; it wasn’t a massive life-change.  And it didn’t affect me anyway; Steven and I hadn’t spoken for years.  But still, a hole opened up in my chest that I thought had healed over years ago.

I caught sight of myself in a café window and groaned. I couldn’t go home with my face all red and splotchy, and mascara round my eyes. Fred would ask too many questions. I nipped into the café and waited behind a woman who was ordering something complicated involving soy.

There was a basket on the counter holding some handmade cards for sale. I flicked through them while waiting for the woman to finish ordering, fighting to stop my tears. The last in the pile was a congratulations card; scarlet with two Scottie dogs on the front. One had a top hat and the other a bow on its head.

“Can I help you?” the barista was smiling at me.

“I just wanted to use the bathroom.”

Her smile vanished. “Well…it’s only for customers really. You’d have to buy something.”

I’d already had coffee with Mum, Fred would go nuts if I bought two in one day. But I couldn’t go home like this. I grabbed the Scottie dog card, “How about this?”

“Sure, that’s two pounds please.”

I tried not to wince as I handed the money over. So much for such a little card.

“Thanks. The toilet’s over there.”

I stuffed the card into my bag and trotted over to the bathroom. Looking in the mirror gave me a fright; I was even more dishevelled than I though. I splashed cold water on my face and scrubbed off the mascara using some paper towels.  A smear of foundation, a flick of fresh mascara. I had to be quick.

My eyes were still red, but there was nothing I could do about that. I threw the make up back in my bag and left the café to head home.

 

 

“Where have you been?”

Every muscle clenched in shock. “You’re home early.” I tried to smile at Fred, leaning in the kitchen doorway with his arms crossed.

“I said where have you been?”

“It’s Friday, I went for coffee with Mum.”

He uncrossed his arms and advanced toward me slowly. “Why did it take so long?”

“I’m sorry, I got held up and -”

“Liar!” His palm slammed onto the door by my ear. “Who were you with?”

“Nobody.” I scrabbled in my bag trying to get the card out to show him.

“WHO WERE YOU WITH?”

He was so close my ears rang with his shout. Tears filled my eyes again and I couldn’t stop them falling. I braced, ready for what he would say next. But today was a good day.

The hand that had hit the door gently wiped a tear from my cheek. “I’m sorry, love. Please don’t cry. I don’t mean to shout.” He pulled me into a hug and I relaxed against him. “I just love you so much, I’m so scared that someone will take you away from me. I couldn’t live without you.”

“You don’t have to.” I wrapped my arms around his waist and squeezed.

“Say you forgive me?” He pulled back to look into my eyes, looking for all the world like a six-foot-tall little boy.

“Of course I forgive you.”


 

If you want to read more (don’t worry, it has a happy ending) then please buy a copy.

I get no money from sales – all profit goes to RAINN, a charity that helps victims of sexual assault.

Thank you!

 

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