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~ Chapter Fourteen ~
Arianna walked out of the bathroom and headed back to the couch. Going to the bathroom alone had seemed like a good idea until she was halfway down the hall and feeling shaky. She thought about calling Justin for help but knew he’d be upset she’d tried to go alone. He didn’t seem like the kind to be abusive, but then, she didn’t know him.
Her name came down the long hallway as if from a tunnel. Justin? It must be. The walls closed in around her and she put trembling arms out to hold it away.
“Arianna,” another voice called. Mary Jo. She’ll help me. Her name came out nothing more than a squeak, “Mary Jo?” She slid to the floor, not able to stand a moment longer. As her head bounced off the hardwood, his name fell from her lips in a whisper. “Justin.”
Justin heard a noise and ran to the hallway just in time to see his new wife slide to the floor, her head bouncing off the hardwood like a bouncy ball. “Arianna.” He rushed to her side. Picking-up her lifeless form he carried her to the sofa in the living room, hollering for Mary Jo at the same time.
Mary Jo popped back into the living room. “Where did you find her?”
“She was coming out of the bathroom. She hit her head. Please come check it.”
Mary Jo tsk tsked as she gently moved him out of the way. “Give me some room.”
“No problem. What possessed the woman to go to the bathroom alone?”
“I suspect she doesn’t like to feel helpless. At least that’s why I would.”
Mary Jo nodded. “I guess that makes sense. But you need to tell her not to do that anymore. She could get seriously hurt.”
Justin said, “Okay. Does that mean she’s okay?”
She inclined her head. “For now. Her eyes look fine. No sign of concussion.”
He breathed a sigh of relief. The air he’d been holding in since he saw her fall expelling in a loud whoosh. “Good. I’ve been thinking.”
Mary Jo chuckled. “Whoa now, that’s not a good thing.”
Confused, he said “Why?”
“When a man thinks, it can’t be good.” She laughed at her own joke as she pulled a light bedspread over Arianna’s slender frame.
He liked her. She had personality. “Thank you Mary Jo.”
She whipped around, looking surprised. “For?”
“Also scary. Why are you complimenting me?”
He shook his head, not sure how to take her. “This has been a really hard time for me, but you being here is making it easier to bear.”
Color rose to the older woman’s cheeks. “Thank you.”
“No, thank you.”
She snickered. “Okay, if you say so. “Now, what were you talking about when you said you’d been thinking?”
He rubbed his chin. “I think I should tell my mom what’s going on. Maybe she could help us.”
Mary Jo looked suspicious. “Help us what?”
“Take care of Arianna.”
“How is that?”
Justin didn’t know if this was the best time to tell Mary Jo, but knew he had to do it. “She’s a doctor. A gynecologist.”
She sounded outraged and he didn’t blame her. She hadn’t had to come with them. But something had moved him to offer her the opportunity. His mother wasn’t the best mother material, even though she was his mom.
“I know you’re probably wondering why I didn’t call her.” When he got the incline of her head he’d been waiting on he continued, “She’s my mom and I love her, but she’s not the best people person I know. I didn’t want to scare Arianna.”
“Then why are you even entertaining the idea of telling her?’
He scratched at the stubble on his chin. “Arianna is a lot stronger than I first thought.” He held up his hands before she could say anything to him. “I mean mentally. At least in a stubborn-willed kind of way. That’s probably why she’s still alive.”
Mary shook her head and snorted. “Probably. But we have to keep her safe. I’m no mental healthcare professional and even I can see she’s on her last legs. It has to have taken so much stamina to endure what she has.”
“Yes, my Arianna is a fighter.”
“Yes she is. Let’s hope her baby is too. Especially if that horrid man decides to be mean to him.”
Justin nodded. “Arianna doesn’t think he will.”
“Yes, but she’s a new mother and probably wishful thinking.”
Justin dropped his head, sad. How can I face her if something happens to her son?