Don't forget to stop in at the Mine for another awesome interview!!
As always, some of God's beauty to get us started...
~ Chapter Thirty-Two ~
Arianna slid out of bed, intent on taking a shower before her husband awoke.
Sure, they were getting along well, but she was nowhere near as comfortable as she’d been letting on. The thought of him seeing more of her bony, malnourished body caused a lump of humiliation to form in her throat. No, I need to gain weight before that happens.
Gathering a clean outfit and a few toiletries she exited the bedroom and pulled the door closed behind her with a soundless click. She padded down the tiled hallway to the bathroom.
Justin’s apartment was nice with its brown and cream color scheme, but not as posh as her parents’ home.
Compared to ‘the Monster’s’ abode, it was a castle. And it was comfy. The homey feel was something she’d never been used to. As a child, her house was more a mausoleum than a home. She hadn’t been allowed to make a move without being reprimanded by her mother.
She sat down on the edge of the tub and turned the water on, letting it rush over her hand. She vowed Chance would never have to feel like an interloper in his own home. She wanted him to enjoy his childhood, with real toys and awesome parents who loved and cared about him.
As she shucked her clothes and slid into the warm water, her mind became fixed on memory flashes of her days as a captive.
As had happened so many times in the last few days, her mind flitted between exalted thanksgiving and remembered horror. Would she ever be free of her long imprisonment? Yes, her physical body was free, but her mind was not. It was held captive by memories; the earlier ones horror-filled and hopeless, the newer ones not so bad.
As the years went by she’d become used to who ‘the Monster’ was. She knew what he liked, what he disliked. If she did what he wanted and didn’t fight or complain, life went well. He even allowed her to watch T.V. a few times, and if she had to nurse some bumps and bruises to get the privilege, it wasn’t so bad. Until that day…
Arianna shook her head to dispel the memory trying to break through. Water flew from the reddish-blond tendrils of her hair and skittered across cream-colored tiles. It was a memory she wouldn’t allow to overtake her again. It’d been the defining moment of the name she’d given him. No! She shook her head once more, determined to keep the memory caged in the dark recesses of her mind.
Forcing happier thoughts, her mind settled on Chance and his adorable baby face and intoxicating baby-smell.
It was funny, during most of the pregnancy she’d been determined to hate the result of ‘the Monster’s’ forced attentions. And then one day, as she pulled against the shackles on her ankles in a rage, a funny feeling invaded her body. It was such a weird thing she couldn’t have defined it at the time. And it happened again. She was terrified. What was it? She didn’t have a clue. Was something wrong with the baby? As the odd feeling came again, she lay a hand on her bulging belly. For the first time since being kidnapped, giddiness invaded. The baby was kicking!
A feeling she’d never experienced and couldn’t explain washed through her like a cleansing summer rain. Her baby. Her baby. From that moment on, she’d ceased thinking of the life inside her as belonging to such an evil monster, and instead began to think of it as a part of her.
As the days wore on, she fell more and more deeply in love with her child. And as that love grew, so did her trepidation. What would happen to the baby? Would ‘the Monster’ take it away and cause her more pain and suffering, only this time to a degree even someone of her mental stamina couldn’t abide?
Arianna’s limbs moved in a restless manner around the huge garden tub in an attempt to quell her thoughts, but the flood gates of her nightmare opened, and she was helpless to shut them.
One month turned into another, and as her time drew near, ‘the Monster’ became more and more obsessive, and possessive. He’d quit leaving during the day and would spend hours lying on top of her, his hand squeezed between their bodies, cupping her burgeoning belly.
His eyes bore into hers. “This belongs to me.”
Frightened at the intensity of his words, she agreed, “Yes.”
“And so do you, Arianna.”
His hand tightened and she shrieked in pain.
Looking into his eyes she tried to determine the extent of his obsession, until coming to the same conclusion as always. He meant business. “I’m yours—to do with as you please.”
He bent down and bit her neck, pulling the skin until she screamed out in agony. “And don’t you forget it, or I’ll cut that brat out of you with a kitchen knife and leave you to bleed out on the cold basement floor.
He got up and stormed out the door, slamming it so hard the whole house shook.
The bathroom door rattled and Arianna jumped.
“Arianna, are you in there?”
“Ye…” Her voice broke. She cleared it and tried again. “Yes, I’m taking a bath.”
“Are you okay, do you need anything?”
Arianna’s eyes rose heavenward. Thank you, Lord Jesus.
“No, I’m good now.”
Justin’s voice wafted through the locked door. “Now?”
She laughed. “Yes. Now that you’re awake.”