Beaten but NOT defeated

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Chapter 3

Early the next morning Josh and Mindy left and I finally had a chance to escape, even if it was just for the day. It was a warm, sunny day outside and I hadn’t had time to enjoy the weather at all. I got dressed in a short dress, dark stockings to hide the marks and bruises on my legs and ankles and I put fancy bracelet like wrist guards on. I looked myself over in the mirror to make sure no bruises were showing and headed out the door and drove to a nearby river with a picnic spot. It was quiet there this time of the week so I decided to spend the day. I spread a blanket out on the grass and sat down. The warm air and chirping birds were heavenly! Here, for today I had no worries and no troubles. I could relax and just be me. I inhaled a deep breath and stared out over the water. Everything was so bright and fresh, I wished that I never had to leave. I had my sunglasses on and decide to lay back and look up at the few clouds in the sky.

I fell asleep somewhere during the morning and was awoken abruptly by a cloud blocking out my sun. How annoying, I was just enjoying the day. I opened my eyes and saw someone standing over me. I got a huge fright and leapt to my feet, ready to run away. Caleb threw his hands in the air in surrender and smirked. ‘Oh no, not you again’! I said. ‘What do you want’? ‘Here I thought you would be happy to see me’ he said still smirking. ‘Well I’m not, you are ruining my sun bathing session’ I said. ‘Sleeping in the sun, next to a river in such warm stockings on such a hot day doesn’t make the most sense, don’t you think’? He said looking me over. ‘Well, I like the heat and I was enjoying myself until you stomped along’ I said. This awarded me a laugh from him. ‘Stomped you say? You didn’t even hear me coming or see me standing over you. I think I was pretty stealthy, don’ you’? He said. ‘Are you stalking me’? I asked. ‘No my dear, you are sleeping in a public picnic area, out in the open, I almost fell over you’ he said. ‘Then you should look where you are stomping’ I said. He was wearing a tight white shirt and black long pants. ‘You criticize me but what about you, aren’t you dressed a bit warm for this weather’? I asked him. He looked down at himself and said, ‘no, I’m working, I have to dress like this’. What kind of work did he do that he could walk around in a park in the middle of the day, I thought to myself. He was standing with his hands in his pockets, looking at me as if he was amused by the sight of me. ‘Oh great, he thinks I look like spectacle’! ‘What are you looking at’? I asked him. ‘At you my dear’ he said. Well no shit, I’m sure he could have given me a better answer than that! ‘What are you doing here’? I rephrased. ‘I came over to see if you are ok’ he said. ‘Why would you do that’? I asked. ‘I spoke to my friend Steve and he said that he almost ran you over. You gave him quite a fright’ he said. Oh sure, I gave what’s his face a fright, I thought. ‘He was driving like a maniac’ I said. ‘It was late, what were you doing in the middle of the street that time of night’? He asked. ‘Look pal, I don’t have to explain myself to you ok. Tell your friend to keep his nose out of my business’ I snapped. I could not read the expression on his face at all, so I asked him ‘How did you know I am here? I didn’t tell anyone I was coming here today’. He looked even more amused and told me ‘I have my ways’. Argh, this guy is so frustratingly annoying!! ‘What work do you do’ I asked him. ‘I don’t think you’re ready for that answer’ he said. ‘So let me sum this up then’ I said. You show up where I am, block my sun, ruin my quiet day and have a phantom job’. ‘Something like that’ he said. ‘Why don’t you just go away’ I said. ‘I can’t do that’ he said. ‘Not until I know why you are out here, sleeping in the sun dressed like that’. ‘What’s wrong with the way I am dressed or sleeping in the sun’? I asked. ‘No one dresses so warmly in such hot weather. You are wearing sweat bands on your wrists and super thick stockings under your dress. Your boots go up too high and you are wearing oversized sun glasses’ he said. ‘Well shit, I didn’t know you work for the fashion police’ I said.

I bent down slowly to pick up the blanket I was laying on and he took a step closer to me. ‘What’s this’? He asked touching my head where my hair got ripped out. I did not realize it had left a mark. I slapped his hand away and told him to get off the blanket. ‘No, why is there a bloody bruise on your head’? He demanded. ‘It’s none of your damn business’! I said now standing up straight. ‘Get off my blanket’! I almost yelled at him. I didn’t want him knowing what a failure I was and started getting panicked. ‘What is going on’? He demanded. ‘Why are you panicking? I won’t hurt you’, he said in a very soft tone. He looked so deliciously sexy in that outfit with his arm muscles slightly flexing with each movement he makes, his lips calling to mine to taste them, his eyes drinking me in as if I actually mean something. ‘I’m not panicking, you are irritating me and ruining my day’ I said while trying to roll the blanket up between my hands. ‘I’ve seen that look in your eyes before like that night at the pub when you were talking to your friend. Are you in trouble’? He asked. ‘The only trouble here is you’ I said and tried to stalk off, but my boot got caught up in the blanket that was only half way rolled up and I fell on my face. I half expected Caleb to start laughing at me but he was at my side in an instant asking me if I was ok and if I had gotten hurt. The look in his eyes was so sincere it felt like I could collapse in his arms and cry for days. Why did he make me feel so safe? ‘Liz, look at me. Are you ok’? He asked in the softest tone imaginable. ‘I’m fine’ I snapped and tried to get up. My body was still so sore and tender from the past few days that I struggled to get up. Caleb saw the strain I was putting into standing up and he took me by the arm and asked me to please sit down for a second so he could untangle the blanket from my foot. I did as he asked just because I didn’t want to make a fool of myself again.

Caleb un-wrapped the blanket from my foot and flicked his eyes up towards my hand that was resting in my lap. He gasped and reached out to touch my arm. I got a fright and looked down to see my wrist guard had moved up away from the bruise on my wrist. I pulled the wrist guard back down and leaped to my feet ready to make a run for it. Caleb was on his feet faster than I was and stood solidly in front of me. ‘What happened to your arm’? he asked softly. ‘Nothing, please move’ I said. ‘That’s not nothing Liz’ he said looking concerned. My heart was pounding in my chest and I was afraid that he would learn the truth and see me the same way as Josh did. He tried to reach out to touch me and I backed away from him making a run for it. My head was flooded with thoughts of Josh finding out about today and what he would do to me. I couldn’t be out in the open flashing my bruises to the world. ‘What was I thinking coming here, trying to have a nice, normal day’? Nothing about my life is normal! I ran in such a panicked rush that I forgot where I parked my car and failed to locate my car keys. I must have forgotten them at the picnic spot.’ Shoot, now I have to go back where Caleb is. Oh no, Josh is going to kill me’! I started feeling pressure in my head again and started seeing black spots dance in front of my eyes. With my pulse racing and my heart pounding I was unable to think straight and sweat started forming on my face. I was not feeling well at all and was starting to feel nauseous. I ran back towards the spot where I was laying moments earlier when all of a sudden I felt my legs give out beneath me and everything went black. Darkness engulfed me as I fell to the ground.

I did not feel Caleb’s arms around me, catching me before I hit the ground. He lay me down softly on the opened blanket I was running around with and he softly patted my face trying to wake me up. I vaguely heard his voice as I drifted back to consciousness, slowly making my way back to the world. I opened my eyes and the sun was stark as my glasses were off. I looked up at Caleb’s worried face and saw his lips move. I frowned as I hardly heard what he was saying. ‘Damn this guy is sexy’ I thought out loud and he heard me. He gave me a smile of relief and said ‘glad you could join me’. I lay there for a few seconds before realizing where I was and tried to fly up off of his lap I didn’t realize I was laying on. He caught me by the shoulders and told me to take it easy. He helped me sit up and came and sat in front of me. ‘How are you feeling, are you dizzy’? He asked and I shook my head no. ‘Liz, talk to me, do you need a doctor’? He asked more urgent and again I shook my head no. Somehow he had water with him and gave me a sip. ‘Take it easy. Want to tell me what just happened’? He asked. I just sat there shaking my head at him. ‘Well I’m not going anywhere until you tell me who tied you up’ he said. ‘Oh shit, no, no no no’! I thought and knew I had to get out of there as quickly as possible. I tried to get up but my legs would not carry my weight and gave out. ‘Shit!’ I exclaimed. ‘Please I have to go, I have to get home’ I begged him. ‘You’re not going anywhere until you tell me who hurt you’ he said. ‘You, you can’t keep me here’ I said. ‘Wanna bet’ he said and the panic rose up again, threatening to exterminate me. ‘Ok, I hurt myself while doing house work’ I said a little too rushed. ‘Happy? Now please let me go’. ‘You’re lying’ he said. ‘It’s none of your business’ I snapped and tried to get up again. My chest was closing and breathing became a chore. I started wheezing and doubled over. Caleb was at my side putting his hand on my back. ‘Liz’! Please, what’s going on? He pleaded. I looked up at him and shook my head trying to catch my breath. I was holding my chest which pained so badly. ‘Deep breaths Liz, inhale slowly now exhale. Slowly does it. Again’ he said. Finally I was able to breathe normally again and Caleb came and stood in front of me. He stood so close I that could smell his cologne. He cupped my chin in his hand and tilted my head up to his. ‘Who did this to you’? he asked tenderly. ‘I can help you’. ‘No you can’t. No-one can. I need to go’, I said. ‘OK, but I’m taking you home then’ he said. ‘No’ I said a little high pitched and Caleb scowled at me. ‘I’ll be fine, thanks. I don’t even know you so why would I let you drive me home? You could be some kind of psychopath’!

I pushed myself away from him and I half walked, half ran to my car and I got in and sped away as fast as I could, heading home before someone saw me with Caleb and had another story to carry over to Josh. I didn’t look back once as I drove home, too afraid that Caleb would see something else he wasn’t supposed to. My hands were shaking and my pulse was racing. My legs felt wobbly, like they would not hold my weight if I tried to stand on them now. I got home before Josh and took my time going in. I still felt the strain on my body from Josh’s punishment and decided to take something for the pain. I ended up falling asleep on the couch a few minutes later as I suddenly felt more exhausted than I thought I was.

I woke up to the sound of keys turning in the door as Josh came home. I groaned because I fell asleep and did not have the food ready yet for his arrival. I was caught off guard when he just walked right past me to the kitchen without even a glance in my direction. I pushed myself up to my elbow, rubbing my eyes trying to look at him. I didn’t dare say hi to him as I was afraid the sound of my voice may set him off again. I got up and went into the kitchen after him to start the food and he wove me off saying I should just get out. I stood there for a second, worrying that he was angry at me for not having the food ready yet but he looked as though he simply did not care. I went to the lounge and sat down quietly. I took my phone to look at the time and saw that I had a text message. I slid open the phone and did not recognize the number. The text read ‘you forgot your blanket when you ran off’. Panic flooded me immediately and I froze as my body went cold. Beads of sweat started forming on my brow and I just sat there, frozen, staring at my phone. Then the thought occurred to me, how did Caleb get my number? If Josh sees this I am going to be in serious trouble! Unsure of what to do, I texted him back, ‘keep it, or throw it away, I don’t care’ and I deleted the message. My head was spinning and my thoughts were blank. Josh came out of the kitchen at that moment and I hid my phone as quickly as possible trying to look inconspicuous. But he just went straight to the bedroom and closed the door. My thoughts started running in all directions, is he mad at me, what did I do wrong, why is he not talking to me, am I in for a beating tonight? After sitting frozen for about twenty minutes and seeing no movement from the bedroom I decided that it was safe to let out the breath I was holding for what felt like an eternity.

The blanket that I left at the picnic spot was one of my favorite blankets and I hoped that Caleb would not really throw it away. I got up and turned on the TV and left it on silent as I did not want to wake the hopefully sleeping beast. I put my phone on silent when I hid it from Josh and did not hear the text messages I now saw on the screen. It was Caleb again saying ‘When I can bring it over for you’? ‘No please don’t do that’, I panicked and the thought sent my heart racing and I texted him back without a second thought saying ‘NO, please DON’T come to my house! Throw the blanket away’. Almost immediately I received a message back ‘Why would I do that, it’s your favorite blanket’. WHAT?! How does he even know that? This guy was turning out to be a bigger psycho that Josh. Or maybe Josh set me up, trying to catch me cheating on him so he could have a valid reason to punish me. That’s why he was so secretive and gave me such evasive answers. ‘What have I gotten myself into’? I texted him back. ‘Look I know Josh set you up and I would never cheat on him. Go and play your sick game on someone else. I’m NOT falling for it’! ‘Maybe I should tell Josh what happened today so Caleb doesn’t beat me to the punch and then things get out of hand again’ I thought to myself. Looking down I saw another message. ‘No one set me up, and who is Josh? Is he your husband’? I texted back ‘Just leave me alone’! And I received no more messages from him that night and I hoped that I was in the clear. I deleted his messages from my phone and took a breath, trying to relax, but it did not work. I still felt afraid and nervous. What if Caleb had already told Josh? My mind kept running in all directions betraying me around every corner and I had let my thoughts get the better of me. I sat there thinking for hours before I realized the time. It was 1am in the morning which meant that I was in the clear for now, until morning when Josh came out of the room to punish me. I lay down on the couch, still feeling uneasy and drifted off to another dreamless sleep.

The next morning I awoke to the sound of Josh in the kitchen. I was unsure if I should get up or make as if I was still sleeping. Or maybe I should go to him and fess up about Caleb, or maybe Caleb has done that already so I didn’t need to. I was in my train of thought when I saw Josh emerging from the kitchen. He looked at me and said, there’s coffee in the pot if you want and he walked out the door and went off to start his day. I looked at the door he just left through in stunned silence. What just happened?! I thought it was another cruel joke and sat there waiting for him to come back in. I heard his car leave and realized he’s not coming back for the day. I got up slowly and went to the kitchen and lo and behold, there was coffee in the pot! ‘Huh, that’s weird. Wonder what’s up with him’? I went about my day as usual and nothing out of the ordinary happened, which was refreshing. My thoughts consisted mainly of wondering what was up with Josh and why he wasn’t mad at me about Caleb. I put extra effort into cleaning the house and getting everything in order before Josh came home. I decided it best not to go anywhere again for a while until all my bruises were completely healed.

The whole week went off without a hitch and Josh surprised me daily by being nice to me and not punishing me for anything. He didn’t go out of his way to have a conversation with me but he wasn’t awful either. Chloe texted me asking me if I wanted to go out on Friday night and I declined her saying I was not feeling well. She pleaded a few more times and finally gave up realizing that she was on her own. Every time Josh was nice to me I felt like I wanted to do more for him. I started feeling oddly comfortable around him and saw a glimpse of the man I fell in love with and on Saturday I decided to make a romantic dinner for us. ‘Maybe this is his way of trying to say he is sorry for everything that has happened’. I forgave him every time he punished me even though he never said sorry. Josh was out for the day but told me he would be back at 19:00pm. I put on a sexy outfit that consisted of a short tight dress with a low v neck and boots and did my hair and makeup and put on his favorite perfume which was a sweet smelling scent. I set the table, put on soft music and lit some candles. The food and bubbly was all ready and waiting. I felt nervous and excited at the same time of what Josh may think of the gesture. Maybe the past week meant something and tonight I would show him how much I loved him.

I heard the car pull up and got ready to greet him at the door in my sexy outfit. I heard him get out of the car and I stood in the open doorway greeting him in a sexy voice. To my utter horror, Mindy was standing behind him. His eyes went wide and she burst out laughing. I stood there, frozen as I have never felt so humiliated and dumb in my entire life! ‘What the hell is this’ Mindy sarcastically asked. I looked at Josh for some help and he also started laughing in my face. I felt small and cheap in that moment. I may as well have been the maid caught dressing in her employer’s clothing. I wasn’t sure if I should apologize or run away, so I just kept standing there. My heart dropped through the floor and it felt like I was going to throw up. Mindy shouldered me out the way and burst into the house like she owned it. ‘Aw how sweet, she made us dinner’ she laughed while speaking in a sarcastic tone. Josh walked silently past me into the house not even looking at me. I was left standing in the doorway feeling as though I was a third wheel. Mindy helped herself to the wine I had and plopped down at the table. She snapped her fingers at me and pointed to the food. Josh went and sat on the other side of the table and took her glass out of her hand. He looked at everything I had set up for a moment and he set the glass down on the table and blew out the candles I had lit. ‘You look cheap’ he said to me. I wanted to yell at him about how all of this, including my outfit was for him but my words failed me and I stammered which made Mindy laugh even harder. I gave up a night out with my friend only to be humiliated by my husband’s whore. Josh took Mindy’s hand and led her to the bedroom. I heard him say ‘I have something better for you to eat’ as they walked away from me. The door slammed loudly behind them and I was left standing alone in the room with soft music insulting the moment. I walked over to the radio and put the music off. I was unsure of how to feel so I grabbed my coat and headed out the door. I’d be damned if I had to listen to those two the whole night!

I drove to the bar where I knew I would find Chloe. I half ran in, up to the bar and ordered two shots of tequila. I swallowed it without even tasting the content and told the barman to pour another. After tequila number 4 and a drink in hand I decided to look for Chloe. I turned around to see Caleb standing behind me. ‘Stalk much’ I asked. But he hardly showed any emotion on his face. I rolled my eyes and pushed past him to find my friend. He grabbed on to my arm and looked into my soul, let alone my eyes. Staring at me he asked, ‘what’s wrong’? I jerked my arm out of his and walked past him. I saw Chloe dancing with her boy toy and headed over to her. I pushed in between them facing her and she gave me a huge smile and wrapped her arms around my neck. ‘I thought you’re not coming out tonight’ she half yelled over the music. ‘And miss you grinding your boy toy’? I teased. We smiled at each other and we danced together until the song changed. I had a fake smile on my face and acted like I was happy. Maybe the tequila giving me a buzz helped a bit too. We went outside for some air and a smoke break. Caleb reclaimed his friend from Chloe so she was free for a while. As we walked out I took off my coat. ‘Wow, you look hot’! She said. I laughed and offered her a light. ‘So what have you been up to the week’? She asked. Her smile was so big I didn’t want to disappoint her by telling her about tonight so I said ‘You know the normal house work stuff’. ‘How are things with Josh’? She asked. ‘Hmm Josh, the cheap, cheating, conniving bastard that calls himself my husband.. Just peachy, he brought his whore home and humiliated the crap out of me’. Instead I said ‘Good, were good’. Before she could fire with another question I asked her how things were going with her and her boy toy. ‘You know, you really should start learning his name. He is going to be around for a while’ she said. ‘Yes I know I’m sorry. Steeeve’ I said, making a weird hand gesture. We both burst out laughing at that and continued chatting for a while. Steve beckoned Chloe to go in for a dance and she leapt to her feet. Before I knew it I was alone again and my glass was empty.

I got up to get another drink and saw Caleb lurking again, staring at me. I walked right past him, mumbling that he was a stalker and making as though I didn’t see him. I smirked to myself at that and got another drink. The music was loud and Chloe was enjoying herself so I decided to sit outside again. It was an open night sky with starts glinting everywhere I looked. It was absolutely breathtaking! I took a step outside and got jerked off my feet and pressed up against a wall in a dark corner. Before I could react I smelled Caleb’s cologne. ‘Hi’ he said. ‘What do you think you are doing’! I demanded and he smashed his lips into mine so passionately I dropped my half empty glass I was holding. His strong grip pulled me closer to him and I ran my hands up his bare arms, gouging my nails into his skin trying to keep a grip. Each muscle tensioning in his arms felt like it sent electricity through my fingertips. The hunger with which he kissed me made me feel light headed and butterflies threatened to carry me away if I didn’t break away. But he was holding on to me as small moans escaped his lips as he kissed me, his tongue exploring the inside of my mouth, caressing each part it could possibly find. I felt his heartbeat, his strong body wanting mine, almost desperately. He slowly broke the kiss and pulled back slightly to look into my eyes. I could hardly see his eyes but I knew they were looking into my soul. He leaned in and softly kissed my lips again. I stood there not knowing what to say and if I should even say anything. I was filled with butterflies, euphoria I haven’t felt in a very long time.

He put his hands on both sides of my face and said ‘You have been quiet. I’ve missed you’ and with a shaky breath I replied ‘You hardly know me, how can you miss me’? He smiled as if he had won the lottery and said ‘I know you enough to miss you every second you aren’t with me’. I frowned at him a little and he kissed my forehead. ‘Don’t disappear on me again’. Feeling flustered ‘I, I’ was all I could get out before I heard Chloe calling my name. Caleb stepped further into the shadows and I took a deep breath and came out from where I was standing. ‘There you are’! She half yelled at me looking a bit drunk. ‘What are you doing in there, and where’s your drink? You know a girl should always have a drink’. I smiled at her and said ‘yes, let’s do that, go get a drink’. She threw one arm over my shoulders and I half looked back at where I left Caleb standing. I couldn’t see him at all which may have been a good thing. We got more drinks and danced the night away. My thoughts were no longer at what happened at the house anymore, they were with Caleb as he filled my head, my every thought. I saw him a few times more during the night, observing me, but not coming close. The thought occurred to me that maybe him and Josh weren’t friends as I thought. Or maybe they are and I just gave him ammo by allowing him to kiss me. ‘Oh no, there I go, ruining my night by thinking. I always over think everything’!

Chloe left with Steve a short while later and I was left alone at the bar. I decided to finish my drink and head home to face my humiliation. Caleb came up and sat next to me, looking straight in front of him and said ‘I know you don’t want anyone seeing us together but I can’t get you out of my head’. He slid his eyes over to glance at me looking unsure of what to say. After a few moments he said ‘You look really stunning tonight’. I blushed and looked down at my feet. He turned towards me and cupped my chin in his hand. ‘Look at me, you are so beautiful’. I pulled my face back, worried someone would see us and he said ever so softly ‘don’t worry, no one is looking’ and gave me a sweet smile. I couldn’t help but lose myself in his eyes. They were like two dark pools, swirling, sucking me in. I shook my head and broke our stare. ‘I must go’ I said. ‘As always’ He replied. I stood up and turned to walk out and he held on to my wrist stopping me. I looked at him and he asked ‘Are they feeling better’? Knowing that he was referring to my wrists, that were still bruised. I gave him a shy smile and looked down, heading for the door. Caleb may be the best or probably the worst mistake I was going to make in my life. I got in my car and just sat there for a few minutes smoking a cigarette. I gathered myself and started the car, slowly pulling out of the parking spot. I looked up to the entrance of the bar and saw Caleb standing in the doorway. My heart skipped a beat and butterflies filled my being as the way he kissed me filled my thoughts. I looked at him for a moment, staring into his beautifully delicious eyes, gave a small smile and started driving off. He didn’t take his eyes off of my car until I was out of sight. I looked at the road in front of me and wished I didn’t need to go back to the place I hate the most in the world.

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