A Charmed Life

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Chapter forty three

© All rights reserved. LittleThingsInLife

Chapter Forty Three.

"Are you ready?" I heard Sandra ask behind me, another two weeks had flown by and it was finally, the first day of Dereks trial, I couldn't be dreading this anymore; I'd been having the same recurring nightmare over and over that he somehow got away with everything and got to take me back.

Everyone in the dream just let him drag me to his car and I was screaming for Aiden, for anyone, but they would all just wave goodbye, smiling at me.

Dr Greene said I was manifesting my fears, which I already knew, but the dreams kept me on edge and jittery. Aiden had stayed with me every night but even he couldn't soothe me.

Sandra had suggested a hair cut a few days ago as I hadn't had one in so long, but this had just caused me to shake in fear and have a melt down.

"Why did you react so strongly when Sandra mentioned your hair?" Dr Greene asked at our emergency appointment.

"Derek, he - he'd n-never let me c-cut my h-hair. It rem-reminded him of my m-mom."

I remembered when he caught me with household bleach and scissors, I was younger and wanted to stop looking like my mother, hoping he would leave me alone, but before I could ruin my hair he barged into the bathroom; that was the one time I'd have preferred Stephen over Derek.

The fear he'd instilled in me that day was one I wasn't ready to try to break through, especially when I was going to be seeing him soon.

I'd gotten good at trimming my ends and cutting away just enough for it to stay healthy but also keep Derek happy, and so I'd not been to a professional in years.

Shaking out of memory land I looked up at Sandra stood behind me through my bedroom mirror and saw her smiling encouragingly at me.

Smoothing down my deep purple dress that had a slightly darker coloured belt going around the waist, and making sure my hair - that had a matching head band was all in place, I turned around and nodded.

"Ready as I'll ever be." I whispered out. My stomach was in knots and I wanted to be sick with nerves, when we left my room I had to beeline to the bathroom instead.

Knees on the floor and head over the toilet all I could throw up was bile as I hadn't had the stomach to eat all morning.

I stay in place to make sure nothing else was going to come up, before I stand on shaky legs and make my way over to the sink to brush my teeth.

When I'd composed myself I make my way back out of the bathroom and notice how upset this was making Sandra. She wasn't crying; she was much to strong for that, even if she did it the privacy of her own room, but seeing and hearing what the fear of seeing Derek again was doing to me had her unable to completely hide her true feelings.

"I'm okay now.” I lie to try to comfort her.

She leads me downstairs where everyone is waiting; although only a few are coming to the trial with me, I didn't want any of them there in all honesty - I'd spared them the details because I didn't want them to have to hear exactly how I'd lived, now they were going to anyway.

Sandra and Karl were going to drive up with Lucas and Jamie who'd refused to be left behind.

Aiden was driving me, and Sam had asked if he could come with us, I'd nodded because I could tell he wanted to be there for me and although I didn't want them to hear my stories, I did in fact want them there for support.

Nathan and Carla both hugged me and wished me luck.

"You're going to do great, you're so strong Alex, just remember we're all here for you and we love you." Nathan whispered in my ear, we'd gotten a lot closer during these holidays - we would stay up binge watching shows and laughing. I'd tell him my fears and secrets and he'd tell me his.

"Thanks Nathan, love you too." I pressed my forehead against his to calm down again and then followed the trail of people leaving the house.

I knew Mrs Potts had taken the two youngest Spencer's to a play group and was glad they hadn't seen us leave so sombrely, even if they didn't know what was happening, they'd picked up on how tense the house had been... and it would have been amplified this morning.

..........

Mr Emberson, my lawyer, was already waiting in the courthouse, I liked this man and, although he looked quite fierce and held a 'not to be messed with' aura he was actually a sweetheart - to me at least, he'd gone through everything I would have to do today a number of times during our last meetings and had even given me diagrams of the particular courtroom we'd be in, so I'd know where everything was.

"Hey Alex, how are you feeling today?" He was wearing a dark suit that fit his big build nicely - I thought he would have made a better wrestler than lawyer. His beard had been trimmed and his hair was smoothed over, flecks of gray through both.

"Fine." I lie, I was having trouble getting many words out, which wasn't a good sign today, and I had barely said a word on the drive over.

"Good, well we've got about twenty minutes before we have to go in, would you like me to run through everything with you again?" He asked looking down at me and tapping his briefcase that must have all our paperwork in.

Before I could agree, double doors on the other side of the wide room opened and two armed security walked through, I could see two more behind them but couldn't see who they were shielding in between.

I hoped it was someone for a different hearing, but the closer they reached towards us the more I knew, fear licked up my legs and into my chest, I could feel and hear blood rushing around me and I wanted to run but was stood frozen.

"What the hell," I heard Mr Emberson whisper before taking charge and walking towards the five men.

"Why are you bringing this... man, in here when my client is within reach?" He's seething but trying to stay professional.

"Sorry about this, the route we would usually take has been barred for maintenance and there wasn't any other way we could get him through." The first guy states without really caring.

"Some warning would have been nice." My lawyer grumbles. I'm still stood on the spot, and I can see Derek has peered his head between a gap in the guards shoulders to look directly at me.

He'd lost weight, I could see that in his face, he'd obviously been groomed up for the trial but I could see years of drug and alcohol abuse had taken its toll. He looked gaunt and somehow more sinister than he'd ever been.

The loving carefree man who would make me feel like a princess, was nowhere to be found. He'd lost himself years ago... but now, he looked like an entirely different person.

They were moving again and I know Mr Emberson was trying to say something to me but I couldn't hear him, I couldn't look away; I was the prey, and you didn't lose focus when in the eyes of a predator, for fear of being eaten.

"Hey princess." That voice, the way he looked me over, the gleam of satisfaction. It was more terrifying than I remembered; was it because he'd become more evil than he ever was; he did use to have rare moments of guilt push through... or was it that he'd always looked this way and I'd forgotten because all I'd felt for months was love?

He kept his gaze on me, even turning his head over his shoulder when they walked passed, before finally disappearing through the set of double doors I knew lead to our courtroom.

I could see many worried faces in front of me, but it took me a few minutes to collect myself and return back to reality.

"Restroom?"

I ignore all the Spencer's that are asking me if I'm okay and turn to Emberson, who points to a hallway.

"Just down there, on your left." I nod and walk away, shaking my hand at any of them trying to follow me.

The room is empty and I make my way straight to the sink turning the cold tap on and splashing my face, breathing deep I try to focus on calming my heartbeat down, when the door opens, I don't look up at first and hope the person just goes into a stall and leaves me alone.

Then I hear a jingle of keys and the sound of a lock turning, my eyes shoot to the back of a maintenance worker with a baseball cap on.

"I'm sorry," I say moving towards them assuming that they haven't seen me, they have a mop bucket at the side of them. "I'll just leave so you can clean up."

"It must have been awful to see that man after all this time huh?" Although the words sound caring, the voice behind it is teasing.

It doesn't take me much time to recognise it though, and it's confirmed when he turns around and takes the cap off.

"Mike." I whimper.

"Glad you haven't forgotten me, sweetheart." He looks me up and down in approval, he always liked me in dresses.

"I wanted him to see how amazing you looked, to know he'd never be able to touch you again."

It all clicked; he'd blocked the other route so Derek would have to walk through and see me.

"Mike..."

"Shhh, it's okay, I knew today was going to be hard for you... but I haven't been able to find you, you left... my men have been looking but you just poof, disappeared. So I turned my search into Derek knowing you'd have to come to the trial... and now I've found you." He moved closer to me.

"You know not to say anything about me don't you sweetheart? Because if I even get a hint that you're going to betray me. I'll hurt every single one of those people out there who have come to support you, you believe me don't you, precious?" His voice was light, like he hadn't just threatened the people I love.

I stay still while he strokes a finger softly across my face.

"Of course Mike. You can trust me." I whisper.

"I know I can, that's why you're my best girl, and don't worry, when all this is cleared up and Derek gets sentenced, I'll come to get you and we can be together properly." He leans down to breathe deeply in the crook of my neck and I make sure not to flinch.

"Hmmm, I'm going to miss you." With a gentle kiss on my neck he leans back up, takes another long look at me and then grabs his mop, unlocks the door and leaves.

I'm gripping onto the sink so hard my fingers have gone numb, and when I turn back around to face the mirror I see a trail of tears slowly moving down my pale cheeks.

I wipe at them quickly and even out my breathing, splashing my face again to cool down.

Walking shakily out of the restroom I make my way back to the Spencers, trying to focus on the task at hand; I didn't think I'd ever see Mike again, but one problem at a time.

"They're ready for you."
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