“Jenny, my baby girl! I’m here.”
I felt her kiss my cheek and hug me tight. I looked around confused. I heard Rachael cry out, “Jenny, I’ve been so worried,” she sniffled.
“What’s going on? Where am I?”
Mom said, “You’re at the hospital dear.”
“Hospital! Why?” I was so confused.
Mom sat next to my bed and held my hand, “Do you
remember what happened Jenny?”
“I...I...Oh God!” I started crying. “Is Jonathan ok?”
Rachael said, “Yes, he wasn’t hurt and that bastard Ben is dead!”
“His face...it was just awful...there was blood everywhere…”
“Jenny,” Mom’s voice cracked and I saw tears come down her cheek. “The doctors want permission to do a few tests on you dear.”
“Why, for what?”
“Well, just to prove that…”
Rachael intervened, “Jenny, do you remember what Ben did to you?”
“Yes,” I wiped my tears. “I don’t want a test, I don’t want to be here! I want to go home!” Then it hit me, “No! I can’t...Oh God, I can’t go home again. I don’t want to see it!” I cried.
“It’s ok Jenny, you don’t have to. You can stay with me or Mom.”
The machines started beeping and a nurse came barging into the room. “Hello, I see you’re finally awake. I’m going to give you something to calm you down.” She put a needle into my IV line. “Try to relax and breathe, we don’t want your blood pressure going up too high again. The men will want to come in shortly,” she said softly towards my Mother.
Rachael said, “Jenny, they want to do a rape test on you.”
“No! I don’t want to, he...you said he was dead, didn’t you?”
“Yes, but, Jenny...he was a cop and he’s dead now. The police need proof, I guess.”
“No, Mom please, take me home,” I cried.
“I will Jenny, I promise, but first, you have to talk to the police, you have to explain what happened.”
“Am I being arrested?”
“No, of course not. It’s easy to see that...” she started crying again. “that you were hurt.”
It began to make sense to me now, “Has Jonathan been arrested?”
“He’s been taken to the police station.”
“But...he had to shoot him, Ben was....” I was interrupted by a knock at the door, the two policemen from earlier came walking in.
“Ma’am. I’m glad you’re up and feeling better. We need to get a statement from you. Ladies if you will excuse us.”
The next hour or so I spent rehashing the whole ordeal, over and over, question after question. I had to rehash my entire relationship with Ben with two strangers who recorded everything I said. Afterwards a psychologist followed and concentrated more on what Ben had done to me. I tried to explain it to her honestly. She was very nice and had told me some emotions that I would likely feel in the next coming weeks, after things calmed down. She asked that I see her again next week and I agreed to.
Next, came the medical doctors, who examined me physically from head to toe. I discussed it with the psychologist and understood the importance, for Jonathan’s sake too. I was bruised and sore but my real injuries were emotional. I was glad he was dead. I’d always be afraid he would come back again and hurt me or worse even.
It was finally time to leave. Mom insisted I go home with her and Rachael was going to stay the night as well. I needed to find out what was happening with Jonathan. I tried calling him on the ride home but there was no answer. I left him a message to call me no matter what time it was when he was finished at the station. I was so worried for him. The police just had to believe him, he was protecting me and himself. Ben was enraged with anger like I had never seen anyone before. Jonathan had no choice.
I had to rehash details again with Mom, Dad and Rachael. Carefully choosing my words this time, without explaining all of the details to them. I stuck to the facts, it was hard for all of us but I know they needed an explanation of the events that had occurred too. The only thing I knew for sure was I never wanted to step foot back into my bedroom or sit on my couch again.
During the night, I heard my phone alert saying I’d received a text. I quickly reached over to see, it was from Jonathan. I read it, “Are you alright?”
I quickly responded Yes, well no, but are you alright?”
He replied only “Yes.”
I wrote, “please come over,” and gave him the address. While he tried to say it was late and I should rest etc. I needed to see him, I convinced him to come. I wrapped the blanket around me and went out onto the front screened in porch to wait for him. Mom’s house was surrounded by trees and very private. I waited anxiously to see him. When finally, I saw his headlights peak through the windy driveway. I didn’t say anything as he exited the truck and then walked up the stairs to the screened in porch to meet me.
As he opened the door all I heard was, “Jenny.” I ran to him, still holding my blanket around me and wrapped my arms around his neck. The tears fell again and I sobbed in his arms.
I managed to get out, “I’m sorry!”
“Don’t apologize, Jenny.” He wrapped his arms around me too and held me tight.
I tried to explain, “I had no idea he would.,.”
He interrupted me, “It’s not your fault.” He rocked me back and forth in his arms.
After I calmed down slightly we sat on the outdoor lounger together, snuggling under the blanket. He explained to me how the police questioned him and took his statement, he thought he’d be spending the night there, when he realized that the alarm system was set off and should have recorded everything that happened after it was triggered. While there was no video to see, since we were in the bedroom, they could still hear everything that occurred. Between that and my medical exam, Jonathan said they had enough evidence to release him.
I was thankful for that part of the ordeal to be over. I told Jonathan, “I had to say those things to you on the phone, just to get him to leave. I thought that if I could just get him to go…”
“I know you well enough to know you were speaking in code and something was wrong. I’m not sorry I came to check on you, Jenny...and you know, I had no choice but to shoot.”
“I know, God, I’m glad you had your gun with you and that he didn’t bring his! The outcome may have been different.” I wiped my tears and rested my head on his shoulder. “Thank you Jonathan.”
“It’s over Jenny, you’re ok,” he put his arm around me and I nestled my head in his lap and closed my eyes as I felt him stroking my hair ever so softly. It calmed me down.
“Jenny!” I heard Rachael yelling from inside, startled I opened my eyes. That’s when I realized that Jonathan was still here with me on the front porch. I felt his arm still on me and could hear his faint snoring as his head was hung back over the ledge of the small lounger. It was light outside now.
The front door flew open, “Jenny!”
“Shh!” I said but it was too late, she had woken Jonathan too.
“Ugh!” he stretched. “Hi,” he smiled at me.
“Jonathan!” Rachael exclaimed and ran over and wrapped her arms around his neck. “Oh Jonathan! Thank you!”
He shyly accepted her gratitude. She plopped down next to me. “How are you doing?”
“I’m ok,” I smiled.
Next, came Dad. “So this is Jonathan.” He extended his hand to him and when Jonathan stood up to respond, Dad reached over and gave him a huge bear hug. “I can never thank you enough for watching out for my little girl.”
Then came Mom. She joined in, making it a threesome hug and smothering Jonathan as tears came down her cheeks. Overall, Jonathan handled my family’s gratitude very well. I heard him say, “really there’s no need to thank me.” But it didn’t matter, they continued to hug him until Mom said, “Come inside everyone, I will make us all breakfast.”
Jonathan said, “thank you, but I really need to get home and shower, change clothes. They gave me these at the station, on account of the...well, I really...I have to be going.”
I walked Jonathan out to his truck, barefoot and blanket still intact around my body. We gazed at each other for a few more minutes without any words. I felt myself tearing up again. I just couldn’t seem to stop crying.
“You could come by the store maybe later or tomorrow...or whenever you feel up to it, Jenny. Just call me, or come by...I’m there most of the time now.”
“Ok, I will,” I tried to smile.