by Colleen Driscoll
I lie awake under the covers, peeking at the flickering candles, waiting for his return. Each wind gust rattles the windowpane, banging in shrill cries for help. My heart races as I scan the room’s shadows. The black widow spider in the corner ceiling pauses from spinning her web as though aware of my plight. I beg sleep to overtake me.
In the adjoining room, the faucet drips, echoing the tick tocks of the mantel clock, counting down his arrival. I feel his presence though his footsteps give no warning. The damp, earthy scent of his travels captures my senses. Goosebumps burst forth from my skin. “Where were you?” I ask.
His cold, unemotional voice makes me cringe. “Walking.”
Trying not to shake, I sit upright, leaning against the headboard, ready for an argument. “You walked all night in this fog?”
“I had business to attend to,” he mumbles. The smell of sweat and dried blood sends shivers through my body.
“Did you hurt him?” I can’t conceal the panic in my voice. Still crackling in rage, his fluorescent eyes glow in the darkness, offering his answer. My mouth goes dry as I gather the courage and argue a worthless plea. “That man did nothing to you!”
“The man flirted with you!” The thunder of his voice shakes the house. As he paces the room, I lie down, begging myself not to cry. He is a stranger when he acts this way. I wait as he calms down and transforms back to the warmhearted man I fell in love with.
“His kindness was an act of good will,” I whisper. “It meant nothing.” I tug the bedsheet high around my neck as he inches closer to the bed.
He rubs a stained finger tenderly over my cheek and kisses me. “You knew what I was like when we married.” He cuddles beside me and wraps his arm lovingly around my waist.
I wait for his snore before I let myself breathe freely. He’s right. In spite of my optimism, I should have realized that discontent would prevail in my life when I married the green-eyed monster.
Colleen Driscoll is a writer, musician, and teacher. She has published a variety of works, including poetry, short stories, children's books, and songs. Her website is http://cdriscollauthor.wixsite.com/colleendriscoll
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