My Husband, My Stalker

By: Jessa Kane






8





Jolie





Two weeks later





I look up from my sketchbook and see it’s dark outside.

With a gasp, I fumble for my phone and turn the house lights on, breathing through the nerves. Willing them to abate. They do, finally, but I continue to stare at nothing, like I’m half asleep or in a trance.

It has been two weeks since Christopher…Evan disappeared. Poof. Without a trace.

I keep expecting him to show up. To be standing in the kitchen when I come out in the morning. Or to roll over in the middle of the night, straight into his welcoming arms.

But that hasn’t happened.

It hasn’t happened.

I’ve thrown myself into self-defense classes. Therapy, too—after a thorough sweep of the office. I found a microphone taped under the desk. I stared down at it in the palm of my hand, waiting for the outrage to hit. It did, but so briefly I almost missed it. Yes, it was wrong of Evan to intercept my personal thoughts. They are sacred. And mine.

But I can’t help but consider what he did with the information.

I healed thanks to myself. He took the fears I voiced in therapy and found roundabout ways of lessening them. Rearranging furniture in our bedroom and living room so there would be fewer hiding spots. Attaching a whistle and pepper spray to my keys without me asking. Encouraging me to do self-defense classes.

I’m not an expert on psychopaths, but I know a little, after being kidnapped by one. And they don’t care about the needs of others. It’s not in their DNA.

Meaning, Evan can’t be one.

Meaning…there is a strong possibility he might genuinely love me.

In a very twisted way.

Swallowing the lodgment in my throat, I close my sketchbook and stand, looking around the apartment. At the stillness where there used to be laughter. Moaning. Companionable silence. It’s so empty without him. I’m…

No.

I refuse to be empty over the loss of him. He stalked me. Lied to me about his name, his job, where he was going every day. Listened to my most personal thoughts.

He murders people for a living, for god sakes.

A long time passes before I realize I’ve been standing in the middle of the living room, unmoving. With a huffed breath, I start to pace. I need to put Evan behind me. Not to mention, all of the embarrassment that comes from being fooled again into thinking someone was normal. So embarrassed that I couldn’t bring myself to contact the police and tell them I’d been stupid enough to marry a man who was lying about his identity.

I don’t want to admit it to myself, but there’s another reason I didn’t call the cops.

Evan would never hurt me. I know it in my soul.

My eyes burn and I scrub at them with the heel of my hand. I need to continue to focus on my recovery and my self-defense classes. I even sent in an application this afternoon for a ground floor position at a design firm. I’m making strides.

I’m just so…bereft.

I miss him.

There, I admitted it.

I think he really did love me.

It was in every touch, every hug, every action, the vibration of his voice. And I loved him, too. Even in the storage unit, I looked at him, at all of his lies and deceptions and I felt a crazy, untamed, singular kind of love. It teems inside of me now, too, stronger than ever. I ran away from him. I accepted his offer to never see him again. But I would do anything to have him walk into this room and overwhelm me with his affection, his touch, his kiss.

Before I can talk myself out of it, I take my car keys off the peg and drive to the storage unit. I’ve driven by a couple of times over the last two weeks, but never gone inside. Perhaps I should be scared. Perhaps it’s unwise to come here alone after dark, but the urge to be near Evan in some way is so undeniable, I’m walking into the building without a backward glance.

I recall the code he punched into the security pad for the unit because it was my birthday. My throat feels tight at the memory, but I swallow and enter the four digits, wringing my hands as the door trundles open.

Nothing.

It’s empty.

No…wait. There’s a large box pushed into the far back corner, hidden in shadows.

I advance on it quickly, like it might disappear, using the flashlight from my phone to illuminate the surface. There’s nothing distinct about it. Just a plain, cardboard box.

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