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I had just finished my video to her when I heard Danny come back from the grocery store. I quickly put everything in the box. It’s the last thing I have to bring to my car.
“Dylan, I’m back.”
He starts talking to me like nothing had happened, his strong voice letting me know he was home, just like it had everyday of my life since I was sixteen. Then his tone changes. He hesitates, as if he is unsure if he should announce himself to me, as if he is unsure I would care that he were home.
“I…uh…I just…I just wanted to let you know that I’m back.”
I pull and rip the last piece of tape over the box. I spend much longer than I, making sure the tape is securely glued to the side of the box, because I’m not sure I want to leave. This has been my safe place for so many years. I’m safe with him, but I know I have to leave.
“I’ll be right out.”
Once I’m sure the tape is secure I sit down and look around my room. The room he had made just for me. I hate that I’m doing this to him. He’s done nothing but take care of me and how do I repay him for that. I fall in love with someone else, not just someone else, I fall in love with her.
Last night was awful. As mad as Danny was he insisted I sleep in our bed and he would take the couch. Maybe that was my punishment. Our bed was the only place I felt no one could hurt me. I felt that way because he was always there, next to me, keeping me safe.
“Hey, Dyl, can I come in?”
He’s still calling me Dyl. I used to hate it when he called me that. It always reminded me of them. But over time it became his loving nickname for me. He’s the only one I’ve aloud to call me that. When he says it I know he means it with love.
They never meant it that way. They used to say it with contempt and bitterness. My mom and the many men she used to bring home, in the hopes that one of those rich losers she met at the club would be her ticket out of her horrible life. A horrible life that I was the reason for.
Wow, my mother, I haven’t thought of her in years, many, many years. I had buried that nightmare deep into my subconscious. I had put it behind me. I put it behind me because of him. How can I do this to him? I owe him so much. He saved me.
That’s my punishment for what I had done. The man who me anymore. He would not be sleeping next to me, like he had been every night since he rescued me from her twenty years ago.
“Dyl, you in there? Okay, your cars still here and I’ve checked the other room so I know you’re in there. Come on Dyl, let me in. Let me in or I‘ll break the damn door down. Dylan, I swear I will!”