Below is the last of what I wrote several months ago, before I started working full time and had a load of stuff pile up on me. Writing is something I always seem to go back to and I would really like to finish this project. At the moment, it sits at just above 58,000 words/125 pages.

 

Tessa was dressed for court and her nerves settled into her stomach like never before. Today was her hearing on her divorce and she was hoping she was going to get a definitive answer on whether or not Daniel would be staying in prison or not. She couldn’t imagine him being out after his attempt to kill someone and how badly he hurt her. Her head pounded after flashing back to that day. The rain pattered on the windows, seemingly fitting for the mood she was in. She looked into the mirror once more and let out a strong exhale.

She used Marks’ car to get to the court house. When she pulled in and put the car in park, she hesitated. Deep down, she just wanted to leave and not think about this. Knowing the court hearing would more than likely turn into her favor, she still resented Daniel.

She walked up the stone steps, and into the elaborate, heavy wooden doors of the court house. She placed her bag on the bench, taking off her watch and earrings before going through the detector. Once she was cleared and on the other side, she put her watch and earrings back on and grabbed her bag.

She walked down the hall and around the left hand corner, looking for her attorney. He was sitting on a bench, assuming the hall he was sitting next to would be where she needed to be. As he looked up at her, he stood up and extended his hand.

“Thanks for coming, Tessa.” He said with a warm, friendly smile. He pulled open a file folder and began going through everything the judge would be asking and what would be happening. Worst case scenario, she needed to know what would happen. Her attorney doubted it would turn into the least likely events, but informed her otherwise.

Her attorney opened the door and let Tessa in first, escorting her down the middle of the seats and showed her the seat. The case was called and Tessa stood up with her attorney. The judge proceeded with the hearing. Tessa’s attorney made the claim and then asked for Daniel’s attorney to speak. With everything that the attorney was saying, Tessa’s jaw dropped. She knew it was a lie. She looked at her attorney in complete and utter disbelief. Her attorney raised his hand, gently touching her shoulder. Tessa did everything she could from dropping down to her knees and letting her emotions take over. She couldn’t give up.

The judge paused after Daniel’s attorney spoke his plea. “It has come to my attention that Mr. Davenport is not stable whatsoever.” There was another brief pause. “I feel it would be beneficial to lock Mr. Davenport up, for life. In that time, he would receive medical attention for his PTSD and remain tucked away where he could do no harm to Mrs. Davenport or anyone else. It should also be said that I feel that this man is dangerous and has been for sometime. Over time, it will only get worse. Mr. Davenport, you are sentenced to life, without parole in federal prison.”

Tessa exhaled in relief, Daniel retorted, yelling for Tessa to come back to him. “Whore! You need me, I know you do. I can save you!”

The judge looked at Daniel and looked at Tessa, pausing for an expression out of Tessa. Tess didn’t flinch, although she glared at Daniel, irritated at what he had done over the years to her. Daniel yelled out once more. The judge had enough. “Mr. Davenport, I will hold you in contempt if you yell out one more time.” The judge slammed her gavel down twice. The gavel echoed in the court room, shuttering a feeling through Tessa that was indescribable. Fear came through her, excitement even. Daniel didn’t say a word as the policeman pulled him out of the room.

Tessa’s stomach sank, deep down in the pit. It sat like a rock. In the end, she could have everything that she wanted. Reality sank in. In the back of her mind, she had hoped the government would keep their end of the bargain and keep Daniel in prison. Her life was ruined with him lingering in her mind. The way he touched her, slapped her and yelled at her. It flashed back that a storm on the beach without warning. The first miscarriage, the way she felt losing the baby. She never knew she would feel so empty, and again the second time. She wanted happiness, she dreamed of a life with children.

She looked up at the surroundings in the room. The judge was sitting up and walking into the chambers. The jury was leaving in a single file line. She assumed there was another court hearing and they were going to talk the case over. She wasn’t sure how it worked. She looked behind her and noticed the room was already nearly empty. She grabbed her bag and slowly walked out of the building. Everything seemed to go by slowly in the moments that followed.

She sat in her car, inserting her key into the ignition. Her fingers gripped the key, and she turned the car over. She was divorced. Free. Her heart fluttered with excitement. She couldn’t wait to tell Mark. She wanted to go slow, take their time. He was always patient with her, for the most part. Debating how to tell Mark, she pondered in deep thought.

Instead of going to Mark’s right away, she drove around town. Looking at the sights, admiring how close the beach was. She enjoyed it here, seeing herself make this place home. It was a coincidence that she was here and everything over the last several months felt right, even though Daniel was less than annoying, relentless even.

She pulled into the parking lot of her favorite pizza place in town. She went in and placed an order for two pizzas. She went with a chicken bacon pizza with garlic parmesan white sauce. She also went with a double cheese, sausage, olive, green pepper, mushroom pizza with a robust tomato sauce. She was one of a few people in enjoying pizza. Although she was going to take them home, she figured it would be a great way to celebrate the evening. A gentleman brought the perfectly boxed pies out to Tessa whom was patiently waiting. The man checked her receipt to make sure she was the one who ordered the pizzas to-go. He set them on the table as Tessa thanked him. She grabbed her bag, tossing it over her shoulder while reaching for the pizzas in the same motion.

Pulling into the driveway, Tessa had been gone the majority of the day. In hopes that the good news would bring them closer, she prayed he would take things slowly. She cared for him, possibly was in love with him. Over time, the feelings should sort out.

Tessa opened the front door swiftly and sauntered into the kitchen. She placed the pizzas on the counter, looking around for Mark. From the corner of her eye, she noticed Mark was in the studio working. Before moving outside, she though about what she was going to say to him. She paced the kitchen, her fingers intertwined in one another as she exhaled. Frustrated and feeling anxious, she heard the door open. Mark was covered in clay and paint. Her heart skipped a beat. Her emotions filled up all over again.

“Everything okay?”

“Yeah, I brought pizza for dinner.”

Mark moved over to the sink and began to wash his hands. “Did you grab my favorite?”

“I did. I figured tonight would be a good night in.”

“How did the hearing go?”

Tessa looked down at the kitchen tile. She stopped for a moment to think things through. She caught her gaze back up at him. “Daniel is in prison. For life. And I am officially a single woman.”

Mark smiled. “I am assuming the pizzas and wine are a celebration?”

“That’s what I had hoped.”

Mark stepped closely towards her, waiting for her response. Tessa didn’t push back, nor did she allow him to touch her. Tessa felt the electricity spark between them, but tossed them aside in fear of what could come of this. Deep down she wanted them to work because of the feelings that shot through her body when he was around, but after Daniel and his aggression, she feared the worst in the back of her mind. The way he made her feel; weak, helpless, strong and independent, there was no turning back from this, or was there?

“I need to take this slow Mark. I’ve been through so much and I am scared.” Mark reached for her cheek. Tessa’s stomach fluttered.

“I have no problem doing so, Tess. I will do whatever it takes to make you fall in love and trust me.”

“Are you sure that this is what you want?”

“I want you, Tess. Only you. I’ve never been so sure in my life.”

A tear fell from the corner of Tessa’s eye. She knew she was appreciated, respected, and loved. It felt one sided, but she wanted to turn it around. She left her fear behind her.

“I want to sleep in separate rooms, but I do want to give this a try.”

“It’s all I ask, Tess.”

Tessa smiled, feeling like a winner, she pushed up on her toes and kissed him on the cheek. Tessa thought that would be it, but as she walked past him, he grabbed the pizzas, setting them down before grabbing Tessa and pulling her in, kissing her on the lips. His hands drew on her cheeks, kissing her back. Tessa gave in, falling into him.

The morning light peaked over the horizon. Tessa’s eyes opened slowly, but the sudden bright light that shot through her eyeballs was too much. She rolled away from the window and on to her stomach, facing her head towards the bedroom door. She heard Mark out in the kitchen, opening cupboards, turning the facet on and off, pouring water in what sounded like the coffee pot. Her eyes closed briefly again. She remembered him kissing her last night and not resisting. It felt good to know she finally had some sort of happiness coming. The last thing she remembered was telling him that nothing should happen, that she needed to get to bed before anything would happen. Mark ensured that nothing would happen, but she refrained from testing those waters anytime soon.

The aroma of coffee filled the hall and swarmed into her room. The door was left ajar in the middle of the night. Perhaps she left it open accidently, or Mark walked in to check up on her this morning, or in the middle of the night. Either way, she didn’t seem to care. She sat up, easing onto her elbows, then her hands before sitting all the way up. She yawned, wiping the crust from her eyes. An overwhelming feeling of happiness filled her. She stretched and yawned once more. She pushed herself up and headed out into the kitchen where Mark was pouring fresh coffee into two cups.

Mark looked up briefly before putting his attention on the two cups of coffee, “Morning, sunshine.”

Tessa smirked as she wiped her eyes again, pulling one of the cups full of coffee towards her. Taking a rather large drink of her coffee, she choked. It was piping hot.

“Careful, are you okay?” Mark handed her a paper towel to clean up what she spit out.

“Yeah, like I need coffee today.”

Mark seemed confused by what she was saying. He gave her a muttled look.

“I think I need to go back to bed.”

“Is everything okay?”

Tessa turned toward him. “Yeah, I’m fine. I didn’t sleep well is all.” She lied. She slept well last night, she just wasn’t sure what to say to him after last night. The kiss made her feel amazing, strong even. She grabbed her coffee and took a long, hot shower. That would kill time before feeling like there were crickets looming between them, or she was being interrogated. One of them were bound to happen.

She turns the water on, then the shower head, making sure the water is getting warm, she turns music on, and closes the door. She takes her clothes off, letting them fall to the floor without any care. She steps in and exhales with relief. The water is her therapy. The music takes over as she cleans herself, closing her eyes and letting everything melt away for those brief moments. The steam filled her lungs as she inhaled, trying to calm herself down.

As she got out of the shower, turning the water off, she wrapped herself in a towel and walked into her room. She looked through her clothes, thinking something comfortable today. It wasn’t a jean day, considering she was in a court house and in a suit most of the day. She pulled yoga pants and an oversized hoodie from her closet. She grabbed her panties and bra, and a t-shirt. Once she was dressed, she grabbed her coffee and slammed the contents before heading out into the kitchen for more.

Mark was in the living room on his laptop, more than likely catching up on work or emails. Whatever it was, he was hard at work. Tessa grabbed another cup of coffee and sat in the living room across from Mark. It was the moment of truth.

Mark didn’t stray from his laptop screen. “How was your shower?”

“Fine.” She paused, looking at his computer and the intent behind his motives. She couldn’t figure it out. “What are you doing?” She sipped her coffee, patiently waiting for an answer.

“Working on a few emails.”

Tessa didn’t wait to say anything. “I thought we could do something today?”

“Like what?”

“It’s Saturday. I figured maybe the city, take me somewhere that I have never been. Now that we aren’t looking behind us, I think it would be fun.”

“Yeah, let me finish these emails.”

Tessa got up and changed into jeans and shoes for the adventure. When she walked out of the living room, Mark was waiting for her, keys in hand. Tessa smiled excitedly, gearing up for whatever he had in store for the afternoon. Not sure where he was going to take her, she tried to enjoy the coming hours and her time with him.

Mark backed out of the drive, heading towards the main road and again onto the freeway. Without paying much attention, they were heading south. Tessa questioned in her head why they were driving south, as she was anticipating perhaps going north into the city. She loved the city, but this was a little odd. She had a surprise coming, she didn’t want to ruin the idea of one either. Instead of questioning where they were going, she sparked conversation.

“How long will we be gone?”

“A day, maybe two or three. I don’t know yet.”

The cool air seemed to relax Mark as he drove. Tessa smiled knowing she would be able to escape for a few days potentially and build something that is worth the wait.

“We do have about a 10 or 11-hour drive in front of us though.” Mark glanced over for a moment to stare at her beauty, but turned back to focus on the road before anything happened.

“Wouldn’t that take us into the Carolina’s?”

“Good guess. But I am not telling you where.” Mark remained stone-like, refusing to say anything more.

Tessa pushed her glance to the road in front of them, the cars they passed and a few that passed them. On the freeway, she felt like there was a new beginning close by and she could feel it, perhaps nearly touch it. Marks’ right hand picked up Tessa’s left, pulling it to his mouth. He leaned to the side, kissing her hand never keeping his glance off the road. Tessa’s heart fluttered, her chest felt tight for a moment and her stomach twirled like a graceful ballerina spinning her way across stage.

 

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