Posted by Eve Rabi Author
Book 9 in the Girl on Fire Series
People say it’s okay to fail in life sometimes. They say it can be a stepping stone to … blah! blah! blah! They’re right.
I’ll tell you one thing you should never fail at. Murder. Oh, no, it’s one of the worst things you can possibly fail at. Especially a carefully orchestrated one. Ask anyone behind bars for attempted murder and they will tell you, that kind of failure is not an option, and it’s a stepping stone to time in prison.
In my case, my husband had an affair. That was okay – it happens. What was not okay, was him and his mistress, luring unsuspecting me to my death, burying me alive, she assuming my identity, they living a charmed life.
You feeling sorry for me? You should. Can you think of anything worse than being buried alive? No? You’re right – there isn’t anything worse than that – it’s pure hell.
It’s okay though, because they failed at murder, so they would live to regret it, because … I’m alive.
Mirror, mirror on the wall …
DROVER AND LOVE
The story of the married man and his mistress continues …
With a heavy heart Drover watches the train ease out of the station. He doesn’t move. Love will return to him. She will change her mind, hit the emergency stop, force them to open the locked doors and run into his arms. They will hold each other for a long time, before they venture toward their next step in their complicated future together.
It wouldn’t be easy, he knows that for sure. Nothing worth it in life usually is. So, they would make the most of what they have and be thankful that they can be together some of the time. They love each other, that is all that matters. That is all that should matter.
The train becomes smaller. Drover waits.
The train became a speck in the distance. Drover drops to his haunches and watches the moving speck. Love will come back to him.
The train disappears completely from sight.
Drover does not move. The next station – she’s going to get off at the next station, board a train in his direction and rush into his arms.
He doesn’t move, doesn’t get up to pace, he stays exactly where she left him, so she can find him easily when she returns to him.
Minutes pass. He waits.
People filter out of the train station. He waits.
Lights on the platform are switched off. The station became ghostly. Drover feel a little cold. He waits.
“Mate, you okay?”
Drover looks up into the face of the train station conductor.
“Been sitting like that for a while now, mate.”
“Whachu waiting for?”
Drover lets out a long breath before he mumbles. “Love.”
The conductor chuckles. “Aren’t we all?”
Drover attempts a smile, fails miserably. He looks around. The place is now deserted.
“Go home, mate,” the man says in a kind voice. “She’s not coming back. Not t’day.” Embarrassed, Drover stands up and looks in the direction of the train.
She’s not coming back. Not t’day.
He nods. Love got onto a train and left, taking his heart with. It’s over.
Shrouded in a despair, Drover turns and ambles toward his SUV. As he drives home, different scenarios flit through his mind. What if he had got on the train and left with Love? Just followed his heart? Like they did in the movies? Rode off into the sunset with the woman he loved?
They would have been happy, yeah, but … would he have been able to live with himself knowing that he had abandoned his wife and children? That he was shirking his responsibilities? He loves Joy, he loves his kids and abandoning them all because he fell in love with another woman, is not something he could ever do.
Do the right thing – wasn’t that what a to do? A parent supposed to do? That was important to him – to do the right thing.
Sometimes in life, when love costs too much, a mammoth sacrifice is necessary. This is one of those times, and it hurts like hell.
He will forget her – the woman who could make him laugh, make him cry and make him quake with fear whenever she held a shotgun in her hands. The one who adored his silver and gold eyes. He glances in the rear-view mirror at his eyes and smiles. Silver and gold – what a way to describe them.
He will forget her, because time will make it happen. Well, that’s what people say. He will make time his friend. He was determined to.
A dull ache lodges in his chest. Heartache? Heartbreak? He releases his seatbelt a little. It doesn’t help- the ache persists.
He drives up to his house, eases the SUV into the garage and kills the engine. Instead of alighting from his vehicle, he remains seated behind the wheel and presses his palms to his eyes.
Joy. He’d have to face her. Damn!
He looks at his phone for the first time. One hundred and seven missed calls. Damn!
His quick-thinking, analytical brain kicks into gear – He’s been away for twenty-six hours. Joy has called every fifteen minutes during those last twenty-six hours.
Being the attorney that he is, he evaluates the facts:
AWOL for twenty-six hours.
He’d turned off his phone.
He’d left without an explanation.
Most importantly, he’d spent the last twenty-six hours with his mistress. There was no doubting as to who he was with.
Joy would have a problem with that. Joy has a problem with that – a phone call or text every fifteen minutes – crap! He’s not proud of his behaviour, but he just couldn’t help it – he was losing the woman he loves, because he put his family first.
Apologise, explain, then assure Joy that he is back for good.
Assure her that when faced with a choice, he chose to remain with her and the children.
Assure her that he is never going to leave her. Ever. She is his wife and she will always come first in his life.
He means it. He loves Joy and he knows that she is hurting right now. He vows to make it up to her. Do everything in his power to fix their marriage. Kiss away the hurt. He wants so badly to ease her pain.
Joy’s an attorney too; she’ll also look at the facts, resolve to handle the issue in a logical and rational way. We can do this.
Suddenly, his SUV is rocked by a loud bang and the sound of breaking glass.
“What the …?” He spins around to see Joy smashing the rear window of the SUV with a baseball bat. It is a shatterproof window, yet, glass flies at him.
“Joy, what the hell?”
Snarling with rage, Joy moves to the driver’s side and swings at his window. “Cheating, lying, son of a –”
Drover jumps out of the SUV and tries to get the bat off her, copping a good few blows in the process. Eventually he manages to wrestle the bat out of her hands and flings it into the bushes. “Christ, Joy! What the hell are you doing?”
She stands before him, chest heaving, eyes glowing with anger. “You were with her, weren’t you?”
“I … I… Joy …”
She shoves him hard in the chest. “Answer me, you lying bastard!”
“Joy, I’m sorry, things happened … but it’s over, okay? I’m back, I’m home, with you and the children. I want to make things work. Please just … under –”
“How … how dare you treat me like this?”
“—stand, okay? Please?”
Her voice is shrill, borderline hysterical and she paces as she speaks.
“I’m sorry. I am. I really am. Please, let … let’s just forget it all and start again, Joy. Please.”
She whirls around to look at him. “Forget it? You … you dog. You fucking … you son of a …”
Drover allows her to vent, and vent she does, cursing and hurling insult after insult at him. He stays silent, nods his understanding, eager to let her get everything out of her system so they can move on.
He rubs his eyes, red and tired from the lack of sleep and crying.
“What? Your eyes are tired?” Joy circles him as she rages. “Didn’t sleep last night, huh? Too busy fucking that whore? Huh?”
“Don’t call her a whore, Joy.” The moment he utters those words, he regrets it. Too late. Joy stands absolutely still, a loaded silence follows, and Drover suddenly thinks about wearing a crash helmet.
“You protecting that slut? Seriously? You protecting her, DROVER?”
Drover looks at the ground.
She pokes him in the chest, then slaps him in the face. “Huh? Answer me, you dog! You protecting that dirty whore from nowhere? Huh? The one who spreads her thighs for any married man to get what she wants? Huh? Answer me? You actually protecting? You are protecting her. The audacity of you!”
Fight or flight. Blame the weariness, blame the fact that he was feeling emotionally and physically drained, blame the fact that Joy won’t stop, Drover choses the coward’s way out. “Listen, Joy, I’m going to take a shower, okay?” Without waiting for an answer, Drover strides into the house.
The house is dimly lit, eerily quiet and cold. Like something is missing. Love. She is missing. She walked into their dark, gloomy house and turned it into a home. Brightened up the place by turning on the lights, putting fresh flowers in the vases, and playing music. Add her humor, wit, goofiness and laughter to the mix, and the place became one big carousel of lights, music and laughter. Now that she’s gone, she’s taken it all with her, including that carousel.
At the thought of the days, the weeks, the months … life without her, that ache in his chest intensifies and a lump the size of a golf ball jams in Drover’s throat.
Andrew appears in front of him, eyebrows raised. He cranes his neck to look behind Drover. When he does not see Love, his shoulders sag.
Drover slaps him on the back, before hurrying on.
He sees Daisy on the top of the stairs, both hands balled on her chest, her face tear-stained. “It’s true, dad?” she whispers. “Love’s gone?”
Drover’s shoulders lift and drop, before he whispers, “It’s gonna be okay, baby.”
She wipes away tears with her sleeve, then darts into her bedroom and shuts the door.
“Where are you going?” Joy shouts, running behind Drover. “I haven’t finished with you!”
Drover takes the stairs, two at a time, and heads for their bedroom. He strips quickly, throws his clothes on a chair and makes a dash for the bathroom.
As he showers, Joy flings open the bathroom door, a golf club in her hand.
Drover’s heart drops. If she slams that club against the shower door …
He’s unsure what to do – stay in the shower and let her vent, get it all out of her system, or leave the shower and get rid of the golf club, but risk getting into a physical altercation with her as he does?
“Yes, take shower, a hot one!” she yells above the noise of the shower. “Scald yourself, Drover, and get rid of the stench of infidelity before it further taints this home of ours! Before you further defile our marital bed with the scent of that slimy whore.”
Don’t call her a whore!
Drover remains in the shower, trapped, because there is no escaping Joy’s wrath. For a few minutes he lets both the water and Joy’s vitriol rain over him, waiting for that swing of the golf club, listening out for the sound of shattering glass.
It’s unfair, he thinks as he watches her. If the roles were reversed – if he threatened Joy with a baseball bat and a golf club, while she was in a car or in the shower, people would call him abusive, and he’d face jail time for sure. Yet, she gets away with it because she’s a woman.
He turns off the taps, steps out of the shower and moves toward the towel rack, his eyes still fixed to the golf club in her hand. Joy beats him to towel rail and snatches the towel out of it.
“You don’t deserve anything in this house, you slime ball. Not even a goddamn towel.”
Drover yanks the towel out of her hands, wraps it around his waist and walks into the bedroom, expecting to feel the golf club in his back. Joy follows him into the bedroom.
Stay calm and keep apologising.
“Joy, I am here,” Drover says in a controlled voice. “I’m home, okay? I’m sorry for everything. I am.” He lowers his tone of voice, put his hands on her shoulders and looks into her eyes. “I didn’t mean to hurt you. I’m sorry I did. I really am. You were gone for almost a year and … I was … Joy, I was lost, alone … and … she was there, and she was lonely too and … it just –”
“— happened? Is that what you’re going to tell me? You going to use that cliché as your get-out-of-jail card? Seriously?”
Drover hesitates, then continues. “I’m home now, Joy. Where I want to be, okay? How about you cut me some slack? Please. I really need your –”
“You … you … how dare you try and sweet-talk me?” She violently shrugs off his hands, then slaps him across the face.
“Joy, I am home!” Drover yells. “What more do you want from me?” He snatches the golf club out of her hand and flings it across their bedroom. It crashes into a picture frame of them on the wall and shatters it. Glass rains down on the carpet.
Joy stares for a moment in disbelief. He stares too, shocked at his anger. He’d never done anything like this before.
Joy soundlessly claps her hands. “Good shot, Drover! Bet you wish that photo frame was me, right?”
Drover doesn’t answer. With a Labrador-like shake of his head, he strides back into the bathroom, shuts the door and locks it.
“And don’t act like you are doing me any favours by being here, because you aren’t!” Joy yells, banging on the door. “You open this door, you cheating bastard!” She starts to kick the door.
With his eyes squeezed shut, Drover leans his forehead against the bathroom door. Maybe if he’s out of her sight, she will calm down, he reasons.
She doesn’t; she continues to rage, screaming profanities and abuse at him through the locked door.
Drover gets back into the only place he can hide – the shower. It drowns out her threats and gives him time to cool down. He only gets out of the shower when the water runs cold.
What was colder than the water? Joy’s shoulder – she suddenly stops ranting and they spend the rest of the night in icy silence.
This is so hard, Drover thinks as he lies in the dark at three in the morning, staring at the ceiling. If only Joy knew how hard ending the affair was on him, on his heart, she would act differently. She would put her arms around him and hold him close, help him fix the broken pieces, help him grieve the loss of the woman he fell in love with, so that he can move on with his life. With their life. That’s what he longs for – for her to understand, comfort him, make him believe that he’s made the right decision, make him think that Joy was worth suffering heartbreak over. Worth the pain. Make him believe that doing the right thing was … worth the pain.
Joy does not – her episodes of rage become maniacal. There are marathon sessions of abuse hurling (“You both are liars and thieves! Rotten to the core. Dirty cheats, that’s what you are.”), where she dishes accusation after accusation, asking questions, then demanding answers (“How was she in bed? Better than me? Huh? Tell me. Go on answer me, you son of a bitch!”).
Asking questions, then answering it herself (“Where did you fuck her, huh? I’ll tell you where you fucked her – in the car, in the bathroom, in the toilet, in the shower, in my fucking bed, Drover! In my bed!”).
Asking questions, providing him the opportunity of a multiple-choice answer, then demanding that he pick one (“How does she compare to me in the sack? Huh? I’d like to know. Tell me. Was she as good as me? Was she almost as good as me? Was she so good, so much better than me, you had to have the slut at any cost?”).
If he answered, he was in trouble. If he didn’t answer, he was in trouble. He could do nothing right. Day in and day out, morning, noon and night, Joy unleashed on him, and there were no signs of her anger abating.
Sadly, a lot of the madness was in front of their children. To spare them, Drover would often walk away during an argument, walk away from an imminent fight, hoping she’d cool down if he left her alone – it takes two to tango. That didn’t work – Joy would follow him around the house, insisting he answer, provoking a reaction, baiting him to fight back. She’d poke him, slap him, shove him and throw things at him.
When he extracted himself from a volatile situation, or a potential fight, she’d call him spineless, a pussy and a coward.
It was ugly. It was hell.
Often, he’d have no choice but to get into his SUV and drive off to some place he could hide from her wrath. Sometimes, he would leave home in the middle of the night and sleep in his SUV rather than go back and face Joy. Because of this, he now kept a blanket, pillow, a toothbrush and a change of clothes in his SUV. If he wasn’t a man, he’d probably find himself in a woman’s shelter, seeking refuge for the night.
Oh, there were times when Joy wasn’t abusive. Those times she was hostile, cold and uncooperative toward him. She would ignore his questions, turn off the light while he was in a room reading, hide his car keys, hide his wallet, hide his phone charger, hide his phone, hide his eyeglasses, hide the remote to the garage, hide the remotes to the TV, hide the remote to the air conditioning unit or change the wi-fi password for no reason.
It was as ugly. It was hell.
The saddest and most unpleasant part of this whole thing? The children – when Joy flew into her rages, she unleashed on them too. Over simple things, like Andrew spilling some orange juice on the table, or Daisy forgetting to say thank you to her. She would get in their faces and scream at them, and they would quake with fear, expecting her to hit them.
No one knew when Joy was going to explode. The family, terrorized and edgy, tiptoed around the house, speaking in whispers, avoiding Joy at all costs, and tensing the moment they heard her voice.
Before long, every inch of their beautiful, triple-story, 6,800 square-foot home was covered in eggshells.
Life was ugly. Life was hell.
Release date: 16 January 2018
This is not a stand-alone book. It is a sequel to the Other Woman (an epic and jaw-dropping collision between a betrayed wife and a cunning seductress), which has an overall 5-star rating on Amazon U.K. and Amazon Aus. Fans of Girl on the Train and Gone Girl will love Eve Rabi’s tales of love, lust and revenge.
#RomanticCrime #RomanticSuspense #StoriesofRevenge #VigilanteJustice
(Click on image above to read The Other Woman)
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