“I’m talking to a disgusting coward who thinks he can get away with hurting a child and using his size to intimidate others.” I stepped even closer. “You don’t scare me. Now get away from us.”
“No need,” Adam growled. He rose so quickly that his chair crashed behind him. He reached for me and grabbed my arm. He nearly sprinted with me out of the restaurant and into the town car, never once looking back.
The moment we got into the backseat and the chauffeur started away, Adam’s demeanor shifted to an even darker place. He was quiet. Deathly still. His fists were balled in his lap and he stared straight ahead.
I was beyond worried. I didn’t know what to say. I reached for him, wrapping my arms around his middle, hugging him tightly to me.
He didn’t move.
I hunched down, trying to coax his gaze to meet mine. I held his face in my palms, trying to comfort him, trying to get his eyes to focus on me. He didn’t budge. It was as though ice had crept through him and frozen him from the inside out. His blue eyes were stark and void, staring at nothing.
“Adam, Adam honey, look at me.” Cupping his face, I kissed his cheeks, his chin, his jaw. “He’s gone.” I placed a small kiss on his lips. “He’s gone, honey. I’m here. Look at me, please.”
His jaw clenched so tightly that I thought he would crack his teeth. He didn’t move his head, but finally his gaze unlocked from its trance and focused on my face.
“There you go. Just look at me.”
As if pulled from a spell, Adam shot forward and pushed me back on the seat. He shoved my legs apart and ripped off my panties in one swipe. I didn’t even have time to register what was happening. He unzipped his pants and plunged inside of me. I wasn’t ready for him and the invasion burned. He growled and fisted my hair in his hands. He thrust harder, deeper, as if trying to f**k away the memory of whatever had just happened.
I couldn’t move. A trickle of something simmered in my gut and the buzz of anxiety spread.
I had never felt it with Adam before.
He was hurting, and I didn’t know how to help him. So I lay there. Trying to hold on to him. Trying to be that safe place for him to land. But he was racked with tension. Grief. Hatred.
I wouldn’t push him away. Wouldn’t leave him. Whatever his demons were, I would be right by his side fighting them. I clutched him, hoping he could feel me, feel my love and know I was there. That’d I take his hurt if I could.
He didn’t relent. He kept going. The sounds that came from him were more like those of an animal than a man. Harder and harder—until finally he came. He groaned as if it had caused him pain.
He pushed himself off me, his gaze never meeting mine. He sat there, motionless, staring forward as the bright lights of Chicago sped by us.
I knocked lightly on the door to Adam’s home office. He looked up from his desk.
“Hi,” I said in a soft voice.
Once we had come home, he’d gone into his office and I knew he needed some time alone. So I gave it to him. I had taken a shower and tried to wrap my brain around what had happened. I knew what deep, long-past pain felt like. How it crept up on you and smothered any ray of light you had.
In a pair of sweatpants and a shirt, I stood at his door. “I think we should talk about what happened tonight.”
“I’m sorry if I was too rough with you,” he said, but didn’t look up from his desk.
I stepped inside. My heart was breaking for him. The demons he carried weighed heavy in the room.
“No,” he snapped. “I told you, Katelyn. This topic is closed.”
I frowned and took a few more steps toward him. “Adam, I saw the way you reacted to your stepdad. We need to talk about it. What did he do to you?”
Adam slammed his hand down on his desk and eyed me. “Drop it, Katelyn.”
“I want to help. Let me.”
“Oh?” He stood and walked around the desk. Placing his palms behind him, he gripped the edge of his desk and leaned back against it. “Are you going to tell me what to do now?”
“No. I just want you to talk to me.” I reached out to him.
He stood there. Stone. His face was devoid of any emotion as his eyes bored into mine. I barely recognized him.
“Do you enjoy making me angry?” He looked at the hand I offered him and scoffed. “Pathetic.”
His words hit me like a slap in the face and I dropped my hand. It was like being a child again, wanting to make everyone okay, wanting my love to be enough, only to be reminded that it wasn’t—I wasn’t.
I hugged my middle. “Who are you right now?”
He held his arms out. “Same guy I’ve always been.”
“No. The man I know wouldn’t treat me this way.”
“Here we go. It’s always about you, isn’t it? What I can give you. What—clothes, jewelry aren’t enough?”
“I love you! That’s it. I don’t care about the rest and you know it. I want to help you. Be there for you.” I swallowed back the tears rising in my throat.
I knew he was hurting. Knew this piece of himself was difficult even for him to handle. From the looks of it, he’d never handled it. He was lashing out. I just needed to stay strong. “I know this is hard for you, but you don’t have to face this alone. We can deal with this. Together. If you need more time, that’s okay, but I’ll be here, whenever you’re ready.”
He stared at me. “No.”
My heart sank. He was refusing to let me in. Stay strong.
“Do you have any idea what I’m capable of?” He took one slow step toward me. “I’ve almost killed a man with my bare hands…and I’m not sorry.”
I nodded. Breath was strangling in my windpipe. “I don’t blame you.”
He took another step. “You should be scared of me.”
“You’d never hurt me, Adam.”
Step. “You seem sure about that.”
I inhaled deeply. Though he was moving closer, he was using his words to put a wall between us. A wall that was dependent on my fear. I wouldn’t give in. I loved him too much and knew deep in the center of my being that Adam would never raise his hand against me.
He wasn’t my mother.
“I trust you,” I whispered.
“Then you’re ignorant.”
Everything we had shared, everything we worked to build, was falling into a shambles around me. He was driving me away on purpose. Admitting to this kind of abuse was devastating. I had gone through it, and the first time was always the hardest. Once you accepted it, voiced out loud what had happened to you, it became real. But once it was out there, handling it and moving forward became easier with every step.