Tuesday, 16 April 2013

34 Minutes, Part Two:

For what is probably only a few minutes, but feels like years, the vile beast that has broken in to my home just stands before me staring at my trembling, very naked body. I can tell that he is getting a lot of pleasure from my fear and humiliation and so I try to minimise it as much as I possibly can. I don’t dare meet his eyes, because I do not want him to see the terror in mine and I do not want to see whatever emotion he has in his. I cannot stop my violent shaking, I am petrified and cold so there is simply nothing I can do. The only thing I focus on as he approaches me is staying on my feet, my legs want to buckle but I know that he will beat me again if I fall and that it will be easier for him to rape me if I am on the floor, so I focus on keeping my body upright. I find myself wishing that I had taken some kind of self defence class. If only I knew how to ‘smack his nose in to his brain’ or whatever, but I don’t. Any futile attempt to fight him off would fail I realise, and it would bring him pleasure to knock me around further, or worse it would anger him in to harming one of my children, so I focus my gaze on the ceiling and wait for whatever his next move is.

He stands only inches from me now. I can actually smell his foul odour. He stinks of cigarettes, alcohol and a disgusting chemical smell that I cannot name. The hideous stench seeps into my nose and combined with the fear coursing through my body makes me wretch. I cannot help but flick a quick glance at him, and notice that his eyes are blue, an eye colour that I had previously associated with innocence and purity, but now a colour that I will hate for the rest of forever. Despite their colour his eyes are glazed over in a way that I have only read about, never seen, it doesn’t disguise the twisted pleasure he is gaining from this. I swallow down the urge to scream and to run as I hear him unzip his trousers. I wish I could go back in time. I wish I could be back in the shower, go back to feeling blissful and relaxed again, but this time I would have closed the bloody window. I wish he would leave. I wish I could die or even better he would drop dead right now! The tears are flowing silently down my face as he starts to masturbate as he stands before me. Every now and then he manages to bump his penis in to my stomach and each time I fight the urge to scream, or run. I need to stay calm, the more I cooperate the faster this ordeal will be over. I chant that mantra over and over in my mind. I force myself to picture the faces of my sleeping children and will myself to be strong and brave for their sake.

Muttering the whole time he continues to masturbate before me. Purposely I tune out the things that he is saying although I do catch the odd disgusting word that he spits at me. ‘Slag’, ‘dirty cunt’, ‘whore’, nothing very imaginative. ‘Stay calm’ I continue to chant silently, ‘this will be over soon. Stay calm’. I cannot stop the tears from flowing, or my skin from crawling but I try to be brave. I have to do anything, anything he wants in order to keep that vile beast away from Nathaniel and Elle. Sadly no matter how brave I try to be, when I feel the warmth of his sperm splatter on to my belly button I shriek and recoil in horror. I cannot help but look at him and my disgust is clearly visible. If it were possible, I would rip my own stomach off of my body and throw it away, I sure don’t want it anymore! I cannot bear to feel him on my skin! I can’t even bring myself to use my hand to wipe it away, and I am unable to move so I have to stand and tolerate the vile substance.

My reaction clearly makes him angry again. He rants at me that I am ‘a fucking dirt slag’ and smacks me square in the face with the hand which is holding the gun. The force of the blow sends me reeling in to the thankfully unlit fireplace. I manage to stop myself landing in the grate and clutch on to the sides to keep myself up. Pain strikes through my brain like lightning and the force of the blow literally blinds me for a second. Everything is reeling around me but I do hear him do his zip up and I feel the blood streaming from my nose and running down my breasts and stomach until it is mingling with his vile bodily fluid. Pain and renewed terror wash away any bravery that I had previously been clinging on to and I am openly crying now. Once my eyes refocus I can plainly see that he is pleased to have ‘broken me’ and to have probably broken my nose too. Neither of us speaks. I cannot. I have no words and am terrified that if I dare to open my mouth I will scream, and scream and scream! As I don’t dare to wake the children, they cannot see me like this, I just hang on to the fireplace and pant through the pain. With my eyes finally fixed on him, I can see that he is dithering; planning his next move. I look at the blu-ray player again, 24 tiny minutes have passed since I last looked. That feels crazy to me. I have endured this horror for such a short time, but it feels like months have passed. For what feels like years he continues to stare at me, clearly planning what to do, I am petrified about what he might do next as he walks forward towards me. Where is Dean? I have changed my mind; I want him to come home now, please God! Please let Dean rescue me from this horror!

He walks up to the table, picks up the bottle of wine that I had uncorked before he grabbed me and sarcastically asks me if I want some. I don’t speak. I don’t move as I am trying not to give any response or reaction if I can help it but he still sniggers to himself before taking a long glug from the bottle. “Tastes like fucking shit, rich bitch” he mocks and throws the bottle on to the floor. He stares straight in to my face waiting for a reaction as the red liquid spills on to the cream carpet that is already stained with my own blood. I don’t react, I don’t even look. My pulse is still beating in my ears and I am still shaking violently but I am trying to calm my breathing down. I need to think, to prepare for whatever is coming next. Right now he is picking my smart black bag up from behind the chair that I pointed out to him earlier. He rummages around in it and pulls out my purse. He pulls the notes out and looks mighty displeased with the small gains of £75. Tossing my bag and purse to the floor he spits “Is that all the cash rich bitch?” I nod still unable to dare to open my mouth. “You said there was gold?” again I nod, “take me to it”. This demand makes me freeze, if I take him to my room which is where my jewellery box is, that means I have to take him near my children. That is the last thing I can bear do. Stalling for time I fumble to take my earrings out, and to take my necklace and rings off. As I do so I sneak another look at the blu-ray player. He has been in my house for 32 short minutes. With hands that are shaking violently I hold the jewellery out to him. Bile rises from my stomach as he walks towards me once again.

Without warning the living room door swings open and a very happy looking Dean walks in waving a bottle of wine and greeting me cheerfully. His voice stops dead as he slowly takes in the scene before him and his eyes widen in shock as he tries to comprehend what he is seeing. The world has slowed down for me once again; I didn’t hear Dean come in and couldn’t even shout a warning, I feel sick with fear again! I futilely raise my hands and shake my head ‘no’ as though to stop him from coming in to the room despite it being too late. Sadly the beast thinks fast and flies at Dean who is still frozen with horror. He smashes the gun full force in to Dean’s face and flies out of the room and out of the house without a further word! Thankfully Dean managed to duck quick enough to save his nose, but the force of the blow has sent him flying in to the wall before he crashes to the floor in a heap. I drop my jewellery to the floor as I run to him “Dean, Dean are you OK?” I cry hysterically. I am panicking again for fear that Dean might be seriously hurt, but he doesn’t answer. Instead he leaps to his feet he makes to go after the attacker. Still naked I run after him and drag the jacket of his suit, “please don’t, please don’t” I sob and hiccup, “he has a gun!” For a second Dean turns as though to push me aside but suddenly his eyes actually focus on me and he stops in his tracks. Thankfully instead of running out of the wide open door after the vile beast, he slams it shut and pulls his suit jacket off and helps me in to it, kissing my head as he does so. “I...I, should, have, been, here!” he stutters clearly fighting back tears, “what did he do to you Jasmine?” Although I hear the urgency in his voice and see the terror in his eyes I cannot answer his questions yet, there is something more urgent that I have to do first.

“I need to see the kids” I assert tearfully instead of answering Dean’s question, “he, he was here for ages I think.” As I am speaking I am already making my way up the stairs with Dean following close behind me. Once I reach Nathaniel’s room I attempt to open the door but Dean removes my hand. “Let me check first” he whispers, “he will panic if he sees you like this”. I concede without argument, and stand aside as he opens the door. My heart is pounding in my ears again and I am silently praying that my babies are sleeping unharmed. Once he is satisfied that Nate is not awake Dean moves aside and lets me look at my son. He looks fine, peaceful, but I am still frightened and nudge my husband, “Make sure that he is breathing, please” I whisper in a voice thick with tears. I can see that Dean wants to object and to reassure me but then he thinks better of it, instead he obliges and tiptoes in to the room and stands before our sleeping son, “he is fine” Dean whispers and bends down to kiss Nate gently. Nathaniel sighs and turns over causing tears of relief to stream from my eyes. Once Dean has gently closed the door we both walk to Elle’s room, my legs are still shaking violently and my pounding heart picks up its pace once more. I cannot help but hold my breath again as Dean opens her door, quickly he moves aside and I am able to peer in. Elle is still snoring gently and the relief of hearing her gentle snores causes my knees to finally give way. I sink to the floor just outside of her room and weep so hard that my whole body shakes fiercely.

Dean scoops me up in to his arms and carries me down the stairs in to the kitchen. He puts me in to a chair and holds me tightly until my tears subside a little. Once I am slightly calmer he informs me that he is going to call the police. I nod in agreement, there is nothing else that I can do, but I hate what I am going to have to go through now. My attack has ended, but the rest of my ordeal is only just beginning I realise as I wonder how I will ever get through this. He steps back in to the hall once again and I hear him make the call. I don’t listen to what is being said, I am still crying and my mind is spinning, but I have never heard Dean sound so bewildered and sad in all of the years that I have known him. I guess that we are both shocked that this could have even happened to us because these hideous events are things we hear about on the news; they are not events that happen to us, and not in our own home! Once we are inside of our front door we are supposed to be safe from all of the evil in the world; that evil is not supposed to be able to enter our safe haven and harm us! That is just not supposed to happen, it’s as though I have been living in a horror story but hadn’t realised it yet!

After a while my husband comes back in to the kitchen; “They are going to send someone” he informs me and grabs a bag of frozen peas out of the freezer, wraps them in a tea towel and hands them to me, “and I have called your Mum, she is on her way so she can watch the kids and I can stay with you”. I cringe at the idea of my Mother having to even know about this, never mind actually see the state of me, but I accept that it is inevitable. “I hope the Police come soon” I whisper, “I really want a shower”. The coldness of the peas on my pounding nose makes me flinch. I can already feel that my eyes are swollen and can imagine that they are already bruised. Once again I send up a silent prayer that he didn’t break my nose.

“I think that you will have to see the doctor first” he answers in a voice that is chocked with tears of sorrow. I had of course already realised that this would be the case, a prospect that I am not relishing because I cannot stand the idea of yet another stranger’s hands touching me, but if they are going to catch that monster then I will tolerate it I decide. Dean puts the kettle on and sets out everything he needs to make coffee. “He didn’t rape me” I whisper causing my Husband to turn and face me once more, “he...he..” through huge wracking sobs I try to tell my husband exactly what happened to me. I see the horror and anger etched on his face as I relive every humiliating detail of what I endured, and once I am done he is there holding me and soothing me once again. Over and over he promises me that ‘everything is going to be alright’ but I am unconvinced, will life ever be ‘ok’ again?

We cry together for what feels like an age, Dean murmurs over and over again that he ‘should have been here’, but I know that this is my fault. I should have closed the window before I left the room, I am the person that allowed evil to enter our home, and I tell my husband as much. Of course Dean is horrified that I am blaming myself and the disagreement is not helping us so instead I ask for the coffee he was making even though I don’t want it. Dean looks relieved to have a task to focus on and hurriedly makes himself busy preparing the drinks. I try to close my eyes and focus on my breathing to try and stop myself from continuing to cry, but every time I close them I have this sudden feeling of panic that someone is behind me and have to turn around to check. ‘Will I ever feel safe again’? I silently wonder. The tears come back as I realise that I am unlikely to ever feel normal or safe again. No one has the right to make a person feel this way I seethe! I already know that I will never feel safe in this house again, so we will have to move. How could I ever step foot in that room again I wonder? I hate that that beast has ruined my dream home. I hate him so venomously for everything that he has done to me and taken from me, but I think that I hate him more for the effect his actions will have on my family. He had been in my home for just 34 tiny minutes, but has managed to destroy it for me! How can 34 minutes ruin everything?

Once the coffee is made we sit at opposite sides of the table and drink it in silence. Trying to drink the coffee is painful and as I dribble the hot liquid from my mouth I realise for the first time that my bottom lip is cut and very swollen. I hadn’t even felt it as I am in so much pain from so many parts of my body that it seems to have all merged in to one. Once he realises that I am struggling to drink the coffee Dean finds a straw for me, he hands me the bright pink straw and the absurdity of the act makes me laugh! I am part laughing, part howling and part crying while poor Dean is still standing there holding the straw out to me looking completely bewildered! This just seems to make me laugh more! “Are you in shock?” he asks clearly petrified. Those words seem to snap something in me and I stop laughing and howling and just cry-hysterically instead! So yes I probably am in shock! Clearly the poor man doesn’t know what to do for the best, so he just crouches down and holds me once more. I’m enveloped by his beautiful, warm scent and the strength of his embrace temporarily makes me feel a tiny bit safer.

Hammering on the front door forces us apart, and once alone I feel scared and vulnerable again. I already know that it is my Mum. The worst thing about what I have endured is the having to talk about it, I conclude. I felt so humiliated even telling my husband everything that happened, especially having to explain to him why I was naked apart from the silk dressing gown to begin with. When you actually do something like that it feels sexy and empowering, but having to say it, even to Dean made me feel pathetic and desperate. I don’t know how I am going to tell my Mum about the things that I endured. I fear having to tell the police and even a court room full of strangers if we are even lucky enough to get that far, what if they think I led him on in some way? That I was dressed to seduce him or something! What will they think when I have to admit that I didn’t even attempt to fight him off? Will they understand? I have to shake these panicky thoughts away and that is how my mother finds me shaking my head and silently crying.

My poor Mum cannot hide her horror, Dean had been quietly talking to her in the hall and I am sure that he tried to prepare her, but my Mum clasps her hand over her mouth and gawps at me. Her normally neat grey perm is wild where she has clearly pulled the rollers out in a hurry and her face is bare of make up making her look every inch of her 67 years. I am about to get up to comfort her but Dean beats me to it, he gently guides her to the chair he had been sitting in and sets about making her a cup of tea. The only words that are spoken are about how many sugars she takes and how strong she would like her brew. I know that I am the elephant in the room, that my poor Mother must want to know what happened but I cannot bring myself to talk right now, as cruel as I feel for that. I do try to smile and try to assure her that I am OK, but nothing can wipe the agony from her face. Mum gets up and comes over to me; I am still sitting as we embrace but I hug her as firmly as I can. As she pulls away to accept her tea from Dean I see that she is shaking and that her pretty white blouse is stained with my blood, tears well up in my eyes again. Is life always going to be bleak now, I cannot help but wonder. Perhaps how I look now is all that people will see when they look at me from now on. I hope not!

Before anyone can say anything further there is another knock at the door. We all look at each other and brace ourselves for what can only be the police. Fear engulfs me again and bile rises within me once again. As I hear Dean invite them in I stand on my weak and still shaking legs. I know that I need to be brave and to face everything head on if we are ever going to get through this, so I had better start right now.

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Friday, 12 April 2013

34 Minutes. Part One:

“Can I read for a bit Mum?” I look at my eight year old Son’s pleading face and think for a minute. Really I should say no, I have already let him stay up a little late, but it is Friday and deep down I know that he is trying to wait up for his Dad to come home. Dean has been working late most nights for the last two months, as well as most weekends too. For good reason of course; he is trying to secure a very important contract for his business so we cannot be angry with him, but we do miss him. “OK sweetie” I concede as he clenches his fist and draws his elbow in with a victorious “Y.E.S!” I cannot help but smile, Nathaniel has won the eight year old version of the lottery. Let’s just hope that my husband wins the actual Lottery very soon! If I were a ‘Stepford Wife’ type then what I would wish for most would be for my husband to get this contract that he has been working so hard for, and it isn't that I don't want him to exactly, in fact I am very sure that he will be the successful bidder. The trouble is that once he does win the right to build the housing association flats he is going to have to work even harder to make it happen. Also I have learnt that the more successful he becomes in business the less time he has for his family. Sure, we will benefit financially but in truth I would rather have my husband home every evening for dinner and to kiss our children 'goodnight' rather than have even more money in the bank. Dean however is a man possessed with success and cannot understand my line of thought.

Sometimes I really miss the life we had when we started out our life together. Sure we had a lot less money and lived in a rented flat, but we had so much time together. Back in those days our relationship was so much fun and Dean was so unpredictable, often surprising me with flowers and weekends away. Life was totally stress free back then, they were blissful years. My getting pregnant with Nathaniel drove my husband to want to be successful and he set up his own building firm, he was so determined not to turn out like his own lazy ‘bum’ of a Father that he became so driven with determination to provide the best life possible for our children. Dean grew up watching his Mother working three cleaning jobs while his Father sat on his arse drinking and gambling her hard earned money away and he resents him beyond words for that. I fully supported Dean in his dream and even helped to fund it by giving him every penny of my small savings. He didn’t disappoint, now he is hugely successful and I couldn't be more proud of him.

I also couldn’t be lonelier. There is a downside to every upside it seems.

Anyway, a few years after I gave birth to Nate we traded the flat for a stunning three bedroom house and I was able to give up work and become a stay at home Mum, which is just as well as Elle followed just two short years after her brother. To me our family and life felt so complete but Dean spurred on and on, wanting more and bigger and better. Success seems like a drug to my husband.

The thing is; I really miss working and I really, really miss Dean!

Gosh I don't know why these thoughts just keep popping in to my head!

I shake the negative thoughts away and concentrate on my Son who has jumped back in to his bed with a book in one hand and a torch in the other. His earlier pining for his father has been temporarily suspended given my bedtime leniency. Gently I tap his head through the covers and inform him that as soon as I finish my quick shower it will be time for 'lights out'. Nate's head briefly pokes back out from under his spaceship quilt and he asks "will Daddy be home by then". His face looks hopeful but his tone is pleading.

"Maybe" I hedge because I don’t know the answer myself "but even if he isn't it will still be time for sleep OK"? He nods solemnly and dives back under the covers to resume his reading. I smile to myself, turn the light out and close the door.
I walk quietly to the next room and poke my head round the door. Elle is sleeping soundly; she looks so peaceful bless her. My heart literally swells as I look at her innocent little face which is framed by her angelic brown curly hair. When she is awake Elle is a confident, bossy little determined madam, but asleep she looks like butter wouldn't melt. She also looks much smaller in sleep than she does when she is charging around the house bossing us all around. I fight the temptation to kiss her for fear of waking her and close the bedroom door as quietly as possible.

When I look at my children and the beautiful house we live in, it is hard not to feel blessed, but the trouble is that I am also the person who wipes tears away when daddy misses dinner each night, misses school plays and is just never there. I know I can soothe them by reminding the kids that Daddy is working hard for them, because he wants them to have such a lovely life, but it isn’t easy. My biggest fear is that the children will grow up resenting the fact that their Dad was never ‘there’ when they were growing up. Dean thinks that this is crazy, that they will be proud of him and his successes, but then again, he isn’t the one watching them cry and trying to comfort and reassure them. Sometimes I wish that he could see their sad faces when I have to tell them that he won’t be home. I am confident that if he could see them only once, he would make the effort to be home more.
Slowly I make my way back in to my own room and pull my dressing gown from the hook on the back of the door. I pull my mobile out of the pocket of my jeans and automatically check it for messages, there aren't any. I throw it on to my bed and walk to the far side of my room towards the white door. Through the door is the en suite bathroom that Dean installed. I love our bathroom. It is such an adult room as it was designed solely for our use. The walls are tiled with mirrors, the floor is a dark grey marble and the units are light grey. We have a large free-standing bath and a small shower cubicle. For a moment I wonder if I should run myself a lovely hot bath, but then I remember that Nathaniel is still up and so turn the shower on. I undress while I wait for the water temperature to settle.

Once the hot water hits my aching body all the thoughts whooshing around in my mind seem to melt away: I am no longer 'clock watching’ for Dean's return home, my worries and guilt over my Son's pining for his Dad temporarily dissolve, as does my own pining for, well for more of a life! Instead I just allow my mind to empty and my body to slowly relax. There are not many times in a day when I am completely alone and able to get lost in my own thoughts. There are even fewer times when I can just 'be'. I find that I am humming away to myself as I start to soap my hair and then my skin. The delicious smells of my shower products fill the air and seem to completely soothe my senses. It's blissful! Perhaps this is the Mummy version of winning the lottery I muse smiling.

It's more than half an hour before I step back out of the shower again, hurriedly I throw my towelling dressing gown back on, wrap my hair in a towel and make my way towards Nate's room to tell him it is time to stop reading. I need not have worried; he is sound asleep and snoring gently. The book he was reading and torch have fallen to the floor. I pick them up, switch the torch off and place them on Nathaniel’s night stand. He looks like he is sleeping peacefully, the frown lines of earlier have disappeared and his earlier down turned mouth is puckered up as though he is about to be kissed! I hope that he is having sweet dreams bless him.

There is no doubt that Nate is beautiful, too beautiful for a boy really. He is definitely going to be a hit with the girls when he is older; with his Olive skin that he inherited from Dean and the brown curly hair and hazel eyes that I gave him. Both of our children look very alike and Dean and I both recognise that our children inherited the best features from each of us. We are very blessed to have such lovely, healthy, well behaved children. The fact that they are both so gorgeous is a bonus and I won't deny it. The children are a massive source of pride for us and Dean definitely wishes for us to add to our brood. I am tempted as I look at Nathaniel right now, but truthfully I would like to build something of my own first. I would like to start my own business perhaps or maybe a charity. I wouldn’t even mind just to get a part-time job to start with, something-anything! I have skills, I used to work in sales and then after I quit work when Nathaniel was born I took a book-keeping course so that I could help Dean with the business. I did that for almost five years but then the company outgrew my skills so we had to get a real firm in to do them. The point being that I have skills, I have interests and there are things that I could be doing out in the real world! I feel ungrateful sometimes but I just don't find being a stay at home Mum fulfilling enough anymore, especially now that they are both in school.

Am I selfish to want more?

That is my worry really, that when I tell Dean that I’d rather have my own career than a baby, that he might just think that I am a selfish person. After all he has done to provide us with a wonderful life, why would I want to earn my own money? Why do I need something more to do when I have the house and kids to take care off? Would he ever reschedule a meeting to pick the children up from school because I have a meeting? I like to think he would. I really hope that he would. I like to think he would encourage me and be the supportive partner that I think or hope that he would be, he is my husband and he definitely does love me. It’s just that I would be so angry and hurt if he didn’t that it feels like a bit too much of a risk to find out!
Wearily I sigh and close Nate's bedroom door. I walk back in to my own cool, soft grey room and close the door. The clock on my mirrored bedside table informs me that it is now 9.15pm, I check my mobile again- there are still no messages so I type a text to Dean, I don't want to become the nagging wife but I do need to know what is going on. I send the simple: 'Hi darling, are you leaving soon? Let me know if you are hungry. Love you' and start to dry my hair while I wait for the response. There is still no reply by the time I start moisturising my skin. Every few minutes I find myself picking the phone up to check and see if he has replied even though my phone alerts are on 'loud'. Just as I am starting to close the lid on my very expensive body cream a message finally arrives. The content makes me smile 'leaving very soon beautiful so please no divorce!' it continues, 'I’m not hungry, love you and kiss the kids!'

‘See’ I tell myself, ‘he is a good husband, he loves you! He would be supportive; no doubt about it’. I hastily reply with a ‘hurry I am missing you’. Knowing that Dean will be home soon cheers me up no end. I was about to pull my pyjamas out of the drawer but after reading his text I change my mind. Instead I wrap my sexy red silk dressing gown around my naked body and liberally spray myself with my most expensive perfume. Tonight I will give my husband a very warm welcome I decide, tomorrow I will tell him my plans for the future. I am sure that he will be happy. He loves me. Right?

I am so buoyed with enthusiasm that I practically glide down the stairs and in to the kitchen. I am now a woman on a seduction mission and I feel stupidly excited! It has been a while since Dean and I made love, we have really been stuck in a rut. He is so busy and tired from work, and I am so busy and tired from looking after the children and house that really we haven’t been making much time for each other. I have really missed our bedtime chats and the passion that we always seemed to have until a few months ago. Tonight I will change that I vow, tonight I will make sure that we put a little sparkle back in to our relationship, and if he does get this contract, as I am sure he will, then I will make sure I surprise him by booking us in to a hotel for a child free weekend away to celebrate. No matter how busy life gets, especially once I am working, I must make time for my relationship I vow. Dean and I must never end up in the divorce courts, and I will continue to work on making him slow down a little and make more time for us all too.

Looking about my kitchen I try to decide what I need for my little seduction. I rummage about in my white cupboards and drawers looking for inspiration, I have already decided that I will light our log burning fire in the living room, something that we rarely do these days. The kitchen is such a cool calm room with its white cupboards and cream walls, which is quite ironic given the chaos that often unfolds in this room! The only bursts of colour come from the many paintings and drawings my children have made and that I have pinned to the fridge with magnets. I decide to pull a bottle of red wine out of the rack and open one of my glass fronted cupboards and pull out two crystal glasses. I dismiss the idea of bringing any food and just carry the wine and glasses in to the living room. Moving the glass vase of white lilies aside I place them down on my ebony coffee table, and uncork the wine to let it breathe or whatever the wine experts call it. The window that I had left slightly ajar has blown wide open in the wind and my cream velvet curtains are blowing in very dramatically. Shivering with the chill of the night air I lean forward, shut the window and pull the curtains closed.

Without warning I suddenly sense that someone is behind me, the hairs on the back of my neck and on my arms stand up as I register fear. I quickly try to turn around but a hand clasps my mouth from behind, my head is yanked back viciously and I feel a blow to my head. My heart starts pounding in my ears and my head spins from the force of being hit. I feel completely confused and having my mouth clamped shut makes me panic. I try to fight my assailant but they/he is much larger and stronger than me. The object that I was hit with is suddenly shoved in to my face, and I realise it is a gun! This sharpens my senses enough to realise that we are being burgled. OK, we are being burgled. Just as this thought registers a voice hisses ‘One move bitch, one noise and I will blow your fucking brains out!” He doesn’t need to say that to me, I couldn’t scream if I wanted to my voice seems to have deserted me, I am now literally frozen with terror.

Such is my shock and fear that everything feels like it is happening in slow motion. I am thrown to the floor with such force that the carpet grazes my knee as I land. I manage to turn so that I am able to see who this person in my house is. My attacker is dressed head to toe in black, he is wearing a balaclava so I have no idea what he looks like and can only see that he is male, and is a very large, very scary man! It does seem that he is alone and that is a relief to me. Still I am shacking so violently that it takes me four attempts to stand up, and even through the balaclava I can sense that the intruder is enjoying watching my struggle. I try really hard not to look at him, I don’t want to witness his joy at petrifying me if I can help it, it might spur him on and make him worse. Once I am finally on my feet again he throws me back down, kicking me with his large, heavy black boots as he does so and quietly laughs with glee as I yelp with shock and pain. Tears sting my eyes from the pain and terror but I fight them back. He can beat me, and rob me but I don’t want to allow him to see me cry! Even through my terror I have decided that I will do whatever it takes to get this man gone as quickly as possible. Whatever he wants, cash, jewellery anything he can have it! But he must be gone before Dean gets home because I cannot risk my husband being shot, and I try very hard not to give any indication that there is anyone else in the house. I don’t want this evil being anywhere near my children.

After gathering my senses as far as I can I gingerly I manage to get back to my feet again, I flinch half expecting him to throw me down again and as I do so I catch a glimpse of the time on the blue-ray player, it is 21.46 according to that. I am not too sure how accurate the time is, but I am very sure that I want this to be over as soon as possible. I find myself praying that Dean will have been delayed and isn’t yet on his way home. I don’t want my attacker to notice that I am looking at the time. He cannot realise that I am expecting someone I decide, so reluctantly I force my gaze back to him. By this time he is slouched on the arm of the sofa while still aiming his gun at me, and I feel very confident that he would use it too. Despite my absolute terror I try really hard to compose myself. I hate the fact that he is enjoying my fear. “What do you want?” I ask in a voice so contorted with terror that I don’t even recognise it. “There is only a little bit of cash in the house, but I have jewellery, and some of the ornaments are worth a little bit of money” I try, “take anything” my voice betrays me and I cannot stop a tiny sob from escaping as I finish my sentence. He doesn’t answer me though and is no longer looking at my face. I follow his gaze and realise to my horror that the dressing gown I am wearing has opened and he can plainly see my naked body, he is staring straight at my exposed pubic hair. Hastily I grab my robe together and hide my modesty. I feel myself flushing with a strange mix of terror and shame; there are no words for the humiliation that I am feeling. He in turn points the gun back to my face and orders me to drop my robe. I don’t. I stand as stock still as I can given that I am still shaking violently and clutch my robe as though my life depends on it. I try to speak, to dissuade him but terror has once again muted me.

He gets to his feet once again he demands that I drop the robe and chillingly adds “if you don’t, I might have to look elsewhere for my fun. Would you like that rich bitch?” tellingly he raises his eyes to the ceiling. He knows that I have children in the house I realise with horror. I dread to think how long he has been in my home without me even realising, you just wouldn’t imagine that it is possible for someone to be in your house and you not know! I desperately want to run to my children and make sure that they haven’t been harmed, but I know that this is impossible. All I can do is hope and pray that he hasn’t touched them.

“Please” I plead while shaking my head slowly back and forth, “please don’t”. I cannot finish my sentence. I cannot bring myself to verbalise my plea for him not to harm my children, “You haven’t?” I ask pleadingly “please, please, take anything!” I beg fruitlessly “my bag is just behind the chair there. I have a about £100-I have gold! Please! Please!” I am sobbing now and I hate myself for that fact.

“If you don’t want me near those kiddies of yours you had better drop the fucking dressing gown you dirty slag!” he hisses angrily as he lunges towards me. I know that I don’t have any choice. If I want this to be over, if I am going to avoid anyone, and more particularly my children from being hurt I am going to have to do what he says, and just hope that if I just do what he says, then perhaps it will be enough to make him leave. With shaking hands I slowly, reluctantly drop my red silk robe to the floor.

To be continued.

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