She let him in by the side door and up the stairs to her apartment. The phone was ringing. She tried to hurry but as soon as she unlocked the door they heard the answering machine pick up. Lily took two steps into her apartment and heard her ex-husband’s voice.
“It figures you aren’t home. I suppose you’re out with some new boyfriend. There’s always someone with you, isn’t there. Well, you’d better call me back when you get home, and I mean it.”
The voice went on, and she stopped in horror, knowing that Ian was hearing every word of his venomous tirade. She wanted to stop the machine but was afraid if she cut it off, Ted would know she was home and call back.
Finally he ran out of horrible things to say and hung up. Lily wrapped her arms around herself, embarrassed, mortified beyond measure. Would Ian believe the horrible things Ted accused her of? Without turning around, she said “Thank you for walking me up, Ian. I’ll see you at church.”
She waited to hear the door closing. Instead, she felt his hand on her shoulder. “What was that all about?”
“Nothing. Don’t worry about it.”
“Was that your ex-husband?”
She nodded. Tears were welling up, choking her. She couldn’t speak.
“Does he call you often?”
She didn’t answer, hoping he’d go away. But instead, he shut he door and moved in front of her. He didn’t ask any more questions, just drew her into a hug. A hug that seduced her with its offer of comfort and support. She wanted to hide in the circle of his arms.
Instead she said “Don’t Ian. Don’t be nice to me.” She tried to push him away, but he tightened his arms around her, and she felt herself give in, tears sliding down her cheeks.
Ian held her and stroked her hair. He murmured soothing words to her, and it was more than she could take. The sobs she’d been holding in escaped.
No Heart is Safe