The day that I was being released, Vaughn came to pick me up. I thanked him for the lilies but in my mind I knew it was the worst attempt at an apology. Flowers died so did love. I donated them to the cancer wing of the hospital.
Jessica and I had discussed her picking me up but at the last minute Vaughn called and asked for the “honors” and even though I wasn’t ready to face him, I knew he had been waiting patiently to see me.
He signed all the necessary paperwork for my release and then the officer assigned to my room wheeled me out to wait for Vaughn to drive up and get me.
As Vaughn helped me in the car, I felt my stitches stretch. I had been told to stay on bed rest once I got home. That bastard had torn my skin at the entry to my anal area and I had to have five stitches. It was not a comfortable feeling having your ass stitched. Nothing about this whole ordeal was comfortable.
I had overheard Jessica and my mother talking about why Vaughn was the last one getting to the hospital. He had been out with another woman with his cell off. I wondered for a moment if it was the same woman he had canceled our dates for before. Or was this a new conquest for him? One of my clients had told me that they saw Vaughn in my car with a woman. I had questioned him about it, but of course he gave me some lame excuse that it was one of his clients. Vaughn was a tattoo artist and clothing designer. He was artistic and very good at what he did. He was one of the best. He was around women all the time. He was good looking and knew how to say the right things. He had gotten me, hadn’t he? Once I realized I was getting played, I was too embarrassed to just give up. I had invested a lot in us. He swore that whoever was telling me stuff was just hating and jealous. I didn’t keep people in my circle like that, but by the time he finished talking and romancing me, my head was so far in the clouds I never stayed mad long.
I wasn’t one to be made a fool of but so long. Once I heard more than once that he was cheating on me from different sources, I took my time dumping him because I was comfortable but I also took my time because I was going to let him see how much he hurt me. I didn’t need any evidence this time. I had it right before my eyes. He had canceled our date and was with another woman when I was raped. That was evidence enough for me. I knew deep down inside, he wasn’t to blame for my rape, but maybe it wouldn’t have happened that night and maybe I would have thought twice the next time. I was ready to end this charade.
“First I want to tell you that what happened to me was not your fault. Obviously Quentin had been watching me for some time. He was just waiting for an opportunity to approach me.”
Officer Moses informed me before I left the hospital that Quentin had been staying at a hotel a block away not his normal spot, at his mothers. When they searched his room, he had photos of me alone, with Vaughn, Jessica, at work and even getting undressed. Their was an empty condo directly across from me that he had set up to watch me. Mental note was made to invest in curtains and an alarm.
“I know that you were with another woman the night that I was attacked. Who was she?”
He put his hands in his pocket. Classic sign of guilt for him.
“It doesn’t matter. I can’t do this with you and I right now. I need time to myself to sort all this out, start healing, and get back to work.”
I walked over to him and took his hand. I had to do this for closure. I wasn’t in love with him anymore. He had hurt me too many times. I had to let go right now. One less obstacle to conquer.
“Toni, I am so sorry. I love you and care for you. I want to help you through this if you let me.”
I turned away from him. I couldn’t allow that. Not now anyway.
“I’m sorry, but I cant accept your help. Where were you when it happened? Where were you when Jessica was trying to reach you? Where were you when I went into surgery? You didn’t care about me then. You are selfish! Always have been and I don’t want you here right now. I might not ever want you here again.”
I went to my front door and opened it.
“I need you to leave,” I said stepping away from the door so he could pass through it possibly for the last time.
He stopped close to me. I didn’t look into his eyes. I don’t want to see anymore.
“I am sorry. Please call me if you need anything. I promise to be there when you call.”
He walked through the door as I shut it. I cried for what seemed forever until I heard a soft knocking.
It was Jessica. I opened the door and fell into her petite frame. I cried until I had no more tears left and she rubbed my hair until I fell asleep on the couch. I remember waking up in the middle of the night as she put a cover over me, then I drifted off again to try to find some peace.