Julianna

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Girlfriend

Julianna.

I sat in her office, staring at the report. There was no doubt, Julianna was cheating on me, and had been doing so for some time.

My suspicions had been aroused earlier that night. She was drunk.

Julianna didn’t often drink – but we’d gone over to a neighbour for a party they were holding. Their son was back from the Navy – and had proposed to his girlfriend. There had been a lot of jollity and we’d both had more to drink than was wise.

Neither of us was steaming drunk, but we were certainly merry – and when we got home, I was, not to put too fine a point on it, a little horny.

I’d gone to the bathroom to brush my teeth and take care of my nightly routine, and by the time I was ready for bed, Julianna had fallen asleep, still fully dressed, and only half lay on the bed. I came back into the bedroom, and seeing her so vulnerable, had run my hand up her leg, in the hope of waking her up, and getting some.

She only half awoke, and moaned.

“Please Ben,” she said. “No more.”

My name is Steve. Ben, is a guy she works with, who has eaten dinner at my house, whose wife I know, who we have vacationed with. Suddenly I was stone cold sober.

I brooded the entire night. Was that just a Freudian slip? Was she just fantasizing about her co-worker, or had they actually been doing more than working together. I thought to challenge her about it the next day, but knew that all I would get would be either laughed at, or she would explode in anger at me. Julianna when she was pissed, was a scary sight.

I needed to know though.

I’d love to be able to say that I’m the kind of man who can lay his hands on surveillance equipment, or order something from Amazon and bug her phone and handbag – but that’s not me. And according to most of the stuff I read online about the kind of things you can buy on amazon – they don’t actually work.

Nor am I the kind of guy who has enough cash to lay out on private investigators. Oh I do alright, the house is quite nice, and I’m up to date on all my payments, but I don’t have thousands of dollars available to me. I work as an accountant in a small healthcare IT company. I do payroll and expenses. Its not the most exciting job in the world, but it paid the bills, or at least my half of the bills.

Julianna also worked. She worked in a local advertising agency. She created copy for advertising campaigns both online and for radio advertising. She hadn’t yet managed to get anything of hers onto television yet though. She actually earned slightly more than I did, and we, between us were saving up until we had ourselves in a position where she could take a break long enough to have our first child.

We had been saving for the entirety of our four-year marriage.

Sex with Julianna was awesome. Even now – after six years together we hadn’t settled into a routine. I had heard of couples who had sex once or twice a week or less. Always on the same day every week and always in the same way.

With us it was much more spontaneous. It was incredibly rare that an advance from either of us would be rejected by the other, no matter when or where, and she probably made more advances on me than I did her. We made love on average four times a week, and there wasn’t a single space in the house we hadn’t had sex in. That included the garage the attic space and even once in the crawl space under the floor. (Don’t ask)

I couldn’t even say that anything had changed in our relationship. We still made love the same number of times and we still were as spontaneous as we had previously been. It was this that I was clinging onto in the hope that she had just said the wrong name, simply because she worked each day with Ben, and was used to using his name.

It got to four o’clock in the morning and I still hadn’t managed to get to sleep. Thoughts and actions kept spinning through my head. How could I find out, what would I do if she were cheating. I generated scenario after scenario where I found her in the arms of her lover and I did everything from blowing my own brains out in the room as they watched horrified, to blowing his brains out, then hers. In other scenarios, I simply said goodbye to her, and walked away, in dignified silence, getting into my car and never seeing either of them again. But before any of that, I needed to know. Was she cheating?

Silently I got out of bed, and went into the living room, where she had dropped her purse when we had come back from the party. I looked through it, not finding anything. I don’t know what I expected to find. Condoms maybe, love letters? But there was nothing of the kind. Her phone was locked, but that wasn’t a problem. I’d watched her any number of times unlock it – I typed in the number and looked through her calls and text messages.

There were calls to Ben, and texts also. I read them but they were all work related. Every single one of them. Obviously, I had no idea of the content on the calls, but still, there was no evidence that she had done anything wrong. I was in the process of putting her phone back in her purse when it slipped out of my fingers and landed on the floor. Shit. I thought I might have broken it. I picked it up and examined it closely for cracks or chips, and was relieved to find that there were none. I turned it over to see that something had slid up between the phone cover and the camera lens. It looked like a credit card.

I unclipped the phone cover, and found that it was, indeed a credit card. More to the point, it was in her maiden name, and was not one that I had any knowledge of. Since I’m an accountant, I was in charge of the household finances. I didn’t control the money, but I filled in all the forms, paid all the bills, including the credit card bill, and did our tax returns. How and why she still had this credit card baffled me.

It did, however, increase both my level of suspicion and dread.

I looked on her phone again, and searched for an app from that credit card provider. As expected it was there. It was tucked away inside a folder that was labelled Junk and otherwise filled with all the apps that came with a phone and you couldn’t get rid of.

I opened the app, and found I needed a password. Fortunately, or unfortunately, Julianna had it set to accept fingerprint authentication, and so I carefully sneaked back into the bedroom and with utmost care placed her finger on the screen. She didn’t stir. The app opened.

Nervous that she might wake up, despite her seeming to be so out of it, I had sent all of her available statements to my printer in my office downstairs in the basement. Once the confirmation was done, I closed the app, put the card back in it’s hiding place, and put her phone back in its case. I dropped it into her purse.

After poking my head once more into the bedroom, I went down to my office, and grabbed the statements off the printer.

There it was.

There were transactions, twice a week, on Monday and Thursday usually around three in the afternoon. $45 from a motel chain. It had the chain name and a branch number. Ten minutes on the internet told me that it was six blocks from the office she worked at. So, twice a week she was visiting a motel.

Despite it being painfully obvious why she was visiting the motel, I tried to think of other reasons that she might be going there. Was it possible that they had some kind of conferencing facilities and was taking clients there? I laughed at myself. I was grasping at straws. But even so, I wouldn’t believe it, until I had seen it with my own eyes.

I looked back in the statements, and found that these visits had started about a month ago. A sudden wave of nausea washed over me, and I barely made it to the bathroom before I threw up. I was kneeling on the floor retching into the bowl when Julianna came in and bent down to stroke my back.

“You drank too much?” she asked. “Me too. Can I get you anything?”

I shook my head. I was still clutching the papers in my hands and I had tucked them into my chest, desperate for her not to see them.

“I just need a little time,” I said. “Go back to bed. I’ll be in in a minute.”

“Okay,” she said sleepily. She bent down once again and kissed the back of my head. My forehead banged off the toilet seat as I jerked away from her, but she didn’t seem to notice.

I stayed in the bathroom for another fifteen minutes, until the nausea subsided, and then went back down to my office, hiding the statements in among some other paperwork. I knew that Julianna would never accidentally find them, she hardly ever set foot in my office, although I had fucked her over my desk on more than one occasion. As far as I knew, she never went in there when I wasn’t home. Although what did I know. As far as I knew she was a loyal, faithful wife.

I went back into the living room, but couldn’t bring myself to go into bursa eskort the bedroom. Instead, I dropped onto the sofa, and stared at the wall wondering. Thoughts kept spinning through my head. Only the most stubborn parts of me still tried to cling to the fiction that she was not having an affair, but I was still not fully prepared to face up to the reality. I still wanted more proof. I wanted to be certain.

I also wanted to know what I would do, if she was.

I knew Ben. He was a friendly guy. He’d been in the air force, stood a half a foot taller than me, and I had no doubt could wipe the floor with me if he so chose. His wife Mary, I liked a lot. She was a happy woman, always smiling it seemed, and their three year old, Tabatha was a joy. She called me ‘Unca Ste’ and had done since I had known her.

Divorce certainly. This would mean that both of us would lose out. The house would have to be sold, the proceeds split – we each had our own retirement accounts, hers being slightly larger than mine since she earned more than me. Since there were no children, I might actually be in the ‘enviable’ position that I would actually come out of a divorce better than most men. I doubted that a court would actually award me ‘alimony’ but I was certain they wouldn’t award it to her either. Financially though , the only people who would win in a divorce – would be the lawyers. I decided to go online and see how easy it was to do a ‘do it yourself’ divorce. Perhaps if Julianna didn’t fight it, we might come out of it reasonably unscathed.

Financially at least.

Divorce – is that what I wanted? No, God NO, I loved Julianna with everything I had. But I couldn’t stay with someone who didn’t love me back. I would literally take a bullet for her, that’s how much I loved her. I doubted it applied in the other direction. She was taking something, but it wasn’t bullets she was getting shot into her.

I felt another wave of nausea, but it passed after a couple of deep breaths.

I resolved to go and check out the internet for divorces, and then promptly fell asleep.

Julianna woke me with a glass of water and a couple of tylanol tablets.

“How do you feel?” she asked, her face full of concern. I must have looked terrible. Looking at the clock I’d been asleep for about three hours. My head was banging, my neck and back were killing me from lying in a weird position on the sofa, oh and did I mention I just found out that my wife was cheating on me?

“I’ve felt better,” I said. She smiled at me sympathetically.

“You and me both,” she said. “I took some painkillers before I had a shower. My heads clearing now. How much did we drink last night?”

“Too much,” I said. doing my best not to either break down in tears or start screaming at her.

“Go get a shower,” she said. “You’ll feel much better after.”

I very much doubted that.

I downed the tablets and all of the water, stood up stiffly, and then limped into the bedroom. I dropped my clothes on the floor and got in the shower.

“You could have put your clothes in the basket,” Julianna complained as she came into the bathroom, picking up my discarded garments.

“You could have kept your legs closed,” I mumbled back.

“Pardon?” she said.

“I said Sorry,” I said, loud enough for her to hear over the shower. “I was going to get them when I got out.”

“It’s okay,” she said. “I’ve done it. Don’t forget we’re going over the Ben and Mary’s later for dinner.”

I had forgotten. I had actually been looking forward to it. Mary was an amazing cook and served up Michelin level food. We’d got into a routine of going over there every other month, and they came to us on the alternate month. Julianna was a good cook, and acquitted herself fine in the kitchen, but I always preferred going to theirs. Only tonight – I really didn’t want to go.

“I’m not really feeling upto it,” I said, “I think I may be coming down with something.”

“Nonsense,” she said. “You’ll be fine when those tablets kick in. Besides Tabatha would be heartbroken not to see her ‘Unca Ste.’”

We spent most of the day, as we would normally spend a Saturday. Once or twice I saw the look in Julianna’s eye that said she was horny and would try and instigate sex. Each time I pretended not to notice and moved on to doing something else. I wasn’t sure if she noticed me noticing or not, but I played the I’m not feeling well card all day. It seemed to satisfy her.

I wasn’t certain that even if I tried to have sex with her, I could. I had the horrible feeling that I would either throw up on her, or I simply just wouldn’t be able to perform. In my mind’s eye I could see Ben, lying between her legs thrusting away, or bending her over the kitchen counter, or lying on the floor as she rode him, her head thrown back screaming out her orgasm.

My imagination wasn’t doing me any favours at all.

I spent most of the evening at Ben and Mary’s in a bit of a fug. Tabatha had come over and clambered onto my knee as was her habit whenever I was over, and I gave her a hug. As soon as was reasonable, I got her to climb down again, citing that I had been sick and did not want her to get sick too.

“That was the alcohol,” said Julianna, “You’re not sick.”

“I still feel sick,” I said, “and I’m not still drunk.”

Ben looked at me with concern in his face.

“Oh Buddy,” he said. “You need some tylanol or something?”

I had an almost uncontrollable urge to punch him in the face, and then, once again I got an image of him and Julianna. This time her on her knees in front of him, his cock, which I’d never seen but I imagined being much bigger than mine, stuffed down her throat.

I just about made it to their bathroom before emptying my stomach once more.

“Oh baby,” said Julianna once again rubbing my back. “Maybe you are sick. You want me to call the doctor?”

I shook my head.

“They’ll only say it’s a virus,” I said, “tell me to stay hydrated, and call them in 3 days if I don’t feel better.”

“Come on,” she said, solicitously “Let’s get you home.”

I heard her thanking Ben and Mary for the meal. When she said, “I’ll see you Monday,” to Ben, I retched again. Fortunately, I had already emptied my stomach.

Sunday I spent in bed. It was a good excuse to stay away from Julianna. I’d gone into the guest room, ostensibly so if it was a virus, I wouldn’t give it to her, and also I wouldn’t keep her up all night.

I slept a good portion of the day in any case, but my dreams were tortured and fractured. I lost count of the number of times I woke up in a cold sweat. I think I must have witnessed Ben and Julianna going through the entire Karma Sutra. In my dreams they fucked in every conceivable position, and each time I started awake just as Julianna screamed out her orgasm as he pumped his seed into her.

“How are you feeling?” asked Julianna. It was Monday morning, and I had gotten up and dressed for work. We usually got up at the same time, and left pretty much at the same time. Our offices were about the same distance away from our house, but in opposite directions.

“A little tired,” is said. “But it seems I’m over it.”

“Why don’t you take the day off?” she said. “Make sure.”

“I can’t” I said. “We’ve got a huge audit coming up. I need to be there.”

She nodded and then leaned in to kiss my cheek. I struggled not to pull away, but I managed.

“Okay,” she said. “Let me know if you need anything. I’ll see you tonight.”

I nodded, we both got in our cars and headed off in opposite directions.

I went one block, turned the corner and pulled over.

I called my boss and told him that I was sick, and would not be in probably for a couple of days.

“Okay,” he said. “If you’re not going to be in after Wednesday, call in again.”

I told him I would and hung up.

I drove to near my office, and then turned off location services on my phone. I didn’t think that Julianna would check up on me, but if she did, she would see that the last place the GPS had me was at work. Then I drove to near where she worked, and parked. I left my car out of sight and went and sat in a coffee shop down the street. I brought my laptop and sat in the window, apparently doing work I ordered coffee and a Danish. I was hungry all of a sudden.

It was just after twelve that I saw Julianna’s car pull out of her company car park. I was certain that she couldn’t see me through the coffee shop window. I didn’t race outside. I had a pretty good idea where she was going. Besides Ben’s car was still in the car park. I didn’t want to run into him.

Then I had a thought. I assumed it was him she was meeting in the motel. Mostly based on her saying his name. What if it wasn’t him? What if that had been just an innocent mistake, and I had inadvertently stumbled on her bursa escort bayan affair, with someone else?

I was about to leave the coffee shop, when I saw Ben’s car head out. It was heading in the same direction as Julianna had gone. I sighed. Was that relief? Was it better or worse that it was him she was cheating with?

I left the coffee shop and drove to the motel. I had a problem now. I could see Julianna’s car in the parking lot, but it was by the office. Ben’s car was parked in front of one of the rooms. I hoped that that was the room they were in, otherwise I’d be looking through windows all up and down the motel. I’d probably get arrested.

I approached the room, and noted that it was one of the only ones with the curtains closed, that was a good sign. Or at least a sign that I was onto the right room. Good was probably not the word to use.

The front of the motel was in shadow, which was lucky. If the sun had been shining on the window, my shadow would have been obvious even through the curtains. I walked to the unit, and simply sat on the floor under the window.

Since Ben’s car was parked in front, I wasn’t visible to anyone not on the walkway in front of the units. I listened. I could hear people talking, a man and a woman, but I could neither identify their voices nor hear what they were saying.

I turned on my phone camera and eased it up over the edge of the window sill. There was about a quarter inch gap between the bottom of the curtains and the ledge. This was a cheap motel after all. I could see inside the room. I could see Julianna sitting on the bed, and Ben standing in front of her.

All doubt was expunged in the next ten minutes as I watched and recorded the start of their sex session. She did indeed start by sucking him, although his cock was nowhere near as big as I had imagined. Then she stood and bent over, inviting him to take her from behind.

I’d seen enough. I wasn’t making a porn movie, I was gathering evidence. I replayed the video I had on my phone and the pictures were not bad. I wanted to be certain that the two parties were identifiable so I put my camera on the highest quality setting and took a dozen still shots. I zoomed in on faces. There could be no doubt who was in there, and what they were doing.

I crawled away from the window on hands and knees. Once again I had thoughts of doing something to his car – or hers, but there was no point. I just needed to get home, and put everything in motion. It was a quarter after one.

By two I was home.

By three, I’d filled in and filed the divorce papers. I printed off a copy for Julianna. They would need her signature. If she refused I would have to employ someone to serve her and go to court. If she signed, we could be divorced in as little as sixty days.

I’d paid off and cancelled our joint credit cards. Opened a bank account in my own name and transferred exactly half the balance in our joint account into it.

I’d created a statement of our finances showing all our assets including the house, our retirement accounts and our savings. Of which I also took half.

Everything down to the last cent was accounted for.

I could have left, could have moved my stuff out, but this was my home too. I wasn’t going to leave until I had to. I couldn’t afford to move into a motel or hotel long term. I still needed somewhere to live until everything went through. I did move all my stuff into the guest room though, emptying my wardrobe and drawers.

I downloaded the video file and pictures to my laptop, and printed stills from both the video, and the pictures. I also scanned in all the credit card receipts. I wrote an email to Mary, outlining what I had found, and attaching all my evidence.

I set it to send at six PM. I wanted to make sure that I had had a chance to speak to Julianna before Mary found out. She would obviously tackle Ben, and he would obviously call Julianna.

I was ready.

Unfortunately, it was still only four p.m. and Julianna wouldn’t be home for another hour.

I wondered what Ben would do when Mary tackled him. The thought that he might come storming over and attack me occurred to me. I went into the garage and searched until I found what I was looking for. I’d had this baseball bat since I was a teen. It had been a present from my father, along with a ball, long lost, and a mit, which appeared to be home to a family of spiders just now.

I took the bat, brushed it off, and took it into the house, propping it up against the wall behind the sofa. Near enough to hand, but not immediately visible. I hoped I wouldn’t need it.

For once Julianna was actually early. She came into the house, smiling.

“Hi honey,” she said. “How are you feeling?”

She looked at my face, and at the stack of papers in front of me. None of which were visible to her.

“Is something wrong?” she asked.

“You could say that,” I said. “Take a seat I’ve got something to show you.”

She dropped her purse on the floor and sat on the chair opposite where I was sitting on the sofa.

I handed her the divorce paperwork. She looked puzzled at first but then her eyes widened.

“What’s this?” she asked.

“It says right there at the top,” I said.

“I don’t understand,” she said. “Divorce? Why would you…

“Don’t you?” I said. “Where were you today Julianna?”

“I was at work,” she said. “You know that.”

“All day?” I asked.

“Of course,” she said.

“So you haven’t been out at all today?”

“Steve,” she said. “What’s this about?”

“I handed her the credit card statements.”

“So, was today different than the last four Mondays and Thursdays then, when you went to the motel?”

“Where did you get these?” she asked. A mixture of fear and anger entering her expression.

“Does it matter?” I asked.

“You’ve been snooping?” she accused. “How could you?”

“Really?” I asked a little scorn in my voice. “You’re going there? How could I? You’re sneaking off to a motel twice a week for the last month and I’m in the wrong?”

“Steve,” she said taking a breath. “I know what this looks like, but I promise you, it’s not. I had meetings with clients. That motel…”

“Doesn’t have meeting rooms,” I said. “I checked.”

“But they do let their rooms out for meetings,” she said. “Its far cheaper than using a conference centre.”

“So, what goes on at these meetings?” I asked. “In the motel? Is that how you get business? On your back?”

She jumped to her feet. “How DARE you,” she all but screamed at me. “You think I’m whoring myself out to clients for business?”

“No,” I said, quietly. “I think you’re fucking Ben, is what I think.” That stopped her in her tracks. She sat down again.

“Steve,” she said. “No. I would never do that. I love you. I don’t know what you think you know, but you’ve got it all wrong. I have client meetings, and at those meetings we do nothing other than professional business.”

“In a motel?” I asked.

“yes,” she said.

“That you pay for on a credit card, that I know nothing about?”

“I keep it separate because it’s easier,” she explained. “The company pays the bill. Otherwise we’d end up paying tax on the at as well.”

That wasn’t true, but I wasn’t going to explain the tax laws to her at this point.

I shook my head.

“So today,” I said. “When your car was in that motel car park, you were there with clients, in a business meeting?”

“My car?” she said.

“I drove past the motel,” I said. “and saw your car.”

“Yes,” she said. “It was a business meeting.”

“And I take it Ben was there too,” I said, “Because his car was in the parking lot also.”

“Of course,” she said. “Look, I know what it kind of looks like, but we were just there having a business meeting. I promise you nothing is going on between Ben and I. I love you. I would never cheat on you.”

I handed her the sheaf of photographs.

She went white. Her hand coming to her mouth. I then played the ten minutes of video I had recorded on my phone. I’d set it up to stream to the television. Even thought the camera was a little shaky there could be no mistake who was there, and what was happening.

“Where exactly were the clients at this juncture?” I asked.

Tears started to leak from her eyes. And she started to shake her head.

“No NO NO NO NO” she said. “This can’t be happening. He promised IT CAN’T”

“It’s over Julianna,” I said tiredly. “WE are over. Sign the papers, we’ll put the house on the market and we can be all done in two months. Then you can go and to whoever you want. Me, I’ll go crawl into a corner and try and reclaim some of my dignity.”

“But he promised,” she said. “He said we’d be fine.”

I looked at her, puzzled.

“Who promised?” görükle escort I asked.

“Ben,” she said. “He said you would never find out, and if you did, you loved me so we’d be fine.”

“Why would he think that?” I asked. “Why would YOU think that. I thought you loved me as much as I loved you. Why would you do this to me and even more why would you expect anything other than what is happening if and when I found out?”

Julianna sat and put her face in her hands and began to weep. My heart was breaking seeing her like this, but I had nothing to offer her. I wasn’t able to comfort the woman who had taken my heart and stomped all over it. In some ways I was revelling in her pain, that she was feeling even some of the heart rending pain that I had suffered, but in the same instant it was breaking my heart even more to see her suffering.

I heard a ding from my laptop. My email had been sent.

“Why?” I asked. “Why did you do it Julianna. What did I do to deserve that. Was I no good in bed? did I ignore you? what?”

She shook her head, still sobbing.

“It was only meant to be once,” she said. “He promised me just the once. But…”

“Why even once?” I asked.

“I screwed up,” she said, continuing to sob, “at work. I almost lost the company a major client. Ben managed to smooth things out, but if my bosses found out, they’d fire me. We get by, sure, but we couldn’t afford the house, if I lost my job. We were saving so we could afford to have children, we would have lost all that. There was even a potential I could have been sued by the client.”

“The price of Ben’s help,” she said. “Was that I slept with him. It was supposed to be just once. One afternoon and done. I didn’t want to, but I had no choice. If he showed my bosses what I did, I’d be fired, and we’d lose everything.”

“Why didn’t you come to me?” I asked. “Even if it meant selling the house, we’d have done okay.”

“I couldn’t,” she said. “There was no time. I had no time. I had to make a decision, give him an answer there and then. I was so confused, and upset and… and I saw a possible way out. I convinced myself that once wouldn’t hurt – you’d never find out and we’d be back on an even keel.”

“Even if I believed you,” I said. “you’ve been meeting with him twice a week for a month. Why keep going back?”

“He was blackmailing me,” she said. “He took video the first time. I didn’t know that there were cameras set up in the room. He told me that if I didn’t keep on meeting with him, he’d show you the videos.”

“And what about Mary?” I asked. “Did she know?”

She shook her head.

“So he had as much to lose as you, if it came out,” I said. “You expect me to believe that he would risk his own marriage to blackmail you? It makes no sense. I’m sorry Julianna. I don’t believe you. You went willingly into that motel room, and from what I saw on that screen you were having a good time in there. Now you’re telling me that he was blackmailing you? No, I don’t believe it.”

“But it’s true,” she said. “I had no choice.”

“There’s always a choice,” I said. “If you loved me, you would have trusted me, and come to me. Even if I accept the first time as a forced instant decision, you could have come to me afterward and told me. I would have been hurt, been mad, but I might have understood. I would have done anything for you Julianna, anything. You’ve destroyed me, destroyed my trust, destroyed my love.”

“No please,” she said, sobbing harder now. “Give me a chance. Let me prove to you, show you how much I love you.”

“It’s too late,” I said. “There is nothing that you could do or say, that would make me believe that you love me, that you ever loved me.”

There was a crash, and our front door almost flew off it’s hinges.

Ben stood in the doorway glaring at me.

“You little shit,” he growled. “You had to get in the way, didn’t you?”

“Ben what?” asked Julianna.

“He sent pictures and videos to Mary. She threw me out. She’s divorcing me, and it’s all this snivelling little shit’s fault.

“No Ben,” said Julianna, “the fault is all yours. You forced me, you blackmailed me. Now your chickens have come home to roost. If you want to blame anyone – then look in the mirror.”

He reached behind his back, and pulled out a pistol, pointing it at me.

“YOU LITTLE FUCKER,” he screamed and pulled the trigger.

I’m still not sure what happened next. I heard Julianna scream and saw her jump upward. She wasn’t going toward him, trying to get the gun, her whole purpose was to put herself between Ben and me.

I heard the shot, and saw the spray of blood as the bullet hit her in the chest. She went down like a sack of shit. Ben’s eyes widened as he saw her fall and he went to his knees beside her.

He barely had time to look up before the baseball bat I retrieved from behind the sofa hit him in the head.

I rode to the hospital with Julianna. She was unconscious the bullet had hit her just right of center. She’d lost a lot of blood. I sat in the back of the ambulance, holding her blood soaked hand. When we got to the ER they took her out, and things moved so fast. They took me to the reception desk, where I had to give our insurance details. By the time the paperwork was done, she had already been taken into the OR.

I sat in the waiting room, staring at the floor, at my hands, at the bloodstains and at the my wedding ring, stained with Julianna’s blood.

“I would have taken a bullet for her” the thought ran through my mind. I remembered thinking that when I first suspected her of cheating. It was a measure of how much I loved her. That I would take a bullet, instead of her. And she had done that very thing, for me.

The scene replayed in my mind. She’d known that there was no way to reach Ben, to get the gun away. Her entire motive had been to put herself between him and me, we all knew he was going to shoot.

She’d been willing to sacrifice her own life, to save mine.

++++++

“Unca Ste!” Tabatha shouted as I walked into what had been Ben’s house three months later.

Ben was in jail, awaiting trial. My blow to his head had put him in hospital for a week, but he was released into the custody of the police. He was looking at a lengthy prison sentence.

Mary looked up as I went into the kitchen. She smiled at me, then came over and gave me a hug.

“How was it?” she asked.

“Harrowing,” I said. I’d spent the afternoon giving a deposition to the prosecutors who were going to be prosecuting Steve. They had been vicious. Their reasoning was that the defence would be vicious and try and make me say something that would benefit their client. I was determined not to do so.

“Was that the last time?” the voice came from behind me.

I turned and smiled at Julianna.

“I think so,” I said. “They said they have it all. They’re going for attempted murder, rather than just assault with a deadly weapon.”

I walked over to her, where she sat at the kitchen table. She tilted her head up and I kissed her.

It had been a hard road for Juliana. A month in the intensive care unit, and another on the respiratory ward of the hospital. Even now, she wasn’t fully able to look after herself. That was why I’d dropped her at Mary’s while I went to see the lawyers.

Mary had been a godsend. She’d looked after Julianna while Id had to run errands or work. Id managed to convince my boss to let me work from home most of the time, so I was there for her. But there were times I needed to go in and on those days Mary and Tabatha would come to our house, or I would drop Julianna in here.

It had taken me nearly the full month, while Julianna had been unconscious on a breathing machine to decide what to do. Mary had found footage on Ben’s phone, of his and Julianna’s first ‘encounter’ When she showed it to me, I wanted to go and beat Ben’s head in with the baseball bat again.

There were two files on his phone. One about ten minutes long, showing Ben and Julianna having sex. But another, much longer, unedited version, showing her crying and pleading with her not to do this. It was as clear from the second file that she was being coerced as it appeared to be from the first that she was there willingly. It had been cleverly edited.

So what Julianna had said, at least about the first time, had been true. And considering the edited file it appeared that she may have been telling the truth about the rest.

But when it came down to it, the proof had been that instant. The instant that Julianna had thrown herself into the path of a bullet for me. The very measure I had, myself, used to illustrate how much I loved her. I couldn’t ignore that.

I like to think that it was that night, when I whispered into her ear, that I believed her, and I loved her, and that if she would only wake up, we could be together again. I like to think that that was the turning point. Up until then the doctors were not sure if she would pull through or not. I like to think I gave her something to live for, that just as she saved my life, I saved hers.

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