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It’d always been cold in this room, lonely.

I couldn’t shake it no matter how many clothes I piled on. No matter how much wood I stoked the fire with. No matter how many pictures I took. No matter how much love I poured into it.

Lifeless. That’s how it felt.

I couldn’t help but mutter to myself as I paced the room.

I had shopping to do. Cooking, and cleaning.

The house was a mess. It was as if she’d not even tried to take care of the place while I’d been away.

So much that had to be done. That needed to be done. Once more it fell to me to do it.

I tidy up as best I can and start on some dishes.

By the time I finished it was nearly time for dinner. So, I cut up the veggies and start the chicken to broil. Mashed potatoes and gravy, a side of greens. A fine enough meal. I was proud of it.

There was the sound of a car pulling in before I was finished. Rough tires on gravel. I hadn’t expected her to get home so soon.

Chancing a glance outside I found it wasn’t her. It was him.

He walked right up to the door and rang the bell. The nerve! He probably expected her to be home. To be alone. No idea she’d needed to work today. That I was here.

I refused to answer. I’d told her not to talk to him anymore. That it wasn’t healthy the way he acted around her. But obviously she hadn’t been as harsh to him as she should have been.

It hurt. It really did. She knew I didn’t like him.

Dialing her number, I had to fight back the tremors from my fingers.

She didn’t answer.

I text her.

She still didn’t answer.

I grew worried. Was she okay? I knew she didn’t have such a time-consuming job that she couldn’t answer a message. Was she ignoring me?

She must've been.

After everything! I cooked, I cleaned, I did all of it for her! I had been a bit neglectful while away, but I’d come back, and I was trying!

No, I had to breath. She’d be off from work soon. I’d talk to her then. Maybe she was just busier than normal? Maybe he was just an unwelcomed guest? No need to think the worst just yet.

I finish up the laundry and clean the carpet in the guest room. It was never used so there was so much dust in it that little puffs came up as you walked. Really? I wasn’t gone that long. You’d think she’d clean up better.

The time for her to get off came and went and she didn’t come home. It was several hours before I heard her car and it was her this time.

It took her so long to come to the door. So long to open it. She sounded so happy as she chatted to whoever was on the other end of her phone. I could see her out of the front window. She didn’t even care that dinner was now cold and useless. All my work for nothing.

I was a nervous and sad wreck, standing by the table with our once warm and delicious dinner. Why was she being so slow? Who could she be talking to in such a cheerful manner?

“Is everything okay?” I call out to her as she stumbled into the hall.

“No,” She said softly as she came to stand in the doorway. Her small frame shaking. Her phone falling from numbed fingers.

“You’re a bit late,” Why did she look so scared?

“How did you find me?” There was a brokenness in her tone. Something that hadn’t been there when she was laughing not even a few seconds before.

“I always know where you are,” I didn’t want her to be scared. “Come and eat. I made your favorite.”

She didn’t move. She just stood there. Trembling. Her face so pale. “Please leave.” Her plea was so soft I almost didn’t hear it.

“Ally no.” I take a step forward and she recoils back. I sigh. “I understand you’re upset but we can work this out.”

“No, we can’t.” She backs away more and I can see she’s crying. She lifts a hand to ward me off and I notice the cast beneath her jacket.

“It still isn’t healed?” I thought broken bones mended in weeks…

“Just get out!” She was nearly screaming at me. “Please just go!”

I couldn’t do that.

I told her as much.

She started crying more. I hated seeing her that way, “you need to accept that I’m here to stay.”

“No.”

Looks like I needed to remind her why she shouldn’t treat me this way. I had thought breaking her arm would be enough. That she’d be more trusting when I got back from prison. But no. She’d not only moved and changed jobs, but she was telling me to leave? I’d just found her again!

I admit. Coming at her with a carving knife wasn’t my brightest idea. But who would have thought that that scared, meek little girl, would have started carrying a gun?