“Kim, are you all right?”
I stirred my drink slowly with the straw, unwilling to look into my mom’s eyes. She had told me from the beginning that something was off about Damon and I had always just blew her off. "Damon is a wonderful guy, you just don’t like him because he doesn’t make a lot of money like daddy." Now, as I looked anywhere but at my mom, I realized I was eating my own words.
“Kim, please, I know he’s hurting you. Please, let us help you.” She reached out and grabbed my arm a little too forcefully, squeezing a particularly painful and dark bruise on my forearm. I flinched, pulling away from her.
“He’s not abusive.” I whispered, picking at the tomatoes I had asked them to leave out of my cobb salad. “He’s just going through some rough stuff at work.” That was a lie, there was no rough stuff at work. Truth be told, there was an increase in his salary two months before he had switched so dramatically. Before I had started waking up to an empty bed and finding him whispering to himself in his office. At first, I wanted to believe that he was on late conference calls but he had always told me about those. My worst fears were confirmed when I secretly turned off the internet before we climbed into bed and nothing changed.
“I’m not sure how much longer I can keep this up. She’s starting to get suspicious.” I pressed my ear even harder against the door, ignoring the slight pain. Nothing but silence for a few brief moments before James started to laugh. It wasn’t the laugh that I had fallen in love with three years ago. It was dark, cackling and maniacal. It sent chills down my spine. I couldn’t help it, a small sob escaped my lips. The laughter stopped and I realized too late my mistake. Footsteps echoed across his office floor and the door swung open.
I shook my head, scrambling to my feet as quickly as I could, “Mom, I have to go.”
“Kim, wait, I’m sorry!”
“What are you doing out of bed sweetie? It’s very late.” James helped me to my feet, his smile cold and insincere.
“Who were you talking to?”
His smile faltered for only a brief time, “Oh no one, honey. You must be hearing things.” He leaned down and kissed my forehead and his lips were ice cold. I shivered, fear pulsing through my veins. “Let’s go back to bed now, hm?” His grip on my wrist was so tight that I didn’t dare refuse him.
My sobs filled the interior of my car, fear gripping me as I sat outside of the house that had once been James and I’s home. I was scared to go inside. Scared to walk past James’ office and hear him talking to himself again. The more it occurred and the stranger his behavior grew, the more I feared that he wasn’t talking to himself. I had to ask myself if I actually believed in what I was considering. If my husband might actually be possessed.