Epilogue-One Year Later
As I sit on the beach watching my husband playing with our son in the ocean, my peaceful moment is interrupted from a flashback-the afternoon I confronted Chris about his affair that nearly destroyed us all.
The memory takes me by surprise-they always do. The episode crept back into my mind like a light fingered thief. I don’t realize the memory has drifted back until it’s too late to push the thoughts away.
All the same old feelings came over me like an overwhelming wave. First the disbelief, then the anger, followed by the cold calm. I don’t want to be disturbed by the past today, though. It’s our annual summer trip and the weather is perfect. Chris and Daniel are laughing and playing. For a little while, I’d almost forgotten the affair and its consequences.
Almost, a small word that I can’t quite push myself past. After I’d confronted Chris, I was sure I could never forgive what he’d done. How could I ever trust him again? How could I forget what he’d put Daniel through? How could I forget what he’d turned me into?
The first few weeks were the hardest. I won’t pretend I didn’t think about killing him. I did and in a myriad of ways. Yet, when I looked at my son and husband together, I could still see the love Chris had for Daniel.
And when I looked at Daniel, I could see Chris’ eyes staring back at me. How could I take away his father? How would I ever explain that to my son?
Chris and I had treated each other as wary roommates-like prisoners sharing a cell. The tension had been unbearable at times. Then one day, Daniel had knocked a bag of flour from the kitchen counter. We’d all ended up engulfed in white. At first, we’d both been angry at the mess but then suddenly, we’d started to laugh at the same time. For a tiny moment, it felt like the old days.
It had gradually gotten better. It would never be like before but we’d somehow come to an understanding. We each had dark secrets we didn’t want to tell another living soul and that had bound us together.
Both Casey and her brother John had joined the list of missing persons. The first couple of months after their deaths, I began to jump every time the doorbell rang. I still didn’t feel guilty but I was afraid someone would find out what had happened. Eventually though, the fear had subsided. No one seemed to be interested in what had become of them. Emily Stratton stopped calling when she realized copycat kidnappings weren’t occurring. There were bigger crimes for her to solve now.
My mind seems clearer these days. I haven’t had any episodes or hallucinations since the drugs left my system nearly a year ago. I try not to think about the two people that died by my hand. If the memory starts to surface, I push it down hard, back into the little part of me that I try to hold captive from the rest of the world.
I’m not happy-that would be too much to hope for. But most of the time, I’m at peace now with myself and Chris. I’ll never completely trust him again, I know that. But I also know I can never completely trust myself again, either. I cherish the good moments as they come, and I lock away the girl within when she attempts to resurface and shatter me.
Girl of Secrets
The sequel to The Girl Within
Elizabeth Lyons is still struggling to put the pieces of her life back together when her worst nightmare resurfaces to haunt her.
I have proof that you murdered John Leech but I can keep quiet for a price.
The blackmailer won’t be silenced but who is really out to get Elizabeth? When you can’t even trust your husband, where do you turn?