Chapter 4: The Boyfriend
Sheryl nervously slid her key into the lock of Gwen’s apartment.
She had passed her brother Shawn on the way—looking grouchy as always—but this time seeing him caused a sudden anxiety to wash over her. What if he stopped by here? What if he saw her?
Her hands trembled when she grabbed the door knob. She had to force herself to open it and step inside, quickly shutting it behind her.
“Gwen,” Sheryl called.
Gwen was no where to be found.
“Gwen,” Sheryl called again—this time sounding slightly frantic.
The faint sound of a door opening came from the hall. Sheryl followed it, her feet sliding along the carpet so as not to make a sound. She made it to the bathroom and slowly cracked the door, but there was no one in sight.
“Gwen…if you can hear me, please say something!”
“I’m here,” came a faint voice.
“Oh thank goodness!”
Sheryl darted from the bathroom to the source of the sound. Gwen was pulling herself out of the amour when Sheryl entered the bedroom.
“Now what were you doing in there,” she asked with her most puzzled expression.
“Shawn was here.”
Sheryl looked paler than usual. She knew he use to come by and check on Gwen, but since she and her brothers found the apartment torn from top to bottom—Shawn hadn’t been able to set foot in the place—not with knowing what might have happened. Everyone knew he blamed himself. But why would he start coming back now…?
“I was in that thing to hide,” Gwen continued, pointing. “And I should really have put some moth balls in there too…it stinks.”
Sheryl couldn’t help but give a snort at the face Gwen made.
“What,” Gwen demanded.
“Nothing… it’s just that the way you had your face…”
“Oh so my face is funny now,” Gwen demanded, her hands propped on her hips.
“No! I didn’t mean it like that!”
Gwen made another face before speaking again. “Besides,” she started, “I thought he hated me…”
“It’s not that he hates you,” Sheryl pleaded in a softer tone. “He’s…just angry…that’s all.”
“Angry about what?”
The tension in Gwen’s voice filled the room. Tears burned at the edges of her eyes. What did I do that was so bad? She looked down at the bruises on her arms that were only beginning to fade.
“He wouldn’t have done that to you—,” Sheryl began but Gwen waved her hand to stop her.
“What was it that Shawn and I argued about the last time you saw me?”
Sheryl gave a sheepish look and walked over to the bed. She let herself to sink down onto it with a deep sigh.
“You’d better sit down,” She said patting a spot next to her.
Gwen did as she was told, taking a seat next to her friend. They sat together in silence for a moment, before Sheryl finally spoke.
“It was about your boyfriend,” she began swallowing hard. “Shawn thought he was abusing you…but you always said it was nothing even when you started coming home with bruises. He got suspicious when you started wearing long sleeves on warm days…then he saw them when we were talking…h—he got so angry. He started yelling and demanding to know how you got them. It went on for days like that. For every new mark, Shawn would get angry about it and you’d make up something to cover for it…but we all knew you were lying.”
Sheryl got quiet again for a minute and clutched her hands down into her lap before continuing.
“And then came the drugs…you were getting high…on heroine every night. I would check on you after your boyfriend visited, and you’d be laying on the bed stoned out of your mind. And worst of all, you never knew where you were getting it.
“Shawn…he thought you were doing it because of your boyfriend…he just didn’t understand…he was too angry to. Your arguments got uglier by the day until you came over to get something you had left behind. You were trying to hide another bruise—this time on your face, you said it was an accident and that your boyfriend didn’t mean anything by it, but it only made Shawn angry. He threatened to have your boyfriend thrown in jail for abuse, but you said that he didn’t mean it…and that’s when you stormed out crying saying that he’d never understand. The next day…we found this place turned upside down…”
Sheryl looked down at her hands. Gwen gripped Sheryl’s fingers with a demanding gaze.
“Who was my boyfriend?”
His face was plastered all over the news—and had been for quite some time. He was the son of the district attorney and studying to be a lawyer. He had already passed a practice copy of the bar exam and the city itself seemed excited to be getting a new lawyer of his status. He was dark skinned with hair to match which he kept unusually long—at least shoulder length most of the time.
His smile was fake though. Gwen could see right through it. Even as he pleaded for the whereabouts of his missing girlfriend, there was no feeling in his voice. It was all just a show—a mockery!
“If anyone knows where she might be…please, I urge you to go to authorities,” he begged through most of the Television stations.
Gwen turned off the TV and tossed the remote to the floor.
‘Boyfriend of a popular up and coming artist’ as they called him. It made a knot in the pit of her stomach that tightened the more she thought about it.
She curled up on the floor.
So this is the guy…she thought…How could he have been my boyfriend?
The knot tightened again.
“Uh…,” she groaned; sweat forming on her brow.
The pain only intensified. She moaned again and struggled to pull herself up to her knees. Gwen forced herself to crawl across the living room floor to the hall.
What’s happening to me?
Her vision grew blurry as she pushed open the bathroom door and collapsed on the floor.
Copyright The Faith Book 2011