Stream of Consciousness

When no amount of pleading seemed to be able to deter Hank from leaving and heading to the front door, Caroline finally blurted out. “I was raped!”

Hank stopped short and turned around, shock and a bit of disbelief on his face, unsure if his wife were simply using the ploy to get his attention. Caroline looked away, feeling a wave of shame come over her, and she spoke in a low tone. “Our house wasn’t just robbed, Hank. They raped me. I just… I just couldn’t bring myself to tell anyone; to go through that ordeal of having the world know and going to court and having to be cross-examined and have to talk about it in front of strangers.”

Hank’s eyes were wide as saucers. “Why on earth didn’t you tell me, Caroline? I get that you didn’t want to be dragged through the mud, but there are rapists out there. Those men are out there getting away with what they did to you and who knows who else they might rape because they haven’t been brought to justice.” Caroline pursed her lips. “I didn’t tell you, because I knew when I told you I didn’t want to go through the court that you and the rest of the men here would seek their own type of justice and I didn’t want to jeopardize your own freedom. Plus, I was ashamed. I didn’t think you’d want me after…”

Hank rushed over to his wife and pulled her into a hug. “Never! I love you, Caroline. I’m so sorry that I didn’t know. That you’ve had to carry that burden alone. I’m supposed to be here for you through better or worse. Remember?” Caroline sobbed on her husband’s shoulder. “You were always away on that job and after that happened, I was just too scared to stay and when you agreed to move here and take on a deputy job I was elated. I can’t go back to that, Hank. I just can’t. I know we can get an alarm system, but what about on the street? I don’t feel safe in the city anymore, especially knowing my attackers are still out there most likely and if not them, then maybe someone else. And what if I ran into those men again. I don’t even want to think about that. I know Lance and Peter have created an uncomfortable situation here for you, but imagine my discomfort of living in the city, and I don’t want to live without you. Please stay here. Get a job in the city if you need to get away during the day. It’s only an hour drive, but please let us reside here where I’m with family and feel safe. Please, Hank.”

Hank nodded his head while keeping a hold of his wife. “Alright, Caroline. That’s a fair compromise. I’ll look for work in the City. I’m not keen on a two-hour commute every day, but I want you to feel safe. I want to know that you are safe when I am away from home, or at least as safe as can be.” Caroline sobbed on Hank’s shoulder again and murmured, “thank you”. She also added softly. “That’s why I can’t have children, Hank. It’s not really that I don’t want them. I tell myself that to ease the pain of it, but the doctor says I can never have children. I’m so sorry.”

Hank pulled away slightly and kissed Caroline on the forehead. “No, I’m sorry, babe. I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you…” Before Hank could declare his intent to exact justice Caroline cut him off. “I don’t want anyone else to know, Hank. I don’t want you going off and searching those men down. I just want to put it all behind me. Promise me.” Hank sighed but nodded. “I promise I won’t go all vigilante, but I pray I come across those mother fuckers in a legal way. I’m going to apply to the special victim’s unit. That’s the most likely place I’ll catch those bastards. If they haven’t already been caught, sooner or later they will and then I can see justice served. Not the kind I think they really deserve, but jail is better than nothing.”

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