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An Excerpt from INFIDELITY

Those were the worst words that any committed wife could ever hear. I retreated into our room at first, my steps were just backwards, and then I spun around and raced away.

In the bathroom, I stood over the sink trying to catch breath that I had never lost before. My face was hot and numb and felt like it had been pricked with a thousand different smoldering needles. I felt I was dying, like my life would simply disappear and slip away. But maybe it was just a simple panic attack. Either way, my thoughts were frantic, fleeting, gnarling and screaming. I clutched my chest, grasping for a heart that felt it would explode and began to plead with God, “Take me now!” My pleas soon morphed into demands and I felt wetness on my cheeks. “Please, take me!” Every gasp for air was shallow and pained me internally like I was bruised.

I don’t remember when I stopped crying, if ever; but, with every cry that burst forth from my throat, I hoped that my husband would come in and comfort me. I waited, holding my breath until another bellow escaped me. He couldn’t have meant what he said. Surely, he didn’t say those cruel things to me to wound me. I waited for him, hoping and praying that he would come. The tears never stopped. I stood in the bathroom for an hour crying.

Finally, I managed to still the tears enough to emerge. I left the bathroom hesitantly, not knowing what to find. Had my husband left? Was I alone in the house? I made my way into the living room and found my husband, asleep with my daughter on the couch.

My heart tightened as though a fist closed over it. A wave of heat cascaded in falls around my body. I couldn’t believe that he had fallen asleep. He had to have heard me, screaming my heart out for relief, and nevertheless, he had fallen asleep with my daughter. Something dangerous ignited within me, a fire that spouted suddenly and torched as though I had been doused in flammable liquid. You want me to leave? Fine, I’ll leave, and I’ll take my kids away from you and you will never see us again!

I rushed to my daughter to take her out of my husband’s arms. He was startled and stared at me blankly, confused. “I’m going to leave you,” I tried to keep my face as emotionless and empty as he had been with me. “I’m going to take my children too.” The empty expression on Chad’s face morphed into something almost unrecognizable. For the first time in a week, I saw pain in his eyes. I knew he must have seen my anger. I straightened my back and my eyes narrowed. “You don’t want us to leave?”

“I don’t want my kids to leave,” Chad responded softly. 

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