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Jen inhaled her stolen breath back in, and the dams broke. No longer rigid, her body crumbled into itself, and Jen curled up, scared. Without shelter, Jen wept. For the pain, for the fear, for the past, but mostly, Jen wept as she saw the dreams all around her fall apart.

                Did every woman dream of that day when their lover, their newlywed would carry them over the threshold?  Didn't every woman wait the day when one man could hold them firmly, and she knew that she was safe?  After two years, Jenny had arrived.  Months of planning for a perfect day: the perfect dress, the ideal setting, friends and family around and her hero in a black tuxedo, slipping that ring onto her fingers.  Tears broke Jenny's freshly prettied eyes.

                He swooned her up into his arms, and carried her securely.  Jenny found her shelter.  In the arms of Sam, no evil could touch her.  Loneliness was gone; anger was vanquished; sadness was defeated by his gaze and the way he loved her.  Stepping into the hotel room, their rest before the honeymoon, he carried her.  The threshold below her, to Jen it was the Grand Canyon in her dreams. 

                Delicately he set her on the hotel's bed, kissed her softly on the forehead and then flopped down onto the bed, beside Jen.

                "Your family is exceedingly talkative, you know?"

                "How could you not be on such a day?" pointing to the ring on her finger, Jen exclaimed as she stood, "We just got married.  Married, Sam!" 

                "I know," he sat up, "and I just found out that weddings are exhausting.  Only one eh?"

                Jen didn't appreciate the quip.

                "How romantic...but you are right.  I'm famished from the excitement, hand-shaking, and photos.  Let's go somewhere."

                "Or you can order room service?" He smiled.

                "I feel like a cheeseburger."

                "Wow."

                "Let's go to McDonald's," Jen gleefully suggested.  It has a charming ring in her mind; finishing her wedding with a simple cheeseburger. 

                "All right then," Sam stood to his feet and wrapped her arms around her, "I'm not carrying you this time."  Jenny leaned up and kissed her hero, her husband.  She was his favorite one.  As they walked out, Jen could help but smile.

                Some dreams do come true.

 

                It cut through the words.

                It silenced the world.

                In a moment, everything changed.

                Jen stumbled to the ground, hand gripped fiercely to her cheek.

                His hand was still hanging in the air.

                Her hero had become a villain in an instant.

                Jen fought back all the tears.  The shock was like a dam, freezing her entire body.  Blood surged to her cheek, making it blush not in wonder but in pain, in fear.  The man before her inhaled a deep breath, and exhaled.  Jen feared the bull would charge, that she was the red sheet in the wind.  But he just stood there.  Stoic.

                Jen couldn't focus in the situation that had unfolded.  After a week of late nights, Jen built up the courage to challenge her husband. 

 

                "Sam, where have you been these nights," she asked as he slumped onto the couch.  The small digital clock moved a digit; 1:03. These nights, with Sam out, had left Jen with little sleep and a heart full of worry.  This man on the couch, hardly lucid, was not the groom she embraced, the one that carried her over the threshold.  Jen's heart ached with the innocent question.

                "Just...out," he answered quietly.

                "Were you out with the guys?  Go to the bars?  You can just call me or text me, you know Sam."

                "Jen, I don't report to you.  Aren't you to submit to me?"  Sam had never approved of Jen's ‘religion.'  Even in the engagement, this was a button issue for Sam, who ignored the subject.   As many times as Jen would invite Sam, he wasn't a man of the church.

                "Sam...you don't need to report...I'm just worried here alone, wondering where you are each night."

                "Well don't," he snapped.

                "Sam, what-," he stood.  "I just don't want to lie in our bed alone, wondering where you are each night."  Jen regretted the words immediately.  He read as Jen knew he would.

                "Well, our bed isn't always the warmest to sleep in."

                Jen's breath was stolen from her.

                "I-"

                "There is nothing to discuss Jen; let's just go to bed," he placed his hand on her arm.  Jen stiffly withdrew from her hero; her arms weren't safe anymore.  Her eyes danced around, as she looked down, unable to find herself in the words. 

                "Come on, let's go to bed."  He reached out again.

                "No."  It was a small whisper.

                "Jen -"

                "No!" Jen's voice grew louder as she began to shake.

                "Let's just -"

                "NO!" She slapped his hand away, and tried to walk away.

                She never saw it coming.

 

                Sam stepped back, his hand still tingling in sensation.  The move, the hit has moved so fast.  A daze gripped his mind as Sam took another step back.  Nervously and disoriented her began to look around.  Quickly he spotted the keys on the table and left. 

                Jen inhaled her stolen breath back in, and the dams broke.  No longer rigid, her body crumbled into itself, and Jen curled up, scared.  Without shelter, Jen wept. 

                For the pain, for the fear, for the past, but mostly, Jen wept as she saw the dreams all around her fall apart.

 

 

The End

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