Janet and Tex make love for the first time. He asks her to marry him.
With every trick he knew, he made love to her again and again, trying his best to convince her he was the man for her. Finally, just before falling asleep, she said yes….
The wedding took place a month later. Janet was already living with Tex in his small apartment, but they were looking for a house. He’d start his doctorate the following fall and she was going into her senior year. Tex had been promised a job as a graduate assistant as he worked on his PhD. Life was good for a time. They were happy choosing and moving into their new home together. It wasn’t a fancy house, but it was roomy.
The first night that Tex came home drunk, Janet didn’t think much of it. He’d been out with a few friends, celebrating his master’s degree. They’d had their own celebration—dinner out and lots of sex to follow. Tex had a strong drive. He needed sex at least twice every night, or he didn’t sleep.
One night, shortly after their second anniversary, he came home with lipstick on his shirt, smelling of another woman’s perfume.
“It’s nothing,” he explained when she confronted him with it. “I was at the club with the guys and some girl was dancing. She flirted with me some. That’s all.”
For the first night since they’d been married, he went to bed without demanding sex.
Janet didn’t know what to think. She called her mother to ask her advice.
“Probably he’s just tired. You can’t expect that fire to last forever. It’s been two years. Surely the honeymoon was over a long time ago?”
“I know, Mom. But to go from always being horny, to not wanting me at all? Do you think he’s got someone else?”
“Don’t sweat it, sweetheart. Just ride it out.”
Janet rode it out. That storm and many others came along. School was hard on him. He had trouble meeting his teaching obligations, and still keeping up with his classes and his dissertation. She took over writing that for him, coaching him on it when he had time. She helped him grade his papers, somehow managing to get her work done, too. Through it all, Janet never complained. Husbands and wives helped one another.
When he failed his oral defense, he came home that night, drunk and surly. No matter what she said, he got angrier. Not even the promise of love making made him happy. She tried once too often to cheer him up—that was the first time he hit her.
It didn’t stop with one blow. He beat her repeatedly, finally passing out in the living room. Janet crawled to the phone, calling 911. The police broke down the door to get to her. They arrested Tex, taking him away in a squad car. The ambulance took Janet to the hospital where she was treated for bruised and broken ribs, a dislocated shoulder and a fractured humerus.
Her doctor came in, face grave. “Mrs. Macy? I want to keep you overnight.”
“I can’t,” she said. “I have to get home….”
“I can’t let you do that, ma’am. Mrs. Macy, were you aware that you’re pregnant?”
“I am?” She brightened. This should make Tex happy.
“But given your other injuries, we’ve reason to believe that you may miscarry. We want to keep you overnight, to keep an eye on you.”
Janet burst into tears. It was bad enough to find out she was pregnant that way, but much worse to discover she might not keep it.
“Is there anyone we can call for you?”
“My parents,” she gasped.
Her father arrived half an hour later. “Mama’s not feeling well,” he told her. “She’s gone to bed. I’ve got Sookie with me.”
Her sister came in, big eyed and frightened. “The doctor told us about the baby…. He told us Tex beat you damn near to death. Janet, you can’t stay with that man. He’ll kill you!”
“I love him, Sookie. You wouldn’t understand.”
“I understand murder, Janet May,” she said angrily. “And if your baby dies, that’s what it is. You need to throw that man in jail, and leave him.”
“Mama and I will do all we can for you,” her father said. “Money, anything that you need.”
“I want to go see Aunt Martha,” she begged. “I want to stay up home for a while.”
“We’ll pack up your things. Soon as you’re better, I’ll drive you up myself.”
©2020 Dellani Oakes
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