Juliana, Rosa, and Shani--three very different women with a common bond: all are on a journey of healing, self-discovery, and hope. Join them as they conquer fears, forgive past wrongs, and come to terms with their inner selves. Do difficulties in life really make one stronger? Can a shattered heart ever heal enough to love again? When one's life seems hopeless, what lengths will one go to find hope?
Juliana found this to be the hardest time of day. What mood would he come home in today?
There really weren't many scenarios—in fact, only three. She would spend the evening in time out, or being his own punching bag. Juliana swallowed back the sour bile rising up in her throat at the prospect of the third scenario where he'd claim his territory as a man and a husband. After all this time, the sad reality was she'd rather be beat than have him abuse her body in that way.
Enough of this lollygagging.
If dinner was late, she deserved whatever he dished out. Over the next hour, Juliana took the cold supper from the table and reheated it at least a dozen times. At this rate, supper would be ruined and she'd end up wearing it. Finally, a knock came to the door and she smoothed back her hair before scurrying over to answer it.
To her surprise, it wasn't Gary she looked up at. The expression on the officer's face erased any doubt whatsoever her husband was gone for good.
"Juliana Anderson? I'm Officer, O'Leary. I'm sorry to bother you, but I was a little concerned when you didn't reply to my phone call."
Juliana stood behind the door, with only her face revealed to him. Her body trembled uncontrollably as she took the small bag from him. In it, Gary's badly charred watch, along with his wedding band.
The officer touched her shoulder and she flinched. She knew he merely intended to comfort her, but it didn't stop the reaction. He gave her his card.
"Call me if I can help in any way."
Juliana closed the door without speaking and shuffled across the room to sit at the table. Quite some time later, she stood and walked from room to room, reveling in her newfound freedom. Outside of his office, she froze in place.
Do I dare go in? Laughter bubbled up and spilled out. She gasped at the foreign sound. When is the last time I laughed? Juliana couldn't remember. Cautiously, she turned the handle, careful not to make a sound.
Juliana let out a rush of air and laughed yet again, flinging the door open. During the seven years she lived here with Gary, she'd never set foot inside this room. The door had never been locked; she could have walked in any time she wanted. Fear was a bigger deterrent than any lock.
The room was cold, as cold as the man who had sat behind the simple wooden desk. Steel gray eyes from a picture of Gary above the desk followed her around the room. At one time she thought he'd been so handsome with his premature salt and pepper hair. A shiver ran up her spine and she darted from the room, mindfully shutting the door behind her. Like a mouse being stalked by a big old alley cat, Juliana's gaze flitted in every direction.
He can't hurt me anymore. What am I supposed to do now? Maybe I should call someone like the officer suggested… but who?