Chapter 4.10: Dear Diary, Paybacks Are Rough

Marty gets more than she bargained for when Beckett is pushed over the edge.

Content Warning: Portrayal of domestic violence, some swearing, slight nudity (nothing too shocking).

2

Dear Diary, after more long days in the dark as to what was going on at the dig site, I couldn’t take it any longer. So, I did what any anthropologist would do… I went there anyway.

As I approached, an unfamiliar woman saw me and decided to head me off before I could get too close.

3

“Hi there. Is there something I can help you with?”

At least she seemed friendly.

“Yes, I’m actually looking for Dr. Sprague. Is he here?”

5

“He is but he’s extremely busy at the moment. Why don’t you give me your message and IΒ will be sure to relay it to him.”

Normally, this sort of him-hawing would get on my nerves quick but the entire time she spoke, she remained pleasant. I got a real sense from her that she was just simply telling the truth and not trying to keep me out. Xalen’s work must be very important.

“My name is Martha Larochette. Dr. Larochette – ”

” – You’re Marty!” she exclaimed with an enthusiastic smile. “Dr. Sprague’s Marty! Oh please forgive the familiarity with which I address you. It’s just that he’s spoken so highly of you, I feel as if we’re already friends.”

Xalen must have talked about me quite a bit to have gotten this reaction from one of his colleague’s. But why had he? Did he miss me as much as I missed him? I gave myself a mental shake because I was too timid to let my mind go down that road of thought.

Grinning from ear to ear, I said, “There’s nothing to forgive. I prefer being called Marty.”

“I’m Shelly Bingham.”

7

“Marty!”

My heart jumped when I heard his voice and realized he was walking toward us now.

“Xalen!” I shouted back, still grinning like crazy.

“It’s so wonderful to see you!” we both said at the same time as he joined us. Then we laughed and hugged.

It felt so good to have his strong arms around me. There was something about him that always put me at ease and made me feel safe. I’m ashamed to write now that even though I’m with Beckett, I don’t think I will ever be able to forget my feelings for Xalen. He would forever be the one who first captured my heart.

I know I once said similar things about Theo. Yet, when I look back now, I realize how young and isolated I’d been. He was the only boy I knew or felt close to up to that point in my life. So when I moved to Longview to live with Aunt Ruby all those years ago, he was a piece of home for me that gave me a sense of security. Theo was a little girl’s crush.

When I gazed now at Xalen, it was suddenly clear to me I loved him wholeheartedly and without a doubt. This was no little girl crush but much deeper. It was all at once so obvious, it shook me to my core and left me feeling breathless.

10

“Are you all right?” he asked, taking my shoulders in his hands and meeting my eyes with his. I must have looked a mess but he couldn’t have had any idea the turmoil that was thundering through me.

For if I was in love with Xalen, why in the world was I with Beckett? Was he just someone to fill the void since Xalen didn’t feel the same way about me? Whatever it was, I knew then I needed to break up with Beckett. Being in a relationship with him was a lie. I didn’t love him as he professed to love me. Plus he was getting on my very last nerve! I would have to talk to him soon even though I dreaded his reaction.

“Marty? I can tell you’re nervous. What is going on? You don’t seem yourself.”

“What do you mean?”

17

He studied me closely again, then said, “For one thing, you hate it when your hair is in your face. You never wear it down like this. Your nails are painted… it does not seem like you. And although you have never come right out and said this, you only wear these boots when you are homesick or nervous about something. Am I right?”

Of course, he was. He knew me so much better than anyone else. His gentle voice with that slight funny accent was so familiar and pleasing to me, I could have cried.

11

“I’m all right,” I said softly even though it wasn’t true. “It was a new me, I guess.”

When I shyly looked away from him, he lifted my chin so he could gaze into my eyes. I could tell he didn’t know what to make of my response. “Well, I am not complaining. You are beautiful as ever. I just want you to be happy.”

All I wanted to do right then was sob. Instead, I forced a smile. “I’m happy.” Taking a deep breath, I changed gears. “What’s going on here? You know you can trust me.”

13

“I do,” he said although his expression became more solemn.

It looked to me like he wanted to tell me everything yet there was something holding him back. That’s when I noticed how tired he seemed, with dark circles under his eyes. Why would this case out of so many bother him that much?

“You look exhausted.”

Still looking into my eyes, he nodded. “This has been very draining. You see, Marty, this is a family matter.”

14

To hear him say that not only confused me, it filled me with such a feeling of alarm, my pulse quickened uncomfortably and my throat began to tighten. “What do you mean?”

“A bracelet was found with the remains that could only have belonged to one person. I know this because I am the one who commissioned the piece in order to give it to her.”

Her. He said her. With a furrowed brow, I began to wonder if this was a long lost love. I didn’t have to wonder for long, though, because he continued his explanation.

“It was a gift I gave her when she graduated from university. I’m still waiting for the DNA results to be confirmed, but I already feel in my heart that it is her.”

“Who?” I whispered.

“My niece Aria.”

15

Slowly, I wrapped my arms around him, pulling him into a tight embrace. I felt him shudder against me as he hugged me back and I realized then how deeply this was affecting him.

As we held one another, my mind jogged back to the first time I’d met him. He was buying candy for his niece who’d just had her tonsils taken out. Was this the same girl?

16

“I know you have questions,” he whispered into my ear, his voice heavy with anguish. “Now is not the time, though. I have to get back to work and find out once and for all what happened to her and who caused this.”

“I understand. Please, let me know if I can help in any way.”

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All the way back to Beckett’s house, I felt a heavy cloud hanging over me like a blanket. I was so sad for Xalen. And there was the other matter, too, with Beckett. With every step taken toward the house, I knew it was a step toward a different future without him.

18

To my shock, he was waiting for me when I came inside and began to yell immediately as if I’d done something wrong.

19

“Where have you been? You went to see him, didn’t you? The guy from the phone calls you’ve been getting?”

“It’s really none of your business where I was. You seem to forget that a lot.”

20

“It is very much my business! How do you think that looks to people when you go sneaking off to see your old boyfriend like that?”

“So you’re not really angry I went to see him, you’re just pissed about how it looks.”

“You know, for a doctor, you’re really not very smart! Of course, I don’t like you seeing him! It’s not just about how it looks, but that is part of it! I won’t have you making me look bad!”

21

“You’re going to show me some respect,” he continued, pointing at me and screaming. I cringed as the smell of stale alcohol drifted toward me, assaulting my nose.

I wanted to race out of there as fast as I could, but my feet felt planted on the floor and all I could do was cower. I know that doesn’t sound like how I used to be. Something in me has changed. I don’t know when that happened, I only know it was because of him.

“I’m sorry,” I meekly said, hoping he’d calm down.

His face was still red from yelling, however, my apology, as fake as it was, did seem to do the job. If I brought up the fact I wanted out of the relationship now, how far would he let his anger take him? Especially since he’d been drinking, which he seemed to do a lot of.

I decided then, I didn’t want to know.Β Breaking up with Beckett would have to wait until I was sure I was safe.

23

“Where are you going?”

“To take a shower. Alone.”

24

Later that night, I was startled awake. At first, I didn’t know what had caused me to wake up with such a start. Glancing beside me, I noticed I was alone which meant Beckett was probably nose deep in another bottle of wild turkey.

Then I heard the reason I was awake in the middle of the night. The sobbing woman. Getting out of bed, I strained against the darkness to listen for more. If only I could tell where it was coming from.

It was then I decided to look for her the last place in which I’d seen her. This time, I would be brave. I wouldn’t drop my flashlight and run away screaming like a mad woman.

As I crept up the cold staircase, the crying became louder. My heart was beating against my chest but the further I went, the more determined I became to find out what was going on.

28

Once I reached the top of the stairs I gasped and held my thumping heart. My mouth went dry and I shivered hard. It was so strangely cold, I could almost see my ragged breath as it left my lungs and escaped my mouth.

The ghost’s wailing was so forlorn, it broke my heart and sent shivers through me at the same time.

I dared to step a little closer and with a tight, shaky voice, said, “What’s wrong?”

It seemed a reasonable question.

Animation15

Her hollow eyes seemed to stare right through me and I couldn’t really tell if she could see me or not. She definitely heard me, though.

“Where is she?” she moaned as she continued weeping.

Goosebumps popped up all over my arms and legs. And just like with Beckett, my feet didn’t want to move even though her speaking to me was enough to make my mind want to move out of there!

“Where is she?”

“W-who?”

“Lost! All is lost!” she sobbed as if the entire world was crashing down around her.

27

Her weeping was so intense, so heartbreaking, I found myself covering my own face and sobbing along with her. I hadn’t ever seen a ghost before but besides that, I’d never heard anyone so bereaved in my life. It was so distressing to me, it was almost as if it was happening to me. The anguish in my heart, the total misery of a loss so great… I experienced it all.

After a few moments, I began to feel a little warmer. The suffocating feel of the room began to lift, too. Slowly, I uncovered my face and looked about.

She was gone.

My face still wet with tears, I haltingly made my way back downstairs, my hand gripping the stair railing so tightly, my knuckles turned white.

29

My mind must still have been foggy because instead of going back to bed, I found myself face to face with Beckett in the game room. Once again, my heart sped up and alarm ran through me.

30

“Baby, c’mere,” he said with a lot of slurring as he tried to put his arms around me and pull me into an embrace.

Holding my palms up against him, I pushed him back a little and gingerly stepped away from him.

“You’re drunk.” I’d always had a keen grasp of the obvious.

31

Laughing a little, he slurred, “Let’s get married, baby. Let’s go now.”

At last, I’d had enough of this. “I’m leaving, Beckett. We’re like oil and water, you and I.”

He laughed again as if he didn’t believe me. “Aww… c’mon. I’m sorry for everything.”

“I couldn’t be more serious right now. I don’t love you, I never did and I’m leaving.”

32

As I started toward the staircase, he managed to grab hold of my wrist, bending my arm painfully, until he had me on my knees and could get hold of my other wrist, too.

“You’re hurting me! Let go!”

I’m hurting you?” he screamed, his alcohol-laden breath invading my nostrils. “You’re the one who’s always causing problems where there aren’t any! I’m so sick of the way you treat me, Marty! Do you hear me?” He began to shake me as I struggled to get free.

“You’re not making any sense! You’re drunk! Now let go of me!”

“You know why I drink? Because you’re so unbearable to be around! You refuse to take care of me! You cheat on me! After everything I’ve done for you, you ungrateful bitch!”

Leaning forward, his awful words echoing in my ears, I sank my teeth deeply into one of his hands until I tasted iron and his blood ran over my lips.

34

“You f’ing bitch!”

As he let go of me, I sprang up, ready to scramble out of there. Just as I reached the stairs, he was able to grasp a handful of my hair and yank me back around to him. As I gasped and tried to remain on my feet, he continued cursing at me. Without warning, his closed fist collided with my face, knocking me to the floor.

35

My ears were ringing and the room was spinning. I’d never been hit like that before. Tears welled up in my eyes as I struggled to regain my bearings. Every time I managed to get back up to my knees, the spinning room caused me to collapse again.

36

Suddenly, Beckett was on top of me, pinning me to the cold tile floor. I struggled as hard as I could against him, but I was only wearing myself out.

He continued screaming at me, his spittle flying crazily through the air, landing on my face.

“Now do you see what happens? Look what you made me do! I won’t have you cheating on me!”

“Beckett, please,” I moaned.

“Oh, now you wanna work things out? You’re such a bitch! Who is he anyway? Who is he?”

“I haven’t cheated on you, please, Beckett…”

“You’re such a tramp! You wear your hair like a whore! Is that why he likes you? When I’m done with you, he’ll never look at you again!”

He must have hit me again because I think I blacked out.

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Everything was dark. Gradually, I became aware of the cold floor beneath my sore body. Strangely, I also realized my eyes were closed. As I opened them, I was exactly where I was when I’d passed out.

Only, everything had changed.

37

My face throbbed and my head was no better. At least I wasn’t dizzy any more, though.

38

Not seeing my attacker anywhere, I slowly got to my feet, my body swaying at first, then gaining better balance. I was staring at my toes, willing my body to remain strong and alert when I saw the hair. It was scattered all over the floor and a pair of scissors were lying nearby.

Touching a clump of hair with my toe, I belatedly realized it was mine. The bastard had cut my hair!

39

Even though I was sore from head to toe and I was missing a great deal of hair, I told myself this could have been much worse. He could be here now, still terrorizing me.

40

Then I heard a loud snore which brought me back to the present. Beckett was passed out on the loveseat. Standing over him, I began to think about what I should do.

Run out of there and get away as fast as I could?

Tentatively, I nudged his shoulder. He didn’t wake up or even stir. Closing my fist and gritting my teeth, I hauled off and punched him in the shoulder as hard as I could. He groaned a little but was apparently passed out cold.

Thoughts started whirling around in my head. Really bad thoughts about what I could do to him.

Run away as fast as I could. No.

I’ll admit that I briefly toyed with the idea of what I could do with the scissors he’d so carelessly left on the floor next to my hair.

Just as quickly, I dismissed those thoughts.

But I did have an idea for the bastard. Right or wrong, I was going to do it, too.

Reaching forward, I shoved him hard. He rolled off the couch and fell with a dull thump to the floor below.

41

It wasn’t easy to undress a guy when he wasn’t helping you. It was even harder dragging his ass across the room and out the front door.

42

But once he was positioned in front of the pole, it was really easy to tie him there. Just before I left him, I kicked him especially hard.

43

Then, I ran out of there as fast as I could. It was daylight and I must have looked a fright when I ran into the hotel lobby. My nose was bleeding and my cheeks were red where I’d been hit.

44

Xalen was just coming from the dining room when he saw me. As soon as our eyes met, he yelled my name.

45

I ran to him, pushing my face into his shoulder as he held me and stroked what was left of my hair.

“I’ve ruined your shirt,” I managed to say through my sobs.

“Shh… it’s all right,” he said as he whisked me to the elevator, his arms never leaving me.

I continued to cry as we stepped on and the doors closed behind us. Luckily, we were alone.

“Who has done this to you?” he asked, his eyes full of anger and concern.

I shook my head in response. If I told him what’d happened, what would he do? There was no need to involve him.

46

Xalen didn’t press me with any other questions. He brought me to his room and tucked me into his bed.

“I’m scared. Please don’t leave me,” I said through chattering teeth.

Still in his clothes, he stretched out next to me and rested his hand on my hip.

“I won’t leave you, I promise.”

47

It was late when I woke up. Xalen was still next to me, watching me closely.

“I need a bath,” I said groggily, sitting up.

“Take it easy.”

Ignoring him, I stepped into the bathroom. It was large and cold. What if Beckett came here? I was such a mess, anyone who’d been in the lobby would know it was me he was looking for.

I suppose because I hadn’t moved, Xalen started the water in the tub and made sure I had a towel and robe.

48

Bending in front of me and taking my shoulders, he said, “I’ll just be in the next room.”

As tears rolled down my face, I shivered again. “No, please don’t leave me. What if he finds me?”

Xalen’s eyes narrowed and I could tell he wanted to know who ‘he’ was. “He will not hurt you, Marty. He will have to get past me first and that will never happen. Do you understand?”

That made me feel a little better.

“You must tell me what happened.”

“I – I don’t want to.”

Sighing, I could see it was taking all of his patience to deal with me. Looking deeply into my eyes, he said, “Did he – force himself on you?”

“No, he didn’t.”

Xalen’s eyes registered relief, but I could still detect the underlying anger.

“I took care of him.”

“What does that mean?”

Suddenly, I felt ashamed. “He was drinking and passed out. I stripped him naked and I ….. well… I tied him to a lamp post by the road.”

His eyes grew huge with surprise and his jaw dropped a little. “You didn’t.”

Laughing a little despite everything, I nodded. “Yeah, I totally did. I may have kicked him a couple times, too.”

I never knew you could laugh and cry at the same time.

Pulling me into his arms again, his hands caressing me, he shook his head in wonder. “Oh, Marty, what am I going to do with you?”

 

 

Author’s Note: Thank you, Lil, for the great ghost gif! I appreciate it! Thank you, Bee, for your superior poses! She did the fight scene for me. πŸ™‚ You can find her poses at her site: Poses by Bee. You can find the Couple Fighting Pose Pack HERE!

Because this post deals with Domestic Violence and because this is something that can affect anyone (myself included), I am posting the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1βˆ’800βˆ’799βˆ’7233 or TTY 1βˆ’800βˆ’787βˆ’3224). If you are experiencing abuse, please call or go to this site: HOTLINE.

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Not sure if what you are experiencingΒ is abusive? Take a look at this diagram. You may be surprised.

cycle_of_abuse

  1. I believe that Marty won’t learn to love another completely, unless this thing with Xalen gets resolved within her mind and heart one way or another. Until that time, she can’t be with anyone else, as it would be unfair to them.

    That crying ghost is really making me wonder. If I were Marty, I would make that a real project to try and figure out who she is and whom she is looking for!

    Bravo Marty! That serves him right! I’m so glad she didn’t cower and just take it from him. Even though her parents didn’t believe in violence, I think that is her mother coming out in her……able to take care of herself and be a bit vindictive in the process! Naked to a pole! I thought that was fabulous!

    Weren’t those poses just awesome???!!! LOL I will have the whole set posted by tomoro

    Thank you for a gobsmackingly brilliant chapter! (yes I know I just made up that word)

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    1. LOL! Thank you, Bee! The poses are perfect and came together in game just as they should. Thank you so much for making them.

      I think you and Marty are on the same page where the ghost is concerned. Now that it has spoken to her, I think she’ll want to find out all she can about what’s going on.

      You are so right about her mother coming out in her! hahaha I’m so glad you liked it. πŸ˜€

      Oh, and I like that word! I will use it from now on! LOL

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  2. Poor Marty. It was only a matter of time before Beckett resorted to violence with her. He is so slimy. So we can probably assume that Beckett had everything to do with Xalen’s niece being the skeleton at the dig site. Not sure who the ghost is yet, but probably someone else he took care of – maybe even his own mother.

    I am glad Marty got off as easy as she did – so far anyway – or she would be a ghost too. So it looks as if Xalen and Marty have a mystery to resolve before they can be together. I am glad she realized she loved him before Beckett went off on her. That may make it easier for her to let him in.

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    1. Thank you, Audrey! πŸ™‚ You’re so right about this whole situation. Beckett was spiraling down fast and at first, Marty wasn’t really aware of just how controlling he is. This situation could have been a lot worse, it’s true. I think now, Marty will want to figure this ghost thing out and help Xalen with the news about his niece.

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  3. Oh wow, what an eventful chapter!!
    First of all, I hate Beckett so much!! He showed his true ugly colors and while he’s done a pretty fine job in intimidating Marty, I’m glad he hasn’t entirely broken her spirit! The scene where she tied him to the pole was so delightfully epic!! I was scared at first that he might have locked her to the basement or something, but I’m relieved that’s not the case!
    And ah, Xalen ❀ ❀ I hope he'll be the one who will help Marty recover from this. She really needs him right now and I want to believe he will not disappoint!
    About the ghost… who was she talking about? I have literally zero theories lol! I believe it's Beckett's mother though.
    Great chapter!

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    1. I meant, I believe the ghost is Beckett’s mother. I still have no idea who she could possibly be talking about! πŸ™‚

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      1. LOL πŸ™‚ I hope you will be surprised and satisfied when the answers come out. πŸ™‚

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    2. Thank you so much! ❀ Beckett is very ugly inside, it's true. So, he really couldn't hide his true colors when it came right down to it. I'm so glad you liked how she tied him to the pole. haha I had fun with that and Bee made it possible with her poses. I think if she'd been with him much longer, it would have changed her so much.

      I think Xalen will be in for the long haul. He's always cared very much for Marty and right now, he is really angry that someone did this to her.

      Zero theories? hmmmm πŸ˜€ Well, I hope you like how it all comes about. πŸ˜€

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  4. Oh goodness. Bee was right, that chapter was such a shocker!
    Beckett is awful, I hate to say this, but he reminds me of Sam. Hopefully, Sam will never get this far. I sure hope he won’t.
    I’m so relieved that Marty managed to get away and that Xalen supported her. I hope she will not have to deal with Beckett anymore, but I guess there is not that much she can do to break away. I’m so, so sorry. I just noticed how both your and Bee’s stories now go around similar themes. And just like with Jade, I so hope that Marty will have a better guy to herself, one she deserves (like Xalen).
    Now I can’t wait to find out about the mysterious ghost’s story.

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    1. Thank you, Jowita! πŸ™‚ You’re right, Beckett is the worst! I can see how he is similar to Sam and Alex, for that matter. It’s really wild how we all seemed to be writing similar themes this time around. With this story, it’s something Marty can put behind her and not have to face with Beckett again since they weren’t married. We’ll see, though, what else happens with that. I think Xalen is going to try to find out who did this to Marty. As for Sam, you’re going into much more depth because he is your heir, and I think that’s a good thing. πŸ™‚ As for Bee’s Alex, Jade and Marty are so different, I think Jade will handle this much differently than Jade did. I’m so afraid for Jade!

      One mysterious ghost story, coming up! lol πŸ˜€

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      1. I don’t even want to mention Anthony, because I don’t really want to think about that… But who knows what could happen if Marty stayed a bit longer? A drunk person can do practically anything, no boundaries! I just wanted to mention how much I loved the way Marty dealt with getting her revenge! So creative and hilarious, well-deserved, too.

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        1. Haha! I’m so glad you liked that! I wasn’t sure how it would go over. But I really couldn’t see Marty just meekly cowering off somewhere either. lol I do think you’re right that if she had stayed, anything could have happened, especially because of Beckett’s drinking. It’s best she realized how things were going to go and that she got out of there. πŸ˜€

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  5. So glad you posted the resources and that you told this in the thoughtful way you did, with such attention to the cycle of power and control . Your depiction of the way that trauma changes a person was effective, too . I’ve got confidence that Marty can heal , even when it takes a good long while .

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    1. Thank you, Cathy. I wasn’t sure I was completely doing it justice even though I was writing from experience. I’m so glad you thought it was all right. I think Marty will be looking over her shoulder for a long time and she probably won’t be as trusting as she once was, but you’re right that even though it will take a while, she will heal. ❀

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  6. Wow, what a chapter!! I went from being so glad she met up with Xalen – who does know her better than a lot of people! – to being ready to throttle Beckett into oblivion!!! I love that she tied him up to that pole, and although he is so worried about his “image” it will embarrass him to death (we should be so lucky, grrr), I am also afraid of what he may try to do to Marty. Xalen will probably have to confront the egotistical jackass (sorry), either for the murder, or to protect Marty, or both! I don’t see how she can find out anything about the ghost without going back to Beckett’s house, and I really hate to see her do that unless Xalen goes with her. Lots of questions, and lots of possibilities, and now more grey hair while I wait for the answers!! Great chapter, great poses, and I will now go take my blood pressure medicine! β™₯

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    1. LOL Oh dear! πŸ˜€ I’m glad you liked the chapter. That’s a good point about the ghost. Does it only ever appear in Beckett’s house? You will definitely find out soon! πŸ˜€

      Beckett could very well seek revenge on Marty but I think Xalen will have something to say about that! I still see a possible confrontation there in the near future.

      You’re right about Beckett and his image. Being left like that, for everyone to see, is his worst nightmare. That and being broke. His image is the most important thing to him, his money comes in as a close second!

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  7. Awesome update .. had me on the edge of my seat! I worry that leaving Beckett like that is poking the hornets nest a bit .. eeek

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    1. Thank you, Lisa. πŸ™‚ It very well could be as he may want some revenge. Good thing she has Xalen on her side. lol

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  8. Ouch 😦 I can’t say I didn’t see something like this coming. Didn’t foresee the hair thing, but it fits in well with the nonsense logic violent people like him subscribe to. HE made her wear her hair that way – she didn’t like it – and then he punishes her for it. Yuck.
    I liked the way you portrayed this whole business, though. My emotions were right there with Marty – happiness at seeing Xalen (ship-ship-shippity ship – sailing on the high seas!) and the dread at seeing Mr. Useless and Violent. Awesome, and wonderfully written.

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    1. Thank you so much, Louise. πŸ™‚ You’re so right and that’s an important takeaway, I think: you can’t rationalize with someone who is irrational. I was so worried I wouldn’t do this justice but I felt this story had to be told. I’m so glad you could feel what Marty was going through, the ups and downs. Hopefully, now that she’s cut Beckett out, her future will be brighter.

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  9. Oh my goodness… I can’t believe I ever liked Beckett! How could he treat someone he β€œloves” that way? Hopefully Marty knows to avoid his type from now on, and not to take him back if he comes begging. She deserves much better. Thank you Xalen for being there for her. This chapter really made me think…. Well written!

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    1. Thank you, Raymond! πŸ™‚ I think Marty will avoid his type like the plague from now on! lol I also think it’s a good thing she’s admitted her feelings for Xalen to herself because now if Beckett does his “I’m sorry” thing to her, she’ll probably show him the door… or another pole! lol

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  10. I CANNOT BELIEVE I PREFERRED BECKETT OVER XALEN FOR THAT BRIEF TIME!!!
    I was horrified when Beckett started hurting Marty like that. What the hell is wrong with him??? My heart broke for Marty, especially when he chopped off all her hair. It really showed how twisted and illogical Beckett is. I have to say though, tying him to that pole seems like pretty smart revenge. Him all worried about his reputation, now he’s going to be a laughing stock in public, I hope!
    I’m a 10000% Marty-Xalen shipper now. It’s obvious how well he knows her- perhaps even more than she knows herself. He was so kind and supportive. I do wonder what happened to his niece, it seems somehow Beckett was linked to her.
    I believe that Marty will eventually be able to push through this horrible situation, with Xalen at her side. She’s always been a strong person.
    Very well written chapter πŸ™‚

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    1. Thank you, Lila! πŸ™‚ I think Marty is saying the same thing to herself that you wrote in your first line there. Thing is, people like Beckett never show their true colors right away. There may be red flags that are easy to ignore at first and before you know it, you’re in a bad situation. Thankfully, Marty is out of it now.

      What’s their nickname? Marlen? hahaha πŸ˜€ I’m glad you ship them. Let’s hope things work out for them.

      As for Xalen’s niece, you just might be on the right track.

      Like you, I think Marty will heal from this and move on with her life.

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  11. So glad Beckett has been shown the curb!!! I have always said Marty belongs with Xalen and no one else. Now hopefully they will each follow their heart.

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    1. Thank you, Lil. πŸ™‚ I’m so glad Beckett was shown the curb, too. Literally! LOL I think Xalen and Marty really love each other, but I don’t know if they’re exactly on the same page yet. πŸ˜€

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  12. I KNEW IT! I knew Beckett was trouble when he walked in! I’m so glad it all ended with her in Xalen’s open and loving arms! I know exactly what he can do with her, and that involves marrying her and cherishing her craziness forever! πŸ˜€ Wonderful chapter. ❀

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    1. Thank you, Rosie! πŸ™‚ I knew you knew it! lol I think she ran to the one person she knows loves her even if he’s never told her so. What we do know for sure is that she loves him. ❀ Hahaha He might be the only one who can handle her crazy, zany ways! LOL

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  13. I really hope Marty isn’t pregnant with that idiot’s baby now. After all, they were active and she did black out just now.
    Xalen, this girl is so into you! Don’t ignore her!

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    1. Thank you, Violincat. πŸ™‚ That would be the worst! :O Right on, regarding Xalen!

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  14. I wish she’d just tell him everything she knows, including the ghost encounter. I wonder too, where Becket’s dad really is.
    For anyone who is unfamiliar with abuse, your abuse wheel is awesome. Abuse is clearly faceted and a person can be held by it on many levels. I wonder if someone abused since childhood has a harder time getting out of it than someone like Marty who was raised in a calm and peaceful environment does?
    I wonder if Aria got caught up in Beckett’s web. Soooo sad.

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    1. Thank you, Jolie. πŸ™‚ It would be best if she just told him everything, then they could move forward with figuring things out.

      I’m glad you’re glad I put the abuse wheel up. That’s a good question about someone who is abused since childhood and if they would find it harder to get out.

      You might be right about Aria! Very sad indeed. And you will find out soon. πŸ™‚

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  15. Seeing the poses by Bee and the warning at the beginning of the chapter I knew that this one was going to be a tough one to get through.
    I’m just so glad that Marty has Xalen to recognize the change in her behavior. And to be there for her. Many victims of abuse stay in the situation because they feel that they have no where to go.
    On a more personal note though, I just want to reach into my computer and give you a big hug because I know the personal hell of being in an abusive relationship.
    Thank you for putting all of the informative resources at the end of this chapter. I am in a much better place now. But if I had a chart that shows me the different types of abuse, and a phone number I could call I might have gotten help sooner.

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    1. Thank you so much. ❀ You're so right about why some people find it difficult to get out of an abusive relationship.

      I'm so glad you're in a much better place now. I am also. And if I'd see the chart and phone number, I might be able to say the same. πŸ™‚

      Giving you big, virtual hugs. ❀

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      1. There are virtual hugs all around!! ❀ ❀ ❀

        My hope is that no one will ever have to use that chart and phone number. But if one of your readers is in an abusive relationship, they see that there is hope out there. And not all is lost.
        I wish that I had hog tied my ex to a lamp post, naked for all to see. πŸ™‚

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        1. LOL Wouldn’t that have been something? LOL

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          1. Too bad I’m not as brave as Marty.

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            1. lol I wasn’t either. The important thing is that we’re happy now. ❀

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  16. “This was no little girl crush but much deeper. It was all at once so obvious, it shook me to my core and left me feeling breathless.”
    Mmmm hmmm…leave that spoiled boy alone and get you a real man. LOL

    “Was he just someone to fill the void since Xalen didn’t feel the same way about me?”
    YES! Next question…
    πŸ˜›

    “Whatever it was, I knew then I needed to break up with Beckett. Being in a relationship with him was a lie. I didn’t love him as he professed to love me. Plus he was getting on my very last nerve! I would have to talk to him soon even though I dreaded his reaction.”
    Usually spontaneous, quick-thinking types make me nervous and sometimes get on my nerves, but they also do the right things quickly too. I approve this message.

    “He knew me so much better than anyone else.”
    *swoon*

    *gasp* Not the niece! Say it ain’t so!

    Show you some respect?? Boy, please. He quickly forgot the conversation they had in the last chapter…and his apology! Classic behavior from abusers! Gosh, poor Marty. She’s been changed by his abusive behavior. Typical! So sad.

    He beat her up AND cut her hair???!?! Oh, this means war!!! That fight scene was terrible, but you wrote it so well! πŸ˜€

    Xalen, the superhero! I hope, one day, she gets the courage to tell him what happened…or at least call the police and let the law deal with him! There’s no reason for her to suffer in silence, but…this is how these matters usually go, right? Sadness!

    Thank you for a riveting chapter! It was very exciting.

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    1. LOL Thank you so much, Jes2G! I love your comment so much. I think you’re right about the police, for sure and also telling Xalen what happened. That was quite the ordeal!

      I’m so glad you answered Marty’s thoughts. She needed that. πŸ˜€

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      1. But will she listen? Other people’s characters tend to ignore me LOL. Heck…my own do too! πŸ˜€

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        1. Don’t worry, mine ignore me, too! lolol Only time will tell if Marty has heard you loud and clear. πŸ˜›

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  17. Noo how horrible Beckett is !

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    1. Thank you so much. πŸ™‚ You couldn’t be more right!

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      1. He’s a drunker, an abuser and he pretends to love Marty?… He only love his Love for her not her. He’s narcissistic. Beckett is Beckett furst.

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        1. You’re right about that. Beckett is selfish and narcissistic. He puts himself first.

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          1. Totally and I don’t think it’s over.. sadly.

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    1. Thank you so much πŸ™‚

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  18. This was really intense. I am going to go back and read it. I saw some of the pics with DV. I dealt with something similar in my TS3 story a few years back. Thanks for sharing. You have an amazing story.

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    1. Thank you so much, Reagan. πŸ™‚ I appreciate your kind and encouraging words. I bet your TS3 story was really good!

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  19. As someone who also went through abuse, I have to say this was very well written! It’s so true how at first they can seem amazing, and it’s not until after it gets bad, or sometimes even after it’s all over, that you can look back and see the warning signs for what they were. It’s been a little over 11 years since I got away from my ex, but it’s still a struggle sometimes not to think about it, or to blame myself. It definitely gets easier as time goes on, but I do wonder sometimes if those wounds ever completely heal. I’m glad Marty was smart enough to get away so quickly. And it helps to have someone to lean on who will help you stay out of trouble… ie. Xalen! lol

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words. I’m sorry for what you’ve been through but also so glad you aren’t in that place any longer. It has been about ten years for me. πŸ™‚

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  20. Sadness but then laughter. I never expected her to step up strip and tie him. I hope to find out about the weeping ghost.

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    1. Thank you so much. πŸ™‚ Marty has a way about her, doesn’t she? LOL πŸ˜€

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      1. Marty really surprised me and Xalen as well.

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        1. I’m so glad. πŸ˜€ They are quite the pair. lol

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  21. This chapter was really powerful. The tears are real, the emotions I am feeling are real. When I said I wanted a villain I did not mean this kind but this really did it and it wasn’t who I was expecting until the murder of Xalen’s niece was mentioned and Beckett just kept getting weirder. So I have yet another theory, it’s kinda dark though, so I’m not sure if I should type it so I won’t, but it involves Beckett’s dad and mom, the ghost in the attic, this murder and a coverup.

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    1. Ooooh I wonder what this dark theory is? And I can’t wait to see if you’re right!

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