Week 242 – I should have been there

Her eyes widened in shock at his declaration and Adam prepared to see the fear seep into her warm brown eyes, followed by the horror that she was in the presence of a monster. None of that happened. Instead her eyes narrowed and she shook her head. “I don’t buy that at all.”

What was it about this woman? She was fearless, determined, and seemed to see things in him that weren’t there.

Guess that also meant she was crazy. 

Moving further into her personal space he used his height to his advantage, towering over her. “My wife and daughter are dead because of me.”

“Maybe,” she conceded. “But that doesn’t mean you killed them.” Her tone was kind and her touch when she reached out and placed a hand on his chest, right above his heart. “I can’t imagine what that loss would be like, but if you want to talk about it I’m here, if you don’t want to talk thats okay too.”

Her smile was genuine and when she turned to leave the room he felt like she was taking the tiny beam of sunlight she’d managed to shine on him in that moment of physical contact with her. 

“Zara, wait.” The words were out of his mouth before he could even think about it. But when she turned and looked up at him with patient empathy he realised he didn’t regret them. He needed to make her understand how dangerous he was, she was sweet, he didn’t want to wind up hurting her worse than he already had.

“Lets sit.” She took his hand like he hadn’t almost strangled her to death, and guided him to sit on the edge of his bed. Once they were both seated she didn’t say anything just waited and held his hand. 

“I attacked her, my wife,” he said softly, unwanted memories pawing at his brain trying to get out. “I was asleep, dreaming, nightmares, I threw her up against the wall. She tried to wake me but she couldn’t. I tore up the bedroom, she was terrified, grabbed our daughter and ran. She crashed the car.”

“I’m so sorry, thats awful. But, Adam.” She waited until he met her gaze before continuing, “That doesn’t mean you killed them. It was a horrible accident. She must have been afraid, I was when you grabbed me, but it was clear you weren’t deliberately doing it. She might have been scared, might have wanted to protect your daughter, but she knew that it wasn’t really you she was running from. I’m so sorry you lost them, and I’m so sorry about whatever happened to you to cause the dreams.”

This woman had to be an angel. She was still sitting beside him, still holding his hand, offering him kindness and absolution he didn’t deserve.

It wasn’t right. 

Anger and grief warred inside him and unable to handle sweet Zara and her understanding a second longer he stormed across the room and out the door. Zara called his name but he ignored her and ran through the house and out into the cool night. 

“I should have been there,” he screamed into the darkness. He should never have left his family so often to go on missions with his Delta team that a rift developed between him and his wife, he should never have allowed himself to get to the point where he became a danger to his family, and he should have been there in the car, driving his wife and daughter to a safe place. 

He had failed. 

Diving into his swimming pool he began to swim, punishing his body was the only way he could cope with what he had lost.

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