Week 285 – I saw unspeakable things

Ariel actually looked better. After their talk Rock had pulled back on the questions to give her time to breathe to pull herself together. She’d taken a hot shower, eaten a bowl of pasta, and now she was sitting on the sofa in front of a crackling fire.

Her mesmerised gaze was locked on the open fireplace but he sensed she was finally believing she was safe, realising that she could do this. Rebuilding her life wouldn’t be easy but he knew she could do this, and he would be beside her every step of the way.

“I’m ready,” Ariel announced shifting on the couch so she was facing him. He’d intended to give her a little longer but if she was ready then they’d do this now.

“I’m proud of you, honey. You got this.” He shifted from the armchair to the other end of the sofa, not wanting to crowd her but also wanting to be close enough to offer his support.

She nodded somewhat uncertainly, but there was determination in her pretty brown eyes. “Arthur Gomez was accused of hitting his daughter. I was assigned the case. It should have been open and shut, there were witnesses, the girl had bruises all over and an untreated broken arm. But then she told me she’d had a sister. A sister her dad sold. No one believed me, or the girl.”

Knowing his Snow White she wouldn’t have given up. She would have fought for that girl, it was why she’d become a social worker to begin with. No wonder Arthur Gomez wanted her out of the picture. “Do you know for a fact Arthur was involved?”

“Yeah,” Ariel said softly. “I saw him once in the first place they took me. He sold me to get me out of the way.” Her voice grew distant, her eyes seemed to look through him. “They took me to this place, they did terrible things to me, there were other girls there too, I saw unspeakable things. Then the man who loved ice and ropes took me.”

Rock moved closer and took her hands, pressing them between his and rubbing them, wishing he could just take away everything she’d been through. “I’m so sorry, sweetheart, I hate that you went through that. I hate it so much.” It made him want to find every single person involved and rip them to pieces with his bare hands.

Ariel’s brows dipped, her forehead furrowed, there was surprise in her eyes now. “You meant it.”

“Meant what, honey?”

“When you said I was your girl, that you believed in me, that you’ve never given up on me.”

He wanted to shout his relief and joy, he’d finally made the first crack in her armor. Rock wanted to drag her onto his lap and kiss her, but she was in no way ready for that kind of step. Instead he settled for squeezing the hands he still held. The hands she still let him hold.

“We will figure this out, Snow White, I promise you that. We’ll get justice for that little girl, and for you, that is a vow I won’t break. When we make sure you’re safe, do you think you can find a way to forgive me and give me a second chance?”

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