This subject is no longer off limits. Because he is continuing his madness, and because I no longer care who knows. I'm not the CFO with everything to lose, now, am I? The people who matter have forgiven me and I can't help the rest of you. Don't judge me until you've lost everything you ever wanted.
I'm taking Caleb's attempt at extortion (and slavery) and blowing it wide open. He's not aware of the depths to which my friendships run and how close we all are. And so I told them what happened. It softened them, because they know how destructive I can be when I hurt and they're just relieved I came out of it in one piece.
If you can call it that.
Caleb contacted me with his rare smug brand of formal condolences the day after I found out about Jacob. Caleb, as always, took that as an opportunity and created some business that he absolutely had to be in town for and showed up before sunrise on the red-eye. As soon as Joel took his eyes off me after breakfast I took off. I wanted to show everyone that I was in charge and I wasn't going to take orders from anyone. I had no confidence in what I was doing until I was standing in front of Caleb's hotel room door.
Well, well, if it isn't the princess. Where are all those knights who are supposed to protect you from me?
I just shook my head and stood my ground, tears spilling down my cheeks. He knew I was alone or I wouldn't be there. He clucked and said it was a shame. And then he asked what I expected from him.
Make the pain stop.
Oh, but princess, there's only a couple of ways I can get you to where it won't hurt anymore.
What do I get in return for making you feel better?
It was 48 hours later that Caleb called Ben and told him there was baggage to be picked up. As in, come and get her, I'm through. Flaunting his treasures to Ben who had so briefly looked up to Caleb.
Caleb had left instructions for Ben to be let in and went off to his meetings. Ben burst into the room and found me vaguely unresponsive, naked, bruised, covered with bite marks and dusted head to toe. Dipped in Caleb's toxic icing sugar. It coated my eyelashes, my fingertips. I had headphones on, the stereo turned up so loud, if my hearing wasn't already damaged it would have been. Ben tried to pick me up and was hit with everything at once. I wasn't dressed. A black satin ribbon was still knotted on one wrist. I wasn't coherent.
He found my clothes and gingerly dressed me as I half-slept in a stupor. He forced my lids open, didn't like what he saw and took me out of there, bundled in his jacket, not really walking, a foot off the floor. I don't remember any of it. He wanted me to talk to Jason (a police officer) formally at the very least and I refused.
I went to Caleb willingly looking for an escape from the pain I knew only he could provide. I let him put needles in me. Repeatedly. I let him do whatever he wanted to me. Every time it wore off and I would become afraid or start to cry, he would give me more. And after two days he got bored with the game.
After that arrangements were made to have me flown back to the same posh retreat I just came out of to detox and to be safe. I slept for the first four days and then didn't speak for the next three.
Joel arrived on day four and told me how the kids were and asked me if I was going to break my promises to them too, and that's when I spoke again. That's when I realized that it was time to stop expecting everyone to pick up the pieces for me. I had to gather them together myself, and hold them and when the time is right I will glue them back together.
Caleb came to see me while I was there, and told me what a great time he had with me.
He told me he had wanted to do that for a while now, since we cut off his access to me after Henry was born.
I swore at him but he just laughed and told me he was happy to give me a reminder of Cole and happy to help ease the pain. He told me he'd see me at Christmas and to pass his best wishes along to Ben.
He also gave me a DVD in case I had forgotten the good parts. That was a warning not to slander him, that copies could be sent to everyone I loved but really, I don't care and neither do they. He could put it on the six o'clock news, I wouldn't even flinch at this point.
The clearest thing I remember after he shot me up the fourth time in two days was that he told me I belonged to he and his brother again, and that that was good. That I belonged in the family. That he would look after me.
He said I would be his plaything, that when he comes to the city he'll expect me to be there for his enjoyment and otherwise my friends get my DVD. Best porn they'll ever see and then when I only have him left I'll see what an easy arrangement it would have been and so not to fuck with him.
He underestimated all of us. I told them all what really happened (the painful, unsanitized version) and they closed the circle because they love me more than they hate my mistakes. Caleb can never touch me again.
He arrives today.
I won't be here.