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By:L Wilder

“Really? He looks at me?” she asked like she didn’t know what I was talking about.

“All the time,” I told her, looking down at my phone. My heart dropped when I noticed that I had three missed calls from Mrs. Daniels. “Shit. Mrs. Daniels has been trying to call me.” I dialed her number and prayed that she would answer.

“Wren?” Mrs. Daniels asked.

“Yes, it’s me. Is everything alright?”

“I tried calling earlier, but I couldn’t get through to you. I knew you had your class tonight, but no one answered the phone there either. I wouldn’t have left, but I didn’t have a choice when I couldn’t get in touch with you,” she explained.

“Left? What do you mean?” I asked, feeling the panic begin to grow in the pit of my stomach.

“My husband was taken to the hospital, Wren. I called one of my associates, and she is on the way over to Michael’s house now to see about Wyatt. Everything should be okay, but I wanted you to know what was going on.”

“Wyatt’s there alone with Michael?”

“Just until Anita can get there. He was fine when I left. Michael was finishing up some work on his computer, and Wyatt was playing one of his video games.” She paused for just a second before she continued, “Wren, you know I wouldn’t have left him unless it was an emergency.”

“I completely understand. I’m on my way over there right now to make sure everything is okay,” I told her. “Thanks for calling to let me know.”

“Let me know if there is a problem. I will call Anita and let her know you are coming.”

“Thanks,” I told her as I hung up the phone. “I’ve got to head over to Michael’s and make sure Wyatt’s okay!”

“Why? What’s going on?”

“Mrs. Daniels had an emergency and had to leave,” my voice trembled. I fought back my tears as I started walking towards my car.

Following close behind me, Rachel asked, “Don’t you want me to go with you? You don’t need to be driving when you’re upset like this.”

“No. I’ll be fine. I just need to get over there,” I explained as I got in my car and started the engine. I didn’t have time to explain why having her there would only make it harder. Michael wouldn’t be happy about me showing up there early and having someone with me would only make it worse.

My mind raced with a million awful thoughts as I pressed my foot against the accelerator. I couldn’t stop thinking that something terrible had happened. I needed to pull it together. Wyatt didn’t need to see me upset. I took a deep breath, trying to push back the agonizing panic that was spreading through my chest. I hated it. What if Wyatt had one of his meltdowns when Ms. Daniels left? What if Michael lost his temper and hurt him? Damn. I was so sick of worrying all the time. Sick of being scared.

It was just starting to get dark when I pulled up in Michael’s driveway. Looking at Michael’s house, I found it hard to believe that I once called it home. Michael’s parents bought it for us as a wedding present. They wanted us to have the perfect place to start our new lives together, and I fell in love with it the moment I saw it. It didn’t take us long to make the place ours, and I actually loved living there. That was a long time ago. Now, it seemed so unfamiliar, haunting. The porch light was on, revealing all the leaves and dirt scattered by the front door. I shook my head as I thought about how hard I used to work to keep the place clean. I knocked on the door and tried to be patient as I waited for someone to answer. The door swung open, and Michael greeted me with an angry snarl on his face.

When he didn’t say anything, I said, “Mrs. Daniels called, and I came to see if everything is okay with Wyatt.”

“Of course you did,” he growled.

“Look, I don’t want to get into an argument with you about this. Just go tell Wyatt I’m here to get him.”

He stood in the doorway, arms crossed with a smug look on his face and said, “Can’t do that.”

“And why’s that?” I asked, trying to hold back my anger. It was so hard for me not to cuss at him. A million profanities were sitting at the tip of my tongue, but I kept them to myself, knowing I needed to keep my cool.

“He’s not here,” he said with his eyebrow raised in defiance.

“What do you mean he’s not here? Ms. Daniels called ten minutes ago and said she left him here with you.” He repulsed me. I couldn’t believe that the man standing in front of me was someone that I’d actually cared about, that I had once loved. Looking at him now made my skin crawl.