“There is something you should know about me,” Camille spoke softly while looking ahead into the bedroom wall mirror at her reflection. Distress covered her face from worry of her partner’s reaction from what was soon to confess. Could she trust him, or would he end up being just like the rest of the them?
Stretched out on the bed and positioned between her legs was Darius, a co-worker whom she’d allowed herself to have feelings for the past three months. That night was the first evening they’d spend together, alone in an expensive hotel suite. Darius had spent his entire paycheck for the hotel room and their evening meal at The Caucus Room establishment in Washington, DC. He hoped his overspending would pay off later that night.
Frustrated by her demand to cease foreplay, Darius lifted his head from between her legs and rolled his eyes, showing little to no interest in whatever she had to say, but he would tolerate it by listening, just as long as he would leave the hotel with a notch under his belt and a story to tell to his co-workers, whom he set a wager with, guaranteeing he’d tag her that night. Taking her underwear would be his evidence to win the bet.
Darius looked at his partner as if he were interested. Camille however was concerned with what he’d say or do after she told him of her little secret.
It was several years and tears long ago, seated in the corner of her living room, making excuses to two police officers as to why she had bruises on her wrist, neck and lower back. She knew they didn’t believe her, they must deal with women like her all the time. The ones who defend their abusive boyfriends because they are madly in love with them, or confusing love with fear.
Calvin, —her boyfriend at the time— sat quietly on the couch as the officers kept a corner eye on him. They had no choice but to leave and explain to the neighbor downstairs that her concerned call for help was nothing more than the couple trying to reconstruct their living room furniture setup, but everyone knew Calvin was beating on her when she’d often threaten to leave him.
He’d always say he loved her, and there was no other man worthy of having her. He believed in his heart and mind that God made her for him, and he was not willing to let her leave out of his life under any circumstances. Though he was abusive, he’d go to hell for her, and he believed she should go with him.
After years of praying, hoping and wishing, Camille was finally free from his hold on her , as the two were involved in a car crash that left her badly injured and her partner pinned in the driver’s seat of a burning wrecked vehicle. As Camille began to struggle out of the car, Calvin grabbed hold of her left wrist, demanding that she die with him, so they can be together in the afterlife. Camille was able to break free and watch her abusive boyfriend burned to ashes in the vehicle.
After telling Darius about her past, she shed one tear as she could still slightly feel the pain from the beatings inflicted by her deceased ex boyfriend. Darius could care less, seeing the time as an opportunity to console her and put his partner into a state where she’d give herself to him.
“Don’t worry, I won’t hurt you.” He said in between kissing and sucking on her quivering bottom lip.
She then proceeded to tell him about every other ex boyfriend that came after the deceased one. All being good guys who accepted her post traumatic stress disorder caused from years of abuse. There were two from New York when she was living there four years ago. Then there was the guy from Baltimore, the older gentleman from Texas, and her best friend turned lover in New Jersey. They all had one thing in common…
“They all went missing.” She confessed, causing Darius to pause in his sexual act on top of her.
It was true, each of them disappeared and was never heard from again. It was unbelievable for Darius, thinking that his partner was just creating stories to get into his head and see if he would be willing to be in a long-term relationship with her.
“I’m not like those guys.” was his most frequently-used response when a woman would speak of her ex-boyfriends. He’d say whatever would stop her from talking.
Camille was familiar with his type, and was more concerned about him than he was for himself. She knew he was barely listening, and was more concerned with sex than her warning.
“I just wouldn’t want you to leave me.” She said, looking to her co-worker as a protective figure. She wanted to believe he would be different from the others.
Darius sat up to look her In the eyes, playing the role of a sincere and caring man…
“Don’t worry, I got you.” He said while holding her hands. “I’m not going to let anybody hurt you, okay?” Darius played his game well, but it wasn’t enough to lift the anchor of concern and fear from Camille’s stomach. Yet still, she laid on her back and allowed her partner to have his way with her.
An hour passed and so to did the loving and compassionate side of Darius, as he pulled out of his partner and walked straight to the bathroom, carrying his cell phone with him. Camille remained on her back, praying that he’d be The One.
Meanwhile, Darius sent text messages to several of his fellow male co-workers whom awaited results from his efforts.
“Pay up tomorrow.” He typed and sent to his buddies before stepping into a hot shower.
Camille had a feeling she never felt before, believing Darius was indeed the one for her. She got out of bed and walked into the bathroom, looking to join her partner under the shower head.
She spent a minute looking at herself in the bathroom mirror, feeling relief and happiness that quickly grew inside of her. She finally had a man that didn’t disappear on her.
The shower water became hotter, causing the stream to fog the mirror. As she continued to look at her reflection through the fog mirror, Camille noticed writing that was made with someone’s finger. It was a message that could only be seen in a steam-filled bathroom.
“I Love You.” It read across the top half of the mirror. Camille believed it to be a message meant for someone else, perhaps written by a previous hotel-room occupant…
But then, there were markings that were being made before her eyes, as no one was there to be doing so, other than her, but Camille, at the time, had both hands covered over her mouth, holding in a frightened gasp from the writing being made on the mirror. The message was complete…
“I Love You… Camille.”
She backed into the corner of the bathroom. The words were as clear as day, and Camille knew who the messenger was. Calvin, even after death, still sought to make sure that no one could have her.
Camille ran toward the running shower and pulled the curtain back, looking forward to feel comfort from the sight of Darius, her new partner, but instead, she was met with nothing but an empty bathtub and a ball of heated shower steam that began to spread around her.
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