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For The Strength of Youth

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Submitted by Steven ODell on 9 July 2007 - 12:52am.

Chapter 3

To say Denise was overwhelmed would be an understatement in the extreme. The flood of emotions that poured upon her was devastating. It was like going over Niagara Falls with less than a beach ball to cling to for support. She was running emotionally. Everything was too much to handle in her present state. How had it come to this? She couldn’t even claim she needed time to think. She didn’t want to think at all. She wanted to shut down, to retract, and to withdraw from everything. The overload was more than she could bear much longer.

When Denise came to the hotel, she walked directly to the staircase and climbed the few floors to her room-a subconscious desire to avoid meeting anyone in the elevator. She unlocked her room and found herself coolly wondering if the window would open and allow her to jump to the pavement below. She never got to try, for the cool and detached nature broke into sudden collapse and she threw herself across the bed, great heaving sobs erupting from her uncontrollably until she felt her heart must break from the strain. This was just what she needed to do. Within moments the pain in her chest had begun to ease, but only time would heal her wounds.

Denise rose and entered the bathroom, some semblance of composure regained. She thought how tired and worn she looked as she spotted her reflection in the mirror. Even now her first instinct was to tidy up and make herself presentable to Ron. That was when all the pieces came together for her. Ron was indeed the center of her life now. He was her focus, her love and her reason for being. She knew he loved her beyond his ability to describe. He had shown her that in so many ways already. She suddenly felt she had abandoned him in his hour of need. She stepped away from the mirror, pulled off her clothes and stepped into the shower again. Pull yourself together, girl. This is now a team effort.”

It was well after dark when Ron returned to the hotel. He wanted to see or speak to no one. Quietly he let himself into their room, not knowing if Denise would even be there, and was pleased to find her soundly sleeping on the bed. Her hair was damp to his gentle touch. Perhaps she had been able to wash away some of the pain.

Ron entered the bathroom and closed the door as silently as possible and proceeded to undress. The moment he stepped into the shower he was flooded with the still fresh memories of the shower he and Denise had shared just that morning. It was too much and Ron was instantly overwhelmed. His knees buckled and he dropped heavily in great heaving sobs beneath the downpour of water. He was then reduced to all fours and crying uncontrollably. If only pain could wash away.

Ron was suddenly aware that the water was being turned off and two soft hands were helping him to his feet. Denise pulled a towel from the rack and placed it around his shoulders. “Come with me,” she begged softly. Without question or resistance he followed her to the bed where she pulled back the covers and gently guided him to lie down. She then went to the other side of the bed and lay down beside him, cuddling close without saying a word. Within moments both were sound asleep and continued so without waking until morning.

The next morning Ron discovered that Denise had been awake for some time, but had not moved for fear of waking him prematurely. She was so beautiful that he still found it hard to believe she was not just a dream that he would eventually and cruelly waken from.

“Denise, I’m sorry I’ve put you through all of this.”

“You have nothing to be sorry about, except maybe a new wife who deserted you when you needed her most. It’s me that should be sorry.”

“I don’t blame you for anything, babe.” She loved when he called her that, as had her father. It made her feel warm and safe, exactly what she needed at this time. This would have been incredibly difficult for anyone to handle gracefully. Who wouldn’t go a bit crazy over it?”

So, I guess we need to forgive ourselves and move on, then. I promise to stick by you regardless of what happens, Ron.”

“I know you will. I love you so much.” He softly stroked her hair and leaned across to gently kiss her lips.

“Any other man would have said I was too much trouble and would have run for the hills.”

“If you recall…we ran for the hills together and it didn’t help.”

Denise laughed briefly and kissed Ron with soft, but focused intent. Her hand traced the contour of his chest and came to rest on his hip. “Show me how much you love me. I need to know I haven’t ruined the magic we had.” She rolled onto her back and Ron moved accordingly to follow her. In short order they both knew the magic was still there.

Denise sighed with satisfaction and smiled broadly. “You haven’t lost your touch, mister. The magic is as strong as ever.”

“You just inspire me to greatness, dear girl.”

“Glad to be of service. Now, I hate to change the subject, but have you decided what you are going to do about the police?”

“I think I need to approach them first, to show I have nothing to hide.” His face quickly took on a more somber tone.

“That’s what I would suggest you do. You did what you had to in order to save my life, that’s all. What other choice did you have?” The intensity of her voice suggested that she was entirely convinced of the truth of the statement.

“I just hope they see it that way.”

“I’m going with you to make sure they do.” She said it with full conviction and he knew with certainty that she meant to convince them if it took every ounce of her will to accomplish the task. Here was the woman he knew and loved--she was back again.

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