Grace awoke next to her husband, Neander, the man that she had been married to for ten years. It had been a long ten years, she felt like she couldn’t remember half of their life together. There were bits and pieces of their lives that crossed her mind from time to time. While they were dating she felt as though time was going slowly. They met while both working at the local diner. Grace got out of bed and went down stairs to make herself a cup of coffee. Their girls, Harmony, the oldest, and Marie, the youngest, were still in bed asleep. Grace got her coffee, added in more creamer and sugar than the average person, and went outside onto the back porch. She turned on the small t.v. and began to catch up on all her favorite shows. This was her favorite pass time, when she and Neander weren’t taking the children out to activities. The phone did its ding, notifying Grace that she had a message. Grace sighed, great. It’s him again. She had tried to get the guy to understand that she didn’t want to keep talking all the time in messanger, but she didn’t want to be rude. She posted publicly about not talking to other guys in messanger all the time, she stated she was deleting it. She tried to get it through to him that she didn’t feel comfortable about it, about all the talking. The truth was, Grace was very annoyed that he wouldn’t leave her alone, but Jacob either didn’t take hints, or just didn’t care. “Well, this will eat up a chunk of my day.” Grace said to herself as she responded to the message from Jacob. As the day went on, the kids got up, Grace fixed food for the family, did laundry, and watched more of the shows as she folded the clean clothes.
Grace sat, thinking about the good times the family had together; fun zoo trips, playing with the kids, going skating, movie nights when she and her husband were dating, the trip to the natural bridge. They did have good times, but Grace felt drained. She felt like life just stopped for her. There was a loss of feeling loved and loss for feeling love toward caring. She was feeling numb, depressed, and losing the love for life. Trips with her family would pull her out of her negative feelings, it brought a joy to her and lifted her spirit, but once they returned home it was back to the same old routine. Work, make supper, help kids with homework, do laundry, and so on. Grace felt alone, even though she was married. She felt like she was the “live in maid” and half of the time she felt as if she was unwanted.
Jacob continued to contact Grace. She was feeling useful, starting to feel appreciated. Being told that she was making Jacob a better person, he was not cussing near as much because of the effect Grace had on him. He wasn’t feeling near as depressed as he normally did. It made Grace feel good to know she was helping Jacob, so she started pushing aside the feelings of not wanting to talk to him so often. She was finding purpose in life, to be there for others, to help them become better people, starting with Jacob.
As the days carried on, spring arrived, as well as the stomach bug. Grace went to facebook with a prayer request for her family to be over it quickly. This was done shortly after she had made a previous post about not talking to guys in messanger. In the comment section Jacob made a comment saying, “you deserve it.” Grace felt outraged over this. She had been nothing but friendly to Jacob. How could he say something like this to her? Grace’s whole body felt like it was on fire. She felt the blood boiling all the way up to the crown of her head. This was her chance to make it stop. The constant messeging, the disrespect of not caring that she wanted to slow the conversations down a bit. So, she blocked him. As the days went by Grace began to feel guilty for blocking him. Was it the Godly thing to do? “Maybe I shouldn’t have reacted in haste and anger.”Grace thought to herself. The guilt was starting to overwhelm her. She made a trip into the store where he worked to apologize. Grace felt like she was walking in with her tail between her legs, as though she had done something almost unforgivable. She had sent him a message of apology right before entering the store and saw him on his phone, she figured he may have been responding to her. “You really shouldn’t be on your phone while working.” Grace said as she walked through the entrance with her two girls with her. Jacob looked up, suprised to see her walking through the door, and spoke, “you’re probably right.” Grace went on to explain how she didn’t mean to get so angry and just went way overboard with letting her feelings get the better of her. She and the girls hung out for a while, talking and catching up on meaningless chit chat. That night when Grace was home and had her youngest tucked into bed Jacob messaged her again. Grace felt relieved. She felt like she had made things right and could now move on to be a good friend. She lied there with Marie for a long while, waiting for her to finally drop off to sleep, while talking back and forth with Jacob. Grace didn’t know how it happened, but somehow Jacob started talking, in messanger, about feelings for him from Grace. Grace started to feel the heat rise in her body again. She knew they had a lot in common, both joked around a lot. Found the same things funny. He made her laugh with his goofiness. Grace had been asked the same question a few years before by another man, he asked if she could see them together as a couple, if they both were not married. Grace was kind of puzzled by this sudden question. They were just friends at work, and then he asked her something like this? She didn’t want to hurt his feelings, so she responded with a, “sure.” Not really giving it much thought until later. He had responded, “me too.” That was all the farther the conversation went with him. They continued to just be friends, he respected that they were both married and jut seemed to want to know if she felt like they would be compatible for dating, had things been different. Here Grace was again, faced with the same question. Grace gave the answer of yes, she liked him. She was trying to make it known that he was not unlikable and if she was not married she would consider dating him. Besides, nice people deserve a chance at love, so why not? Grace told Jacob she needed to go to bed because she had to be up early for work. He made a joke that she would dream about him that night. Grace responded, “that would be fine except for the fact that I talk in my sleep.” Grace didn’t mean anything by it. She was making a joke about herself because she did talk in her sleep, but Jacob took her innocent joke and fed on it, unknowingly to Grace. The messeges got to be more often than they used to be, and Grace was starting to enjoy talking to Jacob even more. She felt of value, she felt like someone really cared about her. Neander was always in his own world, talking to his friends on messanger, reading his book, and almost always hanging out upstairs in his and Grace’s bedroom. This was how life had become in their marriage, Grace in her world, Neander in his. Grace regretted it, but alot of times when she and Neander were around each other they ended up fighting, or not acting like each other was even in the same room. Screaming and sarcasm was just part of their nature, although they both hated it, it never stopped. Jacob complimented Grace, telling her she was such a good mom and wife, how he would love to have a wife like her one day, she was like a wife out of the leave it to beaver kind of times. Grace was thrown by this. “So, I’m retro? I guess that’s a sweet comment from a good friend.”
Grace and Neander took a trip with the family, it was nice to have a day out, but along with the trip came the messages. Jacob and Grace spoke back and forth. “You have beautiful eyes, those are my favorite part of you.” Jacob told Grace. Grace was feeling excited, she was being noticed. Grace looked over at Neander, “what is your favorite thing about me?” She asked, trying to build a lost connection. She needed to hear this from her husband. She was feeling so vulnerable. There was so much distance between her and Neander, but she wasn’t ready to throw the marriage away. Grace had told this to Jacob on the many occasions that he tried to get Grace to leave her husband. She believed that married meant something, but she was feeling so abandoned right now. No matter how she tried to fight for the marriage, she felt like it was crumbling and she felt like maybe she was with the wrong person. Maybe Neander was with the wrong person too, they both were making each other miserable. “Why can’t he just see me as someone other than a maid? See that I have feelings and need to feel love, that I am drowning here, and feel like I can’t take much more. I need someone to help me, i hate myself, I hate this life I’m forced to live, and there is a person that loves me and wants to be with me, yet here I am, stuck, married to someone else, who feels as stuck as I do.” These were the thoughts going through Grace’s head lately, now the Jacob kept pushing her by saying God didn’t want her in the marriage, that God wanted them together and they were made for each other. At first Neander couldn’t give an answer to Grace about what he liked best about her. He finally came up with that he liked her back. “My back?” Grace lit the car up with attitude and in disgust. “All he finds attractive about me is my back?” The thought ran through her mind. She sat, quietly, in the car for a minute, then Neander spoke again, is this about Jacob? “Give me a break! Don’t try to make this about him” Was all Grace could say. She knew it was because Jacob had brought up her eyes, but she didn’t know how to discuss how things had been going down lately. Jacob had been her friend for two years and she felt like she had to protect him. Jacob had been bullied and had so many best friends just up and leave him, and he had no idea why. He had been so hurt from all the betrayal, Grace couldn’t do that to him, even if he had been getting very inappropriate with her a lot lately. She just brushed it off, changed the subject as best she could, and continued with their friendship. She would find herself starting to fall into his conversations talking about their future, if they ever have one. Every once in a while she would shut him down, or just say okay, or tell him what he said was interesting. Grace really didn’t know how to handle the situation. She liked feeling special, she liked helping him to not feel so depressed all the time. So, she figured she could handle it by not dwelling on what was not really happening and just look at it all as a hypothetical situation. There was no way to talk to Neander about what was going on. He wouldn’t understand her, and he wasn’t really there when she spoke to him anyway. She felt like he never really heard anything she said.
One day, Grace stopped in Jacob’s store again because he made her a gift. He asked her if he made her a bracelet, that said queen in German, would wear it. Grace didn’t want to be rude, so she kindly said she probably would. “How will I get it to you?” Jacob asked in messanger. “I can stop by your job and pick it up.” Grace went in, figuring he could just give it to her, but he wanted to place it on her wrist. She felt a little weird about it, and reluctantly put her arm forward and he fastened it on to her wrist. He made himself one as well, it said king, in German, as well. He told her now she was his queen. Here again, Grace just didn’t say anything. It made her uncomfortable, but she was stuck in a feeling of being numb as to what to do, so she did nothing. Grace helped Jacob put some items together for his job and enjoyed talking, laughing, and hanging out with no worries in the world. Grace was having fun, but suddenly a thought went through her head. It scared her, the thought of Jacob shoving her up against the wall trying to have relations with her crossed her mind. Grace got nervous. Why did this thought cross her mind? she wondered. Was it because one of the times she had been in the store before he told her about another guy that worked there was fired for going in the back and doing that with another girl? Why did he tell her that story anyway? Grace freaked out. She didn’t want him trying anything on her like that, so she wrapped things up. “I gotta go!” Grace said quickly. She took off and called it a night for hanging out. It took Jacob no time what so ever to keep communicating. He pressed her with questions to find out why she left so suddenly. She didn’t want to tell him. It was bad. It felt horrible to her and she started having thoughts like, what if he did try something? She liked him, but she didn’t want anything to happen to make it go that direction. Not until Neander would do something again to cause her to leave him once and for all. She thought maybe Neander was actually in love with his best friend. They talked all the time and he shared everything with him, but wouldn’t talk to her about hardly anything. He went to therapy for a while and told her it was none of her business how it went, but told his friend everything. So she thought she had it figured out. He was always angry at her cause he was stuck with her and really wanted to be with him. His friend came out that he was gay after they were married, so she felt that was held against her by Neander, as well as everything else he disliked her for. Grace sent a message to Jacob being brutally honest to his question that she instantly regretted. ” I had a vision of you “f”ing me, ok!?” She didn’t mean for that to come out, but she had been so irritated and consumed with a million feelings, she didn’t know what else to do. So, there it was, the horrible message that he, no doubt, took in a wrong way, that she didn’t even mean the way it came out. It sounded like, game on, to a man who is trying to make a woman his prey.
Grace went through the next couple of weeks in a blur. She continued talking to Jacob, trying to be friends, but getting sucked into his hypothetical future with them together, continued seeking for attention from Neander. Grace noticed she was starting to lose weight. She dropped twenty lbs within a couple of weeks, was beginning to get stressed out.
Later, Grace was at the mall, she ended up hanging out with Jacob, they started looking around in some stores. Jacob grabbed her from behind, wrapping his arms around her. He had asked, multiple times in his messages, if he could hold hands with her and kiss her. She had always told him no. Being married, she wanted their relationship to stay as friends. She would hang out once in a while just to say hi, nothing more. Now he was holding her. Why was he being so demanding? Grace thought to herself. “I should tell him I didn’t invite him to hang out to keep touching me!” She wanted to say it, she knew she should say it, but the words wouldn’t come. Grace just calmly walked away instead, blowing off what he was doing so she wouldn’t seem to be making a big deal out of nothing. “He is really making me uncomfortable and I don’t know what to do or say.” Grace just kept thinking to herself. Jacob and Grace went over to where they sold furniture; sofas, love seats, and recliners. Jacob sat down on a sofa and spoke . “Come sit, let’s try it out.” Grace didn’t want to. She wanted to leave. She was really feeling outraged that he totally went against her decided and plainly stated no as to touching her. Jacob patted beside him on the seat. “Come on, sit.” She finally did, but she sat up against the arm of the sofa, as tightly as she could. He moved in on her as close as he could, caressing her up on her ear, nibbling at it, going all over the side of her. Grace sat there feeling numb and choked up. She couldn’t breathe, she couldn’t move. He had her frozen to the seat. Her mind went blank, she felt it trying to come back, but it would shut down again. He finally stopped, at least she thought he did. Grace stood up, looked straight at him, all she could say was, are you ready to go? Jacob stood up and they started walking toward the escalator. There were beds sitting across from the sofas, Jacob said, “let’s try these out.” Grace looked at him, thinking, “what is wrong with him, why is he being so aggressive with me.” She gave a decided no and they walked away. Jacob had been asking for them to hold hands again. She was constantly saying no to him. He wouldn’t stop, he was so strong willed and didn’t want to take no for an answer. “I just want to stop in one more store.”Jacob told Grace. Grace was now feeling so out of it, she just walked along where ever he went, not knowing how to act anymore. She felt herself becoming very quiet, she felt betrayed, and felt guilty that he had been touching her. They walked into the store and started looking at books. Jacob brought a book over to her and started flipping the pages. Grace looked down at the book and was now fully disgusted. “That’s gross!” Grace said as she slammed the book shut while it was still in his hands. “I just want to give you ideas of things we can do if we are ever together.” Jacob said, acting completely innocent. Grace was dumbfounded. She walked away with her head now doing a full 360 spin. Grace walked back to him again, trying to let him know she was ready to leave. She stood there in the middle of the aisle, no words came out. Jacob leaned over and kissed her on the lips. Grace’s head couldn’t take anymore. She couldn’t move. She wanted to push him off of her, but she couldn’t tell if she did. She couldn’t feel herself. She felt as though her body was a shell and she had left it there, high and dry with some guy forcing himself on her with all the touching he had done and now the kiss. Grace opened her eyes and saw Jacob in front of her. He turned to the side and said, “thank you.” “Thanks for what?!” Grace thought. “I didn’t do anything, I didn’t even okay this. How can you stand there and thank me?” Grace became very quiet with these thoughts running all over her head. On the way out of the mall Jacob stopped in a little store that sold drinks and junk food. “I need a drink, do you want anything?” Jacob asked. “No thanks, I’m good.” Grace responded in a hushed, feeling totally embarrassed tone. Jacob kept on insisting, so Grace finally let him buy her a propel water. They went their own separate ways and parted for the night. Grace pulled into her driveway, she felt like crying. The anger, guilt, and confusion was so overwhelming. She couldn’t even look at Neander when she walked in the house. She curled up in a ball, sitting on the chair outside on the back porch, her head ready to explode