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You Know I Need You by Willow Winters

 

Overview: I married the bad boy from Brooklyn.

The one with the tattoos and the look in his eyes that told me he was bad news.
The look that comes with all sorts of warnings.

I knew what I was doing.
I knew by the way he put his hands on me; how he owned me with his forceful touch.

I couldn’t say no to him, not that I wanted to. That was then, and it seems like forever ago.

Years later, I’ve grown up and moved on. But he’s still the man I married. Dangerous in ways I don’t like to think about.
I did this to myself. I knew better than to fall for him.


I only wish love was enough to fix this…

 

You Know I Need You by Willow Winters Book Chapter One

 

It’s not every day you read in the papers about your husband going to jail. That’s one way to find out, I guess.

My heels click steadily on the sidewalk as I make my way to the end of the block; just a little farther until I’m home. The plastic bags from the grocery store on the corner dig into my arm, the grooves getting redder with every few steps.

It hurt after a few blocks, but I didn’t care. Now I’m just numb to it. I focus on the front door to my townhouse the second it comes into view. Jail. Evan is in jail and the vise squeezed tight around my heart has been unrelenting since I read the article at the corner store.

It doesn’t take long before my gaze is drawn from my building to a figure waiting for me.

Standing in front of the building with her arms crossed over her chest, is a cop. She’s dressed in dark navy pants and a matching jacket that’s not quite baggy enough to hide her curves. She’s short, with her blond hair pulled back into a low bun and covered with a cap. My pace slows as I spot her, and I want to break down all over again.

If only I’d stayed holed up in the apartment and didn’t have to eat. The thought is bitter as I walk forward. Each step hurts more and more.

I must still love Evan, because knowing he’s in trouble twists me up inside.

It was the sign I was looking for, though. The one that drove the nail in the coffin to my marriage. It’s really over. He’s only in holding, so there’s no way for me to get him out of this, but if there was, I’d bail him out and hand over divorce papers the moment we were out of the precinct.

“Mrs. Thompson,” the cop says as I traipse up the stone steps.

“Hello,” I respond awkwardly, not wanting to look her in the eyes as shame creeps up and makes the cold air feel even colder.

“I’m Detective Nicoli,” the woman says and I nod my head, feeling the pinch from the grocery bags digging even deeper into my forearms as I shift on my feet.

“How can I help you, Detective?” I force myself to straighten my shoulders, pretending I have no idea why she’s here.

“Could I come in?” she asks me as if I’d let her.

“I’d rather not,” I answer, my voice a bit harsh. I struggle with the bags slightly, hearing them crinkle as I let out a low sigh. “It’s been a long few days and I don’t want company.”

“The bags under your eyes could have told me that,” she says with no sympathy in her tone.

I huff out a humorless laugh and tell her thanks, the S lingering, intending to walk right by her and into the townhouse, but then she adds, “I’m sorry for what you’re going through.”

With that, I hesitate.

I stand there, taking the sympathy. More than that, I need it. Tears burn my eyes as I look back at her. “What do you want?”

“It might be better for you if I could come in,” she suggests, looking pointedly at the bags on my arms.

I shake my head. That’s not happening.

The charge will be murder if the papers are telling the truth.

I’m not interested in hearing from anyone other than my husband. He hasn’t been formally charged yet, but for it to be in the papers, there’s a fifty-fifty chance they have enough to arrest him as far as I can tell, and I’ll be damned if I let her inside, and … More shame consumes me at the thought of making sure I don’t give them any evidence that could help convict him. As if he really did it. There’s no way he did. My husband’s not a murderer.

“Ask me whatever you’d like, Detective, but make it quick.”

“I know you two are getting a divorce,” she says and the article from two days ago flashes in my memory. “I’m sure you’ve heard he’s going to be charged with murder, given your position in the social circles around here.”

A deep inhale of the frigid fall air chills my lungs to the point that it’s painful. The article was all about how Evan lost his job, his wife, and now he’s about to be charged with murder. My heart thuds dully just the same it did when I first read it, as if it’s lifeless.

“I wanted to know if you had any information that you’d like to give us,” Detective Nicoli says and I shake my head, not trusting myself to speak.

“Look, I know this is hard, but anything at all you can give us would be appreciated.”

I stare straight into her eyes and I hope she feels all the hatred in my gaze. He’s not a murderer. I don’t care what they think.

“I don’t have anything I’d like to tell you other than that these bags are heavy.”

The detective frowns. “If we have to get a warrant and search your place, it’s not going to be pleasant for you.” She softens her voice and adds, “I’m just trying to spare you that.”

I’m not stupid and her good cop routine isn’t going to work on me.

I’ve had to talk to cops before, years ago. I never said a word. I’m sure as hell not going to now.

“Did you know Tony Lewis?” she asks, and I shake my head. Again, not wanting to speak, but she waits for me to confirm it out loud. The pen in her hand is pressed to the pad as she stands there expectantly.

“Never met him.”

“Do you know where your husband would go to acquire cocaine?”

My expression turns hard as I tell her, “My husband doesn’t do coke.” Any more almost slips out. He’s done it before. He’s done a lot of shit that I’m ashamed of, but that was before me. Before us. For a moment, I question it. Just one small moment. But then it passes as quickly as it came.

Detective Nicoli smirks and flips the page over in her notepad then says, “We’ll have the warrant for a sample from him soon.”

Absently my hand drifts to my stomach to where our baby is growing, as if protecting this little one will protect Evan, but I’m quick to pull it back as one of the heavier bags slips forward on my arm.

She doesn’t need to know, but I want to tell her. I want to tell the whole world that the Evan I know could never do what they’re saying. But I don’t tell her a damn thing and I’ve given her enough of my time.

“Good for you,” I tell her and walk past her. I shove the key into the lock and turn it, but before I can open the door, the cop leans against it and waits for me to look at her.

“Please move out of my way,” I say as I seethe, my anger coming through. Anger at Evan, anger at her.

“Someone’s going down for Tony Lewis’s death.”

“Someone should, but my husband is not a murderer,” I snap. I grip the door handle tightly, feeling the intricate designs in the hard metal press against my skin. It’s freezing and the lack of circulation in my arms hurts. But I can’t let go. I don’t trust myself.

“I have nothing more to say, so I’m going inside,” I tell her, and every word comes out with conviction.

“I’ll leave my card,” she responds after two long seconds of her hazel eyes drilling into the side of my head. She slips a card into one of the bags dangling from my right arm.

I watch her walk away, biting back the comment on the tip of my tongue for her not to bother.

“What a bitch,” I spit out the second I open the door and get inside, then let the bags fall to the floor.

My body feels like ice and my arms and shoulders are killing me. My legs are weak as I lean against the door to shut it and stare absently ahead, my gaze drifting from the empty foyer to the stairs.

I want to cry.

I want to give up.

Mostly I wish I’d been a better wife. I wish I’d kept Evan from whatever the hell he did.

I know him. He didn’t do this. I don’t know what he did, but he didn’t kill anyone.
 

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