Town of Chance: Sweet Caroline(3)

By: Dixie Lynn Dwyer

She exhaled and felt the tears fill her eyes. She was always on edge now. Always shaking, looking over her shoulder or feeling vulnerable, like a potential victim no matter what she did.

She thought about what it took to get here. The lies, the selling off her car, closing her bank accounts, ending her lease early, and paying off the rent. All under the radar. Cameron’s radar. She clenched her teeth. God please don’t let him find me. I need to live a normal life. I don’t want to be scared anymore.

She looked at her cast. She had broken things off with him as she went through the process of selling stuff. She didn’t trust that he wouldn’t find out and try to stop her and follow her. He had been suspicious when he heard she went to a car dealership a few towns away from theirs. Who would have known he had a friend who worked at that dealer? She lied and said the car was acting up too much and she wanted to save for something better and more reliable. He wanted to buy her a car. She refused. That led to an argument about him taking care of her. Really it meant he wanted her to depend on him, even to get to and from work. It gave him an excuse to show up whenever he wanted to and stake his claim that she was his.

That cost her big time. He wouldn’t let up that night. He lost control and made accusations and threats.

Her arm ached just thinking about it. That fight led to him accusing her of cheating on him, which was so insane. He’d done that so often because he wanted her to beg him to believe her. Then he would take from her body. Have his way with her. That night he was even more rough than usual. When he grabbed her arm and pulled it up to restrain her, he broke it. She felt the crack, screamed out, and cried about the pain, but he just continued to do what he wanted.

Tears rolled down her cheeks. She wiped them away and as her vision blurred a moment she saw the tire light come onto the dashboard.

“No. Please let me get to Chance and to Shelby Ann’s house. Please.”

She was shaking as she continued on the highway and knew there was one more exit. Another ten minutes and she would be on the back roads. It would be worse to get a flat tire there. Maybe she should pull over?

Just as she said that, she heard the pop. The steering wheel pulled to the left and she snagged it back to straighten out the wheel as she slowed down and pulled onto the shoulder.

She gripped the wheel after placing the car in park.

“Fudge!” she exclaimed and thought about what she should do. If she called Shelby, she would panic. Caroline came here, left her old life for a new one. Being strong again, accepting life’s challenges, was part of that. She needed to regroup and to reestablish who she was and what she wanted to be. A sniffling, weak damsel in distress she wasn’t going to be. She turned off the engine and hit the button for the trunk to open. As she got out of the car, she saw only a car here and there. She looked at the flat tire and kicked it. “You couldn’t hold out until I was in Chance, could you?”

When she came around the back, she realized that she would have to take out some of her things. She hadn’t taken many personal belongings, which disappointed her. There were antique pieces she loved, and other knickknacks and things, but making a fast exit in the middle of the night was key.

She started pulling out her suitcases and then her favorite comforter in baby blue and a few more things. As she lifted the carpet piece and saw the tire, she started to feel like she wouldn’t be able to do this. Her cast would be a hindrance that was for sure. She was determined to lift up the tire. As she pulled on it, she realized it was pretty damn heavy. Maybe she was just too weak? She had lost a lot of weight. She was thin and petite, so she had to hang over the back of the car and use her body to lift the thing. Then she heard a small whoop, whoop. She gasped and looked over her shoulder, noticing a state trooper pulling up. His lights were flashing and she wanted to run to her car and hide.

Her second thought was that Cameron sent him following her. That he somehow found out where she was and he wanted her back. It hadn’t been enough that she threatened to charge him with assault and rape, even though she would have to go to the state police to file that complaint because Cameron’s family owned the local police.

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