Characters in the story are based off real people. Names have been changed to protect those individuals.  Situations and events in the story are fictional, although some real events may be included.  Some content may include violence and sexual depictions.  Reader discretion is advised.


It’s another late night at the office, Hardwood & Griffin Law Offices, and Dawn Perry, a paralegal, is stuck researching and typing up a deposition from an earlier case, that settled the day before.  With the strict way her boss runs the office, and seldom approving overtime, Dawn knows that she needs to finish this deposition before the upcoming weekend, but for now she spends her Friday night with the computers.  She looks down at her cell phone, located on the desk next to her, and sees an icon indicating that she has new voicemail.  This kind of discovery surprises her since her phone has been with her all day long, and never vibrated or rang as if someone was calling or leaving her a voice message.  Once she stopped typing halfway through her deposition, Dawn picked up her phone and entered her personal code to listen in on the mysterious voicemail.  As she is waiting for the message to be replayed in her ear, her mind continues to race and rack through her mental contacts to discover who called her.  Before she knew it, the voice message played in her ear and soon answered the mysterious notation.

(Voicemail Message)

“Hello. Good evening, Mrs. Perry.  This is William Georgia, the attorney at law, in Birmingham, Vermont.  We were looking on the internet on resumelaw.com, and came across your qualifications, which met our requirements for becoming a court paralegal.  If you would give us a call back at your earliest convenience, if you are interested, and we can discuss the opportunities that awaits your hire.  I hope you enjoy your weekend, if I don’t hear back from you today.  Bye.”

After hearing this message, which apparently came earlier during the day, shocked Dawn as she doesn’t remember applying for any new position; especially in Vermont. This gave her great pause and made her wonder if her name and contact information was being used for someone’s fraudulent gain, or was this an opportunity that she so much waited for that she can’t believe it’s real.  Looking at her phone again and see that it is about ten minutes to ten at night, and regardless of how her boss may feel about it, she is calling it a night.  Dawn makes her way through the office turning off all the lights, locking the main entrance glass doors and taking the elevator down to the parking garage.  She exits the elevator on the second level, and sees that not many cars are still there as she can see her car all the way at the end of the level, in the very corner.  Releasing a sigh, thinking to herself about that long walk across a practically empty garage, before she starts moving towards her parked car.  Her heels are echoing through the garage with every step, and her eyes staring directly at her car thinking about her kids, dinner and what she will come home too.

Dawn was about ten feet from her car when she heard someone coming up behind her, as if they were running. Once she was able to stop and turn her head around to see who it was, she felt a hard strike across the left side of her face.  This strike to her face caused her to fall forward, dropping her purse, car keys and other legal documents that fluttered under her car.  Her assailant then grabbed her the hair, thinking they had the advantage, and began pulling her up to her feet.  Both of her hands reached for the massive grip of her hair, giving her the painful feel of the roots being pulled out before being slammed up against her car face first.  When the unknown assailant turned her around, by aggressively yanking on her shoulder, Dawn fiercely reached out and gave a hard palm strike to the suspect’s face, surprising him.  Wasting no time for him to recover, Dawn kicks the assailant between the legs as hard as she could with anger and frustration in the strike, causing the suspect to drop to his knees harshly.  The moaning and groaning of the assailant, with both of his hands holding himself, gave Dawn the power and adrenaline to continue her counter-attack.

Quickly she began to calm herself down, slowing down her breathing, while she notices that the suspect isn’t getting up. All she can see is the assailant still on his knees, sitting back on his heels and bent over at the waist, like seeing him in a sitting fetal position.  Dawn released her fight posture and slowly walked towards him, straightening up her hair and fixing her clothes.  She stops within inches of him, staring down at the back of his head, and then squats down in front of him using her hand to lift up his head.  Dawn looks him straight in the eyes and whispers, “The weakness of man must be exposed and reformed, while the strength of the opposite sex rises.” She then use both of her hands, pushing him down to the ground before gathering up her personal belongings and paperwork.  The thought of calling the police for what just happened ran through her mind, but her want and need to get home to her family was more important.  Besides, she figured that the whimpered male learned his lesson, not caring about his current condition and left feeling exonerated.

Several minutes later, she arrived at home by pulling into her driveway next to her husband’s car. Dawn sat in her car for a few extra minutes, after turning the car off, and just pondered on what just happened and the voicemail message she received earlier.  Once her thoughts were gathered and she stepped out of her car, she then noticed that all the lights in the house were turned off, not even the motion light in the front turned on while she approached.  This obviously alarmed her senses, especially after just taking down a man who seemed twice her petite size.  Her house key turned the lock and she then opened the door.  Although no lights in the front of the house are on, she could see that the lights upstairs are on.  The adrenaline started to wear off and made her body feel tired and nearly weak, but enough energy and strength to climb her many steps to the second floor.  Dawn reached the second floor landing, took off her heels, and started walking around in her pantyhose feet on the new plush carpet installed few days ago.

Passing two of the children’s bedroom, she could hear her husband in the hallway bathroom talking to someone. She leans closer to the bathroom door and realized that he was on the phone with someone well after ten o’clock in the evening.  The first impulse was to knock on the door, question her husband about who he was talking too and explain to him what happened.  However, she began to rethink that notion since the marriage between her and Vincent, the husband, was on the way downhill ever since the cheating scandal at his job.  Although no evidence was directly pointed at him for being the one involved in the cheating of students and faculty, his name came up numerous times being one of the coordinators and possibly having an affair.  Dawn stood in the hallway staring at the door allowing her anger to build back up, but was quickly squashed when her son, Richard Wood, came out and called out to her.  Richard’s announcement to his mother made Vincent pause in his conversation and end the phone call immediately.  Just as she goes to pick up her son into her arms, the hallway bathroom door opens.  Vincent steps out and sees the back of Dawn walking their son back to his room, at the end of the hall.

Hearing the bathroom down open, Dawn stops and turns around to face him. Her first words were to advised him that she was taking her son back to bed, and will be in their bed soon enough.  Minutes later, after putting her son to bed, she walks into the master bedroom, where her husband is sitting up reading a novel.  Dawn sits on the edge of the bed, removes her clothes and takes off her pantyhose leaving them on the floor next to her side of the bed.  It wasn’t unusual to not tell each other goodnight and give each other kisses on the lips or cheek before settling in under the sheets.  This was so normal that Vincent didn’t even break his concentration that was so deep into his novel.  In the following morning, Dawn woke up with this massive headache and awesome soreness on her left upper cheek.  She entered her master bathroom to check the mirror, and noticed a red, blue and black bruise in the same spot where she got hit.  Obviously, this alarmed her because, not only would she be faced with questions from her husband, but her kids might get scared and think mom was part of a beating.  Dawn knew that her kids knew that things between her and dad were not great, but never wanted them to feel not loved.

Nervous about the questions that would come at her, she entered the kitchen where Vincent was and first mentioned that she is fine. Vincent turned around from the sink to see what she was talking about, and took a deep breath in when he saw her left face injury.  Of course, she stopped doing what he was doing and approached her to find out what happened.  Reluctantly, she explained the situation to her husband finishing with her not calling the police.  She didn’t expect his reaction to be so concerning that he would gather an ice pack and low-level pain medication for her.  While she sits at the kitchen table holding the ice pack on her face, the house phone rings next to her.  In pure instincts, Dawn picks up the phone and answers to whoever is on the other line.  The morning conversation on the phone was quickly turned to sorrow when she heard that her grandfather, Wilbur Simms, on her mother side, had passed away the previous night.  Even though she wasn’t that close to him, Dawn knew of her grandfather well enough that it did strike sadness in her heart.  Unfortunate news didn’t get any better when she heard that her grandmother, Annette Simms, is having a hard time dealing with his death.

Vincent came back into the kitchen to check up on Dawn when he noticed tears running from her eyes. His first thought was that maybe the pain is so great that it causes her to shed tears, but she squandered that theory when she told him about the news she just received.  The only sympathy he showed to her was placing his hand on top of her free hand on the kitchen table.  Although this would be an awkward time to let him know, Dawn wanted to change the subject to something more positive.

DAWN: On the positive note of today, I am being offered a position, a court paralegal position in Birmingham, Vermont.

VINCENT: What? You want to think about that right now?  We can discuss that later.

DAWN: I don’t want to discuss it later. I want to discuss it now.  I need to give my answer and interest Monday morning.

VINCENT: When did this opportunity come about?

DAWN: The call came in yesterday. Voicemail message left that they saw my resume online.  I know the law firm and they pay pretty well and can give the kids a better life.

VINCENT: A better life? So you just want to pick everything up and move further north, without thinking about our life down here?

DAWN: Our life? What life do we have here?  Except for our kids having friends and other family members here nearby, our life, together, has been non-existent for months now. 

VINCENT: So you think moving away from Pittsburgh will give everyone a better life? We don’t know anyone up there?  Would the kids adjust to the move?  Make new friends?

DAWN: Vincent. I haven’t even spoke to the court staff yet, and I don’t even know if I will even take it, for those reasons.  At the same time we need to think better of our situation and what would be best.

VINCENT: This is something that I don’t think you should be considering right now. You need to think about the kids here.

DAWN: Right now? Think about the kids? Stands up removing the ice pack from her face. You selfish bastard! This has nothing to do with the kids.  For some reason this is about you and your wants and needs.  Isn’t it?

VINCENT: Dawn? Listen to me…

DAWN: I don’t want to hear it Vincent. I’m going back to the bedroom.  No thanks for breakfast.  I’ll manage myself.

Later that same day, Dawn had gone out to do some grocery shopping at a nearby grocery store. On her way home, she started to feel the migraine coming again and remembered that she didn’t take her anxiety medication earlier after her small confrontation with Vincent.  She arrives home and brings in all the bags herself and start wondering where everyone is, since the lights downstairs were left on.  Dawn puts the grocery bags on the kitchen counter and stays quite to see if she could hear anyone moving or walking around.  Hearing no one walking around, she gets curious and begins to walk upstairs to look for her kids in their rooms, which were empty.  However, she noticed that her bedroom door was closed and could see the bedroom light shining through the bottom of the door.  Walking up to the door, she turns the knob and walks in on her husband in mid-stroke on top of another woman in her bed.  This obviously shocks and enrages her to the very soul she has inside her.  Dawn stands there at the bedroom, staring at both her husband and the naked mysterious woman, figuring out the proper reaction to the situation she is facing.

End of Chapter I