It was only when I heard Earl shouting from outside did the worry ease.
What the hell is he doing here?
I made my way down the stairs, and stopped halfway down, suddenly aware that an angry Earl never meant anything good. I thought about calling the Sheriff, then remembered that nothing would happen in that department. The least the man would do was drive over and tell Earl to go home. The restraining order meant nothing when pitched against Greene money.
Still, it’s better than nothing.
I tiptoed the rest of the way down, then made for the telephone. Earl continued to hammer at the door. “Open this fucking door, Ashlyn!” he yelled. “Open up or God help me I’ll break it down!”
The phone rang a few times before the deputy picked it up. I quickly told him what was going on, my eyes glued on the front door as Earl began throwing his weight against it.
“Hold tight, Ashlyn, I’ll send someone over right now,” the deputy was saying just as the door flew open and slammed against the wall so hard, the glass broke.
Earl was red in the face, nostrils flared, eyes wide and wild. It took him a few seconds to register that I was only standing a couple of feet away from him, then he came for me.
“You fucking whore!” he yelled. “Who was that guy, huh? Who the fuck were you toting around town?”
Earl grabbed me by the arm, and I forcefully pulled away from him, pushing him back angrily.
“Get the fuck out!” I screamed. “I’m going to put your sorry ass behind bars for this, you son of a bitch!”
Earl tried to grab me again, but I slipped away, running into the living room to put some space between us. I only needed to buy time. The sheriff would be here in five minutes, maybe less, and I had a feeling that with Earl actually inside my house, there wouldn’t be any excuses for not throwing him in a cell.
Earl lunged for me, his fingers wrapping tight around my elbow and pulling me to him. His breath reeked of alcohol and cigarettes, and I wanted to puke from the stench.
“Who is he?” Earl spat. “What, you think you can just walk around with some guy and I wouldn’t know? You think you could cuckold me like that, you fucking bitch?”
“Let go of me!” I screamed, kicking at him, but that only made him angrier.
“How do you think it makes me look, huh?” His voice boomed through the small space. “What do you think people are going to say about me? That I can’t keep my woman in check?”
“I’m not your woman, you fucking asshole!”
“You’ll always be my goddamn woman!” His hand came around quick and hard, my cheek instantly flaring up with the slap. The force of it sent me tumbling over, and I fell to the floor with a gasp. He grabbed my hair, pulled me up, and when I tried to punch him, he slapped me again.
“You’re fucking crazy!” I screamed at him, my mind racing, my head spinning.
This is good. He’s digging his own grave.
But at what cost? My cheek throbbed, and I could feel blood in my mouth from where I must have bitten my lip. There was a slight pain in the back of my head from where he had pulled me by the hair, and my arm was already starting to bruise.
And he wasn’t letting up.
Earl grabbed me by the waist and hurled me onto the couch. Before I could even register what was happening, the weight of him crushed down on me, his mouth inches from my face, the stench of his breath filling my nostrils and making me gag.
“What is it, huh?” he asked, and I could feel something hard press against my thigh. Is he fucking serious?
“Get off!” I tried to push him away, but he pinned my hands down over my head, adjusting himself so that I couldn’t knee him where it hurt.
“You missed the feel of cock inside you?” he hissed. “Is that it, you little whore? Is that what you need? A nice hard cock to make you feel all better?”
I wrestled against his grip, but he was too strong, and the fact that he was drunk only made this worse. There would be no reasoning with him, no self-control of any kind. Right now I was dealing with the raw crap that was my ex-husband.
“I can give you that, you know?” He licked my cheek, and I squirmed against him. “I can make you scream again, just like old times.”
“You never made me scream, you fuck!”