Noah and Sharlee had been married for a year now, and it was their anniversary. Although they had celebrated their six month anniversary, Sharlee was especially excited about this one. She’d mentioned it to Noah, but he hadn’t seemed very excited. However, that didn’t dampen her enthusiasm. She asked for that evening off from work and raced home after her classes were done for the day. She planned to prepare a special dinner for Noah, and she’d bought him a new watch as a gift.
When she walked into the house, she saw that Noah had left her a note on the kitchen table. It said:
“Sharlee, please put on a pretty dress and meet me at the beach.”
“You look beautiful, Sharlee!”
“I can’t believe that you thought that I didn’t care about our anniversary!”
A few months after their anniversary, Noah and Sharlee were shopping at the grocery store. Sharlee’s family was coming to Bridgeport for a visit, and Sharlee wanted to cook a big family dinner for them.
“Do you think one turkey will be enough? I’ve seen Shawn eat.”
After they returned home, they put away the groceries and Noah helped Sharlee begin preparing the meal. At least he tried to help until Sharlee sent him to watch television. She was laughing because he was more of a hindrance than a help to her in the kitchen. He kept grabbing her and kissing her.
Dinner was nearly ready when her family arrived. When she came through the door, Alissa hugged Sharlee tightly with tears in her eyes. “I’m so happy to see you, Baby. You look beautiful and very happy!”
“Thanks Mom. I am really happy.”
“Noah, stop thinking that! You deserve to be happy just as much as anyone else. I used to feel the same way about myself and Dale, but now I am just happy that we have each other. I take each day as it comes and know that we will be happy together despite whatever happens. It will be the same for you and Sharlee. You have to believe that and just enjoy it!”
Noah smiled and Alissa gave him another hug. She really felt like Noah was her son too and was glad that Sharlee had found someone who loved her as much as Noah did.
Sharlee went back to the kitchen and Alissa and Cara helped her get everything ready. Joy set the table.
Aidan squeezed in between Dale and Noah on the couch. He had become very attached to Noah and looked forward to whenever he had a chance to spend time with him. He’d even asked to get his hair cut in the same style that Noah wore.
Sharlee looked over and smiled wistfully. She was thinking of the time when their own son or daughter would want to be close to Noah too. She’d be so glad when the time was right for them to have their first baby, but that would still be a while.
“This is really good, Babe.”
Everyone assured her that it was delicious. Then Noah started laughing really hard and couldn’t stop. Sharlee knew what he was thinking about and started laughing too.
Shawn asked. “What’s so funny?”
Noah managed to answer. “After we were first married, Sharlee made me some cookies. I took a bite and forced it down. She was looking at my face and then took a bite too. The cookies were awful. She had put in baking soda instead of baking powder and the cookies were salty not sweet!”
Everyone started laughing.
After Sharlee married Noah, Dale had thrown himself into his job. He spent very little time at home. Although he wasn’t aware of it, his confidence as a father had been shaken. He felt that he had driven his oldest child away from home.
During the same time, Alissa had also increased her time at work. While she was away on leave the station had hired a temporary host for her show. He had made it plain to her that he wanted the position permanently and so Alissa had felt that she had to prove herself all over again. As a result, she and Dale were growing apart and the children were also suffering.
“What’s wrong, Kitten?”
“I don’t like it when Mommy and Daddy are mad at each other. They are mad all the time now when they’re home.”
“Mom and Dad both work all of the time, and when they are home they argue.”
The look in Cara’s eyes told Sharlee that it did matter. It mattered a lot.
“Mom, the kids are very unhappy.”
Sharlee breathed a sigh of relief and hugged her mother tightly. Alissa really hoped that she was telling Sharlee the truth. She felt like Dale was slipping away from her. However she had meant the things that she had told Noah. She was going to get her priorities straight again and expected Dale to do the same.
Sharlee talked with Shawn too. He was better at hiding his emotions than Cara, but she knew that he was upset too. She promised Aidan that he could come and spend a few days with them during his summer break.
“What’s wrong, Babe?”
“I’m afraid that my parents might split up.”
The next morning when he awakened, Sharlee was still asleep and Noah remembered his promise from the night before. It had been easily made because he wanted the same thing. He looked at Sharlee as she slept. He loved her so much! He thought to himself, “What can I do today to make my woman happy? What can I do today to make my Sharlee smile!” He asked himself the question that morning and just about every morning after that.
Remi laughed. “No for a change.” She’d had to go constantly before her baby was born. Tonight she and Darion had left the children with a babysitter so that they could have a night out with Noah and Sharlee.
More than twenty minutes passed and Sharlee wasn’t back. Noah checked his watch. Intermission had come and gone. Now the show had resumed. Remi saw him check the time and knew he was thinking of Sharlee.
She told him, “The line was probably long.”
Noah nodded his head in agreement.
The walkway leading back to the concert area had thinned out because people were heading back to their seats. As she went down the passageway, Sharlee felt a hand pressed across her mouth tightly! So hard that her teeth were smashed against her lips, and she tasted blood. She couldn’t even scream.
With his hand pressed so tightly against her mouth, she couldn’t scream and she couldn’t open her mouth to bite him. No! This couldn’t be real! It could not be happening! She knew that her mother must have experienced the same fear when she had been assaulted. There were thousands of people in the stadium including Noah and their friends, but she had never felt so alone.
He said derisively, “No you don’t! I know that move!”
The man pressed Sharlee harder against the wall. So hard that it jarred her teeth. Then she remembered what Noah had taught her to do. When he moved to kiss her, she rammed her forehead against his nose with all of her strength. He lost his grip on her and that was all the time that Sharlee needed. She jerked away and ran down the corridor screaming as loudly as she could.
“Sharlee keep going!”
They both heard the approaching feet at the same time. Others had heard Sharlee’s screams and security ran towards them. The man wrested away from Noah and got to his feet. Noah stood in between the man and Sharlee. The man pulled out a gun.
“Look Buddy, you f ‘d up big time. This will end bad for you. I’m not gonna let you get away with hurting my wife!”
The two security officers had guns drawn.
One of the officers shouted. “Drop your weapon and put your hands up in the air!”
“Sharlee, Baby please stay back!”
The man didn’t drop his weapon. He kept it pointed toward Noah.
A security officer yelled! “Drop it Now!”
They found out that Sharlee would have been the man’s third known victim. He had murdered the other two women that he’d attacked over the past year. He looked like a mild mannered guy. Definitely not someone you’d expect to be a thief or a murderer. She was very quiet when they got back home after leaving the police station. The first thing she did was to strip off every stitch of clothing that she was wearing and throw it in the trash.
Then she went into the bathroom and turned on the shower. Noah walked in the bathroom behind her, and she had the hot water on blistering hot. He pulled her back before she stepped inside.
“I have to clean him off of me.”
Noah was very worried about her. Even though Sharlee hadn’t been raped, she was still not the same. He didn’t know what to say to her. The next morning he called the number on the card that they had been given at the police station. It was the number of a rape counselor. He made an appointment for the therapist to see Sharlee. Sharlee had seen a therapist in the past and so she didn’t argue.
For a while, Sharlee jumped at every sound and hated being alone. Mostly at night, she had flashbacks to the assault. She became very clingy with Noah and was quieter. She felt very guilty. Because of her, Noah had almost been shot. Noah assured Sharlee that he loved her no matter what.
Gradually after several therapy sessions, Sharlee was back to her normal, sunny self. Noah watched as Sharlee danced to a song by a new artist that she had wanted him to hear. He was relieved to have his happy wife back.
The great concert hall was made by Kiddo! You can download it here.