Bringing Bill’s father into the story was a tough one. I get asked a lot about why so many of my characters have bad relationships with their fathers. It’s weird, because my father was incredible. He was my best friend and my biggest champion and there is nothing in my life that would be the same without his influence. I miss him so much and I loved him to pieces.
That being said, a lot of Bill’s self doubt comes from Chris. I had to make him evil. I had to make him so unlike Bill that it made Bill’s torment that much worse. He tried and tried to come up with a reason as to why his father was so horrible, and really, there wasn’t one.
The kicker, of course, was the connection to Brittany and to her attack. That was a twist even I didn’t see coming at first.
And then there is Janet.
I struggled with having a woman be the mastermind behind such a vicious attack. I will post more about her soon.
This passage is a flashback to when Julie first found out about the horrors Bill lived through, and it was a chance for us to see the dynamic of Bill and Chris. It was hard to write and tough to read, but it ultimately made Bill and Julie a stronger couple.
(Seven years earlier)
Bill was on his way to pick Julie up for their fancy date when he saw he had missed a call. He was still getting used to his new phone and he checked to make sure it wasn’t Julie. His heart dropped when he heard his fathers voice asking, no, telling him to come by his house. He called Julie and told her he would be a few minutes late and he made his way to the house he hadn’t been back to in three years.
Should he knock or just walk in? He smoothed his suit jacket and knocked on the door. He jumped when the door flung open and he stood facing his father.
“Didn’t know if you’d remember where you came from.”
“What did you want? Is it mom?”
“Come in, if you can spare the time,” his father growled and turned to walk away.
Bill took a deep breath and wiped his brow, opening the door and walking in. He saw the mess the house was in and he felt sick. He made his way into the room his dad was in and stood there. “Is mom okay?”
His father stood facing him and crossed his arms. “She’s lost her mind because of you. She can’t take care of herself and she can’t take care of me.”
“Maybe it’s time you took care of her for once?”
He felt the sting of his father’s hand before he saw it happen. He held his cheek and turned to leave.
“Why? What the hell do you want from me? I have been nothing but a disappointment since I was born and I’m no longer your punching bag. I am a member of the United States Army and I have learned to have respect for myself.” He tried to hold in his tears, feeling like he was once again five years old.
“I’m divorcing her and you will have to make all of the decisions.”
He thought he had heard everything. “You don’t want to help her? You would divorce her instead of being with her?”
“I didn’t marry her to clean up after her. She doesn’t know who I am half the time and I don’t care to deal with it. I still have a life to lead.”
Bill was disgusted and then he narrowed his glance. “Is there someone else?”
His dad paled and Bill laughed. “Nice. You’re a real piece of work, you know that? Does mom know? Did you even try to hide it?”
This time Bill was ready. He caught his dad’s hand as it came to his face. “Goodbye, dad.”
“You will be called when it’s time to move her. I’m through. She can be your problem.”
“Whatever, I’m leaving.”
“You know it probably runs in the family. Wait until you start forgetting things,” his dad yelled.
“I will never forget Julie. I will never treat her the way you treat mom.”
“Julie? Is that the name of your whore?”
Bill froze and took a deep breath, “She is the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”
His father chuckled. “You’re still such an idiot.”
Bill turned around and went to leave when his dad shoved him and he fell to the floor, smacking his face against a table. He tasted the blood in his mouth and walked out, never looking back.
He sped away and called Julie. “Hey, I need to cancel, I’m sorry.”
She was worried. “You sound like something is wrong. What happened?”
“I just need to cancel, I’m sorry.”
“You can cancel our dinner, but you need to come and pick me up so I can help you. If you don’t, I will go out in my fancy dress and walk to find you and that would be a bad idea.”
He smiled despite his anger and sighed. “Okay. I’ll be there in a minute.”
“Good choice,” she said and hung up, making her way out of the dorm to meet him. She held her long dress in her hands and saw him pull up. She made her way to the car and he got out, walking to her.
“Bill? You’re bleeding? What the hell happened?” She took a tissue out of her purse and held it to his lip. “Baby your cheek is red. Did you get into a fight?” She knew that wasn’t the case, he never hit anyone.
“I’m fine. I would just like to go home and forget everything today. Can we please just reschedule?” He was trying not to fall apart, but it was getting extremely hard.
Julie wiped his face and shook her head. “Take me to your apartment. I’m not leaving you until I know you’re okay. Please; I love you.”
“I love you, too, please believe that,” he said, his voice breaking.
“I do, always,” she said softly. “Come on, let’s go.”
He nodded and they drove to his place in silence. When they got there, he went and changed while she got some ice. He came out in an Army t-shirt and sweat pants, his lip swollen. She motioned for him to sit down on the couch with her.
“I love you, and that’s not something that will ever change. You don’t have to talk to me, or tell me what happened, but if we have any hope of making it, you need to believe you’re worth it. I’m not leaving and I won’t be scared away. You can talk to me,” she gently wiped his face.
“I went to see my dad and he was angry.”
She felt sick. “Baby your dad did this? He hit you?”
He put his head in his hands. “Jules, please, I just need to be alone.”
She shook her head and pulled him to her. “No you don’t. You’ve been alone too long; I think it’s time you let someone take care of you.”
He turned and pulled her into his arms, crying into her shoulder and feeling like maybe she was right, but his heart broke for his mom and in a strange way, for his dad. He sat up and wiped his face, looking at her.
“I’m sorry,” he said.
She snuggled against him. “You have nothing to be sorry for. I’m not always easy to deal with, so the fact that you tolerate my pushiness is kind of remarkable.” She rubbed his chest. “You don’t have to talk or be anything you don’t want to be. I just want to be here with you, okay?”
He looked at her and wondered how he could feel such love for another person. “It’s more than okay, and you aren’t hard to deal with or pushy, you’re my everything.”
They sat in silence and held each other.