Chapter no 15

Never Lie

It takes all my self-restraint to keep from screaming.

I could have accepted that we imagined the light in the window, or that it was some optical illusion. I could even have reluctantly accepted that Judy might have purchased some white bread and bologna for the refrigerator. But that portrait…

Ethan took it down. I saw him take it down. It wasn’t on the wall when we went to bed. And now it is.

Still gripping the scissors, I race up the spiral stairs so fast that I nearly trip and topple down. Thankfully, I regain my balance and make it the rest of the way to the bedroom. I fling open the door to the master bedroom, where Ethan is still sound asleep.

I close the door behind me, looking around for something to wedge under the doorknob. There’s a trunk in the corner of the room that looks sort of heavy. I can shift it over so that it blocks the door. It won’t stop anyone from coming in here, but it will slow them down.

Ethan is stirring in the bed from all the noise I’m making. He rubs his eyes. “Tricia?”

“There’s someone downstairs.” I can’t keep the panic out of my voice. “Somebody in the living room.”

Ethan sits up in bed, his eyes suddenly wide open. “You saw someone down there?”

“Well, no. But I heard a noise.”

He groans. “Christ, Tricia. All this over a noise? It was probably the house settling.”

“It was not the goddamn house settling! It was a crash.” He still doesn’t seem perturbed. “So it was some snow sliding off the roof. I mean, I can think of a million things

that could make a noise like that.” He inhales sharply at the sight of the scissors in my hand. “What the hell are you doing with those?”

“There’s an intruder in the house!”

“Yeah, but…” He rubs his eyes again. “What do you think? That somebody is burglarizing us during a blizzard in the middle of nowhere?”

“Maybe somebody was squatting here. And they’re still here in the house somewhere.”


Of course, that doesn’t explain what I saw downstairs.

The painting was moved. Why would a squatter do that?

“The painting was moved,” I finally say. “That’s how I know somebody was down there.”

“That’s what you’re worried about?” A crease forms between Ethan’s eyebrows. “moved the painting.”

“You did?” It didn’t even occur to me that he would have put the painting back. I guess we agreed that we would fix anything we moved before we left the house. I suppose he must’ve done it when he went down to get me water.

“Tricia, you’re freaking me out.” He reaches for me, his hand landing on my shoulder. “Are you okay?”

Maybe it’s the pregnancy making me paranoid. But I can’t tell him that. “I’m fine. I just… I got scared for a minute.”

“Can you please put down the scissors?”

Obligingly, I allow Ethan to pry the scissors out of my hand and put them on the dresser. When the scissors are safely out of the way, he wraps his arms around me. I rest my head on his right shoulder and feel instantly better. I’m lucky that he’s so level-headed. I tend to get worked up easily over things, so he’s a good balance for me. I’m really lucky to have him.

“Nobody else is in this house but us.” He laces one of his hands into mine. “And even if there were, I would protect you.”

“You promise?”

“I promise.” He squeezes my body close to his. “We’re a team now, you and me. We are always there for each other, no matter what. I’m here for you, Tricia, for the rest of our lives. I promise you that. I’ll never let anything happen to you.”

My heart rate gradually slows. He’s probably right about the crash. There are plenty of things that could’ve made a loud noise. Hell, it could have been the dishes we precariously stacked in the kitchen. Anything could have done it. We looked everywhere and didn’t see another soul in this house.

“I love you,” he says. “I love you too.”

We lie back down together in the bed, his arms still wrapped around me. It occurs to me that right now is the perfect time to tell him about the baby. It’s such a wonderful moment between the two of us. But as I sink deeper into his arms, I feel suddenly exhausted. I don’t have the energy to have that conversation with him right now. All I want is to go to sleep.

And the next thing I know, I’m drifting off.

You'll Also Like