Catch up Chapter 7
It had been a long night. He hadn’t had much sleep in the last forty-eight hours, but Shannon was not going to leave Toni’s side. After speaking with the nurse last night Shannon went into Toni’s room to find her at last sleeping peacefully. So he asked for a blanket and laid himself on the floor next to her bed. He was awaken by the sound of a flushing toilet and when he got to his feet he could really see for the first time what condition Toni was really in. It seemed as if she was black and blue from head to toe.
Where had all those bruises come from and why hadn’t he noticed them before? Then he remembered that when Toni arrived at his house the previous morning she had been covered up from head to toe. Come to think of it Shannon couldn’t remember not seeing her dressed in this manner since they’d left school. If he remembered correctly he had made a joke of it when she first started to dress like that. It seemed odd at first because Toni had a great body and liked showing it off. Everything she wore when she was in school gave you a sneak peek at some part of her. It even became a game among her friends to guess what area she would reveal next.
Shannon helped Toni get back in bed, then he made himself comfortable at her feet. It was obvious that Toni had been in a battle for her life and had nearly lost. Shannon’s only concern was that she knew that he was there for her.
They sat there looking at each other for a while before either one of them spoke. He sensed that she was trying hard to gather her strength so that she could explain what was going on, but when Toni told Shannon her story it left him paralyzed. To learn that the reason Toni was in this condition had nothing to do with being mugged, for which Shannon previously thought, but because of three years of abuse at the hands of her husband, Keenan.
Toni and Keenan met during her last semester of graduate school at Northern Illinois University. Until that time Toni had rarely let her attention be turned from her course work, but this time she felt the distraction was worth it.
After a six-month courtship filled with nothing but happiness and non-stop lovemaking, Toni became pregnant. Toni and Keenan were married and seven months later Shannon’s godson Dustin was born. But instead of that being the happiest time in her life, as Keenan had promised, Toni found herself living in hell.
It all started when Dustin had only been home about a month. Toni had taking time off school to have her baby and was now doing some work on her thesis before classes started again, when Dustin began to cry. Just as she was getting up to see about him Keenan came out of the bedroom screaming at the top of his lungs that “she better shut that damn brat up or she’d regret it”. Totally stunned by Keenan’s behavior Toni could only stand there in shock. But before she could grasp what had just happened, Keenan charged, knocking her on the floor and that was the beginning of the abuse that she’d been living with.
She had wanted to tell Shannon about this and had come close on many occasions but Keenan had threatened to take Dustin away from her if she told anyone. But after the night she’d had, Shannon was the only person she could think of to help her.
Earlier that day Toni had found out she was pregnant again and that scared the hell out of her. She had no idea how Keenan would handle it. There was no way for her to foresee all that would happen to her after she told him.
Before Toni could get the news all the way out, Keenan punched her in the lip. He began screaming how could she have been so stupid? What would make her think that he wanted to have another brat, especially with her? Keenan must have beat her until she’d passed out, because when she woke up there was an intense pain in her abdomen, blood was all over the floor and Keenan and Dustin were gone.
She lay on the floor calling for Dustin until it dawned on her where the blood was coming from. It didn’t take much effort for her to locate the bloody hanger Keenan had used in his attempt to abort their child.
She must have passed out again because when she woke up this time it was the next morning. It had taking all the strength she had to call a cab and go to the one place she knew she would be safe, Shannon’s.
Toni was totally drained and upset when she finished that Shannon called for the nurse to give her something so that she could rest. Once Shannon was sure that Toni was asleep he realized that he needed to find a place to himself. Where he could go and let all that he’d been told set in. The nurse suggested that he should go to the chapel to get his head together, but she also suggested that he go to the cafeteria first to get himself something to eat.
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