“Babe I’m gonna put you on speaker while I’m cleaning up the bedroom…is that okay?”
“Sure Shelby…like you’re gonna clean something…you know my mom plans to come over this weekend…you need to clean the house Shelby…today.”
Trembling with fear, Shelby’s palms began to perspire, and she could smell her own body odor from under her shirt.
“Okay baby I will…I promise I’ll start right now.”
With the phone on speaker and the volume all of the way up, Shelby placed her ear to the phone, straining to hear something, anything besides her cruel boyfriend.
“Hey, babe do you need me to pick up anything from the store for this weekend?”
“What did I just say, Shelby?”
“Clean the house.”
Shelby was on the edge of starting to cry when she heard the man whispering to Gabriel. A surge of adrenaline hit her bloodstream, and she almost dropped the sweaty phone. The man’s voice could clearly be heard whispering.
“Tell her about the dogs…the dogs…make sure she goes downstairs.”
Gabriel spoke next, his loud voice scared Shelby. Her entire body was shaking, and sweat dripped from her nose on to the dirty bed linen.
“Shelby I put the dogs downstairs last night. There’s a hole in the run and they got out…make sure you check on them.”
Gabriel had amped up his voice for the words, make sure you check on them
Shelby heard the other man’s voice once again, an ugly gruel voice like something from her last nightmare. Something about the man’s voice seemed very familiar, making her think that she either knew him or had met the man at least once before.
“She’s going with you tomorrow night man…don’t forget…say it.”
“Shelby, are you listening?”
Gabriel’s voice was loud and clear, similar to what she expected a drill sergeant must sound like during Basic Training.
She could hardly speak, terrified that her boyfriend would discover her discovery. Thoughts of what he might do to her quickly ran through her mind, and she almost turned the speaker off. Sweat was running down the inside of her nightshirt, and all she could think of was how bad she needed to shower.
“Tomorrow night we’re going to my mom and dads for dinner Shelby. And then on Saturday…are you listening?”
“Saturday she’s coming to the house. Dooonnnntttt forget what I said…do you understand?”
The line clicked dead. Gabriel hung up on Shelby without saying goodbye, something he always did these days. His level of disrespect towards her didn’t have boundaries or a cap, and she didn’t care anymore.
Shelby sat starring at her cell phone, trying to wrap her mind around what had just happened. She didn’t believe that her boyfriend was gay, on the contrary, she knew in her heart that Gabe had another woman or more than one other woman. She had found the indubitable evidence many times, and she no longer believed that he was trying to conceal his affairs in the least little bit. Just one more slap in the face, one more sign that Gabriel had absolutely no respect for her.