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, TRIGGER WARNING: MENTION OF ASSAULT"It's been three years Christine. He isn't in your life and you told me you didn't want him in your life. You told me not to mention his name or show you him ever again."Ruby has been telling me this for weeks now, then again I've been talking about meeting up with Richard for weeks. I don't why I want to meet up with him all of a sudden. He hurt me, tremendously, but I guess that's what a toxic relationship does. It makes you come back to your manipulative significant other. Richard and I were together for five years and those first two years were fine but once he found out I wanted to focus on my career and I was going to try my best to incorporate both, he just switched. He started verbally abusing me and trying to manipulate me into focusing more on him. Two days before our fifth year anniversary, he threatened to get me arrested because I was out with some girlfriends having fun. I wasn't answering his calls because it was too loud in the club for me to hear any small noise. I called it quits when he was getting ready to dial 911. I ran to the bathroom and called my best friend, Ruby, to come and pick me up. After two weeks of not seeing him, he showed up at Ruby's and hit me. Luckily Ruby came in before he could hit me again and managed to tackle him. I called security and they called the police. I was able to get a restraining order and now three years later, I want to see him."Ruby, we're going to be in a secret area since we can't see or talk to each other.""How have to been contacting each other?"I reached into my pocket and showed her the Tracfone I got."Are you serious? Christine, I don't understand why you want to see someone who has given you trauma and has made you scared to leave the house for 7 months."I shrugged. "I don't know either Ruby."The silence between us was broken by Ruby getting a call from her boss. "Duty calls. Call me later and please don't go see him without telling me first."We hugged and I was left alone in my house. I hated being alone because underneath I was still scared for Richard to come in and hurt me. I always had to have someone take me to work and pretty much anywhere. Richard left horrible marks on me, physically and mentally, but I loved him. I really loved him and I even planned to get married to him and start a family.My thoughts were interrupted by a knock on my door. I stood there for a few more knocks and when I went to go open my front door I opened it to Richard. I didn't say anything, I just stood there."Hey, Christine. It's been a few years."He just looked at me and acted like nothing happened. I moved out of the doorway and gestured for him to come in."I know we weren't supposed to see each other yet but I just couldn't wait. I have genuinely missed you."He's talking too kind to me. He has something up his sleeve, doesn't he."Richard. I've missed you, but it comes and goes. Would you like something to drink?""Just water, please. Do you have cameras in here or microphones?"I stopped at my kitchen doors. "What do you mean?""We aren't supposed to be doing this so I figured there would be cameras and microphones to catch me."I giggled. "Nope, nothing here. I was asked but I didn't feel comfortable."I grabbed a glass and got some water for the both of us. This didn't feel real. Every time I looked in Richard's area, I thought I was dreaming. Well, I guess it would be a nightmare but I'm not sure anymore. When I opened the door to him I felt butterflies, and they were good butterflies. Maybe this three-year distance gave us both something to think about."Here you are. So what have you been up to?"He took a quick sip of his water. "Well, I started up a business called Coffee Galore. We have a menu of different types of coffee such as hazelnut, decaf, and so on. I have people in a warehouse who get orders every day and package up whatever coffee the customer wants. Then we deliver it the day or a day after the order comes in. It's been very hard, but it's been worth it."Wow, maybe he's changed. Richard's never really cared for his work."That's amazing! Maybe I'll try and get some of that coffee.""Well, lucky for you I brought some dark roast since I know you love your dark roasted coffee."He reached in his satchel and gave me a bag of dark roasted coffee. I could smell the coffee coming from the bag. It smelled so good, this will definitely be gone in a week."How about you Christine? What have you been up to?"I was a little shocked that he wanted to know that."Well, I've recently been cast in Waitress as Jenna so I've been going to rehearsals. Other than that, I haven't been doing much.""Hopefully, I'll be able to see you perform. I've always loved seeing you on stage and how happy you looked."I was frozen. Did he just say he's always loved seeing me on stage? This isn't Richard, this has to be someone else."Wow, Uhm, thank you, Richard. I'm sure I can try and pull some strings for you to see me perform."We just sat there and smiled before he looked down."Listen Christine. I know what I did to you is wrong. I know I can't go back and change everything I said and did to you. But I've taken these three years to make myself better and I've gone through to see what it was like in your perspective. I was horrible and I've never felt more like trash. I don't expect you to forgive me as you shouldn't but I just wanted to get that off my chest."I smiled a little bit. I don't know if he was telling the truth or not but it felt good to hear him say some of those things."Richard, I don't think I can forgive you but it does feel less heavy in the atmosphere. Thank you for the coffee by the way.""Well, I better get going. Thanks for agreeing to see me. It felt good to see you in person again."I walked Richard out to his car and after I got back in, I felt like I could breathe. It didn't feel wrong seeing him or talking to him but I don't think we could ever get the chance to do this again. After sitting in my thoughts my phone rang."Hey, Ruby. What's up?""Christine, you're going to get in so much trouble."I didn't know what she was talking about."I just saw Richard leave your house. This isn't a secret place. If anyone else saw you and him talk-""Ruby he showed up unexpectedly."It was silent on the other side."Christine, did he touch you?""No, we talked about work and I got some of his new coffee. By the way, if you saw him leave my house, why didn't you just come in?"More silence."Christine, I have to go. Call you later."That was really strange. All I can think about now is how nice it was to talk to Richard. 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