Just as Julian quietly closed the door to Angel’s room, he was startled by the sound of breaking glass from the kitchen. He murmured a quick prayer and walked slowly in. As he suspected, Annette was there. She was on her knees, crying and sweeping at shattered fragments with bloodied hands. Julian walked softly up to her, making sure he saw her every step of the way. He knelt down to gently pull her hands away.
“It’s okay, Ann,” he said. “Everything’s okay.”
“No,” she sobbed. “It can’t be. You hate me. Angel and you and everyone hate me.”
Julian moved to pull her close, peeking at her hands to make sure the cuts weren’t serious. “Annette, we love you. Both of us. All of us. We love you very much.”
“You can’t!” Annette repeated. “I’m so awful to everyone all the time. I don’t know why.”
“It’s okay, baby. It’s okay.” Julian stroked her hair and let her sob into his shoulder. This was becoming routine and that bothered him. A lot. He struggled to feel something rather than harden his heart to her distress. Every day it was harder. He loved her, of course. But how long could they keep this up?
Suddenly, Julian fell backwards as Annette pushed him away. “Get away from me! Get away!” she shrieked. She ran up the stairs and slammed the bedroom door. A sharp pain ran through Julian’s hand.
He looked down at his palm and carefully extracted a shard of glass. Blood trickled down his wrist. He just watched as it dripped to the floor.