The Snow AngelbyMasterBates13©
This is another Brent and Valerie story, using the same characters from my first submission. I have a number of these planned so I'll mix one in once and a while along with all the other ideas I have. As always I apologize for any grammatical errors up front and urge you to practice safe sex even though my characters don't. Comments and suggestions are welcomed and I hope anyone who reads the story will enjoy it.
"Look how drunk she is."
"I bet she's still thinking about with that guy she was with."
"Well drink up honey because tonight you'll be getting over him by getting under me."
"Ha, ha, ha," they all laughed.
They were talking about my friend Valerie. I'd be damned if either of these jackasses would be getting anywhere near her tonight. She started working with us a year and a half ago and I'd had a huge crush on her since the day I met her. I certainly wanted her for myself now that she was single again, but she was too good for these guys either way. I glared at them silently, unnoticed and ready to come to her rescue if any of them tried to take advantage of her in her drunken state. At least they were right about one thing, she was absolutely plastered tonight...
Valerie had moved here from the Midwest to take a job with our advertising firm. I'd been there for four years and was managing several of our accounts by the time she joined us. I remember seeing her that first day and being attracted to her instantly. I had known we were hiring a new girl that week but didn't know any more than that. She'd be starting out working for a client handled by someone else so I wasn't told much about her.
At the time I was in an on again, off again relationship with a girl named Heather. I thought there might be a future with her and was planning to work things out between us, but when I saw Valerie that first day I found myself staring in confusion, amazed that one glance at another woman could change so much. She had curly blonde hair that fell just past her shoulders and pretty blue eyes. Her small perky breasts and nicely flared hips gave her body an alluring appeal to my admiring eye. Without a doubt though, it was her beautiful smile that ultimately left me wanting to see and learn more of her.
"Excuse me. Hi, I'm new here. Could you direct me to George Allen's office?" she asked seeing me stood in the doorway to my office. "Oh no you're not him are you? I'm just starting today and I was assigned to his team," she said smiling nervously and looking at the floor when I didn't answer right away.
"No, no, no. I'm Brent," I said offering my hand for the shaking as an excuse to touch her. "George is down that hallway and take a... well tell you what come with me I'll give you the tour."
I guided her around the office barely able to focus on what I was saying. I showed her every place she'd need to know as she laughed at all my lame jokes with a charming smile that made my heart sing. Delivering her a few minutes later to George's office I backed away wanting to spend more time with her and soon.
Over the next few months I tried to make an excuse to see her whenever I could. Heather and I drifted apart for good during that time. I didn't think it was right to lead her on when I had been falling for Valerie since the moment we met. When she called wanting to get back together again I told her I didn't a see a future with her and was ready to move on. She's a sweet girl and will make some guy a great wife one day I'm sure, but I just couldn't be with her anymore with my feelings for Valerie growing stronger by the day.
She remembered me from her first day and would say hello whenever we passed in the hall. Soon we were eating lunch together whenever we ran into each other in the lunchroom. Most days I watched her head in and followed a few minutes later knowing she'd flash that irresistible smile my way and invite me to sit with her. I learned all I could about her and was slowly building up the courage to ask her out. As long as she wasn't on one of my teams, I knew management wouldn't have any problem with us seeing each other.
"Hi Brent," she said smiling at me as I sat down next to her a few days after I had ended things with Heather.
"Hey Val, how's your day going?" I asked politely.
"Great! Though work doesn't have anything to do with it," she admitted. "Frank called last night and we spoke for hours. He said he's sorry for what happened before and he wants to make it up to me. He's moving out here next week and I can't wait to see him again."
"Well... that's... that's certainly good news," I said in a stunned voice. The little she'd said told me about him had been more that enough for me to hate him forever. I knew he had done something to hurt her badly. "Heather and I broke up for good," I heard myself say while trying to forget my plans for romantic dinner alone with Valerie.
"Oh you poor thing. I'm so sorry to hear that," she said reaching her hand across the table to rub my forearm soothingly. "I feel so bad now, I had no idea Brent. You must be heartbroken."
"I'll be ok," I said in a low voice. I was heartbroken all right but it had nothing to do with Heather. I began cursing myself for being such a timid fool and missing my chance with Valerie.
"Brent?" she said shaking my arm. I'd missed what she was saying. "I'll take you out on Friday if you like. Don't worry I'm sure you'll find a new girl soon," she assured me with her pretty smile.
"I'd like that," I said knowing it might be the closest I'd ever get to a date with her.
That Friday she took me to club and got me totally hammered. I'm normally not much of a drinker but that night I threw down whatever she placed in front of me. Before I managed to get too drunk to walk she kept pointing out other women in the bar to me. I wondered how she could be so blind that she couldn't see I was sitting with the only girl I wanted already. By closing time I'd managed to sober up a little anyway and thanked her for trying to lift my spirits. How I avoided trying to make a move on her in my drunken state I'll never know. She saw me off in a cab and gave the driver $20 telling him to make sure I at least made it into my building before he drove off.
The following week Frank arrived and suddenly I was seeing less and less of her around the office. She stopped flashing me that wonderful smile when we passed in the hallway and didn't talk to me unless I spoke to her first. I was sure I must have done something inappropriate that night she took me out and left her alone since it was obvious she wanted nothing to do with me anymore. She'd never be just another girl around the office to me, though I slowly started to accept the fact that we might never be close again. I still savored the rare sight of her warm smile whenever I caught her sharing it someone else and I never managed to get over her completely. A couple of months after our Friday on the town the company president called Valerie, George, and I into his office.
"I called you all in here because we need to make a change," he said in his brusque voice. Earl was a great boss to work for but he always tried to come across as a hard ass. "That project we had Valerie working on is winding down so she'll need something new starting next week."
"I don't have much else for her to do right now Earl," said George knowing Earl liked nothing more to yell at you for perceived stupidity.
"I know that Allen!" growled Earl. "That's why I brought Brent to our little meeting. He's already swamped with some of the campaigns he's working on and he'll be losing Sharon to maternity leave in a few weeks. I'm switching Valerie to his team."
"Well she's already worked with George for a while and knows his style, maybe we should switch someone else?" I said stoking the fires.
"I like that idea Brent, but who could I send you instead," said George picking up on my lead as he pretended to ponder the change.
"I said Valerie is switching! Anyone have a problem with that?" he asked daring us to speak. "Good now get out!" he said when no one said anything in the next few seconds.
George and I started laughing hysterically as soon as we left the office. We'd both been there long enough to know what Earl was like and loved nothing more than to trigger his harmless wraith. Looking at Valerie's scared expression only made us laugh harder still. I would have been devastated if I thought there was still a chance for romance with Valerie, knowing that the switch to my team meant Earl wouldn't approve of us dating. As it was there was nothing to do but try and clear the air between us and get back to work. I told George I had some things to go over with Valerie before next week if possible and he sent her with me right away.
"Have a seat," I said looking through a folder that had been placed on my desk while I was gone. I glanced up and smiled, but she turned away. "Whatever I did that night you took me out I apologize Valerie," I said closing the door and sitting down again. "Really I'm sorry for whatever it was, but I was so drunk I can't remember what happened. If we're going to work together then we need to get past it. If it's not something we can work through then I'll tell Earl to find somewhere else for you."
"You didn't do anything," she said still afraid to make eye contact with me.
"Well then what happened? You used to smile every time we passed in the hall," I said trying to get whatever it was out in the open. The way she had been acting since that night made me scared to think about what I might have done. "Now you look away when we pass or when I come to the lunchroom."
"It's nothing you did," she said, giving me a look that said don't ask anymore.
"Damn it Valerie! How are you supposed to work for me if you can barely look at me? Just tell me what happened and I swear I'll make it up to you," I said hoping it was possible to make amends for whatever had happened that night. "I can go to Earl but he's going to ask why we can't work together. He won't reorganize the office just because someone doesn't like a coworker. If you won't tell me that's fine but you can be sure he'll want to hear the whole story." It was only half true. Over time he'd come to trust my judgment so if I told him she had to be moved he'd grumble about it for a while, then do it.
"Brent I can't... please just let it go..." she said looking at the floor. I had to know. I'd been falling head over heels in love with this girl and part of me needed to know what had destroyed my chances.
"Forget it then. C'mon we'll go to Earl's office and you can tell him," I said my voice getting angry in frustration now. I could see she was close to saying something.
"When Frank got here I told him all about work," she said in whisper. "I told him about the first big campaign I helped with and the companies I was working with and you. When I was finished he kept asking questions about you... over and over... the same questions..." her voiced trailed off and she looked terrified.
"What happened Valerie?" I asked with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. There was no way our innocent friendship should have caused this kind of pain. "Did he hit you?" I asked afraid to hear the answer, she shook her head with unshed tears in her eyes. "Has he hit you before?" I asked and she looked away. That son of a bitch! I knew there had been some big problems between them in the past and assumed he had probably cheated on her, never imagining it could be so much worse.
I did what I could to make the situation better for her. There was no way she could hide me being her immediate boss from him so I went to Earl and told him she couldn't work for me. He made the change no questions asked. I tried to tell her she deserved so much better but it was like she was brainwashed. Pleading with her to get away from him did no good. She was convinced she could make things work with him and said crazy things like, 'He doesn't get mad unless I make him' and 'He can be nice when he's not drinking.' I'd heard of battered women syndrome before but I never realized the kind of power and control these cowards hold over their victims until experiencing it first hand. For half a year I'd wanted her all to myself, now I'd be happy to see her with anyone but this monster.
I worried about her constantly. I couldn't believe a man lucky enough to be with a wonderful woman like Valerie could treat her so badly. There wasn't much else I could do, I knew going to the police would be useless she was willing to press charges and feared it might make things worse if anything. As far as I knew he hadn't been physically abusive towards her since moving out here but I thought about her being alone with him all the time. For the next few months I found myself staring at her everyday for signs that something had happened and was relived that I never saw any. Over time I started to relax a little and she slowly warmed up to me again.
Things were almost normal again until two months ago. We had a major server crash on a Wednesday morning and lost most the presentation we'd prepared for a major client. Even the most resent backups only had about half of what we needed. It was all hands on deck that week as Earl had the whole office working until midnight. During the day we still had our other clients to deal with so we had to stay late to make sure the presentation was ready for Monday morning when they would be flying into meet with the team. We managed to finish up late Friday night and everyone left the office together in high spirits. Frank was there to pick her up and when she saw him she broke off her laugh snatching her hand from my arm as we spoke her eyes filling with fear. My heart was in my throat as I watched her climb into the car with him and speed off. I had gotten a good look at his face and didn't like what I saw one bit.
I fell into a fitful sleep that night worried he would hit her again, or worse, for seeing her with me. I felt helpless and wanted to call her to see if she was safe so bad, but knew it would only enrage him further. It was nearly three in the morning when my phone rang and I answered groggily. At first I was convinced what I was hearing was just a bad dream but I quickly realized it was all too real.
"Brent," she whimpered on the other end of the phone. "I'm so sorry to wake you... b-b-but I didn't... I... I... didn't know who else to call..." she said her voice breaking into choking sobs.
"Where are you?" I asked bolting wide-awake.
I raced to the all night diner she was at and rushed inside looking for her. The place was practically deserted at this hour so my eyes quickly found her sitting at a booth alone in the back. I walked towards her slowly not knowing what to expect and fearing the worst. I touched her lightly on the shoulder as I passed and pulled back when she cringed away fearfully.
"Oh Valerie..." I said in a quivering voice as I sat down across from her and saw her face.
She turned away brushing the tears from her cheeks with a tattered tissue but she couldn't hide what he had done to her. Her lip was split and still bleeding on the left side. Her eye was swollen and already an angry purple color. I wasn't a violent person, but in that moment I wanted nothing more than to do to him what he had done to her ten fold. A thousand angry thoughts were running through my mind but she needed comfort, not more rage right now.
"So how do I look?" she said in a laugh that turned into a gut-wrenching sob.
"It's ok Valerie you're safe now," I said touching her hand from across the table. She began crying so I moved to her side and hugged her close. I felt my own eyes fill with tears as I held her trembling body. He had hit her for the last time I vowed, ready to do whatever it took to keep her safe from him.
We stayed at the diner until morning and she told me the whole story. Frank and her had started dating in college and at first everything was great. Over time he slowly became more controlling and suspicious. He'd make comments about her clothes if the tops were cut a little low or when she wore a skirt, by the following summer he'd became angry whenever she wore shorts. He became suspicious if he saw her talking to another man, even if was just a customer she was serving at her part time job. By senior year he was drinking heavily almost everyday and telling her how to dress, even going so far as to destroy her more revealing clothes. She came home late one night after class when her car wouldn't start, but all he wanted to know was who the guy was that had dropped her off. Valerie tired to explain that he was just a guy from her class who had tried to get her car started then offered her a ride when he had no luck. That was the first time he had hit her and things got worse quickly after that. The beatings became more frequent and more violent. She was too scared to leave him and lived in constant fear that the next thing she said might set him off.
"I was so stupid to take him back," she cried into my shoulder. "So stupid... I got what I deserved I guess..."
"Don't talk like that," I said cutting her off. I still couldn't believe what he had done to her. The physical wounds would heal in time, but inside I wasn't sure she'd ever be the same again. "Shhhh... it's ok," I whispered. "He'll never hurt you again I promise."
I knew she hadn't slept yet so when we left I took her straight to the local women's shelter. She had wanted to check into a motel, but I insisted on taking her where I knew she would get the help she needed. The lady there gave me an awful look as I brought her in and I realized she thought I was the one who had hit Valerie. It made me mad, but to be honest it was the least of my worries at that point.
"It wasn't him," said Valerie with surprising anger in her voice when she noticed the look the woman was giving me.
"I'm so sorry," she said warming to me quickly, "But you'd be surprised how many husbands and boyfriends drop women off here."
"It's ok," I said. "We both just want her to be safe. She needs help and I don't know what to do," I said starting to get choked up.
"You brought her here and that's enough for now," she said trying to comfort us both at once.
I felt a lot better leaving her there when I saw how they reacted to her. They'd helped women in her situation hundreds of times and knew exactly what she needed. I left my phone number with the lady who had greeted us in case Valerie needed anything. I was about to leave when she came out to say goodbye.
"Brent," she said looking away when she saw me studying the left side of her face. I reached out to touch her chin lightly and turned her back towards me. "Thank you so much," she said hugging me, "I should have listened to you. I was so stupid to think he had changed."
"Forget about that," I said holding her close. "You're done with him," I said. It wasn't a question.
She nodded onto my shoulder crying softly. For a long time I held her letting her get just a little more of the pain out. When she finally stopped she let go and pulled back looking at me through red puffy eyes. Leaning up she placed a kiss on my cheek and turned to go inside.
We spoke later that night and I was ecstatic to hear she'd be staying at the shelter for the next week. They'd already taken her to file a police report and apply for a restraining order. At the same time they arranged for an officer to go with her to their apartment to gather her belongings. I told her I'd be happy to help her move and was hoping he wouldn't be there because even with the officer present I wasn't sure if I could control myself. I urged her to call in sick on Monday and promised I'd arrange some time off for her with Earl. I ended up telling him just a small part of what happened, something she was ok with, and he quickly agreed to give her two weeks of paid leave. By the time she came back to work her lip and eye were looking almost normal again.