Chapter Three

A few days later, long after she had put Sophie to bed for the night, Ellie sat at her desk in the living room, the computer screen illuminating the dark room in front of her. She stared at it the opened web screen, with her chin resting on her upturned palm and then back down at the desk where the post it with Luke's number sat, pulled angrily from the cork board by the door. Her face had burned with embarrassment when she had first noticed it because it was more than obvious it was her mother that had put it there. It was one thing knowing that she had done something so immature and stupid, but the fact that her mother now knew made her nauseous. She wished she could magically snap her finger, making the whole thing go away or at the very least wipe it from her memory, but that was one thing she couldn't do. The memories of it seemed to invade her thoughts at all times of the day, when she was at work, cooking dinner and worse at night when the flat was dark and quiet. Thoughts of the way he had kissed her, touched her and the things he had done that still made her body quiver in delight… it all plagued her.

She looked down at the post it again and then poised her fingers over the keyboard, in a few quick strokes she typed his name into the search bar and pressed enter. Almost immediately the results appeared on the screen. Links to several football pages were first, news articles about his performance at matches and the scores he had made, then there was another, buried at the very bottom. It was an article from one of those celebrity news sites title dated from September. With a lump in her throat Ellie clicked on the link.

Model Katia Barkov and Footballer Boyfriend Call it Quits

Katia Barkov and her boyfriend Luke Donovan of the Spurs have broken up. Barkov, 23 and Donovan, 25 were together a year and cite both of their busy schedules as the reason for the break up. A source reportedly told CN that the parting was amicable. "They're both very busy people and have been apart for long periods of time due to their schedules. They're on good terms and remain friends."

There was more written, but Ellie didn't care to read it. Her eyes drifted to a picture of the couple taken by some paparazzi at a polo match over the summer. Luke's broad smile made his face completely recognizable beneath his baseball cap and sunglasses. His hands were brought together in mid-clap, but his then girlfriend was on her phone and clearly not paying attention to what was going on in front of her. She looked bored and annoyed, but she was gorgeous in her tweed Chanel jacket, tight jeans and bleached blond hair in perfect curls. It was a stark contrast to the what Ellie was wearing now; a black dance leotard and grey sweatpants with her hair pulled back in a messy bun. She had yet to change since coming home from work and then aside from the wedding, she couldn't remember a day when she had actually put effort into her hair. She was a single parent and had two lines of thought, parenting her daughter and working. That was it.

How on earth could this guy go from a perfectly polished Russian model to a frumpy and sleep deprived mother of one? He had told her over and over again that night how gorgeous she was; whispering it against her lips between kisses, and seductively as he run his hands over the entire expanse of her naked body. She had believed him, but now she realized how foolish and drunk they had both been. She didn't know what he had been thinking in trying to stop her from leaving that morning or even giving her his number. Clearly he just crazy. She was not comparable to this Katia person and Luke must have drank a lot not to realize that. She blamed drinking for her poor decision making too…that and the fact that Luke was the first guy she had let get near her since before Sophie was born.

Four years.

Four long years it had been now. Sometimes the nightmares made it seem like it had been mere days since she had been rid of John though. He had left when she had told him she was pregnant and she hadn't seen or heard from him, save for the surrender of his rights towards his daughter, since. It was better that way, she knew that, but it didn't make those terrible memories hurt any less or the effects of what he had done to her go away. Sudden loud noises still made her shake, her body still throbbed in pain at times in those places he had hit her…

She sat back in the chair and wiped away the tears that came on. The anxiety was coming over her fast and she turned away from the computer and turned on the nearby lamp and picked up the phone, only remembering as she put her finger down to dial that Juliet was still on her honeymoon and not at home. Her friend had encouraged Ellie to call her day or night whenever she had needed to talk and Ellie usually had, but she wouldn't now. She had the number to the hotel in Rome that they were at, but still she wouldn't do that now. She put the phone down and allowed herself to weep. That was what Juliet would tell her to do, cry. "You're not going to let him win, Love. He is the scum of the earth and you are a queen. Cry and throw it all to the wind."

"Right." Ellie said to the dark room. She wiped her eyes with the tips of her fingers. "Right." She was better off alone and this only proved it. Alone she didn't have to think about those awful years with John, she focused solely on Sophie and herself and really, why would any man want her with her past? She turned back to the desk and moved the mouse to close out the internet browser window and then grabbed the post it and ripped it in two before throwing it in the bin.