Crystal craved physical contact. In the few years since her divorce, she’d had a few short-lived relationships that had left her wanting. She wasn’t lonely; she had surrounded herself with a group of friends who challenged her in every way she could possibly want, but her life was lacking in the simple act of touch. She longed for someone to lean in to, someone whose arms would wrap around her and give her a silent strength to bolster her confidence when it was low. She knew most of her world saw her as confident and self-assured, but she never thought she was good enough. It was an old story, she knew that, but she couldn’t shake the feeling that she would never reach the level of capability that she pretended to have.

Even Dave hadn’t known her inner turmoil. He had thought her to be entirely self-sufficient and so had left her to find someone who needed him. That was part of it anyway, the other part was the fact that they never should have married in the first place, although it had taken Crystal quite a few years to figure that out.

Dave had been twenty-two and Crystal barely twenty when they had wed. It was the typical story, boy meets girl; they fall in love, get married, and live happily ever after.  But no one had told Crystal that happily ever after wasn’t real. She should have known after seeing her parents’ relationship fall apart, but perhaps that was why she had settled down at such a young age, she had wanted a stability that was lacking in her childhood.

But Dave hadn’t been right for her, any more than she had been right for him. She had wanted someone to protect her from herself; he wanted to protect her from the world.


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