Alan switched on his computer with trembling fingers. What would she have written about him this time? He scanned the text quickly, speed reading as best he could, then went back to the beginning to give each new sentence his full attention. The storyline was as obvious as ever but only he could understand the nuances and hidden meanings, only he had been with her when it happened.
He did not understand how she could share their most intimate moments in this way. She had tried to claim that it was not him, but who else could it be? Karen was a good girl, she would not have been with another man as she described. Her feeble attempts to disguise his identity in her story would fool nobody who had known them. She was laying him bare, literally, and he could do nothing about it.
Of course he had tried. The restraining order made it difficult for him to talk to her in person, but he had left messages on her voice mail until she changed her number, comments on line until she had blocked him. Eventually he had confronted her despite the trouble it caused, but to no avail. Once again she would not listen to reason.
Alan dressed carefully, ate his slice of toast and drank his tea as always. Locking the door of his spartan flat he caught the bus into town to report to his probation officer. He had tried to make a formal complaint and been told that he had no grounds. It seemed that she could tell their story without his permission, the unfairness of their respective treatments by the authorities burned.
The officer he normally reported to had been called away and left no notes, so Alan would be required to return the next day. As he left the premises earlier than expected he glanced down the street. Karen would be arriving at the shop soon.
He could walk past at a distance but was forbidden from entering, from watching her as she worked as he once had. He observed the customers come and go, clenching his fists involuntarily as each man went in to ogle his girl. This is what had caused the trouble, this and her laughter when he told her she must resign from her job.
She had tried to claim that he did not own her, that he could trust her. She did not understand that it was not his Karen that he did not trust but those lecherous hounds who went into her workplace again and again. He had heard their lewd comments and attempts at compliments as she scanned their petty purchases. It was not a fit environment for a good girl.
On the day she was to resign Alan had bought her flowers, a bottle of wine with which to celebrate their renewed commitment to each other. And then she had come home and acted shocked that he had expected her to hand in the letter he had told her to write on the previous evening. He had made himself clear, she could not have misunderstood. He had not intended to hit her so hard.
The way she described his virility had surprised him. He knew that he was strong, loyal and caring but the other attributes she gave him showed the depths of her feeling. Alan wondered how long she would continue this charade, how long she would tease him with her words before she once again welcomed him into her arms that they could play out the scenes she described.
He knew now that she loved him, longed for him as he did her. If only she would desist from sharing their story with the rest of the world then they could try again. She wrote of their love yet would no longer allow him to be a part of her life. Her punishing him in this way for his one mistake was all but unbearable.
He could not wait around for long outside the office, hoping to catch a glimpse of her. If observed he would be in trouble yet again. Returning to his flat Alan passed the postman on the stairs. The thick letter that had been delivered was an unwelcome sight; he recognised her lawyer’s franking.
He opened the package carefully and could not quite believe what he read. How could she have taken up with another man when she had so vividly described her passion for Alan? It made no sense, it could not be true.
The letter made clear the altered terms of the restraining order, that he had assumed she had applied to cancel. He was forbidden from interrogating her co-workers, from attempting to find out where she had gone. His probation had another six months to run during which time he was to remain in this town.
Alan sat down and switched on his computer, reading once again the story of their love. She could not write about him in this way if she was with another man, there must be some mistake.
One day he would find her and all would be well. She was a good girl and she loved him. Perhaps these stories were just her way of keeping his memory alive while they suffered the fallout of her foolish willingness to comply with the police and press charges. Time would pass, his probation would end. When they were together again he would put a stop to her writing for good.