After 2 hours of holding and talking Tara is calm enough for Sara to dress her. I pull on slacks and a plain black t-shirt. Sara guides Tara out of our bedroom, guiding her with a hand on her back. Tara normally looks regal and she just looks sad. Her eyes downcast like she’s done something wrong. Breaking my heart. How deeply I failed her. But I don’t get the luxury of showing her my own weakness. Not yet.
Sara meets my eyes and shakes her head. Telling me that Tara hasn’t told her what happened. I sit Tara next to my wife and take the chair opposite them. I don’t want Tara to feel trapped or pressure.
Tara sits with her hands on her lap, eyes downcast. Her soft peach dress demure and innocent.
“Tara,” I say, pitching my voice soft, “I apologize for leaving you alone. It was wrong and I will try to never let it happen again.”
Tara looks up at me, shock on her face. Tears spring to her eyes and she rocks as if slapped.
She shakes her head and softly, almost inaudible, whispers, “No. It was my fault. I should have been good. I’ll do better.”
I can feel my heart shattering and the tears spring to my eyes blurring my vision.
“Honey, no. You’ve done nothing wrong. You got scared and hid. I’m sure Fineous fox was a good companion and kept you safe…Can you tell us why you hid,” I ask fighting to keep the sob from my voice.
Tara looks over at Sara who nods ok and Tara takes a deep breath. She looks me in the eye and say “I… I saw you hurting Sara. I saw….. And then I saw my friend Rachel. And I saw Him. He was hurting her and he said that he would keep hurting her unless I was good and come over to him. But,” her sobs punctuating each few words, “I couldn’t because I was scared. He’d cut me earlier and if I came to him I knew he’d cut me again and I couldn’t make myself move and he kept hurting her and she was crying and I couldn’t be a good girl and he hurt her and she was bleeding and he dragged me and locked me in the punishment room. And I heard him drag her to the back and a car door slam and I never saw her.”
Tara is crying in jagged gasps and Sara is holding her. I meet Sara’s gaze and shake my head. Rachel didn’t turn up in our sweep. From what I’m hearing, she’s dead. And this makes me think that there must have been others. There’s no way that douchebag got rid of the body so thoroughly. He was a trust fund idiot. Not a contractor. So he had help. I’ll send Jen, my head of security, a note asking her to do a deep dive into this.
“Honey, I’m sorry. Sara is here and mostly unhurt. I’m sorry I didn’t sit you down and go through that scene. I know we didn’t discuss it and I got carried away. This is entirely my fault for not finding out what might trigger you. I won’t ask you to forgive me. I will do better for us all.”
Tara looks up from Sara. She says, “I don’t want to play.”
Those 5 words tell me that she’s not completely lost. She’s asserting her desires and that eases a tiny bit of the tension.
“Of course,” I reply, “It’s your day. What would you like to do?”
She looks up and says “I want to watch Fantastic Mr. Fox, then Zootopia.”
“Of course, I’ll just put it on and start some dinner. Ok?”
She smiles, still clinging to Sara, tears streaming down her face, “OK.”