Fighting for Her Honor by Jean Stokes

Chapter One – Kayla Hart

The day I moved to Fort Balerno was the first day I didn't cry.

I’m not an overly emotional person by nature—I can't afford to be, between my job and the way I was raised—but that was before I met Jacob. He had a way of getting into my head and messing with me, even in the beginning.

Moving away will be good for me. I know this while I plan and research the best place to live after my transfer to the hospital that will give me the shortest commute but also access to stores and all the things I need.

My new apartment is small but comfortable—a single bedroom, barely more than a studio that had walls put in, but I fell in love as soon as I saw it. There's a pool and gym for residents, it is close to the park, and best of all, only ten minutes away from the hospital so if I have to, I can walk there.

I just need to get away and take a break from everything. I need to focus on me.

Moving in and unpacking takes the better part of a day. Jacob liked to buy these little figurines that look like creatures from fantasy lands, and even though I moved away to stop being reminded of him, I still love the little figurines. I carefully unwrap all of them, setting them on my mantle, my shelves, and along the back of the tiny kitchen counter. They help me remember the impossibility of things, and how imaginative people can be.

That’s what Jacob was. He's a writer and passionate by nature. Too passionate, sometimes. It would often turn into jealousy, possessiveness—all the things that are tolerable until they're not.

Moving seemed like the best option. Getting away, starting a new life. Jacob has a book deal coming up so he'll be distracted, he won’t have to think about me, and I won’t have to think about him. It’s perfect.

When I’m done unpacking, I sit down on my small couch and just enjoy the peace. No loud keyboard noises , no complaining about plot hole this and character development that. It is quite jarring at first, I can admit that.

But it’s so nice.

I smile. My first shift isn't until tomorrow, and I told myself I would go to the hospital before orientation to get a feel for the layout, but a nap is sounding more and more like a good idea.

The sound of a child's laughter breaks me out of my thoughts. I get up and go to the window, looking down at the complex’s pool, and smile when I see a man, woman, and child lounging in the sun.

There's good energy to this place, I decide. A perfect place for a fresh start.