Kate felt a shift in the mood of the house before she heard the screaming.
She rushed downstairs and found her husband lying in a heap on the living room floor, crying out like a tortured soul. He was surrounded by throw pillows and magazines, strewn about, some torn, like confetti for a party no one wanted to attend. Kate tried to maintain her composure. She and Daniel had been married for twelve years; she had seen these episodes before. But still, each one cut her open like a shard of glass.
She did not fear him, that fear had left oh so many years ago. But she was terrified of what he saw. She did not know, and she would never know, but whatever it was that could make her other half act like this was not something she ever wished to meet.
Kate found herself giving a silent thanks that the children were not home. Natalie, 10, and Holden, 8, promised that they understood their father's outbursts, but Kate and Daniel knew how much the episodes terrified them, and it tore Daniel to pieces to see his own flesh and blood stare at him with such fear and horror.
Shaking herself out of her own thoughts, Kate approached Daniel slowly- she needed to be gentle. Carefully, she lowered herself onto the floor next to the shivering mass that was her husband and reached for his hand.
"Daniel," she murmered. "Daniel, it's me, it's Kate, come back to me, okay? Come back, I'm here." She pushed the hair away from his eyes and settled his head into her lap, stroking his face and whispering softly. Daniel shrunk away from her, eyes closed, still shaking. "Daniel, come back, come home..."
Suddenly, his eyes snapped open. "Kate! Oh, Kate, you're here, you're here... Where-?" He lifted his head and glanced around, taking in the chaos. "Oh... oh no, Kate, I'm sorry, oh god, I am-"
Kate cut him off, relieved to have the love of her life back yet again. "No, Daniel, no, we are never sorry. Remember? Do you remember what we said back then? I know it was years and years ago, Daniel, but do you remember? We are never sorry, and I love you, and I'll always be here. Okay? I love you."
Daniel sighed and leaned into his wife's embrace, still a little gone, a little scared. "I love you, Kate," he whispered.
"I know, Daniel. I know."