We had just got engaged when I discovered Steven was cheating, so I confronted my rat. Big mistake. By Nikki Calder, 23

My heart was hammering in my chest as I walked into the kitchen and stood in front of my boyfriend, Steven. 

We’d only been together for a little over a year and I was worried about how he was going to react to what I was about to say.

I turned to him and said: ‘Stephen… I’m pregnant.’

I searched for a clue in his eyes, something to gauge his reaction. We certainly hadn’t been planning a baby.

But I needn’t have worried. Slowly, the shock subsided and a smile grew from his lips. ‘I don’t know whether to laugh or cry,’ he chuckled. ‘Blimey, what are we going to do?’

The pair of us were living at my mum’s house - hardly the place to start a family of our own. But I was just relieved that he was as happy as I was.

I’d considered an abortion at first but I knew in my heart of hearts I could never go through with it. Now Steven and I were going to be a family.

I was just out of school when I met Steven through mutual friends. 12 years older than me, Steven was so much more mature than the boys my age and I quickly fell for him.

I knew my parents wouldn’t approve of the age gap and his ‘bad boy’ reputation so I hid our relationship from them at first.

He was quite a sight back then. Skin head, tattoos and dressed in leather from head to toe. I didn’t think my parents were quite ready for me to bring him home!

But I knew they’d learn to love Steven as much as I did and, in time, he became a regular fixture at our house.

I couldn’t wait to be a family and when our daughter, Beau, was born in 2011 we’d never been happier.

In August that year, Steven and I got our first place together and when he proposed it was the icing on the cake.

‘Will you marry me?’ he came out with it, one day in our bedroom. It wasn’t the most romantic proposal in the world but that was Steven’s way and I knew it meant a lot to him.

There was barely room to swing a cat in our tiny, cramped flat - but it was ours. And with Steven and Beau, I had all I needed.

But after Beau was born, things changed. I knew becoming parents would be tough but Steven became argumentative and started staying out later.

It didn’t make sense - we’d never rowed before. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I just had a feeling in my stomach that something was wrong.

Then I received a message on Facebook from a girl I barely knew, claiming that Steven was cheating on me.

A nervous knot tightened in my stomach as I scrolled through her message but when I asked Steven about it, he simply denied it.

But a few days later, there was a knock at the door.

‘Is Steven in?’ the young girl on the doorstep asked. ‘I’ve got his keys from when he was round the other night. I’m Louise, by the way.’

I didn’t have time to react before Stephen stumbled through the front gate. He looked like he’d seen a ghost.

He convinced me she was lying and that it was all a mix-up but I couldn’t shake the niggling doubt that something was wrong. Why would she lie?

It didn’t stack up. Soon, my suspicions got the better of me and I decided to turn detective, logging into Steven’s Facebook account.

It didn’t take me long to find what I was looking for.

Anger rose inside me as I clicked into a message from a girl called Holly, thanking Steven for a 'sexcellent night' and making plans for their next date. Rat.

When I confronted Steven, he blamed it all on Holly.

He insisted: ‘She’s obsessed with me. I don’t know what she’s on about, she keeps bombarding me with messages.’

My mind raced. I didn’t know who to believe. Steven and I were engaged to be married, he was the father of my beautiful little girl - but why would these girls be lying?

So a few weeks later, I took my opportunity. After a few drinks, Steven had fallen asleep on the sofa and left his phone unattended by the side of the bed.

I picked it up and clicked it on, taking a deep breath as the screen flashed into life. Quickly, I found hundreds of messages from a familiar name… Holly.

I felt sick as I pored over their sexy messages. It was obvious what they’d been up to, and this time there were messages from him to her as well.

I stormed into the next room and stood over the sofa as I confronted him.

‘You’re a liar!’ I cried, waking him up. ‘You have been cheating on me. I’ve seen all these texts,’ I went on, thrusting his phone at him.

There was no way he could worm out of it this time. I was expecting Steven to beg for forgiveness - instead, he was cold as ice.

I wanted to throw the phone at him, but I didn’t have the guts so I threw it at the TV instead. But when I saw Steven’s eyes darken and his face become twisted with anger, I immediately regretted it.

I fled to the kitchen and, panicking, picked up a knife and fork from the cutlery drawer. I screamed: ‘Stay away from me!’

But it didn’t stop Steven. He lunged at me and before I knew it, he’d hurled me across the kitchen, slamming my head into the fridge.

I winced as he grabbed my hands and pushed me to the floor. I tried, in vain, to kick him back, but I was powerless to stop him.

‘You’re going to get it now,’ he growled, menacingly. ‘You’ve really done it this time. You’ll never see daylight again,’ he went on.

Sobbing, I pleaded with him to stop. ‘I love you Steve,’ I begged. ‘Please, don’t do this.’

I would have said anything, But my pleas fell on deaf ears. and Steven’s onslaught was relentless.

Then he grabbed the biggest knife we owned and held it to my throat. ‘You’re never going to see your daughter again,’ he raged.

My fiance was going to kill me.

The image of beautiful Beau flashed to the forefront of my mind - before everything went black.

As I came round, panic filled my body as I realised that Steven was tightening his grip around my throat.

I must have passed out again, because the next time the room swam back into focus there was blood everywhere… my blood.

I was covered in it and when I looked up, blood was smeared down the fridge too. Grabbing fistfuls of my hair, Steven then held me down as he rained vicious blows on my head.

I braced myself as once again, I passed out. I thought it was the end - but I did come round and when I did, I caught sight of a familiar face - my neighbour.

He must have heard the commotion and broken in.

‘Help!’ I gasped.

I allowed myself the slightest glimmer of hope that I might survive to see my daughter, but Steven just carried on smashing me in the face.

But thankfully my neighbour fought Steven off and when he fled, grabbed a towel to tend to my wounds.

I looked down in horror as I realised Steven hadn’t just been beating me - he’d stabbed me multiple times in the leg.

Steven had ripped my clothes to bits too. It was only my bra that remained intact.

I cried out in pain as I examined the stab marks all down my leg and the hero from next door rang for an ambulance.

As I limped outside, I saw Steven trying to flee from the police. Then, in the ambulance, my phone rang. It was Holly… Steven’s mistress.

She gasped: ‘Oh my God, I just heard what happened. Are you ok?’

I couldn’t believe it. ‘What do you care?’ I blasted. ‘How dare you phone me!’

She explained that Steven had come running to hers after he’d attacked me. I hung up the phone. I’d heard enough.

I learned that the police quickly found Steven and he was arrested just a few minutes later.

Medics treated my injuries and when I was finally discharged from hospital, I returned home to find a letter on my doorstep. It was from Steven.

He’d written a poem to me and Beau. He tried to explain his actions but it was far too little, too late.

He later admitted wounding with intent and in May 2012 he was sentenced to 11 months in jail and issued with a restraining order.

Now, Beau and I have nothing to do with that monster and we’re moving on without him - but I’ll never forget the day I was savagely attacked for revealing my fiance’s affair.

Nikki was devastated when she caught her fiance Stephen cheating, but nothing compared to the pain she felt when he launched his brutal attack. We helped Nikki share her story with the readers of Take a Break, raising awareness of domestic violence with hundreds of thousands of women. If you've caught your man cheating or have perhaps experienced domestic abuse, why not get in touch on 0117 973 3730 to see how our team could help.


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