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God…please let him be late. Traffic? Boss needed help? Hell, at this point I would even pray for his shoe being untied.

ANYTHING to give me just five extra minutes.

Taking a frustrated breath, I remember…I gave up pleading to the heavens years ago. Ten years to be exact. The day he walked out of my life. The day the sun stopped shining and my world turned gray. The day that my dreams turned into nightmares. I miss my dreams, the sun, and I miss him. So f**king much, even though I know I shouldn’t. After all, what good does it do to miss a ghost?

Come on…come on… I silently beg the light to change. Why is it that the only time I am running late, every single light catches me? “Fuck! Just f**king change!” I just know if I am not home in the next ten minutes all hell will break loose. Finally, as soon as the light turns green I slam on the gas. All I needed to do was hurry, everything will be fine.


I roll into the driveway at 5:45, throw the car in park and rush into the house. Thankfully I had enough foresight when I left earlier to start the slow cooker. “Okay, Okay…” I mutter to myself, while rushing around the kitchen island to the table. If I didn’t hurry…nope, I can’t go there. There would cause me to lock up in fear, and cutting it this close, I can’t lock up.

“Deep breath, Iz…just breathe.” I remind myself, setting the bowls of chili down. As quickly as I can manage I set the table, make sure the glasses are spot free and the silverware is perfectly aligned. I was not going to make those mistakes again. Rushing back to the kitchen, I make sure I have washed and dried all the cookware, and signs of my slow cooker use. I have just enough time to make sure that my ‘face’, as he so lovingly calls it, doesn’t look like I just rushed my duties.

At 6:05, on the dot, I hear the garage door rolling up. Breathe. A few moments later, he walks in. Of course, he would never be running late. God forbid he would make it home a minute past his normal scheduled time. The world might end, sky might fall, and pigs might start flying.

No, not my husband; he is never off his game.

“Good evening, Isabelle. How was your day?” He asks, while unloading his arms of his coat, briefcase, and keys. He makes sure his coat is hung perfectly; wrinkles wouldn’t dare mess with him. Even they know not to poke the bear. After he disposes of his cell, wallet, and other pocket shit, he finally looks up at me with his cold, dead eyes.

Permission to speak has silently been granted.

“Good evening, Brandon. Things were normal as always today. Did some laundry, ran the errands you asked me to do, and got home around 3:00. I know you said your parents were thinking of coming this weekend, so I wanted to make sure I had enough time to get the spare room situated before I started dinner.”

Lies, all lies…just enough to hopefully make him think I wasn’t out.

“Hmmm.” he states, while rolling his sleeves up. “So,” he looks up with his evil smirk and those dead eyes. “That wasn’t you I just saw speeding down Oak Street like the bats of hell were on your bumper, Isabelle?”

Fuck. Me.

“Brandon, I swear it’s not what you think.” I squeak out. Shit, this is going to be bad. “Dee stopped by, she was in town and just wanted to say hi, catch up a little. I haven’t seen her in six months- -”

His smile stops me cold, immediately I start backing away. Oh shit, I know that look.

“Now, now…Isabelle. What have I told you about Denise? Hmm? If I remember correctly, it was something along the lines of you are not to talk, call or take calls from her, and you are definitely not to FUCKING SEE HER!”

He is starting to step closer now. Frantically I look around for an escape, but he is blocking my only exit. “You have been told, and I would have thought you learned this lesson six months ago. Isn’t that how long you said it’s been? What do I need to do for you to get it through your dumb f**king head? Jesus Christ, you’re a stupid f**king bitch.” His eyes are so cold as he steps right into my space. “What part of you being mine, and only mine did you not understand the last time I was forced to explain this to you. I will not share you with f**king anyone. Do you hear me, Isabelle?” He sneers my name like its very presence on his tongue disgusts him. I have hit panic mode now, he has me backed into the wall, no escape in sight. “No f**king person in this goddamn world is allowed you. Only. Fucking. Me!” He continues his eyes bugging out and his spit hitting me in the face. “You’re nothing but a stupid f**king slut, isn’t that right Isabelle? I should have walked the other way that night at Fire. I should have known a bar slut from a mile away. But, no! It’s all your fault my dick wouldn’t walk the other way.” He rears back and slaps me hard across my cheek. I squeeze my hands into fists, digging my nails into my palms to keep from screaming out. I can feel the blood running down my neck from the cut his ring must have caused on my jaw. I might be stuck, but I’ll be damned if I will let him break me.

“What did I f**king say, Isabelle? NO DENISE! No afternoons chatting like little f**king bitches. You are to be here, cleaning my f**king house, cooking my f**king dinner, and spreading your fat f**king thighs for my dick!” He reaches out and grabs a bowl of chili, throwing it with all his strength against the wall. I watch chunks of meat, beans and sauce run down my happy yellow walls. “And what in the f**k is this shit? I told you, you f**king bitch, I wanted lasagna. Does that look like lasagna?” I should have seen it coming, but my attention was still focused on my happy yellow walls and the globs of dinner still rolling down. I was just turning back to him when his fist hit my temple, momentarily making my vision blur. At least that seems to have knocked some sense into my sluggish brain. I dart to the right, quickly trying to escape the second fist I know will soon be following. Too late, always too late, I catch the second one in the ribs, knocking the breath right out of my lungs. Brandon grabs my thick hair and with a twist of his wrist I’m right back at his mercy.