Authors: Jordan Marie
Tags: #romance, #MC, #Fiction
I come in without a word. I still the shaking in my hands, so I can gently shut the door. I walk to the chair in front of his desk, keeping my head down and avoiding eye contact. When I sit down and notice the green silk slip dress I have on, I panic. Michael doesn’t like green. He prefers me to wear light pastels. I have closets full of pink, lavender, and yellow. Those are acceptable colors. I have on the green dress because Michael was supposed to be gone today. Is that what upset him? I’m so stupid! Why do I even keep this dress?
“It would appear we have a problem, Melinda,” he states calmly. Then again, Michael is always calm. Even when he is doling out punishment, his voice never raises. It stays clipped, concise, and in a proper tone. That somehow makes him scarier to me.
“I’m sorry,” I say by reflex. I don’t know what I’ve done, it doesn’t matter what I’ve done.
“I’m afraid that’s not good enough considering your crime.”
. He always uses that term, as if he is the judge, jury, and executioner in charge, and I’m the repeat offender. I want to ask what I did. It’s on the tip of my tongue to question. I don’t, I bite my tongue and concentrate on the pain instead. When I make no move to question him further, Michael lets out a loud sigh. The sound is one of annoyance. Annoyance from Michael and directed at me, only means bad things. I can’t stop the way my heart kicks into overdrive, or the apologies which immediately spring up and rest on my lips. I don’t give them voice, I beat them back. You can’t show the monster weakness, he can smell it and he will devour you. I pull my eyes from my shoes, to look out the window. I search for the sun outside. I’m not free, but if I can concentrate on the warm glare of the sun it will help—another lesson I’ve learned over the last year. I try to focus my breathing and that’s when I see it.
On his desk is a tube of carnal, red lipstick. I love it and I put it on when I’m alone. I dream of a day when I can wear this color all the time. I’m not brave enough to buy it. No, I’m not sure I have any bravery left in me. It was a gift from Nicole. I try to keep nothing out in the open of Nicole or my time at Three Oaks. Nicole might have hated the place, but I loved every minute of it. If only because it allowed me to stay away from Michael. When his lawyers found a judge they could buy and had that portion of my father’s will overturned, hell truly began for me. I had no choice but to marry Michael and move in with him. I tried running. I tried and failed. I have the scars to prove it.
So, I stored away the good memories I had. Most of which, admittedly, revolve around Nicole. I risk a lot just to remain in contact with Nic, but she’s my lifeline. If I don’t hear her voice at least once a week, I feel hopeless. I can’t let hope fade. If I give in…I’ll never survive. Then, Michael will truly win.
How did he find the lipstick? I’m always so careful. I rack my brain trying to remember where I could have left it. Then I see it. The small, wooden box I keep hidden in the air conditioning vent in my closet. Inside are my most prized possessions. I may have been the Marinetti Shipping heir, but I had nothing unless Michael provided it. No, my most prized possessions would bring you nothing at an auction. They consist of four things. Four things that mean everything to me.
First was the lipstick Nicole gave me. Next was a note from my father. The very last note I ever got from him. I don’t know why I keep it. I hate him for what he did to me. There’s a picture of me and Nicole in one of those silly photo booths at a town fair. It was probably the best day I’ve ever had in my life. Finally, there is the one thing in this world that I need to survive. The one thing I touch every night. My mother’s medallion. She gave it to me before she died. It’s my last connection to my mother. I can’t lose it. I can’t.
My heart stops. The monster has them. I know he won’t give them back. He will destroy them, just to prove a point. He will relish in the fact that he is hurting me. A hundred words come to my lips, words I could use to beg him to give back my things. I clench my hands in tight fists, letting my nails bite into my skin. I can’t beg. Begging him only incites him to go further, to be meaner. I remain quiet, waiting.
“Have you nothing to say, Melinda?”
“I am sorry, Michael.”
“Is there some reason you have kept these things hidden from me, my darling wife?”
The fake sugary-sweetness he uses when calling me his wife causes the acid in my stomach to boil. How much hate can one person hold in their body? There are times, when I think I have nothing left but hate.
How do I answer? Do I tell him I didn’t want him touching them? That if he did, he would somehow taint them? Do I lie and say they are unimportant? I’m honestly at a loss on how to answer.
In the end, I shrug and try playing down the whole thing.
“They are just memories of my childhood. Nothing that important, Michael,” I answer, trying to inject sincerity into my words.
Michael comes around in front of me leaning on his desk. His arms are crossed and he looks so relaxed. I know what’s coming though. I know what always happens when I do something to displease the monster. The sick feeling inside of me floods through my bloodstream. Will he kill me this time? He’s come close before. Will tonight be the final end of it all? I think I’d be okay if it was. I need it to end. I can’t keep going on like this.
“Very well Melinda, you may leave. I shall dispose of your trinkets.”
Two main emotions flood me at the same time. Relief that I have escaped his punishment this time and then agony. He will dispose…my gaze lands, one last time on my mother’s medallion and I can’t stop the small tear that falls on my cheek. I know it’s a mistake. I know I should be quiet, but I can’t. That necklace is all I have of my mom. There are no pictures, everything else has been ripped away from me, save for that one lone trinket. So, even knowing I should hold it back, I can’t. I know before I say the words I shouldn’t. I do. I just can’t stop myself.
“Something you would like to say, Melinda?
“Please, Michael, please.”
“Please what, wife?”
I hate that term. I am barely eighteen. I shouldn’t be married. I should be dating and I would never date anyone like Michael Kavanagh. Just hearing the words and knowing that it links the two of us together causes bile to rise into my throat. I fight it back down.
“Don’t destroy the necklace. It was my mothers. It’s all I have left of her…”
I hate begging. I feel so
, so inferior. Yet, I know if I approach this any other way, there will be no saving any of my belongings. The chance is small even with me begging.
I watch as he picks up the chain and lets it slide between his cruel hands. I see it now. The smug darkness in his eyes. I’ve given the monster power. It is all he needs. It is what he has been waiting for. Perhaps I am as stupid as Michael keeps insisting I am.
“Is the necklace important to you, wife?”
Again that word…the term that makes my stomach roll.
“Do you know what I can’t understand, Melinda?”
I want to answer, but fear has paralyzed me and my vocal chords are frozen as well.
“Well, wife? Do you?”
I try to talk, I open my mouth, but all that comes out is a squeaky half syllable. I quickly clear my throat and start again.
“How my darling wife could keep something so obviously important hidden from me. Can you understand that, Melinda?”
I say nothing, by this time the look in his eyes has rendered me speechless. It’s too late. It’s much too late.
“Furthermore, if a small ratty necklace that is far beneath your station in life is important, I can’t begin to imagine what the other items you’ve kept hidden means.”
He reaches over and slides the medallion over my head. The cold medal lies against my breast and I have a moment of relief. Is he going to allow me to keep it? That’s the only thought I have before he grabs the hair at the back of my head and fists it so tightly, so painfully, my eyes water. I gasp at the hurt. He drags me from the chair, so I am standing in front of him, my head is forced back, and tears are streaming down my face. I have to strain to keep my eyes on him. I need to know what is coming. My time with Michael has taught me nothing—if not survival.
“Tell me Melinda, what does the lipstick mean to you? Besides coloring your lips so that you look like some two-bit whore.”
He doesn’t give me time to answer, not that I could with the way he has my neck twisted. The pain is bad, nowhere near what he’s capable of, but bad nonetheless. He takes the lipstick and paints it hard on my lips, to the point it cracks and twists to the side and I can feel the metal rim of the container biting into my lip and cutting as it goes. I try to pull away, but the pain only intensifies and his grip is so tight there is no breaking free. He then pushes the lipstick itself through my teeth and into my mouth. The sick, faintly plastic taste mingles with the coppery taste of blood and I choke. This only serves to piss him off and he back hands me on the side of the face,
The impact is jarring and I would scream, but my mouth is clogged and the force of the slap leaves me stunned.
“Swallow the fucking stuff, Melinda! If you want to be a whore then by god, I shall treat you like one!” He lets go of my hair, but only to use his hand to bite down on my chin and imprison me so I can do nothing but look into his hateful, cold, blue eyes.
. Frozen and so unfeeling, they send terror into my soul.
I choke the lipstick down my throat, doing my best not to gag. The problem is the fear of losing my connection with my mother, of knowing the pain I will soon endure, and the half of a grapefruit Michael allotted me for breakfast this morning, all roll together and combine to tear my insides up and I vomit. I try to clamp my lips and teeth together, but the force is too strong. Michael growls and pushes me away from him so hard and fast that I can’t even begin to stop myself. I fall back into the chair and it slides when my weight impacts it. I feel my back scrape along the metal of the arms as I fall to the floor. The chair continues to slide until my head hits the floor.
“Fucking cunt. You will pay for that.” He growls, wiping the small amount of lipstick-tinted bile that sprayed on his chin. It’s then that he kicks my stomach. I curl to try and prevent it, but I’m too dazed, too slow and I can’t. One…two…three…the impact of his booted foot slams into my stomach over and over—until it
I’m gasping trying to catch my breath, thankful for the small reprieve when his foot comes at my face. I see a flash of black, feel the forceful hit land on my mouth and taste copper again, only this time a lot more. Another hit, this time on the upper part of my head, it leaves me lightheaded. I pray I will lose consciousness. If I do, maybe he will leave me alone, and even if he doesn’t, I won’t know. Again, my prayers are unanswered. He pulls me up by the collar of my dress. I hear the tearing of the fabric and even in my pained, fearful state, I mourn it. There was a time I adored dressing up and feeling pretty. I vow if I survive this, the only thing I will adore is being cold. I need to be as cold as Michael to survive. Then again, I’m not even sure why I want to survive.
The dress must rip even more, because as quick as he begins pulling me up, I fall back against the cold tile. I feel the cold air of the room hit my chest and down my side. Michael grabs my head and pulls me by my hair. He drags me through the office chairs, but I barely notice the way they rake over my body with their metal legs. He throws me on the couch and my stomach revolts. If I had anything left inside, I would vomit again.
I know where this will end
. I know
it will end. I don’t want it. Everything in me is screaming out at the injustice, the unfairness of it all. I close my eyes and try to remember something…anything to take my mind away from what is about to happen. Nicole’s face dances in front of me and intermingles with Ray. My only friends in the world. They have no idea how bad my life is here. If they interfered, Michael would kill them. I can’t let that happen. I vow no one will ever touch my friends the way that Michael does me. It’s a weak vow, but still a
“You want to be a whore my darling wife, I will treat you like one.”
How can his voice sound so calm? It’s as if he’s talking about the weather. What kind of monster can do that? Again, he pulls me by my hair until he has my face pushed into the top of the sofa. My knees sink into the cushions and I try to reach back to stop him. It’s no use, he grabs my wrist and I feel immense pain as I hear a bone snap. I scream out and he pushes my face harder into the wood on the Queen Anne sofa. I try to move my face to the side, I can feel the teeth in my mouth and they are loose and at least one is chipped. There’s so much blood in my mouth, I almost choke on it. The ripping of my clothes continue, but it doesn’t matter anymore. He grabs the necklace at the back of my neck and pulls. It’s a thick chain and in this instance that is bad, because he pulls tighter and tighter until my head is snapped back and my air is restricted.
He plunges inside of me. Tearing as he goes,
as he always does
. My vision starts to dim, the room goes gray and I’m ready for it. I’m ready for death. Anything so I no longer have to endure this…
As he finishes, the hold on my neck loosens and I gulp in breath. I want to refuse it. If I don’t breathe, I die. It’s a reflex though and I can’t stop myself. He crushes me underneath him and his vile stench is even more prevalent over the scent of blood. I remain quiet, waiting for him to get up and forget about me—as he always does. Only, this time I sadly underestimate him.
“Look at you, Melinda.” He says as if disgusted. I can hear the sound of his zipper. This time he grabs the back of my leg and pulls me from the couch I use my hands to try and stop myself from being slammed around but one hand is completely useless, and I end up trying to hold it tight to my chest wrapped against the other one to stop it from hurting more. He brings me to the wall that has three large mirrors hanging on them, and pushes my face against the glass. My vision is blurry, my eyes are swollen from the kicks he gave me and being ground into the hard wood of the couch. I make out my form through the mirror. The reflection makes me sick. Not because of the way I look, more for the weakness I see. I hate that word and how often it relates to me…