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Loren sat by the window clutching Cuddles, her old stuffed bear, as she stared out at the rain gently falling on the lawn. She shifted slightly to relieve some of the pressure on the bruise on the inside of her thigh. Loren's stomach ached. Without looking she knew that in the morning it would be one big bruise too.
Loren's reflection stared back at her from the rain-soaked window.
She watched a single teardrop slide down her cheek, matching the track of a
raindrop on the outside of the windowpane.
The beatings usually started the same, with Jack grabbing her hair and slamming her into the
nearest wall. Then Jack would begin to hit her. He was always careful, no matter how
drunk he seemed to be, he never hit her where the bruise would show. Occasionally she would have to wear long sleeves on a day too warm to do so,
but the bruises weren't hard to hide and so any evidence of the beatings stayed
buried deep within Loren.
Loren looked over her shoulder
again; the bare butt staring at her now was not at all cute to her. Now it was
For the first two years that idealistic attitude kept them going. They would take long walks together talking about the great plans that they had for themselves. Even though money was short at the time, they both were sure that it was just a matter of time until Jack would be making more money than either of them could conceive of at the time. But as time went by it became apparent that Jack just didn't have what it took to be a real success in business. Slowly frustration began to set in.
Jack really didn't blame Loren for his failures, just took it out on her. At first it was just little things. When Jack would get angry about something that Loren had done that wasn't perfect, he would just glare at her and stomp out of the room. As time went by Jack began to raise his voice to her. It slowly evolved into insults and belittling her.
Loren could remember the first time that Jack had actually hit her. It
seemed to startle him as much as it had her. Jack was immediately apologetic,
promising that it would never happen again and going out of his way to try to
make it up to her. But still, Jack implied that it was Loren's fault. "Any man has
a point when he just can't take any more and loses control of himself. If you
hadn't pushed me past that point, it would have never happened."
There were good times between the bad and every time Jack hit her it was because of something that she had done. It happened so slowly that Loren didn't even notice how bad it was getting. Now the past two years had become Loren's own private hell. She had learned to look closely at Jack when he came home from work each day. There was a certain look that he had that signified that something had gone wrong at work.
Jack would sit in front of the television
brooding about what had happened and drinking, never once did he try to share
the day's problems with Loren. The few times that Loren tried to talk to Jack
about what was really bothering him, he had only informed her in no uncertain
terms that a woman with just an associates degree could never understand the
real problems of business. So Jack would sit there mentally wrapped up in a
tight little ball. Some time during the evening Loren would make some small
mistake and all the anger and frustration would be transferred to her.
Now there was not even a pretence of trying to make up, it was
nothing short of rape after a beating. Loren could not, for the life of herself, figure out how she had let
things get this bad, but she knew that for it to get any worse would mean that
he would kill her. Loren had now made up her mind that it was not going to get
Everyone thought that Jack was a saint. He had let her know in no
uncertain terms that if she tried to tell anyone, they would never believe her. Jack made
sure that Loren didn't have any friends except the ones that he had already
approved of. That way he knew that they were all fans of him, and would never
believe anything bad of him. So Loren felt that she had no hope of ever getting
away from him.
Besides, she knew that she could never hurt him, no matter what he had done to her. Loren turned away from the bed and looked at herself in the dresser mirror. She couldn't believe the incredible sadness in her own eyes, the look of utter defeat as she slowly raised the pistol to her own temple and quickly pulled the trigger.
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