A strand of hair falls onto her face. She brushes it back with her hand. It falls again. She leaves it there. His presence is stifling, she feels like she has no escape, is this what he has felt for all these years? He's standing in the frame of the door, the light from the hallway surrounding, illuminating him. The lights in the bedroom are off, adding to the illusion of being caged in. His back is ramrod straight, his arms down by his side with his hands balled into tight fists. He doesn't make a noise but she can feel his eyes boring into the side of her face as she rushes around the room trying to collect her things. He had given her thirty minutes to collect her things and 'get the hell out'. She knows she won't be allowed to come back here.
Her hand hits against the bed's wooden frame. She hisses and pulls her stinging hand to her chest, the cut has re-opened, and blood begins to drip slowly down the side of her hand. She watches as one drop falls and disappears into the darkness. She slowly lifts her gaze and locks with his. He glares. Slowly, ever so slowly, he unclenches his hand and reaches up to grasp the bottom of his shirt. He pulls it up slowly, his gaze never wavering from hers. She glances down and a soft gasp escapes her throat before she can stop it. It had been a long, long time since she had last seen him shirtless and he had changed significantly since then. Yes he had filled out per her request; it wouldn't do to bring an embarrassing, unfit partner to her work functions. She needed him to maintain her image of professionalism. No, the reason she stands rooted to the floor in shock is not because of his newly gained muscle, but rather the fact that he had gained other new features too, also caused by her.
A large purple-blue bruise covers his left side, just below his ribs. A pale pink scar runs from his right hip to the centre of his chest. A scar- that horrifically looks like a bite mark- lies just above his left nipple, slightly below his bruised collar bone. She knows there's more, a lot more, but he slowly lowers his shirt and crosses his arms across his chest. He gives her suitcase a pointed look and somehow her body reacts without her mind telling it to.
'I never thought I'd leave a mark,' is re-sounding throughout her head. She never thought she was strong enough to do so. As she glances up one more time she catches a glance of herself in the mirror.
'This is what I've become', the thought slams into her as if she has just had a major epiphany. Five years of marriage, if you could call it that, and he had finally fought back. She was to be alone now. He never hit back. Not once. But.....a man shouldn't ever hit a woman? She was right. Wasn't she? But now when she looks back on it, today had been the first time in years he had dared to stand up to her. It had been the first time in years since she had seen the man she had fallen in love with. There was a spark in his eyes that she had long since diminished.
As she stared at herself in the mirror she saw someone looking back at her that made her feel sick;