Together. Is that what we were? Together?
Landon and I were sitting out by the lake—something we rarely did anymore.
His arm around my shoulders—serene, that’s a good word—my hair blowing in the wind.
It all seemed so perfect.
But was it?
Landon stood up and walked towards the end of the dock.
He was bored; I’d known him long enough to tell.
I sat there, just a little longer; I don’t wanna end it yet.
I turned to see him standing at the end of the dock—he was mad.
“Let’s go already! I can’t believe I let you drag me out here!”
I stood up
Perfect moments never last.
By time I got to the car, I could practically see his anger in the air around him.
He took off as soon as I shut the door—doesn’t wanna hurt his precious mustang.
I buckled my seatbelt and looked over at him, his brown hair a mess, his green eyes angry.
He wasn’t always like that…he used to smile, laugh, he used to be great.
He was only 20…but from the way his jaw was always set now…he looked much older.
We’d grown up together—Landon and I—we dated in high school…and now, well I wasn’t too sure.
I mean…I lived with him, washed his dishes, did his laundry, slept in the same bed as him…but…did that mean we were together?
As soon as we pulled up to the house, he was out of the car.
When I got out he was unlocking the door.
“Come on! God Hannah, you’re so friggin slow!” he stepped inside
I hung my head and walked inside…as soon as I shut the door—there he was.
I flinched as his hand made contact with my cheek.
“Don’t you ever! Ever! Make me do something that stupid again!”
I nodded as he walked to the kitchen to get a beer.
I put my hand to my cheek and practically ran to the bedroom.
As soon as I laid down, the tears came.
I wasn’t always like this either…
I had been pretty…I had been smart…I wanted to be a doctor…
But when Landon and I had started dating, well…he said I couldn’t be a doctor. I should be with him…have kids…raise a little family, all that.
So I dropped my dreams…I mean that’s what you do when you’re in love…it’s not all about you anymore.
I laid there and cried a bit more.
This wasn’t the first time he had hit me, and I knew better than to think it would be the last.
But I had nowhere to go…the few friends I had…well…we didn’t talk much anymore…my family loved Landon more than they had loved me…
I heard the bedroom door open and I immediately stopped crying.
He’d hit me again if he saw that.
I felt him lay down next to me.
“I’m sorry Hannah…I didn’t hurt you did I? I was…upset…and I shouldn’t have done that”
He pulled my chin up “You forgive me right?”
We stared at each other’s eyes for a moment till he spoke again
“I love your eyes…they make me think of chocolate…they’re what makes you so sweet”
He kissed me…gentle at first…but more demanding soon after.
He reached for the button on my jeans and I pushed his hands away.
He broke the kiss and jumped up
“Jeez! A man can’t even get any…!”
He stomped out of the room and slammed the door.
I slept with Landon…but I never ‘slept’ with him.
I didn’t even like thinking about it…it didn’t even register right in my mind.
I waited about 20 minutes before I went to the kitchen to start dinner.
I fixed something simple—Mac-n-cheese with hamburger in it.
I left it on the stove and waited.
I knew he wasn’t home…he was with some girl…getting his money’s worth.
It was almost midnight when I heard the front door open.
I quickly served two plates and sat down.
I had been sure to re-heat the food every 10 minutes just in case he came home.
He glanced in the kitchen and laughed
“I don’t want that crap! And you know what Hannah!? I don’t want you either!”
He started walking towards me…I could smell the beer on him….
“You know…I almost married you! YOU!” he laughed again “The pretty girl who wanted to be a doctor, well guess what Hannah!? You haven’t been pretty since you graduated and I’m tired of looking at your ugly face every day! You’re what? 18? You look 70! Now get out of my house! I never wanna see you again!”
I just sat there…him yelling in my face…he might as well have hit me.
“But…” I whispered “Who’ll do the laundry? And keep the house clean for when your mother visits?”
He laughed “Doesn’t matter”
I stood up…I was going to take a stand and tell him how I felt “But Landon! I love you! You know that! I don’t care that you drink too much or that you lose your temper…I can overlook it because I want to be with you! Even after you said I couldn’t be a doctor because I didn’t have the talent…and because women are better nurses! Please….”
He stopped laughing “You….what is with that? You love me? Yeah right…if you loved me you wouldn’t have let yourself go…you wouldn’t weigh so friggin much…you’d look exactly how you looked a year and a half ago! You’re just a burnout Hannah…that’s all”
I was crying now
“Landon! I do! I really do!”
He grabbed my shoulders and started shaking me “Stop! I don’t wanna hear that crap from you!”
I remember falling…and I faintly remember hitting something.
I woke up in a white room with a woman leaning over me
“Doctor! She’s awake!”
After the doctor examined me she told me I had been unconscious for a few hours and was lucky I didn’t have a concussion.
I asked if Landon had brought me to the hospital
“Who’s that? Your boyfriend?”
I shook my head
She told me that our neighbors heard the whole thing and had called 911.
After she left I laid there…waiting for my paperwork to go through…it finally sunk in…he’s never loved me…I was just trapped in his little game…but he’s not here is he?
About an hour later I took a cab to the bank and cleaned out my account.
Before I left I asked an old friend of mine for a favor
“Next time Landon Frasier comes in please give him this” I handed over my house key.
I left the bank and walked to the train station.
I picked the farthest place I could and bought a ticket.
A few weeks later my old friend called.
“Hey Hannah! How’s it going out there!?”
I laughed “Good…Ted and I have been going out for about a week and I just got a letter of acceptance to med school”
I heard her squeal over the receiver “That’s great!!! Hey I’m sending you something in the mail…I’m not sure if you’ll like it or not…but I want you to have it”
About 4 days later I got a package.
Inside was a tape recorder.
My friend’s voice came over “Just wanted you to hear what Landon said after you left…he said it over and over again…so I got it on tape for you”
His voice came over the tape and I tensed
“Nobody’s ever gonna loved me like she loved me. And she loved me” he paused…sobbing “Yeah…she loved me…God please, just let her know I’m sorry…”
I cut the tape off and trashed it
I shook my head
“Same old stupid boy…I’m not like that anymore” I tried to tell myself that at least
“Like what?” I heard Ted’s voice behind me
I turned around and hugged him
“Fenced in his little game….”