"I was only trying to help!"
He says this like I care. Like it changes anything.
"When did I ask for your help?" I yelled, tears burning in my throat as I slammed the car door shut.
He knocked on the glass, shouting as I slammed the car into gear. I couldn't hear him over the rain pounding my car, and my heartbeat pulsing in my ears. I was so angry. I flew out of the driveway and down the road, my car revving too high before I changed gears and remembered the windscreen wipers. The bass from my stereo vibrated the seats as I nearly spun my car turning a corner too fast. What gave him the right? Tears stung in my eyes, burning up from my throat and I wiped at them roughly. The further away I got from the house, the slower I started to drive, my mind coming back to me as I realised I still didn't know the area that well. I pulled off the road, into an empty car park and turned the car off. Resting my head on the steering wheel I let the sobs wrack my body and the tears slide miserably down my cheeks. How sad was that? I'd lived here five years, and I could still get lost. I was never allowed anywhere on my own.
When I'd first met him, He'd seemed so perfect. So charming and gentlemanly. I was staying with one of my cousins, after moving away from my home town, at nineteen, to attend college. She'd taken me to one of her friends parties, to introduce me to some of the locals. Being a good girl, from a small country town, I floated around on the edges, an untouched glass of champagne in my hand. Champagne was the closest beverage they'd had to not being alcoholic. My cousin danced her way through the door ahead of me and disappeared into the crowd in seconds. The pulsing lights and cramped feel of so many people made me feel claustrophic. It smelt of beer and sweaty teenagers. I was standing in a corner, trying to see over the people to find my cousin and blow this joint when I felt a hand on my elbow. When I'd looked up, startled, I'd been met with a hundred watts of the most perfect orthodontics I'd ever seen. His smile was contagious and I couldn't help returning it, as I lifted my eyes to study the rest of him. He had brown curls that didn't frizz and a slightly crooked nose. Probably had it broken and never reset. His eyes were a dark brown, a shade darker than his hair, and framed with eyelashes to die for. He stood a foot taller than me, and I was in heels. Perfect. He leant down to speak into my ear, offering to take me outside. I apparently looked pale. Out on the balcony in the fresh air, we talked for hours. He even found me an unspiked glass of vanilla coke. When we finally realised everyone had left or passed out inside, he drove me home, where he walked me to my door. And that was it. I was hooked. My cousin hadn't approved of our fast relationship. She said he was bad news, but I couldn't see how. Three months later we moved in together. Two weeks after that was the first time he hit me. He'd been out with boys, drinking, while I was at work. When I got home he was waiting in the lounge, completely off his face. As I walked through the door and into the hallway I heard something smash behind me. I turned to see him standing in the door of the lounge, his face a mask of rage. I glanced over my shoulder and saw my favourite porcelain doll, in pieces on the floor. I looked back to him, my eyes burning with tears. He'd bought me that on our third date.
"Wh-... Why would you do that, Keath?" I whispered, confused.
The very sound of my voice seemed to anger him further. He advanced on me, clearing the metres between us in seconds. He raised his hand before he even reached me and when he did he slapped me sharply across the cheek. I gasped, staggering back and reaching up to touch my cheek, looking at him with horror.
"Keath!" I breathed, in shock.
"Don't you look at me like that, you cheating slut, where have you been?" He roared, moving to hit me again.
What followed after was too painful to think about, and over the months it had only gotten worse. I never did anything he accused me of. Never cheated, or stole, or lied. I covered up the black eyes with layer upon layer of make up. I hid the bruises and scars with long sleves and trackpants. I never thought of leaving him. He was always sorry, so sorry. It was just that he loved me so much. The flowers and chocolates and breakfasts in bed always healed my broken trust. I forgave him instantly, because it was all just because he loved me so much. He couldn't help being so protective. It was cute, really. I winced against the steering wheel. God, it was disgusting! Not cute, at all. How could I have been so stupid? I didn't notice when I started to lose all my friends and even if I had, I doubt I would have cared. He was worth it, after all. I had only one friend left. Scott. The one who had ripped my world up by its roots.
Scott had been Keaths best friend. I guess that was called off now, after he'd dobbed him in to me accidentally. Scott and I had met at one of Keaths parties that trashed our apartment. He was just as charming as Keath. I briefly wondered if he hit his girlfriend too. I had no friends of my own really, Keath didn't let me go out alone, and my friends all disliked him. They could tell something was... off about our relationship, though I did my best to hide it. I loved him, really I did. But I got so lonely, when he went off on his own. I saw a lot of Scott, and soon we became quite close. When Keath went off on a drinking binge, Scott would come keep me company, promising that he'd never tell Keath. One day he walked in on me trying to see a rather nasty cut on my back in the mirror, and that's when everything fell apart. He couldn't believe what Keath had been doing, but swore he'd pretend he knew nothing. He tried to convince me to leave, but I refused. He loved me so much. How could I? Scott disapproved strongly but stuck around. Tonight though, was the night he finally snapped. I'd come home from work to find him and Keath in a heated arguement in my kitchen. I walked through the doorway and dropped my keys on the table.
"Hey baby," Keath said, reaching a hand out to me, his eyes never leaving Scott.
I went to him obediently and kissed his cheek. Scotts face twisted in disgust and my eyes widened.
"What's all this about, guys?" I queried, not really wanting the answer.
Scott looked at me and opened his mouth to speak, but Keath squeezed my hand painfully to get my attention and got in first.
"This lying bastard is throwing around accusations. He needs to keep his nose out of others business and get out of our house," I looked up at Keath, shocked, but he was glaring at Scott.
As if on some gruesome cue I heard footsteps in the hallway. I spun away from Keath to look into the hall, wondering who on Earth it could be, when everyone in my world was standing right there. A cute blonde, with messy hair and an oversized t shirt padded bare foot into the kitchen, yawning and stretching her arms out in front of her. She stopped midstep when she realised she had more of an audience than expected.
"Keath, baby, you didn't tell me we had company," She trailed off, embarrassed and pulling at the hem of her shirt. My jaw dropped to approximately my kneecaps and Scott stepped forward, reaching for me. Again, Keath got there first. I threw his hand of my arm and turned, fire in my eyes.
"You sick bastard!" I screamed at him, backing away. The blonde must have scuttled out of my path because I didn't hit her. Scott took another step toward me, but I stopped him with a glare.
"Get away from me. Both of you," I whispered, deadly, before turning and bolting out our apartment door. I heard Scott following as he begged me to understand, he was only trying to help and the rest is history.
I shivered, turning my car back on for the heater. God, how had it gotten so dark, so quick? I looked around the now deserted carpark and shivered again, this time, not from the cold. A street light flickered. Suddenly my ringtone filled the silence in my car, and I looked down to see my phone dancing on the passenger seat as it vibrated. I picked it up and checked the call ID. Scott. I sighed and picked up, ready to pour a thousand apologies for the boy who was always there when I'd needed him."Sarah! Oh, thank GOD you answered. Where are you?! Keath's coming looking for you. And he's not exactly sober," His voice was rushed and from the sound in the background I guessed he was running to his car. I panicked, peering harder into the darkness. What would happen if he found me?
"I'm in the carpark, across from your sisters high school? Know the one- Oh my GOD!" I dropped the phone, seeing Keaths car drive past. Once it was out of sight, I threw the car in gear and flew out the carpark, headed in the opposite direction. I could hear Scott yelling down my phone, but I was driving like a rally car racer, and didn't have time to soothe him. I went roaring around a corner and my car spun out as my brakes locked. As my car went barreling over the barricade of the bridge I'd been unknowingly crossing my last thought was not of Keath, the one I'd professed to love. I glanced down at my phone, reaching for it, as my car hit the water. I looked up, startled as the windows smashed under the pressure of the water. I looked at my phone again and sighed as the water poured into my car.
I'm sorry, Scott. I love you.
They found her car at the bottom of the river that wound through our town. If it wasn't for her dick of a boyfriend and his controlling obsession, maybe she would have known it was there. Keath got picked up for drink driving by the cops. When they tried to pull him over, he instigated the kind of high speed chase all teenage boys dream about. When he finally had to pull over, he physically assaulted a cop. Turns out he was high too. Luckily, he's being put away for awhile. Maybe by the time he gets out, I'll have cooled down. I just about tore down the city looking for Sarah and finally found her. In the back of an ambulance. Someone had pulled her from the car, barely conscious. Just before she closed her eyes for the last time I had the gratification of hearing the words I'd waited so long for. Muttered over and over.
"I'm sorry, Scott. I love you," she whispered.
Tears welled in my eyes and I leant to kiss her forehead. Just before she drew her final breath I got my most dreamed about sentence in.
"I love you, Sarah. So much," I murmured against her forehead, squeezing her hand.
I like to think she returned the pressure. I like to think she smiled. But in truth, I don't even know if she could hear over the beeping of her monitor when it flatlined.