Nine dances classes.
Nine more times that Aaron pinned me down.
Nine more nights of him carrying me to my room and tucking my sore body in.
Every night I begged God to kill me, or to bring Goethe back.
Every. Single. Night.
I noticed nothing nowadays. I moved from every new class to the next like the living dead, each step sending shockwaves of pain through my muscles. Every time Aaron was in my vicinity, he made it a point to wrap his arm possessively around my waist and kiss my cheek. I learned after the first day that cringing away would result in harsher treatment the next time he had me after dance. I also learned that if I tried to tell someone what was going on, Aaron always found me and dragged me away before I ever got the chance to cry for help.
I had one chance. I’d endured the torture long enough. I went to the school nurse and told her I was having trouble sleeping, and she gave me a two-dose package of sleeping pills, telling me to come back if I was still having troubles. I made a convincing show of thanking her and being grateful, and inside, I really was. She’d just handed me my escape.
At breakfast, before Aaron made it to the cafeteria to find me, I had already gotten breakfast for us both—including apple juice for me and the usual cup of coffee for him. He seemed surprised when he found me sitting and waiting for him, a shy smile on my lips. When he sat down, I slid his half of the food to him, along with the coffee. At his questioning look, I looked down, as if hiding a blush. “G…Good morning Aaron…”
A huge grin broke out on his face and he leaned over, kissing the top of my bent head before sitting back to eat. I faked another smile and ate my cereal, forcing it past the bile in my throat from playing the subservient captive. Head tilting down so he wouldn’t notice how closely I was watching him, I waited for the ground-up sleeping pill I’d put in his coffee to take effect.
Sure enough he started yawning and blinking blearily, at which point I lifted my chin to pretend innocent curiosity. “Did you get enough sleep? You look tired.” Then I flinched away from the vicious glare he shot at me across the table. No faking that reaction.
“I’m not tired. I just feel a little under the weather is all.” Then he leaned back, rubbing his eyes with the heel of his hand. Gathering up my nerves, I asked timidly, “Would you like me to go get some medicine from the nurse? I’m sure she has ibuprofen, at least.”
He considered it for a moment and I held my breath, then he reluctantly nodded. “Be quick about it. We have class in half an hour.” Nodding with genuine excitement, I hopped up from my chair and ran away from the table.
Lucky me, the nurse’s office was in the same direction as the campus police office.
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