She glanced at her petite form in the tall mirror, hugging her swollen belly. Hands fluttering lightly up and down, she tapped out an irregular beat, deep in thought. Her eyes flickered to her hair, greasy and lank; it was in desperate need of a wash. In fact her whole body needed a bath, there was a thick layer of dirt under her fingernails, and a smear of mud streaked across her arm.
There were huge, dark pools under her icy eyes. A cut on her forehead, a graze on her shin, dappled bruises covering each arm, they were all from him. The booming knock on the door signalled his return, and she scurried to get there, yanking her sleeves down as she tottered towards him.
Pulling open the door, he shoved the briefcase into her arms, storming past her and collapsing on the sofa. She hurried to the kitchen, where she balanced his case carefully on the marble worktop and poured his drink. Taking it to him, she stood to one side as he drank it in a single gulp.
He glanced over to where she was shrunk against the wall, scanning her emotionless face, skinny limbs and resting his dark eyes on her stomach. “So,” he spat, “when’s it due?”
“She is due next week.” She replied, her voice trembling.
“Great.” He snarled, “Just great. Don’t you realise that next week is my busiest in the whole year? But I guess that doesn’t bother you, does it? You don’t care if your petty life interferes with mine, do you? You couldn’t care less.”
While, he was saying this, he had stood up, so he was now towering above her. She gulped.
“You’re her father.” She practically whispered to him. “Does that mean nothing to you?” He stepped closer, eyes smoking with fury.
“No,” he roared, “no it doesn’t! That thing in there,” he jabbed an accusing finger at the baby, “is a damn waste of space that I could really do without right now!”
He slapped her across the face, and she stumbled away from him.
“I’m so sorry, please babe," he begged, horrified at the red mark that had flashed on to her pale face, "it was an accident.”
“That’s what you say every time.” She murmured, fumbling on the wall behind her. Picking up the only key, she darted out the door, locking it behind her. Through the window, she saw his enraged face, fists pounding on the glass.
She began walking, to where she had no idea. But she knew she couldn’t stay with him, not anymore. A lone tear trickled down her stinging cheek, but she brushed it away angrily. Why should she bother crying over him?
“We’ll be okay, baby,” she muttered softly to her belly. “We’ll be just fine.”
That was when the bus hit her.
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