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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic

**Trigger warning: sexual assault, abuse**

Jude begins to wonder how she became a girl who lets her boyfriend, Taren, control her. This is still a work in progress.

I lay on the floor. The bobby pins in my hair are stabbing me in the back of the head, and the ones holding my bangs back are coming out. My head is almost in his closet, and I can see a pair of tennis shoes out of the corner of my eye. The soft glow of the television lights up the room.


What are we watching?


It doesn’t even matter. All I want to do is get to the after-prom so no one suspects anything.


How did we become that couple?


“We should probably get going,” I say quietly. He grunts and wraps his arm around me tighter. “Taren, I’m serious. After-prom starts in ten minutes.”


“Okay, okay,” he groans. He sits up, and I notice how wrinkled his shirt is. We were only here for half an hour. How did it get that wrinkled?


I grab the mirror off his dresser and peer into it. My hair looks terrible.


“Shit,” I mutter.


“What?” he asks, looking back at me. “Oh.”


“It’s fine, I can fix it,” I say, shoving bobby pins back in. I say a silent prayer of thanks that it was pretty messy anyway and not a perfectly coiffed hairdo.


I sit there, fixing my hair and hoping my dress isn’t ruined in any way. All I can think about is how this happened. This isn’t the kind of relationship I wanted. Who wants a relationship based on physical stuff? Half your graduating class, Jude. I stick the last bobby pin into my hair and hold up my hands for Taren to help me up. He pulls me up, his arm muscles showing as a sharp outline on his dress shirt. He reaches over to turn off the television and we head toward the door. At the last second, he realizes he isn’t wearing his tie anymore. He grabs it off the bed and ties it back on as we walk through the house. My face grows warm as we walk past his dad, who catches my eye with a raised eyebrow. Shit.


“Have fun golfing,” he mutters, turning his attention back to whatever action movie he’s watching.


“We will,” I reply as cheerfully as possible. I know his dad doesn’t like me very much. Since Taren and I started dating, Taren’s been spending all of his time at school, work, or with me. Taren’s mom works third shift, so I don’t see her much. I’m about to ask Taren how late his mom is working tonight when he suddenly turns around, wraps his arms around me, and kisses me fiercely. I return the kiss, but I try to make him be gentler. My mouth already hurts from earlier; I don’t want it to look red or sore when we meet with Angie and Jack at Mini-Putt.


“What’s wrong?” he whispers against my lips.


I pull back so I can look him in the eye. He gets mad when I don’t, and I’ve learned to keep my eyes on him.


“Nothing, we’re just running late. Ang is expecting us, remember?” I say back, trying not to act defensive. I don’t know what’s wrong with him tonight. We’ve been fighting a lot lately, and I don’t know what I did.


“Fine, let’s go.”


We get to Mini-Putt, and I’m slightly relieved to notice that Angie and Jack look about as disheveled as I feel. Angie catches my eye, and I know she’s thinking the same thing. I give her a smirk and walk to the sign-in table with Taren.


“IDs?” asks the tired Mini-Putt worker. We hand over our IDs, get bright yellow bracelets to wear, and walk over to where Angie and Jack are standing.


“What the hell happened to your neck?” Angie whispers in my ear.


I turn bright red. “Must’ve rubbed it the wrong way against the seatbelt,” I mutter.


She raises her eyebrows and grabs Jack’s arm.


“Baby, we need to get our clubs,” she says to him. “I want a purple one, and you know those always go fast.”


Jack rolls his eyes at me, but he takes her hand and they walk away. I catch Taren looking at me with a funny look on his face. I ignore it and follow after Angie. I don’t want to start another fight with him, not here. I don’t even know why he’s acting so weird. He doesn’t care what I want, though. He grabs my hand and pulls me around the corner of the building. He pins my shoulders against the wall with his sharp hands, and I can feel the wood from the building tearing into my bare back.


“What is wrong with you?” I stutter.


He has venom in his eyes. I’ve seen it more and more lately, and I’ve just been chalking it up to bad moods or fights with his dad. Now, though, it’s my fault. I immediately begin to rack my brain. What have I said tonight that would upset him?


“What did you say to Angie?” he bursts.


“Nothing! She asked what was wrong with my neck. I blamed it on the seatbelt.”


“Is that all you said?”


“Yes. Why would I lie to you?”


“Because you’re hiding something from me.”


This goes on for another five minutes before I hear Jack calling for Taren. We’ve been gone for too long, and now they’re suspicious. If this goes on any longer, the Mini-Putt employees will start looking for us; it is, after all, an after-prom. Taren glares at me one last time before kissing my forehead and pulling me back around the building. I see Angie’s eyes widen as she sees how red and blotchy my face is, but Taren has already rearranged his face into a calm, no-cares-whatsoever face, so I avert my eyes from Ang’s. She can always tell when something is wrong, but I know that talking about what’s been happening lately is absolutely against the silent rules Taren has laid down for me. Instead, I head toward the club counter and try to block out the heavy thoughts.


Submitted: November 23, 2014

© Copyright 2021 bsande01. All rights reserved.

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