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Authors: Ella Col


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              To K, B, & D…thank you for all of the girl time and being my friends forever. You have helped me more than you know. To my babies, I love you. There is nothing in this world that can stop you from making your life what you want it to be. The possibilities are endless. To Michael…thank you for tolerating a girl who acts like a guy.



COPYRIGHT© 2013 Ella Col, Author


All rights reserved. No reproduction without the permission of the author. All characters and events are fictional.






































The fluorescent glow pains my eyes as they slowly open. I smell wait...rubbing alcohol? Whatever it is, it smells sterile. Beeps and buzzing invade my ears. A voice is calling out names, numbers, colors, and codes.

              Suddenly, I’m filled with fear and my mind catches up with my senses.
Oh no… what did you do, Nick?
The last few hours come crashing down on me and suddenly the room begins to spin.

Standing in my kitchen, my fingers grip the counter and my knuckles turn white. I stare at the front door and wait for my usual greeting. My lunch creeps from my stomach to the back of my throat as I hear the keys in the door handle and see the doorknob turn.

              He walks in. His eyes critique me. “What’s for dinner?” 

              “ I have a few steaks grilling outside. I’ve poured you a glass of wine.” I release my grip from the counter to hand him the beverage.

              He seems pleased with my dinner choice and my attentive nature and takes the goblet from me. “Did you make potatoes? You know I can’t eat my steak without potatoes.”

              I take a sip from my glass, trying not to choke on it. My nerves are shot and the alcohol is doing nothing for me. “Of course.”

              He throws his keys down on the counter making me jump. “Jesus. What is your fuckin’ problem tonight? You look like you are about to jump out of your skin.” He should know what my problem is. After all, he is the cause of it.

He scrutinizes me just waiting for a reason. I gulp more wine in a sad attempt to numb myself. “I’m fine, Nick. The keys just made a loud sound and I jumped. No biggie.”

              Nick is satisfied with my answer and begins his evening routine by sorting through the mail, loosening his tie, and making his way to our bedroom to change. He yells from the bedroom his choice of vegetable and tells me not to fucking over cook them.

              I begin preparing the veggies giving myself more time to think of how to tell him I got a writing job in the city that pays more than my freelance work and I am leaving him for good. I am going to tell him that I am tired of the beatings and obsessive behavior. At this moment, I am petrified. Hell...maybe Sofie was right. She said to leave a “Dear John” Letter and she would take care of the rest.

I packed as much as I could and gave Sofie my bags just a few hours before. I told her I would only stay with until I found a place to live in the city but I wanted to look Nick in the eye when I told him it was over.

              I felt him behind me checking on his veggies. Again, he was satisfied. He had trained me well. I knew exactly how to please him, because, if I screwed up, I’d pay dearly. He scans the dining table looking for imperfections. Yet again, he doesn’t find any. I planned the perfect dinner.

It was now or never. My anxiety was building. I turn the stove off and pour the veggies in to a bowl. I place them in front of him. I retrieve the steaks and potatoes from the outside grill and serve him first as I always do. I sit and watch him take the first bite of the impeccable meal.

              “More wine?” I politely offer.

              “Please.” He watches me pour the right amount in to his goblet.

              “Nick. There is something I want to discuss with you.”

              He cocks his eyebrow and throws his fork down on his plate.  “Actually, I want to discuss something with you first. Do you honestly think that this dinner excuses your fucked up appearance? doesn’t. As a matter of fact, I don’t think you deserve to eat one of these delicious steaks. You are busting out of your outfit as it is.  It’s disgusting!”

              I choose my words carefully. “I am sorry I disappoint you, Nick.”

              “You are a fucking disappointment. Period.”

              His comment ignites the fire within me and I choose this moment to drop the bomb. “I’m leaving you.”

              He snickers, “Here we go. See Sabrina? You ruin everything. This beautiful meal is ruined by your fuckin’ mouth.” He mocks me by imitating my voice. “Nick. There is something I want to discuss with you. Why can’t you just shut your fuckin’ mouth?”

              “Right. My fucking mouth is ruining this meal? Really?” My voice drops. I lose momentum and become fearful but find it in me to push forward. “Nick, this is happening. I’m going. I don’t want this anymore. I deserve better. Goodbye.” I rise from the table and prepare to walk away from him forever.

              The blunt force makes me fall to ground. Warm liquid drips from the middle of the back of my head down my neck. My face is resting in the carpet. I feel Nick straddle my back as he pulls my hair to pick my head up from the floor. I try to comprehend what he is yelling in my ear but I am going in and out of consciousness. He turns my body over and he is now above me. His fingers grip my throat and my world goes black.


                            “Sabrina? Sabrina Jensen? Can you hear me, hun? You are a patient at the Havens Medical Center.” The nurse is checking the wires and IV flowing through my arms. I try to talk and she notices my struggle. “Your throat is bruised and sore from your injuries. You will experience some discomfort when you try to speak. If it is too much, I can give you a pen and pad.” I nod and wait for my writing tools.

              The nurse hands me the pen and pad and I begin to scribble. ‘Where is he?’

              “If you are speaking of Mr. Cartelino...he is in custody. It’s okay, Sabrina. You are safe here.”

              Although I am relieved, I am blown away that I am still living. Nick strikes me as the type to want to finish the job. Something stopped him. ‘What happened?’ I write.

              “You were lucky...or smart. Your neighbors called the fire department. Either you or Mr. Cartelino failed to shut off the grill before your accident. Whatever you had on the grill caught on fire while you were in the house. The fire fighters put out the fire first. When they were done, they entered your home...and..well...Mr. Cartelino was over top of you.”

              I write, ‘Thank you’ on my pad and attempt to smile. The nurse squeezes my hand giving me much needed comfort.

              ‘What now?’

              “We have been waiting for you to wake up. There are a few people who would like to speak with you, of course. But, Doctor Huminski won’t allow it until you are done resting. There is a police officer here waiting for you to file a formal complaint. You can do this with the help of your Domestic Violence liaison. Hopefully, you will be released from the hospital in a few days. Dr. Huminski will make that decision once he assesses your injuries.”

              My eyebrows crease with concern and anxiety. I have to file a formal complaint. I doubt it will do any good. I have never reported any of the violence before tonight. The truth is, he tried to kill me...multiple times.

              Again, the nurse takes my hand in hers in the attempt to calm me. “Sweetie, I’m not supposed to give my opinion or comment on what has landed you in this gosh darn hospital bed. But, I’m going to put my job on the line by saying this,” she pauses. “More often than not, I don’t have the opportunity to talk to an abused woman when they come in to the emergency room because they are too far gone to listen or they are dead. But, here you are. Alive. You’ll heal from your injuries.”

              The nurse is smiling and speaking to me as if I was one of her own. Then, suddenly her expression changes to something darker and determined. “Do what you can to protect yourself from this bastard. Press charges against the man who threw a plate at the back of your head that knocked you to the ground. Do not give in to the man who held you down as he attempted to kill you.” My eyes grow wider. She is speaking with such passion that I wager to think it is from experience. “Do not give in to the man who clamped his hands around your neck with such force you lost consciousness and left these bruises for everyone to see. Do you understand what I am saying to you, doll?”

              My face is soaked with tears. I understand perfectly well what she is saying to me. It clicks. Regardless of the punishment Nick receives, I have to do the right thing or at least make his life a little harder for all that he’s done to me. I have been dying for years now. It is my turn to live.



              Sofie pulls one of the boxes from my trunk and makes her way to the entrance of my new townhome. “I still say you could have hired someone to do this shit.” The box begins to tumble from her hands and she begins to mutter every expletive word in the dictionary under her breath as she struggles to regain control of the box.

              “I didn’t see the point. I have a few boxes volunteered,” I remind her.

              Sofie and the box finally make it to my front door. I struggle with the mechanics of the new lock while absorbing Sofie’s irritation. “What’s up with the damn lock?”

              I look at her with defeat, “If I knew what was up, I would be inside the house already, Sofie. I’m starting to regret you helping me with this move. Shut it!”

              The lock finally cooperates and we set our boxes down on the entrance floor. “Finally!” Sofie yells.

              “Yes! Finally! Will you stop bitching now?”

              “No! You have at least six more boxes out there, Bree. I’m hungry. I’m tired. And...I have swamp ass.”

              “Eww. Nice, Sof. Let’s get a few more in and we’ll take a break and order food.”

              Sofie peels herself from the floor and heads back out the door with me. “Ugh..fine.”


              “I’m not a whiner.”

              “Yes. You are.”

              “No. I’m not. This is hard labor!”

              Sofie reached in to the trunk. As I contemplated pushing her in and closing the trunk, I glance to the townhouse across from mine. That’s the first time I see his green eyes.





              As appealing as it is to watch two pretty girls lug boxes back and forth, I feel like a dick. I should offer to help. It’s cruel really. The boxes would be in the house by now if I did. The truth is I like watching them. I have a sweet view of the redhead’s ass from my perch.

              She glances to my window and catches me gawking. “Shit.” I yell for my roommate, Eric.

              Apparently, I woke him from his mid-afternoon nap because if looks could kill, I would be dead. “What the fuck, dude? I was sleeping.”

              “Get your shit on,” I reference to his shoes and jacket. “We are going over to help the new neighbors with their boxes.”

              He huffs and throws his arm at me like he is swatting at a bee. “Nah, man. I’m going back to bed.”

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