Robin didn’t know where anyone ever got the idea that people see stars when their head is knocked around. Even boring stars would be more pleasing than what she usually saw. It was dark, swirling black holes threatening to swallow her whole. Brett stood above her and he was silent. She liked it better when he was still raging at her while she fought off the evil black holes because it gave her a way to ground herself. But silence made it hard to grasp all of her surroundings.
In the fog swimming through her head she tried to recall what she had said to set him off. It had to be that she ran her mouth and forced his hand. Brett could have shoved her against the wall or punched her in the stomach but he had chosen her face for one very specific reason. She was going out with her friends tonight and she would have to explain away the damage. It gave him a high knowing she would lie through her teeth to protect him and it gave her a high to know her friends and family knew she was an abused woman and that she wouldn’t admit it.
She managed to finally look up at him through her bangs after the world stopped spinning. Her piercing blue eyes met his defiantly. She was playing with fire by having the ovaries to look at him that way after he’d put her in her place. He knew it too but he only spit on her face and walked away. Robin let herself sink to her stomach on the floor and used her sleeve to wipe off the spit. Gross.
Later while she was at the bar with her friends she kept losing track of the conversation and realizing she was absently rubbing her slightly swollen jaw. It always swelled but it never shattered. She was a little disappointed that there were no other physical remnants of earlier that evening. No one could even see the little bit of puffiness that was there. But she wasn’t sure it would have mattered since she showed up for girls’ night last week with the blackest eye she’d gotten so far and nothing was said. She could see clearly in their faces when they recognized what it was and she could also clearly see when they decided to ignore it. Apparently they were done caring. I guess I need new friends, she thought and sighed.
Later when she got home earlier than he’d expected she found him sitting on the couch with a red eyes and a tear stained cheeks. She bit her lip to keep from grinning. This was a great part of their ritual as well. His sorry and anxiety over having let himself hurt her again. The best part of it was that the sadness he felt was real! It wasn’t an act and he really meant it when he would promise over and over to never do it again. He believed it, she did not.
The next morning she woke to his delicate kisses on her eyelids and the tender jaw. I’m guessing this time it’s chocolate chip pancakes and Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, she thought as she simply smiled up at him. He wrapped his arm around her middle and helped pull her up and led her down the stairs. Brett treated her like he’d broken every bone in her body instead of just her face. Robin was wrong. It was Dunkin Donuts coffee and their donuts but it was good all the same.
The sweetness had worn off by the next day and Robin was getting a little bored and lonely. Any time things were “normal” she would feel lonely. She wanted intensity and passion and she didn’t really care if it was good or bad passion. She thought maybe she should wait a few more days before she provoked him again so she wouldn’t end up giving him a heart attack because he attacked her again. But as she was bouncing down the stairs to the living room Brett came around the corner of the staircase and without thinking he slammed his hand into her sternum and she launched back and sideways to hit the wall. She gasped but no breath came or went. She blinked rapidly and tried not to panic while she waited for her wind to come back to her. He had growled something at her about getting out of the way and he had cursed. He only cursed when he was dangerous. Well I guess I’m not going to have to do much work to set him off at the moment, she smiled inwardly and turned to go back up the stairs.
Robin stood on the landing and looked around. The door was open but she could see the garage door was closed so he must just puttering around in there. She whirled to the kitchen and opened a cupboard door. She had been debating doing this for awhile and it seemed like a good time to try it. She looked up at th carefully stacked shot glasses he collected. There were dozens and he prized them all. However directly behind them stood an ancient toaster and she would tell him their other had shorted out. She reached up and felt for the cord and then she yanked it. The shot glasses rained down as she hopped out of the way. Robin looked up when the crashing was done and saw she had managed to shove every last one of them off the shelf and to the floor. She glanced at the door again trying to gauge how much time she had and decided not to chance it. She quickly knelt down in the glass immediately feeling some of the fragments sinking into her soft flesh. The realization hit her that depending what he did to her this glass would probably make it worse if she landed on it or was drug through it. But she shrugged away the thought and twisted her body a little get glass into different places on her body.
A moment later the door opened and Robin and Brett both froze staring at one another. His eyes were growing dark and she could see his jaw tensing. She was holding her breath as the very real terror started to fill her stomach and chest. Although she sometimes provoked this it still filled her with dread every time. The thought what if he kills me this time, was always ringing clear in her mind. Brett was to her in 3 hard steps and one of his boots stopped directly on her hand. She yelped as the glass sliced into her palm and she felt the warm blood start to seep out around her hand. Brett grabbed her neck and squeezed. He pushed her head back against the cabinet below the sink. Looking up into his face she saw his cheeks and forehead red with anger and his green eyes, full of rage, glaring down at her. Robin moved her bloody hand and was about to start grabbing at his hands around her neck but her hand knocked a piece of glass against another piece. Brett looked down when the glass clinked; a large portion of the glass had broken and landed less than an arm’s length away. He looked at it for two dreadful seconds before he flicked his gaze back to hers and clenched his teeth. Robin’s eyes widened as she realized exactly what he was thinking and she started to struggle to get out from within his vice grip on her throat. But it was too late. Brett jerked his arm and with all his strength brought her head down squarely onto that large, jagged piece of glass.
Stars or swirly black holes would have definitely been better than the unending darkness that overcame her. But Robin didn’t think that. She didn’t think anything.