I wake up on the floor, stiff and sore. My arm reaches out to my side and I feel the rough carpet. I turn my head and flicker my eyes open. I’m alone. My dress is lying over me, covering my naked body. I rub my head and sit up, wincing at the shooting pain that bolts up my side. I pull the dress off me and gasp at the ugly bluish-purple bruise that mars my body, just below my left breast. That’s when the memory of last night hits me. The paint ball gun. Jamie shot me. He threatened to kill me. It was a joke. A sick and twisted joke.
When I stand, I grimace at what a mess my room is in. Pills and broken glass covers the carpet.
I shower, get dressed, have my breakfast and call my mum. I’m going home. I have to get away from Jamie. He is a psychopath. He pointed a gun at me and I actually thought he had it in him to end my life. If that didn’t set alarm bells ringing, I didn’t know what would.
“You look like shit,” says Ben, eying me up in the hallway.
“Thanks,” I raise an eyebrow.
“It sounded like things got pretty...wild last night, huh?” His eyebrows dance and he shows me a wide grin.
“You could say that,” I mumble and head out the door.
I see Nina in the car park when I’m waiting for a taxi. Her eyes trail up and down my body and she twirls her long, silky hair round her finger. She asks me if I want to go back to her place for some more girl-on-girl action and I decline the offer. As much fun as that night was...it was something tried and tested and to never be repeated. Plus, I feel like I have just run a marathon. Every muscle in my body aches. I am in no fit state to entertain or be entertained.
The train journey is quiet and lonely but every moment in my life which doesn’t contain Jamie feels that way so I try to enjoy it. How had I let him take over my life so fast? I sigh and rest my head against the window. My eyes snap shut and I try to hold back the tears. My life is so messed up. How had I not seen it until now? I knew the rumours about Jamie and I stayed with him. But if I knew they were true, I’d know what I was dealing with. We could work past it. But Jamie doesn’t want to work past it. He’s messed up and he likes it. He doesn’t want to change. If he did he would let people in and understand the real him. He’s so shrouded in mystery he is impossible to understand. He is beyond help.
There is no way I will truly be free of him. He won’t let me leave, I know it. He won’t let me go until he’s finished with me. He won’t like that fact that I have left him. I don’t think he knows yet. He hasn’t called. Maybe he’s taking some time to cool off. Maybe he’s aching as much as me and is lying low.
But will coming home be any better? Will Tony be there? I’m leaving one abusive relationship and entering another. I clasp my hands and hold them to my chest. Please let mum have dumped his ass.
Two hours later, I’m at my stop. I get off the train and head out of the station. Fear coils around my heart at what will be on the other side of my door. Mum had sounded so happy on the phone and said she was eagerly awaiting my arrival. Did that mean Tony wasn’t there and she was lonely like before? Or did she want me home for back up when he starts throwing plates or whatever at her head?
I suck in a breath when I stand before my door and wait a few seconds to collect myself before I knock. Seconds later, the door swings open and there’s my mum with a massive smile on her face. Her black eye has faded now but is still raised a little.
“I’m so happy you decided to stop by again, sweetie.” She steps out and wraps her arms around me. “And here was me thinking you didn’t care.”
With her arms around me, I feel so safe. Everything I tried to bottle up quickly spills out and I start to blubber. Tears form in my eyes and fall down my cheeks. Mum must feel my trembling body because she pulls away and looks into my eyes.
“Nora, is everything okay?”
I nod and suck in a breath. “I’ve just....missed you.”
She smiles and presses her hand to her chest. “Awh, sweetie, you only saw me the other week. And here I was thinking uni was going to change you. C’mon in, I’ll get the kettle on and we can curl up on the sofa and have a good long chat like we used to.”
I show her the biggest smile I can muster and step into the hallway. She shuts the door behind me and I shudder. That’s not going to keep Jamie out.