"You son of a bitch!" Shanna screamed, tears running down her cheeks and her anger boiling her blood.
"Back the hell up Shanna!" her husband Brent yelled back, a hulking figure in the dim light.
She couldn't. She knew the outcome of this, whether she was amicable or not it would be the same result.
"Fuck you!" she screamed back, her voice hoarse, her throat raw. "Let me in!"
She charged toward her front door and again, Brent refused to budge. He was bigger than she, and although she had bested him in the past, now was a unique situation.
"This is my house too you asshole. Let me in!"
"Get the fuck out and don't come back!" he roared, his face red with rage.
Not for the first time, she was afraid of him.
"I want my things." she said an octave lower. She noticed some of the neighbors peeking from their windows into the darkness.
"So help me God Shan, if you don't leave now, you're going to regret it."
"You cheated on me, and I'm the one being thrown out?" she questioned in disbelief.
"You are UN- fucking believable Brent!"
He shrugged as if to say, 'So?'
Brent Faith had been her high school sweetheart, the love of Shanna's life and now she had no idea who this man could even be. She stared at him, taking in his harsh features. The hair that was thinning and laced with shades of gray. The muscles, once defined and proud now sagging. The blue eyes she had once loved staring into, a dull flat color with nothing but contempt behind them.
This wasn't the man she had fallen in love with all those years ago; couldn't be.
She took a deep breath and tried to compose herself.
"Brent, I just want to get some of my things. I'll leave, but I want my stuff."
Brent shook his head and stood firm. Shanna tried to push past him, and knew it was a mistake the second she did it.
Brent grabbed her arm hard and she winced at the pain. He twisted her around and with a snarl backhanded her so hard, she flew down the concrete stairs leading off the front porch.
Dizzy and in pain, she lay in a heap on the ground sobbing.
"I told you to fucking leave." he bellowed, then slammed the door leaving her hurt and alone.
Shanna's face stung from the force of his blow and she could taste blood. Her back hurt like hell and her wrist was twisted at an odd angle and wracked with pain.
With as much strength as she could muster, she sat up and held her hand to her chest as she cried openly. She had nothing. No money, no clothes. He had taken it all.
Reaching into her jacket pocket, Shanna pulled out her cell phone and dialed.
"Hello?" a sleep laced voice answered on only the second ring.
"Superman, I need you." she sobbed into the phone.
"Where are you?" Zach Brooks immediately asked, with alarm in his voice.
She could tell he was already up and throwing clothes on.
"At home. Please hurry."
The line disconnected and she knew it would be only minutes before he arrived to retrieve her, again.
Shanna tried to get up but couldn't find the energy, so she sat right where she had landed, feeling sorry for herself. Of course none of the nosy neighbors had bothered to come out and see if she was okay. They were all as scared of Brent as she was. Nobody would dare even call the police in fear of retaliation.
Zach screeched to a halt in front of the house not five minutes later. He threw the car door open and ran to her.
"I'm going to kill that bastard!" he yelled once he saw what shape she was in.
"Superman, no. It's over." she said as he helped pull her to her feet.
"I mean it Shanna! You've been covering for his ass for too long!"
"Please Zach." she pleaded. She rarely ever used his first name and he knew when she did, it meant defeat.
He mostly carried her back to his car and put her in the passenger seat before he sped away form the curb. The ride was short, but he said nothing to her. She could see his white knuckle grip on the wheel and knew he was itching to go back and bash Brent's face in.
In reality she knew Zach could take Brent down. He was big, always was from the time they were kids.
The Brooks brothers were a force of nature and God help you if you pissed one of them off.
But they were adults now and Shanna always reminded Zach that if he hurt her husband, Brent would only take it out on her tenfold.
When they arrived at Zach's condo, he hauled her out of the car and in the door. Without being asked, he set her on the couch and proceeded to remove her jacket and shoes, then he left her to get some bandages.
"God damn it Shan." he muttered as he wiped the blood from her face. "He fucked you up good this time. What the hell happened?"
"He threw me out." she said, hanging her head.
His brown eyes searched hers, looking for some sign of a joke, but finding none.
"I caught him with... someone else."
Ina small town like theirs, every one knew everyone's business. It was the way things worked.
She didn't need to give him a last name. Recognition lit on his face the second the word passed her lips.
Missy Bentencort had been the school whore in high school. Apparently some things never change.
Zach shook his head and continued wiping her face.
Zach was a hell of a guy, and Shanna's best friend from the first time they'd met. He always took care of her and she once joked about how he was her superman. The nickname kind of stuck form there.
He and his younger brother Jase had always protected her, and the Brooks brothers were the best bodyguards to have.
Life had gone on and they had grown up, but Zach and Shanna still talked all the time. Jase had moved away and made a new life fighting professionally. They had both been her men of honor at hers and Brent's wedding.
"I won't let you go back to that Shan. I can't." he told her, not meeting her eyes as he wrapped her sore wrist.
"I won't." she said, but knew as well as he did that she had said these very words more than a few times before.
"I mean it. If I have to gag you and chain you in the basement, I will." he threatened.
"This is way too much. Brent is an abusive prick and you let him use you as a human punching bag.
When is enough, enough?"
Shanna started to cry again. Every word he spoke was the truth and she hated herself for it.
Brent had been smacking her around for years and she always believed him when he promised no more. She was one of the wives you see that always hopes her man will change and in the end they end up dead or in prison for murdering the son of a bitch.
"I promise superman. I won't go back. I feel like I'm going crazy and I can't take it anymore."
Zach gave her a curt nod, then his demeanor softened.
"Shan, you're like my sister. I can't watch you keep doing this. Black eyes, split lips. You know it would only be a matter of time before he killed you."
She nodded, not trusting herself to speak. Zach finished mending her outsides the best he knew how, then he gave her one of his t-shirts to sleep in. After a shower and a cup of tea, Shanna slid into Zach's guest bed, as so many times before and started drifting off quickly. Her sub conscious heard her phone ringing but by then it was too late to answer. She was already fast asleep.