Short Story Fiction: When Love Hurts


Just as light crept through the window letting in the gray morning dawn, Laura stumbled from her bed, careful not to wake the sleeping man beside her.

"Some man," she thought sadly to herself, rubbing at the sore spots on her jaw and arms where he'd hit her.

For an instant, while she dragged herself into the bathroom to survey the damage, Laura wished it was all over. She would prefer death to this kind of life. Looking into the mirror, she surveyed the damage his angry hands had done to her once perfect face and a quiet sob escaped her.

Last night replayed in her mind but there was no surprise in the turn of events. It was all basically the same old story. She'd been out looking for piano teaching jobs while her mother watched the baby. She'd landed a few good students and had been actually thrilled to have some positive news to tell Brent.

In her happiness to celebrate her steps forward, she'd arrived home later than she'd planned only to find him waiting for her. Waiting for her would be a kind way to describe the scathing stare she met on entering the small rooms where they were staying.

They couldn't afford anything more so had rented several rooms in an elderly woman’s lovely home in downtown Sacramento. Laura was ashamed that she had brought so much violence into such a lovely person's life.

She knew that Eloise knew what was going on in the upstairs rooms. She was so embarrassed she found it difficult to meet the kind old woman’s eyes each day. No amount of makeup could disguise the bruises Laura had gotten used to. Nothing could dispel the constant turmoil Laura lived in. No matter what she tried to pretend, her life was a living hell.

Plastering a smile on her face and trying to push down the fear that this man evoked, the man she had once loved, Laura had rushed to Brent excitedly explaining, "I got several new students today, honey....isn't that great?Now we won’t be so strapped for money. We can maybe afford to move out and get our own place."

Brent's answer to her good news had been a hard slap to her face. As she cringed and tried to get away from him, he'd grabbed her by the arms hard enough to leave marks and spat into her face hatefully, "You don't fool me, you whore. I know where you were and who you were with. As soon as you're out of my sight you can't wait to run off to entice other men."

As she felt the blows that followed, Laura let herself float away to a place where there was no pain and where there was no Brent. It would never be any different, she thought glumly to herself. No matter how hard she tried or what she tried to explain to this beast of a man who was 20 years her senior, he thought what he wanted to think and he did what he wanted to do. No matter what she did or how hard she tried, there was no happiness in this life she was living with this man who was so filled with rage and hate.

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Source


In the early morning light, nudging herself back to the present, dabbing at her cheek with a cool washcloth in front of the mirror, Laura surveyed the damage. It definitely wasn't going to be easy to disguise the bruises but sadly she'd had a lot of practice. She would need to wear a long sleeved shirt and slacks today to hide the other marks, perhaps even a turtleneck. Sinking down on the closed seat of the toilet, Laura put her head in her hands and finally gave in to the grief she had been holding back since last night.

The cooing and babbling of the baby jolted her back to reality. Isabel must be waking up. She slept in the room across the hall with her mother and for that, Laura was grateful. So far, she'd managed to keep the baby away from Brent as much as possible but at 6 months, that was becoming increasingly difficult. Isabel was becoming curious and wanted to be held one minute and then to explore everything the next.

She was such a sweet baby although the poor thing had never been right since the day Laura brought her home. She had been prone to bouts of severe colic and could never seem to settle down to sleep.

"Small wonder,” thought Laura bitterly to herself. "Who could sleep in this world?"

Inwardly she surmised she had transmitted her fears and anxiety to her baby and for that she could never quite forgive herself.

Shaking off her guilt and trying to start a new day one more time, Laura wrapped her robe tighter around herself and headed across the hall.

As she stepped from the bathroom into her and Brent's room, she heard his snarl, "You'd better keep that bastard brat quiet if you know what’s good for you."

Laura shuddered and hurried across the hall. She gave her quick double knock signal and her mother Anna opened the door immediately. They had long ago agreed that Anna would keep the door locked at all times with the baby safely behind it whenever Brent was around. Neither of them trusted him as far as they could see him and both knew very well the violence he was capable of.

"Oh my dear God, Laura. Just look at your beautiful face," Anna said as she gently touched Laura’s cheek. "How bad was it this time?"

Anna was becoming angrier by the day at the abuse Brent was capable of and as much as she wanted to keep baby Isabel safe, she had to do something to help her daughter get away from this horrible man.

"I'll survive, mama," Laura muttered, hurrying to the tiny crib where Isabel stood smiling and raising her arms to be cuddled.

"Oh my baby girl," she said as she grabbed her up and hugged her into herself. Dissolving into tears, she wept as she held her precious baby close.

"What have I done, mama? How could I have been so foolish as to think he loved me?"

"Hush now, Laura. You'll upset the poor child again. She can barely eat without getting sick or sleep more than a few hours before the colic starts again. You're not only making yourself sick, but you're making your baby sick as well. Something has got to be done about this, Laura!"

"I know, mama, I know. It's not like I haven't tried!"

She recalled bitterly how when she'd found out she was pregnant, she'd called her father from where she was living in Seattle to beg him to let her come home to Oregon. Brent had seemed so charming and so "stable" when she'd first met him. Too bad she hadn't been able to see through his lies and realize that everything he had told her about getting her a musician job on a cruise ship was a fabrication.

In her naivetee, she'd been drawn in by his "maturity" and his smooth talking. He'd dressed well and had exuded so much confidence that she couldn't help but think he was the answer to all of her problems.

Laura had been on her own since she was 20. She'd moved about the Northwest after she left her small hometown of Ashland, Oregon. She'd wanted a taste of freedom and to make her own way. Her father had left her and her mother several years before, leaving behind the burden of caring for Anna. Prone to periods of mental illness, her mother’s care had fallen to Laura while she was in high school.

She’d endured all the mood swings and the depressions, the hearing voices and the strange outbursts that took her mother periodically. When they'd been on the brink of losing their home, that had been the deciding point. Laura had made up her mind then and there that she needed to take care of herself and move on, to try and carve out a life for herself. She'd hoped to return someday and take care of her mother but when she'd left, Laura saw circumstances pointing in the direction that Anna was headed for an asylum.

She had felt trapped by circumstances and without any help from anyone in trying to remedy the situation, she'd decided that self-preservation was her only choice.

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"How things change," she thought bitterly to herself now.

Her mother had somehow stayed out of the asylum but hadn’t had an easy time of it. With no support from her ex-husband and still devastated by him leaving her, she had rented a small place and had become a fortune teller. She’d also picked up odd jobs, doing laundry and cleaning for people in town. With all that, she wasn’t making a mint but she was surviving.

Laura’s father had remarried and lived in Klamath Falls with his new wife. It had been hard for Laura to walk away from her mother and now she asked herself daily if saving herself had really turned out the way she had thought. She had landed herself in a situation far worse than any she had faced with her parents.

Meeting Brent had been a turning point in Laura's life, or so she had thought. She had been at the crossroads of giving up her ideal of trying to make it on her own. She was struggling and struggling badly. She rarely had enough to eat. She was working 2 jobs and having a terrible time trying to get the musician jobs she so desperately wanted. The only gigs that she could get were playing in bars every night where the stench of cigarette smoke made her physically ill and the stench of old booze reminded her of her own drunken father.

Answering an ad in the paper one day for a pianist on a cruise ship, Laura had instantly fallen for the lines that Brent threw her. He promised fame and fortune but added to that, being so much older, he made her feel protected, wanted, and so very safe. As she reminisced on their meeting now, she couldn't bring the man she had fallen for into the picture. All that remained was the man she now hated. She could not reconcile the two as hard as she tried.

Within several days of meeting Brent, Laura had easily gone into his bed. When she'd asked if he had been married, he'd steadfastly denied it and told her he’d been just waiting for her all his life. He promised to take care of her and love her forever. On those promises, she gave herself up to love, not thinking once about the consequences.

Two months later, when Laura found herself pregnant with Brent's child, she was terrified. Not long after they'd started seeing each other, little by little, his violence had begun to leak out. It started in little ways as small jealousies, gradually snowballing until she saw the true evil that lay beneath the veneer. That's when she'd decided to call her papa and beg him to let her come home to raise her child. She still remembered with tears in her eyes how he had cast her off.

"Laura, you did this to yourself. You can't come here with a baby in your belly. What in God's name will the neighbors think? Girl, you've made your bed, now lie in it."

And with that, he'd hung up the phone on her. She could still remember the hurt she'd felt, still feel the cold receiver pressed to her ear as she silently wept. He hadn't even cared that Brent was beating her.

Weeks went by and the beatings and verbal abuse increased. It didn't seem to matter that Laura was carrying his child. As much as she begged him to leave her alone and please not hurt the baby, he seemed to enjoy hurting her even more.

Of course, he claimed that the reason he was beating her was because the baby wasn't truly his anyway. How could it be? She was a whore and a slut and had probably slept with at least ten other men who could easily be the baby's father. She deserved what she got and maybe some day she'd realize how kind he'd been to her, how he'd given her everything only to be betrayed.

The violence made moving around frequently a necessity. Any time Brent felt that people were starting to pity Laura, he would announce quickly that they were moving on. He would disappear for hours at a time during the day under the pretense that he was out making a living selling musical instruments. However, Laura never saw a dime of what he was claiming to be making and never saw any evidence that they were getting anywhere. She didn't even know where he went or who he was carrying on business with.

They were barely scraping by and she was hardly getting enough food to eat for herself let alone her growing baby. By the time she began to show, however, people had a habit of showing up at the door with some "extra" food that they just couldn't use and wanted her to have. She would quickly gorge herself on it and send the dishes away with the good Samaritans. It never would do for Brent to think other people cared for her.

Saving up some spare change that she'd found in Brent's trousers while ironing them, when she was about 8 months along, Laura hurried down to the corner phone booth and called to check on her mother. Surprisingly, Anna answered and sounded completely lucid.

Laura poured out her heart to her mother and begged for help. She admitted that she was at the end of her wits and didn't know if she could survive. They talked for a while and Anna decided matters for them both. Anna would come to live with them, if nothing else, just to protect Laura and the coming baby.

Although Laura wasn't sure she could cope with having her mother sharing her home again, she felt she really had little choice. Finally deciding it would be better for Laura and her baby and quite possibly her mother in the long run as it might keep her from being institutionalized one day, Laura agreed to meet her at the bus station the day after.

Telling Brent that her mother was coming had provoked yet another violent incident. Laura had tried to tell him outside on the porch of Eloise's house thinking that perhaps she could get away with making the announcement and force Brent into appearing to be pleased. While he gave all the outward appearances of being happy about it, when they closed the door to their room that night, he whirled on her and slammed her back against the wooden door.

"How dare you blindside me with this, you bitch. Do you think it will be so easy for you to get away with your tricks with your lunatic mother here?"

The blow that she had been hoping to avoid hit her square in the face and as he grabbed her and spun her around, forcing her down onto the bed and flopping on top of her, hitting her in the stomach with his knee, she prayed it would end.

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Life had a way of marching on no matter what misery surrounded you. Anna came to stay with them and Laura had to admit she was a fierce protector. She took it upon herself to guard Laura at every turn. Though she was a short, plump Danish woman in her 60's, she had no trouble at all going toe to toe with Brent when he started in on his rages.

One night, she had even grabbed a broom and stood prepared to hit him with it when he had tried to take a swing at Laura who was in her 9th month and just days before she went into labor.

"You'll keep away from my girl if you know what's good for you, you filthy swine," she’d sneered.

Unbelievably, Brent had turned on his heel and slammed out of the house.

So now they were four. Anna had been staying with them ever since and after Isabel was born, and for the most part, Anna actually seemed more stable. There were some periods where she would talk to imaginary people or see things that weren't really there but for the most part, the baby was now her lifeline to reality.

She loved little Isabel with a love that Laura had never seen herself growing up. Of course, Laura had been a late life surprise for her mother and father, born in a time when her parents were in the Great Depression. She’d been born into a situation where love had long ago died between them. Was it any wonder Laura had sought the comfort of a man to heal her own broken life?

Snapping back to reality and the present, Laura heard her mother ask sharply "Laura, do you hear me? What are you going to do about that horrid man? We have to get out of here! I have some money saved up but we will have to be clever about how and when we leave. I'm thinking we should go south to San Diego where your brother lives and perhaps distance will give us peace."

Laura sighed to herself. She had tried more than once to escape Brent. She had enlisted the help of several previous landlords, begging them for money to get away before Anna had come. Every time, Brent had found out about it and beaten her worse than ever for the betrayal.

She had even gotten the name of a moving company when she thought she might be able to pull it off but he had come back early that day and caught her in the act of packing up her meager possessions.

Lost in her thoughts, Laura didn't hear the footsteps across the hall coming towards her mother's door. In a fresh rage, Brent threw wide the door that they'd forgotten to bolt and came barging into the room. He went straight for Laura and slapped her hard across the face.

"Where's coffee and breakfast? What are you doing over here tending to this bastard child?" he bellowed.

Laura flinched and recoiled from the slap but not before she had pushed Isabel into Anna's arms who was there ready to grab her up safely. Laura tried to speak and scurry towards the door, drawing him away from little Isabel but he seemed to sense her weakness and reached out for the baby Anna had been protecting.

"Well, well, well, what do we have here but the little bastard child. Let me see if I can make you scream, little girl," he leered and with that, began dangling the baby upside down and terrorizing little Isabel.

The little bit of time that Isabel had been around Brent, she had formed a definite dislike for the man. Call it a sixth sense but she knew evil when she came close to it. She would inevitably start to cry and then to scream until Anna or Laura had her back safe in their arms and away from Brent. Perhaps that was why Brent hated the child so much. He couldn't stand that she loathed him as much as he loathed her.

Today was no exception. Isabel began to shriek at the top of her lungs wanting her mother or her grandmother. Laura was begging him to give her back the baby and Anna was circling him trying to figure out a way to safely grab at poor frightened Isabel.

With a roar, Brent threw little Isabel onto the armchair. In shock, Laura and Anna watched as she bounced once and then tumbled face down onto the floor. Turning on his heel, Brent slammed out of the tiny bedroom.

Anna was down the stairs in a flash. As Laura bent to pick up the sobbing Isabel and see if she was hurt, Anna ran to Eloise's private rooms and banged on the door.

"Must use the phone, must use the phone," she cried over and over until Eloise opened the door looking startled.

"I'm calling the police," Anna declared and Eloise, speechless, pointed towards the phone.

"It's about time," she said and patted Anna soothingly on the back.

Without hesitation, Anna dialed the number as Eloise recited it to her. In minutes, before Brent had a chance to leave, the police car drove up into the driveway. Taking a look at Laura's face, they both winced but Anna grabbed little Isabel who had finally calmed in Laura's arms and pushed her at the officers.

"Do you see this lump here on her little forehead?" she asked with all the fire of a living, breathing dragon.

"HE did this to her, Laura's man Brent. He threw this innocent child down and could have broken her neck. He has to be stopped."

The officers found Brent in the rooms they shared and after some deliberation, listening to Brent fabricate his version of this domestic scene and how it had all been an "accident", the police officers gently told Brent that he needed to come down to the station. They patiently explained to him that since Laura had bruises on her face and there was a witness that said he had caused the injury to Isabel, he would be going to jail. Charged with a domestic altercation, Brent shamefully was led out of the house in handcuffs and put into the back seat of the cruiser.

The car had no more than left the driveway than Anna turned to Laura and said quickly, "Start packing. I have no idea how long they can or will hold him but I can guarantee you he'll be the devil himself when he comes back here. Call that moving company and see if they can get over here 5 minutes ago. Then let’s get to the bus depot."

With Eloise's help, they had everything packed and the baby ready in a few hours. The movers had come and gathered up the few things that Laura had that she wanted to take. They had given the movers her brother Blaine's address and called quickly to explain the situation to him. With that, they were on their way.

With a quick fortifying hug from Eloise, a sack full of food and some dollars pushed into their hands for good measure, they set off for the bus station with what they could carry with them and little Isabel.

When Brent came back a few days later to Eloise's rooms, he found them pretty much devoid of anything except his own things. He was instantly furious and interrogated Eloise to within an inch of her life. However, she stood up to him, cane in hand, and told him that if he made any trouble, she'd be calling the police back. He reluctantly sauntered back to his rooms after she told him she'd like him out of the rooms by that evening.

Slamming the door behind him, stringing together several colorful curses about women in general and their treachery, he spied something propped against the wall behind the closet door. Curious, he went towards it and much to his satisfaction saw the moving company's tag hanging from the ironing board.

"What could be better than for you to leave me a clue, you witless piece of dirt?" he laughed to himself.

"You just handed me your address on a platter you stupid fool and the moving company to boot".

Mentally patting himself on the back for his cleverness and good fortune, Brent turned to the closet and started to pack his own things. He was going to southern California.

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Days later, Anna and Isabel played in the rooms that they had rented. It had been a frightening experience running away and starting over not knowing if Blaine would be happy to see them or even want to help them. But as it had turned out, Blaine had known a bit about the situation from his father and had been disappointed in his old man for not wanting to help his own daughter. She had been such a good girl all of her life and to have her settle for this kind of relationship had been eating away at him. He was glad to be of help and all he wanted for her and the baby was to be safe.

He'd helped them get set up in some affordable rooms and true to form Laura had been out and about already trying to secure some music students. She didn't want charity and he could tell that all she wanted was to somehow raise this baby and get on with her life.

Unmarried wasn't fashionable in 1953 but he had to hand it to his sister; she had more spunk and pluck that many men he knew.

Hurrying home but happier than she'd been in a long time, carrying the bag of groceries, Laura felt like a great weight had been lifted off her. She was free. At least she had someone else to protect her and who would make sure her child was raised well. Blaine had 2 children of his own and she knew how much he loved his kids. She had no doubt that she would do much better here nearer to him and his wife.

She'd get her life together somehow and things would turn out okay. She just knew that this was the turning point for her and for Anna too.

As she stepped into her room to put away the food, she could hear the baby and Anna across the hall in their room. It sounded like Isabel was in the tub and Anna was getting her ready for bed.

"Just enough time to get dinner ready," Laura thought, flipping on the light. The groceries tumbled to the floor and hand to her mouth, Laura let out a scream. There sitting on the bed was Brent, glaring at her.

"Thought you could escape me did you, bitch? Well, obviously you didn't think too clearly leaving your little trail behind," he said handing her the tag from the ironing board.

"Do you know how much time and money you cost me with this newest little stunt of yours?" he said advancing on her and raising his fist.

"This time I know what makes you give in and I know what's important to you; that little bastard baby of yours."

Laura grabbed at him, frantic, begging, pleading, "No Brent, please. Please don't hurt her! She's all that I have. I'll do anything for you, go anywhere you want but don't hurt my baby again."

Smiling the satisfied smile of the cruel man that he was, Brent simply sat down and patted the bed bedside him.

"You know what I want and how I like it, doll so let's negotiate about the safety of that little brat you're so fond of, huh?"

Stumbling from the bed the next morning, Laura went into the bathroom to survey the damage. He hadn't hit her as hard as other times but there was still a bruise she'd have a hard time covering up.

Heart heavy and weary to the bottom of her soul, she eased herself down onto the side of the tub to gather her wits about her. What had she done?

Again, Laura wished she could end it all and just leave her baby with Blaine and Anna for safe keeping. She wept into her hands knowing the truth. She wouldn't be able to leave. She didn't have a clue how any of this would ever turn around or how she could dig herself out of this gaping dark hole.

She also knew as sure as she was sitting here that she had just created another life with this monster and that now she would have two children to protect one day soon.

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Blaine was beside himself. After all that he and Anna had tried to do to free Laura from the clutches of this wife beater and God knew what else, here he was again having followed her to San Diego. He was so repulsed by the man that he could barely stand to be in the same room with him, let alone let him get close to his family.

He kept thinking though how horrific this must be for his sister. She was starting to withdraw more and more and he feared that one day it would just be too much for her and they'd lose her altogether. And as fierce a protector as she was, Anna could not possibly keep up her positive mental attitude as long as there was this kind of potential for violence hanging in the air.

At least the brute had apparently quit hitting her as much. From what Blaine could discern by checking up on Laura at least several times per week, it seemed that his abuse had turned to a more visceral or emotional level than physical.

"Amazing," Blaine thought to himself not for the first time. "The coward is probably afraid of what I'll do to him if he leaves marks on her again."

Brent had been somewhat shocked to find that Blaine and his wife, Kathy lived only minutes away from Laura and Anna. He hadn't guessed that they'd run here for safety and protection from her brother until it was too late. Brent had always hated to fight with men as it just wasn't his style. He liked hitting other people but he certainly didn't like being hit back. And especially by a guy built like Blaine.

Things weren't going well for Brent. He was still trying to run his scams but it seemed like he'd lost his touch lately. It was probably Laura's fault of course because she just didn't understand him. If he had a more supportive woman beside him, he'd be in the money by now. Instead, he had a whining, sniveling tramp to live with who did nothing but tie him down. Add to that the bastard baby she had had while still with him and her crazy mother.....his hands clenched just thinking about what he'd love to do to her to beat some sense into her.

Figuring the best way to go forward with his plans to rid his sister of this abusive relationship, Blaine had decided to try buddy tactics on Brent. Being on his good side took some doing as Brent was naturally distrustful of everyone. Something wasn't right though and every instinct Blaine possessed was screaming something criminal. Working in a cop shop didn't hurt and Blaine began a little investigation of his own into his sister's nightmare.

Not wanting to put more worry on Laura, Blaine began to subtly ask questions here and there. Where they had previously lived, what she'd previously known about Brent. It didn't matter that most of it was lies. Blaine had figured as much out from the first meeting between the two men. There was just something shifty and off-balance with the guy. He shook his head sadly that Laura hadn't seen it in time.

Blaine put out some feelers in different cities by phone. Things weren't adding up between what Brent said he did for a living and the fact that they seemed to be perpetually without any money. Even the money that Laura made teaching quickly disappeared with Brent staunchly maintaining it was all going towards "living expenses." For what they were supposedly making, Laura should have been living a much better lifestyle than she and Anna were currently living so Blaine kept digging.

Finally one Thursday afternoon, weeks later, he got the break he was hoping for. He got a call back from a friend who worked in the Walla Walla Police Department. To say that he'd hit the jackpot would be an understatement. He quickly took down all the pertinent info and made another call, this time to the FBI. Then he sat back and thought through the best way to put his plan into action.

Brent was completely surprised when he got the call the next day from Blaine asking him to meet at the local bar for a beer. What the heck had gotten into the guy? He knew Blaine couldn't stand the sight of him though he kept trying to pretend otherwise. He knew that they were diametrically opposed when it came to their views on women and relationships. Still, he couldn't help but wonder if maybe old Blaine needed some help with his wife. Maybe he'd seen the light and needed Brent to give him some tips.

"Wouldn't that be something," he thought smugly to himself. Just the thought of Blaine getting a clue and smacking his bossy wife into line for a change gave Brent an ear-to-ear smile. Maybe then he'd let up on Brent and Laura would get the punishment she'd been skating out of for weeks now. Even though she cowered whenever he was around and still was a witless wonder, Brent missed being able to make her pay for her stupidity in running from him. He carried a grudge and the debt was still owing.

Whistling to himself as he strode down the street to the bar Blaine had designated as their meeting place, feeling lighter than he had in months, Brent opened the door and stepped into the darkly lit tavern. Squinting while his eyes adjusted to the dimness, he finally made out Blaine sitting in a booth over in the corner.

Striding across the room reeking of confidence, Brent thrust his hand out to greet Blaine. "How goes it, brother? I'm really very happy that you finally came to your senses and asked for this little meeting."

Standing to shake Brent's hand quickly and curtly and then resuming his seat once Brent slid into the booth, Blaine calmly answered, "Ah yes, Brent, this meeting is long overdue."

As two men silently slipped off the stools at the bar next to the booth, Blaine smoothly added, "I'd like you to meet a couple of my friends. This is sheriff Dylan Wayne from Walla Walla and this gentleman here is Pete Sykes from the FBI."

Brent's mouth gaped open in astonishment as he simultaneously tried to bolt from the booth. Before he even got to his feet, the FBI agent was pushing him none too gently back into the booth.

"I'd have a seat there son if I was you and keep your hands on the table at all times. You have the right to remain silent...."

Several hours later, after the dust had settled and Brent had been cuffed and taken off to the local jail, Blaine knocked on the door to his sister's rooms. Laura answered. Blaine was struck by how pale and tired she looked. Was this the robust girl who'd been his tomboy sister? She hardly looked like the same person these days.

Pushing the door wide and striding into the room, Blaine set the bag of groceries he'd brought on the counter, grabbed a beer for himself and quickly seated himself at the kitchen table.

"I've got news, Laura, but you'd best sit down for this."

Shaking her head, and if it was possible, Laura paled even more and put her hand to her mouth as if to stifle a sob or perhaps a scream. She hadn't been herself lately and Blaine couldn't quite put his finger on what was bothering her. That is other than the usual trauma of living with an abusive husband.

Cutting right to the chase Blaine quickly blurted out, "Brent's been arrested and he's in custody. This time he won't be coming back. At least not for a very long time, Laura. He's been arrested on trafficking between states. The FBI's been after him on several counts of accepting money for musical instruments and not delivering them but instead taking them across state lines where he pulled the scam all over again. In fact, they can't even find the instruments that he supposedly has been selling to these people."

Seeing her eyes grow wider still and her face registering total shock, he continued before he chickened out.

"It seems that's not all, Laura. The guy was married. With a capital M. He was married to a Brenda Bishop three years ago in Walla Walla and her father has been trying to find the loser ever since. It seems he beat her too and left her pregnant. Her old man vowed to hunt him down and make him pay. But add to that, he was married to another woman, a Margaret Thomas, six years before that, who he also beat and who he left with three children."

Dropping into the chair opposite Blaine she just stared.

"What in God's name are you saying, Blaine?"

"Well, honey, it seems your common-law husband for lack of a better word is going away to the state penitentiary for a few years on charges of bigamy and also trafficking across state lines. All in all, I'd say it's a cause for celebration since we're rid of him."

"Oh my God, Blaine. That's why he never wanted to marry me."

Laura didn't know if she should laugh or cry or do both at the same time. All she knew was that she was free. Free in a sense that she hadn't been in several years now, free of this violent creature who called himself a man. No matter what the stigma, no matter what the future would bring, she would be forever free and no longer having to live her life in fear. She could raise her head and start a new life again.

Jumping from the chair, Laura embraced her brother, hugging him as hard as she could. When she quietly explained to him that she was pregnant again, he felt a renewed pang of sorrow for what her life had become. But he also knew that going forward, it was going to be okay.

Laura felt that her life was taking a turn finally for the better. She now had family and a future whereas before she had had none. She was going to make it and she had Blaine to thank for helping her rid herself of Brent. She was sure he eventually would have probably killed her or her children. She had been so despondent of late realizing she was in fact pregnant again, not seeing how she could continue living and putting her children in such jeopardy.

Realizing what was to be and that the future held many obstacles, Blaine and Laura sat together at the kitchen table planning Laura's new future.

They eventually brought over Isabel and Anna to rejoice in their good fortune. There were no guarantees that the nightmare was completely behind them but at least for a time even if the future might be an upward climb, happiness and peace of mind seemed achievable.

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Comments 20 comments

chelseacharleston profile image

chelseacharleston 4 years ago

It always amazes me how much people have tucked away in their heads, and brilliant fiction writers are. Good show :)


akirchner profile image

akirchner 4 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thanks for the entire read, Sharyn~ Alas I wish my mom's story had had an entirely happy ending but at least this guy wasn't part of my life growing up!


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Sharyn's Slant 4 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

Hello AK,

This great story kept my attention all the way through. I typically would have stopped reading about half way through if it didn't (just being honest). So, that means this was great and made me want more. I was glad to hear it had a somewhat happy ending.

Sharyn


htodd profile image

htodd 4 years ago from United States

Thanks for the great post..Nice


akirchner profile image

akirchner 4 years ago from Central Oregon Author

I agree, Hanna - abuse on any level is just that, abuse. SO glad someone took the opportunity to throw your ex out~!!

So sorry for your unfortunate life with an abuser as well. It is not something I would wish on anyone. Knowledge though in this case definitely is power and sounds like you know what happened and took steps to eradicate it from your life. Good for you!!!

Thanks as always for your support and good to see you.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 4 years ago from London, UK

Brilliant writing. You made a very good point which most do not belief or accept for a ling time. You said once an abuser always an abuser. Now, looking back I agree with you. But when you are in that situation you always think they change and they tell you so convincingly that they will. My ex did not hit me because he knew I would call the police but he done psychologically which is just as bad. Now, after our divorce I didn't hear or see anything of him for five years. Then he turned up again and same old promises and eventually came out with it that he wanted to move back in. He still knocks on my door from time to time. Most properly somebody else threw him out. A bit quicker than me. Take car Audrey and all the best.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 4 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thanks for stopping by, SuzieCat7 - I do what I can~ Appreciate the vote up!


suziecat7 profile image

suziecat7 4 years ago from Asheville, NC

Good stuff - I never realized you were so good at telling tales. It's easy to relate to Laura - you've made her so real. Rated up!


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akirchner 4 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thank you for stopping by, Eiddwen and for your kind comment as always~


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

Brilliant mar,you do really have the gift of writing a great hub and also to breathe life into it.

Take care my dear friend.

Eiddwen.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 4 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Amen, Crewman6, amen to that~ He would be the guy to have on your side!


Crewman6 profile image

Crewman6 4 years ago

What a powerful tale. Even while cringing, I couldn't stop reading. We all are a lot more fragile than we'd like to believe. Everybody needs a 'Blaine' in their lives.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 4 years ago from Central Oregon Author

K9keystrokes - Thank you so much for your kind comment and for your insightful statement. Indeed it is true!

I actually did a lot of research once upon a time into my biological father who this story was based on. I made a comment on researching prison records that "at least he wasn't in prison for murder" just as a kind of smarty pants remark because I was stressed I think. The person on the line snapped to attention and gave me a talking to - rightly so!!

I quickly ammended my little speech and told him that I was flabbergasted that I of all people could be so stupid as to think that domestic abuse wasn't just as cruel or insensitive as heinous crimes and totally agree with you.

Also shockingly in my opinion, with all the programs in place and all the awareness about domestic violence, it still continues to the present day. It goes to show we have to be ever vigilant that we are paying attention to what is right in front of our noses!

Thanks again for stopping by~ Audrey


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 4 years ago from Northern, California

Powerful short story Audry. I really liked her brother! It's a terrible thing domestic violence. Until recent years it was so deeply hidden behind the prison walls as a private issue full of too much tolerance by law enforcement. It is those brave souls who have lived it and freed themselves of the abuse that have lead the way for modern women's groups to form and help the abused take back their lives (with the help of a few good hearted souls). The story is gripping and eye opening to say the least. Strongly written, I could not put down this really great read.

HubHugs~

K9


akirchner profile image

akirchner 4 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Indeed, Gail - onward and upward is my motto. There are so many positive things to write about but sometimes it helps to look at the not so positive just as long as it stays in perspective.

Fortunately for me over these long years, I have learned what I can do about certain things and what I can't but I do believe with all my heart that we should all stand up for abuse (and stand up for cancer while we're about it)~


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina

Excellent points and you could write a whole other hub about what you've touched on here. For now, though, I'm glad you're going to get some much needed rest and will be recharging your energy in a healthy way.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 4 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Ah yes, Gail - where are the buttons chilling and frightening when you need them? I could have used a few of those buttons.

I hesitated to write this one but needed to for my own benefit I think. Especially back in the 1950's and 1960's, it was a bit of a different world in that you couldn't get the help that you needed for so many things.

Definitely agree with you - once an abuser always an abuser....they just generally go on to find some other victim and they really don't care what sex, age, etc. The sad part though that is the worst for me is that the abuser has to have an 'abusee' when it comes to adults and the person has to fit certain specific characteristics. Guarding against being a victim I guess means people in general need to have strong self-worth values but oftentimes because of their background, they don't and that's how THEY fall victim to the abuser.

A whole hub could be launched about that too~ Maybe another day as this one was very draining personally for me to write. Thanks so much for going along for the 'evil ride'.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina

Hi Audrey,

Great read about an important topic. Unfortunately there are far too many Brents in the world and your writing was a chilling description of why it's so hard to break away from such a man- attempts to leave most often lead to increased violence and fear and a woman's chances of being killed are actually highest when she's attempting to get away from her abuser.

Also, many men who abuse their girlfriends and/or wives do go on to abuse their children.

Voted this up and interesting, though chilling and terrifying would more appropriately fit.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 4 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Barb - Thanks so much for the read. I'll give you this much...it is based on a true story and there is another story of mine that applies as well.

Unfortunately, it was in the 1950's and so times were different then. The miracle is that Laura got away at all.

Thanks again for stopping in!


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WannaB Writer 4 years ago from Templeton, CA

Wow! I couldn't stop reading. Let's hope the judge and jury will actually put the loser away. You never can tell these days. Maybe you should write a sequel about the trial. I suppose Laura would have to testify to part of it. See how caught up I am in all this? Great read. Voted up and interesting, since the others dont really fit this kind of story.

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