RUN AWAY BY AKINLADE ENIOLA PART ONE
It was a cold night and the streets were empty. The ground was muddy with puddles here and there. Walking bare footed, she couldn’t care less about trying to dodge the puddles and muddy mess that stood in her way. She walked this path for a mission and whatever she was about to do had been deliberately thought of years before tonight and after what had transpired tonight, she finally decided to listen the demons that had long whispered in her head to end it—This malarkey of a life.
With the demeanor of undivided focus, she moved like a robot, not sparing a split second to look to the left or right. Her eyes were wide open but she saw nothing—nothing but a vivid image of her own helplessness. She had withdrawn so far from reality that she didn’t realize where she was until she tripped. Kneeling feebly, she saw a dim reflection of herself in a puddle with the aid of the moon light. Apart from the shredded night dress that barely covered her body, she was clothed by bruises and wounds that screamed facts she once waved off but was now forced to accept.
She pulled herself back upright and trampled upon her pathetic reflection in the puddle, watching as every detail scattered to a murk. Eyes that stung from series of crying welled up with tears again. Instead of holding her emotions back, she closed her eyes and let them flow down her cheeks. For once, she wasn’t going to try to be enduring, caring and resilient. If she wasn’t going to see the next day, she could as well spend her last moments accepting that she had lost and allow herself to grief.
Jacob watched as the sky gloomed after a brief rain pour. It was a good thing he fancied what he did as leisure or he’d have been cursing under his breath considering how exhausted he had become after consistently assisting people with swimming lessons, warning swimmers of danger and keeping keen eyes on the environment for anything odd. He was already rounding off the hectic day of being a live guard when he noticed the silhouette of a feminine figure heading straight for the ocean. He picked up his binoculars and confirmed that it was indeed a lady.
“Hey! Hey!! What are you doing?!” he yelled but she ignored and kept walking until the water was above her chest.
“What in the world” He murmured and ran towards her.
She was already submerged in the ocean before he could get close enough to stop her from entering the waters. Adrenaline made him dive in without thinking till he got a firm grip of her limbless body and carried her out of the ocean. A thousand thoughts flooded his mind at the same time that he didn’t know what to think about the frail looking lady he had in his arms. He already had a lot to ask and tell this stranger but first, she needed to be alive. He laid her down and performed some CPR’s on her before she responded by coughing out water, opening her eyes briefly and passing out again. While thinking of taking her to the nearest clinic, he casually scrutinized her body and was carried away by the repulsive bruises and scars it hosted. It dawned on him that the lady lying lifelessly before him needed immediate medical attention.
Many of the nurses that saw the body did a double take before finally passing by. Soon, she was wheeled into a ward where the nurses attended to her. After two hours of waiting, the live guard was permitted to go into the ward and when he got in, he did nothing but sit by the lady as she laid face-up with her eyes closed. He watched her until she finally blinked her eyes open.
“Who are you?” She asked faintly.
“I am Jacob. I brought you here”, he said with a firm deep voice.
She went ballistic and started questioning his actions.
“Why did you save me? Did I ask for your fucking help?! I want to die!” she sat up with vigor and forcefully pulled out the syringe to the drip that was injected into her forearm.
“What are you doing? Stop this!” Jacob panicked, trying to wrap his arm around her to hold her still.
“I said I want to die!” she screamed and became very unstable wriggling away from his grip.
Nurses rushed in and Jacob was asked to leave before the young lady was tranquillized.
Jacob on the other hand, was very confused wandering what he had done wrong by saving someone’s life as he drove himself home in his black SUV.
Overnight Jacob couldn’t stop thinking about her—the young woman that was so bent on taking her own life. He thought about her dying, her bruises and her reaction to his kindness towards her.
The next day, he went to see her but the nurses advised him to visit again two days after or the young lady would go crazy again. They told him she needed more rest. Disappointed, Jacob turned around and left. Somehow he was still very determined to visit her again.
Two days later, he was in the hospital ward trying to talk to a woman who was intentionally ignoring him. She refused to eat or talk to anyone. He found her behavior rather intriguing than annoying because, Jacob himself was a doctor and understood her situation. He had been with much worse patients. He was only a life guard during his free time.
He visited every day after those two days he had to stay away from her even though she was obstinate on not talking to him. He found delight in the fact that she wasn’t attempting to inflict pain on herself anymore.
“Hello there”, Jacob walked into the ward grinning with two brown paper bags of burgers in each arm. He was dressed simply in an unbuttoned brown and white checkered short sleeved shirt that revealed his white singlet, a pair of faded blue jean trousers and black sandals.
Underneath his singlet were traces of his well-built abs. Anyone who saw Jacob wouldn’t need to be told that he spent a lot of time working out. He was simply everything a woman wanted. He was a tall man with tanned skin, brown hair, grey colored eyes and narrow-pointed nose. He was beyond handsome indeed and always very cheerful but the young lady sitting on the hospital bed in a hospital gown with blue blankets covering her legs didn’t acknowledge what Jacob was endowed with.
“You haven’t eaten for two weeks now and I’m really worried about you”, he said placing the two paper bags on the table beside her bed. She only stared at him with threatening eyes that carried bags and dark circles underneath.
She wondered why the annoying life guard won’t just let her be. Maybe if she snubbed harder; he’d eventually go. She turned her face away from him.
“If you eat; I swear to leave you alone forever. I won’t visit or bother you anymore”, he promised standing in an akimbo; patiently waiting for her reply.
She slowly turned her head to look at him wandering why he cared so much. She stretched her hand warily and grabbed a paper bag. If she had to eat for him to leave then, so be it.
He grabbed the second paper bag and sat on a chair beside her stealing peeks at her face as she ate her burger.
As soon as she had a first bite of the food, her stomach grumbled reminding her that she hadn’t eaten for days. All the hunger she had suppressed came rushing back and she devoured the burger like an animal.
Jacob watched amused. He hadn’t even gone half way with his burger.
“Want mine?” He asked her and she nodded. She couldn’t help it. Hunger had gotten the best of her. She took it from him and before they knew it; she had devoured his too.
Jacob decided to take advantage of the moment to ask some questions.
“Would you mind telling me your name?” He asked in a slow and composed tone to avoid treading on the wrong path.
She stared him for a moment before she replied.
“Hannah”, she finally said.
“It’s a lovely name”, he smiled, “How old are you?”
“Twenty-one”, she answered making it clear in her tone that she was getting agitated by his questions already.
“Nice; I am twenty six”, he smiled.
Before opening his mouth to ask another question; Hannah spoke. “What’s with all these questions? What are you, A cop?”
“I was only trying to start a conversation”, he said in defense.
Hannah folded her arms and stared at the wall. Once again, the room was filled with silence. Then Jacob noticed the wedding ring on her finger.
“Uh; you married?” He asked.
In response to his question, she glared at the ring, pulled it out and threw it across the room.
Her action proved to Jacob that her marriage might have had something to do with her behavior. He stood up determined to leave as promised. At least he got her to eat; got to speak with her and knew her name.
“Take care of yourself Hannah”
He was about to walk out the door when she called him back.
“Jacob”, she called softly, “I don’t want to be alone…anymore”.
He turned around and she looked like she was on the verge of an emotional breakdown. Of course, he never really wanted to leave. She was fascinating.
“I was wandering why you would fling such an expensive looking wedding ring”, he said looking straight at her before averting his gaze to the ring on the floor.
“It means nothing to me now”. She replied, rubbing the finger from which she had removed the ring.
“Did anything happen? You know, that triggered that reaction”, he asked.
“Yeah”, she drawled.
Jacob’s eyes begged for more information making her to look down at her hands.
Jacob wasn’t a fan of tales but somehow he was interested. He just wanted to know what had happened to make her want to take her own life.
“I’m here for you Hannah”
Hannah smiled at him and nodded then, he stood up quickly.
“I’ll go get us something to eat”, he said and walked out of the ward to get some plates of soup from a shop very close to the clinic.
“I lived with just my parents and 17 years old male cousin. We weren’t rich, but we lived comfortably. I attended a public high school. I had many friends including my best friends, Tracie and Debbie”, Hannah paused for a while, scooped some of the soup Joseph had bought, blew it cold and sipped it.
“This soup is good”, She said.
“I know right”, Jacob sipped making a loud slurp at which Hannah giggled, “So how were Tracie and Debbie like?”
“Well, Tracie was the friend I loved to talk about boys, fashion and parties with. Debbie on the other hand was—“
“A nerd?” Jacob interrupted and Hannah chuckled.
“Yes. She was the somewhat nerdy, down to earth friend I spoke to about books and other school stuff”, she paused, “They both didn’t like each other very much and only hung out when I was with them— “
“—One day, Debbie and I were having lunch in the school’s cafeteria. Tracie walked up to us claiming she had news. She told us about a party that would be happening the next day, a Tuesday which was to start by 10pm at night”, Hannah sipped another spoon of soup.
“Because I loved parties; I told her I would be attending the party. The typical Debbie wasn’t interested in the party. In fact, she advised that I don’t go because it was late at night and a school night. I ignored her and went to class with Tracie after the lunch break”
“When I got home; I decided to inform my parents. They were never the type to refuse my requests on going to parties, but they began to question my request. Eventually they rejected my permission. I was more shocked than upset. They never told me ‘no’ before. I told them they were being unfair. My cousin, who was with them at the moment agreed with them instead of helping me to convince them. That made me even more upset. I ran up to my room and locked the door”
“I don’t think I’ll let my child go out that late at night”, Jacob said.
“Now that I think of it, I won’t either”, Hannah replied sounding distant.
“So, what happened after you ran up to your room?” Jacob asked taking the last sip of his soup.
“Tracie called me to ask for my parents’ reply on the party and I told her I wasn’t going to be able to attend it giving her the reasons for my decision. Well, she laughed at me and told me to stop being a kid and sneak out of my house. I never had to do stuffs like that because my parents were very cool with me going out at night. Since they finally told me ‘no’, I decided to sneak out”
“Through your room window?” Jacob asked.
“No”, Hannah laughed. “I sneaked out through the front door. They were all asleep before 10pm. Why did you even ask that?” she chuckled.
“Because I have done it a lot of times”, Jacob laughed.
Hannah popped her eyes open and laughed too.
“Okay. Okay”, Hannah stopped laughing and sipped her last spoon of soup. “Tracie and I spent the entire night at the party and the next day; I gave my family the silent treatment so they would have the impression that I didn’t go out the previous night.
“At school, I spent the entire day talking about the party with Tracie. We ended up agreeing to meet at a bus stop where a car would pick us up for another party. I got home, took an apple to my room and locked the door. I spent the entire evening preparing to meet her at the bus stop. I did my hair, applied some make-up and put on my sexiest dress.
“When the time came; I arranged my pillow to make it appear as though I was still in bed. After double checking that my door was locked–” she paused and smiled.
“What?” Jacob asked with curious looking eyes.
“I climbed down the ladder placed near my window—“
“See? I knew you were bound to sneak out through a window someday”
“– and quickly ran to the bus stop where I was told to meet Tracie and truly, a very clean, expensive white car showed up”, Hannah continued grinning at what Jacob had previously said. “The window was wined down and Tracie was in the passenger seat beside some guy that I later got to know was a driver. She asked me to get into the car and when I did, we were so excited. The party was so exclusive that we were given the type of car to drive there with.
“On our way to the party, all we talked about was the cute guys we were going to meet and probably lose our virginities to”, Jacob nodded with a smirk. “After about an hour’s drive, we got to a huge luxury hotel. When we stepped out of the car, the driver zoomed off. I trailed behind Tracie who seemed to know her way around like she had been there a million times. We took an elevator to the top floor. Then we walked down the hall to the only door at the end. Behind the door; there existed a very beautiful pent house then I noticed something weird”, Hannah’s face hardened into a disgusted frown.
“What did you notice?” Jacob asked. His curiosity had gotten to its peak especially because of the twisted facial expression Hannah made.
“The party”, Hannah paused, “was full of old men who were definitely nothing less than 60 years of age and much younger girls my age”
“As soon as I turned around, Tracie was gone”
“Shit”, Joseph whispered covering his mouth with his palm.
“The party was creepy and the only thing on my mind was to find Tracie and go the hell home”, Hannah said, “I started walking around; checking rooms and seeing things that provoked my gag reflexes like really old guys and young girls having sex until I got to a room where I finally found Tracie naked”
Hannah paused with her eyes wide opened, looking very disturbed like she was deciding whether to continue with her story or not.
“Go on Hannah”, Jacob urged with a soft whisper, “I’m listening”
“She was well–”, she paused. “She was with two other girls and an old man”. Hannah swallowed.
“Did you do anything?”
“Well in shock; I called out to her and she quickly turned around startled. I was so disappointed. My plan was to find her and run away from there but when I realized she was part of them; I decided to run away alone but when I got to the exit, an old man in his underwear grabbed my arm from behind and told me I wasn’t going anywhere. I was so scared”, a tear dropped from Hannah’s left eye, “and just then, another old man punched him in the face causing a scene. The old man who ‘rescued’ me dragged me out of the penthouse and we left through the same door I came in.
“As soon as we were standing far from the hotel’s entrance door he let go of my arm. I was about to thank my savior then it occurred to me that maybe he saved me so he could have me for himself. Fear overshadowed me again. As if he read my mind; he assured me that he wasn’t interested in me and only saved me because it was the right thing to do.
“He then asked me what the hell I was doing in that ‘party’ if I wasn’t actually there to you know; and I told him I was invited. Without giving me full information; he told me that exactly how he got there too and only stayed back for a few drinks and not the teenage girls. On his way home; he spotted me struggling with an old man and decided to step in. I thanked him for his help and he accepted my gratitude before offering to drop me off at home.
“I entered the car of this stranger because I was still in a state of shock and I was very tired. That was how I got to know his name. Ethan”. Hannah paused and her gaze became dark.
“Ethan was 71 years old. He looked younger than his age—I’d say fifty– and was a wise and very interesting man judging by the short time I spent discussing with him in his car. When I got home; we exchanged numbers then I got out of his car, waved him good bye as he drove off and quietly sneaked back into my room”
“It must’ve been a very long night”, Jacob said.
“Honestly, I wish it never happened”, Hannah replied.
“Well”, Hannah continued, “The next day at school, Debbie asked about the party and I told her everything. She was the only one I could actually tell. She was quite glad I finally found a reason to end my friendship with Tracie.
“When Tracie saw me; she tried to talk to me acting as though nothing happened the previous night. Because of that, I got very upset and scolded her reminding her of the fact that I almost got raped by some wrinkled old dude. There and then, I broke our friendship. She tried to beg but I had already lost interest in being her friend. I ignored her pleas and from that moment on, Debbie became my best friend.
“Meanwhile, Ethan and I communicated every day and as a result, we became very close friends. One day, after school, he took me out for lunch, paid the bills and brought up a very intriguing topic to talk about. Then we diverted to the topic of relationships and soon he was asking me to be his girlfriend”, she paused and bit her lower lip briefly.
“And you said?” Jacob asked.
“I accepted his proposal”, she replied.
“You did what?!” Jacob expressed his shock.
“What!” Hannah yelled. “He was a really nice man”
Joseph made a downward curve of his lips and nodded determined to not judge her since he knew people had their reasons for making certain decisions.
“I didn’t care about his age”, Hannah lowered her voice. “I didn’t care about the fact that he was obviously a millionaire. I fell in love with him”. Her voice faltered at the last sentence.
“He always sent flowers and gifts. When he picked me up from school; he gave me gifts and he took me out to fancy restaurants whenever we were both free”, Hannah said.
“I guess he was a good man after all”, Jacob concluded and Hannah forged a smile.
“One day, I received flowers at home. I was having a study session with Debbie who came over to my house so my parents got the flowers before I could even get to know about it. They questioned the source of the flowers and I simply told them that my boyfriend sent it.
“They were so excited and asked if I could have him come over for dinner on the coming Sunday that week. I awkwardly ran to my room to call Ethan telling him that my family members were interested in meeting him. He said he didn’t mind as long as I was ready to reveal him. Initially, I was scared but I decided that I didn’t care what anyone would think or say about him or our relationship. I assured my family that he would be visiting on Sunday and they were glad”.
“Sunday came very fast. My parents, cousin and Debbie waited at the door for Ethan’s arrival. My mom spent hours trying to make the perfect dinner and I was sitting nervously on the couch over thinking how everything would turn out when he arrives”, she said.
“I can only imagine”, Jacob murmured which Hannah heard and ignored.
“When Ethan arrived; I ran to his car and escorted him into the house. The faces of every single soul that waited for Ethan’s arrival went numb on seeing him. That was exactly what I feared. As soon as he greeted everyone, my mom fainted then my dad started scolding me while my cousin attended to my fainted mom. Debbie tried to scream sense into my head and in less than a split second, they all faced Ethan and started insulting him; accusing him of taking advantage of me.
“I became mad and scolded them. I was determined to support Ethan. My dad then questioned Debbie; asking her if she was aware of my relationship with Ethan. She denied it because I told her nothing. I told none of them anything about us because I knew they’d be quick to point fingers and judge me without hearing me out—just like they were doing.
“I got fed up and told my family that if they didn’t support my relationship; I would move out. They all thought I was bluffing till I ran up to my room, packed my belongings and marched out. Ethan asked me in whispers if I was sure I wanted that for myself and I said, yes. My mother who had regained and was leaning tiredly on one of the armchairs in the parlor tried to beg me to stay but my dad stopped her saying I would eventually come back when I get back to my right senses.
“I promised them that I will never come back, pulling Ethan to his car and putting my luggage in it. Before I got into his car, I stared at my family one last time and made sure I gave Debbie a spiteful glare for not supporting me when I needed a friend. On the way to where I didn’t know, I shed a few tears which Ethan stopped his car to wipe while giving me encouraging words. At that moment, Ethan was all I had”, Hannah said.
“You really went through a lot for that man”, Jacob said in awe.
“I did”, Hannah admitted.
Jacob nodded, looking her straight in the eyes. He saw sincerity, innocence and then, pain.
“Ethan took me to one of the apartments he was planning on renting out. That was where I stayed alone. He brought me food and other stuffs I needed every day he visited and he dropped me off at school”, Hannah smirked before continuing, “Going to school became very uncomfortable. Usually, I’d meet Debbie at the school gate and we’d walk together to class but she ignored me. She was very stubborn and so was I. I spent my lunch breaks alone since I had lost both my best friends and every other friend I had were busy with their own best friends.
“I told Ethan I wanted to attend another school. He immediately understood and found me another school as soon as he could. I started attending a private school not very far from where I stayed. I made a few friends and things were going well. Three years later, I turned eighteen and I was done with high school. After the graduation ceremony, Ethan took me out to celebrate my success. He was so romantic; he had an entire hall decorated in gold and white for me. It was just us both in the hall and he used the opportunity to propose his intention of our marriage to me. I was over excited and I shouted over my voice that I’d marry him.
“I had posted a lot of pictures of us on my Instagram and Facebook. I got a lot of likes but much more hates and disapproving comments. I blocked all the bad comments and focused on the good ones. I was really excited to get married but I was also sad because; I always wanted a wedding ceremony with my family and Debbie. I was well aware that they won’t attend my wedding ceremony. I expressed my grief to Ethan and once again, he put a smile on my face with his soothing and encouraging words.
“The wedding plans were left to professionals and I got a stunning wedding dress. I walked down the aisle alone on my wedding day with Ethan waiting on the other side. Our guests were Ethan’s wealthy, old friends and very few of the friends I had made at my new school. It was a beautiful wedding. Anyone who witnessed the ceremony and its decoration wouldn’t need to be told twice that Ethan was very rich. Ethan was very happy and so was I but deep down; I was also sad. It wasn’t the kind of wedding I dreamed of—one without my family. After the wedding reception; Ethan drove us to a very expensive hotel to spend out wedding night. I took off my dress, showered and lied down to rest. I told Ethan that I was tired and decided to go to sleep”, Hannah’s eyes began to tear up.
“I thought Ethan would understand as usual but that night,” Her voice faltered as tears rolled down her eyes, “That night; Ethan took off his clothes and forced himself on me telling me that he had waited for so long. I was hurt. I didn’t expect him to be so hard on me like that. It was a very painful experience. When he was done; he passed out from his orgasm leaving me awake to cry myself to sleep”.
“I’m so sorry about that”, Jacob whispered moving closer to her and placing his palm on the back of her palm.
“I woke up the next day to breakfast in bed from Ethan”, Hannah forced a bitter laugh. “He apologized for his behavior and promised that it wouldn’t happen again wiping the little tears I had shed as he spoke. I forgave him because I loved him.
“After our honey moon, Ethan took me to his luxurious mansion with expensive furniture and clean white painted walls. I had never been to his house before. It was very spacious; beautiful with trees, gardens, fountains and living there was paradise. We lived there alone with his driver, his maid and his gardener who only came on weekends. I had so much fun and freedom living in such a house. It was much better than my parents’ house but my joy was short lived.”
“How?” Jacob asked.
“He came back home from work one day, suddenly having a problem with me being on social media. I thought he was joking until he snatched my phone. I tried to pull it away from his grip but he pushed me so hard that I almost hit my forehead on the center table. I saw a whole different Ethan I never knew existed but that wasn’t the end of it.
“He limited my TV time to two hours per day and anytime I disobeyed, he’d beat me up or give me a very hard punishment. I became his punching bag when he came home from work and his sex doll at night. I cried myself to sleep every single night”, her voice broke and she found herself crying.
All the memories suddenly became so vivid to Hannah. Continuing with the story sent sharp pains to her heart. It became so clear as if she was reliving the past which wasn’t even far from the moment she was in.
Jacob sat beside her resting his back on the headboard and wrapping his arm around her. He understood why she would want to take her life and didn’t want to inconvenience her by making her talk if she didn’t have the strength to. Some experiences are better left untold.
“You don’t have to continue with the story”, Jacob said pulling her close to him.
“I want to say it all; get it off my chest”, Hannah pushed away from his wrap and sat up, wiping her eyes, “Unless, you don’t want to hear any more of it”, she forced a smile. “I don’t want to keep you waiting; listening to me all day”.
“Na, I am totally available for you today”.
Hannah looked down, absently intertwining her fingers while continuing her story.
“He said I was looking too appealing and that he didn’t want any other man to look at me and desire me so, he threw out my clothes and gave me old lady clothes that were twice my size. The only thing that kept me entertained were the books in his work room. I was living a life I never thought I’d live in my entire life
“The only times he treated me like a human being were days he was to attend social gatherings with me. He’d hire professionals who would style my hair, make me up and get me stunning designer gowns that made me look the opposite of what I was actually going through. Even at such occasion, I was only allowed to smile and say things like, “Thank you” while he did most of the talking. In the midst of his friends, he’d show me off and praise me. I was practically his trophy wife but at home, I was his punching bag and the most useless thing in the planet.
“He threatened to kill me if I ever went out or tried to escape”, she sniffled as tears flowed from her eyes, “It wasn’t like I had anywhere or anyone to run to. Because of him, because of Ethan, I cut off from my family and dearest friends that truly cared for me. I felt like a prisoner. I was even discriminated by his staff as though they were strictly instructed to disregard my orders. On several occasions, I planned my escape and how I’d end my life. I regretted the decisions I made as a teenager. Yes, I would’ve been mad if my parents forced me to leave Ethan and stay with them but nothing hurts more than realizing things could’ve been better if you didn’t make certain decisions”, Hannah’s voice faltered like she was going to lose her voice.
Anybody would feel for her if they saw her like that. She was talking and crying at the same time. The sound of her voice gave Jacob the urge to break something.
“I endured that marriage for three years. Ethan would never let a house keeper work for so long. He changed them every three months. There was this new house keeper that looked my age. She was slim, pretty with nice features. When Ethan went to work, she spoke to me even when other workers didn’t and introduced herself as Meghan. She became my only friend and let me use her phone to catch up on the three years I had missed. She kept me updated and only spoke to me when Ethan wasn’t around. For a moment there, I was a bit happy. I had a friend I could relate with
“One night, Ethan had beaten me up all because he was in a bad mood and apparently, I seemed to be the reason for it. The next day, Meghan informed me that she heard what had happened the previous night. I immediately broke down in tears and told her everything. She provided a shoulder for me to cry on then she offered her help to make my marriage better. Her first idea was for me to prepare his favorite food. She knew it since only the house keepers entered the kitchen so I asked her to teach me how to prepare it and she did. After spending hours cooking with love, the food turned out delicious.
“When Ethan arrived from work, I presented the food to him. He was a bit upset when I presented the food to him so I decided to wait until he was done with the food. He looked pleased with what he ate and I was suddenly glad he liked it so I decided to reveal who actually cooked it”.
“When he was almost done with the food, I told him that I was the one that cooked the food. He became so irritated that he pushed the plate away claiming that he suspected something was not right about the food and that he only tolerated the taste because he thought it was prepared by Meghan and planned on confronting her later. He then asked me if there was anything useful I knew how to do other than disobey his orders reminding me that he had strictly warned me to not step into the kitchen.
“On rising from the dinning chair on which he sat, he pushed me to the floor from where I stood like a child being scolded beside him and beat me mercilessly until he was certain that the punishment won’t make me disobey him again. He left me on the floor with bruises and went up to our room, locked the door and refused me access to it. That was when Meghan came to me from where she hid away watching the scene. She helped me up, wiped my tears and let me stay in her room.
“The next day, she asked me when the beating started and I told her it started on our wedding night when I refused Ethan sex. She nodded thoughtfully and advised me to create the wedding night and after a night of wonderful sex, the abuses would come to an end. I took it as a good idea and let her style my hair and make me up to cover my bruises. She gave me a dashing red lingerie and helped me create a romantic scene that would turn anyone on with an expensive scent and an ice filled bucket that contained a bottle of champagne and wine glasses.
“I patiently lied down on the bed waiting for Ethan for hours then I heard his car indicating that he was back already. It took a while before he walked into the room and found me in a sexy pose. For a moment there I felt a little confidence which he threw out the window when he made the most irritated facial gesture. I stood up and strode towards him. He practically pushed me aside and insulted me with the way he stared at me like a slimy disfigured creature. He didn’t even try to hit me. It felt like he had completely given up on me. Even if I had just one insignificant piece of his heart to myself, I realized that I had just destroyed that piece with what I did. He left the room and never came back that night.
“I cried myself to sleep constantly questioning my beauty. My self-confidence was destroyed. I had no pride left to flaunt. The next day, Meghan was able to point out that her plan didn’t go well since I was in a gloomy mood. She tried to come up with another plan. Honestly, I was done. I wasn’t going to try and win his heart any longer. It was very clear that he didn’t love or value me. I didn’t even get why he was still married to me. He didn’t love me; at the same time, he didn’t want to let me go.
“If he was never going to stop hating me for no reason then, I didn’t want to try to give him a reason not to. I gave up on being loved or cared for by my husband. I accepted the fate before me”.
“Meghan was the best thing that happened to me in those three years. I had someone to talk to and share my feeling with. In fact, Ethan stopped beating or abusing me. We were practically two people who lived in the same house and shared a bed with no communication whatsoever. Some nights, he didn’t even sleep at home. Honestly, I was quite happy and I was getting used to my life.
“One night, I woke up at midnight feeling very cold. I got out of bed, saw the windows open and closed them then I suddenly felt thirsty and headed downstairs to the kitchen to get some milk from the fridge. On getting there, I was shocked to find the kitchen light switched on and as I got closer, I heard moaning.
Hannah laughed briefly before proceeding with her story.
“I assumed Meghan was watching porn because that was what she told me she did when she was bored and I had caught her on many occasions watching them. I walked into the kitchen prepared to catch her and laugh at her again but to my horror, I saw Meghan having sex with my husband on the kitchen counter”, Hannah raised her voice in the latter with tears pouring out of her eyes. The more she wiped them off, the more they rolled down her cheeks.
Jacob on the other hand just watched her in shock. He wasn’t sure of how to react. His entire face went numb at that part. Since Jacob wasn’t saying anything, Hannah continued with what she was saying.
“They didn’t notice my presence as they were both in a place of ecstasy. I immediately developed a mix of emotions before my lips could split to utter any word. ‘What the fuck is going on?’ Meghan stood up immediately in shock. That moment reminded me of when I caught Tracie having sex with an old man in the fancy restaurant I ran away to years back. It also reminded me that if I didn’t escape from home that night, I wouldn’t have met Ethan at all. I walked over to Meghan and slapped her which is what I wanted to do to Tracie when I caught her that night. Meghan winced in pain and held her face causing Ethan to slap me back. He pulled me by the hair and beat me worse than he had ever beaten me, insulting me for ruining his perfect moment and for slapping Meghan. I pleaded with him to let me go but it seemed like the more I pleaded the more I vexed him.
“I began to see my death when he started beating me with every appliance in the kitchen. Meghan, the woman I once considered a friend just stood there enjoying the scene. Ethan then, opened the kitchen cabinet and pulled out a huge chain. He dragged me by the hair and pulled me outside. I begged him to let me go. I promised..”, Hannah’s voice cracked, “.. to leave his life forever but he ignored me and tied me to a long metal pole outside. I was still pleading when he slapped me and said ‘this will teach you how to behave’. He left me tied up and walked into the building.
“I tried to scream for help multiple times but my voice was of no help to me. I had no strength left to scream and even if I had, our neighbors were 200meters from his home. After a moment, I perceived the scent of rain. I was drained of all energy and was aching everywhere. I could only think of giving up the ghost then I saw the silhouette of a woman walking towards me. I could barely focus on her face or any other thing but I knew she put on a mocking face.
“I asked her why she betrayed me. Before explaining, she started by making crying sounds before she busted into laughter. I can still remember her words vividly. She said, ‘My aunt worked here nine months ago and told me about your husband’s need for the good sex you couldn’t give him. She connected him to a lot of other girls who were willing to help him out under the disguise of maids. They didn’t last long though. After three months, he got rid of them with three million dollars. When I heard about it, I offered to do it not for something as petty as three million dollars”, she spat, ‘I’ll make your old husband fall in love with me and marry me so I can quickly kill the old hag and take ownership of his properties’. I could not believe what I was hearing”.
“Ethan had been cheating on me the whole time and with whom I considered a friend, Meghan. My heart shattered into a million pieces”, Hannah said.
“Why do some people reject those that truly love them for people that just want to use them and then get rid of them?” Jacob asked more like he was asking himself than Hannah.
“I really don’t know”, Hannah whispered under her breath, “I can still remember Meghan leaving me tied up outside with an evil grin. Soon, the rain began to drizzle and I felt water trickle down my bruised skin. I lost hope. Both Meghan and Ethan were going to leave me tied up under the rain. I managed to look up and quickly regretted it when I saw a silhouette of them both making love at the balcony before they pulled each other to our room, slid the curtains shut and switched the lights off.
“Every demon in me was provoked. I angrily tried to wriggle myself out of the chain. It cut through my skin but I didn’t care. I wanted to go far away from where I was. I screamed and cried profusely as the rain poured down my skin. I could see the thunder bolts and hear the lightning strike but no one came to check on me. I cursed and yelled until I heard a very loud lightning strike and that was the last thing I heard for a while”.
Jacob looked at Hannah’s fore arms. She wasn’t lying. There were horrible bruises around them that had darkened. He couldn’t take his eyes off them. He knew those scars won’t fade easily. His staring caused her to look down at her arm too and her realization caused him to quickly avert his gaze.
“I’m so sorry”, he whispered.
“It’s okay”, Hannah rubbed her arm softly like she was shivering. She suddenly became body conscious and didn’t want Jacob staring at her ugly scars but, how much could she hide and for how long?
She had the dreadful reminder all over her body, on her neck, face, arm, legs. She was so ashamed of her body and her past.
“How did you get to the beach?” Jacob asked.
“I woke up on the bare ground. It had stopped raining and it was still dark in the morning. I dragged myself up and suddenly all the memories of what had happened the previous night hit me. I remembered Ethan cheating on me, how he beat me up for Meghan, how he pulled me outside and tied me up, how Meghan confessed her evil intentions, how they left me to die out in the rain and how I was struck with a lightning
“I was finally free. I looked over at Ethan’s house and told myself that I would rather die than ever step my feet in his house. I climbed over the low walls fencing his house and ran away. I didn’t know where to go as I had no friends or connections to the world. I didn’t have the guts to return to my family so I decided to let the strong winds take me wherever till I found my way to the beach..” Hannah stopped and more tears rolled down her eyes.
Jacob then realized that the night he found her was the same night she was brutalized, He found himself crying too. He stood from where he had been sitting with her on the bed and hugged her.
She pushed him away slightly. Hannah wasn’t in any mood to be consoled. She didn’t want to be touched whatsoever especially by a male. Her esteem had been wounded to that extent.
“Please, leave me alone”, she whispered.
They both looked each other in the eyes before Jacob gave her some space by standing a few feet away from her. He realized it would be best to leave her be.
He nodded, wiped his eyes and turned towards the door to leave.
“Thanks for listening, Jacob”, Hannah said and Jacob nodded with a sheepish smile without even turning to look at her then he made his way out of the room.
As soon as Jacob left, Hannah started sniffling then, whimpering, then crying and soon she was screaming curse words and weeping.
There was no way she was ever going to forget Ethan.