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The Social Affair: Prologue

“I stood there and wondered how desperate I’d have to be to give in to that sort of offer.” — Britney King, The Social Affair

With The Social Affair releasing in ten days, I thought it’d be fun to show off the prologue. 🙂


PROLOGUE

Attachment is an awfully hard thing to break. I should know. I surface from the depths of sleep to complete and utter darkness. I don’t want to open my eyes. I have to. “I warned you, and I warned you,” I hear his voice say. It’s not the first time. He called out to me, speaking from the edge of consciousness, back when I thought this all might have been a dream. It’s too late for wishful thinking now. This is his angry voice, the one I best try to avoid. My mind places it immediately. This one is reserved for special occasions, the worst of times.

I hear water running in the background. Or at least I think I do. For my sake, I hope I’m wrong. I try to recall what I was doing before, but this isn’t that kind of sleep. It’s the heavy kind, the kind you wake from and hardly know what year you’re in, much less anything else. I consider how much time might have passed since I dozed off. Then it hits me.

“You really shouldn’t have done that,” he says, and his eyes come into focus. Those eyes, there’s so much history in them; it’s all still there now. I see it reflected back to me. I read a quote once that said… a true mark of maturity is when someone hurts you, and you try to understand their situation instead of trying to hurt them back. This seems idealistic now. I wish someone had warned me. Enough of that kind of thinking will get you killed.

“Please,” I murmur, but the rest of what I want to say won’t come. It’s probably better this way. I glance toward the door, thinking about what’s at stake if I don’t make it out of here alive, wondering whether or not I can make a break for it. It’s so dark out—a clear night, a moonless sky. The power is out, I gather, and it’s a fair assumption. This has always been one of his favorite ways to show me what true suffering is like. That alone would make an escape difficult. I would have to set out on foot and then where would I go? Who would believe me?

“You have it too easy,” he says, as though he wants to confirm my suspicions. “That’s the problem nowadays. People consume everything, appreciate nothing.”

He lifts me by the hair and drags me across the bedroom. I don’t have to ask why. He doesn’t like to argue where he sleeps, where we make love. It’s one of our safe spaces, but like many things, this too is a facade. Nothing with him is safe.

“You like your comforts, but you forget nothing good comes without sacrifice.”

“I haven’t forgotten,” I assure him, and that much is true. Sacrifice is something I know well.

He shakes his head, careful to exaggerate his movements. He wants the message he sends to sink in. “I don’t know why you have to make me so angry.”

I glance toward the window, thinking I see headlights, but it’s wishful thinking. Then I reach up and touch the wet spot at the crown of my head. I pull my hand away, regretful I felt the need for confirmation. Instinct is enough. If only I’d realized this sooner. I didn’t have to put my fingers to it to know there would be blood; the coppery scent fills the air. “It’s not too bad,” he huffs as he slides one hand under my armpit and hauls me up. “Come on,” he presses, his fingertips digging into my skin. “Let’s get you stitched up.”

I follow his lead. There isn’t another option. Head wounds bleed a lot, and someone’s going to have to clean his mess up. If I live, that someone will be me. This is how you stop the bleeding. “What time is it?”

“Oh,” he says, half-chuckling. “There’s no need to worry about that. She’s already come and gone.”

I don’t ask who he’s referring to. I know. Everything in me sinks to the pit of my stomach. It rests there and I let it. I don’t want him to see how deeply I am affected by what he’s done. It’s more dangerous if I let it show. But what I want to happen and what actually does, are two very different things. I know because my body tenses, as it gives over to emotion until eventually it seizes up completely. I don’t mean for it to happen. It has a habit of betraying me, particularly where he is concerned. Your mind may know when something’s bad for you. But the body can take a little longer. He knows where to touch me. He knows what to say. Automatic response is powerful, and like I said before, attachment is hard to break.

He shoves me hard into the wall. I guess I wasn’t listening. I shouldn’t have made a habit of that either. I don’t feel the pain. I don’t feel anything. “Ah, now look what you made me do,” he huffs, running his fingers through his hair. He’s staring at me as though this is the first time he’s seeing me. His face is twisted. He wants me to think he’s trying to work out his next move. He isn’t. He’s a planner, through and through.

Still, he’s good at concealing what he doesn’t want anyone to know. If only I’d been more like that. I wasn’t. That’s why I don’t know if this is it, if this is the end. I only know where it began.

“We had an agreement,” he reminds me. And he’s right.

We did have an agreement.

That’s how this all started.


 

1 Comment

  1. Bobbie Gore says:

    I love the Prologue. How exciting! I can’t wait to read more.

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