My stomach churned wildly as the obsidian colored Audi pulled up to the side of the curb, its wheels squealing against the asphalt. You’d think when your boyfriend is here to take you to work you’d be in a much better mood, but I feel like I’m about to head into battle. The loud blaring of the horn assaults my ears, and once again I think that it’s unnecessary to make your girlfriend go deaf when she’s only standing three feet away. But that’s Zack; he likes to do things his way, and screw anyone who says otherwise. I try to ignore my trembling fingers as I yank open the passenger door, greeted by the smells of cologne and old fast food. Not the best combination.
“Get in the damn car already, Madison!” he barks. I jump like a deer in the headlights and scramble in. Zack leans his face towards mine, demanding a kiss. Reluctantly I place my lips on his, and instantly he has me trapped in an aggressive, unwanted making out session. I let his tongue slither like a snake inside my mouth for as long as I can stand it before pulling away.
“Zack, I’ve got to get to work.”
“Work can wait, I haven’t seen you since last night.”
“Actually, work can’t wait, you know I need the money.” Zack snorts at this, putting the car into drive and heading down the street.
“I know, you need the money to pay for your tuition for Vasser.” he says in a falsetto voice that it somehow supposed to represent mine, adding the emphasis on ass.
“Don’t be a jerk.”
“Would a jerk be driving his girlfriend to work? I don’t think so.” I bit my lip and blurt out the words that I’ve been holding in for so long.
“Maybe I won’t be your girlfriend anymore!” Silence. Dead, heavy silence that fills up the entire car and starts to make it harder to breathe. Suddenly the car lurches forward as Zack slams on the brakes, stopping the car just a few feet away from work.
“What did you just say?” he growls, his eyes flashing in anger. I swallowed, licking my now dry lips and quietly repeat my statement.
“Louder Madison, stop f***ing mumbling.”
“I said that maybe I won’t be your girlfriend anymore.” My eyes are focused on a small stain on the windshield. “I think that we should break up.”
“It’s not bullshit, we’re done.” Sharp pain shoots up my arm as Zack snatches up my wrist, nails digging into the soft flesh. I wince but refuse to give him the satisfaction of crying out in pain. I learned the hard way that crying gets you nowhere when it comes to Zack; if anything it only increases his anger.
“We’re not done, you’re not doing this to me Madison.” he insists, gripping my arm tighter.
“We’re over, let go of me!”
“Since when did you get this s***ty idea, huh?” he asks, ignoring my pleas. “You wouldn’t dump me, especially when you know it would be social suicide.” I panic for a moment as I think of all the pictures he could display, the secrets he could tell. He’s right. It would be social suicide, and certain secrets could possibly jeopardize my scholarship to Vassar. He smiles cruelly at my silence.
“Thought so. You’re too much of a coward to leave me.” he says in a condescending tone. “I’m willing to forgive this but you have to pay the price tonight.” I gulp, knowing that he only accepts payment in the form of lingerie and a body to bruise. I think about the vile purplish-yellow bruises that are hidden underneath my clothes, the red splotch on my cheek that marks the latest slap I received, the countless number of tears that I cried into my pillow, and the desperate need to please Zack in spite of my pain. Zack disrupts my train of thought by kissing me, practically swallowing my mouth with his. As he starts “playfully” biting my lip, white-hot anger shoots through me. How dare he treat me this way? Why have I let him do this to me? What was the point? Popularity? Love? Nothing was worth the feelings of helplessness and fear that I’ve been going through. He doesn’t love me, he’s just in love with the idea of me being his toy. I jerked my head back, feeling the scrape of his teeth against my bottom lip.
“What the hell Madison!?” Zack exclaims angrily.
“This needs to stop. I don’t want to see you anymore.”
“Come on babe, don’t be so PMS-”
“I’m not PMSing!” I shout, the loud and angry tone surprising even me. I pull up one of my sleeves, exposing several ugly bruises. “I’m breaking up with you because you’re abusive, cruel, and manipulative, and I can’t stand another second of being in this toxic relationship!” For once Zack is speechless, eyes fixated on the mottled eggplant splotches on my arms. For a second I think he’s going to start crying and beg for my forgiveness. For a second.
Zack lets out a low, bitter chuckle, and reaches over me to open the passenger door.
“Fine. You want to break up with me because you can’t handle being in a mature relationship? Fine.” he gives me a hard shove towards the open door. “Get out of my car you little whore.”
“Gladly.” I reply coolly, welcoming the soft breeze and the warm sun that outside offers. Zack slams the door shut, starts the gas, but then stops, rolling down his window to look at me.
“Don’t forget what I know about you, Madison.” he growls, trying to get me to change my mind. Normally his warnings terrified me, but now they were just empty threats. I let out a small laugh, further angering him. Sticking up his middle finger at me, he stomps on the gas, peeling off, causing almost hitting a fire hydrant. I let out a huge breath that I didn’t know I had been holding in, my nose eagerly taking in the warm spring air. Work is still five buildings away, but it’s a price that I’m willing to pay for the euphoric feeling I’m experiencing. For the first time in forever, I finally feel free.