*warning* This prologue contains adult subject matter, that may be upsetting to some readers. Please read at your own risk.
I lay stiff beside my husband as he slept. My body rigid and tense as I listened to his even breathing sounds that indicated that he was in a deep sleep. I was afraid to move, afraid that if I moved a single inch I would awaken him, and he would hit me again.
Grace, its time, you need to do this, I told myself. He will never be able to hurt you again. Go! Go now!
I sat up wincing as the covers rustled against the sheets that sounded so loud to my ears. The blood pounded in my ears so loudly I was terrified that he would hear it. He was such a light sleeper. I brought a hand up to my face touching the sensitive skin around my right eye where a bruise was just beginning to form.
I turned and looked at my husband sleeping so peacefully, and resisted the urge to take a pillow and smother him with it. No, he didn’t deserve death, he deserved to wake up the next morning and to see that I disappeared. He would never hit me again, I thought with a tight smile.
Feeling like a thief in the night I crept out of the bedroom, gently shutting the door behind me. I walked into one of the spare bedrooms, and opened the closet door, my heart hammering in my chest. The closet scraped along on its track, making little noise, but Michael was a light sleeper and any sound could awaken him at any moment. Reaching behind the winter coats, I pulled out two bags I had been saving for this night. These bags contained clothing and all the money I could steal away, which wasn’t much. Michael kept me on a strict allowance, and counted every cent. It had taken me years to save enough money to leave him for good.
I heard Michael roll over in bed and felt my face pale, my stomach clenching almost painfully with dread. I grabbed the bags and shoved them back into the closet. If he saw them, and knew I was intending to leave him, he would kill me for sure! He had always threatened he would kill me if I ever left him, and I was not eager to call his bluff.
I stood as still as a deer caught in the headlights and listened, my body on full alert. I listened for 5 minutes, and heard nothing but the sound of the clock on the wall ticking and the quick beat of my pulse. It was now or never!
I tip toed down the stairs as quietly as a church mouse. Down the street I could see the headlights of the cab I had called 5 minutes prior. I cast my eyes skyward, saying a little prayer that they came so quickly.
“Where too?” The cab driver asked me yawning, looking at me curiously. I turned my face so he wouldn’t see the bruise under my eye.
“The airport.” I whispered. “Please hurry.”
He stepped on the gas without a word, glancing back at me curiously.
“Not really.” I sighed, tired of the lies. Tired of telling everyone that my life was sunshine and roses all the time. Tired of hiding the bruises. Most of the time Micheal hit me in places nobody would notice. My stomach, chest, and back mostly. This was the first time he had ever punched me in the face, and it was going to be the last time.
“Well we have some time before we get to the airport. I’m a good listener.” He said, his eyes meeting mine in the rear view mirror.
I leaned my head against the cool window feeling the tears start to prick behind my eyelashes.
I opened my mouth, and told the driver everything. This was the first time I had ever uttered the truth to another soul. It felt liberating, and scary at the same time.
We were both quiet after I told him my story, for which I was extremely grateful. I just wanted to get to the airport and board the plane before Michael woke up. familiar scenery rushed by as the car sped through the dark empty streets of the southern California down I lived in, and was now determined to leave.
I sagged with relief as the bright lights of the airport came into focus. I sat up straighter in my seat clutching at my purse. This was actually happening! I was really leaving him! Could I really do this? leave everything I knew to start anew somewhere else? Where I didn’t know a single soul? The money I hid from Micheal would not last me long, and I didn’t even have a job! Was I making a huge horrible mistake? I straightened my spine, a grim look of determination across my face. No, the only mistake I had made was marrying Michael, and staying with him for so long, this was not a mistake. This was freedom…
“I’d like a ticket to North Carolina please.” I said to the lady at the desk.
“Round trip ticket or one way.” She yawned disinterested, her fingers flying over the keyboard quickly.
“One way please.” I said, I never wanted to come back to California ever again!
“Have a safe flight.” She said handing me the tickets, her eyes never leaving her computer.
The wait seemed to take forever. I sat alone in the near empty airport and gazed at every face fearfully expecting Michael to show up at any moment to drag me back home. More then a couple times I swore I saw his familiar face walking towards me, causing me to panic and hyperventilate. My whole body was a bundle of nerves, I felt like a livewire, clutching my hands in my lap to keep them from trembling.
Calm down Grace, I told myself sternly. The last thing you need is to act crazy in an airport. You don’t want anything delaying your flight, or to draw attention to yourself.
“Flight 639 now boarding.” Said a bored sounding female voice over the loud-speaker. I looked down at my ticket in hand and nearly sagged in relief. This is almost over, I told myself.
I boarded the plane without incident, and sagged into my seat feeling anxious and stressed. I gripped the seat my fingers digging into the fabric of the chair as I scanned each and every face that came into the cabin with wide frightened eyes.
Even if Michael came through the doors right now, I wouldn’t leave with him. I would scream, bite, kick and claw to resist him, and Michael would hate a scene. Even if I ended up in jail I wouldn’t go back to him, I would rather rot in a jail cell. I had finally had enough of being Michael Harris’s personal punching bag.
I didn’t allow myself to relax until I felt the plane lift into the sky. Once we were airborne I laid back and closed my eyes feeling relief so great I could cry. I felt tears burn behind my lids, and I blinked rapidly to clear my vision.
I couldn’t imagine when I married Michael 5 years ago at 18 years of age that it would have ended up like this…
Michael Harris had been a wealthy businessman who made his money on a start-up internet company, and right from the get go, we had been attracted to each other. Like most relationships, it was great at first. It was great…until we got married. Over night he changed dramatically. He started to get extremely suspicious of where I went, and who I went with. He started demanding I chose him or my friends, and finally wouldn’t allow me to even visit my family. He shut me off from everyone I knew and cared about, even shutting me off financially making me dependent on him. He gave me a strict budget for groceries, and demanded to know where every dime went! Finally the threats came, threats of violence and suicide if I wouldn’t do things his way! He often used his love for me to get what he wanted out of me. “If you ever leave me, I’ll kill myself.” He would say, and that would fill me with guilt, and I would stay, because it was obvious he loved me a great deal.
The day he hit me for the first time I started hiding money away, knowing that one day I would leave him for good. I didn’t trust going to the police, since many of his fishing buddies were on the force and I knew if I told, it would only make him hurt me more. Besides, who would believe me? I was just a girl from a poor family, and he was successful local businessman who everyone in town fawned over…
My mind stuck in the past, I let my eyes drift shut, and allowed my self to rest. My eyes wouldn’t open again until we landed.
The plane touched down in North Carolina, and I felt a peace I hadn’t felt in years spread throughout my entire body as I opened my eyes seeing the bright morning sun stream in through the tiny airplane window.
The early morning sunshine kissed my skin as I exited the airport and hailed a taxi.
I gave the cabby my new address, and watched as the scenery went by, and I eagerly drank in the sights. What a beautiful town. I let out a blissful sigh as I stared out the window. The inner city gave way to a picturesque view of the ocean and its many beaches. Off in the distance beautiful homes of every shape and size dotted the landscape, with small beach bungalows to huge mansions in the hills. Evensdale, North Carolina looked like something from a post card, and I felt anticipation tingle throughout my body. I was finally free!
The cab dropped me off in front of a small green stucco house. I looked at the address posted, and looked down at the piece of paper I held in my hand. This was the place. I was lucky I had found something so easy. Days before I had finally made the decision to leave Micheal I had browsed rental properties in Evensdale, North Carolina. I had found a fully furnished 2 bedroom house on the water that I could afford. The property owners were elderly and in poor health, and the children wanted to unload the house asap.
I dropped my bags on the porch and retrieved the key that the owners so kindly had hidden under the porch steps. I opened the door and stepped inside.
The house was adorable. Lived in and comfortable looking, with a tropical theme throughout that made the house seem warm and inviting. It was no near the size of the mansion I previously occupied, but this was cute and homey, and now it was all mine!
With my bags in hand I hurried up the stairs. I dropped my bags on the floor and flopped onto the bed.
I spread out on the bed feeling excited for this next chapter of my life. California, and Michael seemed so far away. I knew Michael would be awake by now. He would be frantic and extremely angry. I smiled to myself when I thought about how he would react. Good, let him be pissed at me, I thought bitterly. There was no way for him to track me down, I had paid cash for the airplane ticket to North Carolina. I had used no credit cards to leave a paper trail. I was finally free, or so I hoped!
Even though I was exhausted my mind was going a mile a minute and I couldn’t lay still knowing I had so much to do. I stepped out onto the back porch to take a minute to appreciate the view of the ocean. This time the Atlantic instead of the pacific. I looked up and down the beach and watched people as they went about there lives. It didn’t make me feel lonely. Instead I felt grateful to have this peaceful solitude I had long yearned for…
This was a fresh start, one I had been searching for, for so long. I looked down at my reflection in the water. For the first time in a long time, the refection that gazed back at me looked hopeful.
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Thanks for reading the Generation 1 Prologue. I hope you enjoyed the story so far, and will continue on to the next chapter! Now that she is free from her jerk husband who beat her, life is definitely looking up for Grace. Hopefully her story will have a happy ending…