My cell phone started ringing. I didn’t want to wake up Jazz and Briar, so I answered it hurriedly without even looking at the caller ID. “Hello?” I whispered.
“Did you miss me last night?” Hensley said with a cocky chuckle.
My heart stopped and my breath caught in my throat. He continued. “I think the shoulder will be just fine, but you are going to pay for it, you worthless bitch.”
All that was going through my mind at that point was the memories of what I had been through and the promises I had just made myself. Suddenly, all the fear left me, only to be replaced with hatred and loathing for the monster on the other end of the line. Being quiet so I didn’t wake the sleeping couple down the hall was low on my priority list at that very moment.
“Listen to me, you sorry sack of horseshit. I have more than paid for that little shoulder graze. You put me through hell, you broke my spirit and soul, and you’ve scarred my body so that I’ll never be able to forget you. Every time I see my goddamned ankles, I’ll be reminded of you and the sick ways you got your rocks off. I told you last night that I was done, and I fucking meant it. I won’t be the weak, scared person you turned me into for another minute. Charlie is back, the Charlie I thought you loved, the one I assumed you wanted. I am back and taking no shit from anyone, especially you. I am bringing me back, the funny, witty, happy Charlie. If you think you’ll get another day of my happiness, you are sadly mistaken.”
Rage fueled the comments that followed as I kept going. “How’d it feel, huh? How’d it feel to hold down a little woman who physically couldn’t fight you off and beat her like a dog? Do you feel more like a man because you took down a person who is a foot shorter than you and a hundred and twenty-five pounds lighter? I hope you got what you needed from it because you won’t get a chance to do it again. You are nothing to me anymore. I’m better than you, and I can’t believe I let you use me for three years.”
My chest was heaving. I had to catch my breath and gather my wits. Unfortunately, that gave the bastard a chance to speak.
“Charlie, you are damaged goods. No man will ever want you now. You’re all scarred up and that screams you’re a pushover, nothing more than a weak girl.”
“Listen here, you son of a bitch. I don’t need a man, so I don’t care if anyone wants me. I’d rather be alone than with somebody like you ever again. The scars you gave me serve as a reminder that I am not that girl anymore. I don’t need to have a man to survive and be happy. I’m done talking to you. Don’t ev—”
“You listen here, Char. You are mine. You know it, and I know it. Come home and we will work it out. I’ll never lay another unwanted hand on you, baby, I swear.”
I started screaming at him. “You dumb bastard. I fell for that shit for three years. You couldn’t tell the truth if you tried. Just answer this. Did you ever love me? Was it ever anything more than a conquest for you? How could you? Why did you break my heart?”
I had woken Jazz and Briar at that point. Sadly, I didn’t care. “I loved you. Still do. Why can’t you see that?”
His answer kind of shocked me. “Mainly because you hit me and raped me. Or was that why you loved me? You didn’t think another woman would put up with you and your perverted antics. I was the stupid girl who stayed out of fear. Fear of not ever finding anyone else, fear that if I tried you would beat me worse, or go after my friends. Or being held down and fucked with no say so, only to get my ass whipped for crying about it, or crying when the punches or the lashes from the belt bit into my skin and blood seeped down my torso. Let’s not forget the times that you ended up cutting me with God knows what. Fuck you, Hensley. Find yourself another girl. We are done. I am not coming back, and I am most certainly not yours. It’s just you and your hand, darlin’. Do yourself a favor and don’t be as rough with yourself as you were with me, because I’m telling you from experience that it fucking hurts. That is the last thing I have to say to you.”