Excerpt of Chapter 24
Whether I’ll Live or Die by Stacy Eaton
It wasn’t until we were on our way home that we broached the subject of my marriage again. Angie brought up a question that had been hovering around in the back of my mind most of the day.
“What are you going to say to Josh?” she asked me quietly as we drove along the highway. I gazed out the window beside me, watching the scenery flash past quickly, reminding me of the memories that had crossed my mind the night before, a rapid succession of images that began to blur together if I didn’t blink.
“I’m not sure,” I answered the window as I continued to view the passing world outside. “I’ll figure it out when the time comes.”
Turning up the volume on the radio, Angie let it go at that. We sang to the music for the rest of the ride home. As we turned onto the street, my heart stopped when I saw his car in the driveway next to mine. “Damn,” I muttered under my breath.
“You want me to go in with you?” Angie said as she pulled over in front of the house. “I can if you want me to.”
I smiled, “No, that’s alright.” I thanked her for a great afternoon and for being there for me. I promised not to push her away again and stepped out of the car. I picked up the bag with the single item I had purchased in it and made my way to the front door.
I didn’t take my keys out as I stepped up, figuring Josh would have left the door open when he got home. I glanced back at Angie, waved, then reached for the doorknob as she pulled away.
The door swung quickly open, and I lost my balance, stumbling into the foyer. I hadn’t even recovered my balance when I felt hands push me against the wall. The door slammed shut. I cringed as the door vibrated the wall next to me.
“Where the hell have you been?” Josh yelled.
I turned so my back was to the wall. I could smell alcohol coming off of him and his eyes looked aggressive and glassy.
“I was out shopping with Angie,” I responded meekly to his question.
“Bullshit! Who were you with?” He got in my face and my knees started shaking.
“I was with Angie,” I repeated quietly.
His forearm immediately came to my throat, forcing my head back to the wall. I tried to turn my head to release the pressure, but he held me too tightly against the drywall.
“You better not be cheating on me! Who were you with?” Spit landed on my face as he shouted. A buzzing grew in my ears as the oxygen was denied to my lungs. My heart slammed against my chest and I tried to push him away from me, but didn’t have the strength to compete with his alcohol-induced anger.
“Who were you with, Amanda?” He pressed harder on my neck and I felt things moving around inside. Breathing became even more difficult.
“Angie,” I squeaked out.
Suddenly, he released my throat, punching a hole in the wall beside me. I cringed away from him as far as I could get, sucking air into my hot lungs, the sound of bees still in my ears. I didn’t move any further until he turned and walked away. My shoulders slumped, and I bit my lip to keep the tears back.
“Where have you been?” He flopped down on the sofa and put his feet out on the coffee table. Dirt fell off his boot on to the wood. My head felt foggy, I couldn’t remember what he’d just asked me.
“What?” I licked my bottom lip, tasting my own blood from biting down so hard.
His boots came back to the floor, and he stood up in a swift movement. I froze for just a second as he turned to look at me, I felt like a deer in the headlights of an approaching Mack truck. He started to move, and I decided I didn’t need to be against the wall anymore. I tried to walk towards the kitchen to get away from him.
He was too fast. He grabbed me by my long blond hair, yanking me to a stop. I reached up to try and release the tension he had on me. He yanked me back to him, and I smashed into his chest, almost knocking us both over.
“Where the hell have you been?” he screamed at me as he twisted my hair down. I fell to my knees to ease the pressure.
“We were at the mall. Josh, let go, you’re hurting me!” The pain in my head was like someone had sliced me with a knife. He twisted the long hair around his hand and yanked. I screamed and he flung me away from him. I fell to the floor and lay there, one hand touching the soft carpet under me and the other touching my head where the hair had been pulled. If I hadn’t been touching it, I would have sworn the hair had been pulled out, but the soft locks were still at my fingertips.
I not only heard the sound of his boots on the floor, but I felt the vibration of them as he got closer. My body trembled. He put one knee into my back and pushed my neck down with his hand, forcing my face into the carpet.
“You ever, and I mean ever, cheat on me, Amanda, and I will kill you. You got that? I swear to God if I ever see you with another man, I will kill him and then I will kill you,” his cold voice slithered over me. I had never heard such venom come from him. The carpet fibers dug into my cheek, my cheekbone sharing the pain with my nose. Moisture ran down my cheek as my nose began to bleed again.
“You got that?” he shouted one last time and pushed down on me with his knee and hand before standing back up.
I didn’t speak, only nodded my head slightly into the carpet.