Chapter 20 - "Get. The. Hell. Out."

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"Sarge," Carter's father said.

Carter shot him a fierce look.

"I'm serious!" she said, anger, pain and hurt laced in every syllable. She looked back at her mother. "What the hell are you doing here?!"

Her mother moved forward, but Carter's icy glare halted her in her tracks. Her mother glanced back at Carter's father. 

"I was in the city and I wanted to-"

"Get out," Carter snarled.

Her mother looked at her with wide eyes. Carter felt something inside her snap. She pointed to the door, her hand shaking.

"Get. The. Hell. Out."

Her father rose, one hand on the table for support.

"Sarge," he said, his voice strong with reproach, "you have no right-"

"I have every right!" she yelled, turning to him.

She could see the burdened look in his eyes. She turned her cold, unyielding stare on to her mother.

"Leave. Now."

Her mother looked back at her father. He nodded. She gathered up her purse and walked to the door. Carter's face was hard as stone and her body rigid as her mother brushed past her. The scent of perfume lingered in the air after the door had closed. A tense silence landed in the apartment.

"Sarge-"

"No!" Carter burst out, switching her glare from the wall to her father. "Why did you ever let her in? How could you possibly be sitting here with her after everything she has done?"

Her father raised a hand, trying to calm her anger.

"Carter," he said, his voice tired. "I know this is confusing-"

"Confusing! That Thing destroyed our family!"

Her father's face hardened, shoulders tightening. The weary look burned from his eyes. Carter knew she had taken a step too far.

"Despite everything, she is your mother," he said, his voice controlled, "and you will not talk about her like that."

Carter met his eyes with cool hatred, not for him but for the third presence that had left behind the smell of citrus.

"No," she said, her voice cutting through the air. "That is where you are wrong. I have no mother. Not anymore."

She stormed off to her room, the vile feel of rage coursing through her. She kicked her door shut and hurled her satchel onto her bed. Everything around her blurred as thoughts battled in her mind. Images of her mother leaving the first time clashing with the image of her mother standing before her moments ago. Conflicting emotions ricocheted through her, suffocating her.

Without thinking, she ripped off her jacket, threw it onto her bed and grabbed her boxing gloves.

She pulled them on, yanking with unnecessary force on the Velcro straps as she tightened them. Endless scenarios of how the interaction could have gone played through her mind as she pummeled the punching bag.

The sound of her fists hitting the taunt leather and the creaking of the bag as it swung on a metal hook was unheard by Carter, her thoughts drowning out the world. She forced breath into her lungs, as a vise closed tighter and tighter around her heart. Her arms began to ache with the frantic speed in which she fought the bag, but she didn't stop. She landed blow after blow to the tight leather, her movements reckless. The bag swung and she pounded away, unaware of the pain in her knuckles.

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