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One Year Earlier

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One Year Earlier

Jenna Armstrong grabbed at the arm of the young man heading toward his car.

"Please Garrett, don't drive home. You've been drinking." The stench of booze washed over her in putrid waves, combined with stale cigarette smoke, and even the acrid stink of piss where he must have sprayed his shoes at some point during the evening. He'd always been a bad aim.

He shook her off. "Don't tell me what to do, you fat bitch. I've only had a couple."

Yeah, a couple of bottles of Jack.

His words stung. She knew she wasn't a skinny girl, far from it. But what were a few insults? She'd suffered a lot worse at Garrett's hands. She knew she should leave him, but his comments about no one else loving someone her size stayed in her head. She was terrified if she lost him, she'd spend the rest of her life alone. But perhaps being alone would be better than being with Garrett. He did his best to put her down, to worm away at what small amount of self-confidence she had. Even, on the odd occasion when she managed to lose a few pounds, he would catch her standing in front of the mirror and comment on how she'd only lost the weight from her tits.

When she'd got home from work that evening, Garrett had told her he was taking her out. She'd been delighted, and dressed in jeans that hugged her ample curves and a floaty top to disguise the belly she was always conscious of. She'd thought they'd been going out for dinner, but instead he brought her to the grotty bar they were stood outside of now and he'd told her to get a round in while he played on the gaming machines. She should have stopped buying him drinks over an hour ago, but when she suggested he'd had too much, he got nasty with her. She figured she'd just drive home, and he'd hopefully sleep it off. She hadn't considered that he'd fight her about who was driving.

"Please, Garrett. Just let me drive. It's no big deal." She could hear the whiney tone entering her voice and tried to stop herself. He hated it when she got whiny.

"This is my fucking car, and I'll drive it if I want to."

She needed to stand up to him. It wasn't often she did, and, on the odd occasion when she had, she'd been rewarded by being shoved up against a wall, or having a fist balled in her face. He'd never gone as far as hitting her, but he'd threatened it often enough.

Jenna reached out to snatch the keys from his hand, but he was surprisingly quick for someone who'd had so much to drink. He whisked them out of the way and held them above his head, out of her reach.

He laughed, nastily. "You can't get them now."

"You'll get yourself or someone else killed if you try driving home. I mean it, Garrett."

"Shut the hell up. I'm fine. I know when I've had too much. You're not my fucking mother. When did you turn into such a goddamned prude?"

She'd finally had enough of his bullshit. "You know what, Garrett. Go ahead. Drive yourself home, see if I care if you wrap the car around a lamppost. I'm walking."

Even as she set off down the street, the guilt worked its way into her heart. What if he actually did have an accident, what if he hurt someone else in the process? She would never forgive herself. She needed to call the cops and report him. He would kill her—literally kill her—and their relationship would be over, but she couldn't let him hurt himself or anyone else.

She fished her cell from her pocket, and lifted a finger to swipe the phone live. But a hand wrapped around her wrist, the thick fingers squeezing tight. Pain shot up through her arm and reflexively her hand opened around the phone. It fell to the ground, the case splitting, the battery dropping out onto the sidewalk.

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