First Line Fiction (2)

This first line of a fictional short story was sent to me by author and blogger, Darlene Foster.

No matter how much she wanted to, she couldn´t stay here.

There was no denying she loved him. No matter how she tried, Cathy could not stop loving him. Yes, everyone had been right. But so what? Perhaps they had never known that desire, never felt that selfless love for another.

That must be it. They had never loved at all.

She was able to recapture that rush at will. The way he looked at her across that room, then the confidence as he approached her and asked for that first date. It had made her toes tingle, and they tingled now, as she remembered the moment. She wriggled them inside her nylons at the memory.

Too soon. They had all said it was too soon to move in with him. It wasn’t as if he had proposed or anything, just a casual suggestion that they live together. She hadn’t hesitated. When something felt that right, you just had to act on instinct.

Those first days of bliss, like floating on air. Rushing home to await his return from work, watching as he sipped his welcome home glass of wine, then slipped off his suit jacket and loosened his tie. Staying awake at night just to watch him sleeping. Hardly able to believe he was hers.

Okay, sometimes he got a bit angry over nothing. Her train was cancelled, she got home late, and he was furious. Why hadn’t she phoned to let him know? Where had she really been? Cathy understood. He was worried about her, that’s all it was. And when the shouting stopped, oh how they made up. The feel of his strong arms as they made love. So wonderful.

Why should she want to go out with her friends, like she had before? No need to visit mum and dad every Sunday either. They were together now, and only needed each other. And it made sense to have a joint bank account and shared credit card. They had no secrets, so why shouldn’t they know what each other was spending, and what they were spending it on? He was right too. She spent too much on clothes and make-up. She knew that herself.

And she didn’t need short skirts, fancy haircuts, or killer-heels. Why would she? Was she trying to attract men when she already had the most perfect man? She agreed. No need.

When he put the tracker app on her phone, she got that too. If he knew where she was at all times, he wouldn’t worry. He could stay calm, not get anxious or angry. She could see the sense in that.

Limiting her spending was actually welcome. Yes, she spent too much on things she didn’t need, and paid far too much for lunch. It was perfectly reasonable to manage on fifty a week, and let him take care of all the bills.

Of course she should have asked before inviting Sonia and Dean to the flat. What had she been thinking of? By the time she told him they were coming, it was too late to cancel. Perfectly understandable that got him in a mood that night. Yes, the atmosphere was a bit awkward, and he did drink too much. But after all, it was his flat too, and he had a right to say who should come and go where they lived.

Sonia would never understand. She didn’t love Dean. Not enough.

So he had hit her when they left. So what? Just the once, and in the stomach. The pain soon faded, and he was so sorry after.

That had been almost a year ago. Since then, she hadn’t seen Sonia, or anyone else for that matter. Not mum and dad either. They had all turned on him, making her take sides. There was only one side she was ever going to take.


Three broken ribs were not as bad as you might think. She told the doctor at the hospital that she had fallen over getting out of the bath. And she soon healed. She knew how much he loved her, and how it was all for her own good. And he was so nice to her after that.

Last night had been too much though. Missing teeth, a black eye, and a swollen jaw. She hadn’t been able to eat any breakfast, and even drinking her coffee that morning had been difficult. And the headache wouldn’t go away. She hadn’t realised just how solid the headboard was until he was banging her head against it.

Suitcase packed, and standing in the hallway, Cathy checked the time as she waited for the taxi.

She prayed it would arrive before he got home.

57 thoughts on “First Line Fiction (2)

      1. My suffering was only 3 months. I lost 10 kgs and looked like a skeleton, living on one meal a day. I didn’t have the money to buy enough food and not enough courage to ask him for a loan until my first pay comes in. When my parents saw me for the first time after that, they persuaded me to dump the scumbag. But the memories still linger that everything was always my fault and he was always right.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Powerful stuff. You depicted the abuse so well, the insidious nature of it. If only “love” didn’t colour every indicator so totally. Maybe then, sufferers would recognise the abuse for what it was and remove themselves from the situation earlier. Of course, we all know what we should do, but in the same situation would we find the strength to do it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hard to know, Angela. In my experience, there are no ‘rules’ when it comes to domestic abuse. It crosses all social classes and genders, though the abuser is very often emotionally scarred from abuse they themselves received at some time.
      Best wishes, Pete.


  2. Pete this is the first line from a book, Assignment: Reason by Edward S. Aarons……”Durell awoke knowing that today was both an end and a beginning”….hope this qualifies. chuq

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very true. But we don’t know where Cathy was going, or what might have happened to her later. Readers can make up their own mind about that.
      Thanks, Lucinda.
      Best wishes, Pete.


  3. Well told Pete. Of course leaving isn’t as simple as that for many women. And not all abusers use physical violence. But you caught the controlling aspect very well. My daughter was in a controlling relationship for 20 years. He walked out last year during lockdown, never dreaming that she would not let him back. A true narcissist.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know it is far from simple, Jude. My stepdaughter was supposedly happy in an obviously controlling relationship for many years. She only left him in the end because she feared he might harm their baby. I could have made this into a longer serial, and examined some of the reasons hy they don’t leave, but Darlene’s suggested line made me think of this short story.
      Best wishes, Pete. x


  4. It’s easy to say “why didn’t she just leave?” but it really is not so simple. And not all abuse is physical. At least there is evidence of that. The psychological scars can be much deeper. And the really sad thing is that the abuser was most likely abused himself, or herself (it can be a woman who abuses, though it seems no one ever acknowledges it). Great story Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Carolyn.

      We sadly had some ‘close to home’ experience of this, with one of my step-daughters. She only left him when he was likely to hurt their baby. She is now studying to be a Social Worker as a mature student at university. She intends to specialise in victims of domestic abuse.

      There are also female abusers of course. Something like 20% of domestic violence in the UK is committed by women.

      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

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