He gently slid his rough, masculine hand down the same face that he punched the night before. The same mouth that constantly belittled Joy kissed the old bruises on her neck.
“We can finally become a real family,” he whispered, rubbing his hand on her belly.
A few days ago, Joy had found out that she was pregnant. Her heart had sank and she planned on taking care of it…but there wasn’t any place to hide the test or the wrapper. She had stuffed them both under tissue in the bathroom trashcan, the only place she could think of. When Ben had come home from the bar that evening, he stumbled over the trashcan in the bathroom. His blurred vision focused on a plastic unlike the tissue around it. There, in the pile of desperate hope, laid the wrapper and the test. His eyes lit up.
Unfortunately, his happiness had faded as quick as his anger had rushed in. “JOY!” The woman, trembling with fear, ran into the bathroom. “Yes, honey,” she asked. “Pick this shit up. All of it.” Without a second thought she dove to the ground, frantically picking up the tissue. Her thin, shaky hands threw the tissue, wrapper, and test in the trashcan. “Is it mine,” his slurred voice asked. She nodded and he grabbed her, whisking her off her feet. She flinched and nearly collapsed back to the floor. He had kissed her and said, “I’m going to be a daddy. I love you.” Instantly, she had cried, knowing that it was too late to take care of business. The rest of the night was peaceful.
Ben had a short temper, but anyone that knew him thought that he was an angel. He even fooled Joy sometimes. It was only 3 days after he found out about the pregnancy, that he hit Joy again. She was convinced that things would change with him because it had been so long since he hurt her. She was wrong. The mistake this time was serving him cold dinner.
He touched the chicken on the plate. “What the hell is this,” he inquired in the softest tone Joy had ever heard.
“It’s chicken, babe. I made your favorite.” Joy smiled lovingly.
“HOT chicken is my favorite, not cold,” he replied. Ben calmly set down his fork and knife.
“Okay…I’ll heat it up for you.”
Joy stood up and just as she grabbed his plate, he stabbed her hand with the knife. Blood drained from her hand as she screamed. Ben started laughing.
“It’s just a little blood,” he chimed. Joy ran to the sink to run water over her hand. She continued to scream as large tears streamed down her face.
Ben stopped laughing. “Stop it, Joy. You’ll wake the neighbors.” Joy continued crying loudly. Ben stood up and yelled, “Stop crying!” Joy tried to suck in her breaths, but she couldn’t stop. Suddenly, Ben took two swift steps towards the sink and punched Joy in the face. “Snap out of it and stop crying,” his deep voice bellowed.
Joy fell back, stunned and terrified. She reflexively put one hand over her face and held the bloody one up as a shield. Ben stormed out the kitchen into the living room. “Clean that blood up and bring me a beer when you’re done,” he hissed.
The next day, Joy woke up to a room full of roses. At first she thought she had died and gone to Heaven. When she sat up, she saw Ben sitting on the small love seat next to the bed, scrolling through his phone. He looked up and smiled radiantly. “Good morning, mommy-to-be. I’ve been waiting for you to get up.” Joy slowly sat up, her face still sore from the blow. “What is all this,” she asked.
“A sneak peek to what I have in store for you today.” It was as if all memory of the prior evening had faded. He was absolutely insane. Joy mustered up a faint smile. “I’m so excited,” she said.
The day was a blur of dining out, going shopping, and getting a makeover. “My girl was robbed and beaten last night,” Ben told the cosmetologist. “So I wanted to spoil her and make her feel good again.” The cosmetologist beamed. “Well aren’t you lucky to have a boyfriend so sweet,” she asked while goving Joy a little squeeze on the shoulder. Joy looked at Ben and said, “So lucky.”
That evening Ben checked them into a fancy hotel. He placed the DO NOT DISTURB sign on the door handle. As soon as the door closed, he began kissing her. It took everything in Joy to stop herself from backing away from him. “I have one more surprise for you,” Ben whispered.
He got down on one knee and pulled out a small, black box. “Joy, will you do the honor of making me the luckiest man alive?”
Joy broke down. Angry tears streamed from her eyes and fell down her cheeks. She was mad, but more than anything, she was afraid. If she said no, what would he do to her? She shook her head yes and he slid the ring on her finger.
“We can finally become a real family.” Ben lovingly rubbed her belly. He hugged her tight, nearly squeezing the air from her lungs. She realized in that moment that she had made the biggest mistake of her life.