Drama Fiction

Content warning: domestic abuse 


The bright sun shone through the bedroom window. Jean awoke, She heard the front door slam, knowing it was someone she once trusted leaving the premises; staggering, swearing his way out the house, down the path, across the road in search of the bottle. He would call it sauce but was stronger than ketchup and less prestigious than the Houses of Parliament. He would be away all day and return at night in the same filthy mood.  Gritting her teeth, she sat up, ignoring the pain but noticing the keeker that was developing. Jean had gorgeous blue eyes enhanced by makeup, spoiled by nasty bruises. What did she see in Stan, even as a friend?  Whatever ember of affection she had, flew out the window when he started taking liberties. Yet at the time of moving in, he was a workmate and it made sense to temporarily stay with him, for essentially, they would have little to do with one another during the working day. She could afford to share accommodation, but not rent outright and certainly was not in the market for a home of her own.


Some workmates assumed theirs was a de facto relationship; if it were, she would be a lot better off, but they simply shared a house, not a bed, not much of a life. That is, unless you count the necessity to treat her as a servant, to scream at her, to tell her how to run her life when he could not run a battery in a modern appliance far less his own. That was Stan; a coward, lazy, very likely sick, but dangerous. She, Jean Parker had to find a better home away from home. The warmth of the shower eased her aching muscles. She returned to the room to dress and gazed at the suitcase hidden under the junk. Today if at all possible was the day. She could not face breakfast, but once at work, she could sneak…  She laughed at herself; her life was a path of sneak, sneaking around Stan, not intentionally causing a disturbance but managing to do so. Sneaking to the kitchen only to hear the snarling voice say:


“Is the kettle on Gina.” how she hated the European version of her name. If she had looked anything like Gina Lollobrigida, she would have accepted it but her name was Jean, she did not much like it but it was her name. It was easier to say “Yes” and keep the peace often to the detriment of her safety than to openly cause a riot, or so she thought.


Last night was the “last straw.” It was her turn to cook and she cleaned up along the way. He nagged her about that, saying the dinner would get cold, as she played about with soap suds. Finally, she stopped what she was doing, picked up a plate, served his portion of the meal, and placed it at the table. The fact that the dish was not quite ready was something Jean had bargained on.

“My dinner is not cooked you slut!” the statement was ignored so Stan repeated it a little louder; it was still ignored by which time Jean had finished cleaning and moved to check on the dinner. Stan came up behind her, swung her around;

“Cook my dinner,” his breath was rancid his expression ugly.

“Cook it yourself you only need to put it in the microwave, set it for five minutes or whatever.”


He slapped her face, she stood without hitting back. He did it again further up her face, Jean raised her knee and caught him unawares.  He screamed, by this time doubled over in pain. Determined to keep calm, she served herself and took her dinner to her room. Through the tears she ate the stew, which any other night she would have enjoyed; tonight it was dressed with salt … her tears.


Later, her mobile phone buzzed. Who could that be at this time of night? Curiosity got the better of her, Jean unlocked the phone, recognising the number; she smiled it was from her brother.

“Hi, Sis How goes it?” Peter

Peter, tall, protective and kind, his mellifluous voice would melt the kilos off in a trice. He may have had his suspicions, but would never encroach. Nor would he allow anyone to harm his kid sister.

She sent a message; Peter’s reply was short and calming

“Jean, just pack a case I will meet you at work tomorrow.  What are your boss’s name and number?  I think I should call him despite the hour.”

She provided the details and hurriedly packed a few essentials, but sleep evaded her.


 After dressing she looked at the clock realising time was marching.  She hurriedly left the house, caught the train, walked the distance between the railway station and the office carrying her bag and case, and wondered if she had left her mobile phone behind. Meanwhile, John was waiting for her at her desk.

“Oh, Jean thank goodness you are here. Peter called me last night to alert me.” he hugged her “just leave the case in my office, love I have arranged for coffee to be brought in: have you eaten anything?”

She shook her head

“Can I get you something?” again she shook her head

It was his kindness that brought it out, the fear the patience, and most of all Stan’s erratic behaviour.

“Jean I am so sorry On, no account will you go back there alone.” John acknowledged the coffee delivery.

“I think you are better to stay here today, supposing you read a book.” John avoided her gaze seeing traces of tears amid the bruising. Peter said he would call before he left home.”

“I think I have left my phone behind,” there was panic in the statement,

John reached for his mobile and rang her number. Fortunately, the merry tune could be heard. Jean breathed a sigh of relief and retrieving it from her bag asked

“What about …?”

“Stan? He is with HR right now. He staggered into work, skunk-like, and I took him up to the department. He is history as far as I am concerned, Jean.” he sipped his coffee “you are quite safe here.”


Her mobile rang again, Jean recognised the number

Later, allowing her brother to pamper and cook for her she relaxed. Peter’s house was not really home either, but finding an alternative was tomorrow’s chapter!




June 17, 2021 04:32

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