Chapter 1 ~ Cassie
Cassie cried out as she fell to the floor. The hit was hard, but she knew it wasn’t hard enough to draw blood. Parker knew how much strength to use when he hit her, so it wouldn’t leave a mark. Heaven forbid he left a bruise that she couldn’t cover up. If he marked her face, he always made sure she iced the area thoroughly, to prevent it from swelling.
She stayed on the ground so she didn’t provoke him further, and kept her eyes on the floor. Tonight he was in a good mood, so he huffed and stomped away. She stayed where she was and waited until she heard the bedroom door slam. Seconds later it came, and she breathed a sigh of relief.
She pushed herself up carefully and made her way to the kitchen. She opened the freezer and pulled out her trusty bag of peas. She knew it was a night she needed them. After a year of abuse, she could just tell.
She made her way back to the couch and plopped down. Gently, she lifted the peas and placed them on her cheek. She winced at the cold, but then moaned in relief as the pain slowly subsided. Tomorrow would be a good day, the swelling would be minimal and the bruising would be light enough to cover with a bit of makeup. She sighed, knowing she got off lucky tonight.
She thought back to when she first met Parker. Her parents were incredibly strict and raised her with almost no freedom. She had to dress a certain way, she had to act a certain way, and she could only be friends with a certain type of people.
Her life had been hard growing up. Her father was a partner in a huge law firm and never had time for her. Her mother was a socialite, and there were a dozen charities and functions she needed to attend. Her parents were never home, and Cassie relished the time alone. She could breathe when they weren’t around, and she didn’t have to worry about being the perfect daughter.
She went on lots of dates, her parents made sure of that. Unfortunately, she hated all the boys, then later men, her parents insisted on setting her up with. They were boring, stuck up rich kids, who were only out to suck up to her father. They knew a marriage to her was a full ride in his prestigious law firm. They didn’t care about her, they cared about the status she would bring and the money they would earn.
That’s how she met Parker. Her parents forced her to go on yet another date. If she wanted to stay in their house, she had to follow their rules. She had gotten ready for the date the same way she had for all the others, but when the doorbell rang and she got a look at him, her heart fluttered. He was taller than most of the men her parents set her up with. He had short blonde hair and the most beautiful blue eyes. He wasn’t dressed in a suit, like the rest usually were. Instead, he wore jeans and a button up dress shirt. When he smiled at her, she couldn’t help but smile back.
He showed her the attention and love she had been craving from her parents. They dated for two years before he proposed. At twenty two, she thought she loved him. He took her for romantic dinners, he bought her expensive gifts and he seemed to put her before her parents.
He was a dream come true and she was smitten. Unfortunately, once they were married he showed his true colours. On their wedding night, he sat her down and explained how it was going to be. She was to act to the part of the doting wife and he would be discreet about the other women he was sleeping with. She was to stay home, cooking the meals and keeping the house, while he went out drinking with the boys and sleeping with whoever caught his attention that week.
Her life turned upside down in a minute, and not for the better. She learned her place quickly, because if she didn’t, there would be repercussions. Tonight was just a small one, all because she asked how his day went.