“Dean was perfect. At first. He brought me flowers, opened doors for me, always thought about the little things. He bought me this huge, elaborate diamond ring and treated me like a princess,” I begin, still staring at the worn velvet box. “I fell in love. I thought I was the luckiest girl in the entire world.”
“What went wrong?” Michelangelo asks softly.
I take a deep breath. “He built this huge house for us, right on the beach. After I moved in, things started changing. He stopped caring as much, and the smallest things would set him off. Like once, I accidentally dropped a red bra in the washing machine, and turned his socks and underwear pink. I thought he would laugh about it. I mean, it wasn’t that big of a deal. Instead, when I told him about it, he became livid. He started throwing stuff around the house and yelling at me. He told me I was an incompetent slut and couldn’t do anything right, and that he was the only one who would ever want an orphan like me, and…” my voice breaks off as I start tearing up. Michelangelo grabs my hand for support.
“And he slapped me. He didn’t even look at me after that. I was curled up on the floor crying and he just walked out. Dean didn’t come back until after midnight. When he did, he apologized and started crying and swore he’d never do it again. He helped me up, helped me clean up my face, and carried me to bed. The mess was clean when I woke up. He was in the kitchen cooking breakfast. Things when back to normal. He was sweet and thoughtful again, and I thought that things were going to be okay.”
“A few days later, he came home one night with some of his friends. I was sitting on the couch reading a book. Dean grabbed my arm and jerked me up, and said that I was there for him and his friends to enjoy, not to try and get smart. He told me I was too stupid for that. He ordered me to do a strip tease. I refused and tried to get away. That was when he beat me. Badly. I…probably wouldn’t have survived that night if one of his friends hadn’t knocked him out and taken me away. The guy who saved me…I never got his name, but he was a doctor, and he stitched me up and let me stay with him and his wife until I was better. Dean kept coming over, trying to get me to come back home, but his friend would never let him in.”
“One day, when the doctor and his wife were at work, Dean broke in. He snuck up on me in the kitchen and hit me for leaving him. He asked where my ring was, and I told him I sold it. I’d never seen him so mad before. I tried to get away from him again, and he grabbed a knife and came after me. The doctor showed me where his weapons were hidden, in a secret compartment on a wall by the back door. Dean cornered me by the compartment, and I grabbed a Taser from the shelf. He was about to stab me when I stabbed him in the neck with the Taser. The voltage was so high and concentrated around the base of his brain, that it killed him almost immediately. The doctor’s wife came home soon afterward. She helped me get rid of the body.”