I shut the front door behind me, “Raj, I’m home.” I kicked off my shoes and waddled my way into the bedroom. It had been two months since Raj had to sell his company. He had gone to a dark place, and most days he barely got out of bed. I laid next to him on the bed, sighing. He held me close, and for a while we said nothing. To supplement our income, Raj had sold the bar that he owned, but I managed to score a job as a bartender/waitress. It was hard work, and I was exhausted every day, but to me, it was worth it.
I laid my head on Raj’s shoulder, “Baby, maybe you need to go see someone and talk about what you’re feeling.” His eyes pierced mine,”What? Like a shrink?” I shrugged my shoulders, “Maybe. I don’t know how else to help you.” He sat up and faced me,”What makes you think I need help?” I sat back, “You just don’t seem like yourself, and I thought I would help.” He sighed and got out of bed. He wandered down the hall, and I heard the faint tinkling sound of the glasses in the bar. I began to undress slowly, my muscles completely fatigued. I laid my head down on my pillow, just resting my eyes.
I woke up with a start, and realized I had dozed off. I hurriedly got dressed, knowing that Raj would be expecting his dinner any minute now. I bustled around in the kitchen, my protruding belly more of a hindrance than anything right now. Raj opened the door, “Dinner’s not ready yet?” I shook my head, but he was already heading towards me. I cowered too early and he began laughing, “Are you afraid of me, Lauryn?” I shook my head but still he towered over me, “you ain’t seen nothing yet,baby. Keep this up, and I’ll give you something to be afraid about.” He sent a swift hand across my face before he stormed out of the room, and I heard the bedroom door slam. I tried to stop my hands from shaking as I finished up dinner. I set it down on the counter and went into the bathroom. I locked the door and turned on the shower. I placed one hand on my belly, and one hand on my mouth and I began to sob loudly. I stepped into the shower and let the hot water relieve the ache in my muscles. I made a choice right then and there, to get out of there. I got dressed, and with a newfound purpose in my step, I headed toward the bedroom. I pushed open the door and found Raj snoring away, thanks to the alcohol. I tiptoed next to the bed and grabbed my cell phone off of the nightstand. I rushed back out into the kitchen before dialing 9-1-1.
“9-1-1, what’s your emergency?”
I began sobbing uncontrollably, “Hi, um *sob* my boyfriend has been *sob* hitting me but I *sob* can’t leave him.”
“Are you hurt, ma’am?”
I sniffled, finally gaining control of my emotions, “Uhh no. He slapped me, but I’m not hurt badly. I’ve had much worse.
“Okay, the police are en route. Does he keep any weapons in your house?”
“Uhh I’m not sure. I’ve never asked him.”
“Okay, ma’am. You should-”
Raj tore the phone out of my hand, “Who is this?” He hung up and grabbed me by the upper arm. His fingers dug into my skin until he threw me on the bed. He began yelling at me, “You think you can just up and leave me? After everything I’ve done for you? Yeah well, we’ll see how you feel about that when I’m done with you.
~Raj’s POV ~
I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard someone on the phone. She thought she could leave me? That ungrateful bitch owed me her life. I grabbed the phone from her before hanging up. She and I needed to have a nice little chat in the bedroom, and she’d never want to leave me again. She started whimpering, so I threw her onto the bed. I could hardly think with all of her sobbing, “Shut up!” I put my hand over her throat and squeezed until she was quiet. “Just shut up,” I whispered furiously. I let go and watched as she gasped for air. She started to get up, but one smack across the cheek put her back down against the bed. The flash of the blue and red lights filled the room with a glow. I turned to Lauryn, “You called the cops?!” She nodded weakly, and everything seemed to go red. I brought my fists down on her over and over and over again. I could hear the sounds of the front door being kicked down. As I reached for the gun I kept next to the bed, Lauryn cried out, “Help me!”
I smacked her hard to shut her up. I grabbed her and held her against me before I put the gun to her head. The door opened slowly, and a voice called, “Hello, my name is Officer Walters, and I’m here with my partner, Officer Zargoza. Is everybody okay in there?” Lauryn whimpered softly, but remained silent. I called out hoarsely, “Anyone comes in this room and I’ll shoot!” The crackle of the police radio filled the room, but no one came in, “I need to know that the lady is okay, alright? I just need her to speak, so that we know she’s alive.” I could tell that Lauryn was fading out now so I shook her, “Hey! Tell them you’re alive and that you’re okay.” Her voice was soft, but steady, “I’m alive….and I’m…okay..” I put the gun back on her temple, “I don’t want to talk anymore, just leave us alone!” The officer put his hands through the door, “I’m unarmed and I’m coming in here so that we can talk, okay?”
I dropped Lauryn like a rag, pointed my gun at the officer, and growled, “Leave…….now!” The officer backed out of sight, but I knew it wouldn’t be long before he came back. I turned to Lauryn, the gun pointed right at her. Tears streamed down my face as I whispered, “I love you so much, and even though you make me so angry, I don’t think I can live without you. If I can’t have you, then no one can.” She screamed, “No!” but it was too late. In the corner of my eye, the officers entered the room, but everything was in slow motion. Before they could raise their gun, I pulled the trigger……and everything went black…….
I squinted against the bright light of the room. A nurse picked up my arm and checked my vitals. I groaned and asked, “Where am I?” The nurse smiled widely, “You’ve been in a coma for the last few days, but you’re in Glenn Terrace Hospital, hon. Don’t worry, the doctor will be in shortly to explain.” I nodded weakly and dozed off again. I awoke when the doctor entered the room, his kind eyes crinkling as he smiled, “I’m glad you’re awake, Miss Hernandez, you proved to be a fighter.” I nodded softly, “What happened?” The doctor came and sat next to me, “What’s the last thing you remember?” I thought long and hard before answering, “The police were at our house, and Raj had a gun. Did he shoot me?” The doctor nodded, “He shot you in the abdomen. He clipped your liver, but he missed all other vital organs. We were able to repair most of the damage done to your liver, but the liver will also continue to heal itself. He was shot by the police, and he did not recover” I gasped, “Raj is dead?” My head spun with this new information, but I forced myself to ask the question that had been in the back of my mind since I had woken up, “Is my baby okay?” The doctor cleared his throat uncomfortably, “We were unable to save your baby, ma’am. The bullet tore through the amniotic sac, and he died before you reached the hospital.” Tears fell as I asked, It..It was a boy?” The doctor nodded before squeezing my shoulder comfortingly as he left to give me a moment to compose myself. II rolled over and sobbed until I was spent. I closed my eyes, and tried to sleep but it was no use. I was consumed with so many emotions, I was left spinning. I was angry that Raj had taken something so precious away from me, I was overwhelmed with grief for the child I would never meet, but I was consumed with guilt for being alive and not being able to protect him. I finally gave up on sleep, and tried to sit up. Bad move, the pain was unbearable, so I pressed the button for the morphine drip and succumbed to the drug-induced slumber. I fell asleep with dreams of my baby boy in my arms.