Mazie Baby

Mazie Baby by Julie Frayn Page A

Book: Mazie Baby by Julie Frayn Read Free Book Online
Authors: Julie Frayn
laboured,
his chest rose and fell in fast rhythm with each inhale and bourbon-scented
exhale.
    “Mazie.” His voice was gravelly. A
hoarse whisper. “Baby.”
    She used to love it when he called
her that. Mazie Baby. It spoke of his love for her, his desire to take care of
her, protect her. Like a mother is supposed to keep a child safe from harm. It morphed
into a taunt, like a schoolyard bully mocking a weak kid crying for his mommy.
What’s the matter, baby? You gonna cry, baby?
    “Come on, baby. Untie me. You’ve
made your point.” He smiled one of his fake smiles. “You know I love you,
right?”
    How many times had he said that? After
he hurt her. After the apologies that used to mean something but now rang as
hollow and untrue as most every word he spewed.
    He took a deep breath, his cheeks
ruddy and splotchy. “Let me go now,” his voice had turned from sweet and
conciliatory to low and growling. “And I promise I won’t hurt you.”
    She narrowed her eyes. “You
promise?” She pushed off against his chest and stood. “You promise?” Her voice
gained strength with the understanding that no promises would ever be kept.
That he would hurt her if he wanted, whenever the whim struck. “How many times
have you promised you would stop? Then what happened, huh? I’ll tell you what.
You beat me. Again. And again.” Tears streamed down her cheeks. “It’s never
going to end, is it?”
    “If you don’t take those scissors
out of my leg and untie me,” his voice grew stronger and louder with each word.
The pleading and fear in his eyes dissolved under the weight of the hatred and
fire that returned with a vengeance. “I’m going to fucking kill you.”
    Every emotion drained from her. She
turned and snatched the brandy from the dresser and took a long drink.
    “It fucking hurts, damn it! Can’t
you see that?”
    She spun around and threw the flask
against the wall behind his head. It hit with a thud and bounced onto the floor.
Sticky alcohol sprayed the wall and the bed and his face and chest. She crossed
her arms, twisted her face up, and bent toward him. “It hurts.” She imitated
the mocking tone he’d turned on her countless times these past years. “It
hurts, it hurts, it hurts!” She grabbed the stack of Polaroids and held them
up. “You want to know what hurts?” She flung each picture at him, like dealing
a deck of red-hot cards. With each photo that landed on the bed, she reminded
him of the damage done. “A black eye, that hurts. And a broken arm. Two broken
ribs. Yeah, that hurt too. Oh, remember this?” She held the picture up and
shoved it in his face until it was pushed up against his nose. “That’s what my
lower back looked like after you beat me with an empty Jack Daniels bottle
because I forgot to get you a new one!” She paced and shook her head, derision
huffing from her nostrils. “Yeah, that fucking hurt, believe me.” She turned
back and yanked the scissors from his leg.
    He cried out and clenched his
teeth. Deep crevasses were carved into his face. He looked old and weathered, drained
of every last shred of the handsome man he once was.
    She yanked down the collar of her
shirt and jutted her chin in the air. “How about this, Cullen? When you choke
me? Again and again and again. How long before you get it right, huh? Before
you suck every last ounce of life out of me?”
    A half-smile crept onto his face.
    She stepped toward the bed. “That
fucking hurts.” She plunged the scissors into his other leg.
    He screamed. “Fuck, fuck, fuck. You
stupid fucking bitch.”
    She put one hand over his mouth.
“Shut up. You trying to wake the whole fucking neighbourhood?”
    He tried to bite her but she
snapped her hand away. She sidled up to the window, moved the drape aside with
one finger and peered out. Every house across the street remained in darkness.
Typical. They sure never heard anything when she screamed.
    His damn blood stained the drape.
She held her hands out

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